For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens.
For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.
Supreme Over All
From: Our Daily Journey
A few years ago, I learned about a type of protein found in humans and animals called laminin. This protein, positioned outside cells, provides support for cells inside organs. Because laminin has the ability to bind like glue with other proteins and cells, it provides a vital role in holding tissues and organs together. Interestingly, when viewed from a specific angle, laminin has a shape similar to that of a cross.
Thinking about this protein’s crucial function reminded me of Paul’s description of Jesus as the one who “holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:17). Paul gave this awe-inspiring description of Jesus to counteract the various false teachings influencing the small church of Colossae to rely on things other than Jesus, the One who is far above all others (Colossians 1:18). Through the Spirit’s inspiration, Paul highlighted Jesus as the only Source, Sustainer, and Savior of creation (Colossians 1:16-19).
Jesus is the creation’s Source because He was with God in the beginning (John 1:1-2) and “through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth” (Colossians 1:16). He’s the Sustainer because “he holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:17). Far from being distant from what He’s made, Jesus is involved in every aspect of it. Finally, He’s the Savior because through His sacrifice on the cross “God reconciled everything to himself” (Colossians 1:20).
Although human sin has wounded creation, Jesus, the Source, Sustainer, and Savior is restoring all things. Because of Him, we can stand “blameless . . . before [God]” (Colossians 1:22) as we live for Him. This is an amazing yet true reality, not just in the future or after we die but right now!
The Voice of the Nature of God
When we talk about the call of God, we often forget the most important thing, namely, the nature of Him who calls. There are many things calling each of us today. Some of these calls will be answered, and others will not even be heard. The call is the expression of the nature of the One who calls, and we can only recognize the call if that same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not ours. God providentially weaves the threads of His call through our lives, and only we can distinguish them. It is the threading of God’s voice directly to us over a certain concern, and it is useless to seek another person’s opinion of it. Our dealings over the call of God should be kept exclusively between ourselves and Him.
The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God. But when God brings me into the right relationship with Himself, I will be in the same condition Isaiah was. Isaiah was so attuned to God, because of the great crisis he had just endured, that the call of God penetrated his soul. The majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves. And we cannot hear anything God says. But to be brought to the place where we can hear the call of God is to be profoundly changed.
|January 16, 2018
Let Go of the Old and Embrace God’s New
“But forget all that — it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?”Isaiah 43:18-19a (NLT)
It had been months since my 25-year marriage abruptly ended, and the emotional devastation was overwhelming. It felt like a tsunami had slammed into my reality and nothing seemed the same.
As I waded through each painful day, facing challenges around every corner, everything felt unfamiliar and new — and not a good type of new. In fact, I felt like I was sinking under the weight of toxic emotions and the heaviness of all the “new” pulling me under.
The day came when I caved under the weight of it all, feeling completely broken, weak and incredibly alone. But as I called out to God for comfort with tears streaming down my face, I suddenly sensed I wasn’t alone at all. Peacefully, His presence floated gently into mine, and a beautiful passage suddenly came to mind from the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 43:18 begins by saying, “But forget all that — it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.” The Israelites were stuck in the past, remembering their former captivity and the miracles God had done, yet fearing the new freedom they now lived in. InIsaiah 43:19a, we see Him telling them why to stop looking back and longing for what was gone: “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?”
Here, the Lord encourages His people to let go of the old and embrace the new, even though this new seemed scary and unfamiliar. He wanted them to open their eyes to see He was still at work and still sovereign. By keeping their eyes focused on the past, they were blinded to the good new things He was doing.
God knew this habit of sinking in negative thoughts and feelings about the past, present or future was standing in the way of them embracing the new with a positive mindset — especially if they had no idea what that new was going to look like.
As I pondered this verse, I sensed He was giving me permission to stop mourning the past and embrace the new with a heart full of faith and a mind full of optimism. I couldn’t change my circumstances, but I could change my thoughts about them.
As you enter this new year, maybe like me, you’re also entering an unfamiliar season of new in some way. We all experience new seasons of life from time to time, with some being positive and some negative; some wanted, and some unwanted; some exciting and some terrifying.
But regardless of the new that lies before us, how we choose to look at and think about those seasons of newness will determine whether or not we walk through them with peace, hope and joy, or with heartache, anxiety and fear.
When we intentionally choose to believe God’s new is always good — even if we didn’t ask for it, want it or understand it — we can step into the new with courage, bravery, a positive attitude and an unsinkable faith. Letting go of the old frees up our hearts to embrace God’s new for us.
Dear Jesus, I’m in a scary season of “new,” and at times, I wish I could change things. Help me stay tied to You as my anchor, rather than tying myself to negativity and fear which can gradually sink me and my faith. Help me trust in Your ways and Your good with my whole heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.