Tag Archives: Isaiah 55

The Extent of Forgiveness

It’s not an original thought. I heard a preacher close his sermon out with it this morning, and then it was stuck in my head… which basically means that the preacher did his job!

If you’re a Christian you’ve likely heard the sermon, you know the salvation message and you understand the concept. But it is so easy to lose sight of the depth of God’s love and the extent of His forgiveness. Especially if you’re discouraged or have feelings of unworthiness.

So just what is the extent of God’s forgiveness, lest we forget?

As far as the east is from the west

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

That’s pretty far wouldn’t you say?  In God’s realm, I don’t think the east ever meets the west. God took (removed) our sins from us, and yet we so often take them back and fail to accept His gift of forgiveness. I am the worst at rehashing failures and staying in a mindset of defeat.

I need to remember what God chooses to forget. And that forgetting is a choice.

As deep as the ocean

Who is God unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and thou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)

Satan would love us to view God as angry all the time. So would a few preachers I’ve heard preach. But God does not retain His anger. It doesn’t say He doesn’t get angry. I believe that with the worst, despicable sins out there, God gets angry. When a child is abused, or a heart broken by broken vows and abuse, God’s upset. But at the first sign of repentance of that sinner, God is ready and willing to forgive. The word says He delights in it! It brings God great joy for us to come to Him in search of a renewed relationship. It is then that He casts our sins in the depths of the sea. That’s not only a deep thought, that’s a deep location.

Never Void

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. (Isaiah 55:11)

This is a verse we often use to remind ourselves that anytime the word is preached, it always serves a purpose. But have you thought of yourself being the recipient of it? If God spoke it to you, it was spoken with purpose and its purpose will be fulfilled. So when we read these verses as personal, we understand that they are written to prosper us. To help us live a life of joy and abundance through the price Christ paid on the cross to cover our sins.

I wrote these verses down in the back of my bible under the title “The extent of Forgiveness.” I want them handy so I can show myself, my friends and for certain Satan. He seems to need reminded a lot.

He Understands the Mud

Déjà vu

It seems like the story of my life. Déjà vu – I’ve seen this before. I make the same mistakes again and again and I wonder, “Why does God tolerate me the way He does?” Certainly because His ways are not my ways, else I’d already be before the throne and waiting for my beating. But God doesn’t live in our realm, nor does He think in our realm. His ways are so much higher. And praise His Holy name that they are!

A HIGH PLACE TO CRY

Psalm 61:2

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Even on the days when I feel too unworthy to cry to Him, He hears my cry from the unspoken inward parts of my soul. That is a feeling experienced only by a child of the Living God. Who when the world overwhelms me, there is a Rock that I can stand on where even the highest wave cannot overpower me when I am there.

A HIGH PURPOSE TO BELIEVE

Psalm 89:27

Also I will make him my firstborn, Higher than the kings of the earth.

Though I know in my heart that God can control the saved and the unsaved of this earth if He so chooses, (Proverbs 21:1); that does not always convince my head. I allow fear and suspicions to control my mind and take it to the dark places that Satan would have me live. Satan will fill my mind full of worry and doubt and I will allow it to overshadow why Jesus was born and what He died for. God’s first and only Son, born in a lowly manger, experienced the lowest part of the earth, so that He could ascend to the Highest with the power of those things in His hand. How dare I take them back… and yet I do.

A HIGH POWER TO SEEK

Isaiah 55:9

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I have limited wisdom to say the least. But, I am the child of a bottomless well of wisdom that is at my beckon call. However, I neglect to tap into it the way I should.

The girls and I discussed at Bible Journaling class last light how we desire so much to obtain a place in life where we can just serve God, uninhibited by the world around us. Just live Jesus. But this sin cursed world distracts and entices and I fall, and fail, and God forgives. And I don’t understand why, I’m just grateful He does.

A HIGH PRIEST TO PROPITATE

Hebrews 7:26

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners , and made higher than the heavens.

It’s Christmas time! The Christ Child is on my mind a lot. I imagine Him as a child, making mud pies and having that Déjà vu moment of when He and His Father created it all.  He knew, that much like that dirty, stinky mud, there would come a need for a cleansing of my soul for which I could not. And He became the sacrifice so that I might live free from sin. And yet I don’t. And He still loves me, and I don’t understand why. His ways are not my ways, or His thoughts, my thoughts.

