List of Wrongdoing

Isaiah 59:3-4.

For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

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In the next several verses, God gets specific about the sins of which Israel is guilty. We don’t have any business looking down our noses at them; we are no better today, so pay attention to see what divides mankind from God.

Your hands are defiled with blood

Your fingers are defiled with iniquity

Your lips have spoken lies

Your tongue has muttered perverseness
(Contrary to what is right or good; wicked or depraved: a perverse world of sinners. 2. a. Characterized by or resulting from willful opposition or resistance to what is right, expected, or reasonable)

No one calls for justice

No one pleads for truth

They trust in vanity (emptiness)

They speak lies

They conceive mischief

The bring forth iniquity

I don’t think these verses are hard to understand. They don’t require much commentary. They would certainly be good for us, truth over which to meditate. As I said, we are no different. We are no better. As a nation, our hands are defiled with the blood of innocent babies that we have legislated to their deaths. We lie when we claim that a fetus is nothing more than a mass of tissue. The newest lie created to excuse abortion is that it’s not really a baby until the mother decides to take it home.

We stand accused, just as Israel did.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Not So Smart

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I had decided to start UNdecorating yesterday. Plus just one load of laundry, iron a skirt to be ready for church today, and maybe a little dusting. When I take Christmas down, I always clean the trimmings before they go back in the boxes. Also, whatever I put away to make room for Christmas gets a thorough cleaning before it goes back to its own place. So no big deal, right? Take it slow and easy, rest a bit every now and then, and I’ll be fine.

Oh well. Apparently, I should have planned about half that much, and done less than that. By supper time last night I could hardly walk upright, and no one to blame but myself.

Terry sympathized, but let me know I shouldn’t have taken on so much. He was completely absorbed in his own project; he wasn’t paying much attention to what I was doing. Fine with me. For a while.

Long story short, I doped myself up with pain medication and had a rather uncomfortable night. Very stiff this morning, regretting every move I made yesterday that I KNEW wasn’t good for me. It’s just that sometimes I get so frustrated with not being able to do everything I’ve always done. I detest being helpless. Absolutely detest it.

Well, I’m not quite as helpless as I was. Terry got me an iRoomba before Christmas, and we love it. Since I can’t sweep or mop without pain, this is a wonderful gift. He also got me a very light-weight hand vacuum to help with cleaning the upholstery, and the dusting as well. It has attachments that will help with that. Just as long as I don’t bend. We also have a better reacher/grabber tool that actually pick up the pills I manage to drop regularly. It’s really amazing what tools are out there to help people with various disabilities. I think my next item will be a tool for putting my socks on without bending or twisting.

In the meantime, Terry keeps pegging away at the remodel of our big bathroom. He was working on the plumbing for the sink in the new vanity yesterday. That meant, of course, that the water had to be turned off for while. You have to plan for these things. It was a good thing the one load of laundry I started was finished before the big Water Turn-Off took place 🙂

So–I didn’t need the freshly-ironed skirt this morning. At least it will still be fresh when I go back to work on the the 2nd. Today and two more days of rest should have me walking upright again by then 🙂

Its Not God’s Fault!

Isaiah 59:1-2.

 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.

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I remember someone saying, years ago, that when we feel far from God, He is not the One Who moved!

God is Who He always has been. Here, He is telling Israel that it is their own iniquities that have separated them from God; it is their own sin that He cannot look upon; and when we are in sin, He will not hear our prayers.

Why do we so often ask, “How could a loving God allow/not protect/not save me from this terrible trouble?” The answer is in these two verses. We simply don’t want to hear it. We want God to always intervene, no matter how distant from Him we have become.

Keep the Sabbath

Isaiah 58:13-14.

13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

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When I was a little girl, no stores were open on Sunday. The only people who worked were medical, police, firemen, and other emergency workers or people whose jobs kept the city safe and operating well. Restaurants? I don’t remember if there were many that stayed open, but we so rarely went out to eat that it was maybe a once-a-year event, and not on a Sunday.

We had Sunday dinner at home or were invited to someone else’s house for that event. Remember Sunday dinner? Does anyone still do that? Fancy dishes, tablecloth, a mouth-watering roast with all the fixings. We don’t eat like that these days, but when our kids were all home we usually had a special meal.

For us, the main event on Sunday was church, both morning and evening. I enjoyed both, but I loved the evening service because it was more relaxed, with lots of enthusiastic singing. There was joy. Sunday was a delight for me, and it still is.

But the Israelites had forsaken the keeping of the Sabbath, just as so many of us have ignored church on Sunday in favor of other pursuits. The day of rest has become a day to play, or to catch up on grocery shopping or housework. Like the Israelites, we have largely forsaken the keeping of the one day each week that God set aside to worship Him, and to rest from our labors.

His promise is that when Israel restored the keeping of the Sabbath, He would restore them to a place of blessing.

We should pay attention.

A Watered Garden

Isaiah 58:11-12.

11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

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Those who know God and serve Him will reap the rewards of their obedience. If they take compassion on the hungry, and offer comfort to the afflicted, then their light will burst out in the midst of calamity, trials, and adversities like the sun at midnight, and their darkness will be past.

They will be supplied in times of drought and national disaster.

The waste lands will be restored to a habitable state, and the blessings that should have been enjoyed for many generations will be restored.

The question, of course, is why, with all these promises of blessing and restoration, it takes so long for Israel to understand and return to God.

The same could be asked of any of us who know the truth, who profess to believe it, but who choose to live apart from God in order to enjoy pleasures we feel we can’t do without.

The Day Before Christmas

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I have often thought about what it must have been like the day before that first Christmas.

Mary must have been exhausted.

She was just hours away from giving birth, and it had been a long trip.

Did she ride the whole way on that little donkey?

Did she walk sometimes, just to ease the ache in her lower back?

How often did they find a place where she could stretch out on the ground, wrapped in her robe, and try to sleep a bit?

When they got to Bethlehem and saw how crowded it was, did Mary sigh with weariness?

Did Joseph wonder if they would have to sleep in the fields with the shepherds?

Did he feel the weight of responsibility for this miracle baby of which the angel had told him?

Was he struggling to believe that Mary was pure, untouched?

What an earnest, godly man he must have been. He could have had her stoned,

But instead he protected her and cared for her and the child.

Mary’s time had come. The pain in her back became more persistent.

She was so young, and I’m sure she had talked with her mother and her Aunt Elizabeth about what to expect.

Still, having that first baby is a time of excitement along with anxiety.

How long did she labor?

Maybe not too long, since shepherds came to visit that same night.

I hope it was an easy birth. None of the women in her family were there, as was customary.

Only Joseph,

And the Father, the Creator of life, Who had given her the privilege of carrying His Son.

When it was over, she wrapped her beautiful Son in the swaddling cloth she had brought with her.

Cleaning Him, she gazed in wonder and profound awe at His perfect little face.

Nursing Him, she must have thought, “I am feeding the Son of God!”

And then the shepherds came, seeking the Child the angel had described:

“For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

The first people to see Him, aside from Mary and Joseph, were just ordinary men.

Shepherds who worked outdoors; who tended sheep.

It is fitting that they were His first visitors, because He is

The Good Shepherd.