Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mid-Day Devotion 12/08/09

The Infant Jesus Sleeping on the Cross, Murillo, 1670s

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Isaiah 35:1-10

Fear shall always seek to weaken us; it will try to rip from us our strength and our comfort, robbing us of our assurances and our peace amidst this life and this world. Pain will come, hurt and suffering; there will always be times of trouble and hardship, all that it might exhaust our resolve, deteriorating it under its burdensome weight. It rips through us in the most significant of ways. Then, suddenly, as if it just snuck up on us, it becomes easy for us to just question everything. After all, in those moments, life just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anymore and we are the ones that are left to pick up the pieces.

Yet the more we endure, turning to the Lord, our God, when we find that the anguish and the agony of this world is upon us, the stronger we are, for it is He who gives us strength and courage, hope and endurance to run the race with faith. Through the power of His hand, and by the mercy of His Holy Spirit, when we put our trust in Him He heals us. Suddenly there is no struggle, there is no challenge, there is no pain that cannot be put to flight for He whispers unto us that His grace is sufficient for us. Where we are weak there He makes us strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) Then the blind shall see, and the deaf shall hear, the mute shall speak and those who have never walked before in their lives shall step forward according to the love that their Heavenly Father has for them.

We may not understand the great mysteries of the our God as He moves through this world, making His presence known in our lives, indeed in the lives of all of His Saints, all of His children. After all, even as we hard as we may try to understand His wisdom, His knowledge transcends our knowledge, and His understanding is far greater than our ability to comprehend. (Romans 11:33-36) Yet loving, and caring, God reveals unto us His heart even amidst the enduring struggles of this age and of this world. He does not just leave us in the darkness. Instead, He shines the light of His truth in our lives. That light breaks through all of the gloomy pain of this world to bring forth truth and righteousness, redemption and reconciliation with the Lord God Almighty. (Isaiah 60:1-4)

Assurance… blessed assurance is given in the coming of Christ, for He is the ultimate manifestation of God’s strength and love for our lives. He is the Word made flesh, given in grace and truth to the saints (John 1:14) through the compassion and the mercy of the Lord. Through him and by him we have the strength to face all the challenges and the trials of this world, this temporal existence and endure, for he is the appearance of God’s great devotion to us. Upon him then can we rest all of our burdens, all of our pains and anguish, knowing that he shall take the weight from us. After all, it is Christ who whispers to us through the darkness of this corporal plane, saying unto us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Yes, this world is strong, and the power of its might and its authority is great, but Christ is greater, and there is no adversity, there is no challenge in our lives that he can’t preserve and sustain us through. When we place our hope and our trust in him, understanding the true nature of God’s love for us our broken hearts will be healed and our wounds will be mended (Psalm 147:3) as, by the power of His authority, the way is made light as He gives salvation to those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) And how do we know this? Because our Heavenly Father tells it to us as Christ tells us that God does not just abandon us or fail us, He does not just forsake us during our times of peril and pain, hardship and struggle, (Luke 15:3-7) nor does He turn His back on us when we have strayed and then wandered home. (Luke 15:11-32) He is there to care for us and to love us even then, knowing it is in these times that we need Him the most.

There is then no captivity, either spiritual or physical, of the body or the mind, the spirit or the soul that God cannot set to flight. Ransoming each and every one of us by and through the power of His love He would make His will and His desire known for us as He shined His light and His truth in our lives through Christ Jesus. This is the sign of His Spirit, that marvelous abiding Spirit of Liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17) that we have so much hope in through all of the days of our lives knowing that it brings us to His divine justice and mercy.

This was the firm expectation and the unbridled optimism of the Prophet Isaiah as he looked to the coming of the Messiah as the great fulfillment of God’s promises unto mankind, never wavering or doubting the assurances that the Lord God had made as He told him that there would come a time when all things would be revealed. He placed all of his hope in these vows of devotion from his God, knowing that though the people of God mourned in lowly captivity to sin, death and the Devil, to iniquity and darkness, pain and sorrow, there would come a day when a child would appear and he would banish it all, paying the ransom and setting captivity captive.

This would be Christ the Lord and He would bring the truth of the Lord’s encompassing mercy and enduring love with him…

Therefore, like Isaiah, place all trust and hope in the advent of the Savior, knowing that he has the power to set people free. Pray for His coming that the Spirit of the Lord may be upon us, and that the message of freedom shall be preached in all places, in all things, through all things, knowing that by and through God’s love all men shall be released from darkness. Place your trust and pray, knowing that God will reveal His love then through His Son, and there shall then be nothing, whether it is power or principality or pirate, or captivity and bondage, slavery or repression, oppression or persecution that will be able to so burden the children of God and keep chained far from His love for them.

Trust in Him and the power of His promises through all of the challenges of this world and know that your hope shall never be misplaced…

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

No comments: