“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41.10
In six days we will be entering a New Year and none of us knows what this New Year will hold. Some will make resolutions, some will embark on a weight loss program, or some other program to make their life better in the New Year. As I read the words of this verse, I see here great words of encouragement – especially for the New Year. Let’s take a fresh look at these words.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee … ” Every time we read the words “fear not” in the Bible, we can be assured that God has a reason for them. The only One who has the authority to tell me to “fear not” is God. There is no situation too great for God. There is no issue too great for God. There is no problem too complex for God.
“be not dismayed; for I am thy God … ” Dismayed = shocked, taken aback, thrown off track. God is saying we must not be thrown off track by any situation we encounter. And why would He say that? Because He says, “I am thy God … ” This is Jehovah – this is Elohim – this is the God who is there and is not silent. He is there to do what no one else can do.
“I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Do you see God’s promises here? He will strengthen us. He will help us. He will uphold us. Can anyone else do all of these things for us the way God can do them? The answer is no! As you enter the New Year, remember His promises found in this wonderful verse. Just my thoughts …
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9.6
It would have been a rich experience to be sitting with Isaiah when he penned these words. “Unto us … ” Was he thinking, “Me?” What are you thinking as you read these words? “Unto me?” Wrapped up in these words is the totality of God’s love for sin-sick mankind – including you and me. The day He was born is not nearly as important as the truth that He was actually born.
Whatever form it Isaiah acknowledged the reality that God had a Son and His Son was coming into this world to do what only God could do – address the question of sin. Sin in whatever form it appears breaks the heart of God. And His Son was the only perfect sacrifice who was qualified to meet the demands of this Holy God.
His name shall be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” Is there any way that you or I can quantify this word wonderful? Knowing that God is wonderful and having any concept of how wonderful He is are two different concepts. Counsellor – have you ever come to God with a problem He did not understand or did not know how to handle? The answer is an obvious no! He is the Wonderful Counselor. He is without doubt The mighty God. He does not see problems because He is the solution to our problems. That is quite a Christmas present.
The everlasting Father – some reading this have a father who is still alive. Others have already lost their father to death. BUT we have this Everlasting Father. He is not going away – ever. But this Christ is also The Prince of Peace. Does this world need peace? Do the hearts of men need peace? The answer to both questions is yes and Jesus is the Prince of Peace! Merry Christmas! Just my thoughts …
“And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1.21
She = Mary. Mary has been a part of this picture since Genesis 3.15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy see and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Her seed is the seed of the woman, Mary. There has never been another conception or birth like this one. And that’s the way it should be. The angel said to Mary, “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon the, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be call the Son of God.” (Luke 1.34-35) The only blood in this baby’s veins was God’s blood – He was the Father. Think about it! Human blood was tainted by sin. The blood shed on the cross needed to be without the taint of sin.
We read in Matthew 1.23: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, ad shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” God chose to enter this world as a baby – a form that made Him vulnerable but acceptable. God chose to be with us so He could save us. Can you imagine the thoughts running through Joseph’s mind as the angel reveals these truths to him? His head must have been spinning, but he believed what he was told and he acted on what he was told. I’m so glad God had all this planned from eternity past to enable you and me to have a Savior. What a wonderful gift at Christmas! Just my thoughts …
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Romans 11.33
Wisdom and knowledge go hand in hand. One can have knowledge without wisdom, but one cannot have wisdom without knowledge. This verse tells us that God has both and He has ultimate knowledge and ultimate wisdom. Paul says it like this: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” When you and I come to God, we are tapping into His reservoir of knowledge and it is deep because He knows everything. Coupled with that reservoir of knowledge is the deep well of wisdom. We are never going to surprise God with anything and we are never going to seek an answer that He cannot give.
Then Paul reminds us of this: “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” When God makes a judgment call in our lives, we can be sure that it is right. He is incapable of making a wrong judgment call. Our struggle is when we want to challenge any judgment call that God makes. You and I know there are times in our lives when we need for God to bring us back to the right path. We may not like the way He chooses to do it, but again that is not our call – His judgments are unsearchable.
I think the other thing we often struggle with is God’s why. We want God to somehow explain why He does what He does and why He does it the way He does. Here is my question to us all, why does God’s why matter? If He told us, we probably would not understand. Just remember, “his ways (are) past finding out!” Can I suggest that we make the decision to stop questioning God’s how and His why? Since his ways past finding out, I wouldn’t understand anyway. The key here is to simply trust Him. Just my thoughts …
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8.18
Suffering – this is a word that none of us likes to use, but it is something that all of us experience at some time in our lifetime. Suffering isn’t always physical. Sometimes it takes the form of emotional or mental suffering. Whatever its form, it is still suffering.
Romans 8 is one of the most significant chapters in the Bible. Paul addresses so many important issues in this chapter. So it is no surprise that he addresses the issue of suffering. “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time … ” Paul makes the assumption that we will suffer in this present time. Is it too simplistic to say that we live in a fallen world and much of the suffering we experience is simply the result of being in this world? I don’t think so. So often I hear believers blame God for their sickness or the circumstance that has brought about suffering. When my body gets sick, I don’t automatically assume God made me sick. When I am experiencing emotional duress, I don’t assume God created the conflict. Let’s keep suffering in perspective. It will come to all of us. It is only for a season. And God does not forsake us in our time of suffering.
