He Always Will 

It’s taken me 2.5 years to wade through Isaiah’s 66 chapters, but I don’t regret it nor the “detours” that helped it take that long. They were what I needed, and I found that every time I came back to Isaiah my marker was right where I needed it then, too. 

I’ve been reviewing what I learned from this book and I’m left with four thoughts. 

1.) We are broken, but God wants to heal. He gave promise after promise to an apostate nation, He gives promise after promise to me. The difference: they received not the fulfillment but if I obey than the fulfillment is mine. 

2.) When God transforms He completely transforms, but it doesn’t stop there. I am redeemed so that I may serve: feed the hungry, seek justice for the oppressed, etc. It’s a beautiful way for His love to touch the world. 

3.) God is just but He is also merciful. He makes no secrets about what happens if I persist in sin but He also bears long. When I run away, He comes after. When I sin, He is ready to forgive. He bore long with a nation that would not listen, and He bears long with me. 

4.) Lastly, but certainly not least, God is love. It is Love that the rescues the straying, Love that touches the filthy and transforms, and Love that gives every chance possible for me to turn to Him and love Him back. It is Love that has chosen me, love that waits so He can be gracious and forgive. Love builds no barriers and He offers me this chance, this gift, to love as He does, even though I’m broken…. Perhaps because I’m broken. It is love that heals, after all. 

Today I have just one question and it’s not a question of whether or not God loves me or has chosen me or wants me to be with Him forever. He does. He always will. But have I chosen Him?

He is everything I need and He is enough for me. 

  

No Fear (promise of God)

(Thoughts on Isaiah 41, from various translations)

I have seized you from the ends of the earth.
I have called you.
I have said unto you, ‘You are My servant. I have chosen you, and not cast you away.
Fear not. I am with you. Do not be dismayed and look elsewhere for help.
I am your God. I will strengthen you. You will be courageous.
I will help you, protect you, give you relief.
I will uphold you, sustain you, with the right hand of My righteousness.’

Best reason not to fear right here. God has chosen me, He is with me, He is my God. He supplies everything I lack.

But, there’s more.

All those who are angry at you will be ashamed and confounded. They shall be as nothing. If they strive with you they will perish.
You will look for them and will not find them.

I, the Lord thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. I will strengthen you to live for me.

Just like a daddy does his child: takes him by the hand; listens to his fears; then helps him stand—courageous. Only this is almighty God and little me.

He comes, this gracious God. He takes my trembling hand in His strong one, “My child, what troubles you?” He knows, of course, but He asks just so I can tell Him myself.

And so I do, trembling and ashamed. Half-afraid He’ll turn away and leave me there alone. But He doesn’t. He simply says: “Do not fear. I am here.”

So we stand together: Me, barely released from the grip of fear and Him in whom no fear is. My enemies—they flee from the face of Love and all that remains is Grace unending.

Amazing Love. Amazing Grace.

Guidance (promise of God)

God’s guidance: It’s always there. 

But am I?

  

Am I listening to His voice? Am I seeking His way? Is my soul at rest in Him?

He promised to guide, to teach me the path I am to walk, and the truth is that I desperately need His guidance. 

But, He needs me to come to Him and ask; He needs me to be still and wait for His answer. 

God keeps His promises. The question of whether they come true in my life is answered by my willingness to listen and obey or not. He wants to make them real for me, for you; He waits to shower His love. Let’s not make Him wait any longer. 

Shew me Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation, on Thee do I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:4, 5)

Undeserved Mercy [to know the Holy]

He is holy. And He is God. And He is forever.
The place where He dwells is rightfully high and holy.

But He’s not alone.

“I dwell…with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15)

Umm… This is a sinner. Sin doesn’t belong in high and holy places.

Well, yes. But this is not just a sinner. This is one who realizes his true condition. This is a man who knows how far he has fallen, how grievous his sin is, and how unworthy of grace he is. This is one who is broken and crushed, who knows himself to be the lowest of the low.

He’s used his last strength to crawl to the foot of the cross and cast himself on the mercy of God.

This is his only hope and God does not hesitate. He brings him to His dwelling place, not to destroy, but to restore…. To make him new again.

This is undeserved mercy, pure and simple: to know the Holy and not be consumed.

But this is also who God is for God is love.

And Love never casts away a penitent, repentant child, no matter how long or far he has fallen.

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Because He is Love….

O Lord, if You should mark iniquity, how would I stand? My sins are more in number than the stars.
And You know them all.

But there is forgiveness with Thee.
Your faithfulness reaches unto the clouds, Your mercy unto the heavens.

And You blot out my iniquities, never to be remembered.
You wash me whiter than snow.

Under Your wings I may rest.
You are my refuge, my rock, the one who fights for me.

I rejoice in Your salvation.
I wait for You.
I give You praise.

For You are worthy. You are God. You are Love.
Now and forevermore.

( Psalm 130:3, 4; 36:5; Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 51:7; 57:1, 18:1, 2, 16, 17; 13:5; 130:6; 59:16; Revelation 4:11; Exodus 3:14; 1 John 4:16)

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Of Brokenness and Healing

Sin is a ravaging disease. It batters us, it turns us into bruised and bleeding souls.
But God stands ready to heal. God wants to heal.
And He does. He’s healing me. But I am still broken. And this process of healing isn’t easy.

It hurts to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. It hurts to be purified by fire. The broken shards of my life poke, scrape, and scratch at each other and at me, and they hurt too.

I grow weary of waiting. I question; wonder why this takes so long.
I’ve been here before.

I want to glorify Him. I want to give this world a true picture of my Redeemer.
And this is why the process is long. In the process I can glorify Him.

Of course God could utter one word and I could be whole. But if He did that then I would miss the lessons He seeks to teach me. I would miss the journey that He’s taking me on.

Still I cry. Still this hurts. But tears cleanse, and fire purifies, and God gently goes deeper still.
His purification is complete. His healing is too. He does nothing halfway.

And so I learn in this journey that He is good. That I am loved. That He is faithful. That He is enough. Little by little I trust enough to let go of yet another lie, another insecurity, another shattered piece. When I do, He transforms it. And I can learn to give Him more.

There is no crown before the cross.

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