Category Archives: Isaiah

We are HIS!

Isaiah 49: 13

Shout for joy O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains!  For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.  NIV

My “hope” word search has brought me to Isaiah.  This morning, as I was looking for a “hope,” this verse jumped off the page at me.

Don’t fret!  Rejoice!  If you won’t do it, God’s other creations will.  Because God is faithful.  He comforts us and has compassion on us, even in the worst of times.

We are HIS!

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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It’s not impossible

Isaiah 40:31

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. NIV

What a beautiful verse.

I love the promises here.

I love that things that are difficult (or downright impossible) for me as a human will be accomplished with ease when my hope is appropriately placed in the one true God.

God can make the impossible … possible.

God can make the difficult … easy.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Worry vs. trust

Isaiah 50:10-11

Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant?  Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.  But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of you fires and of the torches you have set ablaze.  This is what you shall receive from my hand:  You will lie down in torment. NIV

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust … and rely on … God.

For the last couple of days, I’ve been looking at what Isaiah says about trust.  He’s very consistent.  He see us as walking in the dark.  We don’t know the future.  But, we shouldn’t fear that, instead, because we don’t have any light … no insight into what is coming … we must trust and rely on God who knows all things.

He also consistently pairs this insight with a warning for those who don’t heed his advice.  Here, he says that if we insist on lighting ourselves up, on bringing glory to ourselves, and if we trust in our own abilities — if we light fires and provide ourselves with flaming torches — we are doomed to worry and lose sleep.

It’s a question of worry vs. trust.

I choose trust.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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It’s tempting … but, consider the consequences

Isaiah 42: 16-17

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do;  I will not forsake them.  But those who trust in idols, who say to images, “You are our gods,” will be turned back in utter shame. NIV

This is beautiful.

I am the blind.  I am unable to see anything beyond this moment in time, while God, who is not bound by time, can see it all — from the beginning to the end, from everlasting to everlasting.

Here, God promises to lead me, step-by-step, along the unfamiliar paths of the rest of my life.  The implication here is that I must get out of my comfort zone.  If the steps of my life are predictable, if I do the same things in the same way each day, if my eyes are not open to those around me and to how I can help them, I’ll miss the blessing of doing God’s work.

But, if I’m willing to trust God with my whole heart and with my whole life, He will “turn darkness into light before (me) and make the rough places smooth.”

I love that.

Months ago, I looked at Psalm 119:105 – Your word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  At that point, I spent a couple of days thinking about the mechanics of that verse.  God promises light at my feet … step by step, moment by moment … as I walk the path of my life.  He doesn’t promise to give me anything more than I will need to put the next foot down with confidence.  This verse echoes that.  He will turn darkness into light before me, as I walk, and He will make the rough places smooth, so that I won’t be tripped up along the way.

He will not forsake me!  How comforting is that?

But, here’s the kicker, “But those who trust in idols … will be turned back in utter shame.”

Before the last day or two, I had not seen worry for what it really is … an idol that I was trusting more than I was trusting God.

I am simply amazed at how this project has unfolded.  God has given me each piece of the puzzle to solve my worry problem slowly and deliberately, and, only at the point where I am able to assimilate the part of the answer that each scripture holds.

He has waited until near the end, until this word search on “trust” to reveal to me the abomination that my worry is.  It is an idol.  A despicable thing.  One that I am finally strong enough to recognize and stand up against.

Yesterday, I thought briefly about something that scares me, and the temptation to worry flooded over me.  It was almost palpable, like a big blanket that I could wrap myself in.

But, I didn’t do it.  I banished it.  A reader gave me a wonderful insight.  She said, “Let our worries be cast out in Jesus name and may His comfort and providence be with us all the days of our lives.”

In Jesus’s name, I will not worry.

God, the one true God, is the Lord of my Life.

My trust is in Him.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Isaiah, Old Testament, Trust

Here’s a three-step program

Isaiah 31:1

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsesmen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or seek help from the LORD.  NIV

Ok … there’s a lot here.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help … There is nothing but worry in store for those of us who go back to the oppressor to try and solve our problems.  In my case, if I try to solve an issue myself, or try to worry my way through my lack of control, there is nothing good in it for me.  There’s just woe.

Woe to those who …  rely on horses, who trust in the great strength of their horsemen … so, just because it appears that you have the earthly tools to solve your issue, don’t trust that.  It’s a sham.  He is the vine, I am a branch … apart from Him, I can do nothing.  No matter how many horses or warriors, or in today’s terms, salesmen, or Web sites, or marketing strategies … no matter what I might thing I have in my assets column, if I don’t put God first … there’s just woe.

