Category Archives: Isaiah

God Has Known Me From the Start

“In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” Isaiah 63:9.

God was on hand at the beginning.  He has never left me.

He has seen me in my troubles and felt my pain.

Not only has He kept track of me but, because of His great Love, He prevented me from getting an after-life apart from Him.  Hallelujah!

As a sinner, I needed mercy.  If I had gotten what I deserved I would end up eternally separated from Him.  BUT God sent Jesus to take care of my sin problem.  Jesus died, in my place for my sins, and thereby removed the eternal consequence my sins warranted.  By recognizing that I am a sinner and realizing the deserved consequence, I understood my need for what Jesus did for me when He died. I believed that He died for my sins and by doing that my sins were erased forever. In gratitude for what He did for me, I turned my life over to Him.

And what a ride it has been!  As an older person, I can appreciate the part of the verse above that says, “and carried them all the days of old.”  Jesus became my Savior when I was a pre-teen.  I’ve known Him for a long time.

Isaiah has mentioned that Israel has had its ups and downs with God.  Sometimes they’re close and other times God is fighting against them.  I know that experience.  Many regrettable times but also many Godly mountain-top experiences.

How blessed I am that God never leaves.  How disappointing it is when I separate from Him and experience the consequences.

How dare I separate from Someone Who is so loving and merciful?  Someone who’s always been there for me.  Someone who prevented me from drowning in the Connecticut River when I was a kid.  Who put me in a family where I was introduced to my need to be saved from my sins’ consequence.  He is remarkable.

Conclusion: God has been with me from the get-go.  He has loved me and been merciful to me.

 

 

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There Has To Be More To Life

“When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away.  But whoever takes refuge in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.”  Isaiah 57:13.

It’s like chasing a piece of paper in a tornado!

When I put my ultimate trust in anything/anyone other than God, I am in trouble.  Why? Those things have expiration dates.

In the world we live in, so many of us are endlessly chasing for something/someone to make our lives better.  And we regularly find ourselves disappointed.

I like sports and will watch the New England teams with interest. One of my biggest sports letdowns has nothing to do with any of the New England teams.  I recall watching one of the earliest Super Bowls (I’m old enough to have seen the earliest of them!) and as the Sunday afternoon/evening event ended, I realized that there was life after the game.  The excitement of the Super Bowl would wane and then where would my excitement come from?  I’m sure that I previously had an inkling of that reality, but it struck me more directly this time than usual.

How do we react to a reality like I faced?  We attach our “zenith-search” to something else.  I have referenced sports.  For many the pursuit might involve something else.  You get the dream job. You get married. You get that “zenith” or so you think. And then tomorrow comes. You realize over again that there must be more.  And the search to find it continues.

That is why the closing lines in the Bible verse above are so promising: “But whoever takes refuge in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.”

When I put my ultimate trust in God, I will possess what I ultimately need…..Him.  He does not change.  He does not grow old.  He will be with me ‘til the end of the age!  The search for ultimate happiness ends when I turn my attention to Him.

Also in that same ending section, it mentions my “inheritance.”  That’s something to come.  So, not only can I have what I really need in this life, but in the after-life too.  My inheritance is an after-life eternity in heaven. What promises!

Conclusion: My search for “more to life,” ends when I put my trust in God. In Him my now’s and later’s are covered.

 

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Are you feeling lucky?

“When I came, why was there no one?  When I called, why was there no one to answer?  Was my arm too short to deliver you?  Do I lack the strength to rescue you?” Isaiah 50:2-3.

So many questions and all of them are important for believers to have answers to.

God is in my midst.  I have His Holy Spirit within me.  How is it possible that He is being ignored?

If I love someone, I want to be available to them.  When they call me, I want to hear them and listen intently to what they have to say.

What do the first two questions indicate?  An interest in God has changed.  They’ve moved on.  They’ve stopped listening for His voice.

Think of the extreme example of this sort of thing regarding Stephen in Acts 7.  Talk about trying to tune someone out: “At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him…..”  I doubt that a believer could reach the determination of these folks but we, at our own levels, often impair our connection to God.

If my day includes a space of time in which I am not mindful of God, then who could I possibly be mindful of?

The title of this entry is, “Are you feeling lucky?”  When I intentionally go it alone, without His ongoing counsel, I enter the “Are you feeling lucky?” zone.  And I don’t want to be there!

The final two questions rightly deserve “No” answers.  I believe that He can coordinate my day in the way it should be coordinated.  He has no limitations.  He’s never overwhelmed.  He wants to be part of everything.

When I choose in some manner to leave Him out, then I am trying my “luck” with living godlessly. Wrong!  Don’t do it!

My day cannot be divided into “with Him” and “without Him” sections.  I must be vigilant to stop it from happening.  He has ALL that I need.  Why would I choose to miss out on what He has to offer?

Conclusion: I must always be available to God.  He has all that I need to live as He would want me to live.

 

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He Knows My Name

“But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1.

God knows my name.  I am among the billions, yet He knows me.

When my daughter was a teenager she was on the high school basketball team.  When I went to her games I would jot down everything she did; made a good pass, traveled, missed a layup, etc..  She was on the court among ten players, but my eyes were on her.

God is like that on a grander scale.  Within a crowd He watches me.

Why does He watch me?  I am in His family.  I’m a child of God.  How remarkable is that!

When I was a child, I was regularly summoned by my parents.  They had something for me.  They wanted me for a reason.  I confess that at times that summoning was for correction: “What did you do to your sister!”  That often had an unhappy ending.

God “summons” me, at times, in a similar way: “Why did you say that to your wife?”  Because God loves me, I want/need Him to summon me to Him for correction.

Recall Samuel as young boy living with Eli and hearing a voice calling him by name.  That eventually led to, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10).

I must be listening for God’s call.  I cannot get out of calling range.  My praying must be without ceasing and I must continue to bathe in His Word.

Conclusion: God knows my name. I have a personal relationship with Him.  How blessed I am!

 

 

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True and False

“The field commander said to them, ‘Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours?  You say you have counsel and might for war – but you speak only empty words.  On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me?  Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it!  Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.  But if you say to me, ‘We are depending on the Lord our God’ – isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar’?” Isaiah 36:4-10.

King Sennacherib of Assyria is threatening the folks in Jerusalem living under King Hezekiah.

He has a large army and is looking for those in Jerusalem to realize what they are up against and to give up.

Sennacherib gives the Israelites two reasons why that which they rely on cannot be trusted.

First, he discusses the Egyptians. They are an unreliable ally.  They have burned others who have relied on them.

Second, he discusses God.  Sennacherib’s angle is that since they are new to trusting God, how can they be sure that God will take care of them?  (Note that when Hezekiah became king, he destroyed all the places where they used to worship and moved the worship center to one place, Jerusalem.)

My ultimate trust must be in God.  All other things are potentially like the Egypt mentioned in these verses.  They are terminal.  They aren’t forever.  They can wax and wane.

As far as being removed from where I usually worship goes, I have access to God wherever I’m located.  I must not burden myself down with location semantics.  I am never separated from the God I love.

My wife and I are currently in Maine for three months.  That relocation puts us away from the church in Massachusetts we attend during the other nine months.  Temporarily gone is the nicely structure church situation with its Bible studies and Sunday services.

The church in Maine that we had attended in previous years had a split during this past year and lost almost half of its regular attendees.  We discovered this when we went to church there last month.

Should we move on to another church?  Should we go to home-churching ourselves?  BUT God knew best.

We have now gone to that church several Sundays in a row and are being fed some delicious spiritual food!  The minister is tight to The Word (1 John) and we are learning.

Bible study?  I “came across” (God in the details!) a book at a yard sale up here two days ago.  “Listening for God” by Marilyn Hontz was a “random” pickup but in two days of reading it my approach to reading the Bible has dramatically changed.  (If you have been reading this blog for a while, you have already noticed the difference.)

Point?  My setting in Maine necessitates, at least for the time being, that I “Bible study” alone. Marilyn’s book has helped greatly.

The truth? My “Egypt’s” are not to be trusted.

The lie? God is not omnipresent.

Conclusions: My ultimate trust must be in God.  I can find Him in any setting I’m in.

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Perfect peace

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”  Isaiah 26:3.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Isaiah 26-28 and Hebrews 13.

When I am troubled the cause is clear: I am not trusting completely in God to take care of things.

So often I want to handle my own affairs.  “I’ve got this one,” I foolishly think.

I must be trusting God in all things; big and small.

I do not have the capacity to get things right without His help.  Even when things appear to be “right” they aren’t.

When I trust God completely, I am not immune from difficulties.  Think of the trouble that Paul got into.  But even in trouble, he believed that it was the best thing that could happen to him.  That’s trust in God!

My walk with God must be in very small steps.  I can’t be jogging or running.  The pace must be deliberately slow so that I don’t get away from Him.

Imagine the joy of being where He wants me to be.  What else could I want?

“Lord, I love You.  Forgive me for detaching myself from You.  It is utter folly on my part.  Lead me and guide me.  I surrender to You now.  I love You, Lord.”

So often I am unsettled because I go my own way.  Perfect peace can only be found when I am doing what He wants me to do.