I am loved. So are You. Enjoy this season with that thought in the forefront of your mind.

 

Just Focus on the Moment

Somewhere over the earth between Washington, DC and Minneapolis St. Paul, I  looked out the window of my very peaceful flight and this was my view. Prior to that it had been from the ground looking at the gray skies and drizzling rain. But at this point God clearly spoke the words from Isaiah 55:9 to my heart. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  So I typed them onto the picture in my phone, wanting to capture that moment.

I heard Him ask, “Why do you always think you have it figured out? You’re not looking from My vantage point. What looks sad, and depressing and causes you to feel vulnerable and question my plans isn’t reality. It’s a cloudy view of a much bigger plan. I see the whole picture. Focus on each moment, capture it in your mind, but understand it’s only a moment in time. The view changes as I move you on to another place. My ways are not your ways, so don’t look at them through your eyes. You are seated in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6)

Once we took off from DC, there was a little turbulance (very little) and then the plane rested into the clouds and it was as smooth as silk. God reminded me, turbulances come in life… but His view is far above anything I could imagine… “Focus on the moment Shari.”

Maybe that’s a word for you too today.

One more day to make a difference

ONE MORE DAY

An early morning ritual for me is check the blog and Facebook pages of Rory Feek. I wonder each morning if this will be the day that the Lord calls his precious wife Joey home. I told the teens in my youth group last night that these are strangers and yet they’re not. We know them through the internet yes, but they are a dear brother and sister in Christ and their testimony for Him has been so very strong. She’s been asleep for days and I want the pain to stop for them both. But then I think… for every breath she takes, God has purpose, even when she’s sleeping. One more moment in time for Him on this side.

What will I do with mine?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV

Reading through Isaiah 55 this morning, trying to grasp what lesson God would have me learn I   think about the wastefulness in our land and the things that I think matter. And even though I can ask “If today I took my last breath, would “this” matter?” I still wouldn’t grasp the concept of life. Joey and Rory temporarily put life in perspective for me, but then I let it slip from my fingers and go on about the mundane. Heaven is just too high for me to understand, but it doesn’t stop me from desiring it.

I can taste it…

Isaiah 55:1-2

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

While God has certainly satisfied my physical needs, the fatness for which my soul delights has a flavor that is beyond glory. It’s the unexplainable presence of God that makes me feel like I’m at His kitchen table this morning and He sits across from me sipping His coffee, listening to my banter and then He’ll speak, and I’m left breathless, thinking… golly that tasted good God. His thoughts are nothing like mine… mine are vanity… His are vast.

I can hear it….

Isaiah 55:3-4

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

Just like King David, Joey will go on to meet with the Lord, but her breath will still breathe on in the lives of the people she touched. David could not have possibly understood that he would be in the daily conversations of God’s people thousands of years later, and we’d feel as if we know him, just like we feel we know Joey. And there will come a day we’ll be able to see them both, face to face, in full health. His ways are nothing like mine… mine are short… His are long.

Every breath we take has purpose. One more day for someone to know us, one more day to make a difference. What will you do with yours?

But Now… Watch how you EAT (Dieters beware)

Chick way

Job 4:5

But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

I have to wonder how many times in my life I’ve been as indifferent to people as Job’s “friend” Eliphaz was toward Job’s afflictions. Leading into his dissertation of demise he asks Job if its okay if they fellowship together (vs. 1) If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? Followed by, “It really doesn’t matter because I just can’t keep my mouth shut.” (vs 2) but who can withhold himself from speaking?

Lessons from someone else’s stupidity: (it doesn’t always have to be our own)

Eliphaz didn’t even wait to see of Job was up to a visit; in his arrogance he just plodded on believing that his presence and opinion were more important than this friend’s issues. Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Eliphaz and Shari should be so wise; but he nor I will ever be found guilty of “overthinking” what we say. I do however hope that I have enough sense to glean a lesson from Eliphaz using the acronym E.A.T.

Do ENCOURAGE

Before you go to your friend… take your conversation to God.

