Hearing But Never Understanding

Photo by Brannon Naito on Unsplash

One of the health issues I struggle with is an inner ear disorder called Ménière’s disease. I won’t go into all the specifics of the disease in this post, but if you’re interested, you can check out the link.

For me, Ménière’s causes dizziness, ringing in the ears, and loss of hearing. Most of the time it’s more nuisance than anything else. When it is full blown, as it has been recently, I find myself hearing but not quite understanding, dizzy and off balance, and in a state of sensory overload.

My recent bout with Ménière’s is caused by the extreme arctic weather we’re having here in southeast Texas. Low air pressure and I do not play well together. My internal barometer has been known to predict a low pressure system’s approach 300 miles away. Honest. Throw in temperatures in the teens with windchill temps in the single digits, and I am not a fan.

As I deal with the extreme roaring in my ear, loss of hearing compounded by the extreme roaring in my ears, dizziness caused by the extreme roaring in my ears, and the sensory overload–you guessed it, caused by the extreme roaring in my ears, I think of a verse from the book of Isaiah, and mentioned several more times in the New Testament. You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

You don’t have to suffer with physical Ménière’s to suffer from spiritual Ménière’s symptoms. All it takes is a stubborn heart and a refusal to listen to the Prophet Isaiah, and Jesus.

In physical Ménière’s the constant ringing noise that drowns out clear and distinct sounds and words comes from inside the ear. In spiritual Ménière’s the cacophony of noise comes from outside when we allow world events and world beliefs to drown out God’s clear and distinct instructions given in his Word.

Feeling a little dizzy and off balance with Ménière’s can result from too much fluid build up in the ear, as well as too much salt or caffeine. Feeling dizzy and off balance in our spiritual Ménière’s life can result from too much build up of anything that pulls us away from God, as well as ingesting too much of anything that isn’t healthy whether spiritually, mentally, or physically. 

When my Ménière’s attacks are full blown and out of control, sensory overload, whether that manifests itself as sight, sound, or smell, are unbearable. The best thing I can do at those times is close my eyes, darken the room, shut the door, and rest. When all the sights, sounds, noise of the world descend in a spiritual Ménière’s crescendo around us, the best thing to counteract the worldly sensory overload is to unplug, turn off, disengage from those things, and reengage with the things of God in a meaningful, sincere way.

Then our ears will be opened to hear with understanding. Our eyes will be opened to see with perception. Our hearts, turned to God, will understand. We will no longer be hearing but never understanding or seeing but never perceiving.

Isn’t that what we all long for?

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 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:  “‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Acts 28:25-27 (NIV)

You can find my February Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Keep Our Focus On God

In January I participated in a conference for Christian women. Although today I will share several points from Alli Worthington‘s session on How to Partner with God and Stand Strong, which was geared to women, I believe men can also gain insight on how to keep our focus on God.

Below are thoughts I gained from Alli’s workshop, and are in no way word for word Alli. If you’d like to learn more about these points, check out her book, Standing Strong.

  • The enemy wants us to focus on why we can’t. God wants us to focus on him–the God who can.
  • When we agree with Satan’s lies, instead of what God says about us, we’ll stay stuck and focused on our self.
  • Self-doubt is one of the enemy’s most powerful tools. Believe God and shake off the chains of self-doubt.
  • Standing strong is about getting out of our own way and tapping into the power of God in a new way.
  • God is the source of our real power. He’ll guide us. We’re asked to show up, say yes to his invitation, and do our part of the work.
  • Whatever dream is in our heart is there because God chose us to partner with him to accomplish it.
  • God gives the skills and talents to fulfill his purposes.
  • When we live outside our comfort zone, we have to hold onto the comfort of God.
  • Our fear will make us feel insecure. God will make us feel more confident.
  • Fear says we can’t. God says he’s able.
  • When self-doubt starts to sideline us, remember where our strength comes from.
  • What we’re doing for God matters. Satan will take notice and try to take us out with self-doubt.
  • Fear and overwhelm is not a sign we’re not supposed to move forward. It’s a sign we’re human.
  • Feel the fear and move anyway. Soon that fear will begin to back down.
  • Listen to the dreams God’s implanted in your heart no matter how improbable they may seem.
  • The God who called us is faithful.

Which of these key points resonates with you the most?

