Thursday, April 28, 2011

david wilkerson and a call to anguish

two weeks ago i felt the urge to go back through my old posts and find a video i had posted in 2009 called a call to anguish by david wilkerson.  i rewatched it and felt my heart burn again and was going to repost it here, but thought i would wait.  last night i found out about this faithful man of God's unexpected death.  asking my readers to watch this video again suddenly made so much sense.

david wilkerson was the real deal.  his ministry was to the unlovely - the broken, the gang member, the drug addict, and the homeless all in the great city of new york.  when i heard of his death, instantly the verse came to mind in psalm 90:
so teach us to number our days,
that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
david wilkerson was 79.  i am 31.  but it is the same for both of us - this life is but a vapor and soon we will be standing before Him to give an account of how we stewarded this short time we have here.  when i stand before Him and look into His bright and shining face, will i be confident that i used my time wisely?  did my heart burn with what burns His?

every single moment counts.  

it seems especially important that i repost this video taken from wilkerson's famous sermon anguish today.  in this short 7.5 minutes i trust your heart will be grabbed by the voice of man who knew the heart of God and was unafraid of loosing the esteem of man in standing and proclaiming the truth.  in an unstable time when the news is flooded with the falling dollar, let us anchor our lives in the only thing worth any currency in the day of the Lord:  His very heart of anguish.


yesterday, david wilkerson wrote his final blog post of this age.  here is an excerpt that can encourage us in even his own death:
to those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: weeping will last through some dark, awful nights—and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, “I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. you will see it was all part of My plan. it was no accident. it was no failure on your part. hold fast. let Me embrace you in your hour of pain.”
beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. when all means fail—His love prevails. hold fast to your faith. stand fast in His Word. there is no other hope in this world.
read it.  take his encouragement to heart.  pastor wilkerson, thank you for your faithful stand for the gospel and until we meet in eternity i will purpose for my heart to burn with His anguish - thank you for speaking the truth in love.


Monday, April 25, 2011

when expectations come crashing down

yesterday... our second family picture of the six of us.  last one was when simeon was 3 weeks old.

i had high expectations for today.  today, however, did not turn out the way i was hoping it would.  i don't know if it was the wind outside, the crash from the sugar high yesterday, the change in routine with all the kids home, or maybe none of us got quite enough sleep and woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  whatever the reasons that i may never know, i found myself already looking forward to tomorrow and starting over again before it was even noon.

in the midst of 4 little people who are not being fun to be with and a stuffy head and sneezy nose clouding my mental processing abilities, i was sorely lacking in the fourth fruit of the spirit.   and yet, i was not unaware of the struggle inside of myself - something that often i don't notice until after the fact.

all day long i have felt weak, broken, impatient, disappointed... frustrated with my inability to make lemonade from the lemons before me.  i am poor in spirit. 

and as my recent prayers have centered around asking for the Lord to teach me humility, this very day may be an answer to my prayers.  the first step towards humility is seeing my own poverty of spirit - my own lack to do it all in my own strength.

for it is then i cry out for Him to come meet me.

blessed are those...

in the midst of it all, the tough days right along side the shining ones, there is always the grace that i need. sometimes what i am lacking are the eyes to see it.  He is the God of more than enough and He gives to me over and over again so that thankfulness can overflow everyday.  i learn to say thanks for days like today when i take one more step towards knowing Him.  i will say like the apostle james that i count it all joy.

105 - 123:

105. soft, rolly, chunky baby arms and legs.

106. little boys in white polo shirts and plaid.

107. the God-Man who died on the cross for me.

108. an empty tomb on a sunday morning.

109. sweet organic grape tomatoes.

110. green knitting needles.

111. a finished fence in the backyard!

112. my amazing canon camera that i record the memories of life with... still amazed that it is mine.

113. breaking the bread and drinking the cup tonight with my husband and 4 boys.

114. confessing my sin before my children - one step closer to living a life of humility.

115. the opportunity to pray and talk to the Eternal God.

116. leaves starting to cover the trees with green and more green.

117. the whirring sounds of the dishwasher.

118. my five year old spelling out, "i   l-o-v-e   y-o-u   m-o-m" on his way to bed.  makes me smile and the hardness of the day melts.

119. songs about Jesus.

120. enjoying the ones God chose for me as siblings and the spouses they chose to add to my list of siblings.

121. sitting behind my parents at church and watching them both hold their two youngest grandbabies asleep.

122. chocolate.  

123. knowing that tomorrow is another day.  His mercies are new every morning.

i am linked up at a holy experience.  thank you for all who visit just to read my list of gifts.  i always love hearing what my readers are thankful for as well.

what has He given to you?


Friday, April 22, 2011

5 things i am thinking about on good friday

i am trying to take time to read through the passion of Christ in the four gospel accounts on an important day for our faith - good friday.  the time of easter, the resurrection, the week of passover, this important time to everything we believe and base our lives on... how anchored are we in what it is really all about?

