“Hear us, SHEPHERD of ISRAEL, You who lead Joseph like a flock. You Who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken Your might; come and save us.
Restore us, O GOD; make Your Face shine on us, that we may be saved.
How long, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, will Your anger smolder against the prayers of Your people? You have fed them with the bread of tears; You have made them drink tears by the bowlful. You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.
Restore us, GOD ALMIGHTY; make Your Face shine on us, that we may be saved.
You transplanted a vine from Egypt; You drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. Its branches reached as far as the Sea, its shoots as far as the River. Why have you broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its grapes? Boars from the forest ravage it, and insects from the fields feed on it.
Return to us, GOD ALMIGHTY! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, the root Your Right Hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself. Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire; at Your rebuke Your people perish. Let Your Hand rest on the man at Your Right Hand, the son of man You have raised up for Yourself. Then we will not turn away from You; revive us, and we will call on Your Name.
Restore us, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY; make Your Face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
Psalm 80:1-19 (http://bible.com/111/psa.80.1-19.NIV)
There’s a lot to take in and absorb in the following scriptures. Only 7 short verses, but extremely important for us to pay attention to as followers of Jesus Christ.
“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For GOD has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my Helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Remember your leaders who taught you the Word of GOD. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.” – Hebrews 13:1-7
There is so much emphasis throughout scripture on how to treat others. Love and honor, being hospitable, respect, learning to be content…. common themes, but how well do we put them into practice? So many people have left the church because of the way they were treated. Maybe we don’t dress correctly, or smell nice; we don’t have the right type of job or we aren’t driving a good enough vehicle or live in the nicer neighborhoods. Could be we’ve done time in prison, or committed adultery or openly lived in sin. Perhaps we have left and abusive relationship, or suffer from some type of disfigurement…. Too many churches are strictly superficial and can’t abide anyone who doesn’t meet their standards. Those churches may have Christians in the membership, but they are not biblical churches. Hypocrites and the pious are not representing Christ, but we have to keep in mind that we are ALL hypocrites who have fallen short! The very best church – in my humble opinion – is that church that is full of sinners and the fallen; the people who have accepted that they are sinners saved by Grace and God’s Mercy.
As the saying goes, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.” You may be the wealthiest person alive, but that won’t save you. Money, power, and prestige mean absolutely nothing without the saving power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, I’m getting all preachy, and if you don’t like it, well, it really doesn’t matter to me. The only thing that matters is the Truth of GOD’S Word. I have to take care daily that I am receptive to the Word, and I have to be conscious and vigilant of my thoughts. I fail constantly! Peter reminds us:
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.”- 1 Peter 5:8-9 ( All scriptures quoted are from http://bible.com/116/1pe.5.8-9.NLT)
Whether entertaining angels or ministering to the elderly, widows, or orphans; being respectful to the person you really just want to spit on; remember WHO we represent…. and HELP each other! LOVE really is the answer, when we realize Who Love is.
“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” – Galatians 5:25-26
God knows how far short of this admonition we fall! It is true that when we follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we are better people and better examples to the world. Of course, as we all know (whether we admit it or not!), we have a really hard time hearing the whisper of the LORD over the VERY enticing voice of our enemy. We will sin. That’s a given. It is NOT a given that we have to stay mired down in that sin. God has provided us with a way to get out of the “mud” that is sin, and He has given us a way to come clean. By becoming the Living Water, Jesus is able to wash us so clean that there is no trace of the dirt.
“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly Righteous. He Himself is the Sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of ALL the world.” – 1 John 2:1-2
In the United States, we are so blessed to be able to learn about Jesus without the oppression of a tyrant or a godless government. Sometimes I wonder, though, if our freedom gets in the way of God. Perhaps being unable to worship freely and in the open makes the Gift of Salvation all the more precious. Certainly something to think about.
(Scriptures are from http://bible.com/NLT)
Everyone has heard the Beatitudes. “Blessed are….. ” The New Living Translation makes them easier for us to understand, I think, and pay special attention to verse 16b:
“(3) God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (4) God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (5) God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. (6) God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. (7) God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (8) God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. (9) God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. (10) God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. ….(16) In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” – Matthew 5:3-10, 16 NLT
It is obvious to me that God intends for us to remain humble – to do whatever good we are able, whether it is through time or money order prayer – and above all else, to glorify Him. The praise and Honor of this world need to be shrugged off of ourselves, and all of the glory pointed to our Lord. I just got a shirt that has a graphic saying “I Stand for the Flag and I Kneel for the Cross.” For those of us who are fortunate enough to live in these United States, this is so apt. All Glory to God, and with heartfelt thanks to our armed forces for keeping a country where we can worship as we please!
That privilege extends to responsibility. As Luke says “…. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48b NLT
I may be struggling financially, but I am indeed greatly blessed. That puts me squarely into the “someone has been given much” category. Where do you fit in?
(All scriptures quoted from http://bible.com)
[Daniel] said, “Praise the Name of GOD forever and ever, for He has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.” – Daniel 2:20-21 NLT (http://bible.com/116/dan.2.20-21.NLT)
Whatever happens, whoever wins these elections today, no matter what the outcomes, GOD is still in control, and He still wins the war.
