BETH MOORE BLOGGY GIVEAWAY (scroll down to the next post)
The 4-day swim meet seemed endless. Britt's 25 second 50 Free swim turned into a 23 SECOND race for him!! His relay team WON second in state, runner-up for the state championship by a second. Britt walked away more excited about swimming than before. Yet, it looks like it's over. We don't know what our future holds as far as where we will live, where we will work, where we will play. Pray for us as we wait on God Who is watching to see His Word fulfilled, Jer 1:12.
There are a few questions that come to mind as we read the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah this week in our chronological reading. There is always so much to blog about from a whole week of reading the Bible. Never an adequate way to do that. So choose one question below from this way-too-long post and read that snippet. Then, leave a comment about what touched you this week as you connected with God through His Word. Link us up to your blog if you've posted about what lingers with you from the Word of God on this sultry Monday morning. Think about your journey, not about solutions to your problems. And let's respond back to our beautiful LORD Who is quieting us all with His Love, delighting over you this day, singing a song (which one?) over your life and bringing you BACK HOME. (Zeph 3:16-20)
ARE YOU EAGER FOR GOD WITH STRIFE IN YOUR HEART?
There are those who are “eager for God” bowing their heads in prayer yet staying in quarreling and strife in their relationships. Have to take a look at my own stuff and let God speak. “God will guide you and strengthen your frame Isa 58:11 and you will become a repairer of walls. Too many people want to be a repairer without facing what is going on in their hearts---the relational failure before God and man. They don’t want to face their disillusionment with God, with life, with their relationships. This can be a very fertile soil where hope grows. Honor God by not going your own way. 58:13 and listening to empty arguments 59:2. For our sin has separated us but our REDEEMER will come to those who REPENT 59:20…and how beautiful is that! His Spirit is on you and me and His words are in our mouths---not just on the “big people” in life like Piper or Willard or Moore.
WHAT IS MY GOD DOING IN MY LIFE? It’s not about what I will do with God, it’s all about what my God will do with me. Your God is COMING “to strengthen your feeble hands” 35:3. Our Redeemer comes. Arise! Shine! Those who were forsaken…no more. You will be nursed at royal breasts---I am your Redeemer. What is He doing for you? I am your LIGHT. Your God is your glory and even the LEAST will become 1,000 (60:22). Accepted. Loved. Redeemed. Called by a name better than daughter 56:5. No longer deserted. Sought After. No longer desolate. Delighted in. 62:4
DO I TRUST THE ARM OF FLESH OR ARM OF GOD? “Take this to heart” Isa 42:24,25. In all your distress Christ redeems. God’s presence saves us. 63:9. A friend says there are parts of her heart not redeemed yet and she is way further along than I. What is God doing? Confronting us with the Holy One in Isaiah 30. Then, Isaiah’s ending chapters turn the page to a God who gives hope. The LORD has anointed me to preach good news, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for captives and release from darkness. To comfort all who mourn. To bestow a crown of beauty, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. For the Display of His Splendor! So my God keeps convicting me of my trust in an arm of flesh or in the arm of God 2 Chron 32:7 that I may go do what I was made to do.
WHAT PRAYER MOVES THE HEART AND HANDS OF GOD? No ear has heard, no eye has seen any God besides our God who acts on behalf of those who wait for HIM 64:4. Before you call on ME this day, I will answer; while you are still speaking this day, I hear 65:24. My God is listening. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” And we are about to see a king who did just that. The story of Manasseh touches deep places in my heart. This king, the son of godly Hezekiah, bowed to the starry hosts and worshipped idols 2Kings 21:3. He was so passionate (about the wrong things!), he even sacrificed his own son to his gods. That’s unbelievably disillusioned and depraved! In 2Chron 33:11, The LORD brought the Assyrian army against Manasseh; they bound him in bronze shackles and took him prisoner. In Manasseh’s distress, he sought the favor of God and humbled himself greatly before God. The LORD was moved by his prayer and listened to his plea and brought him back to his kingdom. God brought him back. Then, this murderer knew that the Lord is God; he knew forgiveness. In all our distresses, big or small, may we all humble ourselves and humbly pray for favor that the God Who comes will show up in His garments stained with crimson striding forward in great strength for you and for me. Our God Who is mighty to save! He is listening to you this moment, this day! Come, Lord Jesus!
WHAT DO I WANT MORE THAN DRAWING NEAR TO GOD? God is searching with a lamp to punish the complacent----those who refuse to draw near to Him. Our pride is revealed in the words that tumble out of our mouths. Wait for ME and I will purify you so you can serve shoulder-to-shoulder. Don’t run out and do it on your own. Your God takes great delight in you. Your God quiets you with His Love. Your Commander-in-chief rejoices over you with song and HE is saying: I will bring you home! Zeph 3:16-20.
WHAT ONE VERSE SPEAKS OF TODAY’S EVIL? Jeremiah 2:13 A youthful Jeremiah is appointed by God to prophesy against Judah. Jeremiah was commanded not to marry or have children. He had few friends in part because of his message of doom. In verse six of chapter one, Jeremiah opens with the statement, “I do not know how to speak.” God says: Go and say what I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I AM with you and I am watching to see MY WORD fulfilled 1:12. Meanwhile, God puts these words in Jeremiah’s mouth in Jeremiah 2:13: There are TWO E.V.I.L.S. You have forsaken ME, the Living Water. You have hued out cisterns for yourselves, cisterns that hold no water. Complacent and passing up Living water or content to carve out my own cistern! Can a bride forget her dress? Not really. Yet, you have forgotten ME for “days without number” 2:32. Seems in my experience, I was looking for and awaiting lovers way too long before I found HIM 3:2. But, HE gave me shepherds after His own heart 3:15. Circumcise yourself and remove the skin from your own heart. Jer 4:4.
IS MY REPENTANCE TOO SHALLOW? If we refuse to repent, our wounds heal lightly 5:1. Superficial shallow repentance. You say you have peace but what do you wrestle with in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep? No peace 6:14. You don’t even blush 6:15 anymore, wonder why? Just how hard is it to change? Can the leopard change his spots; can the Ethiopian change the color of his skin? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to not doing good 13:23. The prophet Jeremiah is so right: God’s Eyes are always on your ways; they are not hidden from God nor is your sin concealed from God’s Eyes. Why don’t I think about God looking at my sin when I sin? Jer 17:6-8 “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD whose confidence is in HIM.”
ARE WE HOPING FOR A CURE? ARE WE REALLY HUMBLE?
My closing words to you this Monday morning is a verse we all know---"our hearts are deceitful and beyond cure." Jeremiah 17:9,10. Something in us all wants to be cured for our lifetime. No cures but a holy invite to humble ourselves before our beautiful God. I the LORD search your heart and examine your mind. King Josiah sent his priest to the prophetess Huldah to inquire of their LORD. Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what Jeremiah spoke, I have heard you and I will gather you in peace - 2Chron 34. And King Josiah read all the words of the Book to ALL the people from the least to the greatest. No big people and small people in Josiah’s reign and today's world. God is committed to ALL of us. He led ALL of them to renew their covenant in the presence of God to follow the LORD and keep His Word. So, what is HE doing in your life?
PS Don't forget to leave a comment on the next post to win a Beth Moore book.
Monday, July 28, 2008
BETH MOORE BLOGGY GIVEAWAY (scroll down to the next post)
Beth Moore spoke at Life Outreach International with James Robison and I sat in the audience and just wept over her "review" of her book Voices of the the Faithful. My daughter is a missionary over in Thailand and what they shared touched deep places in my heart. I'll have to post about it sometime.