Woe to those who … do not look to the Holy One of Israel or seek help from the LORD.  God wants us to commune with Him, to glorify Him and to seek His help and His blessing.  By His grace, I have life and everything in it.  Everything I have is His, and, when I acknowledge that, and give it ALL to Him, then He will return blessing upon blessing.

As long as I struggle against obedience to God … as long as I think as I can accomplish anything on my own, there’s woe.

So, to avoid woe (worries):

  1. Don’t go to the oppressor for help
  2. Don’t trust in your own power or strength
  3. Trust God and seek Him in all things

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Isaiah, Old Testament, Trust

Wait … and trust. Don’t worry!

Isaiah 8: 17

I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.  I will put my trust in him.  NIV

God’s presence isn’t always felt.

Henry Blackabee talks about the silences of God.  Beth Moore speaks about this, too.

In thoughtfully considering their perspectives, and also in looking at the multiple recorded instances of this in the Bible, it seems to me that while God is always at work, He may not always be at work on me, or on my particular situation.

During the times that His presence is less felt, it is important that I don’t wane in my faith or in my commitment.  It’s important that I don’t worry.  I mustn’t follow the example of the Israelites, who carved out a graven image to comfort themselves while God was on the mountain speaking earnestly, and doing important work, with Moses.

Instead, “I will wait for the LORD … I will put my trust in him.”

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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It’s all going to be ok!

Isaiah 37:33

Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria.  “He will not enter this ciy or shoot an arrow here.  He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it.” NIV

I’m continuing to search for verses containing the word, “worry” in The Message translation of the Bible.

There, this verse reads, “Finally, this is God’s verdict on the king of Assyria:  “Don’t worry, he won’t enter this city, won’t let loose a single arrow; Won’t brandish so much as one shield, let alone build a siege ram p against it.” MSG

This is a time when God, who knows all things, chooses to reveal a bit of the future.

I really like science fiction.  As a kid, I loved 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and, of course Star Trek.  I absolutely love the notion of time travel, and some of my favorite books, and movies play with that concept.

But, as much fun as it is to read about the possibility of not being bound by time, I wouldn’t like it.  I tend to think that if I knew one, sure fact about the future … I would worry about the rest, and I would be so focused on the ifs and the whys and the wherefores that I would successfully miss the experience of my own life.

It’s good that God provided this reassurance … He knows best.  There are times that I would like to be told with certainty, “This is all going to be ok.”

But, as I think about it, I am told that.  My future is assured and my present is pleasant.  This is all going to be ok!

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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You are a cherished child of God

Isaiah 7: 7-8

Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says, “It will not take place, it will not happen, for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.  Within sixty five years, Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.” NIV

One of the things that you get with a WordPress blog is something called a “dashboard.”  It keeps track of all kinds of nifty things for you … first and foremost, the number of posts you’ve written.  In the case of this blog, that number has grown steadily since February … it now reads 231.  Even though this is a number that I track daily as I search out the Bible’s reminders not to worry, I saw it yesterday, and it surprised me.  231 is a number ever so much closer to 365 than I thought I might ever be … it occurred to me that there may be more than 365 reminders not to worry contained between the covers of my NIV Bible, but that I’d best find all of those that can be literally translated to contain the word “worry” now so that I won’t have missed any of them in the final accounting.

So, I went back to the New International Reader’s Version of the Bible, where verse 8 reads, “The capital of Aram is Damascus. And the ruler of Damascus is only Rezin. Do not worry about the people of Ephraim. They will be too crushed to be considered a people. That will happen before 65 years are over.” NIRV

Here, Isaiah has been sent with this message from God to speak with Ahaz, the king of Judah. In verses 5 & 6, a threat against Judah is documented, “Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, ‘Let us invade Judah, let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves and make the son of Tabeel king over it.'” NIV

But, Isaiah delivers Gods comforting message … “It will not happen.”  It is interesting to me that the reason it will not happen is that “the head of Damascus is only Rezin.”

Only … such an interesting word.

I do some volunteer work with people who are in transition — between jobs.  Frequently, people will introduce themselves using the word “just.”  I’m “just a tester,” or “just an assistant.”

I’m always quick to point out that they should never use that word in an interview … “I’m a tester,” is an infinitely stronger statement.  But, it takes confidence to deliver that line effectively, confidence that people in transition often do not have.

When we encounter hard circumstances in life, our perspective gets adjusted by the world … in those times, we are more prone to use words like, “just” or “only.”

But, this verse reminds me that when God is on our side, as he was on Judah’s, there is not a moment that I am “just” anything.

