We are often broadsided with events we could never have imagined.
But He himself is never surprised.
Jer 33:3/Isa 44:6
God loves to surprise;
We are often broadsided with events we could never have imagined.
But He himself is never surprised.
Jer 33:3/Isa 44:6
Worry is much about our focus.
Our world is quite obviously a big mess; but maybe so is our family, our church, our city, or our nation.
Nothing has changed in a very long time. The nation Isaiah prophesied to 2600 years ago was fretting as well. Inside and outside their borders there was nothing but disaster and hopelessness.
So God sent a message: Isaiah 40:22-23
You can focus on all the grasshoppers jumping around, thinking they are the ultimate thing; or you can fix your eyes on the One sitting on the eternal throne, the One who supervises and governs everything from a tadpole to a galaxy.
As Christians we have a choice...
Or maybe we don't.
(It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: That bringeth the princes to nothing;)
For some it may seem like a strange title or metaphor for God.
But sooner or later, it will make a whole lot of sense...
When your world begins to shift.
When tragedy strikes and family members die; when a son or daughter walks away from the home; when your faith in a friend is shaken by a lie; when fellow believers let you down; when spiritual leaders fail you; when society changes course; when your plans fall apart; when the basic foundations of what you've always known begin to tremble...
You want something solid. Something that won't move or change. Something that you can count on.
And suddenly Moses does make a lot of sense.
HE IS THE ROCK.
I recently received a fascinating audio from one of my sons in which he described his first 100k (62 mile) run--he used about every adjective in the book! The anticipation, the excitement, the exhaustion, the agony, the cramps, the constant intake of protein, the effort for each step, the slippery paths, the steep climbs and dangerous descents, the knee pain, the blisters, all of it, with his mind focused on one thing -- just making it to the Finish Line.
Without that fierce determination to focus on the goal he would never have made it.
And this is nothing unusual.
Some people spend their entire lives focusing on a specific line of study. They plunge into the matter and research until they become experts in the field. This usually lands them some sort of career, with its source of income, and probably a measure of stability. Generally speaking, they are considered successful.
Others hone in on perfecting their skills in an art form, like music, architecture, painting, etc... Hours turn into years as they invest in mastering their specific field. Again, they may turn these interests or gifts into a lifetime vocation, and be rewarded with wages, and maybe even fame.
Then, there are thousands who zero in on an unusual ability in sports. Their capacity for endurance, or natural coordination, or unusual body characteristics, propel them into the limelight, as they break records and make the news.
Many more examples could make the list, but all of them would be linked initially and essentially to the mind, and it's incredible capacity for organizing and managing our energies and desires.
But one thing is sure. If that is all they focused on, it was a complete waste of a life.
None of the accomplishments gained by all of these intense mental disciplines in themselves will do one single thing for us the moment we fill a casket. They do not come with us. Sure, we may be remembered for centuries. Our family may reap benefits in comfort, style, or longevity. Our nation may honor us with a statue, or a street, or a holiday.
But that's it. At death it all stays behind and slowly fades from memory.
So in the light of this, what a marvelous truth is this one that Isaiah wrote in 26:3-Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.
It reveals the highest goal our intellect could ever give itself to--that of "staying our minds on Him", of having a clear and firm focus on God!
He who is before, during, and after our life on earth should be the one primary object of our thoughts. To grow in knowing Him should consume us, and the reading of His Word should be our overwhelming passion. He should be more than our job, our hobbies, our things, or any other person.
And then, the amazing truth is that we are given an incredible reward for doing it! We are offered peace. Perfect peace. Eternal peace. The kind of peace God always enjoys.
All of this is about pure grace. We have no claim to anything other than an eternal, irreversible, moral obligation to our Creator. But, almost unbelievably, it is He who cares and gives and loves.
So in this verse we find both the supreme purpose of the human mind as well as one of its greatest pleasures.
You have been given a mind with an unfathomable capacity to learn, to study, to recognize, to create, to appreciate, and to worship.
How are you using it?
One of the great Christian joys is to serve others in Jesus' Name--how sad to see some who never learn the lesson. It is one than can never be fully understood until put into practice. (Mk 10:45)
Christian friend, wherever you are today, whatever you are doing... as you live to be like the Lord Jesus, remember:
He was full of Grace and Truth.
