“Here am I.” It’s a well used statement made by many great people of the Bible when called by God. In Genesis 31:11 when God summoned Jacob, he answered, “Here am I.” and so did Abraham in Genesis 22:1. In I Samuel 3:4 the young Samuel answered God’s voice with, “Here am I.” And when Isaiah was being commissioned, he also replied to God’s call with, “Here am I.” There’s so much meaning within those three little words. It says, “It doesn’t matter what You have for me to do, great or menial, I’m happy to serve You Lord.” It also says, ” I desire to do Your Will Lord, not what I want.” Three little words of submission that force us to set aside ourselves, pick up our Cross, and follow Him.
Month: November 2019
John 13: 37 ” Peter asked, ‘Lord, why can’t I follow You now?’ “
This conversation happened during The Last Supper…Jesus had just told His disciples that where He was soon going they could not come. So in verse 36, Simon Peter asks Jesus, ” ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.’ ” It happens so often…we catch a glimpse of what God has for us to do and we are impatient…desiring to heed Him immediately. So like Peter, we anxiously query, “Why can’t I follow you now?” But all of our gung-ho enthusiasm can’t measure up to the basic training and discipline we may need prior to God’s nod of approval. Over these years I’ve found one of the hardest words to accept gracefully from God is, “wait.” But I also know in the end any delay is only for my good and benefit.
Isaiah 53:3 ” He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.”
We are not “acquainted with grief” in the same way Jesus Christ was. When illness, injury, or affliction strikes us…we suck it up, endure, and just live through it, waiting for it to end. But Jesus faced sorrow head-on…knowing intimately what it was to suffer. He very plainly explained to His disciples in Luke 18:31-33 how He would be mocked, insulted, spit on, flogged, and killed…personally taking on and experiencing all the pent-up evil of this world. We taste suffering and sorrow…but Jesus is intimate with them.
Luke 12:40 ” You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”
Jesus rarely shows up where and when we expect Him to. He usually appears when we least anticipate Him, and always in the most illogical situations…that’s because most of the time, we’re so absorbed in our own little “Ministry” that we forget Him. And it’s almost as a after-thought we ask God to be present in our work…just assuming He’ll show up and be part of it anyway! Our Ministry may be just that…Our Ministry alone… devoid of God’s presence and blessing. For just because we’re doing the Lord’s work, doesn’t mean the Lord is part of it.
Psalm 69:1-3 ” Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help: my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.”
In the verses of this Psalm, David is lamenting…he is battling depression…and he is searching. To the Believer, depression may seem as something only non-believers suffer through…but it’s not true. Statistics show 18% of Americans have been or are currently depressed. I myself went through a period of clinical depression years ago when a combination of debilitating emotions, negative thinking, and a sense of sadness overwhelmed me. But what got me through the distress was the awe of God. I clung to His Word as a drowning person would cling to a life-preserver thrown to them. I would recite Scriptures out-loud that God is in me, (Colossians 1:27-28) God is with me, (Philippians 4:4-9) and God is for me. (Romans 8:31) and slowly the hope in God returned… just as we find it did for David later in this Psalm. (Psalm 69:30-36)
Romans 1:11-12 ” I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
We all have Spiritual Gifts graciously given to us by the Holy Spirit at conversion. But they are not meant to be hoarded, hidden, or stashed away…they are given to us for the edification of others. But you can’t encourage others if you’re not actively within the Body, and they can’t exhort and inspire you if you’re not attending Church. As Believers, we all need each other for mutual encouragement on a regular basis…so if you haven’t attended Church in quite a while…maybe it’s time to re-engage.
Jeremiah 20:11 ” But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.”
Jeremiah was not popular among the people of Judah! His message from the Lord was primarily one of judgment, which lead to his life often being threatened. During his over 40 years of ministry Jeremiah often implored God to protect him…”Remember me, O Lord; remember me and care for me.” (Jeremiah 15:15) and “Let my persecutors be put to shame, but keep me from shame; let them be terrified, but keep me from terror.” (Jeremiah 17:18) Jeremiah had learned to put his absolute trust in God regardless of what the circumstances looked like around him…for he had discovered there’s no safer place to be than in the very center of God’s Will.
I Corinthians 3:19 ” For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
As human beings we think we are so smart! We’ve put people on the moon, developed cutting edge technology, and taken us from the horse and buggy era to modern transportation in a short span of time. But compared to God’s wisdom…we have nothing, for it was by God’s wisdom that He made the heavens and spread out the earth upon the waters, He made the great lights – the sun to govern the day and the moon and stars to govern the night. (Psalm 136: 5-9)… and I don’t think human wisdom will ever come close to duplicating that! So when the world in all its infinite “wisdom” looks at the Gospel Message…they scoff and laugh at the absurdity…”For the Message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18) Yes, as human beings we think we are so incredibility smart…but are we?
II Chronicles 20:17 ” You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”
Very rarely will God take us completely out of the trial or battle we’re in…but why? Wouldn’t a loving Heavenly Father want to deliver His children from all the ugliness – the disease, sickness, and death – of the world? Yet so often we will find ourselves in the thick of a trial or battle and wonder why is God allowing this? There’s a couple of reasons God has positioned us there. I Samuel 12:16 says, “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes.” In many places in the Bible, including this verse, God promises He will fight the battle for us. (Exodus 14:14, Deuteronomy 1:30, Nehemiah 4:20, I Samuel 17:47) But He doesn’t want us to watch from the sidelines…He will take us into the middle of the battle, to stand still, and watch. For it’s only from this unique vantage point that we’ll be able to experience and then understand what He’s doing.
Revelation 21:3-4 ” And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ “
Isaiah speaks of this time when heaven will come down to earth. “I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in My people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.” (Isaiah 65:19) and in describing the people’s reaction he wrote, there will be everlasting joy and gladness for sorrow and sighing will flee. (Isaiah 35:10) It will be a time when the old and former way of the world will be abolished and God will set up His kingdom among His people…it will also be a time when Jesus Christ puts all His enemies under His feet, the last enemy to be destroyed being death. (I Corinthians 15:25-26)