Tag Archives: Isaiah

Trying to Read God’s Mind

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This morning, as part of my devotional time, I was reading from a book, When God Says “Wait”, by Elizabeth Laing Thompson (sidebar:  I got this as a free Kindle book from Book Bub).  This morning’s chapter discussed some of the unpleasant thoughts we have when we’re waiting;  often we come to the conclusion that God is angry and is punishing us.  Then the author makes a very good point:  WE CAN’T READ GOD’S MIND!  The Bible makes this very clear in the book of Isaiah:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9

If you read closely, you’ll see that we’re not only incapable of reading God’s mind, when we try we’re almost certain to get it wrong — He just doesn’t think the way we do.  So, what do we do when we want to know God’s will?  When we want to know why some dreadful thing is happening to us?  When we have questions about the purpose of our life?

I think we have to go back to a previous blog post I did, “Agree in the Lord, Example #1.”  In that post, I talked about the fact that we can’t read the mind of other people — if we’re upset about something they said or did, the best course is to go and talk to them directly.  The same holds true with God — when I don’t understand or don’t like something that’s going on in my life, I need to go and talk to Him about it.  The most important way to do this is prayer:  pray, pray, pray and then pray some more.  It also means studying His word, because often that is how God speaks to me.  It means attending worship — another opportunity to listen to His word through the readings, sermon and hymns.

Does this mean I’ll always get a quick and clear answer?  Well, no.  It does mean I’ll have a relationship with God.  I’ll come to a better knowledge and understanding of His character.  I’ll mature in wisdom and discernment.  I’ll trust Him, even when I don’t know all the answers.

Have questions?  Go to the primary source;  go to God.

A Parent Who Never Forgets

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“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?  Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.  Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands;  your walls are continually before me.”  Isaiah 50: 15-16

Sunday was Mother’s Day and you may have read Kate’s post about a mother’s love.  She talked about how unlikely it was that a mother would ever stop loving her child, even when the child was ungrateful or disappointing.  Even when a child chooses to walk away from the family, or behave in hurtful ways, most parents still yearn for that relationship to be restored.

The verses above tell us that God is that kind of parent.  We can’t survive without Him, any more than a newborn infant can survive without mother’s milk.  He won’t forget us.  Love for us is part of His unchanging nature.  The welfare of each of us is His continual concern.  That’s why He sent Jesus.

So on Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, when we give thanks for our earthly parents, let’s also give thanks for our Father in Heaven who will never forget us or leave us or forsake us.

Image result for image of engraved on the palm of my hand

 

Dem Dry Bones

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Image result for the dry bones of ezekielHave you ever felt like a pile of dry bones?  I know I have.  There was a time when I became totally exhausted and burned out.  The children were young and my husband had a long commute;  all the responsibilities for the household and everybody in it fell upon me;  my job became increasingly unrewarding and even my relationship with God seemed distant. I kept going, just putting one foot in front of the other, but I wasn’t happy with my life or myself.

What happened?  All I can say is God changed things.  Not in an instantaneous flash of lightening, but through a slow, steady working in my life.  I went on a Marriage Encounter weekend which did a great deal to revive my marriage;  a few years later, I attended a Via de Cristo weekend which revived my soul. Both of those experiences led to small groups and deep friendships that grounded and sustained me. The children grew older and more self sufficient, jobs changed and life turned around.

Have dry bones times come back?  Sure.  However, now I have the experience and  confidence of knowing that if I stick with God, they will pass.  When we’re faithful to Him, He changes things.  Sometimes He changes us!  It’s amazing to see what God can do.  He can even make dry bones live again!

“Behold, I am doing a new thing;  now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:19

Don’t Hide the Light

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“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” Luke 8:16

We were studying this verse in our Bible Study class today.  The lamp, of course, is the word of God as we are told more specifically in Psalm 119:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

We’re also promised in Isaiah 55:11

“…it (my word) shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

If God has promised that His Word will serve His purposes, why aren’t we shouting it from the rooftops!  Instead, too often, we keep it under wraps.  We’re afraid people will be offended;  afraid it might sound judgmental; concerned about being politically correct.  If we’re honest, we’re also afraid we might be asked to explain something we don’t completely understand.