I am a cherished child of the Living God.  I am redeemed.  I am loved.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


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Our foundation will endure

Isaiah 54: 14

In righteousness you will be established:  Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear.  Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. NIV

In my Bible, this chapter is called, “The Future Glory of Zion.”  It is a series of promises from God to his people, and it contains at least two reminders not to worry.  The first, Isaiah 54:4, is one that I found early in the project.  This is the second.

In the verses immediately preceding this one, God talks about building.  Verse 11 says, “I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires.” I love that.

When I think about these verses through the lens of the verse I looked at  yesterday … I can see that there is something here to learn.

I am pretty certain that the rock on which my friends’ house is built is granite.  In the last several years, granite seems to have increased dramatically in value, as everyone and his brother was out redoing their kitchens and bathrooms.  I’ve personally walked through warehouses of the stuff and been shown a dizzying array of colors and patterns.  But, prior to the last several years, I have to believe that most people looked at granite like I did, as just, well, rock.  Sapphires on the other hand are stones that have been valued in our culture for a very long time.

God will build our foundation of something that all can see has real value … Jesus Christ.

When I looked up “righteousness” in my Hebrew to English dictionary, I was pleased to learn that one of its definitions is “salvation.”   I looked up “be established,” and it means, “to put in place, make secure.”

In righteousness I will be established … I am put in place and made secure through my salvation.

I love that image.

My grandmother’s house is gone.  I don’t know exactly what happened to it, because she died when I was young.  I remember visiting her there, but, we lived several states away so, the exact circumstances of the house’s demise are a mystery to me.

However, the foundation is still there.  Years ago, my husband and I visited the town.  I found the foundation, and walked all around it … like a kid would walk on a wall.  Not all of the square that was the house is visible above ground.  Some of it has been covered by dirt and undergrowth, but, as I walked, I could see that all of it was still in place.  I can remember where all of the rooms were located, and, as I walked, I saw the house as it had been when I was young.

The house did not stand.  But the thing about foundations is that they are solid, and often the things that impact stuff above ground does not affect them (tornadoes, hurricanes, bulldozers).

The worries of this world are like those forces … but, my life is planted on a foundation that is completely solid.

I am firmly set in place atop a gorgeous, precious, immovable rock.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Our Rock cannot be rolled

Isaiah 44:8

“Do not tremble, do not be afraid.  Did I not foretell it long ago?  You are my witnesses.  Is there any God besides me?  No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” NIV

For the last few days, I’ve been skipping around the Bible a bit.  I left the “fear not” list and went back to Psalm 119, and then hopped over into the New Testament.  Now, I’m back to the list of “fear nots” in my King James concordance, and back in Isaiah.  This verse comes later in the chapter that I began several days ago.

God is speaking here.  The Message translates this verse, “Don’t be afraid and don’t worry:  Haven’t I always kept you informed, told you what was going on?  You are my eyewitnesses:  Have you ever come across a God, a real God, other than me?  There’s no Rock like me that I know of.” MSG

The capitalization of the word “Rock” drew my eye.  When I looked it up in the Hebrew to English dictionary, it is defined, “a title of God, with a focus of stability, and possibly as a place of security and safety.”

In Matthew 16:18, Christ tells Peter, “and on this rock, I will build my church.”  No capitalization here, and it is a different word.  Here, “rock” means “a bedrock, rocky crack, or other large rock formation, in contrast to individual stones; with a focus that is a suitable, solid foundation.”

I have some friends who built a house on a rock.  For years, he had sketched and dreamed of building an octagonal house with multiple levels.  He and his wife searched and searched for the perfect spot, and, when they told me the story of buying their property, he said that he knew when he saw the rock, that this was the plot of land for them.

There are pictures of the house under construction.  They built most of it themselves, and, to begin, he drove a large stake in the ground.  He then measured everything from that stake as a reference point.

The house is a thing of wonder.  I can’t count how many levels there are … each room is pie shaped, some are comprised of multiple pie pieces, and some have pie pieces on more than one level.  Once, she sent me to fetch something in a storage room.  When I opened the door, there was the unfinished rock under the house, the way some people have a dirt crawl space.  I was amazed.

It strikes me that that their house is the perfect metaphor for my life with Christ, and this verse points that out for me.

God is the rock on which my life is built … He is my place of safety and security.  When I made the decision to accept Christ as my savior, a stake was driven in that rock, and everything in my life radiates from that point.  Christ must be evident in my life, in the same way that the rock still shows as the foundation of my friends’ house.

The rock their house is built on has been there for a very long time … I suspect that it had been scraped smooth by a glacier at some point.

My Rock has always been, and always, always will be.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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