Archive for the ‘Isaiah’ Category

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“YOUR GOD REIGNS” – July 22

July 22, 2013

“How beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”  Isaiah 52:7

This world has an abundance of hurting and disillusioned people.

What words can be spoken to the defeated?
What direction can be given to the oppressed?
What encouragement can lift up the suffering?

There are words for those who are battling, the unhappy, the discouraged, the doubting – “Your God Reigns!”

Although this world may not be unfolding as we had hoped – Our God Reigns!

God is reigning over chronic pain.
God is reigning over the loss of a loved one.
God is reigning over addiction.
God is reigning over finances.
God is reigning over helplessness.
God is reigning over failure.
God is reigning over waiting.
God is reigning over unbelief.
God is reigning over uncertainty.

Although this world may appear chaotic, God reigns.

We have not been abandoned to cosmic forces.
We are not subjected to the merciless winds of fate.
We are not forced to drink the cup of meaninglessness.

The good news for those who have been adopted as children of God resides in the everlasting hope flowing from the reign of our God.  He reigns over all.  There is none like Him.  There is none equal to Him.  Nothing is too small for Him.  Nothing is too large.  Nothing is beyond His dominion.

English: White-Crowned Sparrow / (Zonotrichia ...

English: White-Crowned Sparrow / (Zonotrichia leucophrys). Français : Bruant à couronne blanche (Zonotrichia leucophrys). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He has not forgotten the falling of a sparrow – because He reigns!

We are of more value than many sparrows.  Nothing can force Him to abandon us –because He reigns.

We can have confidence that nothing is outside His control; nothing is a surprise; nothing is beyond His will.

“Your God reigns,” are sweet words to the redeemed.  Hopelessness has no home while God reigns.  The knowledge of God on His throne banishes all anxiety and worry.

There is no valley too deep or too long for the one who is loved by God.
Our God reigns over all – valleys and mountains.

May we live in the joy and happiness that our God reigns!

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for reigning over all!  Thank you for keeping an eye on me.  Thank you not abandoning me.  Thank you for valuing me more than a sparrow.  Forgive me for worrying while you are firmly on your throne.  Forgive me of the unbelief that I show when I am anxious of tomorrow.  Help me to walk in faith.  Remind me that you are on your throne.  Grant me the peace that only your reigning can give.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“COME TO THE GATES” – July 21

July 21, 2013

“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called!  I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.  My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.”  Isaiah 48:12-13

Here stand the gates of the Kingdom of God. 

God is everything.

He is from the first to the last;
He is from the east to the west;
He is from the beginning to the end.

There is no place beyond His knowledge.
There is no place beyond His presence.

Every step that we take is because of His hand.
All that we lay our hands to has first been touched by Him.
All that we see is the result of His work.

The universe functions in obedience to His commands.

Star Trails Northern Hemisphere

Star Trails Northern Hemisphere (Photo credit: Kiran Photographic)

What am I to say?

Woe is me!  For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. 

I am nothing; I have nothing; I can do nothing.
I am poor.

I have nothing that I have not been given.

All that I am;
All that I have;
All that I can do;

Comes from the Almighty.

It is here that we kneel at the throne of the Great I Am, in the blessings of the knowledge of our own poverty.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 6:3)

How many struggles have we wrestled through because we forget our condition?
How many worthless battles have we fought because we think that we are worthy or deserving?
How remedial our education has remained because we do not believe that our spirits really do exist in abject poverty.

Christ’s work within us flowers when we relinquish our false sense of entitlement and embrace the poverty of our condition.

Come back to the gates of the Kingdom. 

There is nothing too hard for Him.
There is nothing more desirable than His presence.
There is nothing more valuable than Him.
We have nothing to add; come and receive!

Come and behold the King of kings!

PRAYER: Lord, you are my everything.  I have nothing to add.  I have nothing that you have not blessed me with.  Forgive me for forgetting my condition.  Thank you for the poverty of my soul.  As I enjoy your blessing, remind me of my poverty.  May I never lose the gratitude of a blessed servant.  Give me eyes to behold you glory and greatness!  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“CALLING WITHOUT KNOWING HOW” – July 16

July 17, 2013

“To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? … To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.”  Isaiah 40:18, 25

Girl on a Cell Phone & Street Scene - Hoi An, ...

I am amazed by my cell phone. These ubiquitous mobile devices have become so common that few marvel any longer at what they do.