This post is about a bloggy giveaway. One year's worth of amazing stories of ordinary people who have found the courage to trust wildly a God that is inviting us all to come back home. Before they call to HIM, He answers and while they are still speaking, HE hears them Isaiah 65:24.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 5:23 AM
Friday, July 25, 2008
Sitting at the LONE STAR Swim Championships. I think this is our 20th trip to this meet. Came up north to a 4-day swim meet. No computer access---so how am I doing this?? Britt is swimming 12 events and if you are talking to a friend or reading a good book, you might miss him. He's coming up soon in the 50 Free, and he'll finish in about 25 seconds---all day you wait to watch what doesn't last even a moment. But this is probably his last swim meet ever. So, I'll enjoy every minute---ahem---every second. He has decided to retire from the sport he has loved for the past 12 years. Decided he didn't want to swim in college. Our children have to make their own decisions. I have to wrestle in my own heart with his decision to give up a sport he is so good at. More than all that, I just want all my children to ask their God what He wants for their lives.
Jogged and walked as the surreptitious sun rose over Towne Square this morning (wish I had my camera)! Seemed like an endless jog as I listened to an audio book on my iPod (how did I get that book downloaded as I don't have a clue how to do it). When I returned to the car, my clock wasn't the same as the stately City Hall tower clock who had no regard for daylight savings time. I thought it was an awfully long book. Turns out I had gone TWO HOURS instead of one. Oh my!
But, this is what I heard from John Eldredge "Walking With God" during that two hours that touched me in deep places. Shift your posture from avoiding those things in your life to taking a look into your heart. Cultivate willingness to go wherever it is that I need to go to face my interior world. Give my YES to my NOW. Stop avoiding the disruptions to your life. You really don't want to be inconvenienced. You want comfort more than you want your God to move or not move like He is.
Back to the swim meet to watch the five-year-old who wouldn't go off the diving board---the timid little fella who has grown into a seventeen-year-old fearlessly courageous disciplined swimmer. I'll watch him take his last stroke this weekend. And I'll say a prayer that fearless courage may be the cry of his heart as he continues to learn to depend on God for his next breath, his next stroke, his next turn.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 6:58 PM
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
We were so close to our Dallas destination. We attempted to cross over the LBJ freeway but something went way wrong. We were out of gas, suspended on the stately overhead bridge. I had put $25 of gas in the car before we left home---it wasn't enough for a trip in traffic to Dallas. Bob jumps out the car to push it while I navigate an SUV that is going nowhere. I'm asking God for help cause if we get hit on this bridge, where do we go? Scores of cars pass us. Then, a gentleman jumps out of his car to our rescue...now there are two men pushing the car and a third man is running to help them. And their cars are abandoned on the bridge. Whew! Safe on the shoulder of the road, Bob treks two miles to buy a gas can and gas while I waited in the 102 degree abandoned car.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 10:14 AM
Sunday, July 20, 2008
There were 105 passages of Scripture that I wrote down that touched places in my heart this week as we read the Bible chronologically. So how do I start? I love the book of Isaiah! And there is no way to write about that many, so I'll share a few that still linger with me. Leave a comment about what lingered with you and link us up to your blog. This isn't about gaining a bunch of inaugural knowledge or striking insights. No, it's all about finding and connecting with our Maker, our Husband. Isaiah 54:5. He's a sovereign God Who is coming!
Yes, Isaiah 33 opened with encouragement to be strong in our distress for He is the Stability of our times (33:6). And your God WILL COME to give you water in your wilderness and streams in your desert (35:3) and blind eyes will open, deaf ears unstop, and those of us lame will leap and those mute will shout. Here's your highway, a "Way of Holiness." And the ransomed will return. It means we are confronted with the Holy One!
Hezekiah knew those words and in Isaiah 38:5-6, the king turned and wept bitterly as Isaiah delivered the news that his disease was fatal, soon to steal him of his breath. "Must I be robbed in the prime of my life?" 38:10---do we ask the same question when tragedy befalls us? God heard his cries and gave Hezekiah 15 more years to live. Sounds like the answer we want when we face tragic health reports. But what did Hezekiah do with those 15 years? 2Chron 32:25 says he missed his God and became proud in his heart. When God gives us a second chance, what do we do with it? All I can do is deal with this present moment that I have from God. Deal with my stuff in the fray of my own heart, not with what others are doing to me.