As I see it, the most important thing we can do to help us overcome the things that threaten to sideline us from doing what God calls us to complete, is to keep our focus on him.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. John 12:26 (NLT)

You can find my February Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Cowboy Poetry and the Story of Jonah

As I began this post, I realized I have posted several cowboy references in my blog posts lately. Cowboy book review. Cowboy soup recipe. And now cowboy poetry.

Cowboy poetry doesn’t have to be written by cowboys. Authors usually have some connection to the cowboy life to at least know a little bit about what they are writing, though. Veterinarian Baxter Black might be one of the most well-known writers of the genre. Pilot appreciates Baxter Black’s poetry so much, he named our last dog, Baxter, after the poet.

The following poem, The Lost Ranch Revival, is written by Brad Curtis. It tells the story of a cowboy, similar to the prophet Jonah, who runs from his boss’ assignment. You can find this and other poems in his book of Christian cowboy poems, He Holds the Reigns.

The Last Ranch Revival

Sittin’ in the bunkhouse,

Boss came walkin’ in.

Said, Jon your horse is saddled,

Waitin’ in the pen.

Ride over to the Lost Ranch,

We need help gatherin’ cows.

Jon said, You know them boys,

All they do is carouse.

As Jon walked out thinkin’,

Hope that hoss is slow

To ride over,

I sure don’t want to go.

The Lost Ranch was the worst,

Nothin’ but sorry hands.

Only thing they were good for,

Was changin’ cow’s brands.

Rustlers and cutthroats,

Every last one.

They’re all at the Lost Ranch,

Because they’re on the run.

Jon rode out of the gate,

Over the first mountaintop.

Out of the Boss’s sight,

He wasn’t going to stop.

The Lost Ranch was west,

Turned his pony east on the trail.

As hard as he could ride,

Givin’ the spurs to his ol’ broomtail.

Then the  storm hit,

Sand blowin’ from the east.

Felt like he was in the belly,

Of some giant wild beast.

This storm was blindin’,

The trail was a haze.

Seemed to last for weeks,

But it was only three days.

When the storm was over,

Jon’s pony came apart.

Thrown to the ground,

He had a change of heart.

Climbed back in the saddle,

Started headin’ west.

After all when it came to hands,

The Boss knew what was best.

Got to the Lost Ranch,

What a sorry spread.

No grass or water,

Everything was dead.

Lookin’ at them boys said,

My Boss is gatherin’ strays.

If you’ll ride for The Brand,

He’ll forgive your sinful ways.

One by one they saddled up.

Said, Jon we’re tired of this place.

We’d like to meet your Boss

And thank Him for His grace.

Jonah 3:1-2

If we remember the story of Jonah, we remember Jonah ran the opposite direction when God told him to go to Ninevah, that wicked capital of the Assyrians, and preach repentance.

After spending three days in the belly of a large fish, however, Jonah realized there is nowhere we can run from God’s presence. Once the fish spewed Jonah ashore, the prophet headed to Ninevah.

Like Jonah, we sometimes run from the assignments God gives us. There are as many different reasons for our disobedience as there are different people. Jonah’s main reason for running was because he didn’t want the Ninevahites to be saved. They were wicked. In his limited selfish human mind, Jonah believed they deserved God’s wrath.

Just as that is not a decision for us to make, it wasn’t a decision for Jonah to make either. God eventually punished Ninevah, but in his timing. Not Jonah’s.

Thankfully, God is in the business of grace, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration. I am eternally grateful for his mercies, which are new every morning.

All of us deserve God’s wrath. Apart from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior, we each face separation from God.

Do you have a favorite cowboy poem, or is this your first introduction to the form?

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The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai:  “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”

 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish. Jonah 1:1-3 (NLT)

You can find my February Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Likes and Followers

courtesy pixabayLikes and followers. How important are they? In our world of around the clock social media, where buttons exist to like and follow just about anything, it seems our world believes likes and followers are very important.

In the world of publishing I have been told by editors that although they love my work, they won’t consider taking it forward to publication unless I can show X amount of followers across multiple social media sites and platforms. Likes and followers are important to them.

Apparently King David thought likes and followers were important as well. So much so,  he authorized the commander of his troops, Joab, to take a census of all the Israelites in the land from Beersheba to Dan.

