Tag Archives: calling

Isaiah 42:14-25

Scripture: from verse 16

 I will guide them in paths that they have not known.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
    the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do…

Observation: I don’t remember who, but someone once commented that there is a difference between real magic, which relies on interacting with demonic spirits to attain power, and the fictional magic of characters like Gandalf and Aslan and even Harry Potter, who make magic simply because that is who they are.  This person went on to comment on what this means for believers who read fantasy, but that’s a conversation for another day.

These are the things God does.  They don’t require any special effort or concentration from Him; if He stopped doing them, He wouldn’t be God.  Dynamite explodes, rain falls, humans breathe, and God makes light for those who need it.

That means that these things require nothing from us.  We don’t have to be strong enough or righteous enough or sufficiently faith-filled.  These things flow out from God, whether we notice them or not.

Of course, we still have to walk on the path, and all the light in the world won’t help if we keep our eyes shut.  But there is never any question about God’s willingness or ability to do these things.  These are the things God does.

Application:  Ask to see the light and the path and the smooth places.

Prayer:  Father, I praise you because you turn the darkness into light.  I praise you because you have prepared a place and a calling for every one of us, whether we ask for it or not.  I praise you because good things flow out from you, without stop or hindrance.  Help me to see what you have made for me.  Amen.

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Isaiah 41:1-16

Scripture: from verse 14

Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord

Observation:  “I’m nobody!  Who are you?”  (Emily Dickenson)

Israel was nothing special.  They were not large, not powerful, not rich.  There was no reason for them to be anything but afraid, given the objective facts of their situation.

But God told them not to fear.  Not because of who they were, but because of who He is.

Like Israel, we are nothing special.  In the grand scheme of things, I’m nobody.  But I don’t have to be bigger than I am.

Emily Dickenson found comfort in being nobody, because it meant she could hide.  But God isn’t calling us to hide.  He’s calling us to wield His strength.

I am nobody, but I bear His name.  Instead of keeping our heads down and hoping the world will leave us alone, God tells us not to be afraid.  We are called to battle, or to parade, or to sing, or to dance, or to write, because we bear His name.  Because He helps us.

We don’t have to be somebody to do something.  We bear His name, and that is everything.

Application:  Do things.  Don’t try to do them on your own.  Don’t be afraid.

Prayer:  Yeshua, I praise you because your life is a joyful and carnival and powerful life, because you are brilliant and powerful.  I praise you because you call us to battle, not to the milky fastidiousness that the social psychology course seems to be promoting lately.  Thank you for having a plan for me.  Help me to walk in it.  Amen.

Colossians 2:16-19

Scripture: verse 16

So don’t let anyone pass judgment on you in connection with eating and drinking, or in regard to a Jewish festival or Rosh-Hodesh or Shabbat.

Observation: “So” implies that the previous passage laid the groundwork and gave the reasoning for this statement.  The previous passage is about how Yeshua triumphed over earthly authorities and wiped away our bill of debt and freed us from sin.

Therefore, because you have been freed from sin and bondage to human tradition, don’t let humans pass judgement on you.  (And, one would assume, don’t pass judgement on others.)

This doesn’t say that the traditions around these holidays are bad.  They aren’t, and God calls some people to follow them at various times and for various reasons.  But that’s between you and God and maybe your family.

How others worship is not my business.  I do like to ask, because it’s really cool to learn about all the different things God has us do and how we’re all designed differently, but it isn’t my place to say someone is doing it wrong.  It never has been.

Application:  Don’t judge others for things that aren’t clearly sinful.  We all do life a little differently.  That’s cause for celebration, not criticism.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for being flexible, for meeting me where I am and with what I need instead of demanding that I conform to some model that I can’t fit.  Help me to celebrate with other people and not be a stumbling block (Rom 14:13) to them.  Amen.

Colossians 1:21-25

Scripture: from verse 25

Yes, I [Paul] am completing in my own flesh what has been lacking of the Messiah’s afflictions, on behalf of his Body, the Messianic Community.

Observation:  This doesn’t make any sense.  I mean, it does – he’s saying that he is continuing Messiah’s sacrifice to further God’s goal of restoring harmony between humans and God.  The problem is that that’s impossible.

Nothing was lacking in Yeshua’s afflictions.  He finished it.  He paid the debt for us, completely and in full.

But I guess, if we are joined with Messiah in doing His work, and joined with Him in His suffering in the form of whatever persecution or deprivation or sacrifice God calls us to, then we are helping complete what Messiah has already done.  He did the work.  We’re helping.

Perhaps it makes more sense if I remember that, from God’s point of view, we’re only children.  If I comb my daughter’s hair, and then she combs her own hair, I did the work and she helped.  Admittedly I usually need to give it a quick re-comb before inserting the barrette, but that’s okay.  Because she needs to try doing it herself.

I don’t know how it works.  I don’t know how we could be contributing anything meaningful to Yeshua’s work and sacrifice.  But apparently we can.  Because He lets us help.

Application:  What you do has value.  God has a plan and a calling and a purpose for everything He has you do, even if it seems meaningless and random.

Prayer:  Yeshua, I don’t get this one.  I don’t even know whether to be comforted or humbled or inspired to greater effort.  But I know you have a plan for it.  I know you have a plan for me.  Please help me follow it.  Thank you for helping me grow and letting me help.  Amen.