In Chapter 40, the One Who measures the waters, marks the heavens, and displays the starry hosts is your Shepherd Who gently gathers, leads, and carries you close to His Heart (40:11). Am I resisting being carried close? So, why do we say: My way is hidden/disregarded by my God? Hezekiah thought God didn't notice. I guess we think God gives us the life we want here on earth---great husbands, obedient children, happy days, the good life. Isaiah 48:2 says we are citizens of a holy city and are to rely only on God not on our being happy here.
And then comes the offer of God's Hand. I will take your right hand and help you (41:13). Sometimes we are so low we can only reach up to touch the hem of His garment. That's where I've been the past couple of years, so low to the ground. God says in this chapter that He will make rivers flow, springs in our valley, water in our desert. He so is doing that for me!!! I'll take your hand and keep you and give light in your darkness--- that we might know it is the Hand of God in the midst of our circumstances. And I'll make you light to free other people stuck in their world, sitting in their darkness.
The LORD is marching as a warrior in your hearts. Stirring up zeal (42:13). A bruised reed HE will not break (42:3). Leading us down unfamiliar paths, turning our dark days into light, our rough places smooth so that we don't trust idols like great marriages, good children, perfect worlds. We have used the wood that is made for burning as an idol---half what it was meant to accomplish; half for what we want to tip our hat and bow down to (44:15).
We've seen many things and paid no attention (42:20). We didn't take to heart against WHOM we have sinned (42:25). Yet when we pass through the waters, we won't drown (43:2). You are precious in HIS SIGHT and LOVED (43:4), created for HIS GLORY (43:7).
Don't dwell on the past...I am doing a NEW THING, making a way for you in your desert. And it was at this point in the readings this week, that I broke down and just wept. You see, I wish I could change some things about my past but I can't. And my God is so showing up and doing a new thing in my life and I am so grateful to HIM for smoothing my mountains (45:2). So grateful for sustaining, carrying, rescuing me to my old age (46:4). He won't forget me though others have forgotten whom I held close. No, God will never forget me for I am engraved on the palm of His Hands (49:15).
Abandon my quarrel with my Maker (45:11) Who counsels God, Bev (40:13). Do I want to give God a piece of my mind? He is testing me in the furnace of affliction (48:10) and my Redeemer is saying: I teach you what is best for you. I direct you in the way to go. Pay attention and your peace will be like a river (48: 17,18). What is due me is in God's Hands (49:4) not for me to decide what is best for me.
My God's Arm is not too short (50:2). Am I living today thinking my lack of strength is due to His short arm? My Sovereign LORD gives me an instructed tongue and sustains me with His Word. He woke us all up this morning to LISTEN (50:4). So, I'll stop what I'm doing. I'll set my face like a flint (50:7). Though I walk in the dark with little light (50:10), and some of you with no light, I will rely only on HIM to help me. For there is something inside of me that desperately needs to change and I can't do it without His Work. Don't light your own fires (50:11). Trust only in the name of our good Sovereign LORD. Come closer those who are thirsty (55:1). Seek HIM while He may be found. Call while HE is near. (55:6). Forsake your ways/your thoughts for HIS. For His Word will never come back to you empty (55:11). Never.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 3:38 PM
Friday, July 18, 2008
"Never confuse your perception of yourself with the Mystery that you really are accepted." It's a quote from a book I'm reading and it so touches deep places in me. To know that I am accepted just like I am by the God who hung the starry hosts in the sky last night. Incredible. Did you see the full moon? Took my breath away when it peeked through the trees. I jogged under the light of the shimmering moon---that's new for me. I've always been so afraid to venture out alone at night unless in a car. Sure, it's wise to be careful. But, this is a new place for me to face my fears and not be immobilized by them and I am old! So grateful to my God for this shift. For it's no longer about management of my fear, it's about His perfect Love casting that fear out. Be gone!
