This morning I woke a little later than usual but well rested. As I prayed, I reflected on the weekend and the way the Lord works in my life. The things he reveals and the joy that I find in His Word, and how much I need God’s Word…
I began this morning in Isaiah 55, but I scrolled back to chapter 51 and read from the first verse. I stopped at verse 6
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;
but my salvation will be forever,
and my righteousness will never be dismayed.
As I read this verse, all I could think of was the mortality of the things of this world and how brief it is when I look to the promise of the Lord. This world is fleeting, but the “my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will be forever.”
How powerful are these words? I looked at the comparison and thought about where I spend most of my time. I thought about where most of my thoughts are focused, and I was humbled.
As I weighed all these thoughts and words my heart ached. I can get so caught up in the things of this world before long I have no time for God, who created it. I get so BUSY that I miss the time to pray and study. And if I do not keep my cup full how can I share what I do not have… How can I live up to the task that the Lord asked of me?
The passage that came to mind was the one called “The Great Commission”‘
Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
How can I share the Gospel if my cup is empty? I must keep my cup full if I am to share anything. It is like the safety lecture on an airplane before take off.
The flight attendant gives the speech. If we lose cabin pressure, the oxygen masks will fall in front of you. Place the mask on yourself before you try to help others.
The thing is I am not much help if I pass out due to a lack of oxygen. In the same way, I am not of much help if I choose to do things my way without the connection to the vine through God’s Word.
The Word of God is my lifeline. I need it as much as I need air and water to live.
I used to ride my motorcycle year around and in the summer when it was really hot if I were not careful I would get dehydrated, and if that happened, I was in trouble. At the very least I was going to have cramps… not a Charlie Horse kind of cramp but cramps so bad that I could not move.
It did not take long to learn how to stay hydrated. It took a mix of Gatorade and water to keep me from cramping. Just like it takes prayer and study and hearing God’s Word to be spiritually hydrated.
God warned of it so many times in His word. He cautioned us that we must stay connected to Him. One of my favorites is Deuteronomy 17:18-20 when the Lord reminds the people of what their Kings must do.
“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.”
I read and reread that passage and consider how important it is. I love this section of verse 20, ” that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment.” As I read that I am reminded if I am to stay obedient to the Lord and not place myself above any of my brother and sisters in Christ I must be in God’s Word. He told the kings of Israel to write it out. I must stay in it.
I think of all the times I have skipped spending time with the Lord because I was too busy. I think of all the times I had overbooked my schedule to the point that I excluded Him from my life, and that breaks my heart.
My wife Pat told me once about how busy was an acronym for “Being Under Satan’s Yoke. She learned it from a lady in a Bible study. The first time she told me that I got a bit of a shiver because it is so true. If the adversary can keep us so focused on the world and it’s needed, we do not have time to spend with the Lord. Before long the world is getting all our oxygen, and we are passed out in the seat next to it.
I know that the Stroke has been a blessing to me. I am limited in what I can do. I have a terrible time with focus and attention. I cannot multi-task anymore. The best therapy for that is studying God’s Word. It helps me focus and keeps me from losing any more focus. I thought of Isaiah 55:10-11
Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV) 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
And Isaiah 55:9
“9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
It fills my heart with Joy. It reminds me to be content in my circumstances.
It is so easy when things get tough to try and fix things on our own. To turn to self-doubt and fear which can lead away from our Father in heaven. I have a choice to make every day. I can choose to focus on my way or God’s
I can allow my mind to become so cluttered with finding a solution to whatever problems the day might bring, or I can trust in the Lord and make time for Him. If I try to do this on my own, it is too easy for me to overlook God’s outreached hand. I can become so blinded that I do not notice His embrace.
That fills the adversary with joy.
My schedule is different now. I have more time to study… but there always was time, and I often overlooked it. As I reflect this morning on all that I read I am thankful. Thankful for God’s abounding grace. Thankful for His gift of repentance and thankful for His Holy Spirit in me that reminds me of my sins not to punish me but to give me the chance to give them to God and be forgiven.
If I do not make time for Him, it is too easy for me to forget and lose focus.
Father thank you for your Holy Word. I am thankful that I have a link to you that cannot be broken. Father thank you for your patience with me and your grace.
Help me, Father, that I never forget all you have done. Strengthen me that I always make time for you. That I pray without ceasing and write your Holy Word on my heart.
In Jesus name, I pray! Amen!