VIDEO Called By God, Here am I! Send me

God did not direct His call to Isaiah— Isaiah overheard God saying, “…who will go for Us?” The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). That is, few prove that they are the chosen ones. The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and have had their spiritual condition changed and their ears opened. Then they hear “the voice of the Lord” continually asking, “…who will go for Us?” However, God doesn’t single out someone and say, “Now, you go.” He did not force His will on Isaiah. Isaiah was in the presence of God, and he overheard the call. His response, performed in complete freedom, could only be to say, “Here am I! Send me.”

Remove the thought from your mind of expecting God to come to force you or to plead with you. When our Lord called His disciples, He did it without irresistible pressure from the outside. The quiet, yet passionate, insistence of His “Follow Me” was spoken to men whose every sense was receptive (Matthew 4:19). If we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring us face to face with God, we too will hear what Isaiah heard— “the voice of the Lord.” In perfect freedom we too will say, “Here am I! Send me.”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

We should always choose our books as God chooses our friends, just a bit beyond us, so that we have to do our level best to keep up with them. Shade of His Hand, 1216 L

Feb 7, 2011

Isaiah’s Commission from the Lord
Isa 6: 8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Music track:
“Send me” by Shannon Wexelberg

Take my hands
They are yours to use
Take my feet
I will follow you
Fill my mouth
Give me words to pray
Break my heart
With what brings you pain

Right here in this moment
I can hear your Spirit call
So I’m coming as Your servant
Surrendering to You now (my all)

Here am I, send me
Here am I, send me
Savior, I’ll take Your message to the world
Here am I, send me
Here am I, send me
Savior, I’ll take Your message to the world
Send me

Take my eyes
Help me see the need
Tune my ears
To Your heart beat
Take my all
My silver and my gold
I lay it down
At Your feet, my Lord

Right here in this moment
I dare not walk away
For I see a world so broken
Father, hear me pray

(Send me)
To the lost and lonely
Send me
To the wounded soul
Send me
To the heart forgotten
Yes, Lord, I will go! (I will boldly go!)

Growing in the Wind

Growing in the Wind

Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him! Mark 4:41

Imagine a world without wind. Lakes would be calm. Falling leaves wouldn’t blow in the streets. But in still air, who would expect trees to suddenly fall over? That’s what happened in a three-acre glass dome built in the Arizona desert. Trees growing inside a huge windless bubble called Biosphere 2 grew faster than normal until suddenly collapsing under their own weight. Project researchers eventually came up with an explanation. These trees needed wind stress to grow strong.

Jesus let His disciples experience gale-force winds to strengthen their faith (Mark 4:36–41). During a night crossing of familiar waters, a sudden storm proved too much even for these seasoned fishermen. Wind and waves were swamping their boat while an exhausted Jesus slept in the stern. In a panic they woke Him. Didn’t it bother their Teacher that they were about to die? What was He thinking? Then they began to find out. Jesus told the wind and waves to be quiet—and asked His friends why they still had no faith in Him.

Help us remember anything that frightens us comes with an invitation to find the strength of knowing You.

If the wind had not blown, these disciples would never have asked, “Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41).

Today, life in a protective bubble might sound good. But how strong would our faith be if we couldn’t discover for ourselves His reassuring “be still” when the winds of circumstance howl?

Father in heaven, please help us to remember that anything that frightens us comes with an invitation to find the strength of knowing and trusting You.

God never sleeps.

INSIGHT:In Mark 4:35–5:43 the gospel writer tells of four miracles to prove that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of God” and therefore has absolute authority over the forces of this physical world (4:35–41), over the powers of the spiritual world (5:1–20), over physical illnesses (5:24–34), and over death (5:35–43). These miracles were designed to answer the question, “Who is this?” (4:41). The first miracle was Jesus calming the storm on Galilee. Because the Sea of Galilee is in a basin about 700 feet below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, sudden and violent storms are common (v. 37). That Jesus was tired and soundly asleep showed that He was fully human (v. 38); that the storm instantly obeyed Him showed He was divine (v. 39).

Meeting With God

Jeremiah 24:7

Many of us have been blessed with close friends. Imagine if we never spent time with them but instead just thought and talked about how wonderful these special people are. Wouldn’t such behavior be foolish? Yet some Christians do just that. Despite accumulating vast knowledge about the Lord and the Bible, they miss out on rich fellowship with the heavenly Father, the best friend anyone could ever have.

