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A Steady Immeasurable Flow

From John 15 & 16: Love the transition between these two chapters. It is the key to having a heart for God . . . consistently.

Jesus was ready to leave this world. The entire 15th chapter is this key he knows they will need. It’s not complicated. It simply takes time. On a regular basis, we must connect. “Abide” as he says 10 times.

And then the transition that I believe is the natural result of doing it . . . “I have told you these things that you will not go astray.” Do it and maintain your passion for God. Neglect it and see what other passions surface.

I saw a small line of water on a basement floor the other day. It’s source? An almost undetectable flow through a hairline crack in a concrete wall. The steady flow of water, though seemingly immeasurable and insignificant, did actually result in an amount that was measurable.

Where we abide, what we feed into our minds, may seem a little insignificant; but the steady flow of it will have a measurable result.

 

 

The Scattered Flock Returns

​John 10 tells of the good shepherd. His sheep know his voice. It also tells of the stranger, the thief and the wolf. 

The sheep run from the stranger because his voice is strange to them. He is a thief, whose plan is to steal, kill and destroy. He is like a  wolf who attacks and scatters the flock.

It feels good to have a shepherd again. His voice speaks things that are familiar. It speaks peace. The scattered sheep are gathering again. I like it.

Better Days Ahead

I have been reading in Isaiah for about 4 months. I read it, reread it and then reviewed it several times. The correlation, in several ways, has captivated me.

One of the main messages is God’s appeal to a people that had neglected and disregarded him. “Come let us reason together.” “Present your case” he pleads.

Hezekiah, the king, actually does it. He comes to God to reason with him and pleads his case. It results in one of the coolest demonstrations of God’s intervening that the Bible records.

And what did we just do? I believe a record number of Americans, in light of how out of line our government has been, came to God and reasoned with him. We presented our cases and he was moved, as he was with Hezekiah, to intervene.

As a result of prayer, God went from anger to compassion. He allowed his people and us to simmer in hardship long enough that it got the attention of many. As a result of the turning to him, his anger, which brought on hardship, was turned to compassion and which ushered in a rebuilding.

I cannot help to believe that we, similarly, have just witnessed the same turning. I believe we have better days ahead to look forward to.

The discipline of God’s people had crawled to its end. His hand had turned to restore. Brought on by years of disregard, God reached his limit and chose for awhile to disregard them. And here they are; at the bottom of what their disregard had cost them – not yet recovered from all they had lost.

It never fails. We convince ourselves that all is okay until it is so blatantly not. It is a shame that it takes a wake up call for us to wake up. And when we finally do, we wonder why it took us so long. It is in this vein that Isaiah pens this question; “Why, O Lord, do you make us wander from your ways.” Why do you make us to where we want to?

Isaiah boiled it down to that question. God boils his side down as well. “I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen.” All along the way, he calls us to himself. Listen and we do not wander. Disregard and we begin a gradual decent.

Every day we are given a new chance to listen. I believe there is nothing that God desires more than for us to want to spend time with him. Conversely, there is nothing Satan desires more than to keep us from it. Every day is new chance to start fresh. Whether the neglect has been a couple days, weeks, months or even years; He calls.

 

Hezekiah’s Prayer

Interesting the difference ‘punctuation’ makes . . . if you notice it. I was so familiar with the way Mark wrote it; “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’”, that I almost missed the way Isaiah wrote it. “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord’”. Hezekiah’s calling out to God, prepared the way for God to turn discipline into restoration. It pleased God that Hezekiah regarded his ability.

In my concern for our country, this story challenges me to lean more into God. Realizing through Isaiah’s writings that he brings princes to nothing, I have confidence in his ability. God is able to accomplish all that he pleases. Very little pleases him more than for us to regard that fact about him.

I’m glad Facebook wasn’t around then. Can you imagine the different outcome had Hezekiah taken his request to Facebook? There is a place for everything. I won’t quit posting altogether; but my postings will be tempered differently now. It will no longer be my goal to present my case for one candidate or the other; but rather for the fact that God desires of us all that we present our cases to him.

By nothing more than a prayer – one man presenting his case to God – of the Assyrian army that had Hezekiah and his people surrounded, 185,000 men woke up dead. The rest went home . . . and stayed there.

Isaiah’s Message

Interesting the difference ‘punctuation’ makes . . . if you notice it. I was so familiar with the way Mark wrote it; “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’”, that I almost missed the way Isaiah wrote it. “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord”.

In the context of the previous chapters, Jerusalem was experiencing God’s discipline. In the previous 3 chapters, Hezekiah boldly turns to God for help. As a result, God turns. The discipline ends and restoration begins. In a prayer, God goes from “cleansing the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire”, to, “Comfort, comfort my people”. 

“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem”, “her sin has been paid for”. God heard the “voice of one (Hezekiah) calling”. In his desert experience, he called. It prepared the way for the Lord. It made a straight highway on which God could travel. 

In our desert, sometimes the only thing standing between God coming to our rescue or not, is whether or not we take the time to call. “A voice says, ‘Cry out.’” We are encouraged to cry out to a God who “brings princes to nothing”.

It is the message of the entire book of Isaiah. “Come and let us reason together.” To a people who had disregarded him, he simply asks that we remember who he is; and that in remembering, we come to him.

 

From Isaiah 57

Though God lives in a holy place,

yet he is in the lowly space.

 

Not with good who sees no need,

nor with bad who refuse to heed.

 

But those who hate their evil ways,

with them his spirit forever stays.

 

His silence not the resounding nod;

patience is the way ‘our God.

 

Perfection not the gem he seeks;

it’s the lowly soul with whom he speaks.

 

The lowly soul with contrite heart,

to him his grace he does impart.