Do life His way…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Isaiah 1:7-20

Your country lies desolate;

 your cities are burned with fire;

 in your very presence

foreigners devour your land;

it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.

 And the daughter of Zion is left

 like a booth in a vineyard,

 like a lodge in a cucumber field,

 like a besieged city.

 If the LORD of hosts

 had not left us a few survivors,

 we should have been like Sodom,

 and become like Gomorrah.

Hear the word of the LORD,

you rulers of Sodom!

 Give ear to the teaching of our God,

 you people of Gomorrah!

  “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD;

I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams

 and the fat of well-fed beasts;

 I do not delight in the blood of bulls,

 or of lambs, or of goats.

  “When you come to appear before me,

who has required of you

 this trampling of my courts?

 Bring no more vain offerings;

 incense is an abomination to me.

 New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—

 I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.

  Your new moons and your appointed feasts

my soul hates;

 they have become a burden to me;

I am weary of bearing them.

  When you spread out your hands,

 I will hide my eyes from you;

 even though you make many prayers,

 I will not listen;

 your hands are full of blood.

 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;

 remove the evil of your deeds from

 before my eyes;

 cease to do evil,

learn to do good;

seek justice,

correct oppression;

 bring justice to the fatherless,

plead the widow’s cause.

 “Come now, let us reason together,

says the LORD:

 though your sins are like scarlet,

 they shall be as white as snow;

 though they are red like crimson,

 they shall become like wool.

  If you are willing and obedient,

you shall eat the good of the land;

  but if you refuse and rebel,

 you shall be eaten by the sword;

 for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

The images of desolation and destruction are seen today in our world.  Are they images of judgment?  Rather, are they not simply the consequences of our ways?  The focus and laws of spirit and natural were spoken into existence.  We are given the guidebook to good health, prosperous living, and peace but as a people we choose to do our own thing, do it our way – life that is.  As a result, our actions have impact upon others and our world that is destructive.  When a child rebels, it wants its own way; that way often has potential to bring it harm.  It lacks the wisdom of time that parents have.  So it is with humanity.  We lack the wisdom of the Creator who can tell us what the impact of our actions will bring.  And He has in His Word.  We rebel; we pay.

Then like children, we start doing right; without a change of heart it is meaningless .  We have prayers, feasts, celebrations, give offerings; we do without a change of heart.  We come to our temple, we worship, we pray, we give and we leave to do as we want.  No change.  As a child will go back to the rebellious behavior, we go back to learned behaviors that are in opposition to God’s commands.

The Word is clear: we are to take steps to ultimately be obedient.  Washing; a symbol of removing the dirt of our deeds; then cease the deed that brought the dirt.  Learn a new way; renew the mind by what is put into it.  Feed it the Word of God!  Seek justice and correct oppression.  Begin to do again this time in obedience to His way.  We must Know His way to do it. There are many who would teach us, but only one Word.  Salvation comes through Christ; he cleanses us, then fills us.  We study His commands and go out and do them, do life His way.

“Come now, let us reason together,

says the LORD:

 though your sins are like scarlet,

 they shall be as white as snow;

 though they are red like crimson,

 they shall become like wool.

  If you are willing and obedient,

you shall eat the good of the land;

  but if you refuse and rebel,

 you shall be eaten by the sword;

 for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

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Those who rebelled…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Isaiah 1:1-6

  The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;

for the LORD has spoken:

 “Children have I reared and brought up,

 but they have rebelled against me.

The ox knows its owner,

and the donkey its master’s crib,

 but Israel does not know,

 my people do not understand.”

Ah, sinful nation,

a people laden with iniquity,

 offspring of evildoers,

 children who deal corruptly!

 They have forsaken the LORD,

 they have despised the Holy One of Israel,

 they are utterly estranged.

 Why will you still be struck down?

Why will you continue to rebel?

 The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

 From the sole of the foot even to the head,

there is no soundness in it,

 but bruises and sores and raw wounds;

 they are not pressed out or bound up

 or softened with oil.

Personally, we can ask am I in that crowd?  We can seek to be a remnant that is not.  We can hold fast to our God, thankful that through His provision of Christ we are His still.  We can also hold steady against the flow of evil, not buy into  its philosophies and manner of living.

