This and That

Fridays always take me a little bit by surprise.  My work-week is over, and the homeschool co-op where I teach is also done for the year, so it’s almost like a vacation when I wake up on Friday morning realizing I don’t have to get  up if I don’t want to 🙂

This morning, though, I needed to get some blood drawn so my doctor can check my A1C and a couple of other things.  For those of you who don’t know, the A1C is a sneaky little blood test that can look back and see how much sugar has clung to your blood molecules over the last three months.  I don’t have to check my sugar levels every day–yet–but if my A1C gets too high, that will become part of my daily routine. See, sugar likes to hang on to the blood, and it can do so for three months before is finally dissolves or whatever it does.  So the chocolate binge I had a month ago?  The evidence is still traveling through my veins and arteries.  No fair, no fair.

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Anyway, I got that taken care of, stopped at the grocery store for four things and came out with twenty (normal, right?) and forgot to go to the bank until I was pulling into our driveway. Backed out and took care of that chore. Our bank is only a mile or so away, so I was back home quickly.

You can’t eat or drink  before the blood draw, so I was more than ready for a couple of eggs with my wonderful coffee.  I’m so spoiled.  I order green coffee beans, and have them shipped to my daughter’s house.  They have a coffee roaster, and my grandson roasts beans for me every couple of weeks.  I can get coffee from all over the world through BhodiLeaf.com, and I’ve had a great time trying all different kinds.  It’s ruined grocery-store coffee for me, though.  What I have is ambrosia compared to what I used to drink.  The best part of waking up is NOT  what the rest of that little ditty says!

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I got a brand new desktop computer on Monday.  I’m still so excited about how fast it runs.  My old one  was about 12 years old, which equals 150 computer years.  It was so slow, I’d sit and read a book while I waited for it to load.  Got a lot of reading done!  Now, I click on a site and POW!  It’s there, just like that.  Magical.  Don’t laugh.  You have to enjoy the small things of life 🙂

Terry just left to go do some small jobs down at church, and that means I have most of the rest of the day, until supper time, to myself. This is rare.  I’m not sure how I’m going to spend the time, but I do love the total alone-ness now and then.   Like I said, learn to be thankful for the small things.  For me, having  a few hours of complete solitude is wonderful.

Maybe I’ll go fix another cup of coffee!

 

Cyrus the Great

Isaiah 41:2-3. “Who raised up the righteous men from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings?  He gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. He pursued them, and passed safely: even by the way that he had not gone with his feet. ”

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The word righteous in connection with Cyrus simply refers to doing right in carrying out the will of God in punishing the enemies of Israel and allowing God’s people to return to their own land. Cyrus, who came from the east, is definitely named in 44:28-45:6 and referred to in v. 2, 25; 45:31; 46:11; 2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-8; 3:7; 4:3, 5; 5:13-17;; 6:3, 14: Dan. 1:21; 6:28; 10:1.

In human terms, Cyrus was indeed a great man.  No one seemed able to stand before  him as his armies rolled across the land, conquering the nations with ease.  That was only because it was God Who had called Him for His own purpose.  We need to be careful to not grow haughty and arrogant when God is using us. Whatever abilities and gifts we have are God-given. He can take them away any time He chooses.

Cyrus discovered that.

A Change of Focus

Isaiah 41:1. “Keep silence before Me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength; let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.”

Image result for: coastal islands of Palestine, Egypt, Asia Minor iSAIAH'S TIME

We return, in this chapter, to prophecies concerning  the near future. This verse starts a section addressed to the coastal islands of Palestine, Egypt, Asia Minor, etc., warning them to be silent and pay attention to warnings of judgment, for Cyrus was coming from the east to overthrow them.

Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, was the monarch under whom the Babylonian captivity ended. In the first year of his reign he was prompted by God to decree that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and that such Jews as cared to might return to their land for this purpose.  Isaiah’s prophecies of this king were made about 150 years before the events described above actually took place.

He Giveth More Grace

Isaiah 40:29-31. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the  youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run, and not be weary: and they shall walk, and not faint.”

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The promise in v. 29 is repeated in James 4:6. “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”  God empowers the believer when all strength seems to be failing.  Terry and I see this more clearly as the aging process sets in, and both of us have physical conditions that give constant pain.  Pain wears you out.  But God gives strength, and He gives the grace to endure and continue.

Even the young can become weary, and feel utterly overwhelmed with life’s circumstances.  So God has given us this wonderful promise in v. 31.  If we wait (depend, rely, wait patiently) on the Lord we shall:

Renew our strength.

Rise up like eagles on an updraft.

Run and not be weary.

Walk and not become faint.

God gives us what we need, when we need it. And when our time to rest comes, then He will give us the grace for that, as well.

 

God is THE LORD!

Isaiah 40:27-28. “Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?  Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God,THE LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, either is weary? there is no searching of His understanding.”

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The names Jacob and Israel both refer to Judah, to whom this passage is spoken. How could they believe that their doings were hidden from God?  We simply cannot hide from Him; not our behaviors, not our thoughts, not the innermost secrets of our hearts.

Three names are given to God in verse 28:  Everlasting God (Elohim, the triune God), THE LORD (Jehovah the Eternal), and Creator (Ecc. 12:1; Rom. 1:25; I Pet. 4:19). He never grows faint, never wearies, never can be understood by our finite minds. When we try to limit God to our own understanding, we are foolish indeed.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Where is God?

I have a blogger friend in Canada who posted an article about a terrible accident that took place, killing ten young hockey players, their coach, stats person, the bus driver; and leaving at least ten more boys seriously injured.  They were hit by a big semi that ran a red light, destroying the front of the bus.  I don’t remember if she said the truck driver survived.

People have wondered all through the centuries why God allows such tragedies, where He is when these terrible things happen.

I heard someone say, once, that He is right there in the same place He was when His Son was suffering and dying for our sin. He knows the pain of each parent who has lost children.  He knows our grief and our sorrow.

God never promised us that He would protect us from tragedy.  In fact, He said that the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

What He did promise is that He would walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death; that He would be there to comfort, to console, to strengthen in times of trouble.

As long as sin remains in this fallen world, there will be tragedy. Very few of us go through life without having to deal with loss, grief, and despair. We can turn to God for our need, and He will give us comfort.

I would ask you all to be praying for the families of those who died, as well as the ones with injuries, and the ongoing health and financial needs that will be with those families for a very long time.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.