Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Sunday Moth

My husband and I were driving to church on Sunday, a beautiful blue-sky kind of day.
Suddenly, I caught movement in my left eye's  peripheral vision,  and before I could think to see what it was, something landed with a small thump on my glasses, and all I could see was a big smudge. Yes, it was a moth and my husband happened to have his camera beside him to quickly snap a photo. I'm sorry the photo is blurred but it does prove the event!

Knowing me well,  my husband voiced my thoughts ... "You'll have to write a post about this."
I smiled and replied, "I'm already thinking."
I had my 'application lesson' in mind before we drove onto the church parking lot.

Moths in the bible are always spoken of as something that is destructive, destroying what is good or valued.
 Some  passage references  are ...
Job 4:19 - "How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before a moth?"
Matt. 6:19 - "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy..."
James 5:2 - "your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten."

But my inspiration  passage is found in Isaiah 51:7,8

"Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, 
you people in whose heart is my law,
Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their revilings, 
for the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool, 
but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation."

In this passage the Lord is encouraging His people and contrasting them to the people who would reproach and revile them. 
It is the 'moth' that symbolizes the destruction coming upon those who reject the Lord and despise His law and His people.  

In this passage there is something the Lord wants us to know. 
 When the Lord says, "Listen to Me!", do we listen? or do we have selective hearing ....  

What does He want us to know that is important enough that He snaps us to attention -
"Listen to me!".
If you are a mother you understand perfectly how you need to make sure your child is focused and attentive if you  want him to remember what you are about to say.   

When the moth landed on my glasses, I was very happy I was wearing glasses that prevented the moth from flying into my eye.  
So also in the Isaiah passage the Lord is saying that we have protection from the 'moths' that would threaten us with intended harm.  

What is this protection over us?   Righteousness.

Our righteousness is two-fold. 
First it is the righteousness of Christ, a gift that covers us when we accept Him as our Savior.
Secondly, we must walk in that righteousness by doing the things that please the Lord, obeying the things He has commanded us to do. It is not enough to just be hearers of the Word , we must also be doers.  His laws are not a list of 'dos and don'ts' to make our days difficult , but rather God in His wisdom wrote a manual that instructs us on how we should live to be safe and happy and holy - a delight to our heavenly Father in the same way an obedient child is a delight to his parents. 

I am not aware of my glasses as I go through my day, but it is through them that I view everything around me.
In the same way,  we are to view the world around us through the 'glasses' of our righteousness.
If we "know righteousness and have God's law in our hearts" we will see clearly with wisdom and discernment. The 'moths' of this world will not be able to get past the protection that keeps us in peace, thankfulness and joy.

If we do not have our 'glasses' of righteousness on, our vision is blurred - we do not see clearly and we are vulnerable to all the enemy would bring against us. We are easily fooled by his lies, his deception, his temptations - all of which sound so good and reasonable to an 'unprotected' mind.

We know bad things happen even to good people, and pain or difficulties can cause a distracting 'smudge' to hinder our vision, but we can be assured of the faithfulness of God's promise  that as long as we 'wear' our righteousness the 'moths' of destruction will not be able to hurt us. They may touch our physical body, but not our soul or our spirit.

When we find ourselves in trouble, maybe the first question we need to ask ourselves is ... Were we protected by  'righteousness' to keep the 'moths' from harming us, or did we think we could get away with compromising godly righteousness and exchanging it for the counterfeit of the world's wisdom, so-called?

"My righteousness will be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation."
Herein we are safe, both in this earthly life and the eternal life to come!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Why Don't You Sing?

I enjoy watching the hummingbirds that come to drink of my flowers and my feeders on the patio. I hung the feeders for the pleasure of watching the beautiful birds they attract, but that I should learn life-lessons from them was unexpected.

I sat watching them the other day, and noted one bird tucking himself out of sight  in a corner, under the eaves,  obviously on guard watching for the other hummingbirds coming to drink at HIS feeding stations, There are more than one feeder,  but hummingbirds aren't into sharing.  I see them diving at one another and chasing each other away with their built-in swords pointing!

The only time I see any hummingbirds together is when a mother is teaching her young how and where to find food.  The rest of the time the only social interaction involves angerly chasing each other away from the feeders.
 Watching them I wondered if they feel emotions the way we do ... judging from their body language I have to conclude that they do.
It made me feel sad that such delicate, beautiful birds spend so much time fostering angry, greedy or other negative emotions against each other.

Then it occurred to me that hummingbirds don't sing - they have no song , just an angry snapping of their beaks when they want to warn someone that they better get out of their space!

I thought about the birds whose melodies wake me every morning, and I realized that every one of the little songsters are social birds that love one another and happily share food sources. The Western Tanagers, the Black-headed Chick-e-dees, the Juncos,, the Black-headed Grosbeaks, the warblers  all love one another and their joyful chorus bursts forth at the first flicker of morning light.  Every day they tirelessly sing the praise that God put into their little hearts.

Is 'unity' needful before we can have 'harmony' ?
Do angry feelings squelch the song in our heart?
Do you feel like singing when you are filled with angry feelings against someone - be they justified or not?   I know I don't.
It is a sobering thought  --  I don't want to be like the hummingbird.  I want God to hear my joyful praise every day - because I can't NOT express in song the joy He has put into my heart - the joy that overrules anger and hatred and greed.  Joy that is stirred into song, "because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts"~Rom. 5:5

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; 
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.