Tuesday, July 27, 2010

None Stronger.

Isaiah 47-52
Gone for 5 days, home for fleeting moments, gone for 12 days. 
We’ll see if I have internet this time...
I have a lot to be thankful for. The last 5 days were spent in the Gila wilderness with my family, 10 miles beyond nowhere. I’ll upload more photos sometime... 
Every moment was loaded... But especially memorable were the silent times accented by Isaiah, and Christ’s Object Lessons. If I didn’t have to get some sleep before rolling out of here for my early flight tomorrow, I’d write more... But I just have time for one of my very favorite lines-- 

“The Lord hath made bare His holy arm...”

As if to prove to all the world that there is none stronger. 
Like, none. End of discussion.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another little secret

Isaiah 45-46
Before the guy even knew God's name, he had a promise. God was to anoint him, and then go before him knocking down stone walls, breaking iron gates, and setting the kings of the earth on their faces... And this guy was a heathen!
He had a little secret though... God had his right hand, and he had God's. (45:1)
How much more shall we have power over our enemies when we choose above all to place and leave our hand in God's... (46:3-4)
Oh, why do we ever do otherwise?

Monday, July 19, 2010


Isaiah 44
Yes, they're what we're made of. But our sights should be so much higher...
Instead, amongst the ashes of our human solutions come to naught we still search for direction, seemingly unconscious of the light above and before us. Like the poor man of Isaiah 44:46, we chop down a tree, start a little fire, cook a bit of lunch, and say: "Aha, I am warm..." Yes, for just this one moment... 
Don't get me wrong, we must turn to ashes... But then what?
When it was all over he scraped up the residue and made a god. We make plans, set standards, and formulate our norms... And then we wonder why we're still not satisfied. 
How can we be?
Oh Jesus, teach us to look only to You... 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Poured Out

Isaiah 42-43
Sometimes the flickering of hope is oh, so faint... Let me never carelessly neglect it, or ruthlessly snuff it out...
"A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth." Isaiah 42:3
Wow, what a weekend... Once again, hundreds of people to love, and new burdens to lift before the throne of Merciful Father. The Spirit has certainly been here, and I for one am determined more than ever to live the poured-out life...
After all, though we be few, we are called and chosen.
"Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." (Isa. 43:10)

Providence at it's best...

Isaiah 41
I love that word-- Providence.
It's ultimate power giving of itself... And that, provision more than sufficient.
There is no promise that we will never lack... Indeed, if we never lacked, there would be no need for a promise. No need for Power. No need for Grace...
We will lack. We must thirst...
But we need remain thirsty only for a moment. Just long enough to recognize our need... And then, Providence kicks in.
And not with a little glass of water either...
"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water."
(Isaiah 41:17-18)
Where there is thirst, He creates a river...

So Little Time

Isaiah 40
"So much to do, so little time..."
That phrase, and others like it, must circle the globe 1,000 times a day.
I feel it, especially this morning. But there's something about looking out the window to my right and seeing planet earth 5 miles down that shifts my perspective on the subject...
Right here it's just me and my little iPad, and a long to-do list sitting on a plane on the way to Missouri. Out there, I have a very big God.
Aren't you glad we can rely on a Power outside of ourselves?
"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah 40:28-31

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Not Mine...

Isaiah 39
Boast not of those things which are not yours anyway... 
Hezekiah did, and his son lost his crown, and his people lost their freedom. 
As I sit here at my desk listening to the birds sing thorough open glass doors and delighting in the fresh crispness of mountain air just after sunrise, I glance around my desk-- Of all places in this house, here sits the greatest concentration of things I call "my own."  
Of course almost all my assets under this roof are found here... Thousands in hardware, thousands in software...
But of greater value are the many little treasures found here... A handmade plaque, a pencil sharpener from Australia, a music box, picture frames, a Beanie Baby kitten named Zip, a little button boy named Pillsbury, penholders, notes, quotes, bookmarks... 
The picture of my best friend that just flitted across the screen, the list of friends I pray for from Germany, the list of friends that pray for me, here...
All these reminders-- Reminders of the greatest treasures I have. 
All of them, people. 
But they're not mine! 
They belong to the same God I belong to... I must remember that. 
The moment I forget, they become a liability to me, and I to them. 
If my heart is God's, and all my gifts are God's, then together we are all at His disposal, and we all share in His glory...
In the mean time, "My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad." (Psalms 34:2)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bigger Dreams

Isaiah 35-38
I wonder if you ever stuffed your pockets with acorns as a child. My guess is, you did. 
I have fond memories of scrambling around under the old oak trees in the park, searching and hoarding the biggest and best ones until my pockets bulged... Or more recently, sitting serenely under a grove of
oaks one stunning Sabbath afternoon in Germany while a half dozen young German and Austrian friends did the scrambling for me, enthusiastically delivering a pile of acorns to my lap... 
I don’t know, there’s just something about it. 
And maybe when you too had your pockets full of perfect ones, your mother saw you hobbling towards the car and asked “What are you going to do with those?” 
“Oh, I don’t know... something special. I’m-- I’m going to make something...”
If you were anything like me, you had no idea what you were going to make. It probably ended up being an absurd construction paper/acorn collage that rivaled modern art for abstraction, but which your mother still treasures to this day. 
Whatever the case, you had dreams for those acorns...
Hezekiah had dreams too... Dreams for his life, and for his reign that sickness suddenly threatened. All at once we find the king weeping pitifully, longing for a little more time... And who wouldn’t? 
And then we hear God in His eternal pity give him a promise, fully knowing what it would cost future generations...
God will lay aside His dreams, if we insist on ours. 
His dream for every acorn is much bigger than an absurd collage. And don’t get me wrong, there’s beauty in that childish art. It just doesn’t remotely approximate to the glory of the oak tree... 
Our problem is that instead of letting our own dreams go in favor of His, we pursue His glory the best way we know how-- stuffing our pockets with the best in the hopes that we can make something worthy of them. 
But dreams must die, before they can grow. 
The acorn must die... First, it must be deemed unfit by even the hungriest of squirrels, then it must be forgotten... Often it gets buried deep beneath layers of rubbish, seemingly lost in a tangle of old leaves and dirt, much like our tangled and mangled hopes and dreams. It must give itself up. Totally. Permanently. 

Then it grows. 
God has a thousand other dreams too... Like turning enemies into dead men (Isa. 37:36) and and turning deserts into rose gardens. (Isa. 35:1)

What He needs is children that will cling more tenaciously to their Father’s dreams than to their own. Children that are willing to surrender to Him not just that in them which is evil, but more painfully that which is rightfully theirs, and perfectly good, if He asks for it. 
Anything less will be less than His best...    

Friday, July 9, 2010

A New Slogan

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword... (Heb 4:12)

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isa 55:11) 

It occurs to me that there is only one step between perfect safety and total destruction. There is a line in the sand upon which the "sword bathed in heaven" (Isa 34:5) will fall... Those to one side will be safe, those to the other will be destroyed by their own sins. And those with one foot on either side? Well... They will be the first to feel it.

But those on the right... Tis the truth that has made them free! Tis the very sword that falls in judgment and brings so much destruction, that has cut their chains. I think I'm picking up a pattern here...

I think we need to shift an old slogan into a new strain and make it our own... Something like:

The Word of God--

Live by it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Clean Hands

Isaiah 33
Once again, they have no fear of fire... Because it burns in their hearts already. 
(see Isaiah 24)
And because it does, their eyes are single, 
and their hands are clean. 
Stop for a minute. 
Look at your hands.
Are they clean enough to hold what is holy?
Are they strong enough to fight unselfishly?  (even if it means fighting to their own loss)
Are they pure enough for God to call them trustworthy? And to trust to them the gentlest of His children?
If not, why not?
Are they benevolent? 
Are they scarred?
Or are they soft from years of self-service? Are they marred by self-interest? Are they strong to accomplish that which will serve them well, even if at the eternal expense of another?
Or worse, are they stained with blood from touching what is not theirs?

Just think about it.
I only ask because He asked me...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Isaiah 32
Don’t be afraid of the storm.
After all, it’s not in the sunshine that Love’s territory is most radiant... It is in the shadow, when the tempest has decimated everything else. For “though hail comes down on the forest, and the city is brought low in humiliation,” 
“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation.” (v. 19, 18)

I love the trophies of righteousness. Quite possibly the most sought-after commodities in the world-- Peace, Quietness, Confidence, Assurance...

So don’t squirm or pray for blue skies next time you hear thunder afar off... Rejoice that through the territory of your heart God has a chance to shine...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nothing Compares...

Isaiah 31
It’s nice to know our Master stands head and shoulders taller than all of His rivals. (Isaiah 31:3) No other empire compares... 
But perhaps more phenomenal is the fact that our Master’s servants can also stand head and shoulders above their rivals. Because no power compares to that at their disposal. 
And yet, the kingdom of Heaven is likened to a mustard seed. Seems like a humble beginning for the greatest of herbs...
There’s a little lesson there... 
Think about it.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

Let us Return...

Oh, my soul aches for a better land. For a better life...

We are weak... A crippled army. A sleeping nation. An apostate generation. 
We are wounded... And we are so busy tending our own wounds, we can’t even think of healing the wounds of others. 
We are weary... So weary that as soon as we are finished fighting our own battle, (if indeed we fight) we sink down to the ground with thoughts only of ourselves and our great struggle... But what of the little sister struggling within arms reach, weak, and ready to die? Shall we stay there in a heap catching our breath and lend no hand while she goes down to ruin? 
We have a problem. 
A serious problem. 
But God has the solution...
Isaiah 30 says we die because we do not return. 
I happen to think this return is a graphic one. I mean, it’s more than just a spiritual turning after a season of wandering... 
It’s a constant turning, and returning to a position of humility before God. A place of repentance. A place of intercession... The place on your knees. 
Read it that way. Because you and I don’t return to our knees, we die, and the world dies around us.
Lord, forgive us...
I detest the distractions that keep our eyes on ourselves...
It’s time to change our battle plan.
Rise up, oh men of God!
Let us return...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

No Substitute

Isaiah 28-29

There is no substitute for faithfulness.
Even if you are tired of fighting.

Some have tried to trade an alliance with the right for a peace treaty with the wrong. But it doesn't work. Yes, the former is hard, but the latter is death. (28:15-16)

Some others have tried pledging legal allegiance the right, while harboring internal loyalties to wrong... That doesn't work either. The world calls it smart, God calls it treason. (29:13)

And then some have thrown all their hearts, and all their weight behind the right... The world calls them weird, God calls them "the work of My hands." The terrors and scorners that come against them He deals with Himself (29:19-20), and all the while, their joy in the Lord increases...

That works...

Friday, July 2, 2010


Isaiah 27

It is the epicenter of His pleasure and delight-- His vineyard. The place where His fruit grows...

And keeping it safe and beautiful at every moment is His top priority. But here he doesn't use guards and towers to keep it from harm. He uses a constant supply of water...

Because that which is spirit-saturated is indestructible. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Isaiah 26
Never, never, never, never stop trusting. 
The strength of Jehovah will never falter, never fail, never end...
And it’s yours. 
Your darkest hour can also be your finest...
Isaiah 26:4

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