Monthly Archives: May 2020
“Shout! A full-throated shout!
Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives,
face my family Jacob with their sins!
They’re busy, busy, busy at worship,
and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people—
They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’
and love having me on their side.
But they also complain,
‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way?
Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’
Isaiah 58:1-3 The Message
Do you have a decision or project you’ve been working on for a long time? Something that gnaws at your mind or heart – something which stares at you at the end of the day – something you try to get to but there never seems to be enough time to start it? I am talking about a decision or project that has been in the making for years – not the laundry pile that is always there. You have consulted the Lord – You have asked for help. You have even fasted to keep your mind focused on God in your situation. Why can’t you get resolution?
“Well, here’s why:
“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit.
You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do
won’t get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after:
a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face
and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting,
a fast day that I, God, would like?
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families. Isaiah 58:4-7
God is asking us to turn our hearts and minds away from ourselves and look at the people and situations he has placed in our path in this day. The project or decision we are focused on is irrelevant if we haven’t dealt with the moments we are in. Looking ahead to plan or behind to berate ourselves for failing to “get it done” is of little consequence. What He is asking us to do is follow Him in the moment we are in.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ Isaiah 58:8-9
Setting ourselves aside (our personal wants and desires) in furtherance of His Kingdom in this moment, will pave the way for resolution of our own situation. If we follow Him in each moment of this day, the decision or project will either get resolved in His time or He will give us understanding that it was not His to start with. Either way, His peace will carry us because in the words of Elevation Worship “I’m gonna see a Victory, for the battle belongs to you, Lord!”
“Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:33-35
Jesus commanded us to love one another. Why? Because when we love, we point others to Him.
“I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught. John 14:25-27
Jesus wanted us to know that He left us in good hands and with a gift – Peace. Why? So we would not be upset or distraught but would remember that we are well and whole!
“You’ve heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, and I’m coming back.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m on my way to the Father because the Father is the goal and purpose of my life. I’ve told you this ahead of time, before it happens, so that when it does happen, the confirmation will deepen your belief in me. John 14:28-29
Jesus challenges us to be thankful for His journey to the Father. Why? Because His goal and purpose in life was to be obedient to the Father by saving us and when we connect these dots, our faith deepens.
And then what He had told the disciples was going to happen, happened. Jesus was crucified, buried and on the third day, arose! He appeared to Mary Magdalene, to Peter, to John, to the disciples on the Road to Damascus, to the disciples in the Upper Room and by the Sea. And He spoke to them.
You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.” Luke 24:47-49
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit before His death and after he arose He reminded the disciples to wait for The Holy Spirit. Why? So they and us could be equipped with power from God.
He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them, and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven. Luke 24:47-51
Jesus ascended into Heaven. . . And, we are reminded by His words before He died:
“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” John 14:2-4
So as you awake tomorrow – Ascension Day – be reminded by the Holy Spirit that Jesus has a room ready for you and He will be back to take you to live with Him. Halleluiah!
Fear is an insidious temptation. Its job is to divert our attention to something that is not of God. When it strikes, we become confused and tend to go into a hibernating mode. Fear isolates and turns our outward thoughts inward. We dwell on ourselves and our own preservation. If it is allowed to go unchecked it immobilizes us and sucks the very life from our soul.
God’s Love always conquers fear!
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:17-21The Message
Conquering fear is a process. Turning from fear to love takes time and effort. Many times we have allowed fear to take root so deeply that uncovering and exposing it to God’s Love is a lengthy process. Two steps forward, one step back. But as the light seeps in, we start to be able to love others as we love ourselves – a sure sign that our fear is no match for God’s Love.
So let us be liberated from fear by Love. Banish your fear and move towards Love. Start with actively allowing yourself to know God’s Love by turning to Him. Sitting with Him. . . Singing to Him. . . Walking with Him . . . Listening for Him and sharing Him with others in Love. Wherever you are in this moment make an effort to trust Him and the Love that He has for you.
Remember . . . God’s Love always conquers fear!
You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!” Psalm 91
This is what you need to hear!
Sit down in God’s presence, spend time with Him and acknowledge He is your refuge! Don’t run scared. He has you. You are resting in His presence. Now it is light outside and you need to stand up and follow Him on the mountain path. It is narrow and there are lots of places for lions (big problems and little problems) and snakes (sneaky people and made up fears) to hide. But He has commanded His forces to protect you and to keep you safe. He promises.
As a matter of fact, IF YOU HOLD ONTO HIM FOR DEAR LIFE, GET TO KNOW HIM AND TRUST HIM, He promises to: deliver you from trouble, protect you, answer you, comfort you, rescue you, give you long life and give you His life saving Grace.
So get up and follow Him! Stop feeling sorry for yourself and grab ahold of His promises. A new day is dawning. He is in it with you! What more do you need?