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Posts Tagged ‘prophet’

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!”
– Isaiah 40:9

Based on Isaiah 40:1-11:
When God delivered Israel from Egypt, “different” was a glorious privilege. Isaiah was a prophet to a people who had become ashamed of being different. It had been centuries now, and Judah wanted to be the same as the wicked nations around her. The prophet’s message, however, was one of peace.

In our world today, peace is something almost no one has: nations war; businessmen rush to work; moms hurry from school to soccer to laundry; and people wonder during the quietest times, “Am I believing in the right thing? Will tomorrow work out ok?” As Christians, we have those answers. We have peace to offer a hectic world. But so often we are afraid to tell others about the difference God has made in our lives. Isaiah tells us not to be afraid to proclaim the message of peace – not only to say it, but from a high mountain, with strength, so everyone can hear.

What are we to proclaim? “Behold your God”: that God came to be with us and to lead us as our Shepherd. When God is with us, no one can stand against us. We can have peace. That is one of the things Jesus came to give us. He is called Immanuel: ‘God with us’ because His life and death allow us to have a relationship with God. How can you not shout it from the mountains?

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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Isaiah 64:1-12

“And there is none that calleth upon Thy name,

that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee:

for Thou hast hid Thy face from us,

and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.”

 ~ Isaiah 64:7 

Isaiah had been a prophet for a long time. He had visited the throne room of God and written the prophecies of Messiah in chapter 53. Now he saw the need for God’s presence among the people, because the people continued in their ways. No one stirred himself up to take hold of God, literally: to fasten onto God.  Everyone was perfectly content with their same sinful ways. But Isaiah remembered God’s awesome deeds and wasn’t content with anything else. His prayer in chapter 64 reveals his hope for more – God’s very presence in their lives. Only God’s presence could restore their peace. Today we need God’s presence in our lives as much as ever.

For years, each December I’ve written out a Christmas wish-list. I wanted clothes, toys, or candy. But Christmas is about God being with us, Immanuel. As Christmas approaches again, we should be hoping for God’s presence in our daily lives. Jesus told us He would be with us always, but how often to we realize that? Like a child Christmas morning who opens one gift and is no longer satisfied with it five minutes later, our weekly doses of God are just not satisfying. Jesus is the only gift that completely satisfies. Spend every day in His presence. Hope for it. Put it on your Christmas list. God will do awesome things for which you do not look!  

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Strength and tenderness are complementary virtues, just like might and grace. 

Sunday evening I was listening to Ravi Zacharias’ message, Brittle Clay in Tender Hands.  This week was just the introduction to this series on Jeremiah, a study of Jeremiah’s call in chapter 1, though the title is taken from chapter 18.  Look at the progression.  God set Jeremiah apart to be His prophet before Jeremiah was even born.  In response to this glorious and sovereign truth God spoke to this man, the pre-prophet informed God, “I cannot speak…”  So Jeremiah had to learn two things.  The first is that when God calls you, He is strong enough to command your obedience.  The second is that when God calls, He is tender enough to equip.  He knows our weaknesses.  I still remember a friend in high school quoting, “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” 

 

If you study the prophets, when they ran, God pursued them.  Writing about Jacob, Michael Card observed, “Love will fight us to be found.”  Usually we think of the unsaved when we hear the poem or phrase, “Hound of Heaven.”  But in Brittle Clay in Tender Hands, Ravi Zacharias points out that Jeremiah 18 could just as easily illustrate those who have already trusted in God.  Whether you’ve considered Jesus’ pursuit in this light before or not, I expect you will be able to remember times in your life, however short, when you would have preferred God not go through with His plans for you, when you resisted like the clay on the Potter’s wheel.  And I’m guessing that like Jonah, not even running to the other side of the world rid you of His call. 

 

Corresponding to strength is might.  Near the end of Jeremiah 1, God warns the prophet that if he is more afraid of the people and their reaction to the message he is delivering, God will simply make Jeremiah more afraid of Him – in front of the audience.  A proper understanding of grace cannot come without a view of God’s might.  How holy is He?  How glorious?  How powerful?  Where does that leave us?  Aside from leaving us unwilling to reject Him (even for fear of any one else, puny in comparison), it reminds us of how unable we are to obey Him ourselves.    

 

I want to suggest that what happens both in the conviction of the soul’s need for a savior and in the pursuit of His children, is a grace chase.  To abide in His will is better for us.  Grace prevents God from giving us up to our own wisdom, and from releasing His just wrath upon us.  Instead, He tenderly paces after us.  Sometimes the tenderness is so filled with strength that we know we are experiencing discipline.  For example, some mornings I turn off my alarm and want so much to get more sleep that I do drift off into a shallow sleep, and as much as part of me wanted to get more rest, I’m grateful when God wakes me back up just in time so that I won’t be late.  Likewise I am so glad that He doesn’t let me wander from Him forever. 

 

Once we His servants are apprehended in the chase, we are also given grace to complete “that for which [we are] apprehended of Christ Jesus.”  Jeremiah professed his inability to speak, and once God had a hold of him, having cast aside the excuses, God graced Jeremiah with the ability to speak in God’s strength God’s own words.  The question was never one of Jeremiah’s ability. 

 

The more I seek God for understanding, the more I think I’m catching on.  I’ve been asking what “disciplined by grace” means, and I think this is another answer. 

 

Paul wrote one of God’s messages to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

 

To God be all glory, 

Lisa of Longbourn  

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