Archive for November, 2010

To… not For… Normal

Posted: November 30, 2010 in Wandering Thoughts

i open today with a question. “How can a man/woman be expected to be happy with a woman/man who insists on treating him/her as if he/she were a perfectly normal human being.” Oscar Wilder

Of course, i modified the question. “How can i expect to be happy with a people who insists on treating me as if  i were a perfectly normal human being.” Immediately the question is followed by a question. Part B, do they do so because i act and sound like a perfectly normal human being?

Then that question brought another version of the original question. “How can a God be happy with a man who insists on treating Him as if He were a perfectly normal human being.” Now that’s the question! And if i apply my second question, Part B, to this one i can answer it without hesitation. It’s not because of His actions nor His words and certainly not because He is a perfectly normal human being. The answer is with or should i say within me, not Him. And as much as i’d like to say it is within the them, i can’t even consider them as i am “to”. Completely confused?

Philippians 1:21-23 (Amplified Bible) says, For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity]. If, however, it is to be life in the flesh and I am to live on here, that means fruitful service for me; so I can say nothing as to my personal preference [I cannot choose], But I am hard pressed between the two. My yearning desire is to depart (to be free of this world, to set forth) and be with Christ, for that is far, far better;

Fruitful service? For me. The “for” here is really a “to”. If, however, it is to be life in the flesh and I am to live on here, that means “TO” be fruitful service for me; “TO” Him, “TO” myself, and “TO” others.

Fruitful: producing good results, beneficial, profitable, producing an abundant growth, causing or assisting prolific growth.

Service: an act of helpful activity.

While i am on a journey to be anything but a perfectly normal human being… and i say that having no clue as to what perfectly normal looks like, i am not doing so just for the sake of being different for or from mankind, but with only the purpose of being more like Him.

I THEREFORE, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service, Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.

So “How can i expect to be happy with a people who insists on treating me as if  i were a perfectly normal human being?” The same way God does with me. Not as a perfectly normal human being but as a joint heir, as a child of the King. Not perfectly normal but created to be peculiar in Him. What’s that look like? It’s different for each individual, but through these posts i am hoping to share a glimpse of what that is for me and more importantly for me “TO.”

Franklin D Roosevelt shared his view this way. “Today we are faced with the preeminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships… the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world, at peace.”

Affection without sentiment, authority without cruelty, discipline without aggression, humor without ridicule, sacrifice without obligation, companionship without possessiveness. — William E. Blatz

Hummmmmmm….. I like the idea of Mr. Blatz quote but at first reading it sounds calculated and cold. The warmer and fuzzier side of me prefers the idea that, there is no feeling more comforting and consoling than knowing i am right next to the people i love.   

i am spending some personal time with those that i am doing life with. Last year we did this but at that time i was led to teach and share some specific things. Not the case for this year. Not yet anyway?  i have been wondering what this time was to look like. Soon my wondering turned into expectancy. Expectancy, urgency, heaviness, responsibility all words that put a presumed load on me. With rumors that some will leave at the new year i find that there is so much i need or should say while they are with me. So much i want or think they should know before they move on in their journey. So much… i! But my i is not as if “i” am it. The i is as i believe God has placed us together for the mutual purpose of life. Yes… i, but  i as in “TO” not “FOR”. “To” lead but not do “for”.

To: used for expressing direction or motion or direction toward something, in the direction of, toward.

i am “to” express direction or motion toward something, like as in relationships? Like as in love never-failing? Like as in letting patience have its perfect work? But just as clear as “to” is the “for”. I am not responsible “for” anyones anything! That’s too bad as i think in some cases if i were responsible i could make or at least strongly suggest that they get on my train or get off my track. As if my train is the only one or the right one. But the “for” is theirs. Always has been and always will be. Just as God created free will and lives within the rules of it so must i. That means sometimes i must let go. In many cases that’s okay and even easy for me. But… when it’s in these relationships that i believe God has put together for specific purposes for both of us, it gets a little sticky.