Now I’m not saying we should beat people over the head with the Bible or browbeat them into conversion. I am saying we shouldn’t mind showing where we stand and why.  If the Bible guides us in our decisions (I’m hoping it does) we shouldn’t mind letting others know that.  If we read our Bible regularly, we shouldn’t care who sees it on our desk at work. We shouldn’t feel uncomfortable saying “have a blessed day” to a cashier in a store.  If a question about Christianity arises, we should be willing to speak up and to the best of our ability explain our beliefs. If we are following Jesus, our lives will be a reflection of His love and others will want to know more about what we believe and why.  I say all this knowing I am also often guilty of “flying under the radar” by avoiding what may be controversial

As my husband would say, that’s the end of my rant.  I’ll try to do better.  Maybe you will, too.  Let the light shine!

“This is the way; walk in it.”

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Isaiah 30:20 & 21 says this:

“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.'”

Our ‘bread of adversity’ and ‘water of affliction’ are of our own doing. Isaiah was speaking to a population and society that closely mirrors todays cities and social structures. They paid lip service (sometimes) to thier pastors and those they wanted something from. yet thier hearts remained selfishly hard and thier thoughts always turned inward. Only concerned with what would make them more comfortable. The problems facing those people then and us today were/are not the cause of anything God did. In fact I submitt to you that the same way darkness is the absence of light; so to, societies pains are an absence of God.

So many mistakes made, yet here God says, ‘look, I’ve brought you teachers.’ A gift given to us from the same loving Father that whispers just behind is in our ear which direction is best. God wants good for us always. But what we do is stomp the ground, stand firm and promptly run through a dark forest with no path in sight.

Somehow, then and now; we have convinced ourselves and our children after us, that obedience is a slaves punishment. That it could only be meant for torment and mockery. Why then, do troubled children from broken homes, speak of thier parents that do not hold thier children accountable or make them abide by any rules . . . as uncaring? I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard such a child say, ‘They don’t care.’ Ouch. How cruel to know that the people who are supposed to love you the most, don’t see the need to invest time and effort into teaching you.

Obedience is no punishment. It’s quite the opposite. A great and wonderful gift. God is saying “Look child. Let me show you the way.” Why reject such love? A son obeys his father out of love and respect. And in the process gains much more than was expected. A father instructs (a better word for commands) out of love and with great hope.

We have confused obedience in todays world, for something meant for a slave. But would a cruel master seek to better his slave? Why teach and loose control? Much better to keep an ignorant fool that cannot think a way out.

Children obey your father and mother. Soldier obey your sargent. Employee obey your boss. Student obey your teacher. People obey the authorities. Government obey the law and the President. President obey God Almighty.

See no one is exempt. Every knee should bow. Because God came and was obedent unto death. He knelt and washed our feet, He did what we asked of Him, He served and still serves us well. How then can we in arrogance refuse to do our part?

 

 

Patiently Waiting?

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Advent is a time of waiting, which requires patience.  It is a difficult fruit for me to cultivate.  I like to have a plan and get things worked out in advance.  I like to arrive early and be prepared.  I want to know I have things under control.  It’s hard for me to surrender to God’s timing.

However, the Bible tells us over and over again to “wait for the Lord” who does things “at just the right time.”  You see, it’s all about trust.  When we truly trust God, we don’t have to obsess about whether we’ve done enough or worry and fret about what might happen next.  We can be patient, and endure whatever is going on around us, knowing that God is in control and will act in the right way and at the right time.

The prophet Isaiah predicted the birth of the Messiah:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  Isaiah 7:14

Isaiah proclaimed God’s plan, but he never saw it’s final fulfillment.  Jesus was not born for over 700 years!  We have the benefit of Scripture which shows us again and again that God keeps His promises.  Our role is to relax in God’s grace and wait … patiently.

What Stands Out?–Hebrews Chapter 4

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“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”  Hebrews 4: 12-13

My daughter has a timid cat–if he hears a noise while he is out on the balcony of her apartment, he will run behind the wheel of her bike, thinking (mistakenly) that nobody can see him there.  These verses remind me of how often we act just like that cat.

We may try to avoid God by staying home from church, or by letting the Bible we own gather dust.  It doesn’t work.  We can’t hide from God.  He knows not only what we do, but what motivates our actions  He hears the things we say out loud and every thought that crosses our minds.

As for God’s word, we can’t ignore it, it isn’t passive, it’s ACTIVE, and it will change us.  Here’s another quote from Isaiah 55:10-11:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;  it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

This is what stands out for me in chapter 4 (maybe because we’re thinking about study)– the power of God and His word.  It reminds me to stop hiding from Him.

Have you read Chapter 4?  What stands out to you?