This week has been tough. The hits just kept coming. Nothing really unusual or serious compared to what some people suffer and I remind myself constantly that it could be worse! I trust God and I know God is working on things behind the scenes, but we all know that doesn’t take away the stress and emotions completely . We are weak and human. But how can we be celebrating Thanksgiving one day and then , ugh, here comes real life again? Why do these trials happen at Christmas time?
But I am thankful that I am a believer in Jesus and in the Word of God, the Bible, because that book is full of truth that is so comforting in time of need. Reading how God cared for and guided and , yes, punished, his people over the years lets me know that God really loves his children! He wants us to be HIS children only, not shared custody with other gods, also known as idols.
I want to share the following passage because it really hit home with me. Look how God loves us! Thank you LORD for your love and kindness and mercy to your people.
Zechariah 8:1 Again the word of the LORD of Hosts came to me, saying: 2 This is what the LORD of Hosts says: “I am jealous for Zion with great zeal; I am jealous for her with great fervor.” 3 This is what the LORD says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of Hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.” 4 This is what the LORD of Hosts says: “Old men and old women will again sit along the streets of Jerusalem, each with a staff in hand because of great age. 5 And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” 6 This is what the LORD of Hosts says: “If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in My eyes?” declares the LORD of Hosts. 7 This is what the LORD of Hosts says: “I will save My people from the land of the east and the land of the west. 8 I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem, where they will be My people, and I will be their faithful and righteous God.”
Do you see the good plans God has for the people who love him? The world will not always be like this. These verses also made a big impact on me.
Isaiah 58 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
What is God telling us between these two passages? Our motives and our heart condition are what counts with him! Not religious rituals. Obedience to practices such as fasting should be out of love for him, not for attention or bragging rights. As I tell my kids, God’s rules are for our protection. He is not capricious. He knows our weaknesses.
Anyway, I hope you all had a good week. I might write another post after this one about the high point of my week. God bless you all!