Today’s “aha” moment:

In reading the Bible, I need to see both the forest and the trees but to view the trees in the context of the forest.

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Psalm 25

Prayer for Protection, Guidance and Pardon.

A Psalm of David.

1 To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
[a]Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.

4 Make me know Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.
6 Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they have been from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your lovingkindness remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

12 Who is the man who fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
13 His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.
15 My eyes are continually toward the LORD,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.
18 Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.
19 Look upon my enemies, for they are many,
And they hate me with violent hatred.
20 Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.
22 Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all his troubles.

Jeremiah 1:5-8

 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, 
And before you were born I consecrated you; 
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 
6 Then I said, “Alas, Lord GOD! 
Behold, I do not know how to speak, 
Because I am a youth.” 
7 But the LORD said to me, 
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ 
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, 
And all that I command you, you shall speak. 
8 “Do not be afraid of them, 
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD.

I was reading the commissioning of Jeremiah this morning. While I was doing that, I was reminded of Isaiah’s commissioning and noticed the differences in their respective initial reactions. Isaiah was “woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips living with people of unclean lips”, which is “I’m too filthy that you should send me” reaction. While Jeremiah’s was “I’m too young. I won’t know what to say”, which is “I’m not good enough”. Both are crisis of self worth – “I’m not good enough”.

In both cases, God cleansed them – interestingly their lips – presumably as they were called to be prophets. But each, in different ways, was given one promise: “I will be with you”.

And hence, they went.

There were a number of prophets commissioned in the Old Testament including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, Ezekiel, Jonah, etc. But there seem to be some common objections (note: I would do a Jonah if I was called – he basically legged it. Read it here).

“Who am I that I should go?”

“What shall I say to them?”

“What if they do not listen?”

“I am slow of speech.”

“Send someone else.”

“I’m not good enough”

“I’m too young and inexperienced”

In various ways, God’s response to each of these objections is: “I will be with you.”  Excuses are not in His realm – only possibilities.

And the promise that He will be with us. And that, I know.

easter scene with crown of thorns, hammer and nails with blood on sand

When I sit back and really think about Good Friday, it’s not a happy scene going on in my head. This is because I know that I was responsible for Good Friday. The verse that hits me on Good Friday is Isaiah 53:5.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

I have replaced all collective pronouns (we, our, etc)  to make real what Jesus did for me. I have bolded the changes so you know what I’ve changed.

But He was pierced through for my transgressions, He was crushed for my iniquities; The chastening for my well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging I am healed.

I am meant to be pierced, crushed, chastened and scourged for all eternity. Instead, He was pierced, crushed, chastened and scourged in my place. How can I not love this Man?

Good Friday.

The adjective used with this noun messes with my mind – Every. Single. Time. 

Until I remind myself to see the adjective for Friday in the context of Sunday. 

Amazing Grace.

Thank God for Easter Sunday. If not for Easter Sunday, I don’t think I can handle Good Friday.

Thank you, Lord. Really.

 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:    and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and  his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The  mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of  Peace.”    

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

Silence is more comforting than words.

A touch more healing than a word.

A smile speaks louder.

But the Word Is that Which comforts

And Lasts

For Eternity

For those, like myself who have decided to be a Christian and take Jesus as Lord, there is a marked change in status. One thing I have noticed is this call to renewal.

At one stage, I thought at the point of conversion, everything changes. Well, some things do like your status as a child of God and your confirmation to a place in heaven. But there is a call to renewal.

These are two Biblical references that I have been dwelling, pondering and meditating upon. The Bible verses I quote are all from the NASB version.

1 Peter 1:14-16

 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,

 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

 16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

Romans 12:2

 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Additionally there are these calls to be renewed.

Ephesians 4:21-24

 21if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,

 22that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

2 Corinthians 4:16

 16Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day

Colossians 3:9-10

9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

The underlines are my emphasis. The call to renewal is very strong. There is no indication that there is any “magic” involved and there seems to be a process that is there. This, of course, does not mean that we are in this process of renewal alone as God has promised His helper to guide us on this lifelong journey.

But there is a clear call to renewal from:

              former lusts which were committed in ignorance (1 Peter)

              conforming to the world (Romans)

              old self which was being corrupted through the lusts of deceit (Ephesians)

              old self with its evil practices (Colossians)

And there is a clear call to renewal to:

              Holiness in all our behaviour (1 Peter)

              Transformation to know God’s will (Romans)

              Likeness to God in righteousness and truth (Ephesians)

              Daily renewal (2 Corinthians)

              True knowledge according to the image of God (Colossians)

 

So yes, I journey. Like I’ve said many times before, this journey is not the easiest by any means but it is by far the best decision I have made.