VIDEO The Voice of the Nature of God

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” —Isaiah 6:8

When we talk about the call of God, we often forget the most important thing, namely, the nature of Him who calls. There are many things calling each of us today. Some of these calls will be answered, and others will not even be heard. The call is the expression of the nature of the One who calls, and we can only recognize the call if that same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not ours. God providentially weaves the threads of His call through our lives, and only we can distinguish them. It is the threading of God’s voice directly to us over a certain concern, and it is useless to seek another person’s opinion of it. Our dealings over the call of God should be kept exclusively between ourselves and Him.

The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God. But when God brings me into the right relationship with Himself, I will be in the same condition Isaiah was. Isaiah was so attuned to God, because of the great crisis he had just endured, that the call of God penetrated his soul. The majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves. And we cannot hear anything God says. But to be brought to the place where we can hear the call of God is to be profoundly changed.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The great point of Abraham’s faith in God was that he was prepared to do anything for God.
Not Knowing Whither


Holy, Holy, Holy! – Isaiah 6:1-8 – Skip Heitzig

Darkness and Light

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12

As I sat in the courtroom, I witnessed several examples of the brokenness of our world: a daughter estranged from her mother; a husband and wife who’d lost the love they once had and now shared only bitterness; a husband who yearned to be reconciled with his wife and to be reunited with his children. They desperately needed changed hearts, healed wounds, and for God’s love to prevail.

Sometimes when the world around us seems to hold only darkness and despair, it’s easy to give in to despair. But then the Spirit, who lives inside believers in Christ (John 14:17), reminds us that Jesus died for that brokenness and pain. When He came into the world as a human, He brought light into the darkness (1:4–5; 8:12). We see this in His conversation with Nicodemus, who furtively came to Jesus in the cover of darkness but left impacted by the Light (3:1–2; 19:38–40).

Jesus taught Nicodemus that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (3:16).

Yet even though Jesus brought light and love into the world, many remain lost in the darkness of their sin (vv. 19–20). If we’re His followers, we have the light that dispels darkness. In gratitude, let’s pray that God will make us beacons of His love (Matthew 5:14–16).

By:  Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

When has your hope been renewed through remembering that God loves you? How can you share Christ’s light with others?

Thank You, God, for coming to save me from the darkness of sin and despair. Help me to remain in Your light.

Sunday Reflection: Yours Truly

Praying isn’t a one-sided affair; rather, it is an intimate and precious conversation with God

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Writing letters—either by hand or electronically—is a good way to communicate. We can share our innermost thoughts with others, give and receive encouragement, and laugh together. However, letters aren’t perfect. They’re sporadic, coming in intervals of every few days or longer, and the conversation tends to be one-sided. A telephone or video call eliminates those delays by allowing us to interact in real time. We can hear one another and even make eye contact.

Many of us feel that prayer is like “writing” requests to God and sending them off, hoping to eventually get a response. But our heavenly Father wants to speak with us in a more immediate, intimate way (James 4:8). That means we must commune with Him daily, clearing space in our mind and heart. When we do, we’ll find that conversing with Him becomes easier over time. Then prayer will be as natural as speaking with a friend—the best one you’ll ever have (Prov. 18:24).

Think about it

• Do you feel close to God in prayer, or does it seem as if you’re speaking into a void? Plan when you can focus on prayer in the coming week, and make sure to spend as much time listening as speaking.

Lot’s Fateful Choice

“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere….Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.” (Genesis 13:10-11)

Some otherwise righteous folks are unable to handle wealth. Lot and Abram had become so wealthy “that they could not dwell together” (Genesis 13:6), and Lot fell into the classic temptation—loving “all that is in the world” (1 John 2:16).

Beginning by pitching “his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12), Lot later “dwelt in Sodom, and his goods” (Genesis 14:12). And even though he was “vexed” by the “filthy” behavior of those with whom he was living (2 Peter 2:7-8), Lot finally “sat in the gate of Sodom”—a Hebrew idiom for holding a political place of power in the city (Genesis 19:1).

We are told that Lot was a just and righteous man (2 Peter 2:7-8). But ungodly choices always produce tragic results. When the angels arrived to bring God’s judgment, his children had intermarried with Sodomites and had been lost (Genesis 19:12-14). His wife wouldn’t leave (Genesis 19:26), and his wealth was destroyed with the destruction of the cities.

Lot’s reputation and eternal place in Kingdom history are equally tragic. Although rescued by the angels, his legacy is “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). Although granted his wish to live in a “little” city (Genesis 19:20), his daughters corrupted themselves with him, and the pagan nations of Moab and Ammon were the result (Genesis 19:30-38). Although we will see Lot in heaven, he became the epitome of one whose works are “burned,” and he is saved, “yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Even small ungodly choices can cause us to lose “a full reward” (2 John 1:8). HMM III

Double-Tonguing

Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains; the loyal have disappeared from the human race. They lie to one another; they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts. The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times ( Psalm 12 vv. 1-2, 6).