It is possible to fill our lives with spiritual information and activities—all of which are good—but fail to develop a close relationship with the Lord. Take a quick inventory of your life to see if this might be true of you: Do you attend church only out of a sense of duty? Do you pray with lofty or repetitive words instead of speaking to God from the heart? Do you serve solely out of obligation?

Scripture tells of many people whose personal encounter with the Lord was energizing and life-changing. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, the Samaritan woman, and Paul are a few who spoke with Him one-on-one (Gen. 7:4; Gen. 12:2; Ex. 3:2; Judg. 6:12; John 4:1-42; Acts 9:3-6). We don’t expect dramatic “burning bush” experiences today, yet all believers should still have precious, intimate times with God. Whenever we open His Word and invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate its meaning, we can hear directly from our heavenly Father.

James 4:8 tells us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  Walking closely with the Lord takes commitment and time. Start now by dedicating a portion of your day to meeting with your Friend.

Abraham’s Intercession Test

“I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.” (Genesis 18:21-22)

Three “men” stood before Abraham’s tent, two of whom were later revealed to be angels (Genesis 18:2; 19:1). One of them, however, was none other than the Creator Himself (as the visible Word of God), who told Abraham of the beginning of the fulfillment of His earlier promise of a son (Genesis 18:10, 14).

As the Lord reiterated the promise (now nearly 25 years dormant), the confrontation with Sarah began (Genesis 18:9-15). She “laughs” at the repeated promise, citing her old and “worn out” body as an excuse. Most noteworthy here is the immediate response of God: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14). Although Sarah mocked the Lord’s promise, Abraham reacted with the laughter of joy and anticipation. His faith was now firm and confident (Genesis 18:16-22).

As God told him of His immediate plan to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham began his intercession on behalf of any righteous residents there (Genesis 19:23-32). Yet, even though the Lord yielded each time to Abraham’s limiting request, it was clear that the wickedness of those cities would come under the righteous judgment of a holy God.

Abraham “returned unto his place” (Genesis 18:33), knowing that while he had prayed for God’s grace, he was satisfied that God’s judgment was “righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9). The contrast of attitude toward God’s Word is on display in this section of Scripture. “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3). HMM III

“My God, in Him will I trust.”

Psalm 91

Our last reading showed us Noah saved from amidst a drowning world. This may well lead us to consider the special protection which the Lord grants to his own people, of which the psalmist sings so sweetly in—

Psalm 91:1

When through the blood of Jesus a soul is brought into sweet fellowship with God, its real dangers are all over: it is, and must be, for ever safe. Noah was secure the moment he entered the ark, and so are we so soon as we are in Christ.

Psalm 91:4

What a tender picture. We, like the little birds, hide beneath the wings of God.

Psalm 91:6

As from apparent dangers so from concealed evils God’s people are preserved. There are heresies which would, if it were possible, deceive even the very elect; but they shall not be deceived, for the Lord is their keeper.

Psalm 91:7-8

Noah saw the utter ruin of the ungodly world, and this, no doubt, led him the more devoutly to bless the grace which had rescued him from the like sin and doom.

Psalm 91:13

Those who sought our destruction shall themselves be overthrown. Their power and subtlety shall not avail them.

Psalm 91:15

Trouble we must experience, there is no immunity from that, but prayer meets every case, and brings suitable succours under all dangers. Conquered trials honour the Lord who helps us through them, but they also put the honours of experience upon those who have been exercised by them.

Psalm 91:16

The years of the righteous may be few, and yet they may live long, for men’s lives are not to be measured by the years through which they breathe, but by the good they accomplish, the favour of God which they enjoy.

Let us, as a family, thank God that our lives have been preserved from infectious diseases, from sudden death, and from fatal accidents. God’s providence is our inheritance. The throne of grace and a promise of being accepted when we approach it are among our choicest treasures. If we be indeed God’s children, angel guards are hovering over us at this hour; and we may rest assured that whatever ills may be abroad, we are safe beneath the wings of God. We ought, therefore, as Christians, to be very calm in troublous times, and show by our holy courage that we have a sure ground of confidence.

Parents, store this Psalm in your hearts, and ye children and young people treasure it in your memories; it is more precious than the much fine gold.

 

He that hath made his refuge God

Shall find a most secure abode,

Shall walk all day beneath his shade,

And there at night shall rest his head.

