Friday, September 14, 2012

I'm afraid people wont hear my heart

I heard a woman speak today. I didn’t understand a word she said. Well, maybe a few. However, the spirit of what she said coursed through me. There was a translator, but I learned a valuable lesson listening to them both. The translator brought the words, but she didn’t bring the spirit. I understood the spirit more than I did the words.

Does that even make sense?

I was sitting in a room full of women who were waiting to attend their choice of bible study for the next few weeks. Groups sat here and there. A few chatted around the snack table, and while drinking their coffee. As things began everyone settled down and one by one the instructors headed up to the front of the room to explain their class and why we might be interested in it.

The group this woman stood up for is one I won’t be able to attend. It is a Spanish speaking class, and I simply wouldn’t understand a thing that was said. Well, again, maybe a few. But as she went to the front of the class her spirit flowed to the back.

Her countenance was one of determination. Her expression was wild and excited. Her eyes bored through each person as she looked at the different tables. She told us this life is hard. She thought it would be easy and peaceful once she followed Christ. She expected few problems and love to abound over all. But she did not find that, she said. How many of us agree with her? But she didn’t stop there. Despite the hardships Christ was with her and she exuded the joy from her pores. He is also with us. Don’t forget, she said. Remember you are not alone.

But these words…I know they type flat. They don’t sound like hers did. Despite the fact I didn’t speak the language of her tongue, she spoke the language of all our hearts. And I hope one day you can hear someone speak from the mountain tops, for it lifts you up there as well.

Where is God? Here He is. With us now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The fear to speak

Isaiah 40:9
You who bring good tidings to Zion, Go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice
with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the town of Judah. “Here is your God!”
  
As I read these verses, and began to understand the history of why they were written, I began to feel the pressure within my own chest. The joy was overflowing and the thrill of the heart as I heard Isaiah speak. He speaks to you and me. Do you hear him?

So often words of comfort go unheeded. It’s easier to mope and be in misery than it is to celebrate even when it’s only for a future hope. Maybe especially when it’s for a future hope. But Isaiah had given words of warning laced with sadness and sorrow. He had given words of deliverance, immediate and instant. Now he gives words of joy and comfort; words of hope to come.

How hard is it to give those words? Stop and think. Let go of the excitement and consider yourself an exile now; a slave by any other name. Living where the current ruler tells you to live, doing the work he tells you to do. Your burden gets heavier each day and you wonder, “Where is this God we have heard so much about?"

Truth be told, we ask the same question here and now. When things get tight financially, when we lose a dear one to death, when things are hard; we panic and ask, “Why me? Where are You?” These are the times we may not want to hear a word of comfort and hope. But here is Isaiah telling you who have been given the words to speak loudly.

Are you afraid of what others may say? Are you scared of how they will respond? Don’t worry about the enemies, the hardships, or the situations. Speak the words of comfort because God has put them in your mouth.

Question 1: Have you ever withheld words you felt you should say? How did not saying them affect you? Have you ever given words which you felt should be said? How did it affect those you gave it to?

Question 2: Others may not always want to hear what we have to say. Words are powerful, and we should be very careful in what we speak when we go to open our mouths and loosen our tongue. What do you do to make sure your words line up with what God is saying?
 
Heavenly Father
Your excitement is palpable
I breath in deeply hoping to be filled
Thank you for comfort
Thank you for those who bring the words
Which comfort my soul
As only You can
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Isaiah 40:9

You who bring good tidings to Zion, go u on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalemm, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!" (NIV)

Zondervan Handbook to the Bible
Up to this point of Isaiah it has been largly taken up with the threat from Assyria. Chapter 39 provides a transition to the next major era: the time of Babylonian domination.
Isaiah 40-55 addresses these dispirited exiles. Although God has punished them - as he had so often warned, and as they deserved - he still oves them. They can trust him.
These chapters are so full of hope and comfort that they are known as "The Book of the Consolation of Israel."

Matthew Henry's Commentary
let them proclaim (the return to Jerusalem due to Cyrus' proclamation) in the most public places, as loudly as theycan, not being afraid the enemy should hear it, not being afraid it wont come true - let them tell all it is God who has done this thing.

Asbury Bible Commentary
zion/Jerusalem is to prepare for the imminent return of the exiled children. The phrase 'fear not' occurs frequently in these chapters. It obviously addressed a need in the exiled community.

Other Prophets' Fear

We find ourselves with Isaiah in the times of the Babylonian domination. The chapters from 40-55 are known as the “Book of the Consolation of Israel” for it is God sending the exiles hope. Exiles such as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Nehemiah and Ezra are also of the group who were removed from Jerusalem and sent to live in other countries. But God has not forgotten them.

 
 
I can see Isaiah standing tall shouting his words to the wind. I can sense the burning he has in his chest to give the people a sense of hope and comfort. The first words he speaks in Chapter 40 are “Comfort, Comfort my people says your God.” Isaiah has spoken words of warning, and deliverance, and hope. Here he speaks comfort and hope to those who will listen.
 
He speaks to those in exile. Have you ever considered how they got the word? He spoke to the wind but who carried it to those who needed it. Who carried the word to those who it was meant for? Isaiah was a strong man born with a purpose. He continues to fulfill his purpose by spreading God’s word to the people who need it.

But he is not alone. He is not the only prophet of his time, and these words sound like encouragement for others like him. Encouragement to speak loudly the words given them to speak. There was little encouragement for a time, but now is the time to shout it to the wind. See him, up on the mountain. Hear him, the passion in his voice.
 
You who bring good tidings to Zion, Go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the town of Judah.
“Here is your God!”
 
Can you hear those words reverberate through the valley? “Here is your God!” He has done this. He has not forgotten you. You are not alone. He will bring you home. To those who are asking, “Where is He?” Let them know, “Here is your God!”