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 11:49 AM
Monday, July 14, 2008
I've been on the road twice this week. Two road trips have taken its toll on blogging. Here we are, GONE FISHING in FLORIDA...(can you name everybody Brooke and Blair and Barrett?)Here I am, a little late this morning with Cover to Cover. Our chronological readings this week walked us through Isaiah and Micah and Psalms. Come back in a day or two and I'll post about our weekend where the LORD was among us all. This post about our readings this week is WAY TOO LONG. But I loved His Word so much this week as He spoke to my heart so tenderly, so generously. So, choose one of the questions below and read that one. I'd so love for you leave a comment if you've stopped by---all you need do is read one of the following questions and quotes that linger in my heart as we connected with our God to find HIM in His Word this week.
WHAT AM I DOING IN THE PLACE WHERE I AM?
Isaiah 22:9-12 You counted the buildings, you tore down houses to strengthen your walls, you built a reservoir, but you did not look to the One Who made it. You had no regard for the One who planned it. Isaiah 23:9 said: It was your beautiful LORD who planned all this to bring low, to humble. What am I really doing in this place where I am?
AM I FINDING REST IN PLACES I WANT TO FIND REST?
Where am I finding rest? Who gave you permission to chisel out a resting place in the rock. Only God is our resting place. Am I finding my rest in Him in the midst of what God has planned for me? Isaiah 23:9. Here’s your resting place or do you have to keeping doing and doing (you’ll get snared!) - Isaiah 28:12.God called you and he is calling today to sackcloth, to repent, and to Look to HIM, the One Who has made all this in our world and lives. God will drive us like a peg into a firm place and He will sit us down in a seat of honor in His House. Isaiah 22:22
WHAT DO I BELIEVE WHEN I AWAKE EACH MORNING? At morning’s light we carry out what we believe Micah 2:11. Every one of us had a choice to make this morning when light rose up in the skies. May this morning’s light that has shined so disturbing on me, may I find a Power in me that I know not, Micah 3:8, to carry out His will this day. Doesn’t His Word do good to the upright? Micah 2:7. I will gather you and pass through you. Micah 2:12.
AM I SAYING TO GOD, “THIS IS TOO MUCH?” “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.” Micah 6:3. TOO MUCH. Is that what I am saying by the way I live? God asked Hosea to marry a whore and love her. What! Hosea found God’s rest. And Hosea didn’t carve the rest out of a rock himself. Isaiah 22:16. God redeemed them in their slavery. Micah 6:4. God offers me today redemption in parts of my heart that know no freedom.
WHAT PLEASES GOD THEN AND NOW? Will 10,000 rams? 10,000 rivers? Micah 6:7 No. “God has showed you, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: To act justly. To love mercy. To walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8. Watch in Hope for the LORD. Wait for your God, your Savior. God will hear you in Houston, in Austin, in . Micah 7:7. Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. Micah 7:8. Because I have sinned against him, He pleads my case and brings me into Light.
ON WHAT ARE YOU BASING YOUR CONFIDENCE? 2 Chron 32:22 The LORD saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria. He took care of them on every side. God is watching my back. You have strategy and strength—but you speak only empty words---this king of Assyria attacked Hezekiah’s judgment and told Hezekiah’s people that Hezekiah had deceived them (18:29) and mislead them (18:32) In verse 30, the Assyrian king says: Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD. “Do not let the god you depend on deceive you Hezekiah - 2Kings 19:10.
