A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I’m thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, “Will I ever make it—arrive and drink in God’s presence?” I’m on a diet of tears—tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, pestering, “Where is this God of yours?” (Ps 42:1–3)
I have learned that obeying the Lord does not always lead me alongside bubbling brooks and quiet pastures. It most often leads me to depletion. Drought leads me to need him – only him. In this life, a diet of tears. In the life to come, unending joy. But, between here and now, there and then, is life. There are times that I am filled with the sustaining depths of God – heaven on earth – a taste of what is to come. Quickly, I return to the reality of drought all around me. I am not yet ready for there and then.
Dear Sustainer, you alone give me life and promise. My rebellious world cannot do it. I cannot even help myself. As much as I dislike the journey in the desert, thank you for these drought times. You uniquely reveal yourself every time I call to you.
When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. God’s Decree. I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you—God’s Decree—bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. Jeremiah 29:12-14
God has promised to listen to me and respond. When I…He will. He listens, he makes himself easy to find, he guards against disappointment, he turns things around, he brings me home. These are marvelous promises, Completely undeserved. He simply waits for me to seek him.
Lord, what can I say when your promises are before me? I seek you today and trust you to do what only you can do.
“So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out.
Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25
Every vertical relationship has a horizontal expression. The first part of these verses is about my vertical relationship I have with my Intercessor. No hindrance, no earthly intermediary. No specific festival to wait for. Now, anytime, I can enter the very presence of God, into the Holy Place. It is there that I get to know my Lord’s heart and mind. It is there that the sweetness of true relationship is found. It is there that I am changed.
As a changed person, with the “piece of God” in me I express who our Lord is and what the Lord has done. I keep moving onward. With his promises in my heart I encourage and help others. That is the horizontal part. I become others’ cheerleaders, looking for ways to bless those I meet. Hopefully, my ministry leads them to the Holy Place as well.
My Lord invites me into his presence; I invite him into my life, whatever it is today. Come, Lord Jesus is a precious prayer. Perhaps even more precious is his invitation, “Come to me.”
Lord, my time with you is sweet. Thank you for making such a relationship possible. From this time with you, may I enter the world with truth and grace. Help me encourage others today. And, may they hear the invitation to come to you.
Job answered GOD: I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
The first thing I notice is that this was said in chapter 42. It took Job time to come to this heart-believing conclusion. The difficult journey of this righteous man brought him to this place. In chapter 1 Job knew the Lord for sure. In chapter 42 Job knew the Lord in a unique, deeper way. Job was pushed toward intimacy with his Lord. And, in this place, he knew his Lord more was enough. In fact, perhaps more than any other story in the Bible, the Prayers for the Journey completely fit. Can you hear Job praying each one?
Almighty God, Job’s words echo my heart’s desires. I want to know you, increasingly, each day. That said, I must relinquish my way that leads to you. If it is a Job-like way, I know you will give me the strength and companionship to take each step. Honestly, I want our relationship to grow – but also want it to be easy. I know this really cannot be. Help me.
In what ways do I limit God by thinking of certain people or situations as hopeless? Do you remember some of Jesus’ words on the cross…to one of the thieves hanging next to him?
“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.””
At times, I forget to see others as I see myself. Quick to judge, I do not have Jesus’ view of others. During these times, my life can be a stumbling block that interferes with the Lord’s invitation to them to come.
Lord, how often I have cried, “Come, Lord Jesus” and you have come, not because I was deserving but because you are always faithful to come. When I ask you to come, you come. When I ask you to do something, you always do something. And, that something is never less than I ask. This is true of everyone else as well. Help me remember that and see others as you do. Keep me from limiting you in my life and becoming a roadblock in someone else’s.
Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: – Isaiah 37:14-15
Sometimes I think I have no where to turn, no one to talk to, no one who can help. The truth is that I always have my Lord. Spreading out things before Him is always the best thing I can do.
He alone needs no explanation or suggestion. The benefits of spreading out things before the Lord is for me. I wonder how long He waits for me to come and invite Him into my situation. As far as He is concerned, all is ready for me to come.
And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? (Isaiah 36:4 ESV)
It’s happened, just as the Lord promised. The taunt of the official presents a powerful question, “On what do you rest this trust of yours?” It’s a question I must always ask with every decision or commitment. It’s a lifelong question, a foundational question.
When I have trusted the Lord in the past, did He fail me, abandon me, failed to respond to me? Never! Will I trust Him for my future? What other future do I have but Him? So, the question that most challenges is, “On what do you rest this trust of yours, now?”
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
The word trust is an imperative; I must trust (relying belief) on my Lord alone. I must not lean on my own understanding (relying on my own wisdom and strength). I must acknowledge Him (following His way not my own). He alone will make my paths (a well trodden road) straight (pleasing, right, smooth).
For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion. – Isaiah 34:8
Isaiah has been refreshingly real. Many verses have uplifted my heart and challenged me forward. Other verses like this one from chapter 34 are sobering. Behind the verse I see a grieving heart writing these words.
Even God’s vengeance is toned with grace. God has promised to make all things right which, for the mourner, is a comfort. For others, a tragedy of bearing their sin on their own is the choice. What Christ did for them remains unnacceptable. What a tragedy.
No words can soften
Tragedy of rejection
Sin is borne alone
Lord, my heart aches when I think of those who carry the weight of their sin. You have plainly revealed your grace; most reject it. Thank you for your finished work on Calvary.
For thus the LORD said to me: “I will quietly look from my dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” (Isaiah 18:4 ESV)
The Lord waits patiently until the appropriate time to intervene in human affairs, until sunshine and dew have built to an opportune climactic moment. His timing is amazing, always. So, during times of waiting, I have a choice. I can either try to work out the details of my life on my own, waiting for something to happen, or I can prayerfully wait for the One who is waiting quietly for the perfect time to work. During times of waiting, I wait for him which is much easier than waiting for an event or situation to resolve. I wait in faith that at the perfect time, he will act.
Lord, I wait for you today and for you alone. Quiet my heart like yours.