5 things i am thinking about on good friday

1.  Lord i do believe, help my unbelief (mark 9:24).  simply reading the story doesn't do much for my heart.  i have to make a choice to believe it is real at the deepest level, and then ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen my faith.  i don't want to read just another good story. 

2. He really did die, and it was completely His choice.  He turned the other cheek.  God laid down His life for me.  He didn't have to do it.  He doesn't owe me anything.

3. the resurrection is everything.  it wasn't just an arbitrary sign to help us believe that we are forgiven of sin.  He rose from the dead and defeated death that we may be convinced that we too will rise in resurrected bodies... not as ghosts or spirits, but real living people who can eat and drink and live!
and He said to them, "why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? see My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." and when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. while they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "have you anything here to eat?" they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.                                                     luke 24:38-43
why does this matter?  because He will restore what He has originally created the life of man to be like in the garden - eternal communion with God in real life.  

4. although it is a free gift, it takes repentance and faith on our part to receive what Jesus paid for (acts 3:18-21 among other places).  this is something that i have been taught since a child - God gave us free wills to either receive what He paid for or to refuse it.  with all the buzz lately, even making the cover of time magazine, about whether hell is eternal, if everyone will eventually be saved, and what it really means to be saved i feel the weight of once again knowing what is truth.  these ideas are nothing new.  men has always wanted to do things our way, not God's way - it was the original sin.  over and over again the Word says we must repent and we must believe - even confess Jesus as Messiah when it is going to cost us our lives (romans 10:9).  there are not many ways and there are not many chances - we have this opportunity in this present time to receive what He has paid for.

Jesus said to make sure that no man deceives us - that many would come in His name saying that He is the Lord, but preach another gospel than He preached (matt 24).  in the times we are living in, and i do believe this is a crucial hour, i do not want to entertain any vain ideas that would cause my heart to not run hard after knowing Him.  Jesus, the One who loved us more than any man could or has ever loved, did not seem concerned with the message seeming too harsh but instead with the temptation we would have to become lawless and for our love to grow cold.   it was Jesus Himself who spoke of the eternity of the lake of fire as clearly as He spoke of the eternity of life in resurrected bodies (matt 25:46 is just one reference among many).  He said if we deny Him before man, He will deny us before the Father (matt 10:33).  this sounds so harsh (i know, i feel the sting myself!), but if there comes a day when i am faced with death, with very martyrdom for worshiping Jesus, it will keep my life safe forever to remember these harsh words.  there will be many more opportunities as life goes on to cheapen the price He paid, but i will not cheapen it.  i will not get distracted in my pursuit of knowing Jesus nor in my prayer for people to repent and come to Him so they may know His forgiveness and life forever.  He died because i need to be saved from eternal destruction.  there is no other way than the way He plainly said.  it is a narrow gate (matt 7:13-14).  i will not deny Jesus and His sacrifice,  even if it costs me favor with man.

5. He loves us more than we can imagine.  one of the first scriptures that we usually memorize as children raised in the church is john 3:16.  i would encourage you to read the entire 3rd chapter of john.  God loves us.  He really does love us.  if there is one thing that i want to know in my heart of hearts today of all days, the day that He gave His life on a cross for me, it is to know how much He loves me.  so like paul prayed for the church of ephesians, i pray for all of us today:
for this reason i bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. amen.
                                                                  ephesians 3:14-20

what are you thinking about in light of today and this resurrection weekend?


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

simple woman's daybook 4.20.11

for today:

outside my window... drizzly rain, light gray clouds, and everywhere green!

i am thinking... about making sure what is really important is kept as really important.  this is not easy for me.

i am thankful... that the Lord loves me unconditionally.  so often i feel as if i should have to earn His love and so often i fall short. 

remembering... that it will never all get done.  there will always be more to do or things that i didn't get to.  my idealistic expectations are not reality.

from the learning rooms... i am reading library books trying to learn quickly more about gardening and how in the world to raise chickens.  and then i get to learn from the doing of it as well.

from the kitchen... we have been eating a lot of lentils and rice, and beans and homemade tortillas and produce.  it is a good thing we like beans, lentils, and rice because they are affordable.  and i just can't give up fresh produce.  being a vegetarian for 8 years definitely had its lasting effects on me.  however, i will be glad when we buy some meat because it has been sounding really good lately.
i am wearing... jeans (my staple) and a long sleeve light weight sand colored shirt.  bare feet.  cherry red toe nails.  wet hair.  no makeup.

i am creating... gifts.  i am experimenting... trying to be creative with what i have here to give.  i am hoping it all turns out!

i am going... to keep pressing into learning how to love the Lord.  to be honest, i don't always have the warm fuzzy feelings.  how i wish to have those feelings!  i love them.  i don't always feel full of faith and conviction of the realness of God and following Jesus.  i know that i can't rely on always having feelings.  some days it just makes more sense than other days.  some times i am more engaged than others.  but i press on.  i keep going.  and when i fall down, i get back up and pursue this life of knowing God and being a christian mom, and faithful wife, a lover of Jesus, and a member of our house of prayer.  and i pray for myself - that He would give me the grace to love Him, the grace to pray, the grace for it all to make sense on the days it just doesn't make sense.