No matter what i say, what i believe, and what i do, i am bankrupt without love. While love for me means to hold close, to protect, to give, love also means to let go. God so loved that He gave and He let go. Free will! A curse and a blessing in my mind! i don’t always manage it very well. Why am i so careless with it? i am always at war with not wanting to let others use their free will to make the same mistakes i have.

This is what i am “to”… i am not responsible “for” others observance.

i am responsible to love and never give up, to care more for others than for self, to not want what i don’t have, to not strut, to not have a swelled head, to not force myself on others, to not insist on “me first,  to not  fly off the handle, to not keep score of the sins of others, to not revel when others grovel, to not take pleasure in the flowering of truth, to  put up with anything, to trusts God always, to always look for the best, to never look back, to keep going to the end.

There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found,while journeying east and west –
The only folks we really wound, are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know, we please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow, to those who love us best.
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

i am to… “Seek diligently the salvation of my children that he or she might enter into the fullness of God’s power and influence and, out of a love response to God, serve Him wholeheartedly. In parenting (for those who are unaware this group of individuals has asked to be my children, thus the parenting), grace and labor are not enemies but divinely appointed comrades in the work of the Lord. i cannot parent by my own strength and still achieve a godly outcome. i must, let God through His grace do His work, while my children through obedience do theirs.”

Lachrymose – Random Tears

Posted: November 26, 2010 in Lachrymose

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader. Robert Frost.

Today i am just sharing random thoughts on whatever. There may be no coherency to them as a whole other than they are all occurring during this quiet time.

Life in the tech world changes many things. If i were writing this on paper versus a keyboard with a screen the paper would be blotchy from the tears stains. The paper would actually capture the tears and mark the paper forever. Then as the reader would look upon the paper they would see the tear stains and perhaps wonder what was the deeper meaning of the words on this page. What would cause the writer to shed tears. More specifically, what would cause ed to shed tears as he wrote this?  i think that somehow it would be more personal and for sure more intimate and this grasp the reason for my doing this in the first place.

Yesterday i was asked to pray for the meal. i had great difficulty focusing on praying for the meal as my heart could not only sense the many needs in the room but was overtaken with compassion for these extended family members. It was difficult to mumble out some words of thanks for food when there were wounds and hurts that needed mending. i had to fight hard to hold back the weepyness from taking over that moment and then having to explain myself while their food got cold. While i enjoyed seeing the adults of what once were new-born children when i first met them, it was also saddening. So much talent in so many areas. Music has always been a gift in this family and yet right now not one is doing anything with it. i listened with care and heard so many thank yous to those that had made the food for this day of Thanksgiving and yet not a single word about God, or spiritual things. Twenty one family members all gathered from far away and it was as though God was looking down as an uninvited guest verses moving around from within each who were in attendance.

i am on a daily basis inviting God to come with me to the room and to the table where i will again stuff  myself. Not to look down on me but to look within and show Himself as an outward sign of what is within me.  i had hoped that on Christmas Eve i would be able to share max Laccado’s story of The Christmas Angel, but it’s two hours long and grandchildren will not be able to survive that and thus neither will the adults. Maybe i should just give the book as a gift and then tell them that once they have read it there is another gift waiting for them? Maybe no gifts until read?Strings attached? Yep! Not going to work. Well i can give the book and express that this is a gift because it means so much to me. i guess i’ll be confined to just praying for God to reveal himself in me and through me during that visit and i think i might be better off with a handkerchief than tissues.

i wonder what will bring me to tears today? Last night i watched Bruce Almighty and Morgan Freeman who plays God did so. Even though it was just for a moment the thoughts lingered for the night and then into this morning. He says in one line, “They are always looking up.” i thought that was the idea or the goal that He wanted people to do. Look up to God? But His next lines expressed the disappointment in people doing so. He spoke about people only looking up when things get hard and then it’s not as a revelation to the love of God but as a want for something.