Then Paul says that our suffering is “not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” I once read an illustration of a man who said that when he died, he wanted them to put a fork in his hand in the casket. Why someone asked why, he replied, “Because the best is yet to come!” Friend, the best IS yet to come. It is that glory which shall be revealed in us. That’s all I know about it. That’s all anybody knows about it. But, it is coming and we will get through our suffering so we can experience the glory. Just my thoughts …
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (34) 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. ” Matthew 6.33-34
How can such a simply declaration of truth be so difficult for us to believe and put into practice? I’m sure we have all heard this verse quoted or we have read it many times over. Yet we continually trouble ourselves over the things of the morrow. Don’t forget these words: “for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” The counsel Jesus gives His followers is this: “seek me today, now … I am here. Let me add the things you need to your life today. Remember, I will also take care of tomorrow when it gets here.”
Let’s go back to the opening words: “Seek first … ” The biblical protocol for dealing with any issue is found in these words. Seek God first. The reason that is so important is because it changes our focus from our problem to the only One who can solve our problem. It may seem like I hammer this concept a lot in my blogs, but it is such an all-important concept.
It may help us to take note of what “all these things” are. “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or Where withal shall we be clothed.” (V. 31) (I might also add, Where shall I live?) The totality of the needs of your life and mine are held securely in the hands of this loving God who has promised to meet our needs, no matter what they are. Remember that not one of your needs is bigger than your God. He made the universe. He made you, and He will handle your need. Just my thoughts …
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2.7
God spoke and the light appeared. God spoke and the firmament appeared. God spoke and the waters and the dry land we put into their proper places. God spoke and things began to grow in the earth. God spoke and the lights appeared in the heavens. God spoke and the creatures of the sea and the flying creatures on the earth appeared. God spoke and the beasts on the earth appeared.
And THEN “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground … ” Everything else God spoke into existence, but when He came to the crowning act of creation, He fashioned man with His own hands and He breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. I’m not sure how that speaks to you, but I am completely humbled by the realization that after God SPOKE everything else into existence, He took time to PERSONALLY form man with His hands and to personally breathe into his nostrils to give him life.
Let’s examine these verses: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them. (28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl o the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1.27-28 Every living thing that God spoke into existence he put under the authority of man.
We were not an afterthought with God. We were the crowning element in His creative process. If that does not cause us to see God differently and see our responsibility to God differently, then we have a real disconnect with truth. May God help us to see how SPECIAL we are in God’s sight, and then to live in the light of that knowledge. Just my thoughts …
“Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah (3) But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; for my glory, and the lifter of mine head. (4) I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.” Psalm 3.2-4
If we listen to the voices of the world, they will tell us that there is no help for in God. When we choose to listen to the voices of the world, we are unable to heard the voice of help when it comes.
But David’s response to the voice of the world was this: “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me … ” It doesn’t matter what others may say about You, You ARE my shield. They don’t have to see it. They don’t have to understand it. They don’t even have to believe it. None of that negates the truth that God is my shield.
Not only is He my shield, but there is another element to this: He is “the lifter of mine head.” So often when difficulties come to us, we are prone to drop our heads and all we can see is what is at our feet. But my God wants to change my perspective. So He lifts my head. That turns my focus from my problem to the One who is there solving my problem.
Now notice the sequence here: “I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.” I cried … He heard. The one thing of which I am sure is that when I cry He hears. I am reminded of the verse in Matthew 14 when Peter was walking on the water and he began to sink beneath the water. “But when he (Peter) saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sin, he cried, saying, Lord save me. (31) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (vs. 30-31)
We can rest in the assurance that when we cry, He hears. These are just my thoughts …
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15.57
We seem to live in a world in which people see themselves as victims in so many life situations. Just because we have a bad experience, or are born with a less than perfect body, or have less than a perfect marriage, or less than a perfect job does not mean that we are a victim. It simply means that life is not perfect – and no one has a perfect life.
What is Paul saying to believers here in this verse? His reference to victory is speaking of victory over death. That does not mean that we will not die, but that the sting of death has been conquered. That is one of the things Christ conquered for us on the cross. Of ALL the things that the death of Christ accomplished for us, the knowledge that the sing of death has been conquered is a wonderful truth. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (v. 55)
You and I must remember the words of 2 Corinthians 5: “We ae confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” If you have lost a loved one who is a believer., you know the comfort those words bring you.
But if you and I are victors over death, does that truth have any bearing on the rest of life? If death has been conquered, what else is there to fear? So often we are bound by fear when dealing with sickness and/or relationships. The simple truth of the matter is this, if God can handle death (the ultimate blow to life), then He can surely handle a terminal illness, a wayward child, a spouse who chooses to walk away, a job that may terminate tomorrow, or a problem with another believer that may seem unsolvable to us. Just remember that we are victors, not victims. Just my thoughts …
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God man be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3.16-17
Have you ever wanted to argue with God over a scripture you just read? “Really God?” In our heart of hearts we know that these verses are absolutely true. But there are times when our old nature wants to rear its ugly head and object to something God said.
When we consider all of the things for which God’s Word is said to be profitable, we would do well to allow the Word to assist us in those areas. For example, we live in a world that is plagued with FALSE doctrine. Even though we say we know what we believe, we need to have our faith anchored firmly in doctrine – true doctrine. Doctrine is not tradition, even though some want to make it so. Doctrine is not necessarily my conviction, although I should hold what I believe with great conviction. The thing of which we must be certain is that what I call “my truth” is not different from “God’s truth.”
We all know there are times when we need to be reproved and corrected. It may not be what we WANT, but it is what we NEED. But them Paul speaks about “instruction in righteousness … ” When I read the Word, I find myself being continually instructed in what is right. It is not that I have not read it before, but when I read it this time, it takes on a greater significance, perhaps because of where I am in my walk with God and the needs that exist in my life. If you and I want to be “thoroughly furnished” with what we need, we need to allow God’s Word to do what it is designed to do in us and for us. Just my thoughts …