i am reading... just finished the book of jeremiah in my Bible reading challenge.  i had a harder time staying focused during this book.  i am realizing, once again, that i am in such need of the Holy Spirit opening my eyes and ears and heart to actually receive revelation from the Word.  it isn't enough to just read it!  we need grace to receive it.

i am hoping... that i really get a chance to connect with the Lord about this important week - the passion of Christ!  i still feel disconnected from the fact that right now we are celebrating the greatest gift ever given to us.  i want that heart connect.  i want to be able to connect my four boys to this wonderful week and have it come alive for them and for them to get it.  sure, we do an egg hunt and they get special candy on sunday... but that is so not what it is about.  it is about His death and resurrection.  i want to experience this for myself and my family.

i am hearing... the blessed sounds of the prayer room right now.  what a blessing to be able to turn it on at any time of day and just allow the tenderness of the Holy Spirit to minister to my weary heart.

around the house... let's not even talk about around the house.  all my plans of getting stuff organized and cleaned out just haven't happened like i hoped.  the backyard is the main project right now and is taking way longer than we thought it would, and a lot more money too.  it will be so good when it is done and the inside can get some attention. 
one of my favorite things... is a sleeping baby.  i don't know why, i mean i love awake babies, but there is nothing like a sleeping baby.

pondering... an obedient people are magnetic to the watching world. j. alec motyer

a few plans for the rest of the week: easter is on sunday and we will be spending time with my family.  otherwise, not a very eventful week from here on out.  i like that.  the first half of the week was busy enough for the whole thing.

picture for the day:

what do you think?  a new hat on my etsy store.  the flower is removable so that this can be a gift for a baby shower for the "surprise" baby.  it can be a girl newborn hat or a boy newborn hat!

here is where i am linked up for the simple woman's daybook.  


Monday, April 18, 2011


like most monday mornings, i am thinking about all that needs to be done.  we have a full week ahead of us, like most weeks really, and it is so easy for me to fall into task mode and get consumed with little check marks on a to do list sticky note on my computer screen rather than having a heart that is engaged and fully present. 

as a mom of four boys, managing the home can be very consuming.  balancing ministry and family is challenging and i must admit i am not very good at it yet.  i vacillate between one and the other... how best am i to manage the time the Lord has given me - my most precious commodity.  

it is good that i do the things i do:  this is what the Lord has placed before me.  but where should my mind be this morning?  what and who should be consuming my thoughts?
i will lift up my eyes to the mountains; 
from where shall my help come? 
my help comes from the Lord, 
who made heaven and earth. 
                         psalm 121  
in all i do today, may i give thanks.  in all my coming ins and going outs, may my thoughts be consumed with the One from whom all is a gift.  i can do nothing apart from His grace.  i can accomplish nothing apart from His help.

may all i do be for the glory of His name.  may i not become distracted by the worries and cares of this life, but may i be purposeful in serving and laying down my life, not just for those around me, but for Him.
whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  it is the Lord Christ whom you serve.  
                                                            colossians 3:23-24          

and so the list continues.


88. going to a bridal shower for a friend who i prayed years for to find the "right one."  she found the "right one."

89. cows and sheep walking over rolling green hills.

90. snow capped mountains in the background of everywhere i look.

91. cherry trees looking like cotton candy packed with soft pink blossoms.

92. endurance and self-control even when i feel almost too weak to resist, almost.

93. literacy.  the ability to learn about anything and everything because of the gift of being able to read.

94. a special "date night" with my hubby and oldest son.

95. the heart swell of watching the sound of music in 5th row seats and humming along with every note.

96. cherry red toe nail polish.

97.  my husband's infectious laugh.

98. feeling the Lord's tenderness and patience in the midst of seeing immaturity and brokenness in my own heart.

99. friends that hold that special place in my heart even if we don't get to talk or spend time together often.

100. monday mornings. 

101. my spanish/english Bible that my husband gave me as a gift when we first met down in brazil.

102. so many many toys that the boys have to play with - abundance.

103. money to buy groceries this week - He hasn't failed me yet.

104. the gift of time.

i am linked up at a holy experience.  let me know in a comment below that you are taking part and i will visit your blog.  i love to read what everyone else is thankful for - just stirs it up more in my own heart.

what is one thing you are thankful for this very moment?


Saturday, April 16, 2011

10 things to remember when reading the book of isaiah

this is part 3 of a series on the book of isaiah.  if you missed the first two parts of my three part series on a beginner's guide to understanding the book of isaiah i recommend you read them first.  you can find them here: part 1 and  part 2

isaiah is such a rich book and such a big book that it can be rather intimidating to dive on in to read all the way through or to dig deep in to study.  however, it does not have to be so intimidating!  there is so much we can receive in revelation about the nature of God, the Messiah (who we know to be Jesus), and His coming return that it is so worth knowing this prophetic book.

i thought i would compile for you my top 10 things to remember when you are studying the book of isaiah.  i am sure there are many more than just 10 things that i could list here, but for the sake of not writing a novel (like part 2 almost was!), we will stick with 10 for now.  i would love to hear any additions you may have for the list in the comment section below.  we all learn from each other and encourage each other in our pursuit of knowing the Lord, so please feel free to share!

