Tag Archive | Isaiah

Renewed Strength (Guest Post)

Who is never tired and weak?  Who has never weary and felt helpless?  All of us have experienced it.  Is it normal?  Of course, because we are human.  We live in an endless stream of times, regardless of what our circumstances are.  There are times when we feel relieved because one problem is resolved, but a new problem is waiting.  Life continues to force us to walk, whether we are strong or not. Sometimes we want time to pause so we can put all the heavy burdens down, but that’s not possible.  Indeed, there are times when our lives are peaceful and everything is fine.  We are relieved and hope that there is no more pressure.  But that calm is only temporary, because something bad, which we never imagined and we don’t want, can happen suddenly.  When we are depressed, we cry out to God, hoping for a miracle.  But the situation didn’t change, sometimes it even got worse.  Maybe we wonder, does God not hear our prayers?  Does He not know what we are going through, or does He deliberately ignore it?  In the midst of that situation, we are still trying to survive and try not to fall, but some of us may become tired, even want to give up.

If you are weary and weak, tired due to the burdens and pressures of life, let’s read what the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Why do you complain, Jacob?  Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

(Isaiah 40: 27-28 NIV)

These verses are part of a prophecy from God written by the prophet Isaiah in his last years, to give hope and comfort to God’s people during their captivity in Babylon, 150 years after Isaiah’s time.  God’s people were rebuked for their unbelief and discouragement in the face of suffering, which they thought was so heavy and sad, as if it was hopeless.  The rebuke was also followed by God’s statement about Himself, that He is eternal God, Creator of all things, Ruler of all things.  He does not weary and he does not become weak.  His understanding is unfathomable.  There is no problem so great that He cannot solve and He is able to punish Israel’s oppressors, even though Israel’s years of captivity seem to give the opposite impression.

The same thing God says to us today.  Although sometimes God seems to allow injustice or bad things to happen in our lives, God actually cares about us.  He does not run out of ideas and ways to help us.  He has wisdom to save.  His understanding is unexpected.  He is extraordinary at arranging things to accomplish His purposes and plans, but He has His own path and timing. God’s wisdom in managing human affairs is beyond our understanding.  That’s why we need strength from God in order to live life in this world full of problems.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

(Isaiah 40: 29 NIV)

“He gives strength to the weary” in this verse is very similar to Jesus’ statement, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” in Matthew 11: 28-30.  This is an invitation to draw close to God and live by His standards, in order to obtain the strength He promises.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

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: 30-31 NIV)

Anyone can be weary, weak, tired and utterly fall.  But only those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  Those who hope in God will surely wait on God. Waiting on God is not waiting passively or doing nothing.  Waiting on God is an attitude of waiting with hope, joy, patience, diligence, while still doing what has to be done, like a farmer waiting for the harvest time.  Waiting on God is an active attitude.  We can see this attitude in the parable taught by the Lord Jesus in Luke 18: 1-8 about the unjust judge and a widow who constantly urged the judge for help.  “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (verse 1)  So, the important thing we have to do during this waiting period is pray without giving up.

God promises that those who wait on Him and hope in Him will receive new strength, a divine power that renews our human strength.  A divine power that makes us energized and refreshed, in the midst of fatigue in living a life full of struggles.  With this renewed strength, we will be able to overcome the problems of this world, even enter into the sanctuary of God, like an eagle flying high into the sky on the strength of its wings.

Waiting on God to give us the ability to run spiritually and be able to move forward without feeling weary and tired, including when God suspends His help.  When we hope fully in Him, we will be able to carry out God’s commandments with joy, perseverance and persistence, because we know our waiting is not in vain.  We are human but we have a super and extraordinary God. Life is not easy, yes, but we have an eternal and powerful God, whose wisdom is unfathomable and incomparable.  It is okay if you are feeling tired, weak and helpless right now.  The most important thing is to immediately come closer to the Lord Jesus and wait for Him.  God will renew the strength of those who hope in Him, so that we will not only be able to overcome problems, but also continue to progress and our spirituality will grow even more.  Lord Jesus loves you.

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images ( wallpaperscraft.com ) edited with pixlr apps

When The Answer Is, “No”

Hello beloved readers!  I’m so happy and be grateful to God finally I have much time to write a post again. This time I will talk about (once again) waiting for God’s answer of our prayer. I deliberately chose this topic because honestly, I and my husband are continuing to pray earnestly and are waiting for God’s answer. We have been praying more than a year for our second child and we are keep praying until now.

It must be admitted that waiting for God’s answer often become a big problem and give a serious impact for us as believers. I have a friend who changed drastically to be very hateful to God. He felt God didn’t love him and never cared about all prayers he had sincerely offered. He prayed faithfully that we wanted to get married with his spouse. While he prays continuously, he made his wedding preparation. However, unfortunately, suddenly, something tragic happened. His future wife had a very bad accident, suffered severe injuries, and sadly, finally died. Since then, he really hated God.

Another story, there was a faithful mother who had been praying for 28 years for her son who became a drug addict and was in and out of jail. The days and years dragged on without any good changed in her son’s life. But one day, 28 years after his mother first prayed for her something happened incredibly! Terry Williams, her son finally repented, accepted Jesus as his savior, and changed his life drastically. God finally answered His mother prayer.