Harriet Beecher Stowe says, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”

The people around me are not yet in their graves and so i still have time to speak the unspoken and do the undone before that day arrives. Then on that day my Tears will be the telescope by which i will see far into heaven and watch as these people who touched my life rejoice.

Well it’s Thanksgiving Day! i really dislike that, so much is placed on a single day of being thankful, as though we don’t have time for it any other day. As i hear from many that i haven’t for quite some time the weepyness continues. Where are these people all the rest of the time? And yes where am i as well? A simple text letting people know that they are thought of and responses come. For all of these i at one time or another thought i was in relationship. i do not have unnecessary contacts in my list. Whom ever is relevant exist and if not relevant then why store it? Sounds cold… but it’s not. Obviously for me to have over 100 people in the list which means i don’t give up quickly or easily.

Just checking the names on the list so as to send the message brought about many memories both from long ago and in recent days. Last Friday came to mind for several. Today we are away from our usual environment and will be so for 8 more days. In a little while we will eat with some friends of 25 years. We will see the adult version of what were new borns when we first met. Many opportunities for tears. At the same time looking forward to time with our children and grandchildren in just a few weeks. Many opportunities for tears. And now that the “season” has officially arrived all the movies come as well. It’s a wonderful life, The Bells of St Mary, White Christmas, and Christmas Shoes all many opportunities for many tears.

There appears to be no way around it, i might as well carry a box of kleenx with me and let that be fair warning to all that you speak to me or look at me with risk of experiencing tears. i probably won’t be able to explain but i assure you they are tears of compassion regardless of what about. I think to say anymore would be to much.

Let me close by saying thank you to all of you for having enough meaning in my life that you can bring me to tears! I mean that seriously! Not many have done that in my life. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Lachrymose… The Heart Reader!

Posted: November 24, 2010 in Lachrymose

As i reviewed the past two days of posts i began to take more notice of what was causing me to be weepy. Yes, i said everything but after yesterday’s post i really wanted to know in more detail. Let me go back to when i became aware that i was weepy. The first thing that came to my mind was a book that i had been given, probably ten years ago by a friend. It’s called the Heart Reader. Ten years ago it made me cry as i read it, but that was a very rare occasion. Recently i had loaned it out for some others to read so it was fresh on my mind. Just thinking about this begins a weepy time. The Heart Reader, is about heart relationships, both life long changing ones and those that i would refer to as acquaintances.

Sam is a man who in some way becomes aware of every persons heart that he comes within range of. He hears everything! That’s seems to be where i am. i am hearing or better yet discerning the hearts of people around me. i honestly thought yesterday’s post was to scientific and not personal, but it was exactly what i needed. i am a detail person and i prefer to have my ducks in a row for most situations. It’s that control thing. No problem with change so long as i am in control of it at some level. That’s why this weepy thing has gotten to me. i am not in control at any level. i need a reason or a purpose or something to blame it on. Or at least i thought i did, not so much right now. It was in yesterday’s post that God revealed to me the why and it was to encourage me, not discipline me.

i get weepy when i get compassionate and i get compassionate when i CARE (serious attention, protection, temporary keeping, as for the benefit of) about the lives of His people. When sin causes me to weep, it’s a good thing. When sinful people cause to weep verses judge it’s an even better thing. The tears speak volumes. It means that this individual, in this situation has reached my heart.

As Sam in the Heart Reader had to find out what that looked like, so must i. In most cases i am not in a position to do much, especially when it’s on tv some other form of media. Yes, there are times when the person is near me and yet just like Sam i feel helpless to do anything for them. And just like Sam i sometime fear what God may be asking of me. i am not the person who walks up to strangers and engages. Anyone who knows me, really knows me, will tell you that i prefer silence and solitude, unless it’s about the word. When i heard God tell me two years ago through reading another book that i was to learn silence and solitude, i was thrilled. GOD told me to… well it didn’t turn out to mean what i thought. What i learned was to listen. To put myself in a position to hear. Now two years later i am hearing, discerning, hearts and it is the cause for my lachrymose.