1. do not substitute in "the church" when it says israel, zion, or judah.  it is a prophesy to judah, zion, and israel.

2. it is not a book of arbitrary promises to name and claim.  it is the oracle directly from the Lord and if the positive words will come to pass, the negative words will as well. it was never meant to be divided - as a whole it is such a beautiful story of redemption.

3. read it literally, it is not symbolic or a parable unless it plainly says it is.

4. there is so much promise for the gentiles (us!!! unless i have a few jewish readers) in this book!  the idea of including the gentiles didn't start with the apostle peter's vision, but was in the heart of God from the very beginning!

5. read it to gain a revelation of the nature of God.  isaiah was the prophet who wrote most about the holiness of God.  his favorite title of God was the Holy One of israel.

6. revelation of Jesus as the Sovereign King, the Suffering Servant, and the Anointed Conqueror.

7. most of the prophesies of isaiah have not been fulfilled yet.  so much of this book is about the last days and the literal reign of the messiah on the earth.  when it says "never again" or "forever" it isn't something that will happen before He returns.  the point of this book is the hope of the messianic reign from zion.  these are not prophesies that the church can somehow accomplish without Him.  the point is He is our Immanuel.  He will be with us forever and the contrast between the fallen rule of man now and Jesus' perfect rule on the earth then is the beauty of this book.

8. don't err in grasping one part of the nature of Jesus without the whole.  the jews waited for the Sovereign King and didn't realize He was also the Suffering Servant.  we often times as gentile believers grasp the Suffering Servant but sometimes miss that He is also the Sovereign King (literally) and the Anointed Conqueror when He returns.  we will never grasp the beauty of this book, nor the gospel, when we only embrace part of who He is.

9.  God is both the Judge who wounds and the Healer who mends.  it is extremely clear in even a short study of the book of isaiah that the Lord claims full credit for both calamity and the restoration and rebuilding.  the book of isaiah explains that all temporal judgments are meant for one thing alone - to turn the hearts of man back to their Maker.  if this is offensive, (which believe me, it has been to me often) it is consistent in Scripture and please search it out for yourself.  God does not change.  Jesus is the full revelation of the Father and the book of isaiah speaks of Jesus - this is who He is and we  have only seen Him in part in His first coming.  He will come again and all the words of prophecy in the Bible will be fulfilled.   

10. the book of isaiah is an endless source of revelation, encouragement, and direction for prayer and preparation for what is coming.  we could spend our whole lives studying this book, so do not lose heart if you don't "get it" all on your first reading.  read it again and again.  read it in context.  use a commentary to dig deeper.  pray about it.  ask the Holy Spirit to give you a revelation of Jesus while reading even the parts that seem offensive.  rejoice in the redemption of the jews and the inclusion of the gentiles!  anchor your hope in His coming and perfect leadership and the restoration of all things.  devote yourself for the rest of your days to learn who the Holy One of Israel is - the Immanuel who took on flesh to abide with us and reconcile us to Him that He may come back and live with us forever. (i am getting excited already!)

what 1 thing would you add to this list that we should remember when studying the book of isaiah?  

what is one thing on this list that may help the next time you read isaiah?

read isaiah!  it is worth it!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

a beginner's guide to understanding the book of isaiah part 2

in a beginner's guide to understanding the book of isaiah part 1 i shared my story of how i started to study the book of isaiah.  if you are able to dig deep into one book in the Bible, i would propose that you pick the book of isaiah!  if you haven't yet read this book in its entirety, i urge you to start today!  so many of us are familiar with portions of this book and have favorite passages that we have even committed to memory.  some of my favorites are:

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, 
because he trusts in You. 
                                    isaiah 26:3 niv
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. 
they will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint. 
                                     isaiah 40:31 niv
and a popular house of prayer one (i have sung this verse so many times during an intercession set):
oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, 
that the mountains might quake at Your presence—
                                     isaiah 64:1 nasb
what is the main message of the book?

however, most of us do not know the context of the book of isaiah!  did you know that isaiah is the book that both Jesus and the apostle paul quote more than any other part of the old testament?  crazy, huh?!  since the Bible was not originally written in chapter and verse, we are to assume when a specific verse is quoted in the new testament, the person quoting it is actually referring to the whole section or story it came out from.  this is how the audience knew the Word - they memorized sections, not verses like we do.  don't you think that would aid our own understanding to memorize in context instead of out of context?  selah.

isaiah's very name was prophetic in that it means salvation.  his prophecy is the story of the salvation of israel.  much, if not most, of the prophecy in this book is believed to have not been fulfilled yet!  this book is primarily written to the southern kingdom of judah (israel split into two kingdoms after the death of king solomon).   if we read the book plainly, we can see that God will discipline judah, and israel, and in the end her heart will turn back to Him and He will heal her. then the Messiah will reign over the whole earth out of zion bringing perfect peace and humble leadership to the whole planet.