In music the effect of double-tonguing is delightful. In life, it is devastating and cruel. James tells us that “no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (3:8), The music industry is notorious for it’s hype and it’s manipulation of people. Since the art form of music is so subjective and since aesthetic taste is so personal, relationships between people are very important. Unfortunately, positive, healthy relationships can easily degenerate into negative, unhealthy “politics.”

The untamed tongue of Psalm 12 lies, flatters, deceives, and boasts. Empty talk, smooth talk, and double-talk take the place of satisfying communication; and deceit and manipulation rule. I’m amazed at how deceitful my own heart is. As I read Crabb’s The Marriage Builder, I see how often I use manipulation for my own ends in our marriage. Often I don’t even realize it! By nature I am unaware of my own deceitfulness.

In stark contrast stand the flawless and pure words of the Lord, a wealth of silver refined in God’s crucible.

I want my life to be permeated with God’s words, not marked by an uncontrollable tongue. If I’m controlled by the Spirit, I won’t manipulate people. I will minister to them. And I will experience fullness in place of emptiness, wholeness in place of fragmentation, and fellowship in place of loneliness.

Personal Prayer

Help me, Lord, to minister to people rather than manipulate them.

A Contemporary Lyric

The Refiner’s Fire

The words of the Lord are flawless

Like silver refined I the furnace of clay,

Purified in the refiner’s fire,

They will stand sure on the Judgment Day!

Words by Don Wyrtzen © 1988.

The Language of Music

Dirge

A song or hymn of grief or lamentation.

Dirges are especially intended to accompany funeral or memorial rites. They are slow, solemn, and mournful. The “teacher” tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:4 that there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”


Stop Arguing!

He says to himself, “I will never be moved—from generation to generation.”—Psalm 10:6

“At life’s core,” says Dr. Larry Crabb, “the real issues are theological issues.” When life is brought down to its irreducible minimum, the issue always is—God. What do we make of Him? How does He fit into our lives?

Have you not found that whenever you make sure God is in His place, everything around you falls into place too? You see things from a different perspective. Solomon describes God as sovereign in Ecclesiastes 6:10. Man “is not able to contend with the One stronger than he,” and the sooner we recognize that the better. A purpose was written into the universe long before we arrived, and though at times it may look as if God is not in control, this is not so. And, he adds, because God is bigger than we are, it is useless to put ourselves in conflict with Him. C. S. Lewis put it well when he said in The Problem of Pain: “To argue with God is to argue with the very power that makes it possible to argue at all.”

How different life would be for us if we would get hold of the fact that God is sovereign and that we are His subjects. God is the Potter; we are the clay. God is omnipotent; we are impotent—relatively speaking, anyway. God is consistent; we are inconsistent. God has a crystal-clear perspective on everything; we more often than not are confused. What is all this saying to us? Arguing against the divine purpose is a waste of time. Better to trust the Almighty; He always knows what He is doing.

Prayer

My Father and my God, I have gathered some wisdom on my journey through life, but now I pray for the kind of wisdom that is greater and sharper than all earthly wisdom—Your wisdom. Make me a wise person, my Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Pr 2:1-3:35

What are we not to let out of our sight?

What do the wise inherit?

The Victory of the Cross

Galatians 6:14

The central event in all human history is the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary. It was here that the war between good and evil reached its climactic battle, and to the superficial observer it must have seemed that evil had triumphed beyond any possible doubt.

The strange and wonderful thing is that the New Testament writers, far from remembering the cross though a haze of tears, actually celebrate it as the place where Jesus ultimately triumphed over Satan. You would expect the leaders of a new religious movement to keep quiet about the fact that their founder had died a criminal’s death. Those early Christians, in fact, gloried in the cross. What seemed at first glance to be a terrible tragedy was actually the key move in God’s master strategy!

Jesus’ willingness to go to the cross is all the more remarkable when we remember that He was the most sane, the most balanced, the most life-loving man who ever lived. When we read the story of Jesus in the Gospels we are not in the company of a religious fanatic with a death-wish lodged deep in His psyche.

This is the man who rescued the wedding celebration at Cana in Galilee by changing water into wine; this is the man who ruined every funeral He ever attended by raising the dead to life. And this is the man who, in the most poignant moment in the New Testament, pleads with His Father in Gethsemane that He might be allowed to take another road than that of the cross. Only the deepest conviction that the cross was the one way in which evil could be defeated could have led Him to say, “Yet, not what I want, but what You want” (Mark. 14:36, NRSV).

The cross is a place of victory because it demonstrates the justice and love of God. The daring assertion of the Gospel writers is that God turned the most evil act in history into the supreme act of righteous love.

The cross is a place of victory because it deals with the sin of mankind. The cross is the ultimate confirmation of the condition of humanity. But the paradox is that the cross is not only the place where our sinfulness is starkly displayed; it is also the place where God deals with that sinfulness.

The cross is a place of victory because it defeats Satan and the powers of evil. The victory has been won at Calvary. Insofar as we enter into the victory of Christ by faith we will share that victory.

Chick Yuill, This Means War