Prior to all this happening i had practiced another type of silence and solitude. While i cared about people i distanced myself from them. A protective barrier was constructed. If people could not help my alcoholic father nor my suicidal mother, then what could they do for me? It was all about, what if anything, i might be able to do for them… from an arm’s length of course. While i would meet practical needs it was based on my selectiveness. While i would speak about God in my life, i would only make a judgement as to another persons relationship with God, never asking whether there was one or not and as for the depth of it… well you get the picture.

In closing, “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.”  Charles Dickens

Heaven knows i need never be ashamed of my tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying my hard heart. 

Lachrymose… Tears that count!

Posted: November 23, 2010 in Lachrymose

To weep is to make less the depth of grief. – William Shakespeare

Crying (also called sobbing, wailing, weeping, bawling, and blubbering) is shedding tears as a response to an emotional state in humans. The medical term for this is to lacrimate, which also refers to non-emotional shedding of “tears. In many cultures, it is more socially acceptable for women and children to cry, and less socially acceptable for men to cry.  

According to a study men cry once every month; women cry at least five times per month. Men tend to cry for between two and four minutes, and women cry for about six minutes. Crying turns into sobbing for women in 65% of cases, compared to just 6% for men. The apparent official name for my crying is, Pathological. This is when people experience relatively uncontrollable episodes of laughing or crying, or both.

  Why is it that i am so perplexed and ashamed of tears? Calvin Miller says in his book, The Valiant Papers, “Crying is common in this world. It does little good, however, to ask the reason for it.” It’s said that with maturity the sound and reason for crying changes, but it never stops. Infants do it everywhere, – even in public. By adulthood, most crying is done alone and in the dark. Weeping for babies is a sign of health and evidence that they are alive. Isn’t that interesting? Tears, not laughter are the sign of life. It makes crying and living synonymous.”
 
 Jesus was a man’s man, and the Bible clearly states that Jesus shed tears. Jesus was a strong man – probably the strongest to ever live – but He still shed tears. This shows that Christ was strong, but was also full of compassion! So maybe i am becoming more compassionate? i seem to shed tears over things that don’t really matter. i am sure that there are some things that God and the Son of God think are worth shedding tears over, because Jesus wept over certain things…
 
 Jesus Wept In Sympathy For Others. (Jn. 11:35)
Lazarus has been dead for four days and mourners are gathered around crying. Verse 33 tells us that Jesus saw Mary weeping over Lazarus that, “…he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” He was moved to weep in sympathy for the pain of those who grieved over the loss of Lazarus.
Romans 12:15 tells us to, “…weep with them that weep…”  The best way for us to show our love and concern for others in times of their trouble is just being there and not being too big to sincerely cry with them. i must make sure that my tears are not manufactured. In Jesus’ day, you could actually hire mourners to attend a funeral of a loved one. Jesus was not a hired mourner and He was not trying to make a scene out of Himself. He was genuinely moved by sympathy.
                
i realize that crying with others is not always convenient. Sometimes it calls for me to interrupt my schedule, or be unselfish for a time. It may also call for me to lay down my guard and actually feel someone else’s pain.
Jesus went to Lazarus’ graveside to model that He was the Resurrection and Life, but before He raised Lazarus He taught a wonderful lesson on sympathy and learning to cry with those who cry.
 