a difficult calling

isaiah had a tough message to sell.  God told him that the people would not listen (isaiah 6), but that he was called to still tell them what would happen.  though sections of isaiah can leave us scratching our heads wondering why God would deal so harshly with His chosen people, we can see from the bigger picture the most beautiful story of redemption.  i have heard mike bickle say that God will use the least severe means necessary to bring forth the deepest love out of the most people.

in our human understanding we could look at the words of isaiah and think some of it is pretty severe, but we do not know the whole picture like God does.  He is more merciful than we are.  He is more loving than we are.  He is more patient than we are.  if He must bring discipline and even judgment, it is the least severe way.  obviously many in isaiah's day were rather offended at his harsh word and did not see the redemption promised because tradition says isaiah was martyred by king manasseh, the most wicked king in the history of judah, by being sawn through by a wood saw.  God was right that many would be hardened by isaiah speaking forth His Word.

a line in the sand

here is the big line in the sand for me while i have been reading and studying this book.  either i believe that isaiah was a true prophet of God and what he said was not his own good ideas or vain imagination but the very Word and truth of God or i don't.  i can't really have it both ways.  either i take the harsh sayings, the promises of judgment, of the discipline of judah (israel), and even of gentile nations with the promise of redemption, hope, and the remnant or i leave it all.  either this book will be fulfilled literally in entirety or it is entirely symbolic.  it can't be part literal and part symbolic (unless of course isaiah plainly says one part is a symbol and tells what it is to mean).  history has shown us that much of this Word has not been fulfilled.   if this is to be interpreted plainly and literally, much of the book of isaiah will not be fulfilled until the last days of this age and the millenium of Jesus' reign on the earth.

a paradigm shift

this has not been easy for me.  i have grown up my whole life thinking i can pick and choose out of books like isaiah what my favorite passage is and claim it for my life.  i have even heard it said that we can substitute "the church" for the words israel, judah, and zion and that it applies to us.  but, if i am consistent with that line of thought, it just brings confusion while i read the book as a whole.  when i believe israel, judah, and zion are literal and He really is going to fulfill all His words to them, then so much falls into place and the confusion starts to lift.  if i can see His faithfulness to israel, to judah, to bring them back to Him (which i do not believe they are right now as most of israel is secular atheist), i can see how He will be faithful to me! 

message to the gentiles - that's us!

there is so much in isaiah about the gentiles being added to the jews in eternal salvation.  this is referring to us as the church!  how awesome that it was foretold long ago that people from all nations, every people group, would believe!  now, instead of trying to substitute the church for when it is talking about the jews, i rejoice when i see hope and salvation prophesied to the nations, because we are those from the nations who believe.  i can read about God's interactions with the jews and learn so much about His nature.  i can read in isaiah and see so much, so much, prophesied about the Messiah who is to come (who i know to be Jesus!!).

3 general themes

isaiah is broken down into three general themes of revelation: the Sovereign King, the Suffering Servant, and the Anointed Conqueror.    it isn't written chronologically, but isaiah later grouped his prophesies into these 3 themes.  this helped me so much to realize that it wasn't chronological but that isaiah wanted us to get a revelation about these attributes of the Messiah.

a big conviction to my own heart has been the realization i cannot pick and choose what parts of Jesus i am going to embrace.  many of the jews missed the fact that Jesus was Messiah during His first coming because they were looking for the Sovereign King and Anointed Conqueror.  they missed the revelation that the Suffering Servant was not a different person, but one and the same with these other parts of the Messiah's nature.  we as the gentile church often understand Jesus as the Suffering Servant but do not understand how He will also return in the second coming as the Sovereign King and Anointed Conqueror.  however, all three are essential to fully understanding and loving who Jesus is and in showing us the full picture of the Father.  i do not claim to fully understand this yet, but my heart's prayer as i read and study isaiah is that the Holy Spirit would show me the fullness of Jesus and that my heart would say yes to all He is.

Immanuel - the promised Messiah

one of my very favorite things about the book of isaiah is how he plainly builds the case that Jesus is indeed God (Yahweh).  in isaiah 6, isaiah received a vision of israel's true king: Yahweh (God).  this is where he received his calling to be a prophet and where he learns both the fear of God and receives cleansing and forgiveness as a sign of what God desired for all people.  this is where isaiah received a revelation of the holiness of God - the attribute of God that he speaks of most.  john 12:41 makes clear that it was Jesus's glory that isaiah actually saw in his encounter!  isaiah also used the same language in 52:13 of the Lord's Servant as he did in 57:15 of the Eternal God Himself.

in chapter 9, isaiah has an amazing Messianic passage that we are so familiar with from christmas cards, songs, and sermons:
for a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; 
and the government will rest on His shoulders;
and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
on the throne of david and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness

from then on and forevermore. 
the zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
he speaks of 4 key names of the Messiah to come:

