This is a journal entry from August 14, 2019…passages that were from my daily reading plan that again God used directly in the midst of suffering.
Today I read Isaiah 29 through 30:17 and Luke 10, the connections between the two have lessons for me now as my head still spins with shock and grief.
From Isaiah, 29:13-14, ”Because this people draw near with their words and honor me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from me, and their reverence for me consists of tradition learned by rote (my judgment is coming on them),”
God, let this not be true of me! Protect my heart and give me pure devotion! Help my identity to be rooted in Christ not in my vocation! Help me to never come to you with rote worship that does not please you!
Isaiah continues (29:16), “You (people) turn things around! Shall the potter (God) be considered as equal with the clay (people)?”
God you are not like us, but infinitely beyond us in every way! Your ways right now make no sense, have I forgotten that you are God? Help me to never bring you down to my level but to always keep you high and lifted up, a high view of your perfections. I cannot comprehend you apart from the revelation you give me about yourself. My finiteness will never fathom fully your greatness, holiness, goodness, righteousness, sinlessness, power, love, mercy, etc.
Isaiah 30:15 speaks volumes to me right now!
“In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Oh Lord, May these 4 qualities mark my life! Repentance. Rest. Quietness. Trust. In these days of suffering and trial, turn my heart to you, quiet my restless soul, fix my gaze on you, the one who is working out all things for his good and right purpose!
Then Luke 10:38-42, the familiar story of Mary and Martha and their house guest, Jesus. Reading this morning, while grieving, God opens up new application to my weary heart.
- What is the “better part”? Mary “sat at the feet of Jesus and was listening to his teaching” (Luke 10:39), and Jesus praised her desire to listen and learn. Mary was captivated by the “one thing” that would change the world: Jesus and the kingdom He was ushering in. Jesus showed Martha that she should also give Him this reception—being willing to learn, not anxious about her busy schedule. He asked her to shift her perspective.
- Choosing the “better part” doesn’t invalidate the things we’re busy with; indeed, Martha’s work served the needs of others. But the things we do shouldn’t shape our identity. The “one thing” that should shape our identity—the one thing we really need—is Jesus. Ultimately, it’s the desire to know Him and serve Him that should shape our lives. And whatever is not dedicated to that service is not among “the few things [that] are necessary.”
- In the midst of high stress or even ministry itself — too easy to get distracted by things that we have to do, or are expected to do
- Jesus is the ultimate goal
- Knowing him, loving him, him living through me
Lord, I want to thank you for the trials and persecution, knowing that through them, you are bringing me closer to you. In fact, if that is all that you wanted to accomplish it, then let it be!!! But God, make my “want” to thank you actually “be” thankfulness! I don’t want to fake it, I don’t want my words and worship of you to be vain. Please, I beg you, remove my lip service and hypocrisy!! You are my Potter – shape me. Be merciful to me today, take me into this day with your covenant love draped around my grieving spirit.