Jesus Wept In Concern For Sinners.
In Luke 19, Jesus is approaching Jerusalem for the last time before His crucifixion. Verse 41 tells us that as He approached the city, he saw it and wept over it. He wept over Jerusalem because He knew of the sin what would take place in a few days during His crucifixion. He did not cry because of what would happen to Him. He cried for the sinners that would carry it out. They were lost and didn’t know the Lord. They knew about religion, but they didn’t have a relationship with God. They were headed for destruction, so Jesus wept for them.When was the last time that i shed tears for the lost? Psalm 126:5-6 says, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” This tells us that if we weep over sinners, we will see fruit and will bring in those spiritual sheaves. We will see people saved when we learn to shed tears over the lost.
 
In Acts 20, Paul mentioned the role of tears in his ministry. He said that he served the Lord “…with humility of mind and with many tears…” (19), and that he, “…ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (31). Paul reached so many because he wept for so many. He cried the tears of Jesus.
 
Jesus Wept Over Sin.
There is a big difference between sinners and sin. God hates sin, but loves the sinner. Jesus, however, wept over both, but for different reasons. Hebrews 5:7 tells us, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;” This is about Christ and his final moments in Gethsemane when He cried and prayed so intense that He sweat blood. His burden was the sins of the whole world. my sins are what caused Him those tears. my sins are what caused Him that bloody sweat. my sins are what caused Him the pain on the cross. Jesus wept over sin. There is a time for us to weep over sin as well
                                1. Peter wept when he denied Christ.
                                2. David wept over his sin with Bathsheba
                                3. Egypt wept over not heeding to God. 
i am to weep over my sin as well. When was the last time that i felt such extreme guilt of my sin that i wept? Just as Jesus wept over the sin of others i am to do the same. This is intercessory weeping, like a parent who weeps over a child, or a wife who cries over the sins of her husband. 
              
Crying is natural and God-given but i want to make sure to cry over the things that Jesus cried over.
 
If i am going to cry so much then i don’t want to cry when i get a scratch in my new car. i may wince a little but it’s really not worth any tears. i want to cry about the neighbor without Christ. i want to cry about the teens in our community who don’t know how much God loves them. i want to cry over those addicted to drugs and alcohol and their families. i want to cry for the homeless. i want to cry for the millions starving and living under oppression because of the sinful selfishness of oppressive government regimes.
 
Jesus wept about things that really mattered…
                1. Hurting People.
                2. Sinners who are in need of Him.
                3. Sin which separates us from Him.
 
Count me in!

Lachrymose… A time for tears!

Posted: November 22, 2010 in Lachrymose

Weepy: weeping or tending to weep, tearful, lachrymose, exuding water or other moisture, leaky.

Lachrymose: suggestive of or tending to cause tears, given to shedding tears readily.

 A TIME FOR TEARS

Life often makes no sense. Accidents happen, people become ill, others die prematurely leaving behind families. Plans and dreams go unfulfilled. People who were there for you one moment are there no more, for a variety of reasons.

When i consider and see it all, it floods me with emotion. Whether good or bad it’s like a knife in the heart. What remains is bewilderment, confusion, anger, doubt, sorrow, joy, exuberance, and ultimately tears. Not something i am used to or comfortable with.

 There is an ancient custom of using “Tear Bottles”. The belief was that tears were “sacred.” Archaeologists have uncovered in ancient tombs Lachrymatories – small vials – bottle for tears. In those days tears were collected and every tear shed was sacred! As i just turned 59 it seems as though i can’t do anything without shedding a tear. No event is exempt, meetings, weddings, movies, television shows, teaching, sharing, even a sports interview. As for trying to collect them, well i’d need my own Lachrymatory. i’m not so sure about them being sacred either. I have heard before that when people get older they become weepy. For me the word weepy just doesn’t cut it so, i found what i think is a better word, Lachrymose. It’s a word i have never heard but it sounds more descriptive to me than weepy. A more manly word. i find myself lachrymose, given to shedding tears readily.

The Psalmist David said, “God, put my tears into your bottle.” Psalm 56  My question, why would God collect “tears?”

i as well as everyone i know collect things that i am are interested in, that are of value, that are rare and that i… well, i just don’t want to throw away.

