Who doesn't love new things?
Just the smell of new leather... a new pair of shoes, a new purse; better yet, a new car! You open the door and that crisp new leather smell invites you in. (not that I have a new car with new leather seats... I wish) I admit, I love new things!
They give us a temporary thrill.
LIke when I get something new to wear, I set it out for the next day and can't wait to get dressed and find someplace to go to show it off. And I forget about all the other clothes that still hang in my closet, crying... "Wait, wear me!"
But soon the newness fades.
The leather smell wears off and the car gets dirty. The new outfit ends up in the hamper, becoming part of the laundry you dread doing and soon, the thrill is gone.
But God says...
He's not done with creation. In fact, He's creating all the time... doing a new thing. And one day, He's going to create a new heaven and a new earth. But this one will not lose it's new smell, nor will it get dirty and end up in the hamper. In fact, we won't even remember doing laundry when we live in the new heaven and the new earth. Because the former things will not come to mind.
And those of us who have suffered loss...
the loss of a child, either by miscarriage or death, will suffer no more. Because the Lord PROMISES... Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days... Isaiah 65: 20 NIV. This has surely comforted my formerly wounded heart!
Let us HOPE in the Lord!
For He knows how much we like new things. He likes new things too. Remember, we were created in His image. That's why He has a plan of restoration and beauty... to make all things NEW.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of My people;
My chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
They will not labor in vain,
nor will they bear children
doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people
blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
Isaiah 65:22-24 NIV
Fasting... that's a tricky topic.
Some say it's not still something God requires. Some say it never was... only optional. Still others avoid the topic all together because it's just too uncomfortable.
I know I did for many years.
I mean, who really wants to be uncomfortable? Why should I feel hunger pangs when there's plenty of food in the pantry? But if I do consider it, isn't there maybe some underlying hope that I just might shed a few pounds while I'm at it? Or that somehow I might seem a little more special... you know earn a few more spiritual points somewhere in heaven?
I've heard the complelling argument
that Jesus never gave the option, 'If you fast,' but rather instructed, 'When you fast,' in Matthew 6:16-17. And I've heard many amazing stories of spiritual breakthroughs people have had during their fasting. But it's just never fully propelled me into a successful fast of my own.
Which makes me consider
as I do many concepts of faith that are hard to grasp... this must be something really powerful in the spirit realm if the enemy is that intent on distracting me from the truth. So I have to say when I read what Isaiah spoke to the church leaders about it, I got smacked boldly in the face!
They were doing it wrong.
It's not that they weren't fasting. It's not that they weren't seeking God's wisdom. It's that while they were fasting and seeking God, they were also quarrelling and being oppressive to the people in their perish. Maybe it's because they were cranky and hungry... but still, they were not acting as God would have them, so they missed out on what He had FOR them.
The power of fasting
These are the notes I took from Isaiah 58:4-9. If we will humble ourselves and trust God in this time of fasting, these are the things we can expect:
The Lord will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs
in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11 NIV
Will you consider a fast today?
Think of all the Lord will do for you! Think of all the Lord can do through you!
Shame is not from God
He does not desire that we live under the shadow of it, nor walk in fear, self-doubt or discouragment. In fact, He created us to be without shame. Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. Genesis 2:25
Shame is a curse of sin.
Ever since the garden, we have fallen to the temptation of pride and sin, separating us from God and the freedom of our souls. Shame is the weight that drags us down, keeping us in fear, anxiety and doubt.
But we have this hope...
For your Maker is your husband...
the Lord Almighty is His name...
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
He is called the God of all the earth.
Jesus, our Creator came to redeem us from our shame; to set us free from our selfish pride. He is the Holy One... the God of all the earth. Let us praise Him always!
Who are these kings?
And who the queens, that they should bow before us? What kind of promise is this? As it turns out, they are our foster parents, as we the Gentiles have been adopted into the family of God.
And so we are included
in all the same benefits, all the same inheritance as those born by blood into the lineage of Jesus. Because of His love, because of His grace, because of His compassion. We now have this hope in the Lord! And our hope in Him will not be disappointed!
So when we see promises
that name Israel, or Jacob in the Bible, these are promises we can claim as our own. And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:6 NLT
Won't you put your HOPE in Him today?
Ever have nightmares?
The kind that wake you... out of breath, second guessing if they were real or not? You have to talk yourself down. Tell yourself it wasn't real. Maybe a fear or doubt from your past that keeps haunting you.
These are the former things
which the Lord desires to free us from. Yes, even our subconscious mind that desperately tries to hold us under in that dream state which seems to overwhelm. The Lord created our entire being. He has the power to help us, to guide us and to save us even from ourselves.
But now, this is what the Lord says...
He who created you, Jacob,
He who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze."
Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV
Will you trust Him
with this? For He desires to save you, even from yourself.
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