J/K. But I really wanted to just bury my head and take a break from life. If I’m honest, that has happened more times than I care to count. I have actually chucked the deuces and backed up from my relationship with Jesus more times than I care to count.
I have known part of my purpose since I was 14 years old. Going on 21 years. My life was no picnic before that and it has definitely not been one since then.
It is difficult to me to be me. I get that other people my have it worse. That doesn’t negate what I’ve endured. What I’m enduring.
I CANNOT quit. I CANNOT let my foot off of the gas. I have to do what I have to do in this moment to get where I’m supposed to be. This is the last time some of this particular stuff will go on. I’m not dealing with it any longer. I will have done everything possible to handle it.
I gave it to Jesus long ago. But, I’m not the only person involved. I am doing something I have never done. Cuz I want it to be OVER. Maybe it ends. Maybe it gets better. That is a possibility. What I do know is that I’m not putting up with it. I don’t have time or energy to continue in the cycle of this particular foolishness. I’ve walked away and gone back. Had to.
I don’t feel obligated after it is addressed. Either the people involved do what I need them to do or I do what I need to do for me, my future, and those attached to my future. Make no mistake, it will be a hard sacrifice to walk away. But, I have before and I will again. They will have to meet me where I am. There’s nothing wrong with boundaries and standing up for yourself. Selfishness has its necessary moments.
So. Don’t quit. Figure out what you need to learn and what you need to do. Have the conversations. Make the hard decisions. You are responsible for you. Nobody will take care of you like you. And, if God is involved, it will all work together for good. Romans 8:28. Believe it. Cuz it’s true.
So. I’m gonna read from Isaiah through Malachi, skipping Lamentations, from now through June 15 if nothing changes.
Putting the chapter in bold with my comments regular was an exercise in patience for the parts of proverbs I did it for. Three chapters of it will be team way to much.
My words will be italicized wherever they appear. Should the Bible be italicized near my words, I’ll do something to differentiate them. 🙃😊
Isaiah Chapter 1
Messages of Judgment
Quit Your Worship Charades
¹ The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw regarding Judah and Jerusalem during the times of the kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
2-4 Heaven and earth, you’re the jury.
Listen to God’s case:
“I had children and raised them well,
and they turned on me.
The ox knows who’s boss,
the mule knows the hand that feeds him,
But not Israel.
My people don’t know up from down.
Shame! Misguided God-dropouts,
staggering under their guilt-baggage,
band of vandals—
My people have walked out on me, their God,
turned their backs on The Holy of Israel,
walked off and never looked back.
5-9 “Why bother even trying to do anything with you
when you just keep to your bullheaded ways?
You keep beating your heads against brick walls.
Everything within you protests against you.
From the bottom of your feet to the top of your head,
nothing’s working right.
Wounds and bruises and running sores—
untended, unwashed, unbandaged.
Your country is laid waste,
your cities burned down.
Your land is destroyed by outsiders while you watch,
reduced to rubble by barbarians.
Daughter Zion is deserted—
like a tumbledown shack on a dead-end street,
Like a tarpaper shanty on the wrong side of the tracks,
like a sinking ship abandoned by the rats.
If God-of-the-Angel-Armies hadn’t left us a few survivors,
we’d be as desolate as Sodom, doomed just like Gomorrah.
10 “Listen to my Message,
you Sodom-schooled leaders.
Receive God’s revelation,
you Gomorrah-schooled people.
11-12 “Why this frenzy of sacrifices?”
“Don’t you think I’ve had my fill of burnt sacrifices,
rams and plump grain-fed calves?
Don’t you think I’ve had my fill
of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats?
When you come before me,
whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that—
all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?
Man. This reminds me of when Jesus went in the temple and turned over the tables (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18). This also makes me think of us today and how God must feel about us…
13-17 “Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.
This reminds me of so many people and churches I know today. Also, the Sadducees and Pharisees of the New Testament. Crazy.
Let’s Argue This Out
18-20 “Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.”
This is God’s Message:
“If your sins are blood-red,
they’ll be snow-white.
If they’re red like crimson,
they’ll be like wool.