AM I GOING STRAIGHT TO OUR GOD ABOVE WITH THE BAD NEWS? Hezekiah received the terrifying letter and went straight up to the temple and spread it out before the LORD. 2Kings 19: 14-16. And Hezekiah prayed: “You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God…deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” With him is only the arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles. 2 Chron 32:7. That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. (19:35) Only God could have done this.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I LOSE THE TRUST OF THOSE I LOVE? Psalm 75:2—there are people in my life who quaked on me starting with my own family up to this day. Earthquakes. People Quakes. It’s our beautiful God Who is holding those pillars up all the time, right over us, and sometimes I never even knew it. Hosea 11:3. I will remember this word for a long time.
ARE WE LETTING GOD SIT US DOWN? Two years ago we lost our job, our church position that my husband held for 27 years on the same church staff. God has been opening doors to go back into the ministry. We interviewed in Austin this past weekend. It was encouraging, delightful, challenging and God was among those people! I read in my quiet time on Friday Psalm 75: 6,7 and wept. It was the first verse that God gave me when we were terminated…“Promotion comes from the Lord, not from the east or the west. He lifts one man up and brings down another.” For whatever reason. Here I sit, a couple of years later and that trauma in my life turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to me.
WHAT DOES GOD SEE WHEN HE LOOKS IN OUR HEARTS THIS DAY? Trust? Psalm 125:1,2 - Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,which cannot be shaken. God surrounds me and you today and forever. Oh wow. Yet, we’re like the children God reared and brought up according to Isaiah 1:2---we have rebelled against God and are a nation loaded with guilt. Oh whoa. “Stop doing wrong, learn to do right” - Isaiah 1: 16,17. One decision affects eternity and the quality of our eternal life, or so it says in Mere Christianity. So, come now, “let us reason together” for our sins can be white as snow. Come, let us go to the House of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways so that we may walk in His paths. He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes, or decide by what He hears with his ears, but with righteousness He will judge. He is looking into our hearts. Isaiah 11:3.
CAN WE REALLY HIDE OUR PLANS FROM GOD? “Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?” Isaiah 29:13 Do we honor Him with our lips but our hearts are far from HIM? Making grocery lists at church. Decorating the bedroom while our husbands think we are “all in” with them. Staying “mean” and critical in our thoughts about our friends. Are we hiding from or honoring our God?
WHAT PLANS WILL I CARRY OUT THIS DAY? “Woe to those who carry out plans that are not mine. Who go down to Egypt without consulting me - Isaiah 30:1. This is what your Sovereign LORD says to you this day: “In REPENTANCE and REST is your salvation, in QUIETNESS and TRUST is your strength” – Isaiah 30:15. You would have none of it, YET your LORD longs to be gracious to you. He rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. It doesn’t depend on our performance. Don’t rely on your resources or the strength you can muster up. The effect of your righteousness will be peace and confidence and quietness. Blessed are you as you wait for HIM, not for any man. He’s coming! “Your eyes shall see your Teacher, and your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 Be gone those other things I trusted in! Be gone! Isaiah 30:22.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 7:39 AM
Friday, July 11, 2008
You want to have a clean car to travel, or so my thinking went. I drove my Pathfinder smack dab onto the tracks at the Shammy Car Wash (in memory of the Six Chicks). Nailed it. The attendant spewed out her memorized commands of how I could navigate the car through the automatic car wash.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 9:40 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Unbidden, unexpected, unbelievable tears flowed down my face like a watercourse longing for its way as Jerod began to sing "God of This City."
The story Jerod told went like this: Bluetree wrote this song while on a mission trip in Thailand in a city that is the #1 sex tourism destination in the world. The band had met the owner of a bar and brothel who invited them to play in his establishment. While Bluetree was performing, the lyrics of this song came to them. When Chris Tomlin heard their song, he picked it up and here it is---from his new Passion release. It's my new favorite song.
"He is Love to the broken."
I stood on those Thailand streets last year and passed by the hopeless scores of girls looking for love and money in the eyes of unknown men. There are 30,000 female prostitutes in this city over the age of 18 and who knows how many underage.
I believe God is making His Light shine through my precious girl, Brookie. You should stop by her blog sometime, THAI ADVENTURES http://www.brookebrandon.blogspot.com/. The link is also on my sidebar.