 

Then will I say, “My God, thy power

Shall be my fortress and my tower:

I, that am form’d of feeble dust,

Make thine almighty arm my trust.

 

Preparing the Troops For Battle!

Hebrews 10:25

The word “exhorting” is a powerful little word! It’s the Greek word parakaleo, a compound of the words para and kaleo. Para means alongside and kaleo means to call, to beckon, or to speak to someone. When these two words are compounded together, it depicts someone who is right alongside of a person, urging him, beseeching him, begging him to make some kind of correct decision.

In the ancient Greek world, this word was often used by military leaders before they sent their troops into battle. Rather than hide from the painful reality of war, the leaders would summon their troops together and speak straightforwardly with them about the potential dangers of the battlefield. The leaders would also tell their troops about the glories of winning a major victory.

Rather than ignore the clear-cut dangers of battle, these officers came right alongside their troops and urged, exhorted, beseeched, begged, and pleaded with them to stand tall; throw their shoulders back; look the enemy straight on, eyeball to eyeball; and face their battles bravely.

Walking by faith and doing the will of God sometimes places us in the midst of spiritual battles. Sometimes these battles aren’t won quickly.

If you know someone who is discouraged because his fight isn’t won yet, speak to that person truthfully and in a straightforward manner the way a commanding officer would speak to his troops. Remind the person of others who have stood the test of time and won their battles. And be sure to remind him of the sweetness of victory when the battle is over. He needs to hear a passionate, heartfelt word of exhortation from you!

 

The word “exhort” in Hebrews 10:25 could mean:

“When you’re feeling down and out—like a failure who is falling behind everyone else—that isn’t the time for you to stay away from other believers, as some are in the habit of doing. That is the very time that you need to come together for the sake of encouragement so you can face your battles more bravely….”

Do you know people who need some encouragement today? Instead of letting the day slip by before you know it, why not take the time right now to call those individuals and encourage them? If you can’t call them, how about writing them a note that will help them focus on victory?

Think back to all those moments in your own life when someone came alongside of you to encourage you. Didn’t it make a big difference in your life? Now it’s your turn to return this blessing to someone else.

So determine today to be a real comrade in the Lord to another Christian soldier. Make it your aim to speak words of encouragement to those around you today. If you see someone who is discouraged, or if you know someone who has been struggling in his or her faith, go out of your way to encourage the troops!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, today I want to be used by You to encourage someone! I ask You to lead me to those You want me to encourage. Show me what to say, how much to say, and when to say it. Teach me to recognize the needs in other people and not to focus only on my own needs.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am going to be a major blessing in someone’s life today. The Holy Spirit is going to open my eyes and show me exactly whom I am supposed to encourage. With the help of the Spirit, I will speak the right words at the right time, and I will say only as much as I need to say. When this day concludes, someone will thank God for the way I stepped into his or her life to be a source of encouragement!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you been so focused on your own challenges that you’ve failed to recognize the needs of others who are around you?
  2. Can you think of some people in your life who need encouragement and extra strength today?
  3. Can you make a list of practical ways you can reach out to encourage these individuals and let them know you are thinking of them today?

 

Between Stimulus And Response, We Have The Opportunity To Choose

Freedom of choice! How we love it!

What we don’t like is the responsibility that accompanies our choices… especially when the consequences of our choices take us sideways. So we rationalize:

“I came from a dysfunctional family.”

“My father never told me he loved me.”

“The devil made me do it.” (Flip Wilson)

Perhaps for too long we have indulged in this thing called LIBERTY: Making choices without bearing the responsibility of those choices. In the U. S. we have the STATUE OF LIBERTY on the East Coast. Maybe what we need is a STATUE OF RESPONSIBILITY on the West Coast. We could all then choose to live somewhere between LIBERTY and RESPONSIBILITY!

“BETWEEN STIMULUS AND RESPONSE, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE”

Often, when given choices, we choose poorly as did the Jews when Christ offered them intimacy and protection:

O Jerusalem, JerusalemHow often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate.” (Matthew 23:37, 18)

Joshua, on the other hand, stands out as one who responded correctly in making the right choice:

Choose for yourselves today whom you will servebut as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

BETWEEN STIMULUS AND RESPONSE WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE.

We may not always be able to control the stimulus that confronts us, but we can choose to respond correctly. Ultimately, the battlefield of our spiritual lives lies in the will: How and what we choose will reflect the very core of our secret life in God.

 

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