In that order. (John 1:14,18)
Life is loaded with secret things--the whys behind photosynthesis, laws of gravity, reason for colors, digestive system, properties of water, as well as a long ETC list. But the understanding of none of these is essential to satisfied and joyful living. God has given us all we need to know in His Word and hidden many other things beyond our reach. The essentials are basically wrapped up in knowing our origin, purpose, and destiny--the Bible answers each of these dilemmas in many different ways. The grand unknowns may be researched and studied, because some of them can definitely be understood better through science, but they should not overly consume our time. All time and expense invested in searching for answers God will not give is useless and wasted.
"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deut 29:29
What is your favorite dessert? Maybe, like my daughter and I, you can totally dive into one of those chocolate sponge volcano cakes, capped with vanilla ice cream and drenched with rich chocolate syrup. Or what is your idea of a musical masterpiece? You can probably name one immediately, whether vocal or instrumental, that transports your soul up through the sky and into the heavenly places! Or what is the most amazing scenery you've ever gazed on? Perhaps it was the colors, the vastness, the variety, or the sheer size of what you saw... whatever it was, you found yourself grasping for the right adjectives.
Each of these images have something in common. They are processed through the mind. Our tongue, our ears, our eyes, all send messages to the brain, messages that leave behind a happy memory, and one we would rapidly call delightful. Every single thing we enjoy is first received and managed by the incredible gift we have between our ears!
So what is God trying to tell us when He has the psalmist write (37:4), "Delight thyself also in the Lord..."?
Clearly He is handing us an invitation. And it's no ordinary one. He is opening an unusual door, one that promises to be not only enjoyable to go through, but one that leads to a marvelous prize: the granting of the desires of our hearts.
Notice the verb--Delight.
It is very rich. It speaks of a God who loves, a God who gives, a God who is good, a God who is generous. It tells us that He intends for us to experience joy and satisfaction.
So, to delight in something involves thinking. And this particular idea has to do with engaging our intellect in the most enjoyable, rewarding, and glorious exercise that can ever be offered to man. It is the challenge of looking to the Infinite One, through the window of His Word, and being drawn into a personal and eternal relationship with Him.
It is a rational journey, and a wonderful one, that starts in the mind, and then branches out until it saturates every part of our lives.
We know how to delight ourselves in earthly experiences. But how about in spiritual ones? Our bodies and souls are experts at finding pleasures in the visible and emotional realms. But what about our spirits? Have we heard and understood the call from our Maker, the one that will transport us out and beyond the end of time, into the never expiring fellowship with God?
Do we know what it is to be enraptured with Him though the Scriptures? Is it our joy to find a quiet spot just to relish our privileges as children of God? I wonder. It seems that for some, their faith is a mechanical, dull, unfulfilling thing. That is not the way the Lord means to be.
The greatest delight, the greatest joy, the greatest pleasure available to man, is to focus his mind, not on the pursuit of visible goals, but on the knowledge of the Invisible One!
Delight thyself also in the LORD: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalm 37:4)
We all know that to dwell is to establish a home somewhere. And though we are usually referring to a physical location, the idea itself has a much deeper meaning than simply an address. It is more than just a structure behind a mailbox. It is about a place where we find comfort, peace, and safety.
At least, that's what it should be.
Now a home can be in a hut, an apartment, a castle, a mansion, or even a cave. But the physical characteristics or price of the house are not the point here. As David describes this blessed person, he is not merely talking about someone who has a roof over his head.
He is referring to a mental experience, something we do in our consciousness, with our brains. It is about having a dwelling place for our mind.
So where does my mind consider home? Where does it go to relax? Where can it be totally transparent? Where is it understood and accepted? Where can it find coherent answers to life's critical questions?
Our Creator made us to be at home in Him. Our minds were wired to enjoy His presence--He alone is to be our residence. He formed us in such a way that when we stray from His secret room, our joy and peace fade before the chilling breeze of doubt and fear. Only when He Himself becomes the lodging place is our mind put at ease.
Unfortunately, even as believers, many times we churn and stew our way through life. We are altogether too busy, foolishly ignoring His amazing invitation. And in so doing, we miss out on this supreme privilege, that of dwelling in the pleasure of the Almighty.
Maybe right now would be a good time to stop.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1)
There are things to forget; there are things that don't really matter; and there are things that we should never, ever forget.
God, who gave us the ability to remember, does not leave us in a fog. He tells us to use our mind, to control what we think about, and know what we should ignore.
Isaiah 51:12-13 says that we have no business paying attention to man while forgetting our Maker.
Is this not the issue that so often bends us out of shape? Do not others--in a bad way--have too much effect on our thinking? And is it not the easiest thing in the world to forget that God is the ultimate Comforter because He made us, knows what we need and don't need, and has all power to provide?
May we learn to forget--
"I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die . . . And forgettest the LORD thy maker"
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