May your LIGHT penetrate as you look into hurting hopeless faces this very day. And if you are like me on this day, broken yourself, may His LOVE cause you to stand.
Micah 7:8 - When I fall, I will RISE again. When I sit in my darkness, HE will bring LIGHT.
There is no one like our God. You can click here to hear the song. I don't know how to put it on my blog.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 8:39 AM
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I've just returned from a week's vacation on a barrier island---Santa Rosa Island, Florida. My sister invited me to go with her family of 17. It was such a gift for me to walk on the thousands of thought-filled reminders of His thoughts on the shore at sunrise every morning. I'd never done that before! I cooked for them all a couple of times and did arts & crafts with their nine loving livewires whom you see pictured above! I loved them all! I could have uninterrupted time with God, reading and listening, surrounded by beauty that pierced my heart! So grateful for the time! I'm back to blogging. Here's something from each day of our chronological readings from this past week that lingered with me.
There are a handful of us that are reading the Bible together chronologically and posting our comments on Monday mornings. You are always welcome to join. Please leave a link in your comment if you have written about what lingers with you from this week's reading. We are not about just getting insight to make our lives better. We hope that happens, but we are doing this to connect with the Author of our lives and linger in what He is saying to us through His Word this year. You are always welcome to stop by on Monday mornings and read our humble hearts trying to find the Living Word through His holy written word. So scroll down and read a paragraph or two that captures your eye. And I hope you leave a comment.
WE RECEIVE ONE WORD THAT SHAKES OUR WORLD, SHATTERS OUR SOULS and DRIES UP OUR DREAMS - Isaiah 7:2...
Who do we go to first? Isaiah 7:2 It happened to King Ahaz. He heard about who was coming full-speed-ahead to destroy him. Ahaz, a very successful king, perceived that it was a battle he couldn’t win. In our lives today, we take a look at the data and we may be quite accurate at what we perceive. The problem is we don’t do the math very well and we’re always adding up things yet getting the wrong number. We try to figure things out with people. We keep our heart from hurting and trusting and we don’t “let go” or “let down” and rest in where God is bringing us. Wonder why we are so afraid to rest in our suffering? Ahaz folded---didn’t want to play his hand. “The hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.” Isaiah 7:2. The LORD told Isaiah to tell Ahaz: 'Be CAREFUL, CALM DOWN. KEEP QUIET, DON’T FEAR from your heart because of what you see and hear. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. Isaiah 7:9. Am I listening to God or men? Am I “all in?”
INQUIRE OF YOUR BEAUTIFUL GOD FOR A SIGN - Isaiah 7:11
One more time, the LORD spoke to Ahaz, "Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights." Isaiah 7:11 Those are the hardest times to let God change us---when we are desolate in the depths or fat and full in the heights. God spoke words to Ahaz twice. A word came to me very recently that shook my world and sunk me low, and brought me to my knees this week. I asked for a sign and one came within minutes. I don’t hold an experiential faith, yet I do believe God in whatever ways He shows up for me. You can read about receiving a sign in my post "Shimmering Skies." I was flabbergasted. Kneeling in brokenness; standing in grace.
WE ARE TO DREAD ONLY ONE THING. – Isaiah 8:13
The LORD came to me with his STRONG HAND upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people.. Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread what they dread. Isaiah 8:12-15. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy. HE is the one you are to fear. HE is the one you are to dread. And HE will be your sanctuary!
