Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your faithfulness, your tender care, and your gentle hand upon us. Thank you for guiding and protecting each one. You are so good and I pray that you would help each one in all areas of life. Father, you know all that is happening in our hearts and in this world and I pray that you come alongside and provide. Each morning, we come to you in great faith, knowing you have made our way clear and perfect. Open our hearts to receive you and this word that you have divinely given. Thank you and may it bless each one in abundance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
June 22, 2020
I woke up late on this particular morning and quickly headed to my desk to spend time in prayer. The last week or so was stressful and the attacks of the enemy were somewhat strong. I was bound and determined not to come before Jesus with complaints of weakness. We are told we can go to God with anything but I did not want to spend time this particular morning in a pitiful state. If you follow my blog, you already know how familiar I am with pitiful. October of 2017 was my first entry and I’ve just recently turned a corner, praise God. To be quite honest, my agendas with God have grown smaller and I’ve come to understand that I no longer what to unload on Him; I would rather He unload on me.
Just to confirm that we are given permission to unleash the entirety of our heart, regardless of the content, here is Philippians 4:6-7 (New Living Translation), “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
It is through prayer, the Bible, and other spiritual books by men and women who love Jesus, that I receive inspiration from God. As I pray and read, my heart is open to the touch of God. I am listening for His voice. My time with Him usually begins in a weakened state. I have no words, I am confused with myself and my daily purpose, and overwhelmed with those typical thoughts that we humans have to contend with at various times in our life. Sometimes, I sit at my desk and gaze out the window, speaking to Him through my heart. I wait patiently for His movement!
Something new is on the horizon and the Lord has let me know in bits and pieces. It started out as a thought and has since developed into teaching and now it is a part of me that I pray over daily. Today’s blog post is an application to what He has been showing me; I pray He leads the charge and blesses all involved. I pray that we all experience God in a way we never have before.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. The power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the new heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:18-22, New Internation Version).
Unaware of God’s direction in this time of quiet, I surrendered all up to Him and prayed for His will and purpose! In this moment of writing, I am reminded of Exodus 33:22-23, (NLT):
“As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”
The featured Scripture from Charles H. Spurgeon’s book, “Morning and Evening” (2003), is from Zechariah 6:13 which says, “It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor.”
As I read the devotion, here is what the Lord placed in my heart:
“Christ himself is the builder of His spiritual temple, and He has built it on the mountains of His unchangeable affection, His omnipotent grace, and His infallible truthfulness…the materials need to be prepared. All this is Christ’s own work. Each individual believer is being prepared and polished and made ready for his place in the temple, but Christ’s own hand performs the preparation-work. Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready for heaven, apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashions our hearts correctly. Neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard because it all arrived perfectly ready for the exact spot it was to occupy, so it is with the temple that Jesus built; the preparation is all done on earth.”
After reading this devotion, I went to Zechariah 6:13 and read the Scripture from the New Living Translation Bible which says:
“Yes, he will build the temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.”
After reading this Scripture, I really did not feel the touch of God and began to seek around the Scripture and noticed the parallel Scriptures (which is something the Lord just taught me. I had no idea what those Scriptures were in the margin of my Bible. They were always there but it wasn’t until now that the Lord explained). One of the parallel Scriptures for 6:13 was Pslam 110:4 and it says, “the Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow…”(NLT).
Wonderful reassurance that what God says holds true; He will not renege!
I flipped back to Zechariah 6:13 to investigate the other parallel Scriptures and Isaiah 9:6 was next in line. It says:
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NLT).
In reading this Scripture, I felt the Lord’s Presence and His touch to stay right here and I read around those verses which were vv. 2-5 and v. 7:
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire…His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor, David, for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen.”
Again, great hope that the Lord is ruling with fairness and justice. What we see now in this world is not a surprise to God. He sees everything that is happening and He will come forth and bring peace! He is the only One who can!
I especially liked the verse that spoke of breaking the yoke of slavery and lifting heavy burdens from their shoulders. This is when the quiet time turned personal. The Lord is actually holding me very close and giving me the answer to an unspoken prayer. I did not come to Him with this. He came to me with it! This is how good He is. “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8).
And because “yoke of slavery and heavy burdens” spoke to my heart, I went to the parallel Scripture to learn more which is from Isaiah 49:26:
“I will feed your enemies with their own flesh. They will be drunk with rivers of their own blood. All the world will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.”
I took this Scripture and applied it to the enemy. All the chaos he tries to cause in our lives, it does not go unnoticed. Almighty God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, sees what he is up to and God will have the final say. We do not have to succumb to the tactics of the evil one. We are, indeed, overcomers because we are children of God, given the power and authority by the blood of Jesus and by His Resurrection.