David wanted to know how large his domain was. He wanted to know how many Israelites he ruled. Who knows what motivated the king to order the census? All we know from reading 1 Chronicles 21 is the census did not end well.

Joab, didn’t think the census was such a good idea. Although there were times God ordered a census, this was not one of those times. David’s desired census put the emphasis on David’s greatest. Not on God’s. It put David’s confidence in the number of men available for his army. Not in God.

Despite Joab’s protests, the king’s word stood. A census was taken. God was not pleased.

As a result of God’s displeasure over the census, God offered David three options. David was to choose which of the three punishments God would carry out against the Israelites.

Now then, dear David, decide how the LORD is to extract justice for your desire to count likes and followers.

Three years of famine. Three months of being swept away before your enemies with their swords overtaking you. Three days of the sword of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel.

Not much of a choice the way I see it.

What about you? Which would you choose?

David chose three days of the sword of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel.

So the LORD sent a plague on Israel. Seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. As the angel of the LORD was poised to destroy Jerusalem, God was grieved because of the calamity. He told the angel, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.”

David saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth, sword drawn, extended over Jerusalem, and fell facedown. David told God he was the one who sinned and did wrong by ordering the census. He asked God to spare the people and punish David instead.

A prophet told David to build an altar to the LORD. David did. There he offered a burnt sacrifice which the LORD lit. Then God told the angel to put his sword back into its sheath.

My favorite verse in this passage relates to David buying the threshing floor where he built the altar. “I will not sacrifice to the LORD something that costs me nothing.” You can find it in verses 18-26.

So. Likes and followers. How important are they? Jesus told his disciples to follow him and he would make them fishers of men (and women). Guess that’s the only kind of follower we need to be concerned with.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.” 1 Chronicles 21:1-2

You can find my February Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Cry Out to God in Your Distress

Have there been times in your life when you needed to cry out to God in your distress?

In my life there have been plenty of times I’ve cried out to God in distress. I imagine you may be able to say the same. Perhaps those times occurred during this past year. Perhaps they occurred at some other time.

The prophet Samuel’s mother Hannah cried out to God in her distress. As Hannah prayed in the Lord’s temple, her lips moved but no words came out. Because of that, her actions were misinterpreted by Eli the priest. The priest wasn’t kind, either. In fact, he accused the poor distraught woman of being drunk in the Lord’s house.

Romans 8:26-27 tells us the Spirit comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray. The Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is, because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.

I think when Hannah prayed that day, the Spirit interceded for her in groans words  could not express.

Although the priest got it all wrong and accused Hannah, God saw straight to her heart. God knew Hannah’s pain. He knew the injustice she endured at the hand of her husband’s other wife. God also knew he would grant Hannah’s request for a son. God  gave her Samuel.

Our actions may be misunderstood by others. They may misinterpret our distress. Conversely, we may misunderstand others actions and misinterpret their distress.

But the wonderful thing about all this is although others may misinterpret or condemn, God’s Spirit intercedes on our behalf. The Spirit takes our painful groans to the Father’s throne.

God sees the motives behind our actions. He hears when we cry out to him in our distress. He looks at us with grace. Not condemnation.

Like Hannah, we can take comfort in that fact.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

One time, after they had finished their meal in the house of the Lord at Shiloh, Hannah got up. She was deeply distressed, and she cried bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. Meanwhile, Eli the priest was sitting in his place by the door.  Hannah continued to pray to the Lord for a long time, and Eli watched her lips. She was praying silently; her lips were moving, but she made no sound. So Eli thought that she was drunk, and he said to her, “Stop making a drunken show of yourself. Stop your drinking and sober up!” “No, I’m not drunk, sir,” she answered. “I haven’t been drinking! I am desperate, and I have been praying, pouring out my troubles to the Lord. Don’t think I am a worthless woman. I have been praying like this because I’m so miserable.” 1 Samuel 1:10, 12-16 (GNT)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Vocal Ten

courtesy pixabayThe vocal ten.

Ten men among twelve.

Ten men who feared the unknown more than they trusted the known.

Ten men whose actions forced a nation to wander in a desert wasteland for forty years, when the journey could have taken mere days.

Ten men whose fear fueled a rebellion against God.