Wonderful Counselor- a supernatural counselor
Mighty God- title given to God Himself in isaiah 10:21
Eternal Father- reference to Yahweh and how this Child would rule a kingdom that nevers ends in compassion and discipline
Prince of Peace- leadership in the full realization of God's favor

in the titles of this child to be born, it is clear this child is of the same nature and substance as God Himself - fully equal and one with the Father.  what amazes me is the emphasis is on the fact that He is born!  the fullness of all He will bring is all secured in the very fact that He came.  as c.s. lewis said, the ultimate miracle is the incarnation of God becoming man.  He is Immanuel - God with us!  God actually came to be with us, and He is coming back to be with us forever.

my encouragement to you

though part of this may seem a bit complex for a post on how a beginner can understand the book of isaiah, it is only barely scratching the surface of all that is in this rich book.  i think my biggest encouragement to you as you dive into this book for yourself is not to skim over the judgment passages or sections that seem harsh and hard to understand and just focus on the passages that seems obviously hopeful.  i have found only being 1/3 the way through my deeper study, and after just freshly reading and listening to this book all the way through, that God's nature and goodness is revealed in all of it.  there is hope in the midst of the judgment.  this speaks of His nature:  His mercy is always present even when He must enact judgment.

do not lose sight of the big picture:  isaiah's message was one of the full salvation and redemption of israel.  

i want to once again encourage you to read and study this book for yourself.  do not simply take my word for it.  read isaiah.  journal it.  pray it.  ask the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear.  He will be faithful to reveal Jesus and the nature of God and you will get so much more than i could ever give you here.

i will leave you this last thought that i read early on in my study in the motyer commentary, in fact in chapter 1, that has anchored my heart in God's unending goodness in all He does:
even in the very exercise of His wrath the Lord remembers mercy, and mercy and justice are perfectly blended in the divine nature.

He is good, His plans are always good, and He will one day bring ultimate salvation to jews and gentiles alike when He returns and reigns perfectly from mt. zion!

we can trust Him because He cares for us.

who is going to read the book of isaiah soon?  
what is a favorite passage or section of yours from isaiah?

read part 1
read part 3

photo credit

Monday, April 11, 2011

He who owes me nothing gives me everything

i sit this morning writing as i smell the banana bread for breakfast baking in the oven.  i can hear the soothing sound of chicks peeping in their box in the kitchen.  i look over to my left and see trays of seedings in newspaper pots reaching for light in the window.  a basket of clean towels is waiting to be folded at my feet.  i think about my hard working husband who working his tail off readying our yard to be just a little more self-sufficient this year. 

i am blessed beyond measure.  i am reminded that if we have eyes to see His activity in our lives, we will overflow with thanksgiving.  i want to overflow with thanksgiving in my life.  i want to be one with eyes as a child that look on life with wonder.  i want to overflow with joy. 

i remember that even with all He gives me in this life, nothing compares with the forgiveness of sin and the promise of the curse of death being forever removed.  what will it be like to be raised up and live forever?  what little tastes of this promise does He give me right now to anchor my hope in His return? 

He who owes me nothing gives me everything.

when i realize that it is not God who is in my debt but i who am in His great debt, 
then doesn't all become gift?  ann voscamp


every gift He gives now is either a taste of what is to come or a tool to prepare me for then... the day when i will see Him face to face.


72. two grocery bags of hand-picked grapefruits from a friend.

73. blue sky accented with fluffy white clouds.

74. the whine of a violin playing the melody of my heart.

75. receiving a word from the Lord through my 7 year old.

76. the opportunity to serve by leading others into His presence in worship.

77. the soft peeping of baby chicks in my kitchen.

78. a candle lit date night in with the kids over at their nonnie and pa's house.

79. aebleskivers and coffee for breakfast.

80. rediscovering parts of myself that had been dormant for the past 10 years.

81. pain receptacles in my hand that tell me to let go of the handle of the cast iron skillet that is burning me.

82. salsa from chevy's.

83. listening to my husband teach the Word.

84. treasures from second-hand stores.

85. still ponds with fresh green grasses and reeds growing up around them and filled with ducks and geese.

86. the clear clean breath after using a neti pot.

87. the promise that He will raise up our bodies to live forever.

i am linked up at a holy experience.  let me know in a comment below that you are taking part and i will visit your blog.

what are you thankful for today?


Friday, April 8, 2011

a beginner's guide to understanding the book of isaiah part 1

as many of you know, i have been doing an in depth study of the book of isaiah for the past 7 months.  i have wanted to write here some of the deep stuff God has been doing in my heart through the study of this book, and even though i haven't written a post yet devoted primarily to the topic of the book of isaiah, my entire perspective on God, israel, the gentile church, the second coming, and even the times we live in has been so affected by this study that it has leaked all over what i have written as of late.

i had read the book of isaiah all the way through before, though it had been quite a while since i did. when my husband bill asked me to join his worship team in the commitment to this in depth study, i have to tell you that i was quite intimidated by the thought of the commitment to dig deep into this particular book!  his worship team leads the prayer set at our house of prayer, called the watch of the Lord, that is specifically devoted to praying for israel on friday nights.  he wanted his team to get a deeper revelation of God's heart for israel, and what better book to go deep in for grasping God's heart for His chosen people than isaiah!