I can receive a telephone call while standing in the middle of the wilderness;
I can speak to my daughter as she speeds (as a passenger) along the interstate;
My wife can send me a shopping list as I walk into the grocery store;
I can see pictures from the other side of the world a few moments after they’re taken;
I can surf the internet while flying through the air (not that I have ever done that).

English: Cut-away cell phone

Cell phones really are phenomenal.  Yet, I don’t know how they work.  I understand that sound, images, and data are transformed into 1’s and 0’s and then transmitted via radio waves through the air.

There are an untold amount of unseen waves that are passing through us at this very moment.  We are surrounded by the waves containing the explanations of a people’s day.  We are awash in all sorts of unseen information every moment of our existence.  However, we would be oblivious to it all if it were not for our little devices that translate this unseen world.

Modern Cowboy, Talks on His Cell Phone

Modern Cowboy, Talks on His Cell Phone (Photo credit: Lance and Erin)

I am very thankful to the people who invented my cell phone and all the associated technology because I am not able to build a cell phone.  The technology is beyond me.  In fact, I accept their explanation of how my cell phone works.  I have taken physics classes and understand radio waves but I don’t have a clue of how to practically get sound to be transmitted in a way that can neither be seen nor heard.  I really have no personal evidence that my voice actually flies through the air on a wave after I speak into my phone.  I believe what I am told.

Biking and Talking on Cell Phone...

Biking and Talking on Cell Phone… (Photo credit: MyEyeSees)

In fact, I think that there are very few who know how a cell phone actually works but that has not stopped 6 billion of us from using them.  How many of these 6 billion people do you think have the knowledge to construct a cell phone and its appurtenances from scratch?  Probably, only a minuscule percentage has that sort of knowledge.  Yet, billions of people pick up their cell phones every day and make calls.  They will dial numbers into their mobile devices and expect the calls to go through.  They use their cell phone because they don’t have to know how it actually works. Consider the depths of God and how vastly more complicated are His works.  God transcends my understanding beyond any lack of knowledge about technology.  I might be able to figure out how to build a cell phone but I am incapable of figuring God out on my own.

How can I?

What are the implications of being beyond time?
How can He be in all places at the same time?
What is it like to hold all knowledge?
What does it take to create something out of nothing?
How can physical properties change with a spoken word?

All of those attributes of God are beyond my comprehension.  Therefore, I am incapable of figuring Him out.  The only way for me to know God is for Him to show Himself to me.

Many refuse to believe in anything that cannot be confirmed by science or their own eyes.  Often, they believe what they are told about how the world works yet they never confirm anything on their own.  They accept the explanations of those who know how the physical world works.

What about when the explanation of the workings lies beyond the understanding of this world?

How can we know how God’s world really works?  There is no one on this earth who knows that.  That knowledge can only come from God.  He has to show us.

Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?  Isaiah 40:13-14

Fortunately, God has revealed Himself to us through His Word.  He has not shown us everything.  I still have a lot of questions about how things actually work but apparently I don’t need those answers.  We have been given  what we need to come to Christ in faith.  Just like we don’t need to know how our cell phones work to use them, we don’t need to know all the answers to how God works.

We will never have all the answers. 

We must come to Christ realizing there is a level of understanding that is simply beyond our comprehension.  We still must make a decision to receive Jesus Christ as our personal savior and Lord.  We have been give sufficient knowledge for that decision.  Therefore, our first step is to give up on our own understanding and cry out to Him.  Call upon Christ without worrying about how that works.  He will answer.  He always does.

And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them.  I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.  These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.  Isaiah 42:16

PRAYER: Lord, help me to accept that there are some things that I can’t understand.  Help to accept what you have given me to understand.  Lord, keep me in the Truth that You have given to us so that we may know You.  Give me discernment to recognize what is of You and what is a fabrication of our enemy and man.  Lord, keep me from straying from your Word.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“KEEPING THINGS RIGHT SIDE UP” – July 12

July 12, 2013

“You turn things upside down!  Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?  Isaiah 29:16

My Coffee Mug 002As I contemplate my morning Bible reading, my coffee cup has drawn my eye.  I have written of my love for my coffee cup before (Filled for Purpose).  We all understand that the value of this wonderful cup resides in its orientation.  Attempting to pour coffee in my cup when the bear is on his back will only result in a mess.  Coffee will cascade down its sides.  The entire exterior of the cup may become encapsulated by the overwhelming flow of coffee being poured upon it but nothing will get inside my cup if it is upside down.