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Webs of deception…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Ezra 10:16-44

  Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men, heads of fathers’ houses, according to their fathers’ houses, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter;  and by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.

  Now there were found some of the sons of the priests who had married foreign women: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah, some of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brothers.  They pledged themselves to put away their wives, and their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt.   Of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah.   Of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah.  Of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.  

 Of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.  Of the singers: Eliashib. Of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

   And of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Hashabiah, and Benaiah.  Of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah.   Of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza.   Of the sons of Bebai were Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai.  Of the sons of Bani were Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth.   Of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh.   Of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,  Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah.  Of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei.   Of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi,   Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib,   Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu.  Of the sons of Binnui: Shimei, Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah,  Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai,  Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph.   Of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah.

  All these had married foreign women, and some of the women had even borne children.

There is a place in scriptures that talks of the sins of the fathers affecting the children.  What a hard place to be!  However, history shows how this intimate relationship among God’s people time and again eroded their relationship with God.  It brought judgment, pain, and destruction.  Can we learn from the past?  We cannot have intimate relationships with that which God has commanded abstinence from;  whatever it may be.  Can we  see that it is for our own protection and the protection of our relationship with Him?  Our relationship with God is paramount.  Knowledge is the key.  Did these men not know scripture?  We have free access to God’s Word; we can know truth and what is righteous.  They had it available and disobeyed.  It caused them pain to make their relationship with God right.  Let us not be caught in the same web of deception!

webs of deception entangle

webs of deception entangle

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Subtle influences…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Ezra 10:6-15

 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.  And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem,  and that if anyone did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles. 

 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain.  And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel.   Now then make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”   Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said.   But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for we have greatly transgressed in this matter.  Let our officials stand for the whole assembly. Let all in our cities who have taken foreign wives come at appointed times, and with them the elders and judges of every city, until the fierce wrath of our God over this matter is turned away from us.”  Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them.

Permitting the subtle infiltration of that which is not of God, is in fact in opposition to his word, allowing it to enter our lives, our homes and our churches through innocent seeming means occurs more often than we would like to admit.  It is not presented as wrong to marry if the one marrying shares the same allegiance to God.  It is when other gods are introduced through the guise of love and tolerance.  It brought down Israel.  It does and will bring down our homes and churches.  Come out and be separate is all-inclusive, not just marriage.  We have allowed practices into our homes and churches that are opposed to our God.  Time to reflect… Time to search our hearts and lives… Time to examine our practices and thinking patterns…  Time to allow the Spirit of God to reveal to us that which must be removed…

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There are consequences…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Ezra 10:1-5

 While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly.   And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.  Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law. Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.”  Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

Be sure the consequences of sin, of turning aside from the commands of God to follow our own way, will be hard to bear.  We can rejoice that what Christ did for us is done.  We can rejoice that we have forgiveness and redemption.  But be sure we too, will suffer consequences of sin as surely as we would suffer consequences of pain were we to defy the law of gravity!  However, our God is faithful to take us through the pain to new life as all who have traveled that road can testify!

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Walk humbly before our God…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Ezra 9:8-15

 But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery.  For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem. 

“And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments,  which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness.  Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’  And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this,  shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape?  O LORD, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this.”

It is a fearful thing to break the commands of God…  It is good to know that when we humble ourselves and beg forgiveness, praying for salvation from the penalties that are just, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.  What a God we serve!

 

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Blind-sided…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Ezra 9:1-7

  After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.   For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled.   Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice.  And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God,  saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.  From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today.

After all the confirmation, trust, commissions, encouragement to be blind-sided with this blow!  “I am ashamed…”  Ezra took upon himself the wrongs committed by his people and their leadership to go before the Lord God in humility and remorse.  Can we feel his intense sorrow?  Starting anew and there’s sin in the camp!  We too bear the burden of our nation’s wrongs, our leadership’s failures.  We are in the world, not of it.  We are rained upon just as those who commit those offenses are rained upon.  And as Ezra did we can take this to the Lord God asking for mercy.  Are our hearts not troubled today?  Does the Spirit not quicken us to raise our voices in prayer?  Though we be free and cleansed in Christ, we are not free of the desire to be the light in the darkness.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie