How great it is to be a child ot the Living God! Blessed be His Name forevermore! How blessed we are to have His Word! His Word does not change. The more you read it, the more you draw from it, its that living water that churns up your spirit. What a delight it is when it comes to life within you! I was listening to the book of Mark while going to sleep last night, then after sleeping awhile and waking up in the night, I put it back on and sometime in the night I heard Jesus saying, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” It didn’t have much of an impact on me in my sleepy state until this morning when reading in Isaiah, as I’m continuing my yearly journey through the Old Testament, and the third verse I read was, “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me.” When the Lord repeats something it catches your attention. I had prayed before going to bed last night that the Lord would show me what He wanted me to share this morning. Then when He repeated it, I’m thinking, “Is this really You, Lord? Seems a little harsh don’t You think?” He is so loving and merciful. He wants us to keep our hearts connected to Him and not simply fall into vain repetition. We have to make sure, that during our prayer time and throughout the day as we’re going about our activities that we are not just paying Him lip service. So often, I will find myself during my prayertime saying, “Be exalted Lord, I worship You Lord”, over and over, while I’m actually thinking about the day ahead. By repetition I can praise Him for 10 or 15 minutes, before I realize that I forgot I was in my prayertime! My brain will have run on ahead into the next week. How precious this time is that the Lord has given us to focus on Him. It’s like when you’re telling a child something and they’re obviously not paying you any attention, until you finally take their face in your hands and say, “look at me”. That’s what God is saying to us right now, “Look at Me.” Wow, I hope that just hit your spirit the way it hit mine. How lovely to think of Him holding our face in His hands to make us look into His eyes. Kind of sad that He has to make us look into His face, but how merciful that He’s willing to reach for us to bring us into that intimacy with Him.
Something else I read in Isaiah this morning was “ For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. But you would not, And you said, “No, we will flee on horses”,-Therefore you shall flee! And, “We will ride on swift horses”- One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, At the threat of five you shall flee, Till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill. Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” (Is 30:15-18 NKJV) In my margin it says the “pole” is a tree stripped of its branches. Again, how great is the mercy of God. He tells us to return and rest, in quietness and confidence we can find strength. Afterall, He is our hope, He is our anchor, He is true and steadfast, we can hold onto Him and know that He will not be shaken. But as we look at the enemy, our mind races ahead and we weigh all our options until we’re off and running. But God says when we find ourselves stripped of everything else, when all else has failed us, He will still be waiting to show us mercy. How can we not be madly in love with Him! That’s why we MUST read His Word. If we open it and think we’ve just got to get through it as our daily duty and thinking before we start, it’ll probably be as bland as yesterday, then it probably will be. Isaiah 29:11, “The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate saying, “Read this please,” and he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” That’s what leads to Him saying our hearts are far removed from Him. He is willing to open the words of His book to us and give us revelation. Not only revelation but living water and manna that will feed our spirits. In verse 18 & 19 it goes on to say, “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of the darkness. The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” The day is coming when no one will have an excuse before Him. We can walk in that joy right now! We don’t have to go through this time in fear and trembling wishing we knew what the Lord was saying, we can read it and rejoice in it! I’m tempted to type the whole chapter 30, but I am going to give that to you as your homework assignment. As we go through adversity, He promises to deliver us. As we lay down earthly things we thought were valuable, He pours out riches beyond measure. Even in the midst of His fierce anger, He says we will have a new song.
From verse 29-33, I was reading it with a song welling up in my heart while having this mounting awe at the fierceness of God, and then realizing how great it is to believe in a God who has that kind of authority and might. I pray the Lord pours out on you an overwhelming love for His Word, for His authority, for His mercy, and for His faithfulness to those who put their trust in Him. Isaiah is a little intimidating to me, definitely above my pay grade J and never would I have thought to be sharing from it, but that’s the beauty of God and His word. It’s for all of us, every part of it.
Since last month, we had a chicken miracle. My sister had told me about some grocery stores in a Mennonite community about an hour from us, so her and I went up there 2 wks ago. One store had 20-pound boxes of breaded chicken patties for 20.00. I couldn’t open the box to see what they looked like and there was nowhere on the outside that said how many patties were inside. The boxes weren’t too terribly big, so I thought maybe 50 or 60 in a box? After putting 2 in the cart, I realized I had no freezer. It only took 2 phone calls to find someone who said they’d store them for me. So I figured at that price, I should get 4 and that way there’d be enough chicken patties to give the homeless each 2 sandwiches at a time, for 2 weekends. Turns out there were 140 patties in each box and they’re delicious! A chicken miracle! The Lord is sooo good! This delighted my spirit to no end. Because of the abundance, I ended up not only taking them down on Saturday morning but also on Sunday morning, and I still have enough for 2 more Saturdays! What a joy it is to work for the Lord!
Thank you to those of you who have continued to send cards and notes. I had them in a pile reading them yesterday and what a blessing it is to be in the family of God. Thank you for your faithfulness, for loving mom and dad as you did, and continuing to pour that love out onto Patty and I. It’s a huge encouragement. I can’t express to you enough how much it means to me. It will be such a joy to rejoice with you before the throne. Finally, we’ll get to meet you all! Be prepared to have your dancing shoes on!
Your sister in Jesus,