My life is a tiny flicker of light that can be extinguished in an instant.
This fact is more real to me since I hit an antelope while driving on a rural road in Wyoming last week. I had this exact thought when I realized I was going to hit him- “This could be it.” The end.
It wasn’t ‘it’ because the antelope bounced off and ran into the bush after poking a big hole in my car – which was still drivable.
It wasn’t ‘it’ but it could have been.
God tells us through Isaiah that ‘Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fade but the Word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40: 7 & 8.
When I sit here with my Bible open on my lap, I am letting the only truth of all the ages soak into my mind. God’s Word has been the one thing that is right and good since time began. How amazing that this is so readily available to me every hour of every day!
How amazing that the Eternal Creator of the Universe speaks to me personally through these words!
How amazing that this entire book is a love story written to me by God. It’s God’s revelation of how much he loves me and you.
My life is short and fragile and just a small flicker of light in the big picture. I’m so glad that I know that my Father God sees me as his precious daughter who is so important to him that he made a way that I could live with him in my forever home in heaven.
My life may be short and fragile but I’m important to God….
I’vebeen there – a place where there’s no way out.
When there is nothing I can do to even try to fix it.
A total dead end.
This is when the only way out is up.
King Hezekiah knew all about this place thousands of years ago when a huge Assyrian army came to Jerusalem and camped right outside the city walls.
The Assyrian King told Hezekiah that the LORD had told him to destroy Jerusalem.
King Hezekiah was wise enough to recognize a big lie when he heard it so he went to the prophet Isaiah to get the truth. The Lord told Isaiah that King Hezekiah should not be disturbed by what the Assyrians were saying – God was going to move against them himself.
Next, the Assyrians send a letter warning King Hezekiah that he should not be deceived by God’s promises to protect him. (There were serious mind games going on here.) The Assyrians had been completely destroying everyone in their path and that’s what the Assyrian king was planning to do to Jerusalem.
King Hezekiah knew that was exactly what the Assyrians had been doing – destroying everyone and everything and no one had been able stop them.
So Hezekiah took the Assyrian’s letter to the temple and spread it out before the Lord. He laid out his concerns to God and asked him to rescue them so that all the nations of the world would know that he was God.
I visualize Hezekiah on his knees spreading out this scroll full of scarey and deadly threats. Then he totally lays himself down on the floor in front of the scroll as he asks God to save his people.
How interesting – he doesn’t summon the commander of his army. He doesn’t consult with anyone. He and his people are facing annihilation and he prostrates himself before God.
I’ve been there several times in my life – when there is no way out but up. Faced with massive issues that were extremely beyond my control, I have laid it all out before God and asked him to take care of it. I didn’t know how he would do it and I told him I didn’t care what he did – I was just placing it all in his hands and trusting in his promise that he is working all things out for my good.
It worked for me just like it worked for Hezekiah thousands of years ago. God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and took care of the situation. God always hears my prayers and he answers by orchestrating situations in his way with his power to benefit me.
I have discovered I don’t have big issues for long when I have a huge God.
Life can feel like a roller coaster ride of emotions – up and down and sometimes upside down.
it can feel more like a smooth, level path.
What makes the difference?
A better question is – WHO makes the difference?
God stopped me today as I read Isaiah 26:7, “The path of the righteous is level; You, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.”
I’ll admit, I have had many emotional roller coaster rides these last 5 years since my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty. I have had more crazy extreme feelings of grief, loss, sadness, and heart break than I have every had before.
And I have learned that the quicker I turn to God for his comfort, love and direction, the faster the roller coaster ride slows down. My emotions settle and the fog of pain in my mind gradually disappears.
Just to be clear – I am ‘righteous’ because of what Jesus did for me, not because of anything I have done. God sees me as ‘righteous’ because I have accepted salvation through his son, Jesus.
I know my Father God is walking closely beside me, smoothing out my path and leveling the mountains of emotions. I still have all the feelings but I face them with peace in my soul as I am held, grounded and secure, within my Father’s strong arms.
I have learned to trust God at a whole new level and I am totally confident that he is working all things out for my good.
I may not understand it all, but I know it’s true.
How often are we on ‘auto-pilot’ when it comes to our relationship with God?
Just going through the motions?
In Isaiah 29, God tells his people that their worship was meaningless because it was based on human rules but their hearts aren’t engaged. They are saying the right words but they didn’t mean them. “The LORD says: ‘These people come near me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Isaiah 29:13.
God can tell the difference. He knows when I are focused on him with all of my heart. He knows my thoughts and intentions. He knows when my thinking wanders away from him – even if my Bible is laying open on my lap. He knows when I am just saying things I have been taught to say but there is no passion and love behind them.
My love for God shines bright when its authentic. When its real. When its based on a personal relationship, not just traditions that I have been taught by others.
God sees right into my heart and he knows. He knows if I’m serious about my faith.
There is no ‘faking it’ with God.
Please help me worship you and love you like you want me to, Abba Father
I love how accurate Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah were even though he spoke them 700 years before Jesus was born. This shouldn’t surprise me – God knows everything and is in control of everything – including my future.