If you’ll willingly obey,
you’ll feast like kings.
But if you’re willful and stubborn,
you’ll die like dogs.”
That’s right. God says so.
Those Who Walk Out on God
21-23 Oh! Can you believe it? The chaste city
has become a whore!
She was once all justice,
everyone living as good neighbors,
And now they’re all
at one another’s throats.
Your coins are all counterfeits.
Your wine is watered down.
Your leaders are turncoats
who keep company with crooks.
They sell themselves to the highest bidder
and grab anything not nailed down.
They never stand up for the homeless,
never stick up for the defenseless.
This is something that appears to be going on today. All this money in all these churches to build bigger buildings. But there is little to no outreach to help those in need, the mandate Jesus gave when describing who would be welcome in heaven in Matthew 25:31-40, the hands and feet of Jesus.
24-31 This Decree, therefore, of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
the Strong One of Israel:
“This is it! I’ll get my oppressors off my back.
I’ll get back at my enemies.
I’ll give you the back of my hand,
purge the junk from your life, clean you up.
I’ll set honest judges and wise counselors among you
just like it was back in the beginning.
Then you’ll be renamed
City-That-Treats-People-Right, the True-Blue City.”
God’s right ways will put Zion right again.
God’s right actions will restore her prodigals.
But it’s curtains for rebels and God-traitors,
a dead end for those who walk out on God.
“Your dalliances in those oak grove shrines
will leave you looking mighty foolish,
All that fooling around in god and goddess gardens
that you thought was the latest thing.
You’ll end up like an oak tree
with all its leaves falling off,
Like an unwatered garden,
withered and brown.
‘The Strong Man’ will turn out to be dead bark and twigs,
and his ‘work,’ the spark that starts the fire
That exposes man and work both
as nothing but cinders and smoke
Isaiah Chapter 2
Climb God’s Mountain
The Message Isaiah got regarding Judah and Jerusalem:
1-5There’s a day coming
when the mountain of God’s House
Will be The Mountain—
solid, towering over all mountains.
All nations will river toward it,
people from all over set out for it.
They’ll say, “Come,
let’s climb God’s Mountain,
go to the House of the God of Jacob.
He’ll show us the way he works
so we can live the way we’re made.”
Zion’s the source of the revelation.
God’s Message comes from Jerusalem.
He’ll settle things fairly between nations.
He’ll make things right between many peoples.
They’ll turn their swords into shovels,
their spears into hoes.
No more will nation fight nation;
they won’t play war anymore.
Come, family of Jacob,
let’s live in the light of God.
6-9 God, you’ve walked out on your family Jacob
because their world is full of hokey religion,
Philistine witchcraft, and pagan hocus-pocus,
a world rolling in wealth,
Stuffed with things,
no end to its machines and gadgets,
And gods—gods of all sorts and sizes.
These people make their own gods and worship what they make.
A degenerate race, facedown in the gutter.
Don’t bother with them! They’re not worth forgiving!
Bruuuuuuuuuuh. The more things change the more things stay the same…
Pretentious Egos Brought Down to Earth
10 Head for the hills,
hide in the caves
From the terror of God,
from his dazzling presence.
11-17 People with a big head are headed for a fall,
pretentious egos brought down a peg.
It’s God alone at front-and-center
on the Day we’re talking about,
The Day that God-of-the-Angel-Armies
is matched against all big-talking rivals,
against all swaggering big names;
Against all giant sequoias
and against the expansive chestnut;
Against Kilimanjaro and Annapurna,
against the ranges of Alps and Andes;
Against every soaring skyscraper,
against all proud obelisks and statues;
Against ocean-going luxury liners,
against elegant three-masted schooners.
The swelled big heads will be punctured bladders,
the pretentious egos brought down to earth,
Leaving God alone at front-and-center
on the Day we’re talking about.
The first part reminds me of what I just read last month. Pride before destruction, haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18 King James Version KJV). The last part…what I’m going to get to eventually: Isaiah 42:8 KJV (…my glory I will not give to another…) and Philippians 2:10-11 KJV (That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father).
18 And all those sticks and stones
dressed up to look like gods
will be gone for good.
