Another Injection

It didn’t hurt to get out of bed this morning.  It didn’t hurt when I sat down for my coffee and breakfast. The only little twitch I’m still feeling is just above my right hip, but the doctor said it could be two  weeks before the medicine  takes full effect.

The thing that bothers me is that it was two weeks after my first injection that I started to feel the ominous pinching and aching.  It’s been only six weeks since that first injection. I could hardly walk upright when I got to the  doc’s office yesterday.

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Well, much better today, and praying the improvement continues.  I can have only one more injection between now and Oct. 2019; you can have three in a calendar year.  Limited because it’s a very heavy-duty steroid.  Too much isn’t good for you.

The bottom line, for me, is to be thankful that this treatment exists; that it does give me relief from the pain, if only for a few months at a time. There is no cure for what’s happening in my back. Pain treatment has improved a great deal since I remember my mom going through what I’m experiencing now. Both my sister and I inherited her crumbling back; neither of us remembers her getting these injections.  She died at 87, about 6 1/2 years ago, and before they put her on morphine, she would often flinch, close her eyes, and say something about the pain shooting across her lower back. well, Mom, I truly understand now.

Anyway.  Today I’m off to teach my homeschool class on The Constitution and current events.  Fun, interesting, good bunch of kids.  And I can teach sitting down 🙂

Gathering of Israel

Isaiah 56:8-9.

The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to Him, beside those that are gathered unto Him.

All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest.

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Again, please remember that we are looking at the end times here, and particularly the events around the Second Advent of Christ.  The gathering of Israel started before the Millennium.  In fact, it has started in our lifetime.  The Jews are already returning to Israel from all around the world.  They are gathering, though, not in the Name of Messiah but as Zionists.  It is more a gathering of the politically-minded who want to see Israel defeat the nations around them who want them destroyed.

Verse 9 seems to be the beginning of a new message, which will take us through the end of chapter 56 through the end of chapter 57. Every source I’ve consulted agrees  that 56:9 needs to be seen as the beginning of the text that includes all of ch. 57.  For that reason, I’m going to leave verse 9 for tomorrow.

A House of Prayer for ALL People

Isaiah 56:6-7.

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the Name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant;

Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

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Verse six describes all those who are not Jewish by birth,  who have taken hold of faith in Jesus Christ, and who are obedient to Him.  “Taking hold of My covenant” simply means to obey it.

Everyone who has chosen to be obedient to the Lord will have the same privilege to go up to Jerusalem and worship there.  This is not to say that every save individual in all eternity will move to Jerusalem and live in Palestine.  The would clearly cause other lands outside the Promised Land to be uninhabited  (remember, we’re dealing with Millennium prophecy here).

The burnt offerings mentioned in v. 7 indicate that animal sacrifices will again be offered in the Millennium and the new earth (Ezekiel, ch. 40-48).

Verse 7 also mentions “Mine house,” the Temple in Jerusalem, which is reflected in Matthew 21: 13.  It will be called a house of prayer for ALL people, not just the Jews; all people who have accepted Messiah and who keep His covenants, who are obedient to Him.

An Everlasting Name

Isaiah 56:3-5.

Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant;

Even unto them will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

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Verse 3 refers to Gentile proselytes, people who had adopted the Jewish faith, who felt they were not included in the promised blessings. A eunuch was a man who was either born sterile or was made to be sterile when taken into captivity. These men, in the Old Testament Law, were excluded from certain Temple privileges.  This passage teaches that all people who follow Jesus Christ will enjoy the privileges of the Millennium.

In verses 4-5, we are told exactly what pleases God:  Keeping the sabbath (all sabbaths, not just the weekly one); Choosing the things pleasing to God; taking hold of His covenant; joining to the Lord; serving Him; loving the Name of the Lord; being His servant.

Verse 5 is specific that God will give all who love Him and serve Him the privileges promised to Israel:  A place, a name better than of sons and of daughters: an everlasting name.

I think it is important here to mention that the New Testament church has never been under obligation to keep any sabbath. Christian are free to keep any day (Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-10; Col. 2:14-17). Most Christians have adopted the habit of calling Sunday the sabbath because of the belief that the Lord Jesus rose from the grave early on a Sunday morning, the first day of the week.  And what better way to remember the resurrection than to devote that first day of the week to Him!


Judgment and Justice

Isaiah 56:1-2.

Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.

Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

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God’s command to Israel in verse 1  is an encouragement for Israel as a nation to do justice, because their eternal deliverance is coming.  In verse 2, God promises that the one who keeps His commandments, exampled by the keeping of the Sabbath, will be blessed (happy). The word used to show failure to keep the Sabbath is polluting.  Defiling, using it against the way God has decreed, forsaking the keeping of the Sabbath and becoming like the Gentile nations surrounding them.

Both these verses are about the Second Advent of Christ. They are encouraging Israel to walk uprightly until that day, so that they are ready when Jesus comes.

Today was the end of my self-proclaimed political fast, and I did something I wish I hadn’t.  I read some political posts that served only to get me all riled up and completely NOT in the mood to open God’s Word.  I had to stop and pray, ask God to clear my mind.