God collects the tears of those who cry out to him, because He’s interested in my tears. i may not feel anyone else cares, but i believe God cares. He knows my tears are of value. Being lachrymose has not always been a state of being that i was familiar with. You know, that men don’t cry thing! But one of the most memorable times in my life was a day where i did not just cry, i wept uncontrollably, not for a moment but for minutes, which seemed like days. That day my tears washed away deep hurts and wounds.

My tears may dry up where they fall, but they do not dry up or evaporate before God. The tears God collects are as priceless treasures and He keeps them safe.

In my everyday life, God seems to be saying, “Don’t bottle up your tears within inside yourself.” i try to bottle them up – afraid, afraid to let go, and realizing that it’s unhealthy to bottle up too much inside. i am finding the volume of tears is too massive and they squeeze against every fiber of my soul. For seemingly no reason they press their way out and express my inner feelings regarding any number of subjects. This all occurs at the most inconvenient times as well. They are in control and that is what causes me the problem. They, not i are in control. And the being afraid part, is that as the tears surface someone just might ask, “what’s wrong.” My tears have always been for my own personal enjoyment, not for the world to see. i am learning that God gave me tears as a way of cleansing my heart, mind, soul and they wash away any number of emotions. For most of my life i held them in and so nothing ever got washed out. The Psalmist was saying, my tears are too many – i can’t hold them all so “God put my tears into Your bottle.”

i know that God is with me. It’s okay for me and every other person to weep, to cry, to tremble. God says, “Let me hold you ed, let me embrace you” your tears are sacred.

In closing i offer my translation of Psalm 56:8 God, You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights. Each tear, You capture into Your bottle, each emotion you write in Your book. my hope is that being lachrymose is for Him and not just some biological curse… or blessing as some may view it, of getting older. One bottle filled and sealed.

Matthew 17:20 He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

i really must get the story behind Jesus words here. i am going up to verse 14 where it says, And when they approached the multitude, a man came up to Him, kneeling before Him and saying, Lord, do pity and have mercy on my son, for he has epilepsy and he suffers terribly; for frequently he falls into the fire and many times into the water. And I brought him to Your disciples, and they were not able to cure him. And Jesus answered, O you unbelieving (warped, wayward, rebellious) and thoroughly perverse generation! How long am I to remain with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to Me.

This does not sound to me like the warm fuzzy side of Jesus. Name calling? Even though it was true? i relate very well to all these words, not because i am so perfect but because i am not. When He gets done describing what He sees in these people He then asks, “HOW LONG AM I TO REMAIN WITH YOU? STOP! Is Jesus is being truly man? Or is He expressing His somewhat frustrating knowledge of the lack of time for Him to teach mankind what they must know. What about these words? How long am I to bear with you?” Do i hear a bit of frustration? If i were to speak those exact words to most anyone i know, they would be hurt. Unfortunately i imagine Jesus speaking those words to me and in a not so warm tone when i consistently fall short. Notice i said imagine.  Then,Bring him here to Me.”  Is Jesus saying, “never mind i’ll do it myself?” i do that so many times… because sometimes it’s just easier. No matter, just wondering. The task gets done. And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked privately, Why could we not drive it out? And then in our verse of the day Jesus answers the disciples. And continues in verse 21, “but this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” It’s almost as though He was softening His previous words which seem much harsher.

Every aspect about God is rooted in an action of faith. James 2:16-17 says, And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do? So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).

Hebrews 11:6 says, “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.”

There is weak and strong faith. Romans 14:1-3 says, ” Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”

Faith!! It doesn’t come naturally or easily as Hebrews 11:39-40 says about the great men of God in what is called the Faith chapter. “And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,” Why? Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].”