Many of us are familiar with the story of the twelve Hebrew spies who went on a reconnaissance mission into the land of Canaan. A land God promised they would take. Moses sent the spies on a forty day mission to scout out the land. He wasn’t checking to see if the land could be taken. God already told him it could be taken. The spies’ mission was to scope out the land and come back with a report so plans for conquest could be drawn up.

Even though the vocal ten saw a bountiful land, they focused on the giants instead. The skeptical, fearful vocal ten forgot God is bigger than any giant we might face. They came back convinced, despite God’s promise, the land could not be conquered.

Caleb and Joshua, the other two spies sent on the recon mission, wanted to enter the land at once. Yes. There were giants, but these two argued the land could be conquered because God would go before them. Just as he had ever since they left Egypt.

Because of their lack of faith and fear, the ten convinced the rest of the million or so Hebrew travelers with them their efforts to take the land were futile. They spread fear throughout the camp.

Not only did their words and thoughts fuel their own fears, they stoked the fears of the rest of the people. They riled the crowd up to an illogical frenzy based on a fear-bred lack of faith.

Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:1-9)

Just as was the case of the vocal ten who shouted over Caleb and Joshua, and whose fear won the people over to their way of thinking – much to their eventual detriment when we remember Caleb and Joshua were the only original people in the exodus from Egypt God allowed to finally enter the Promised Land forty years later –  our words matter.

Our words have consequences.

Our words can heal or cause division.

Our words can fuel fear of fuel faith.

And most importantly, our words show where we put our trust.

Instead of being like the vocal ten, and using our words to fuel fear and distrust, how about we use our words to fuel others’ faith in the Word of the Immutable Unchanging Promise Keeper God?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” Numbers 13:30-33 (NLT)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

God Doesn’t Show Favoritism

courtesy pixabayAlthough the Bible tells us God doesn’t show favoritism, and neither should we, I wonder. Are there times in our lives where we have shown favoritism?

I’m guessing the answer is yes. In those times when we’ve behaved in such a way, would we have to admit by doing so, we pushed someone further away from God by our actions than we moved them closer to him?

Sadly, I know that to be true for me.

One particular episode comes to mind. I can’t say for sure how old I was at the time. Probably somewhere in early high school. It was summer. As my girlfriends and I came from Sunday school into the church sanctuary, I noticed a girl I recognized from school.

We weren’t friends, or anything. We’d only seen each other in the halls. Or maybe we had a class together. She was kind of on the periphery. Not really involved in the things I was involved with. Still, when she recognized me her face lit up as she said hello.

She was by herself, which I thought odd and brave at the same time. What teenage girl goes to a new church by herself? When she approached, I knew I couldn’t just pretend I didn’t see her.

And here’s the thing. The thought to pretend I didn’t see her should have never entered my mind. I should have been eager to go say hello and invite her to sit with me. But I wasn’t.

The first thing she told me was, “I got baptized last week at Ocean City during a beach service. The preacher told me I should come to this church when I got home.”

My first thought was, way cool getting baptized in the ocean. My second thought was, only hippies get baptized in the ocean.

See the problem?

Like Peter, I had per-conceived thoughts and ideas – prejudices – about what was clean and unclean. What was right and not right. What saved a person and what didn’t.

So very very wrong.

God doesn’t put these kind of human parameters on who can be saved and who can’t. God doesn’t show favoritism. God treats everyone on the same basis. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and Jesus is the answer.

I wish my friends and I had behaved more Christ-like. We were polite. We invited her to sit with us that day, but really didn’t invite her into our circle. She may have returned once or twice more. After that, I never saw her again. Who could blame her?

Why should she want to come back to a group of hypocritical girls who sang about loving Jesus, yet never exhibited the love of Jesus?

Girls who long ago accepted Christ as their Savior yet didn’t know how to share in the excitement and enthusiasm of a newly saved life.

How very very sad.

Retelling this to you all makes me feel like I failed this girl in so many ways. But you know what? Thanks be to God, my witness, or lack of, was not the only exposure she had to the love of Christ.

Someone on a beach in eastern Maryland during the 1970s loved God and loved people enough to preach the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ to a group of beach goers. That group included a high school girl who accepted Jesus as her Savior.

