Isaiah 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. Holy Holy Holy are you Lord, the whole earth is filled with your glory.... Holy Holy Holy Lord God Almighty who was and is and forever more shall be... How many holy holy holy songs can you think of? Think quick. Times up. And no, it doesn't mean you aren't too holy if you couldn't think of more than two. This Sunday in worship we sang the first song above and later in the children's class I teach we sang number two, well kind of sort of, we sang the holy holy holies to that tune of that old hymn anyway. Our lesson was about God calling Isaiah in Isaiah Chapter 6. One of the first questions in the lesson was, "What is holy?" The children gave a lot of answers. One said, "Worshipping God." One said, as she held up her 'Holy' Bible, " The Bible is." Another little girl said, "It is God." Finally the best answer- "It is everything about God." When she said everything I told her that was close to the answer I was looking for. The lesson described holy as whole and perfect; complete. Only God is whole and perfect therefore we call Him holy. We worked out a little skit from Isaiah Chapter 6. The kids pretended to be the six winged angels covering their faces, feet, and flying and singing holy, holy, holy to the tune of the song I mentioned earlier. Tonight as I thought back on the lesson, I asked myself "What is holy?" How do you define the word? I realized I really didn't know how to define it myself. I know God is holy and I love to tell Him that, and He loves to hear it, but what does it mean. I looked it up in the dictionary and found saintly, godly, pious, devout, having a spiritual quality. My favorite one referred me directly back to God: Holy refers to the divine, that which has its sanctity directly from God or is connected with Him I believe the best definition of holy came from the children's lesson this morning- that which is whole and perfect. No one is perfect. Only God measures up to that degree of holiness. Even though we strive to live holy devout lives, and posses a few spiritual qualities, only He deserves to be praised with choruses of holy, holy, holy. If we expect someone to sing holy, holy, holy, choruses to us or if we sing them to ourselves, truth is we aren't too holy no matter how many holy, holy, holy songs we know. We need to continue to read our Holy Bibles, often I might add, and worship God daily. We need to realize God is whole, perfect, compete. God is everything. The whole earth is filled with His glory. He is a mighty God who is holy, holy, holy, and forever more shall be. Of the Shadow Dark days come into our lives and cast a shadow over hopes and dreams and plans and happiness and life in general. We continue on and on and cry out to Jesus for answers and for a ray of hope to find it's way through the darkness. Even though we continue to pray and keep our eyes on Jesus, some days are hard and we might find ourselves leaning toward giving up completely and saying, "I don't know what I am going to do." Last night as I went to the ER with my son I said, " I don't know what I am going to do." He said- "You can do nothing. You have to quit depending on yourself and depend on God completely. This is, and everything is, in His hands. You cannot let anything, even this, stop you from doing what God has called you to do. God is still with you no matter how dark everything seems. When Jesus was on the cross it seemed really dark to everyone who was there watching. He could have said I don't know what I am going to do when the darkness fell, but He didn't. He cried out to God. He could have given up and got off the cross and said this isn't worth all this pain. I have done nothing to deserve this, but He didn't. He remained on the cross doing what He had been called to do long before foundation of the world, even on the darkest day the world had ever known." My son went on to remind me of a sermon I heard Sunday. The sermon was about storms, which right now seem never ending in my life. My son reminded me the sermon spoke of Jesus always being in the boat with us even during great storms. And He is. My son asked, "Were you not listening?" We must go through, through a lot of things, through storms and shadows of sickness and confusion, of devestation and brokenness, of deception and hypocrisy, of frustration and powerful fury of forces fighting against us, even through the shadow of death itself, as Jesus did. Though all these ofs Jesus is there walking through the shadows with us always. Even though we have all read the 23rd Psalm over and over, when the shadows of come, and attempt to block our vision, it may take someone else to speak the words to us to remind us the words are more than words. The words are as faithful and true today, as they were when they were written. Are we listening? Jesus is as faithful and true today as He was when He hung on the cross and went through the shadows, through the darkness of death. The words are alive. Jesus is alive, and with us through all shadows of everything. Maybe this is the day you need to remind someone in your life of these faithful and true words. You can let God's light shine through their shadows of darkness through you. Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. A Piece of My Heart Hearts have four chambers I have been told, I think at some point in time I probably knew the names of each and had to label them on a test in school. It seems I recall that a heart is supposed to be the size of a clinched fist, therefore not very big. It has been said your heart is only as big as the amount of it you are willing to share and give away. If you ever wonder is your heart really there just put your hand on your chest and feel it beating. Another way to know for sure you have a heart is to have it broken. As Dorothy kissed the Tin Man on the cheek to say good bye in the movie The Wizard of Oz, he said, "I know for sure I have a heart now because I feel it breaking into." When did the four chambered fist sized beating organ, easily broken it seems, become a red "heart shaped" symbol of love which really isn't the shape of a heart at all? There are all kinds of varying answers to that question. Some say ancient hunters wanted to create a symbol for an organ that they found sometime still beating in their prey. Some say it was first found in the Catholic Church in the Victorian ages. Some say it was simply first drawn mistakenly by someone doodling. However it started, one thing is for sure, the red heart symbol is here to stay. Look around. You are bound to see a bumper sticker telling what or who the driver of the car "hearts." When we give someone (one of those people that we heart) a piece of our heart, what is it that we really give? When we say our heart is broken (by one of the people that we heart), what is it that is really broken? Hmm. These are questions I ask myself on days when things don't go as I wish they would go; days when sadness comes for things that make me feel as if my heart will break if that could possibly be possible; days when things I think should have been aren't, things that could have been don't exist. Days when pieces of my heart were given that shouldn't have been given, and pieces weren't given to me that I feel I deserve. It has been said by me and others much smarter than me, "Be careful who you give your heart to." Make sure they will take good care of it, cherish it, treasure it. Pieces of hearts given should be accompanied by a little note telling the recipient the gift cannot be returned damaged and broken. But of course should of beens and could have beens aren't. No matter how much we heart someone. They don't always heart us back. What do we really give when we give a piece of our heart? We bravely let someone see who we truly are and share our inner most thoughts and hopes and dreams, things that are dear to our 'heart' I suppose. What is really breaking when we say our heart is breaking? I believe it is our very spirit. The very essence of who we are on the inside; that which really makes you, you and me, me. And what makes us who we are? The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory Colossians 1;27 THE MESSAGE Or maybe I should ask what is supposed to make us who we are? Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test? II Corinthians 13:5 NIV It seems that test is much more important than a test we probably all took at one time or another about identifying the four chambers of the organ in our chest that is said to be as big as a fist, symbolized by a "heart shaped" symbol. Realizing we are new creations who have Jesus Christ actually living inside of us should give us each hope to continue to share pieces of our heart, pieces of our spirit, pieces of Jesus with others. Do not fear! He will guide you in all truth. Today if you feel a little heart broken, as if you have given a piece of your heart away and it has been returned damaged and unrepairable, remember He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 As Deep As The Ocean As High As The Sky I love you with my heart I love you with my spirit I love you with my soul As deep as the ocean as high as the sky Surely this is a love that will never die. A simple little poem says a lot. Can love die? Surely not? Maybe? Certainly? How many loves that were proclaimed and shouted from the mountain tops for all the world to hear and see have died? Several. Millions. Trillions. Gazillionbillions. Young love doesn't always last. Old love doesn't always last. Love, or what we think to be love, especially when we are young, does fade away and eventually die. It has been said true love is the one thing we all hope to experience before we die Sadly many who search for love and acceptance of man their whole lives, never find the true love that is deeper than the ocean, higher than the sky. This great love created love. He is love. He created the ocean and sky. He loves our heart. He loves our very soul. His love for us did not and will never die, but He died loving us. Love died on a cross loving you and me. Love is not a feeling of butterflies in your stomach and your heart racing. Love is not the feeling of total complete happiness just to be in the same room with someone who you think of every second of every minute of every hour of every day. Love is not feeling tongued tied, unable to speak. Love is not the feeling of wanting more for another person than you want for yourself. Love is not even feeling you love someone so much that you feel you must let them go Love is not a feeling at all. Love is God. He sent His Son Jesus Jesus died on a cross. Love died. BUT He rose. Love rose again, to live forever and ever. The next time you feel love is dying remember, Love lives forever. Love is always with us loving us unconditionally. He loves us as deep as the ocean- as high as the sky that He created. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. John 4:16 NLT
Lame Sacrifice I remember a story of sacrifice my mother told me of her childhood. When she was young she went to town every Saturday with her cousin. They had to walk several miles. My mother loved her mother with a great love, so much she didn't like to leave her and always brought her something home. She told of a compact with a broken mirror she found under an oak tree. It was beautiful on the outside, but was flawed by the broken mirror. Despite the brokenness she still carried it home to her mother. My mother told another story of a half eaten apple from school carefully wrapped in a handkerchief. I think my favorite story of all is the one she told of the melted ice cream cone. When she was about eight years old, my mother found a quarter, just enough to buy an ice cream cone at the drugstore fountain. She ate a little, but thought of her mother. With miles to go, before she reached home, she wrapped the cone in a paper bag and got home with it as quickly as she could. Needless to say, all that was left was a soggy cone. Of course it was the thought that counted and I am sure her mother thought the soggy cone was delicious. A sacrifice is defined as to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something or someone else. So even though the cone was damaged, the apple was half eaten and the mirror was broken, my mother indeed did sacrifice these things, give them up for her mother. We are all called to give sacrificially to God. If it is something that we don't really want in the first place that we give to Him, it isn't much of a sacrifice. Our praise,our offerings, our very lives should be presented to God whole and unblemished. Of course some people's best doesn't appear as good as other people's best, but if it is our best it looks perfect to God. Just as the broken mirror, melted cone, and half eaten apple might not have looked to be the best to someone else, I am sure my Grandmother thought the sacrificial gifts were just perfect, because they were given from the heart and were the very best my mother had to offer her. Lame is defined as weak, inadequate, unsatisfactory, clumsy. God specifically speaks against lame sacrifices to Him.
And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.
And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts If the gift isn't something you would gladly, unashamedly give someone else, why in the world would you present it to the God of the whole universe? Even so, God doesn't call only for sacrifices coming from great wealth, but calls for sacrifices coming from our hearts. Even if your best is not of great worth in man's eyes, it is of great worth to God and He will see it as whole and unblemished. Also we must remember when we present our bodies, ourselves as living sacrifices to God, the first thing we need to do, even before we try to live holy lives, is to see ourselves as God sees us. We are His children and He sees us as beautiful. Every little blemish and fault we see when we look at ourselves in the mirror isn't what God sees. We must see ourselves as strong, whole and healthy worthy sacrifices, not weak, inadequate, unsatisfactory, sick and lame. When my mother saw the compact, apple,and ice cream cone as perfect, she presented it to her mother as perfect. Because she had such great love for her child, she saw the sacrifices as beautiful also. Our praise, our sacrifices, our very lives should be sincere, not lame. If we give sincerely sacrificially straight from our heart, God sees all these as beautiful.
And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.
And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts