Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Jesus loves ME, this I know . . . and every day I see it anew as my own personal miracle.

Jesus loves you and me. To think that the Creator of the universe, all-knowing and all-powerful, eternal and enormous, would "so love the world" is not a big hurdle for me. But to think that such a God would notice me -- let alone look with compassion on me as an individual, and would care to answer my prayers -- it astounds me every time I think of it. It's true! God speaks to individuals when He says:

". . . the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,"
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
- Isaiah 54:10, ESV

Wasn't God speaking to the Hebrew people through the prophet Isaiah? God reassures me as an individual in the vast and varied sea of humanity, just as He reassures you. It's as if he points right at you in the crowd of faces and says, "yes! I mean YOU!" God goes on to say through the prophet:

. . . and "my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples." The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts . . .
declares, "I will gather yet others . . . " - from Isaiah 56:7

It is your own personal shout-out when God says:

For thus says the One
who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
"I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him
who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite"
- Isaiah 57:15

I want to be more and more that person God singles out, an individual with a contrite and lowly heart. Though He is enormous and inhabits all eternity, he dwells indeed with the lowly, and it is a blessing to be convinced of the reality of his presence and power on a daily basis. I pray that you will be intensely aware today of the simple truth, "Jesus loves me, this I know!"

Monday, October 13, 2008


What am I looking for today, and where is my focus? Over the past week, I've been thinking about the mystery of how God sometimes opens my eyes to hidden things, yet at other times I fail to see what is right in front of my face! There are days when I don't do what is right, and afterward wonder how I could have been so blind. The Bible describes two distinct types of individuals in the book of Isaiah. To one type of person God says:

I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.
- Isaiah 42:16, ESV

The other type of person (see Isaiah 44:9-20) is described this way:

They know not, nor do they discern,
for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see,
and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.
No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment
to say . . . "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"
from Isaiah 44:18-19, ESV

Of those two types, which person are you? Isaiah makes it obvious that the clarity of your thinking and spiritual vision depends not on the quality of your eyesight, but on the subject of your focus. What are you looking at today? Are you looking to things created (idols) or to the Creator? The apostle Paul reminds us that to keep our lives in focus, we need only to stay clear on this one thing:

. . . the mystery hidden for ages and generations
but now revealed . . . this mystery,
which is Christ in you,
the hope of glory.

I pray that the Lord will give you and me the power of perspective today. Let's consciously place ourselves into the first category of individuals, the ones who are led "in paths that they have not known," and for whom God will "turn the darkness before them into light." Let's actively acknowledge that in many ways we're blind and helpless, for only after acknowledging our need can we be led by God's powerful hand.

Let's ask ourselves, "Am I free to be led by God's hand today, or is there a 'lie in my right hand' that would prevent me from latching onto God's firm grip?" If we want our darkness to be turned into light, then we must carefully examine our thinking on a regular basis, and mentally let go of any false assumption or misplaced priorities I find there.

In Christ we can pray with confidence and authority: "Lord, I see that I am blind. Show me what I hold in my hand - what I hold dear - that would separate me from the leading of your Spirit today. Make me willing and able to let go of my 'idols' and take hold of your hand, that you may turn my darkness into light before me, and guide me on level ground." AMEN!

Friday, October 3, 2008


There's an often quoted verse in today's reading which reflects the value of consistently applying the principles of God's word so we can grow in knowledge, maturity, and integrity:

". . . it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little."
- Isaiah 28:10, ESV

How seldom I see such a passage in the light of context, yet how starkly revealing! In the surrounding verses (5-13), there is a warning. As a professed Christ follower, I can either put the teachings of the Bible before me or behind me. If I choose to put God's teachings behind me, I will fall backward over them and break myself in pieces:

. . . they would not hear. And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (from Isaiah 28:12-13, ESV)

Let us not bring the fate upon ourselves of being "snared and taken" because we would not heed God's Word. I hope you will join me as I pray, "Lord, let me place your precepts before me, to guide me and keep me from harm. Let me daily hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against You! Let me be responsible to apply your principles to my decision making, and careful follow your instructions today." AMEN.