Sunday Morning Coffee:Beautiful October

I’ve always loved the fall.  The humidity goes away, the heat goes away, and the air is crystal clear. The colors of fall flowers really pop. And the leaves put out their own special version of fireworks. Against an October -blue sky, you almost need sunglasses just to enjoy the display. The October sun is friendly, and the full moon of October?  Well, it’s just hard to describe it. I love watching the full moon rising at this time of year; and there’s a Harvest Moon in September or October that seems as if you could reach out an  spike it over a celestial volleyball net. Here’s what I mean:


What’s hard for me to realize is that we’re in the final week of my favorite month!  I’ve spent the entire month either in bed or sitting in the one chair we have that is fairly comfortable.

I haven’t been outdoors much.  Can’t walk, and lawn chairs are NOT therapeutic! I miss being in church.  There are a few good preachers on TV or radio, but it’s not the same. I’ve been spending more time  in the Word while I wait for my appointment with the surgeon. Asking the Lord for an extra dose of patience . Three more weeks, and the thing I dread most is the possibility of being put off for another month or more for the actual surgical procedure. Pain pills have become  a new food group for me. But—I can still enjoy this season watching my neighbor’s yard cross the street. Lots of color there. And Terry  has taken me for a drive a couple of times so we can enjoy the countryside.

We have a beautiful earth, created by God, Who loves to give us good things.


Second Woe: Drunkenness

Isaiah 5:11-12. “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink: that continue until night, till wine inflame them: And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of His hands.

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This woe is a picture of self-indulgence and pleasure-seeking.  They would go into captivity without any understanding of what is happening because they’ve spent all their time partying, ignoring God and His works.

Our nation is in this position right now. Even those who claim to be believers are drinking in larger numbers, saying that there’s no harm in a little social drinking. But alcohol dulls our sense of devotion to God, and opens the door of temptation to more and more sinful behaviors.  Sure, it’s possible to drink and not become drunk; it’s possible to drink and never become an alcoholic. It’s also entirely possible to have an enjoyable time of fellowship and relaxation without any alcohol at all.

Six Woes

Isaiah: 5:8-10. “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!  In mine ears, said the Lord of hosts, of a truth, many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.Yea, ten  acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah.

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(A bath of wine is about 8 1/2 gallons: an homer is about 6.33 bushels,  and an ephah is about 3/5 of a bushel.)

This is the first woe. They have become covetous and greedy. To  combine one house to another, whether through marriage or by purchase, was meant to build up a monopoly and became extremely wealthy.  They were violating the law of property laid down in Numbers 36:7 “So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe: for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. .God clearly intended for each new generation to stay within  the physical boundaries of that tribe’s inheritance from God. They were not to cross tribal lines in purchasing houses and lands.To follow this law would have prevented monopolies, but greed begets greed.  Money buys power as well as land.

The only biblical result of their behavior was desolation and scarcity.  The land was God’s, not theirs.

Oppression and Crying

Isaiah 5:7. “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant: and He looked for judgment, but behold oppression: for righteousness, but behold a cry.”

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This verse continues the theme and metaphor of wild grapes. God interprets the passage, explaining that the vineyard is Israel and the men (people) of Judah are His pleasant plant.

Then we see a comparison/contrast:  He looked for judgment but saw oppression; He looked for righteousness, but instead there was weeping.

I am told that in the Hebrew language this contrast/comparison is poetic, with words that sound very similar to one another, illustrating the false versus the true.  Instead of good fruit, all God saw were bitter grapes. Instead of joy in communion with Him, there is weeping at the results of sin.

When we become so used to the formalism of what we loosely call worship, we could easily substitute the word  routine.  Even setting aside time for personal reading and study can become nothing more than a daily chore, yielding only sour grapes because we have dulled our hearts to His Word.

It’s so easy to allow fellowship with God to be defined as going to church. No. That can be one outgrowth of worship, but it is not the definition of worship.


Isaiah 5:5-6. “And now go to: I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard:  I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up: and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:  And I will lay it waste : it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.”

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We need to remember that all the earth is His; that He can use it or destroy it as He wills. We also need to remember that obedience brings blessing, but disobedience brings a curse.

In verse 5, God saying “Now go to”  would be roughly equivalent to our expression, “Now listen up!”  In other words, pay attention, take heed, prepare yourselves as best you can for what is coming.”

I have a friend who is an avid gardener.  She is know for many things, but her flowers are perhaps the most beautiful. Every spring, early in the season, she starts digging.  She has planned out where she want certain shrubbery or beds of a particular flower, and she digs. The earth is turned over, and she uses natural fertilizer. By the time she is finished, the soil is ready for the plants or cuttings or seeds that she has chosen.  Then, she told me one time, she prays for rain, because without rain you can never water adequately to get the best results.

I thought about her while I was typing the verses today.  God was going to tear up the hedges of protection around Jerusalem,  and He was going to break down the walls. There would be no pruning or digging, and He was also going to forbid the clouds to drop their stores of water over the earth. The ground would become dry, cracked, infertile, yielding nothing but sour grapes.

When God’s Word is poured out on His people with no effect because of their  backslidden condition, then He will withhold His Word, and there will be nothing but sour grapes.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Alone Again

It seems, at least for the immediate future, that church is not an option for me.  This does NOT make me happy.

So–countermeasures.  My daughter made a couple of suggestions for radio or online preaching, as did my sister. When I finish this post, I’m going to do some hunting.  However, I keep coming back to this:  Wouldn’t this be a perfect time for me to spend a lot more morning time in the Word?  Uninterrupted, solitary, quiet.

Who knows if or when I’ll ever have such an opportunity again?


Tempus Fugit

I had to go find a calendar to see what date this today. When I’m not working, I don’t have to write the date on each client’s progress notes. Sometimes i have no ideas what day it is, never mind the date.

Tempus Fugit.  Time flies.

You will find this on many old-fashioned “Grandfather’s Clocks.”

All that got me to thinking about the fact that there is no time with God. He is not constrained by a schedule, a watch, or a calendar.  He just–IS.  From the very beginning, in our finite understanding of things, He  had no beginning and He will have no ending. He identified Himself as “I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

He already knows the outcome of next months’ election, and He always has. We can’t surprise God. He also knows the final outcome of my beloved America, and He always has.

Because He is “I AM,” I don’t have to walk in fear, no matter what this old world comes up with.  He will walk through the valley of the shadow of death with me when my time comes, and all that years that I have lived will fall away in the light of eternity.

Armed with this knowledge,  I have an increased sense of need to reach the hearts of people for the Lord. My mission field is often my work.  People come into my office bruised and wounded, and sometimes they  come to the Lord before we’re done.  Some are resistant, and don’t want to hear about God in any way.  It’s His fault, after all.  Others are wide open, and have chosen our practice because it is a Christian counseling office.  They know they need God; they’re just not sure how to find Him.

But He was there all the time.