June 10: Isaiah 59 (Whole Book)

June 10th Call to Action: Meditate on Isaiah 59

***

I have been on quite the hiatus from reading my bible, aside from for classes and the occasional research project.  I am in the middle of reading a book by Thomas Keating on contemplative prayer, and after having conversations with a number of people, as well as trying to figure out some personal “attitude” issues, just didn’t feel the need to read the bible for a while.  There is a strange guilt that tends to come accompany any feeling that what I have been told I should be doing if I love God is not worth my time.  I skipped church to go to a boxing match, and through the conversation with my atheist friend who invited me, felt more fed than I had in service for a while.  And I have found more joy in fellowship outside of the building than within it.  A great deal of that being my own current state of methodological divergence, of course, but I know less that I knew when I started writing this blog about what God expects of me.  And I think more people need to know less.

People are way too sure about things that are not clear.  People are way too easy to pronounce universal truths when the application should be an individual decision and process.  There are equal parts anger, disappointment, and a yearning that more people could begin to question and accept.

Reading Isaiah 59 today, I was almost overjoyed to see a section where the Israelites saw the separation from God, saw just how evil they were, and realized that them not hearing God was because of them.  We spend our entire lives on formulas about God that we have been promised will work by everyone but God.  And there is the subtle belief that these formulas are the only true answers, and the others will only distract us from this better answer.  I am…lost I guess.

The last thing I ever thought I would embrace is working less…not trying as hard.  Life has taught me to work…but my relationship with God isn’t working that way.  It hasn’t my whole life, and while I don’t have the answer yet, I would be foolish to continue to devote myself to a method that hasn’t worked, just so I can have the comfort of knowing I am, at least on the outside, “doing the right thing”

***

“We grope along the wall like blind men, we grope like those who have no eyes.  We stumble at midday as in the twilight, among those who are vigorous, we are like dead men” (v 10)

Feb. 27: Song 2:8-3:11, Ps. 145

February 27th Call to Action: Meditate, and thank God for delighting in the happiness we find through Him

***

God is awesome.  Just considering that God devoted an entire book of the bible to romance.  To the trivial feelings, goosebumps and swooning of young lovers.  God wants that for us.  He made us relational, made us incomplete, and finds pleasure in our own little fairy tale romances.  That’s awesome.

***

The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (v 14)

Ecc. 12:9-14, Ps. 141

February 23rd Call to Action: Stop.  Just stop for 15 minutes

***

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”  Awesome.  Information overload is bad.  Biblical proof!  Over-stated, yes, but the chief end of man is not to work, but to bring glory to God.  We can surely over-study, we can surely keep ourselves too busy and not stop long enough to realize how awesome we have it.  It also intrigues me how one verse can be so powerful if we take the time to mull it over for a whole day, while reading a whole lot may at times be fulfilling, but can be lost in the mental fray.

***

Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil on my head.  My head will not refuse it. (v 5)

Ecc. 11:9-12:8, Ps. 140

February 22nd Call to Action: Think of 5 simple joys you have as proof of God’s goodness

***

“…but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgement.”  It almost seems paradoxical for Solomon to say “be free, follow your heart” and then follow it with “but you will be judged”.  But I have come to see that differently nowadays.  There is a part of us, through the spirit, that is willing and able to live in God’s ways.  And ironically, most of the trouble we get into is for pursuing things that aren’t inherently bad through bad means or in the wrong time.  I wish only that as I continue to live and when I try to teach my kids, I can teach them not what they must not do, but how they have the opportunity to do amazing and satisfying things if they go about them the way God intended.

***

Surely the righteous will praise your name and the upright will live before you. (v 13)