why study the book of isaiah?

i know that isaiah is a book that so many are familiar with in parts because of songs written from portions of Scripture, popular memory verses, and sermon passages.  we all are familiar with the passages often quoted at christmas:
behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, 
and she will call His name Immanuel.
                                                   isaiah 7:14
for a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
and the government will rest on His shoulders;
and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace...
                                                   isaiah 9:6

there is even a bronze statue outside the united nations headquarters in new york that was a gift from the soviet union in 1959 that has written on the granite:
they shall beat their swords into plowshares, 
and their spears into pruninghooks.
                                                          isaiah 2:4

however, i also know that there is so much of isaiah i do not understand and i don't hear anyone preach about, talk about, sing about, or commit to memory.  so much of this book remains a mystery unless we are willing to dig deep.

this is a long book too!  66 chapters at one chapter a week (i thankfully have a husband so committed to having me be a part of this Bible study that he volunteered to watch the kids 1-2 hours a week so i can steal away to study at starbucks uninterrupted) would mean i was committing a year and a half of my life to dig deep in this book primarily to get revelation on God's heart for israel and to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me a deeper revelation of Jesus.  if i can grasp God's heart in the prophesies of isaiah, i can know His nature... He is a God who never changes. 

so, after six months i feel just a little bit qualified to give you some beginner tips and insights into this rich rich book.  i do not pretend to know it all or even know it in part yet... there are men like alec motyer who have devoted the larger portions of their lives to studying this book and these are the men who can really give insight into this hard book.  me?  i can point you in the right direction for you to start digging for yourself.

what you need to get started:

the first thing i would recommend in studying this book is to get a journal you can take notes in, write a summary of each section (in our study, we are breaking it down into sections, not chapters, and yet not verse by verse), and write a prayer about it as well.

then pray through what you have been reading.  ask the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear.  all scripture, particularly prophecy, can either soften our hearts towards the Lord or harden our hearts.  particularly if a portion seems hard to understand or offensive to what you already thought you knew about God, pray through it!  ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you truth and truth will always be confirmed in the Word!

i think it is especially important to ask the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts in reading isaiah because of the context in which isaiah was called to prophesy.  in isaiah's throne room experience and commissioning in chapter 6 the Lord told him that though he would speak the words of the Lord, the people would not listen.  if they would listen, they would turn their hearts back to God.  isaiah asked how long their hearts would be hardened and God said devastation would come before they would turn to Him, but He promised a remnant of those who would believe. this promise of a remnant (a small group set apart for the Lord) is a common theme of isaiah's.

render the hearts of this people insensitive, 
their ears dull,
and their eyes dim,
otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and return and be healed.
                                       isaiah 6:10
i also recommend getting some study tools to help you as you read this book.  i recommend david pawson's book unlocking the Bible as a place for a good surface introduction to the book of isaiah.  

two commentaries on isaiah i would recommend after reading them for the past six months are the prophecy of isaiah: an introduction and commentary by j. alec motyer (who devoted over 30 years to studying and teaching the book of isaiah) and dr. constable who offers all his notes on all the books of the Bible for free online.  i would recommend using at least 2 commentaries during your study so you can compare opinions... sometimes they will differ on interpretation of certain portions and it is good to get more than one perspective.  also, i recommend these two men because they are more conservative in Bible interpretation, which simply means they believe that it is the inspired Word of God and that it is true.  some commentators of Scripture you find out there are only trying to prove how the Bible isn't true and i don't waste my time on reading them.  it just goes to show you can read the Word of God and still have your heart hardened to the truth without the Holy Spirit giving grace to believe.

stay tuned... this is only part 1 of a 3 part series.  more to come!

read part 2 here
read part 3 here

what is one thing about the book of isaiah that intrigues you and makes you interested in studying or reading it for yourself?


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

simple woman's daybook 4.6.11

for today:

outside my window... it is another beautiful spring day.  not too hot.  not too cold.  i wish weather like this lasted around here.

i am thinking... about a series of posts i am working on about how to study the book of isaiah.  i think i will post the first of the three part series later this week!  be looking for it.

i am thankful... for the colors of spring popping up all over!  i love the beauty of flowers!  too bad they make me sniffle.  they add so much life to everywhere i look.

remembering... that everything will get done in time.  i need to be patient with myself and with others.  there isn't a rush to life.  when i rush, i miss enjoying the process and the journey.   

from the learning rooms... i am learning how to knit in the round on circular needles.  it is taking me forever,  but it is looking so good!  i love learning!

from the kitchen... i am making homemade peanut butter as we speak!  easy recipe: salted roasted peanuts in a food processor... and there you have it!  peanut butter.
i am wearing... jean shorts, brown leather sandles, a grey t-shirt with a vintage gold and grey sweater on top.  how is that for california dressing?!

i am creating... my first knit hat on circular needles.  i will try to post a picture when i finish.  it may end up on my etsy store or maybe it will be a gift.  we will see...

i am going... on a date with the love of my life tonight!  where or what?  i have no idea, but i will have good company.