I do think we need to be aware of what is going on in our country—our poor, benighted, mis-lead country in which so much untruth has become accepted as truth;  a country in which we have accepted actors and actresses as having more wisdom than God Himself.  It’s amazing.

But we can’t let all this turn our minds and hearts from biblical truth. It’s what will keep us straight in our thinking and our behavior.

Micah 6:8. “ He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”


Sunday Morning Coffee:Christmas has Begun

I officially played my first Christmas CD this afternoon.  I know, I know. CD’s are old school. That’s okay, I have a very nice collection and I  just don’t have it in me to upload all of them so I can play them over my computer.

Anyway, I always wait until Thanksgiving is over before I get out my Christmas music.  I look forward to that every year.  Terry surprised me by bringing our Christmas tree up from the basement.  It’s waiting for the decorations now, which we’re planning to do Thursday evening when my daughter and her family come up to help us. I’m looking forward to that.

This is the same tree, with a lot of the same decorations, that our family has used for over 25 years. Some of the decorations go all the way back to our first Christmas, nearly 50 years ago. And some are new, only a year old, given to us by a relative of my daughter-in-law Maria.  After nearly fifty years of marriage, that’s what you have–a beloved collection of the old and the new.

I love the Christmas story in Luke 2.  Hearing it repeatedly over the years has not made it dull, but more wonderful each year.

Luke 2


And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Actually, I have it by memory.  I remember learning it for a church Christmas program when I was eight. I think it’s one of the most beautiful passages in God’s Word. Like our decorations, this passage takes on a patina over time, and just becomes more precious as the years go by.

I want you to know that, even if you’ve never commented on a post here, your faithfulness in reading for over six years has been a huge blessing to me.  Some of you have become Facebook friends, and we’ve gotten to know each other a little that way.

I won’t be in church tomorrow, because of the increasing pain in my back. I get the next injection this Thursday.  Please pray with me that this one will act like a booster to strengthen the first one.  It would be so nice if this holiday season could be free of pain.

So–best wishes to all of you as we begin this Christmas season.  May it be the best ever. If you would like to share a prayer request or blessing here in the comments, please feel free to do so this month.  Please keep them brief. We don’t need lots of detail.  Just give us your first name, and a short summary of the problem or the blessing.  I’d love to hear from you.

Joyful Restoration

Note:  I’m sorry to be so late today.  Rough night last night, and I didn’t really get up and moving until about 10 a.m.  This Thursday, I’ll be getting my second shot.  Please pray with me that it takes hold and lasts much longer than the first one did.


Isaiah 55: 12-13.

12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Ye shall go out with joy:  Go out, or go forth, from the lands of your wandering, referring again to the final and complete regathering of Israel from all nations (11:10-12). In their regathering at the 2nd advent of Christ, the mountains, hills, and trees of Palestine are to rejoice at their return. In that day, the curse will be removed from plants and trees, and the state of all things will be as before the fall of Adam (v. 13; 35:1-10;Psalm 98:8).

No wonder the trees of the field will clap their hands!

God’s Word is Never Empty

Isaiah 55: 10-11.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

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We’ve had a lot of rain here in my corner of Pennsylvania this year.  In Allentown, just a few miles north of here, statistics show 127 days of rain fall,  with 45.4 inches of rain this year. That’s about 29.8% above average.  A lot of water.

Of course some are complaining.  Crops are soaked. Fields are muddy.  Basements are flooded.  Even the fall color isn’t as good this year because it’s been so wet.  Too many dreary indoor days.

Next year, who knows?  We could have a drought, and the complaints will be different.

But God, Who made the rain, says that there is a cycle.  The rain falls,  watering the earth.  Seeds sprout, things grow, and we are fed.

The same things happens with His Word. Wherever it is “planted,” it takes root.  It always gives a good result, and is never empty.  It carries out God’s plan and purpose wherever it is taken. It always accomplishes whatever God desires.

These words, written by Isaiah so long ago, were meant to encourage the Jews to persevere; to trust that God’s goals will be accomplished.  And now, hundreds of years later, we can still be encouraged by the very same words.

Maybe our struggles are a little different, but not always.  The fact remains that God’s Word has stood the test of time.  It always will.

Be comforted by that.

His Thoughts are Higher than Mine

Isaiah 55:8-9.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

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Sometimes God speaks to us in simple, clear words like these because otherwise, we just don’t get it.

The first thing most of us ask when calamity falls is “Why, Lord?  Why would You let this terrible thing happen?  Why didn’t You stop it?”

And His answer:  “My thoughts and ways are beyond your understanding.  They are as high as the heavens, whose heights have never been measured.”

It isn’t our job to determine the why of everything.  It IS our job to figure out what we can learn, what we can share, how we can bless those around us with what we learn from our trials.

I love what God inspired Paul to write in

2 Corinthians 4:17-18:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal (earthly, impermanent); but the things which are not seen are eternal (endless, heavenly).