19 Clamber into caves in the cliffs,
duck into any hole you can find.
Hide from the terror of God,
from his dazzling presence,
When he assumes his full stature on earth,
towering and terrifying.
It is interesting that the instruction is hide when Adam and Eve’s hiding was pointless in Genesis 3:8 because God already knew, even though He asked Adam where he was in verse 9. I heard a preacher once say that God doesn’t ask questions that He doesn’t already know the answer to. I would give them credit. But I’m not 100% I have the right one.
20-21 On that Day men and women will take
the sticks and stones
They’ve decked out in gold and silver
to look like gods and then worshiped,
And they will dump them
in any ditch or gully,
Then run for rock caves
and cliff hideouts
To hide from the terror of God,
from his dazzling presence,
When he assumes his full stature on earth,
towering and terrifying.
22 Quit scraping and fawning over mere humans,
so full of themselves, so full of hot air!
Can’t you see there’s nothing to them?
Makes me think of how much people want to be like others but don’t know how fake and cultivated the presentations are.
Isaiah Chapter 3
Jerusalem on Its Last Legs
1-7 The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
is emptying Jerusalem and Judah
Of all the basic necessities,
plain bread and water to begin with.
He’s withdrawing police and protection,
judges and courts,
pastors and teachers,
captains and generals,
doctors and nurses,
and, yes, even the repairmen and jacks-of-all-trades.
He says, “I’ll put little kids in charge of the city.
Schoolboys and schoolgirls will order everyone around.
People will be at each other’s throats,
stabbing one another in the back:
Neighbor against neighbor, young against old,
the no-account against the well-respected.
One brother will grab another and say,
‘You look like you’ve got a head on your shoulders.
Get us out of this mess.’
And he’ll say, ‘Me? Not me! I don’t have a clue.
Don’t put me in charge of anything.’
8-9 “Jerusalem’s on its last legs.
Judah is soon down for the count.
Everything people say and do
is at cross-purposes with God,
a slap in my face.
Brazen in their depravity,
they flaunt their sins like degenerate Sodom.
Doom to their eternal souls! They’ve made their bed;
now they’ll sleep in it.
10-11 “Reassure the righteous
that their good living will pay off.
But doom to the wicked! Disaster!
Everything they did will be done to them.
12 “Skinny kids terrorize my people.
Silly girls bully them around.
My dear people! Your leaders are taking you down a blind alley.
They’re sending you off on a wild-goose chase.”
A City Brought to Her Knees by Her Sorrows
13-15 God enters the courtroom.
He takes his place at the bench to judge his people.
God calls for order in the court,
hauls the leaders of his people into the dock:
“You’ve played havoc with this country.
Your houses are stuffed with what you’ve stolen from the poor.
What is this anyway? Stomping on my people,
grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt?”
That’s what the Master,
I love the reminder that God is whatever and whoever we need Him to be. Here he is needed as a judge. But He is so many things all through the Bible and through Jesus to us today.
16-17 God says, “Zion women are stuck-up,
prancing around in their high heels,
Making eyes at all the men in the street,
swinging their hips,
Tossing their hair,
gaudy and garish in cheap jewelry.”
The Master will fix it so those Zion women
will all turn bald—
Scabby, bald-headed women.
The Master will do it.
Whoa. Eek. Sheesh.
18-23 The time is coming when the Master will strip them of their fancy baubles—the dangling earrings, anklets and bracelets, combs and mirrors and silk scarves, diamond brooches and pearl necklaces, the rings on their fingers and the rings on their toes, the latest fashions in hats, exotic perfumes and aphrodisiacs, gowns and capes, all the world’s finest in fabrics and design.
24 Instead of wearing seductive scents,
these women are going to smell like rotting cabbages;
Instead of modeling flowing gowns,
they’ll be sporting rags;
Instead of their stylish hairdos,
Instead of beauty marks,
scabs and scars.
Um what? Lol.
25-26 Your finest fighting men will be killed,
your soldiers left dead on the battlefield.
The entrance gate to Zion will be clotted
with people mourning their dead—
A city stooped under the weight of her loss,
brought to her knees by her sorrows.
