by Marsha Loftis
This Week's Verse: Isaiah 55:8 & 12, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD...You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." (NIV)
I took my daughter to school one day this week and when I came back, I got my Bible out of the car. I brought it in the house, intending to read up on a little Isaiah 55-- a verse I got from a very dear friend--and see where that led me. But I didn't do it. I couldn’t find my copy of the Message, there was a pile of laundry on the floor, and other things occupied my mind and my time. (Forgive me Lord.)
So in the midst of doing other things (I had to take a signed “exit paper” back to TRW--not high on my list of "want to's" but pretty high on my list of "have to's"), I get a call from a brother in Christ telling me that a "little birdie" told him that I was down and needed a spiritual boost. I'm not down. The sun is shining, and the birds are singing. I feel pretty good, I thought.
Well, come to find out that even if you aren't 'down' that doesn't mean you can't be lifted higher! Praise God for this man's obedience and his "little bird"!! He told me to get in The Word and read and wrap myself up in God's love letter to me. Yeah, yeah... I will... when I have time is what I was thinking. I have every intention of doing that... when I find my Message, when I get this load of laundry done, when I get back from TRW... He also told me to take a drive or a walk and just be in God's creation, to enjoy the sun and all He's created for us. Okay, I will... when I have time. Being unemployed, I'm a lot busier than you would think!
I went to TRW and when I left I had a choice to either turn left and go home and get that laundry done, Oh! and get busy on Isaiah... Or turn right and go to Lincoln Trail and do some of that basking in God's creation we were just talking about. I went ahead and turned right. (Yes, I see the irony in taking the "right turn"!) I realized on the way down to the park that I had taken my Bible out of the car! Aw… man! I'd hoped to kill two birds with one stone: Creation and The Word!
There was, however, another Bible in the car, my daughter's. Score!! I was set. I found a lovely bench in the sun, out of the wind... Perfect! And then I read my Isaiah 55. Good stuff. Then I saw something: a side note. Her Bible has a lot of 'extra' goodies in there that make you think! I was looking up 2 Cor. 5-7 and missed it by a chapter or two and ended up in Galatians. She has "Love Notes" in her Bible. They are written in letter form, to the reader and are ‘signed’ by God. The Love Note on this page says: "Child, you are my daughter, adopted into my eternal family. There is nothing within my power and my possession that I will withhold from you. All my resources--power, forgiveness, grace and love--belong to you. Abba, Daddy."
Anyone who knows me very well knows the issues I have had with this particular name for God. You can imagine how I felt reading His 'love note' to me and it being signed 'Daddy'. It's based on the scripture from Gal. 4:4-7.
I'm not done. That was beautiful, yes. But then I remembered Jer. 29:11 and wondered if there were any 'love notes' for me there. Plus, I happen to love that verse and wanted to read it in this version. Well, in Jeremiah I find THIS 'love note'... "Beloved, Never doubt this: I want only the best for you. I will do whatever it takes to get your attention, to draw you closer to me and to wrap you in my everlasting love. You are my child, my chosen one. Your Loving Father" (Based on Jer. 31:3)
Okay, God. I don't have a job, the laundry can wait... You have my full attention! We had just talked about letting God “wrap” me up in His word!
Then comes the breath of God, the wind, which blew the pages to THIS 'love note' also in Jeremiah. It says: "Dear daughter, Don't set your expectations too low for me. Don't just give me easy, surface-level questions. Bring me your biggest problems, your toughest challenges, your deepest questions. I'll answer you and blow your mind in the process. Your all-powerful Father." (Based on Jer. 33:3)
I had just posted on Facebook that very morning this quote: "Not having a job is hard... Waiting on God is harder." Waiting on Him is, to date, one of the toughest challenges I've faced. But I know that He is with me while I wait!
Father God, Thank you! Thank you for using the people in my life to lift me up, even when I’m not sure I’m down. Thank you for leading me to the very words you want me hear. Thank you for your love letter to me and my brothers and sisters. Sometimes I call it irony, but in my heart I know it’s You, loving me, in just the way I need at just the right time. Thank you for knowing me and providing for my spiritual and physical needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
God is always working and moving in our lives. Sometimes we see it and sometimes we don't. Look back over the past month, or year, or even five or ten years. Do you see God's fingerprints all over your life?! People, places, jobs, children... all brought into your life to serve a certain purpose. If you can look back and see yourself in God's hands, then you know that He is, has been, and will forever be in control, always wanting what's best for you!
Galatians 4:6, "And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, 'Abba, Father.'"(NLT)
Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself." (NLT)
Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own."(MSG)