Isaiah’s prophecy in the 9th chapter of his book was fulfilled when Jesus came to earth, died on the cross for our sins and rose again in victory over death.
Isaiah’s prophecy came true –
People who were walking in darkness saw a Great Light. Lost in deep darkness, they saw the Light as it dawned. This Light gave them success and joy. They celebrated the Light just like they celebrated a great harvest. They celebrated just like warriors who are dividing the plunder after a victorious battle.
This Light’s name is Jesus.
He forever shattered the yoke of sin and shame in our lives. There is no need for war in his kingdom.
For he came to us as a child, the Son of God. And we call him –
Prince of Peace.
He is reigning forever victorious and there is no end to the peace he gives to those who put their faith in him.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Micah prophesied about the birth of Jesus saying that a ruler would come from Bethlehem, “And he will be our peace.” Micah 5:5.
Notice – it doesn’t say ‘a source of peace’.
Jesus is our peace. Period.
Do you feel that in your life?
I don’t find peace in the things that so many people here on earth think are so important.
I have not found peace with money and success.
I have not found it in relationships other than my relationship with God.
Buying things has definitely not given me peace since things break and grow old – no longer shiny, no longer ‘the latest’.
I have not found peace in education and achievements.
I love to travel and experience new things but that is not where I find peace.
Jesus is my only source of real Peace. I feel the peace he gives me down in the center of my soul.
I can trust him with everything and he has a perfect love for me. He has proven his love for me over and over in my life. He who never sinned became sin for me on the cross so that the price for my sins was paid and I can live with him forever.
My eternal life with Jesus has already started on this earth –
as he fills my life with the peace only he can give.
One of my favorite things about the Chronological Bible is that the words of the prophets are placed into the reading so they are talking straight at the kings and people who God called them to warn.
God sent the prophet Amos to both Israel and Judah to call out the current religious establishment. The religious leaders in Judah were leading their people to develop meaningless religious traditions while refusing to do what God really wanted them to do – give mercy and justice to the oppressed and needy.
Israel was experiencing a time of prosperity which led them to a lifestyle of greed and immorality.
Sound familiar? Do we see any of this in our culture today? Immorality – have you turned on your TV lately? Have you looked at billboards along the freeways? Greed – there are so many examples its hard to figure out where to start. People will do anything these days for money.
As I read the book of Amos, God speaks to my heart and asks me to critically evaluate my religious habits and my ethical conduct. He also warns me against complacency – getting too comfortable.
I’m careful to keep my relationship with God as my first priority, not religious habits. When someone tells me they aren’t into organized religion, I tell them I’m not either – I’m totally into having a close relationship with God. That always gets their attention.
But I know what God means by being too comfortable. I used to live in a nice Christian bubble. All of my close friends were Christian. Everyone on my social calendar was a Christian. I knew some non-Christians at work but everyone in my personal world was a believer.
This is the definition of complacent.
For God so loved the world……we have been commissioned to tell the world the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. That’s not comfortable – that’s being stretched and reaching into the mess that is our culture today with the love of Jesus. Now my calendar always includes places and relationships where I can be the light and let the love of God flow through me out to people who don’t know him.
Take a close look at your life. Have you wandered into some immorality? Or greed? Or meaningless religious traditions? Or complacency?
If that’s true, it’s time to turn back to God. “Seek me and live” God tells us in Amos 5:6. When we repent, he restores. And he renews. And he changes us from the inside out.
Many people get confused when they think love is something they feel – or not. Real love is not an emotion, its a commitment.
God has so much real love for us that he made us in his own image and he gave us free will to make our own decisions. He could have made us love him – but that’s not love, is it.
The arms of God are full of grace and compassion and they are wide open to each and everyone one of us. We have a choice to make – are we going to love him back?
God chose Jonah to go tell a group of people, the Ninevites, to stop their wickedness. Jonah didn’t want to do it so he tried to run away from God. Did you know that it’s impossible to hide from God?
Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale for 3 days where he repented, was spit out and ended up going to Nineveh anyway.
After Jonah spread his message throughout Nineveh, everyone – including the king – stopped the wickedness and rebellion. They repented and God did not punish them.
This made Jonah very angry. “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” Jonah 4: 2.
Why was Jonah so mad? He did not think the pagan Ninevites deserved God’s love and grace.
The fact is that none of us ‘deserve’ God’s love and grace. We can do nothing to earn it. We can never be ‘good enough’. If we’re honest we know we have all rebelled and ignored God while doing things the way we want them done putting ourselves at the center of our universe.
When we place our faith in Jesus, he saves us from the eternal death we have ‘earned’ because he is more than ‘good enough’.
Unfortunately, people who decide not to love God and put their faith in Jesus are choosing eternal separation from God’s grace and love. God doesn’t want that to happen to anyone but he won’t make this choice for us.
If you have not chosen Jesus yet, today is the day. Only Jesus can save us from getting what we truly deserve.