Manny keep on keeping on in your quest. You have the answers you need today and are fully equipped but they make no sense at this time. The harvest and understanding will be made known to you when I AM desires it for you. You would not understand all that would come to you if He was to reveal all that you have asked. Stay close with those of like mind so they may support and hold up your arms when you get tired. Trust and rely upon them. Today, i can only give you my take on all this. It’s not about quantity of faith but quality is everything and of that i am fairly certain. Consistency will vary with each person and more directly with each minute of every day and of that i am again fairly certain. Of how much is required and what determines the results of faith, i am fairly uncertain. i believe it is personal to every person. Sometimes my faith works for others, i think? Sometimes not so much. i didn’t say much about Jesus words, “but this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Seems to me that these are the works that must accompany faith sometimes. Then on other times it’s the more… i can’t find the word, i keep coming back to practical or physical but i would not want to imply that prayer and fasting are not practical nor physical.  And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?

Nehemiah 9:19 You in Your great mercy forsook them not in the wilderness; the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day to lead them in the way, nor the pillar of fire by night to light the way they should go.

This verse serves as a great reminder of God’s mercy, grace and patience. Ezra for 11 verses states all that God has done for his people. Then he spends 3 verses describing the response of the people. But 1 up verse 18 sets the stage or somewhat summarizes where these people were at by saying, “Even when they had made for themselves a molten calf and said, This is your god, who brought you out of Egypt, and had committed great and contemptible blasphemies,”

It’s in spite of the “Even then” and Ezra reminds the people of all the great things God has and is doing for them. In verse 19 he says,  The pillar of the cloud departed not from them which correctly said would be, “the pillar of the cloud departed not “from over them.” This cloud was a miraculous cloud! It was the symbol of the Divine presence of God. It took on three different positions during the time it was with the Israelite camp. This must have really impressed Ezra as he actually mentions it in verse 12 as well as here in 19.

1. The first was as a cloud in the form of a pillar, it went before them when they traveled, to point out their way in the wilderness.

2. The second as a pillar of fire, it stayed with them during the night, to give them light, and to be a gathering point for the whole camp in the night season.

3. Thirdly it was as an extended cloud, which hovered over them in their encampments, to refresh them with its dews, and to keep them from the burning heat of the sun.

1 verse down continues in the same vein saying, You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and withheld not Your manna from them, and gave water for their thirst.”  The testimony of the prophets was the testimony of the Spirit in the prophets, and the Spirit of Christ in them. They spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and what they said was to be received accordingly.

What i am hearing from this verse is that God gave them much more than they deserved and has done the same for me. i have everything i have needed just as they had everything they needed. They “reveled” in God’s great goodness, which literally means that they “luxuriated” in God’s provision.

God has given me everything i need. 2 Peter 1:3: “His divine power has given ed everything he needs for life and godliness through his knowledge of Him who called him by His own glory and goodness.” Am i “luxuriating” in God’s goodness today? Or, am i taking Him for granted?

This verse serves Nickel as the same reminder it was to those whom Ezra was speaking to. Today luxuriate at every opportunity. For me it sounds like  more of Be Still and Know that I AM! I really like that word “Luxuriating”. This is a day when we will be removing Onething’s belongings from the original prayer room. Feels and looks like going backwards so it will be a good day to “luxuriate” in God’s provision. Nehemiah, Ezra and Nickel are reminding me of all the great things God has and is doing for them.

Isaiah 55: 1-5 1WAIT and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing]. 2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy]. 3Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David. 4Behold, I have appointed him (Him) [David, as a representative of the Messiah, or the Messiah Himself] to be a witness [one (One) who shall testify of salvation] to the nations, a prince (Prince) and commander (Commander) to the Peoples. 5Behold, you [Israel] shall call nations that you know not, and nations that do not know you shall run to you because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you.

Well this one is an undertaking as it covers 5 verse. Isaiah expresses the fullness, freeness, excellence, and everlasting nature of the blessings of the word, and it speaks again about the enlargement of Messiah’s kingdom. Verses 1-5 leads the prophet as God’s voice to exhort all to seize the opportunity of sharing in such blessings, which were not, however, to be expected without repentance and change.

