Isaiah’s song

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 ESV)

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.” The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD. O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them. But you have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. O LORD, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. (Isaiah 26:1-19 ESV)

“We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.” The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD. O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them. But you have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. O LORD, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. (Isaiah 26:1-19 ESV)

Blessings

A life that praises the LORD.

Why Will You Die, Israel? “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:10-11)

Still thinking of Judah, of how his life gave praise to God.  He was not a spiritual giant. People never want to be more like Judah. There are songs and sermons about Joseph and nothing about Judah.

Judah was a mean, envious and bitter man.  He was the one who suggested to sell Joseph, manipulating his brother to accept his idea. Moreover he left his family and married a Canaanite. Then he refused to give Tamar, his daughter-in-law, to his youngest son and slept with her thinking she was a prostitute.

But God’s grace looks beyond our sins and blesses repentance. Judah could have let Tamar be burned, but instead he recognised his unrighteousness. He could have taken advantage of her, but never touched her again (Genesis 38:24-26). Then he went back to his family (Genesis 42:1-3) and used his influence for good.  He took not only the place, but also the responsibility of the leader (Genesis 43:1-10).  And when Joseph wanted to keep Benjamin as slave, Judah offered to take his place. His bitterness and envy were gone and replaced by compassion and mercy. He was ready to die to serve the other most loved son (Genesis 44).

Judah was a sinner. The kind we can easily look down upon. But he had a repentant heart. The kind of heart that pleases God. And therefore his life praised the Lord.

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus… (Acts 3:19-20)

Greater than the temple!

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath… Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here… For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:1-2; 5-6; 8

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Colossians 2:9-10

We can be so fearful, so concern about what people think of us, what is going to happen to us if we obey Jesus to the point of… We are so caught up in our fear of men, of circumstances, of the past, of the present and the future that we forget who our King is.

We have a Savior, a High Priest, a Lord, a King who is Lord over all rules and authority. So we can without fear live lives dedicated to Him, and with no anxiety obey Him even if it means that crowds, religious leaders, our friends or family would be against us.

The Jews had an extreme veneration for the temple (Matthews 23:16; Acts 6:13). The temple service justified that the priests profane the Sabbath.  But Christ, standing in a field, was greater that the temple. For in Him dwells not the presence of God symbolically, but all the fullness of God bodily. So what shall we not do for His sake?

His Father’s business.

So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”  But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. (Luke 2:48-50)

I love Jesus. I am in awe of Him. He is so Him. Even as a child He was already so Him. He knew who He was. He knew what was His mission.He knew what was important and was not afraid of saying it loudly. He is more than an example: He is a dream. A dream came true.

Jesus was 12 and He wanted to be where He could see God. He was 12 and He wanted to hear about God, to speak about Him. God was His life, His passion. God was who He was about . God’s business was His business, what His life was about. So if it is true that I Have to walk just as He walked (1 John 2:6), then I should be about His Father’s business, my Father’s business.

If it is true that I am following Him, I should be consumed about hearing about God, speaking about Him. God would be who I am about. God’s business would be my business.  When I spend my week, my day, my night thinking about my life, thinking about the desires of my flesh, being angry with that sister who did that to me, that brother who treats me like that, and so on… whose business am I about? Mine or God’s? Then there are moments when I am about others’ business. I can call it as I want: concern, love, or compassion, but for God I am busybody (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 2 Thessalonians 3:11).

Following Jesus is not about going to Church on Sunday or on Saturday. It is not about taking the commitment to get married with a believer. It is not about sharing my faith once a week or having a quiet time once a day. Following Jesus is about being like Him: to be about His Father’s business. Then we will seek first His Kingdom and His justice and we will trust that He will take care of the rest (Matthew 6:33). Following Jesus is to live a life that cries: “God’s is my only business!”

Then I can praise, meditate  pray, love, forgive, serve, evangelize, die and so more because it is about Him. Nothing else matters: people, what they think, my life, my dreams, my desires, my frustrations, my singleness, the family I wish I had, the money I thing I need… nothing. Then I can be a bondservant and be obedient  to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2: 5-8).

My ultimate need!

Last Sunday, I wasn’t faithful. I didn’t write. I was tired physically and emotionally. I let my emotions take control of my life. 

This week was worse. I was down, emotionally. I cried a lot, complained a lot. It was so difficult to pray. My faith was buried under my emotions and my tears. I needed God. 

First, I thought I needed His blessings. I thought that I needed Him to meet my needs; and He did. He offered me things I have never prayed for because I could not think of Him giving me them. As I was praising and crying (praying was too simple), He heard me. I didn’t realize that He was listening. He seemed so far. He seemed deaf and blind. 
However He answered. He blessed me with things that I really needed. I am still mesmerized! When He says that He “is able to do  immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within usi“, Ephesians 3:20 He is not joking. He is able and He is willing to do what it takes to meet our needs.

So my needs (at least a part of them because they are countless) were met. I should have been happy, dancing in the rain. I wasn’t. I needed more. Then I understood. He used His power to work within me. He softly spoke to me. He told me I was unhappy because I was far from Him.

He wasn’t the first anymore. I was. People were. There were a lot of barriers between Him and me : my fears, my lack of trust, my desire to be loved and approved by others and so on. He told me I needed Him. He told me that I needed to be entirely His. I needed to have an undivided devotion to Him. I needed to be able to say with Paul : “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.Philippians 1:21
Christ is my life and when I don’t live for Him, I am dying away. He is my first need and my ultimate blessing.

A single with a mission

Today let’s talk about heroes. My favourite is Batman. Why him? Why not Superman, Spiderman  and all the others who send their time saving the world? Because he is normal, simply human. A human with a mission but still a human. No super power, no supernatural protection. He is human. I fell in love with him years ago. I was a teenager. Since then, I have been in love. And it feels like i will never stop loving him. Why? Because his mission never changes. After years, he still wants to protect and save his fellow-citizens. I love Batman. In the same way, I love Anna. She is my heroine.
Why? she was a blessed single. A single with a mission.
Luke 2: 36-38 says she was very old. She was eighty-four. I can’t even imagine being that old. She was old and she had been single for most of her life. She had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage.  As in those days, women used to get married young, let’s say she got married at sixteen. So she was a widow at twenty-three. I can imagine her loneliness, her despair. It seems that she didn’t have children. At least, I choose to believe that she had no children. She could have been bitter, sad and depressed. She could have cursed the Lord. She could have done a lot things. But she chose to serve the Lord. In her despair, she chose the best. She was not a great leader, running everywhere and showing people how important and busy she was. She was a servant. She served her God and his people by praying and fasting. She was a single and she decided to use her time praying and fasting. She worshipped night and day.
My question to you, my question to me is: what are we doing with our time? What are we doing with our nights and your days? Are we using our skills to serve the Lord? Are we using our gifts to worship Him? If you don’t know what to do, pray… and fast. Pray for the Church, pray for other single women. Pray for your neighbours, pray for all those who don’t know God. Pray and fast. Pray for yourself. Pray to be content and grateful. Pray to serve Him who made you. Pray to find  a husband. And above all, pray to be a single after his own heart. Just pray and worship Him.
Prayers change hearts. Prayers change history. Prayers draw us close to God. Prayers make us know God and His ways. Anna knew. She knew what all the leaders of her time didn’t notice. She knew. She knew Jesus was the Messiah.  She knew He came to redeem his people. How did she know? She never gave up. She has a mission: being close to her Maker, worshipping Him.
She was a single with a mission. She is my heroine for ” She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.
May the Lord fill your heart with prayers this week.