Today, K-LOVE's Encouraging Word came from Isaiah 58:9. I like to read the passage, look at it in context, and even see how it "translates" in different versions of the Bible. I did that this morning, and instead of getting a heaping helping of the feel-goods, I got a serious dose of conviction. Here's why (bold print is mine):
Isaiah 58 (THE MESSAGE)
Your Prayers Won't Get Off the Ground
1-3 "Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what's wrong with their lives, face my family Jacob with their sins!
They're busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people—
law-abiding, God-honoring. They ask me, 'What's the right thing to do?'
and love having me on their side. But they also complain, 'Why do we fast and you don't look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don't even notice?'
OUCH!!!!! I am afraid that I resemble that a little more than I would like. I am busy, busy, busy! And it's all good stuff I'm doing. I'm doing the right thing, serving in the church. But am I doing it for the right reasons? Am I doing it out of vanity, to preserve my reputation as a good Christian girl? Are my good works sincere, motivated by my love for God and His people? Or are they just the thing to do?
I have to examine myself, my deeds, my motivations. I have to pray and listen. If I read the passage right, I probably ought to fast. Ouch again!
But it wasn't all OUCH this morning. There was a defite AAHHH this morning, and here it is If I dedicate myself to knowing God, to loving Him, to being in relationship with Him, if I allow Him to guide my paths, and if I worship and serve him with a pure heart, here's what will happen (still from The Message, bold print still mine):
9-12"If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people's sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past."
I absolutely love that part!!! What better motivation to get my head in the game???