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Trust in the wrong things

“Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame.”  Isaiah 20:5.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Isaiah 19-21 and Hebrews 11.

The Old Testament is full of these examples.

Putting trust in the wrong things is certainly not a recent occurrence.  Down through history it is a pattern of even the best of people.  And we today are no different.

Think about your mood swings.  Days of great happiness are interrupted by a sad day.  And it could go the other way as well.  What is going on?  Our trust is in something that changes.  The possible trust objects are endless.

Often for me it is the way others are treating me.  When everyone’s pleasant then I respond accordingly.  When things aren’t going well, down in the dumps I go. But when I trust God, I’m attaching myself to One Who never changes.  If I’m attached to Him then I will live accordingly.  If I claim to be attached to Him and run hot and cold, then my “attachment” is the problem.

I’m dealing with this now!  This morning took a quick downhill and I’m trying to reattach myself to Him in the way that I’m supposed to be attached to Him.

What often wakes me up is remembering that God hears every word I speak.  That my words are to be “gifts” to others.  An even bigger thought is that God hears me and sees me.  When my brain is on that note, I immediately know that I MUST get my connection to Him straight.

“Lord, I love You.  Forgive me for separating from You.  We are inseparable, but I often act as if You’ve departed.  You haven’t.  I have. Forgive me, I beg.  Take me over.”

If our relationship to God is up-and-down then our attachment is the problem.  It needs to be an all-in relationship for it to work the way it should in every condition.

 

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Situational nearness

“In that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah 17:7.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Isaiah 15-18 and Hebrews 10.

Things must have been really tough!

When do we turn to God?  A time of crisis is a common one.

I chose today’s verse because I want to always be looking to my Maker for guidance.  Often, I don’t do that.  I get disconnected and distracted.

I try to write this blog daily and often when I’m writing it I will get a Godsight.  I write about it and then go about my life, only to return the next day and start all over.

I long for a consistently Godly life.  Not one that is recognized and lauded by others but one that slides along on a steady path with Him.  The ups and downs are not obvious.  What is obvious is a consistent relationship.

How can this happen?  I must be mindful of Him.  He is in my midst.  I cannot ignore that fact.  I need to act accordingly.

“Lord, I need You every second.  Help me to be mindful of You throughout this day.  Forgive me for wandering away from the reality of Your nearness.  How can I continually do that!  I love You, Father.  Fill me with an awareness of You.”

Are you aware of God’s presence and do you live accordingly?

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What are you trusting in?

“What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar?  To whom will you run for help?  Where will you leave your riches?”  Isaiah 10:3.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Isaiah 8-10 and Hebrews 8.

The Assyrians are going to be coming for Israel.

They don’t know it, but Isaiah is warning them.

The warning is good for all of us.  What do we trust in for security?

We build up securities to make our life more comfortable.  We collect money.  We buy vacation spots.  And the list goes on.  But when trouble comes, those things will be worthless.

The Israelites are going to be carried away.  Nothing is going to save them.  And Isaiah rightly asks them how their cash will help them then.

Our trust must be in God.  We must be storing up treasures in heaven.  What does that mean?  We must be doing what God wants us to do.  We must be trying our best to please Him in everything because we owe Him.  He’s preparing a place for us in the after-life.

“Lord, everything I have is a gift from You.  Forgive me for hoarding what You give me.  For trusting what You have given me to save me.  You are my Savior.  In You I trust.  Take every part of me over, I beg.”

Where have you placed your ultimate trust?

 

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I’m the smartest guy in the room!

“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”  Isaiah 5:21.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Isaiah 4-5, Psalm 115-116, and Jude.

I guess that covers most of us!

There are times when I listen to someone who is really smart, and I realize it.

In other places, I think that I have life figured out.  Most situations, I suspect, I could find a way to handle.

BUT God, in today’s verse, does not want us to think of ourselves as wise/clever in our own eyes.  What does God want?  He wants our wisdom and cleverness to be an offshoot of our relationship to Him.

I have nothing good that He hasn’t given me.  I have a life-time of good gifts.

I have done nothing to warrant His favor.  Yet He gives freely.

How do I foolishly respond?  Claim credit for the gift.  Act as if I deserved it.  Forget His part entirely.  How can I possibly miss His involvement?  It is scandalous behavior on my part.

“Lord, forgive me for my arrogance.  I am nothing and have nothing apart from You.  I am merely a caretaker of Your provisions to me.  I cannot claim ownership without completely missing You in what I have. I confess now my need for You.  I admit now that I have ignored You and forsaken You.  I want to live in union with You.  I want my ways to be Your Ways.  I open myself to You now.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Where did you get your smarts from?

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