Verse 1. Every one that thirsteth come to the waters. Some view the word “waters” as referring to the doctrine of the word, and others to the Holy Spirit. i believe along with the words, “waters, milk, wine, bread,” includes all that is necessary for spiritual life. The metaphors are from those kinds of food which are in daily use by all of us. As i am metaphorically, nourished by “bread, wine, milk, and water,” so in like manner my soul is fed and supported by the Word, the Holy Spirit, and other gifts of Christ. i cannot exist without water. Equally it is impossible that i can exist without the word. The law is compared to wine and milk. To wine because the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. To milk, because milk is the subsistence of the child. The words of the law are the nourishment of the soul that walks in divine teaching, and grows up under it. Basically you could say it, “everyone that would learn, let him come and learn.”

Verse 2. Wherefore do ye spend. This is in a spiritual sense. Unsaved people have nothing to support themselves or pay off their debts with, though they think they have, and they think they stand in need of nothing. But sensible people know they are poor and needy. Regardless, they are invited to come where provisions are to be had for free. Come everyone, buy and eat, come to the teachings, share in them freely, and feed upon the provisions that they have made.

Verse 3  Incline your ear. God leaves nothing undone which is to correct and arouse our tardiness. There is an implied scolding. What must so excessively run my life, that when i am so gently called, i do not instantly obey. This is a  passage, from which we see that our whole happiness lies in obeying the word of God. When God speaks like this i should be able to see that He is leading me to life. When i do not incline my ear the blame lies completely with me, because i disregard the saving and life­giving word. I will make an everlasting covenant. I will make a covenant of eternity with you. Didn’t the Jews previously enter into an everlasting covenant with God? These words appear to promise something that is new. But there is nothing new here. This is simply a confirmation of the covenant that the Lord formerly entered into with his people. It’s a renewal of the covenant, so that the Jews would not think that the covenant of God was made void on account of the long ­continued exile.  They were removed from the country that had been promised to them. They had no temple or sacrifices, or any signs of the “covenant” except circumcision. Who wouldn’t have thought that it was all over with them? Isaiah assured the people, that the covenant into which God entered with the fathers was firm, sure, and eternal, and not changeable or temporary.

Verse 4 Behold, I have appointed him. The mercies of David. That is, “The MESSIAH, called here David as it is written, “David my servant shall be a prince over you.” Messiah is a “leader.”  He’s a teacher. He teaches his people and leads them in the way they should go. As a king He guides his people with the skilfulness. As a general he leads his armies to battle. As a shepherd he leads his flock to good pastures. He leads his people out of their own ways into his ways. He is a “commander” and as such He commands his subjects, and is to be obeyed. Those commands are written on the hearts of His people. They are not grievous, though they cannot be performed in their own strength. It is not designed that my life and salvation should be obtained by the observance of them, but are done to testify of my submission to Christ, and gratitude to him.

Verse 5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation which thou knowest not. Isaiah explains more about what he previously touched on with a single word. He declared that Christ shall be the “leader.” Not of a single people, but of all the Peoples. “To call” here means possession. There is a mutual relation between the words “call” and “answer.” Christ therefore “calls” in the exercise of authority, as one who is invested with supreme power. He “calls” the Gentiles, that he may bring them into a state of obedience, and may cause them to submit to his word.

1 Down – Verse 6 admonishes me to, Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near. After having spoken of the good success of the word among the Gentiles, who formerly were strangers to the kingdom of God, he urges the Jews to be ashamed of loitering while others run. Since they were the first who were called, it is shameful that they should be last.

Lot’s of words but for 6 verses not bad. This passage is filled with truths and Billy if you spend the next few years just digging at these words you will be wise. I see these verses as understanding for what God desires to do through you. So i repeat verse 6 to you Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near. Treat this with urgency and let nothing distract you!