Encouraging Words

Friday, February 28, 2014, 7:09 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “What the Lord Says” in mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 49 (quoting vv. 1-4 in the NIV).

Listen to me, you islands;hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was borntheLordcalledme;from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
He made my mouthlike a sharpened sword,in the shadow of his handhe hid me;
he made me into a polished arrowand concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You are my servant,Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” Vv. 1-3

I believe that, to some extent, this is referring to Isaiah, and to Israel at that time, and that, to some degree, it also applies to Christ’s followers today, yet its ultimate fulfillment was realized in Jesus Christ. I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, that he has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives, and that he had this plan in mind for each one of us from even before we were born. In other words, I believe each one of us was created for a purpose, not just the general purpose for which we have all been born, which is that we worship, love and serve our creator, but that God has a specific mission in mind for each one of our lives (See Ps. 139), which is why he made us who we are. I don’t believe any of us are here by accident, for God is our creator, and he does not make mistakes.

The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he died for the sins of the entire world, not just for a select few. The Bible also says that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but should have life everlasting. So, although God calls us, and he chooses us to be his very own people and to live holy lives pleasing to him, and he commissions us to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth, the gospel of Jesus Christ is open to “whoever” will accept Jesus Christ by faith in allowing the Spirit of God to turn their hearts away from lives given over to the control of sin, self and Satan, to lives yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every way (See Ac. 26:16-18; Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6; Gal. 2:20; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1-5, et al).

But I said, “I have labored in vain;I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in theLord’s hand,and my rewardis with my God.” V. 4

Yet, although God calls us, he fills us with his Spirit, he regenerates us, giving us new hearts and minds, and he empowers, strengthens, guides and helps us, still we are in flesh bodies. We get tired. We can get discouraged. We may have health issues. And, as we age, our bodies, minds, eyes, etc. don’t work as well as what they did when we were younger. My eyes, for instance, are not cooperating very well this morning. Sometimes we may even feel forgotten by God or we may not feel his presence with us. We may go through difficult trials in this life, which test our faith. And, sometimes we may even begin to question God or to feel as though our service for the Lord has all been in vain, because we may not see immediate results. Even Jesus expressed how he longed to gather the children of Israel, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but they were not willing (See Matt. 23:37).

Yet, the servant committed himself to his Lord God, and to his sovereignty over his life, trusting in the Lord to reward him in due time, being willing to wait on God’s perfect timing. As well, the Lord had many encouraging words for the servant in this passage of scripture, most of which we can apply to our lives, as well. The Lord will watch over us. He will give us all we need to serve him and to do what he has called us to do. He will use us in the lives of others, if we are willing and available, to be used to bring the message of hope, saying to the captives “Come out!” and to those in darkness “Be free!” And, he promises that people from all nations will come to him, if not now, in the last days before his return. Our labor for the Lord, in the power of the Spirit within us, will not be in vain. Amen! God will not forget us, he will not leave us and he will never forsake us! Many who have gone astray will return to their Lord. Hallelujah! Although we may go through many difficulties in this life, he will see us through them all, and he will one day take us home to be with him forever. Amen!

What the Lord Says / An Original Work

February 24, 2014 / Based off Isaiah 43:1-44:5

This is what the Lord says to you:
Fear not, for I have chosen you.
I have summoned you by your name.
You are mine. I died, you to save.

When you go through your trials, so deep,
I will be with you; you will not sink.
You are so precious always to me.
Trust in your Lord, Savior and King.

This is what the Lord says to you:
He who gave salvation to you;
Who delivered you from your sin;
Takes your burdens now upon Him:

Forget the former things of your life.
Give of your heart not now up to strife.
See all the new things I have for you.
Walk in vict’ry. Trust in what’s true.

This is what the Lord says to you:
He who made you; who will help you:
Do not fear what humans may do.
Walk in freedom. Follow what’s true.

Drink of my Spirit given for you.
Trust in my mercy, for I love you.
I have a plan for all of your life.
Follow my ways. Do what is right.