A LIGHT HAS DAWNED IN OUR DARKNESS – Isaiah 9:6
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. For to us a child is born…AND He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6. The zeal of the LORD will accomplish justice and righteousness. His Anger is not turned away. His Hand is still upraised. What will you do with the Light you have? What will you do on your day of reckoning; to Whom will you go for help? Isaiah 10:3
TURN TO YOUR FRIENDS FOR HELP or TO THE UNSEEN EYES – Hosea 5:13
When Ephraim saw his sickness and Judah his sores, then Ephraim turned to Assyria’s king for help. What’s our first response when our health fails or unwanted news arrives by phone or a friend handles us so wrongly or a family member hurts us deeply with no apologies. Who do we turn to? “The king is not able to cure you, not able to heal your sores.” Do we seek to have intimate communion with God in the midst of our marital arguments---when we flee or fight? Verse 15 says: When we admit our guilt, “in our misery we shall earnestly seek Him.” Or do we just seek Him when circumstances are going well. Seek Him in your misery.
COME. RETURN. ACKNOWLEDGE. PRESS ON – Hosea 6:1
“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. We cannot pick out the verses that build for us a safe life---all Scripture is inspired by God. What we can unpack from this chapter is the assurance that in the midst of suffering, our God will “come to us like the spring rains that water the earth. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear,” if we rend our hearts in repentance. Or, is our love like the morning mist that disappears? Hosea says that the LORD cut them in pieces with His Word. Are we connecting with HIM for greater insight to make our lives work---that sounds like idols to me. Or, are we finding HIM in the Word to know Him and have a relationship with the God Who created us for this very purpose. “Desire acknowledgement of God rather than offerings,” even of good programs and faithful groups and even Scripture knowledge---all good things but what do we seek first? God or things?
REDEEMED…SO CRY FROM YOUR HEART – Hosea 7: 13,14
God says in these verses He LONGS to redeem us. They are intrigued with God; their passions smolder. Yet, they don’t cry out to their God. They wail from their beds rather than crying out from their hearts. They are living in the old covenant---what are we supposed to do, they ask. This day, Jesus has redeemed us under the new covenant! Are we wailing upon our beds or crying out to HIM from our hearts? When we wail, we have one goal for our pain---relief. So how do we cry out to Him from our hearts and release His Spirit? In the new covenant, it is no longer what we are supposed to do, but what we WANT to do to follow our Christ cause there is no life apart from HIM.” So are the tears that fall---demanding angry tears or sorrowful repentant tears. I’ve not thought about asking what my tears are for…maybe I should say for Whom are my tears. For God or for myself?
WHAT ARE WE PILING IN HEAPS AS WE ADVANCE HIS KINGDOM? - 2 Chron 31:6
Just what are we stockpiling for this next world? “People lose heart and God brings their plans to nothing” for they consult everyone else but God, the Author of their lives. Hearts melt within when our trust is in anything other than God, our Source. (Isaiah 19:1). Where do we go for help and deliverance from the enemies of our soul? (Isaiah 20:5) We’ve relied on ourselves and the help we can find to muster up to get going again. Not so for Hezekiah. The LORD was mustering up an army and Hezekiah joined in and led his people to bring their tithes and pile them in heaps. This king offered a taste of God and advanced the kingdom of his God. Are we attaching and advancing His Kingdom or detaching and dismissing His Works?
My last word is this...life for me isn't about insight and more knowledge...our journey is all about finding a holy, sovereign God, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Knowledge puffs up and just makes us proud but love changes everything I Cor 8:1. We so want to love HIM and love our world. I don't know where God is leading us to go, but pray for our family as we ask Him and listen.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 5:53 PM
Friday, July 4, 2008
I'm about to jump out of my skin on Santa Rosa Island...I have been simply overwhelmed with my beautiful God this week. I have read my favorite authors sitting on the sand---that sand, a thousand thought-filled reminders of how much He thinks about us. I have walked 6-10 miles each day and listened and lingered and longed and loved every minute with my God. I've knelt in humility and brokenness on the beach and stood in grace and gladness on that shore.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 6:01 PM
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
It doesn't matter what time we go to bed, my heart wakes up at sunrise from the ocean floor...this morning show lit up 360 degrees of exuberant exhilarating expanse. I am the wild one with a ponytail and iPod walking the shoreline singing and praising and listening and praying. I am stepping in ecstasy over here!
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 11:17 PM