i am reading... just finished the book of isaiah in my Bible reading challenge.  as i said, i am working on a 3 part series of blog posts about the book of isaiah!  you will not want to miss them.

i am hoping... the nice weather stays.

i am hearing... my middle two sons singing worship songs to Jesus in the other room at the top of their lungs.  what could bring a smile to my face faster than hearing them sing to their Savior?!

around the house... we are working, working, working on the backyard demo.  and by we, i mean bill.  not me.  did i mention that now we have more room he talked me into getting chickens? um, yeah.  now i am researching raising backyard chickens like a mad woman.  we will be our own little supermarket before long... garden, check. chickens, check.  what next?  
one of my favorite things... mangos.  i believe they are sweet nectar from heaven.

pondering... what does it mean to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christwhy would the apostle paul pray this for those who already believed?  i don't really get it, so i ponder and ask the Holy Spirit to teach me.

a few plans for the rest of the week: date night, back yard demo, soccer, night and day prayer sunday school... and of course hanging with the 4 coolest boys in the world.

picture for the day:

peanut butter in process as i type away on this blog post.

peanut butter finished!  whew, that was easy!

here is where i am linked up for the simple woman's daybook.  


Monday, April 4, 2011

it's all about perspective

another monday morning.  another week beginning.  how to i approach new beginnings? 

           with dread and anxiety? 

                        or full of expectation and an awareness of God's activity?

i hear the sounds of my boys playing in their room as i hold the youngest one waiting for his heavy eyelids to surrender to sweet slumber.  i feel a stirring inside to connect with the One who gave me life and breath.  will i have the chance to steal away?

i look forward to my time in the shower.  hot water is soothing, but even more so are the moments of connecting with the Lord uninterrupted.  i anticipate the chance to pour out my love on Him and focus my attention before the demands of being a mom consume me and another day slips by without my heart being aligned with His.  the tasks ahead of me are the same; my perspective doesn't have to be.

whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. amen. 
                                                                                   1 peter 4:11

this is the life of a christian mom.  whoever speaks... whoever serves...   fresh perspective!  may all i put my hand to be for the glory of the One who gives me life, hope, and joy.


i continue counting blessings. how much slips by unnoticed when my eyes are not open to see the gifts He showers all around me all the time.  i open my eyes once again and thanksgiving brings forth praise and expectation.


49. a bigger backyard after the structure demo.

50. running water.  twice within 48 hours we have had the water main shut off for 4-6 hours due to burst pipes during the demo in the backyard.

51. brothers that would come help my husband fix the pipes even in the dark.

52. new fun recipes that the kids love such as chicken paprikash.

53. surprise $ in our missionary check this month from a loved one right when we needed it.

54. the Holy Spirit reminding my heart to stop striving and be still.

55. homemade yogurt topped with homemade granola.

56. the baby saying mama when he cries and the privilege to be the one who comforts him.

57. provision to pay for asher's filling he needed this week.

58. sitting in the dentist office reading the book of isaiah on my phone and meditating on the faithfulness of God while asher's teeth were being filled right next to me.

59. email alerts of new comments on my blog.

60. the opportunity to be bad at something so i can learn something new.

61. brothers and sisters that i choose to be my closest friends.

62. toys on the floor showing our house is a home that is lived in.

63. the change of seasons.

64. reading a blog of an old friend that encourages me that my assignment to raise 4 boys to love the Lord is of highest importance and to not grow faint.

65. the color yellow.

66. the timely blessings of friends.

67. sitting on the chocolate brown leather couch surrounded by my 4 little men feeling like the richest woman in the world.

68. pizza sundays at my parents' house.

69. gathering with other families at homegroup and worshiping and studying the Word with our children.

70. the adventure of learning to live by faith.

71. being a missionary in my hometown.

won't you go to a holy experience to link up and join in if you too are a blogger?  let me know in a comment below that you are taking part and i will visit your blog.

what are you thankful for today?


Sunday, April 3, 2011

a question for you!

i have a question for you, my dear readers. 

as i write on this blog there is so much i would love to share and write about, but i can be a bit indecisive about what to focus on in what i write about on here.   i have pretty much decided my niche would be encouraging christian women and moms in their pursuit of following the Lord.  i have so many interests and little angles of perspective that some of you know about who know me in non-blogging world, such as i love to cook and create with food but there are so many food bloggers out there that i haven't focused on that on this particular blog.  i also have my b.a. in music and teach private piano lessons to supplement our missionary income.  i am passionate about parenting as was raised in a godly family with such a rich heritage in loving the Lord and being involved in ministry, and in real life settings (as if this is pretend life) i have had an opportunity to encourage many younger moms one on one. 

i am sure there are some of you who may have decided to join this blog community because of a particular post that spoke to you and may have hoped i would dive deeper into a particular topic.

all that to say... i would love your feedback in my comments about topics you would like to see my write about in future posts and series on this blog.  this blog is to encourage you!  

how can i best encourage you?  

what would you like to see me write about that i haven't?  

what would you like to hear more about? 

please leave feedback in the comments!  i take each one to heart.  

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