Thursday, July 24, 2008

Isaiah 53

Isa 53:1 Who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal his saving power?
Isa 53:2 My servant grew up in the Lord's presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.
Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected-a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care.
Isa 53:4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows[fn1] that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins!
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!
Isa 53:6 All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the guilt and sins of us all.
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
Isa 53:8 From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins-that he was suffering their punishment?
Isa 53:9 He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man's grave.
Isa 53:10 But it was the Lord's good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord's plan will prosper in his hands.
Isa 53:11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
Isa 53:12 I will give him the honors of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.
Or Yet it was our sicknesses he carried; it was our diseases.

This prophecy was written long before Christ was born, and yet He fulfilled it completely. Read these words about Christ and know Him better.

This is just one way that the Lord shows Himself true and faithful. I am refreshed by His power and faithfulness today. Refreshed by reading His word and knowing it has been fulfilled and that it will be fulfilled in my life, too.

Thank You for Your Word, Lord. Thank You that we may know You better.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Mercies

Repeatedly I am convicted by my oft-repeated sins and defeated by my in-ability to live a sinless life in my own strength. But God is so good. Through all that I may encounter, He calls to me. Reminding me that salvation and freedom from sin can be found in Him. He is my Righteousness.

These verses ring true to my heart. They are verses that the Lord has lead me to over and over. Words that I needed to be reminded of again, today.

Lamentations 3:19-42

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,

the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,

and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind

and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of the Lord.

27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke

while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,

for the Lord has laid it on him.

29 Let him bury his face in the dust—

there may yet be hope.

30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,

and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For men are not cast off

by the Lord forever.

32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,

so great is his unfailing love.

33 For he does not willingly bring affliction

or grief to the children of men.

34 To crush underfoot

all prisoners in the land,

35 to deny a man his rights

before the Most High,

36 to deprive a man of justice—

would not the Lord see such things?

37 Who can speak and have it happen

if the Lord has not decreed it?

38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High

that both calamities and good things come?

39 Why should any living man complain

when punished for his sins?

40 Let us examine our ways and test them,

and let us return to the Lord.

41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands

to God in heaven, and say:

42 “We have sinned and rebelled

and you have not forgiven....

He has not forgiven only because we have not asked for forgiveness. May we examine our ways and humble ourselves before Him and cling to the hope and knowledge of His unfailing love.

1Jo 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1Jo 1:10

If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

God's mercies are new every morning. Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? As long as I am alive on this earth, I have hope for God's forgiveness. May I not tarry to seek His face.

This life is not about lamenting mistakes. It is all about learning from them.

He knows me better than I know myself, and He loves me.

Just as much as He loves you.

Thank You, Jesus.

In all appreciation, Amen.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Perfected Imperfection

Thunder shakes the windows. Heavy rain drips from the eaves.

I think back and remember.

In an airport book store, two women talking. We were standing in the 'Religious' book section. I was hoping for some truth to read, praying for guidance. And I heard:

"You know, they say it wasn't a 'perfect' resurrection, because He still had scars...."


It took me two years to digest that whispered comment overheard from two believers, or, non-believers. I have to think it was the latter. Who could consider the resurrection of Jesus imperfect and think themselves truly remade?

Scars. Places of healed flesh ruined in this life. Perceived Imperfection. From the world's perspective, what the Lord has done is imperfect.

But there is true beauty in those scars. Perfected Imperfection. For only love can give one's self wholly. Only love can put another above one's self.

I am refreshed by His scars and for the first time, I see them on the backs of His hands. The nails went all the way through. That's something that took a while to digest.

I am coming to know the extent of His love and provision. It's like rain.

Rain. Falling heavily, washing away the filth in the air. Bringing refreshment and life. What would this world be like without rain? Yet it too could be considered "imperfect".

The first rain came with Noah's flood. Rain brought on by the sins of the world. Sins that a broken-hearted God could no longer contend with. The world needed a new start. So, He gave us one.

Gen 7:4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made."

It is the same with Christ's scars. We all need a new start.

So with His life, He gave us one.

1Ki 8:35 "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them,

1Ki 8:36 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.

Refreshment, cleansing, renewal. All brought about by the provision of a loving God. To bind that which is broken and thirsty. To sustain that which in itself can not have life on its own.

How could we ever consider rain imperfect? We don't. It's the only source refreshment we know.

But it wasn't so in the beginning of creation. God made this earth perfectly, without rain. The world, once stained with that first choice to doubt God's goodness, has been broken ever since. So, from the beginning, He knew it would need to rain and made it so. From the beginning, He knew we would need new life, and He has made it so through Jesus.

Act 14:17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."

Luk 24:39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."

Jhn 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand [here], and put [it] into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."

Now, that which is seemingly imperfect, restores life. Be it rain, or His scars, they are necessary for our survival. His perfect provision for His fallen creation. We all constantly search for perfection. It can only be found in God. With Him, all is "right as rain".