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT (http://bible.com/116/2ch.7.14.NLT)
It’s nice to live in an area where we (usually) have 4 seasons. I love Spring, with budding trees and flowers popping up new everywhere; baby animals bounding about, and the new smell of overturned earth as gardens and fields are prepared for planting. My favorite holiday of the year is Easter, because we get to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made in order to save us from ourselves and from eternal damnation.
I love Summer, too. I love to soak up the heat on a lazy afternoon when the smell of freshly cut grass abounds and the birds are singing and in the background, the sounds of kids playing outside; pool parties and cookouts, vactions to the lake or the ocean or the mountains. Celebrating the birth of our country and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans on the 4th of July. I love fireworks displays and parades; festivals and fairs.
I have a love/ hate relationship with Winter. I adore Christmas and celebrating the birth of our Savior. I love snow and winter activities….. but I really don’t like being cold. I love being snuggled in soft blankets with a crackling fire, spiping a hot drink….. but I really don’t like being cold. The feeling of the brisk, fresh winter air on my cheeks is so invigorating, and the thrill of skiing down a hillside is hard to describe….. but I really don’t like being cold! Can you tell that Winter is a dilemma for me???
Fall – change is in the air. There is a riot of colors and textures as the flowers and grasses and trees seem to explode with late season fruits and seed pods to prepare for winter. There is a flurry of activity in the animal kingdom as they gather food and fortify themselves for the coming winter. The light changes in a subtle but distinct way, softer and more diffuse than the glare of summer. The winds begin to blow more from the north, bringing cooler temperatures and inviting us outside to enjoy the changes.
Fall has been my favorite time of the year for as long as I can remember. Why is it my favorite? The most obvious reason is that my birthday is in the Fall! Thanksgiving, too. It is such a joy to be able to gather with friends and family and to give thanks for who we have in our lives. There were years in my life that I wasn’t thankful for my family, or for the countless times God has stepped in and protected me from serious harm – even death. Of course, being human, I continued to put myself in harms ways, and was hurt physically and emotionally because of my actions. But that story is for another day.
November is a great month to write a gratitude list. Add one thing to it each day. Not everyone has a family to be thankful for – I know how blessed I am to have one – but everyone has someone and something to be grateful for. Being a gratitude list can be difficult when you are in a bad place. I know, because I’ve been there. A friend made an excellent point once as we were discussing gratitude and some of our group were having difficulty thinking of anything to be grateful for. Even little things make our lives better. She said “We can always be thankful for toilet paper!” Yes, we laughed, but the point was well taken. Start with the seemingly little things …. it might be that they are really big things!
“Submit to GOD, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Listen to His instructions, and store them in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored – so clean up your life. If you give up your lust for money and throw your precious gold into the river, the Almighty Himself will be your treasure. He will be your precious silver!” – Job 22:21-25 NLT (http://bible.com/116/job.22.21-25.NLT)
Love God and love life. Anticipate heaven and live in preparation for eternity.
If I don’t manage to offend you with this post, well….. it ain’t for lack of speaking the truth! African-American, Native-America, Greek-American, Russian-American, Chinese-American, Vietnamese-American Mexican-American. Black skinned, yellow skinned, brown skinned…. Everybody has to be treated with kid gloves so we don’t inadvertently offend someone. Heaven forbid! I take issue right off the bat with being called “white.” The only white humans (or animals, for that matter) are albinos, who are white due to lack of pigmentation in the skin and hair. I’m so sorry to disappoint, but I am not white.
Oh HELL yeah I’m gonna rant! I am so sick of all the ridiculous, I’m-so-scared-I’m-gonna-offend-somebody, political correctness going on. People! There is ONE race! ONE! It’s called the HUMAN race! ONE people! Cut us, and we ALL bleed the same. Peel away the skin, and we are all built the same! Check our DNA, and we ALL come from the same ancestors! God spoke and here we are:
Then God said, “Let Us make human beings in Our image, to be like Us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26-28 NLT (http://bible.com/116/gen.1.26-28.NLT)
I am a pinkish-tan human, female in gender, born in the U.S. of A. My parents were born in America, and so were their parents. I think I have to go to the great-great great-greats or even further back to get to the generations that immigrated here from Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales… and others. That makes me a Native-America, right? It doesn’t take anything away from anyone else to claim my birthright does it?
You want to know what offends me? Probably not, you’re saying, but I’m going to tell you anyway. It offends me deeply when I have to check a box and choose what kind of American I am on applications. I am deeply offended that I have to “Press 1 For English” during a phone call. I am offended that I have to pay higher and higher taxes so that people who are perfectly able to work collect welfare and government assistance – they can stand in line at the grocery store with their manicured nails and tattoos and hair extensions with a basket full of steaks, when I work hard just to try to make ends meet. It offends me beyond description that so many of our elderly and our veterans are subsisting, or are homeless, but we sent billions in aid to other countries, and reward illegal immigrants with food and homes.
What is going on, America? When did it become okay to disrespect our flag and what it stands for? How did we reach the point where rapists and murderers in prison are treated better than our parents and grandparents? There are so many things that offend me, but because I am a pinkish-tan human who happened to be born in America, I’m not allowed to be offended. So, from a pinkish-tan, hillbilly born, native AMERICAN…… that’s my rant for tonight.
“Then if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT (http://bible.com/116/2ch.7.14.NLT)
Ah, the blessings of insomnia!