Humanity has been unable to get beyond the error of turning things upside down.  People have been applying their flawed reasoning for centuries.  There is nothing new to this world.  In Isaiah’s time, people were denying that God was their creator.  Today, the atheist’s main premise in their attack against God emanates from the belief that God is not their creator.  They embrace the belief that their existence is the product of evolution.  They deny God by reasoning that they no longer need a god construct to explain our existence.  Evolution is merely a modern version of the belief of Isaiah’s day, “He did not make me”; clay regarding themselves as the potter.  It is upside down.

In Isaiah’s time, people were denying that God had understanding.  I do not know how they were doing that but I know how it is often done today.  The instructions of the Bible are often dismissed under the cultural context argument.  Many conclude that they are free to engage in what the Bible calls sin because they believe that the author did not understand our present cultural environment or the author did not understand what makes them happy; potter being regarded as the clay.  It is upside down.

Just like my coffee cup, a person will not be filled with the Spirit until they get the orientation of their hearts correct.  God created man.  God created me.  Since there is a creator God, then I am subject to Him.  I am the clay and He is the potter.  The potter has the right to form and use the clay as he wants.

God has complete understanding.  He understands what I am facing today.  He knew my current condition when He was inspiring Isaiah.  He has an understanding that is greater than my own.  I can trust His understanding of what is good for me.  His guidance is faithful and true.  I can trust that He knows what will make me happy.

There is nothing new under the sun.  Our enemy has used the same old tricks throughout the generations.  Therefore, let us not be naïve to these tricks because they are very effective in turning things upside down.  The saving grace of the gospel has washed over the exterior of many who have gotten turned upside down from these tricks.

The wonderful truth is that we have a Creator with complete understanding.  Troubled waters await those who play at flipping these truths about.

Let’s stay grounded on these truths so that the Spirit of our Lord flows into us and fills our hearts to overflowing.

PRAYER: Lord, remove the gloom and darkness of my eyes; give me eyes to see.  Father, enable my deafened eyes to hear the words of your Book.  Do not allow me to become confused into getting the things of You turned upside down.  Jesus, open the eyes and ears of the lost; may you reveal to them how upside down they have become.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“NAKED GUY” – July 10

July 10, 2013

“…the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot.  Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years…” Isaiah 20:2-3

There is a naked guy down at the pool.  To be fair, he is not naked all of the time but he is naked way beyond my comfort level.

2005_12_04
2005_12_04 (Photo credit: DennisSylvesterHurd)

This particular individual feels that it is necessary to be al natural while showering off pool water.  He is the only individual who takes this approach.  Everyone else leaves their swimsuit on while showering.  Most use the communal shower pole to wash the chlorine off of their skin and out of their suits in one efficient, modest, activity.  Naked guy does not take this approach, to my consternation.

I became acquainted with naked guy a while back after a particularly good swim.  I rounded the corner into the men’s shower and was caught unaware by naked guy.  There naked guy stood with suds flowing down over all his “overish-ness”; Over fifty and over-weight do not a good naked combination make.  First impressions are difficult to overcome, add nudity, and it becomes nearly impossible.

Unfortunately, that has not been my only exposure to all that is naked guy.  My timing has been poor on a couple of other occasions.  There will be naked guy, one arm extended over his head, leaning against the shower pole, looking over with a “hey” greeting.  I work so very hard to maintain eye contact or look at anything other than naked guy but it is sort of like a car wreck.  At some point, you have to sneak a peek.  I regret every peek that I have ever sneaked.  Curse you, naked guy; I am forever scared by those mental pictures.

Needless to say, I am very uncomfortable around naked guy.

The Prophet IsaiahI cannot imagine Isaiah’s reaction when God told him to become naked guy.  Even worse, he was told to be a full-time, naked guy for a three year term.  That had to have had an impact on his social life.  I don’t know if an Old Testament prophet had much of a social life to start with but refusing to get dressed probably would have put the dampers on dinner party invitations.  My own family would send me packing if I showed up at Thanksgiving with my only dressing being in a bowl.

Those had to have been some lonely years for Isaiah.  He was being obedient to God’s directing and made everyone uncomfortable in the process.  The words of Isaiah’s prophecy would have been uncomfortable enough.  It had to get even more uncomfortable when the prophet went naked guy.

Isaiah’s obedience is remarkable.

I realize that my belief in Christ has made some people uncomfortable.  Conversations have been steered away from the spiritual.  Invitations have been withheld.  Facebook “friends” have disappeared.  Snide comments have been posted to my writing.  The intellectually superior have dismissed my ignorant position.