I pray God brought her to a group of people who showed her the true love of Jesus. A group of believers who accepted her as a child of God. Believers who know for certain God doesn’t show favoritism even when we do.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 Peter said, “Now I know for certain that God doesn’t show favoritism with people but treats everyone on the same basis. It makes no difference what race of people one belongs to. If they show deep reverence for God, and are committed to doing what’s right, they are acceptable before him. Acts 10:34-35 (TPT)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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A Timeless Prayer

Five days ago we closed out 2020. As we look toward 2021, I leave you with a timeless prayer written decades ago. This prayer comes from a clipping in a paper my father received for years from his Masonic Lodge. I found this among other clippings in his  nightstand when he died in 1980, three months after he turned 62.

I don’t know the author of this prayer, but I hope you will find his thoughts worth considering.

Let me do my work each day, and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times. May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of the quiet river, when a light glowed within me and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempest of the changing years. Spare me from the bitterness and sharp passions of unguarded moments.

May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit. Though the world know me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with my self. Lift my eyes from the earth and let me forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.

Let me me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk humbly in my path. Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am, and keep ever burning before my vagrant footsteps, the kindly light of hope. And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not in sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me to be thankful for life, and for time’s olden memories, that are good and sweet, and may the evening twilight find me gentle still.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I am crying aloud to You, O True God,  for I long to know Your answer. Hear me, O God. Hear my plea. Hear my prayer for help. Psalm 17:6 (VOICE)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Seasonal Scripture Verses

For today’s post I am sharing several seasonal Scripture verses. Some verses we associate with the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Some verses we associate with our celebration of Christ’s sacrificial death.

As we read these Scripture verses, let’s not forget we cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ Jesus’ Resurrection.

A child is born to us!
    A son is given to us!
    And he will be our ruler.
He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,”
    “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,”
    “Prince of Peace.”
His royal power will continue to grow;
    his kingdom will always be at peace.
He will rule as King David’s successor,
    basing his power on right and justice,
    from now until the end of time.
The Lord Almighty is determined to do all this. Isaiah 9:6-7 (GNT)

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere! For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah. You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough.

Then all at once, a vast number of glorious angels appeared, the very armies of heaven! And they all praised God, singing:

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” Luke 2:8-14 (TPT))

Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.

 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied.

And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. Isaiah 53 (NLT)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)

Today and always may we never forget the baby in the manger, whose birth we celebrate each December 25th, is also the Sacrificial Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world, that all may have life and have it abundantly. Jesus is Christ the Messiah. King of kings and LORD of lords. To him be glory, honor, and praise now and forever. Amen.

Do you have a favorite Scripture verse you read at Christmas?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Do You Have Room?

Have you ever wondered how the innkeeper felt when he told Mary and Joseph there was no room for them in his inn?

When I was young I thought the innkeeper rather mean to turn them away. I wondered why he couldn’t squeeze them in somehow. Move things around. Make room amidst his crowded inn, and crowded life, for them to stay until Mary gave birth and recovered.

Maybe he was mean. Or maybe he was just preoccupied with all the busyness that surrounded him as he ran his overflowing inn and accommodated his patrons. Perhaps he just could not handle two more people and a soon-to-be-born infant.

Do you think the innkeeper regretted his decision once the multitude of angels’ voices filled the night air above his stable? Do you think he wondered what all the hub-bub was about? Do you think the innkeeper searched back in his memory to the scriptures he learned as a child about the Promised Messiah being born in the city of David?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

My intention is not to paint the man in a poor light. Nope. Not at all. My intention is for each of us to look at ourselves and see how much like the innkeeper we might be.

Have we told Jesus there is no room in our lives for him right now because of our busy schedules? We’re full up and consumed by other things at the moment. Maybe later.

Are we preoccupied with keeping the things in our lives running smoothly and do not need to add studying the Bible to our ever growing to-do list?

Does our busyness leave Jesus out in the cold of night until a more convenient time?

I don’t know. I only know the innkeeper couldn’t find room for Jesus.

Maybe his story is a lesson for us not to leave the Messiah out of our lives either. If our lives have become as crowded and filled with the things of this world as the innkeeper’s house, perhaps it is time we moved things out of the way so Jesus has a place to stay.

Do you have room for the Savior?

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So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was now pregnant.  While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough. Luke 2:4-7 (NCV)

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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