Your Soul Shall Live!

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God Calling June 7th

I planned to write a different post but as the old Yiddish proverb says, Man plans, God laughs.  He is chuckling today!   Yesterday morning, I “heard” the Holy Spirit’s nudge, Later Milly, stay with Me now.

I picked up the devotional God Calling edited by A.J. Russell and found this scripture included in the devotion for June 7th; True Beauty:

 “Incline your ear, and come to Me.

Hear, and your soul shall live;

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you –

The sure mercies of David.” [Isaiah 55:3]

I’ve read God Calling twice.  This is my third time reading it daily.  Unlike a modern devotional there is not a verse with every reading.  I found it odd I didn’t notice this verse in the prior readings.  This time the verse reached out and grabbed my attention.  I knew I needed to write about this.

My copy of God Calling is a U.S. reprint ©MCMLIIII (1954) by Barbour Books.  The book was written by two anonymous women in England and published in 1935.  They are only known as “Two Listeners.”  These women listened to God through sickness and poverty.

In the New King James Version Isaiah Chapter 55 titled:  An Invitation to Abundant Life.  I encourage you to read the entire chapter.  I see a blueprint here.  How do we find abundant life?  How do we get beyond all the messes we have made?  What about the blame and hatred heaped on our shoulders like a heavy yoke tying us to earthly things?

I can’t resolve the blame placed on my shoulders by my children.  I apologize for not being perfect.  Or I explain my reasons and excuses for what I have done; even if I can’t remember why.  None of that works.  I am forgiven only until the next time others remember the mistake or hurt.  Then my shame breaks my heart again.

I am watching this play out in our Country too.  This weekend I watched a video of a young woman kneeling before a Black Lives Matter representative.  He startled her and demanded she kneel before him because of the color of her skin.  It was interesting that I never saw the color of his skin.  Only the back of his black hood and I heard his voice.  The image stayed with me this weekend.  It was an image of judgment and unforgiveness rolling across our country.

In my faith, I learned not to bow before idols, gods, or man.  I am called to only kneel before God.  I learned this from Daniel, Mordecai, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Jesus Christ, and many others throughout our Faiths.  Our Country was founded on principles allowing us to choose who we bend our knee to and worship.  I do not worship money, skin color, or political power.  My God is worth more than all of that.  I kneel for God Almighty.  He is my Lord.  Then I read further and I found Isaiah 55:6-7:

6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,

Call upon Him while He is near.

7 Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And He will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

How do we live an abundant life?  There is the formula.  Seek the Lord, call upon Him, forsake our ways and thoughts, and return to the Lord.  The only true forgiveness comes from the Lord.  “For He will abundantly pardon” us (emphasis added).

Writing this, I have a new image.  If we return, seek, and call upon the Lord, forsake our old ways and return to Him; His Forgiveness, Love, and Acceptance will roll across our land.  It is the only way to heal our Land.

“Incline your ear, and come to Me.

Hear, and your soul shall live;

My Lord, I am listening and come to you today.  Help us live abundantly in the Holy Spirit’s embrace.  Forgive us, heal our souls, and give us life.  Guide us back to You, Holy Father.  You are the only one who can heal our nations from judgment and shame.  Set our Souls free to live abundantly in you!  Help us move forward with confidence in God, our Father.  In Jesus’ name amen.  And in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit amen.

God Bless you,

Milly

P.S. The scripture passages are from the New King James Version.

A Little Bit of Joy

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“Be able to love, heal and accept yourself, so you can then offer these gifts to others – Lesly Juarez” (Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash)

Happy belated Valentine’s Day!  I spent the last two days rejoicing with a few of the people I love in this world.  What I didn’t spend time doing was writing.  I needed to connect face-to-face with people I love! Continue reading “A Little Bit of Joy”

Bitter! Bitter! Bitter!

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Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

Isn’t it just like life when you start looking at something closely you find it around every corner? As you know, I’m learning the bittersweet. Right now I’m seeing the bitter…Everywhere!

The word in English actual means sweet with a bitter aftertaste, or a poisonous climbing plant. I still haven’t found the word “bittersweet” in the bible. There are lots of references to “bitter” and to “sweet.” A few references have both words in them. I haven’t even broached poisonous vines yet! Whew! this word study is going to take a while!

Now personally, I would love to only focus on the sweet! I mean I do love sweet stuff! I decided to tackle the passages dealing with bitter and sweet together first. There are less of those references. But God seems to have other plans for me.

One of the things I do when I embark on a word study is open my eyes to the word in my surroundings. It makes me hyper-aware of my world in relation to the study journey I am taking. Well…Lately I’m seeing bitter everywhere. Makes me want to stamp my foot! “Lord I want the sweetness too!”

I think I heard that chuckle as I look heavenward.  He knows what I need even when I don’t want to follow the path, little stubborn ewe that I am. I was cleaning out my emails and came across Girlfriends in God email from www.crosswalk.com.

The email was from a few weeks ago. The title caught my eye, A Bitter Cup. Of course I had to open it and read the contents. I couldn’t resist. Cleaning out my email would wait another day…right?

Well this girlfriend discussed the bitter cups in our lives. She describes how parents can pour their bitterness out to their children. As the children sip from the cup of bitterness they grow bitter roots.

I sat back and thought I can relate to that. My father grew up with a bitter father. He learned the bitter at the knee of his father. Now as an elder man he follows the same path by keeping his bitterness in his soul. I watch his bitterness morphing into fear, paranoia, and distrust. The bitter root rules his old age.

In contrast, my mother grew up with a bitter alcoholic mother. She made a decision as a young woman to follow Jesus Christ. She also made the decision to learn from her parents and be a better parent. The path she chose was very different from the one she learned as a child. When we get together she is filled with love, joy and peace. The essence of the Holy Spirit surrounds her.

I have to say I am blessed to have the contrasting examples. If I pay attention I will find my way. I continued to read the email. At one point the girlfriend talks about a teacher who taught her when life hands you a bitter cup, it is you need to drink all of it, not to pass it to others (I have paraphrased here). The verse she chose for the devotional is:

Hebrews 12:15 (I used the NABRE):  “See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled,

When I read this I thought of all the ways we spread our cup of bitterness with those around us (whether they want it or not). My father spits out his bitterness with verbal abuse. I thought of the times I’ve spread gossip, and division. How I’ve commiserated with others. Ya know the “woe is me” game. “My problems are bigger than yours “competition. I’m not proud of it but, these are some of the ways I have participated in sharing the bitter cup.

It’s not easy right now. Life swirls around me with anxiety and stress. But, remember back to where God was teaching me about my roots. In one of the posts I found I can dig the unwanted roots out of my garden. After looking at the contrast between my parents I find; if I choose to trust God today, I am digging out the bitter root of my fathers.

I may get my hands dirty but…I choose to dig! May the peace of God rest in your soul.

Milly

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Photo by Robb Leahy on Unsplash