I have a feeling if Eliphaz would have gone to God and said, “Lord, I’m just letting you know that I’m gonna go line Job out for You today. I have heard enough of his poor me story,” that God would have lined Elephaz out before he left. It’s not our job to “line anyone out” but we certainly take on that role sometimes. It may be our job to encourage or instruct, which Eliphaz acknowledged Job had done in his life when he said in verses 3 and 4 “Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.

Don’t ASSUME

(Vs. 5) But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

Eliphaz assumed that it wasn’t nearly as bad as Job was making it out to be saying “it toucheth thee” as if were a light thing. Those happened to be the very words that Satan used in Job 1:11; 2:5. It was no small thing that Satan had done! He had taken Job’s family, covered his body with boils, destroyed his wealth and left him with a wife that told him to curse God and die, and through it all Job stays faithful. But even if it hadn’t been “that bad.” What if Job just had just lost his job, or lost one family member? Who are we to assume that we understand the issues of that person’s life? Those issues may be far greater than we ever imagined and not evident on the surface.

Nor can we assume that the issues of their life was brought upon them because they’re reaping what they sowed.

Eliphaz asked Job (vss. 6-7) Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?  Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?

Our ways are not God’s ways. – Isaiah 55:8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

Do TREAT them as if it were You

The reason for the acronym, tomorrow that may be on our plate.

But now… what how you eat!

7 Things About Getting to Heaven

I love God’s Word. Old Testament or New Testament, it matters not to me because there are such awesome truths lying on the pages just waiting to jump out at you like family at a surprise party! It’s fun when God reveals His plan a gain. It’s the story that never gets old, the one about going to Heaven, the one I long to talk about from the other side. This morning in Isaiah as I read His word there was that wonderful promise again!

Isaiah 55

Its Free

55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

It is for certain that the Old Testament conceals what the New Testament reveals. Isaiah (whose name means “The Lord Saves”) began his ministry around 740 BC long before Jesus came into the picture. Yet the promise is there in his words about the final sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. Jesus Christ, God’s only Son was the only payment worthy of our entrance into an eternity. A Holy God could accept nothing but a Holy Sacrifice, so His own sinless Son became the payment for us to enter Heaven. There’s only one catch and it’s pretty simple, accept it. He built you the finest mansion and prepared you a banquet of delicacies unimaginable and ask only that you confess that He paid for it with His life.

It Fulfills

55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Even after salvation, when we find the one thing that satisfies our every longing we still try to buy happiness or expect to find it in someone. Though we need a roof over our head, clothes on our backs and water food in our bellies to survive, all else is optional. Jesus said in Matthew 6:30-34~

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

It’s Forever

55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Forever is hard for us to imagine when the earth is so temporal, and promises are so easily broken. But not so in Heaven… God’s covenant (promise) is evident in His word, as your read prophecy after prophecy that has been fulfilled. The more you read, the more you understand and look forward to the forever that is filled with the goodness of God.

Follow Jesus

55:4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

Jesus wasn’t on earth in the Old Testament and He’s not on earth now, but He has always been present in the lives of His people and the plan little by little was disclosed until the revealing of it when Christ came in the form of a man. He walked among them, they witnessed His miracles, they seen His death and were there for the resurrection. Hundreds of people witnessed it and we’re still witnessing His work today in the lives of people who set the example we’re to follow.

I’m Family

55:5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

The Jewish Nation is and always will be God’s chosen people, but those He knew not as His own (that’s us!) the gentiles, He has accepted into His family. How awesome is that!

I’m Found!

55:6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

I was lost, yet the Bible says that He may be found. I think we’re given opportunity after opportunity to accept God’s Son as our Savior, but this verse is a warning that you can continue to get farther and farther away by rejecting Him until He can’t be found. I’m so glad that in 1996 I accepted His salvation and that His mercy was extended another day.

I’m Forgiven

55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

There’s nothing quite like the squeaky clean feeling you get when the sins of the past are lifted from your shoulders. Every mistake you’ve ever made, every regret… gone! Life’s still not perfect, but knowing that forever my mistakes are covered by the blood of Jesus that He shed on Calvary so that I might have eternal life with Him it a “Wow!” feeling every day. It’s unimaginable what God has in store for His children.

I heard once that “We live far beneath our means.” And while that’s likely true, I think there must be a humility that comes into our minds when we understand just how unworthy we are to be called a child of God. The Creator of all. That’s why verse 55:8 really sums it up.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.