Monday, February 24, 2014

Our great God in troubled times.. Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
This is one of the most powerful call stories in the Bible!  It happened at a time when there was great despair throughout Israel because their great and beloved King Uzziah had died.... He served for 52 years and was the only king most of them had ever known...  It was a sad time indeed... Uzziah had done many wonderful things but sadly his life ended in shame.   Because of a mistake in usurping the roll of the Priest he became leprous... It was a sad story....
Yet Isaiah came to the temple to worship God and it was in that context and through this experience that God proved to him that no matter how sad things were without their beloved King.... He was bigger and more awesome!
Frankly I don't think that Isaiah's mind was at all focused on Uzziah's death when he saw the angels and the Lord.... What do you think?
I think this is a great reminder for all of us.  All of us have faced situations that have caused our heart to sink.  Perhaps that's where you heart is today. 
But from this passage I see three important principles... 
1st  Even in the worst of times we need to continue to seek the Lord in worship.  
2nd. During those times of worship we need to place ourselves before the Lord and allow him to  
reveal his glory always remembering that God is bigger than any problem we might have.
3rd.  It might be at the time of our greatest despair that God will reveal his plan for our lives in a most powerful way.  (I hope to talk about that later this week if I do better at keeping up with my blog that is hahah)
To ponder.   What is on your heart and mind today.  Are you willing to hand it over to the Lord and sing with the angels,  Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty.?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Real love for Valentine's Day. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

     Ecclesiastes 3:8  a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Yes it is Valentine's Day so happy Valentine's to all my friends and family! 

  It just happens to be that I'm blogging in the book of Ecclesiastes as I travel through the Bible.   You all know that in Ecclesiastes 3 it says that there is a time for everything under heaven.   

You would think that every time is a time for love, right?   I mean is there ever a time to not love?  And what is this time for hate  or a time for war all about?

Personally I think it is because of the world that we live in.   I sometimes pray, "Lord teach me to love those things that you love and to hate those things you hate."   I think it is a good prayer?

Yes there are somethings that God hates.  I think he especially hates when people harm children and lead them astray.   But some might say,  "But what about the saying that we are supposed to love the sinner and hate the sin."   that's pretty good too...  though it is very hard for us to do in practice.

I think about Jesus a lot.  Sometimes I think about his... less than loving words he spewed out to the Pharisees and other religious leaders.   Did he love the sinner?  I think he did.  I think that his harsh words were meant to get their attention! His anger was meant to stop them from their harmful actions.   Yes he was angry.... but yes... he loved them and wanted them to repent and receive Him as Lord and Savior.

 Jesus always knew what time it was and is!  

What time is it for you?  

Sometimes the most loving things  we can do is to deal directly with a problem in life.   Our motive is the key.  If we are addressing a situation with the  hope of eventual reconciliation,  first with Christ and then among ourselves,  we're probably on the right tract.

So out of Christ's Great love for you,  How do you think Jesus might address you today? How would he address your faults and failings?

 If you are interested and concerned that he might not be pleased... and if you are humble... Jesus knows that this is a time to extend to you love and grace.

So isn't it time that you fully embrace the one who loves you most.  You're His Valentine.  He offered his red heart of love to you on the cross.

Prayer:  Thank you God for showing us what love is all about.  Help me to love like you love even when I would rather turn away.    

Friday, February 7, 2014

In its Time: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
               If I were to ask the question,  "Hey kids,  does anyone know what time it is?"
a certain generation would immediately  yell out. "It's Howdy Doody time!"   I by the way am not among that generation!  but I do remember being riveted to the TV to watch the Mickey Mouse Club and yes I was one of the millions of boys to have a crush on Annette Funicello.    I knew what time it was when that show was on. 
  But I don't think that our passage for today is talking about clowns or cute girls with bunny ears.    But the question, "Does anyone know what time it is?"  is an important one to ponder.
From our passage we learn that there are many times and many seasons.  (Frankly I'm looking forward to the season of winter to be over...).  I've read this passage many times and often at funerals to help to comfort loved ones of a deceased.  Indeed there is a time when we will be gathered up with the Lord. 
However, its equally important for us to look at the time in which we live right now.  It seems to me that you might say that there are many "times" throughout our day.   Now we all love the positive times of course.  A time to be born, a time to plant, a time to heal, a time to build, a time to laugh, a time to dance, etc.  Oh we love those times but the "negative" times are equally if not often more important.
The transitions necessary in life necessitate that we move forward and in the moving forward we often have to give up something.  This is the nature of life.  To get a new job we sometimes have to move away from friends we love.  Sometimes to make way for a new building we have to tear down the old one.  And when it comes to gardening you have to plow under the old each year to make room for the new.  I hate to say this but eventually you have to throw away some of your favorite old shirts that can no longer be mended to make room for more.  In my case my old shirts some how find there way into the "rag drawer".  Shh...  Don't tell my wife but I've been known to wash the old rags and wear them again from time to time.  Well I guess my wife knows that.  
I guess all of this goes in the category of change and change is not easy but it is necessary.  God has made our world that way but along with this truth is the promise of verse 11  "He has made everything beautiful in its time.
To ponder:   What changes and transitions is God doing or planning for your life?  Can you give thanks to God through the changes knowing that if we trust the Lord he will make all things beautiful.