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.
There was a man named Jabez who was more honourable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.
I was just reading the above in 1 Chronicles today and my heart leapt at Jabez’s prayer. The final bit of this very short passage in the Bible tells us that God granted his request. The sincerity of his prayer strikes a chord in me especially the bit about wanting God to be in all that I do and I most certainly would like to be kept from ALL trouble & pain too.
The Prayer of Jabez
Why did God grant Jabez his prayer? Here some reasons why I think God answered his prayer:
- I think that Jabez had it right in his heart and motives. He wanted God to be with him in all that he did. That demonstrated a reliance on our Father in Heaven. Most of us would much rather do things our own way and in our own strength.
- Significance in life is one of the key things that we look for in life and if we were honest with ourselves none of us wants to fade away without having some sort of impact in our lives. Jabez prayed for God to bless him and to expand his territory. While the prayer might have meant that Jabez wanted more land I believe what he also meant was that he wanted more “influence” in his life; which I believe would also lead to him glorifying God more.
- The more I read the Bible the more I am convinced that God blesses us with more only when our hearts are right and when we put Him first in our lives. I don’t see how we can be good stewards of riches, etc if He’s not number #1. His glory should be made manifest in all that we are and that includes how we are stewardd of our material possessions.
I would hope & pray for my life to be free of trouble & pain but that’s really in God’s plan. As much struggles are tough to go through I wouldn’t ask God to spare me because I truly want to be the man that God wants me to be. I can face whatever comes my way only if I have Him by my side and it’s really awesome that He has promised to never leave me or forsake me. And that’s one promise that I will always cling to in the Bible.
Here’s a little something I read in Leadership Promises (a daily devotional I receive courtesy of John Maxwell’s EQUIP).
Zig Ziglar says, “You can get everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.” How do you do that? How can you turn your focus from yourself and start adding value to others? You can do it by:
- Putting others first in your thinking
- Finding out what others need
- Meeting that need with excellence and generosity
In my experience it’s really tough to put/think of others first especially when there’ve been lots of times when I’ve given till it hurts. It’s especially painful when everything we do is unappreciated by the very people we do them for. Nevertheless that’s not the main reason why I do what I do. After reading the Bible all these years it just makes sense to live life with others in mind; being focused on self alone is a terrible way to live life in my opinion.
I can’t say I’ve figured it all out but I’m thankful that God has laid some foundations in my life that help me to think a little bit more of others rather than myself. It ain’t easy but I suppose it’s worth it at the end of the day.
We love because He first loved us and we give because He first gave to us. Amen?
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.
Hi true believers,
The Formula to Love
I’m down with a bit of a runny nose & bad throat and have been sleeping the weekend away and playing Game Dev Story on Android. I used to get depressed a lot when I get sick but now I see it as a sign that my body needs to time out. The only thing I hate about getting sick is feeling unproductive and I still haven’t figured out if it’s possible to be productive when one is sick. Maybe the best thing to do when I’m down is to ask the Lord to lead me to a good book that I can glean from.
Anyways, here are some thoughts I have about learning to love. The apostle Peter writes this in 2 Peter 1:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It would seem that love stems from faith! In my own walk with God I’ve always tried my best to love but that love is very much limited and today I felt like I got hit by lightning when I read the above in my devotional. How do we grow to be more loving towards others and to ourselves? Peter seems to suggest that these characteristics come to us bit by bit as we grow our faith in God and as I reflect on it this morning it’s very true for me. Every good quality I have has grown bit by bit in pretty much the order above.
It’s still hard to love and persevering to love someone who rejects and pushes you away is the toughest thing to do. It’s hard. It’s hard to love my cell members. It’s hard to love my colleagues. It’s even harder to love my family members and closest friends. In our imperfection, it’s so easy to hurt others with our words and our actions and I’ve been burned many times. It’s hard to hold our tongues or to remain patient. It’s difficult but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth and the truth is there is no way we can love others fully unless we have more and more of God in us.
I’m still far from perfect in love. But the awesome news is that it doesn’t take very much to have more love in my life because all I need to do is build up my faith in God and in His Son, Yeshua. That doesn’t mean I won’t get angry or frustrated but I need to learn how to channel my anger & frustration healthily and I need to learn how to express it properly too at work and in the closer friendship & relationships I have in my life.
It may seem strange but somehow faith equals love.
Till next time.