God wasn’t playin with these people! Buckle up cuz He has so much more to say in these prophetic books of the Bible. And He is talking about so many of us today…
I’m an odd bird. Check out some of these posts if you haven’t. Facts.
I’ve always been different and fitting in has proven difficult at times.
I have tried to quit Christmas for years. Ending up with a sweet, precious nephew thwarted my plans.
This year I’m sticking to it. Just like I quit Thanksgiving. Or rather, Colonizer’s Day.
It isn’t really surprising to me that this is the conclusion I’ve come to. I have already rejected certain things about the way I was raised in church. This is merely an extension of that.
I sat down and examined some things and came to conclusions that were different than what I was taught. Some critical thinking. Same goes for the history of these holidays.
The colonizers celebrated living due to help from the Native Americans they stole land from and killed. I don’t care that we have tried to rewrite history and co-opt it. You can’t erase it and I won’t celebrate it ever again if I can help it.
Instead, I am going to celebrate passover. I think being grateful that God spared the life of the firstborn of the children of Israel who put blood on their door posts so the death angel would pass over is a great substitute. Because the children if Israel continued to procreate, Jesus was born to die for my sins.
Who gives gifts to others on someone’s birthday? I wish somebody would give my shine to others on my day who were born on another day.
Christmas is a pagan, commercial, money grabbing holiday. We can say Jesus is the reason for the season. We can have lil speeches and plays. But is he really and truly? Or is his shine taken by gifts and food and insanity?
Listen. If people wanna celebrate either, good for them. But I don’t. And again. The history.
Roman emperor Constantine wanted to convert people to Christianity. The people already celebrated the winter solstice. So, Constantine decided they would celebrate the birth of Christ at the same time to support his conversion efforts. Ain’t that about nothing? I kid. Noble idea poor execution.
I did some light research. I came across an article that included the thoughts of others that didn’t necessarily bear the same conclusions. To me, that’s a well written article. https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/issues-v23-n02/when-jesus-was-really-born
The conclusion is that Jesus was born in September or October in the lead up to Rosh Hashanah. So guess what ya girl will be celebrating? Lol.
My thing is, like TD Jakes once preached, make the main thing the main thing. If we are really celebrating and reflecting on Jesus, none of the other stuff should come into play-the tree, the gifts, the capitalism, the frenzy.
Plus. There are TONS of holidays and birthdays all year that provide reasons, or just cuz, to give gifts.
But hey. This is just me. Do you boo. Merry Christmas. Happy Birthday Jesus.
How odd for a Christian to not go to church. I honestly never thought I would be anything less than a faithful church attendee.
But the reality is this: after 26 years of mostly faithful attendance, the past 5ish years has been spotty and mostly nonexistent.
To many that’s baffling. Especially some of the people I’m closest too. I was hardcore active and present every time the doors opened. For a multitude of reasons, I even chose to go to church instead of seeing my cousin when she came in town. 🙈
I’m not a perfect Christian or person. I’m human. But you learn a few things, see a few things, by being a halfway decent Christian according to mainstream standards for 26ish years.
There are a couple of the many churches I have attended that are my favorite. It’s hard for others to measure up. Not to mention my distillation of the Bible I read and believe has led me to a complex conclusion with strong held convictions.
For comparison’s sake-when it comes to church I’m kinda a snob. Like Starbucks diehards. Or many iPhone owners.
When you’ve experienced the best why settle? Especially when it is something as important as a relationship with Jesus and salvation.
I won’t get into all of my beliefs and the inherent contradictions. I am well aware that all of this many not be kosher when considering what scripture has to say.
But I read my Bible. I could do better at that. I talk to Jesus. I could do better at that too.
We are all striving and can all do better. Where I am right now is good enough for me. That sounds slightly horrible as I tap it out.
I just don’t want to go to church for the sake of going to church. That’s religion. I’d rather have a relationship any day.
People don’t trust their kids with just anybody. Why should I do that with my church attendance?
Maybe I’ll find somewhere. Maybe I’ll find something. Maybe I should be more proactive. But maybe, just maybe, I’m fine just where I am right now.