Isaiah 61:3 says in part:
To give beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
This is God’s promise to me.
Actually it’s God’s promise to everyone who turns to Him in full surrender and humility. As a good friend pointed out to me, the bad things that happen in our lives are not God’s will they are the byproduct of living in a fallen world.
When these things happen to us they are no more God’s will for us than the falling rain is God making us cold and wet. It is simply the earthly life just happening.
This passage from Isaiah is God’s promise to us that He will turn life’s ashes into beauty. That He will anoint us with the oil of His joy when we mourn and that all we have to do is put on the “garment of praise” toward God for Him to lift that “spirit of heaviness” that is causing us so much pain and distress.
Most of the time I write this in the first person and limit myself to how the scripture leads and supports me. I don’t believe that I am a good enough Christian to “preach” to anyone and am just struggling to live close enough to God myself.
In this case I just wanted to remind you, my readers, that God will carry you through the worst of times and that if you simply invite him into your life he will help you find the resources to deal with any problem.
The resources within yourself that He as already given you but your pain, anguish and fear are keeping hidden from you.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in
For in you do I trust:
Cause me to know the way in which I
For I lift up my soul to You.
What a beautiful prayer!
I purposely tried to duplicate the formatting in my Bible because this is, to me at least, not only a prayer but poetry as well and the spacing helps read the meaning beyond the simple wording.
To me this is asking for God to let me start my day in the atmosphere of His love and support.
I am reaffirming my trust that He will lead me and guide my day.
That I can trust Him to guide me in acting in as He want’s me to act and to take the actions that are in His plan.
In lifting up my soul to Him I am attempting to let go of my will and be open and ready to hear His leadership and to follow His path to the place that He has already prepared for me.
Written with my partner Bryan Neva
You shall not commit adultery (Ex 20-14)
In the bible the 7th commandment refers to a married person having sex with someone other than their spouse. But you can commit adultery in business too.
If we offer to sell you a quart of milk and deliver a half-quart of milk mixed with a half-quart of water, we’ve committed adultery. Mixing water with milk is not much different from breaking one’s marriage vows because it’s altering a contract between two people. If a company reduces the pay and benefits they’ve agreed to provide their employees, they’ve altered the contract they had with them. If we don’t keep our promises to our employees, customers, or employers we’ve committed adultery.
Companies justify reducing their employee’s pay and benefits packages as cost savings measures to keep the company profitable. But to the employees this is a reduction in their compensation package and it creates both an immediate and future hardship. For example, if an employee has an agreement with their company for medical and retirement benefits and their company decreases these benefits without an equal value increase their hourly wage then the company has committed adultery.
If this seems strange, think about that quart of milk: we’d feel cheated if we’d paid for a quart of milk but only received a half-quart of milk mixed with a half-quart of water. In exactly the same way employees feel cheated when their company reduces their pay or medical and retirement benefits with out an equal value increase somewhere else. If the employee doesn’t like it, his only recourse is to find another job. But for retired employees who lose their pension and medical benefits they have no recourse.
There have been several reported stories of employees that had their pay and benefits reduced and later discovered that management was given huge bonuses. In some cases the total for al those bonuses exceed the cost of the lost pay and benefits. Adultery in modern business today is when management has the power to arbitrarily reduce their employee’s compensation package while increasing their own. This is nothing more than a selfish childhood attitude of I got mine and you’re on your own.
Loyalty is a two way street with employees on one side and the company on the other. Cheating employees, customers, or employers is not only dishonest but disloyal as well. If a company is so poorly structured and organized that it has to earn its profits out of the back pockets of its employees and customers, then it probably needs new leadership.
Some of you may have noticed that I have not met my commitment to publish a new piece every Tuesday. I have been suffering from writers block or at least from a lack of spiritual inspiration.
My morning reading this morning included the following:
4: And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and power:
5: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
In my writing I have tried to listen for what God wants me to say and not rely on my own very limited understanding of what the bible passages mean. For the last several weeks, I have not found what I needed to be sure that I was listening to God’s direction and not relying on my own thinking.
John (John 5:19) says that “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do:”.
If it’s true that even Jesus can do nothing except what God shows him and gives him the power to do than it’s even more true for each of us that if we truly listen, we can hear God’s direction personally and immediately. We can know the right thing to say or do and have the strength to actually do it.
Does this mean that I have lost my connection to God that inspired my previous writings? Absolutely not!
It does remind me that I am just a man attempting to listen to and fulfill God’s plan for me and that I will suffer from the human condition. A big part of that condition is getting so wrapped up in my daily life that I lose sight of my real nature as a child of God and in forgetting that connection I lose my inspiration.
It’s not lost forever, just until I remember that my connection to God is the most important thing and forget about all the daily nonsense that distracts me.
Many of the things we do each day are urgent, like paying the bills, but are not important in the same way that our connection to God is critical to our spiritual wellbeing.
Never let the important be missed in our attempt to do the merely urgent!