However, none of that comes close to the stigma of being naked guy for three years.

Following Christ has never been the path to popularity.  We have been called to love God above everything else – even other people’s opinions of us.  Loneliness has been the price of obedience for many who have been called to difficult paths.

Isaiah’s obedience confronts our willingness to follow Christ.  How unreservedly will you follow?  Thankfully, getting naked in public is against the law so that is a good out.  But seriously, how far does acceptable obedience go?  The problem comes when God calls His children to what most consider the unreasonable.  The Bible is full of examples of God calling his disciples, apostles, and prophets to unreasonable acts of obedience.

What is acceptable giving?
What is acceptable service?
What is acceptable sacrifice?
What is acceptable suffering?

How far does your obedience go?

Does it go to the modern version of naked guy?

PRAYER: Lord, may there be no limits to my willingness to follow you.  You know my heart and how much the thought of being naked guy scares me.  Examine my heart – show me what holds me back from the unreasonable.  All that you direct is reasonable and good.  Help me to love you with all that I am.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“BROKENESS WITHIN GLORY” – July 8

July 8, 2013

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”  Isaiah 6:3

I survey the activities of this earth with a flick of the remote or a click of the mouse.  What I see draws me to the conclusion that I live within a broken world.

I see a burned wreckage of a plane; glory does not come to mind.
I read of the violence in Egypt and Syria; descriptions do not sound glorious.
I observe the continual subterfuge of politics; I see no intentions set on glorifying.
I know many are dying from disease; glorious does not enter the terminology.

Many view the world with eyes from the same perspective as my own.  The most common accusation against God emerges from the observations of a broken world.

If God is a loving god, then why would he allow so much pain and suffering?

Isaiah could have questioned the bleakness of his world.  King Uzziah had died.  The nation was surrounded by enemies and its destruction was not far off.  Faithlessness, oppression, and arrogance were the fruit of the land.

Yet, there was a song being sung at that very moment in Isaiah’s life.  While Isaiah was physically in a bleak world, God’s holiness was being proclaimed in the heavens.  While Israel was on the threshold of being crushed, the world was proclaimed as being full of God’s glory.  God was on the throne in all His holiness, reigning as the Sovereign ruler of the whole bleak universe.

The song of the earth is quite different than the song in heaven.  The bleakness of this world causes many to curse rather than praise.

Curses come from a perspective that is plagued by our inability to see God’s manifested holiness.  I look and see glimpses of holiness but the unholiness seems overwhelming.  The limitations of my flesh blinds me to His glory.  When I look upon this world, all I tend to see is brokenness.  That brokenness does exist.

There is evil in the world.
There is rebellion in this world.
There is hate, pain and suffering all around us.

However, all of that unpleasantness does not cancel out God’s glory.  Far from canceling God’s glory, all of this brokenness exists within His glory.  It all resides within God’s plan of redemption.  The redeeming of an unholy and rebellious people by the holy and sovereign Lord of hosts can only be described as glorious.

The whole earth is filled with brokenness.  The whole earth is full of His glory. 

These contrasting perspectives are so difficult for me to comprehend.  I do not claim to have understanding or insight of how this can be true.  I accept it by faith.  I accept that there is a glory around me that I cannot see.  I praise God when I get glimpses and I long for the day when the redeemed are called and the fullness of His glory is revealed.

They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.  Isaiah 11:9

Until that day I will live by faith; I will have a conviction of things that I cannot see.(Heb. 11:1)  I believe that the glory of God is all around me.  I do not need to see it.  The Spirit confirms within my spirit that it is truth.

Until that day I will live by faith; I will place my assurance in the hope of the day without hurt and destruction. (Heb. 11:1)   I hope in the days when the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.  I look forward to the day when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb; the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; the cow and the bear shall graze together; the day when violence, pain and suffering are covered with comfort and peace.

In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples – of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.  Isaiah 11:10

Until that day, those who follow Christ live in a broken world while walking by faith in the glory of God.  I don’t know how that works.  I just know that it does and for that I praise the Lord.

PRAYER: Holy, holy, holy are you my Lord and Savior.  The whole world is full of your glory.  Forgive me for all the times that I have lost sight of that.  Forgive me for not being in continual praise as those who are in your presence.  You are great and highly to be praised.  Father, help me to keep my eyes on you.  Help me to keep my mind-set upon you and your glory.  Keep my faith secure in all that I cannot see and my hope in you and you alone.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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