When I read Isaiah 49:26, I was infused with tremendous hope, not only in God’s victory over Satan but also in God’s victory that the desire in my heart, to be a reflection of God’s glory to all those around me, will come to fruition just as He said. Being yoked in slavery is not an option. We are covered by the blood of Jesus and to remain stooped over in bondage detracts from the work that Jesus did on the cross. I did not sit down in quiet this very morning to rehash my sins, to feel condemned and pitiful. I came to fully submerge in the Presence of God.
After reading Isaiah 49:26, I was on a mission to understand God’s wisdom on a deeper level. I took out The Moody Bible Commentary and looked up Isaiah 9:2-7:
“Though those who refuse to live in accordance with the Word of the Lord will live in continual distress (8:22)…”
Again, I felt the Lord give me pause and direct me to Isaiah 8:22 (NLT) but instead of reading just that verse, I backed up and started at v. 20:
“Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness” (Isaiah 8:20-22).
In reading this, I felt a little troubled because I often feel this way. Roaming from place to place in search of something that will combat the darkness and all I really need is to sit down and be still in the Presence of the Lord. Seeking anything else will only cause more anguish!
I noticed on the opposite page of Isaiah 8:20-22, a previous highlighted study note from Isaiah 8:11-15. The Lord must have carried me to this teaching before but I didn’t grasp it as I should of, so He brought me around again.
“Fear is a powerful enemy of our faith and a strong deterrent to the believer’s peace of mind. Fear of war, terrorist attacks, disease, and pollution can rob us of our trust in God. God is our shelter and hiding place (4:6)” (NLT).
After reading this, I sat quietly and talked with God and it was at this point that I began to realize the point of this quiet time. It is my fear of death. It haunts me and it always has. As a child, I remember waking in the middle of the night and having terrifying panic attacks! On one certain day, I will no longer be here. I will be gone, forever! A paralyzing thought for a child and I have carried this with me. It is not as powerful but the fear is still there!
“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the LORD of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah, he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem, he will be a trap and a snare. Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured. Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me. I will wait for the LORD, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him” (vv.12-17).
Back to the previously referenced Study Note:
“For the people of Judah, fear of invasion was a constant threat. They had powerful enemies on their doorstep. Yet Isaiah said, ‘The LORD of Heaven’s Armies…is the one you should fear…He will keep you safe.’ Ask him to drive inappropriate fear from your heart and to help you fear only him.”
And because Isaiah 4:6 was included in the Study Note, I went to it which provided additional encouragement and strength:
“He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day and smoke and flaming fire at night, covering the glorious land. It will be a shelter from daytime heat and a hiding place from storms and rain.”
I flipped back to the Study Note once again and as I sat and pondered this time with God, I felt the nudge to share it with my small group and with my long-time best friend. I wished them all a good morning and prayed God’s blessing over them. I thanked God for His sweet and gentle care of us. I then prayed the Lord would help us get His wisdom deep down into our hearts so the enemy could no longer push us around. “We love you, Jesus, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with His glory” (Isaiah 6:3).
After sending that text to my friends, I could feel the quiet time ending but took one last look The Moody Bible Commentary regarding Isaiah 8:11-18:
“…reveals God’s encouragement to Isaiah to remain separate from the rest of Judah. He must not fear what the people fear, or get caught up in conspiracy theories. Instead, the Lord exhorted Isaiah to fear Him and to regard Him as holy. Isaiah must remember God as Isaiah saw Him in his initial vision, sitting on His great throne among the seraphim praising Him with the refrain of “Holy, Holy, Holy” (6:3) ringing out. By fearing God and regarding Him as holy, Isaiah recognized God as His sanctuary…sanctuary generally denoting the place of God’s dwelling, with connotations of strength and refuge…”
The commentary goes on but I felt stopped at that moment and drawn back to Charles H. Spurgeon’s devotion which I wrote about at the start of this post.
“When we reach heaven, there will be no sanctifying us there, no squaring us with affliction, no maturing us with suffering. No, we must be made ready here–and all that Christ will do He will do now; and when He has done it, we will be ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death and brought to the heavenly Jerusalem, to live as eternal pillars in the temple of our Lord.”
I couldn’t help but repeat “ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death,” over and over until my heart received this divine message.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, that you know our needs before we do. Thank you, for your constant care and delight in us. How wonderful you are! Father, sink this message deep within us and grow it into powerful fruit in order to bring glory and honor to you, all by the power of the Holy Spirit! Thank you for hearing our prayers and answering. Thank you for listening tenderly and compassionately even when we have no words to speak. Thank you! It’s in Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen!!
Faculty of Moody Bible Institute. (2014). The moody bible commentary. (M. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham, Eds). Moody Publishers.
New International Version. (2013). The pursuit of God bible: A.W. Tozier. Hendrickson Publishers Edition.
New Living Translation. (2015). Life application study bible. Tyndale.
Spurgeon, C. H. (2003). Morning and evening. (A. Begg, Ed). Crossway.