Isaiah 40 talks about God’s comfort to His people and it heralds His coming. God is exalted in all His ways and Isaiah gives us a glimpse as to who God is:
1) God’s comfort (v1)
2) God’s justice (v2b)
3) God’s glory (v5)
4) God’s strength (v10)
5) God’s reward (v10)
6) God’s provision (v11)
7) God’s incomparable greatness (v15-18)
8) God’s grace (v29)
Isaiah 40 closes off with these words:
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
As we wait upon the Lord, we experience Him in all the 8 characteristics that Isaiah writes about. In God we truly can rise on wings like eagles. In God we can truly run and not grow faint. Why? Because He is my all in all much as He is yours.
Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,
“He traps the wise
in the snare of their own cleverness.”
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;
He knows they are worthless.”
1 Cor. 3:18-20
This portion of Scripture is a puzzlement to me but at the same time there’s a great comfort that I have from it whenever I do/act/speak on things that are contrary to popular culture especially when I go against my sense of self-preservation.
- Turning the other cheek & being silent even when wrongly accused.
- Putting others above myself.
- Giving rather than receiving.
- Having faith even when I don’t understand.
These values go against what our natural selves want and there are many times when I feel stupid in doing things that are contrary to the norm.
If you feel like me sometimes, take heart cos’ God’s foolishness is wiser than the wisest that humanity has to offer. Amen?
It’s been a whirlwind for the past 2 weeks and I’m glad that I have some time this morning to write this very important post that I’ve been mulling over for a very long time.
Hearing from God is a very important thing to me so I’m just gonna take a couple of minutes to distill a lil’ bit of what I know about this in this first of a series of posts that I have planned on the subject.
First and foremost, I think we need to know what the Bible says about some things and in my searching & doubts about my ability to hear from God I came across this particular passage from John’s gospel.
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
The Good Shepherd
The passage above gave me a lot of assurance especially in my questioning on how I know I can hear from God. As I searched my heart I felt led to these 2 things that make up a promise that comes from Jesus’ words.
- The challenge to us: Believe in Jesus & accept Him as Lord of our lives
- The promise to us: By accepting Him as the shepherd of our souls we become His sheep and we can listen to & recognise His voice. He knows us and we follow Him. Of course there are other wonderful gifts too but that one small detail which I have often overlooked just shone through as I read the above one day. Having a promise like that is a big deal once you realise just how much we are designed to be dependent upon God.
I’m still figuring things out but having this assurance means the world to me because there are many times when I wonder if I am able to hear from God or if I’m able to recognise His voice but this passage gives me a comfort that God does indeed gift us with a special privilege to recognise His voice when we have accepted Him into our lives.
Now that we have this foundation in place; tune in later this week in Part 2.
The morning finds me here at heaven’s door
A place I’ve been so many times before
Familiar thoughts and phrases start to flow
And carry me to places that I know so well
But dare I go where I don’t understand
And do I dare remember where I am
I stand before the great eternal throne
The one that God himself is seated on
And I I’ve been invited as a son
Oh I I’ve been invited to come and
Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond my wildest imagination
Lord I come with great expectations
So wake the hope that slumbers in my soul
Stir the fire inside and make it glow
I’m trusting in a love that has no end
The savior of this world has called me friend
And I I’ve been invited with the son
Oh I I’ve been invited to come and
We’ve been invited with the son
And we’ve been invited to come and
Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond our wildest imagination
Lord we come with great expectations
Waiting on Him
1 From the depths of despair, O Lord,
I call for your help.
2 Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.
3 Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
4 But You offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear You.
5 I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on Him.
I have put my hope in His word.
6 I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from every kind of sin.
Sunset in Teluk Kemang
I didn’t really do much in Port Dickson but in the two things I did do I asked God to teach me something and here are gems that I gleaned from two very simple activities:
On Sunday evening I wanted to catch the sunset and so I set out to the lighthouse at Teluk Rachado. I was there way early and spied a small trail that led into the jungle. I figured that I had all the time in the world and decided to see where the trail led. The path wound downhill and much to my chagrin it ended by the sea in a secluded cove that wasn’t at all attractive. The trek back up was torturous and even though I’m kinda fit it was a labourous climb back up.
It can be easy to explore the trail but the way back can be tough and you’ll find at times that what’s waiting at the end of the trail ain’t as great as what you expect/hope it to be. Much like life, our curiosity gets the better of us most times and what we think we want may disappoint us in the end. The journey to get back to where we were can be long & hard but if we have the right perspective of things then we’ll realise that it’s the journey that counts and not so much the destination.
My lighthouse trip to catch the sunset was a bust cos’ the sky was overcast and the sun couldn’t breakthrough the clouds. Disappointed I decided to just head on down and stop by the beach instead cos’ I was looking for a place to run. I hit Teluk Kemang on my way back to my hotel and God had a big surprise for me there cos’ the sunset I wanted to see was waiting for me right at the beach!
Awesome sunsets can be found at an easy to get to location; you don’t always have to go up to the lighthouse to see it. What I learnt is that we don’t always have to work so hard or go so far to get what we want. Sometimes or quite likely most times, God is ready to just bless us if we could only just be patient and if we would just trust Him as we ask. I went up a hill to looking for a sunset but it wasn’t there. Who knew that it was actually waiting or me by the beach and I didn’t even need to trek to get to it.
I could qualify all the above with a verse or two from the Bible but I’ll leave it to you guys to discover some of them for yourselves (or maybe I’m just too lazy… heh).
The Burning Bush
I’m back from Port Dickson and God definitely showed up there. I actually finished reading two books and the awesome part is that the two books made more sense when I got home late on Tuesday morning when a wellspring of anger got triggered by a random event. Everything just fell into place and this is one of those moments when God spoke ahead of time (thank God for a God who sees all and knows all).
I can’t go into the details about what transpired in my few days of personal retreat but suffice to see something’s definitely happening in me. There’s just so much. I wish I could rush things forward as the start of change is always the hardest but I can’t. God’s timing & pace is always best. He’s never too slow and He’s never too fast. His timing is just right.
Anyways, Port Dickson was a good pick and Corus Paradise Resort was clean, simple and centrally located between Teluk Kemang and town. Not the greatest of resorts but I got used to it cos’ all I needed was a place to hunker in. I could’ve checked in to Avillion but decided against it as I had a great deal of just RM240 for a 3 day, 2 night stay where I was. I’ll write a bit more about Port Dickson in a future post.
So… what does one do on a personal retreat? Here’s what I did in the 3 days I was away:
- Switched off my phone (this was the hardest to do but it was worth it – when I finally kept it off on Sunday evening)
- Read (ask God to lead you to a book or two)
- Prayed every time I felt something stand out in my reading
- Looked out for God when I was out (I went for a short hike at the Teluk Rachado Lighthouse and caught a sunset at Teluk Kemang)
- Slept a lot
- Worshiped with my guitar
Its not too hard to go for a personal retreat and if we’re seeking Him wholeheartedly He definitely shows up. The question we have to ask ourselves always is are we prepared to listen and are we prepared to obey? If the answer is yes then He’s definitely gonna speak.
Till next time.