One just exemplifies the other. Evidence of our loving God's provision.

The next time you think on the rain, think of His healing hands and the scars there, even on the backs. How refreshing. What renewal.

Thank You Jesus, for rain. Thank you for your scars. What would this life be like without them?

Thank You, Father, for vision. May You be forever glorified, even in the seemingly imperfect.

You will make it all good in Your perfect time. You alone are Holy.

In gratitude, Amen.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Psalm 95 (Amplified Bible)

Psalm 95

1O COME, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation!

2Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!

3For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

4In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights and strength of the hills are His also.

5The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.

6O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker [in reverent praise and supplication].

7For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice,(A)

8Harden not your hearts as at Meribah and as at Massah in the day of temptation in the wilderness,(B)

9When your fathers tried My patience and tested Me, proved Me, and saw My work [of judgment].

10Forty years long was I grieved and disgusted with that generation, and I said, It is a people that do err in their hearts, and they do not approve, acknowledge, or regard My ways.

11Wherefore I swore in My wrath that they would not enter My rest [the land of promise].(C)

Cross references:

  1. Psalm 95:7 : Heb 3:7-11
  2. Psalm 95:8 : Exod 17:1-7; Num 20:1-13; Deut 6:16
  3. Psalm 95:11 : Heb 4:3-11
Let us praise His holy Name with songs! Let us bow down in reverence. Let us seek His will for our lives. Let us be ready to obey. It is all for our benefit. Under His wings we abide in the shelter and protection of the One who loved us more than His life. Where will we find rest away from His love?

Lord, let my heart's prayer resound:
Please give me the wisdom that begins with fear and reverence for You, the All Mighty God, that I might escape Your righteous wrath and hide in Your gracious love. I have so much to learn.

Thank You, Jesus.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Call It What It Is

We can't see God. No one can see His face and live. Yet all around us there is proof, tangible, edible, smellable, sensory proof of His love and grace: the breath you take, the food you eat, the car you drive, the heights we have achieved in medicine, the light in our children's eyes. How did any of it get here? How does it exist?

They are all evidence of God. The world around us was created to express His might and power and His desire to be known by us. He wants us to know Him and He can use any method He chooses for that purpose.

Science can tell us 'How' things happen. But never can it tell us 'Why' or more importantly 'Who'.

That's really what mankind yearns to know isn't it, "Why?" and "Who?".

As Christians, we know 'Who' and each day we get to know Him more personally.

We also know 'Why', and this is what we have the opportunity to express in our actions and reactions to everything in our daily lives.

For instance, I took a shower this morning while my children watched a video. When I came out, my oldest came into my room and said, "Mom, Sam is coloring Jacob with her markers all over the couch."

Drip, drip, drip.

I walked into the living room expecting a tie-dyed couch and multicolored children. A twenty-color pack of markers was scattered all over a section of the couch and down onto the floor. My children were both at least fifteen colors apiece. Blue here, green there, yellow over there, red down the backs of both of their necks.

But Nothing on the couch. Later I found one small spot of orange beneath the melee of markers. One small touch of color on a solid taupe couch.

"It's a miracle!" I exclaimed as I directed and assisted them in putting the caps back on all twenty markers and tucked them back in the package. "A miracle!" I must have said it at least two or three times, because Dylan finally asked me, "Momma, why do you keep saying 'It's a miracle'?"

"Because it is! Look at the markers everywhere, all uncapped and lying on the couch cushions. There isn't a mark anywhere! It is a miracle!" How else can you explain a two year old and a one year old, completely colored from scalp to bellybutton, with not a mark on the platform used for their art?

It had to have been the gracious hand of the Lord. I know He spared me that trial this morning. I know He preserved the integrity of my living room furniture. Hah! How often He doesn't. But either way, it's the Hand of the Lord in my life. All things are used for our edification. So that we might come to know Him more intimately and personally.

That's what this life is, isn't it? Each of us gets our own story of His faithfulness.

It is up to us to tell others about Him. To live like we know Who and Why.

So the next time something inexplicable happens, or even if it seems to have some sort of reasonable explanation, recognize that no manner of logic or reasoning could ever begin to explain 'Why' and 'Who'.

Call it what it is.

Everything, all of it. It is a miracle. Evidence of the Hand of our Awesome God.

He wants to be known by us today. Let us make Him known to others.

Isa 43:10 "You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

Isa 45:3 I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

Eze 38:23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.'

Show thyself, Lord. Give us eyes and hearts to see, minds and tongues to speak, to call it what it is.

It is all for Your Glory, because You love us so.


Depending on God

Today is my wedding anniversary! There is much to celebrate because, God is an awesome God, and I just adore my Hubby. :-)

So, in honor of the love and fellowship I am blessed with today and everyday, here is an article by Chuck Smith that speaks of the true expression of our love for our Creator.

Here is the link:

May God write it on our hearts.