My beloved friends, based on philosophical truth, God always hear and answers our prayers and there are three forms of God’s answers; “Yes”, “No”, and “wait” But empirically, not all of our requests that conveyed through prayer will be granted by God. The question is why does God answer some of our prayers and doesn’t grant our other prayers? Well, once again, based on my own experience in praying, there are two reasons. Let’s take a look together.

Internal reason

Internal reason are reasons that come from the inside of ourselves. In the other words, there’s something inside us that makes God not willing to answer of fulfill our prayers. There’s something wrong in use and our prayers. Let’s take a look to James 4:2-3

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

From the verses above, we know that there are two causes so we don’t get anything. First, we aren’t asking God (Praying), and the second is there is wrong motive behind our prayer. I will not discuss the first cause because I strongly believe every believer will always pray. I will focus on the second cause. It must be admitted that as Christian sometimes there are wrong things behind our prayer. I noted some of mistakes we often made in our prayers and this is what blocks the answer of our prayers. Let’s see together.

The Nature of prayer

When we pray ask something to God, have we thought about the basic of our request? Are our requests based on needs or wants? I give example of prayer based on need. In Our Father’s prayer, we say, “Give us our daily bread” This an example of need. There’s no one in this world doesn’t need bread. But if we pray, “Dear God, I want to have one more house with a bigger swimming pool” This not needs but wants! In fact, there’s a very essential difference between what we need and what we want. What we need must be what we want, but what we want is not necessarily we need. Needs are urgent, whereas wants is not. My dear friends, this is what makes God doesn’t want to answer our prayer and without us knowing, often the prayer we pray is dominated by wants rather than needs. God promises that He will answer our prayers, but the problem is whether what we ask for is our need or is it just a want? If our prayers haven’t been answered for a long time, let’s re-examine the nature of our prayer.

The prayer addresses/motivation

When we pray Our Father, we always said, “Our Father in Heaven” This means our prayer addressed to “Father in Heaven” And that is the right address. But wait! The problem isn’t what we say but what is your motivation when we pray. I give a small illustration. There’s a grandmother who getting senile and deaf. She promises to buy her grandson a bicycle. After a long wait, the grandson finally prayed (with a loud voice), “Father in heaven bless my food, and also please remind my grandmother of her promise to give me a bicycle” His mother when heard her son’s prayer then said, “Son, why you pray so loud? God is not deaf” then her son said, “Yes, mom. God is not deaf but grandma is deaf and senile” This illustration shows that sometimes the target or address our prayer isn’t to the Father in Heaven but to others. This illustration shows that sometimes the purpose of our prayer isn’t to the Father in heaven but to others. Sometimes our mouths say, “Father in Heaven…” but actually motivation of our heart is to insinuate, rebuke others or announce something.

My dear friends, the right prayer is a prayer submitted to the right address. Addressed to Father in Heaven from the deepest of our heart without wrong motivation. So, don’t be surprised if God doesn’t answer our prayer.  Have we address our prayer to the right address? Have we prayed with the right motivation?

The prayer times

Another reason why God doesn’t answer our prayer is about time. Time that I mean isn’t time like morning or evening but we pray for things at the wrong time or not at right time to pray for. Okay let me give an illustration like this; A ten years old beautiful girl prayed that God would give her a handsome boyfriend. Well, this’s a wrong prayer because it’s not the right time for a ten-year-old little girl thinking about dating. In this case doesn’t mean God isn’t able to give the little girl a boyfriend but God doesn’t want to give because the time isn’t right.

Another reason that is still related with time is, we often want God answer our prayer quickly. We forget that God has His own agenda and time. God’s time isn’t our time. In Isaiah 55:8 clearly God declares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”

My beloved friends, if until know God doesn’t answer our prayers, let’s correct our prayers. Is there something wrong in our prayer? Is what we ask for through prayer already at the right time? Or we expect God answer our prayer as soon as possible?

Readers, the nature of prayer, the prayer addresses, and the prayer times are internal reasons why God doesn’t or hasn’t answered our prayers. Beside the internal reasons, there’s external reason that causes our prayer aren’t answered. This external reason comes from God Himself. What does it mean? It means God has His own reason to not answer our prayers. Let’s see together.

Faith test.

sometimes God is testing the strength of our faith, perseverance, and our sincerity to ask something to Him. Let’s take a look to the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28. A Canaanite woman came to Jesus and begging Jesus to heal her possessed daughter (Verse 22) What was Jesus’ reaction at the time? Jesus didn’t answer a word and His disciples urged Jesus to send the woman away. At that time, didn’t mean Jesus didn’t want to help the woman but he was testing her faith and sincerity. Even when Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lose sheep of Israel(Verse 24) and said that “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs” (verse 26) this woman did not take offense and leave but she justified Jesus’ words by saying, “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Finally, because of her sincerity, faith, and perseverance, Jesus helped the woman and said, “Woman, you have great faith!” (Verse 28)

My dear friends, sometimes this kind of experience is what we experience in our prayers. We may have prayed and God just kept quiet. It seems that He doesn’t care about our prayers at all, but actually He is giving us a test of faith, perseverance and sincerity. God wants to see are we still ask to Him with full of faith, sincerity, and without despair even though it seems God doesn’t hear our prayers.

Train our maturity

Another reason that God doesn’t answer our prayers or He answer our prayer but need a very long period is because He wants to treat us as grown up in faith. God wants to train our faith to be more mature. Furthermore, by not answering our prayers, we learn that in prayer isn’t not our will that happen but God’s will that happen. God will be done, not our will be done. Isn’t God who must follow us but we must follow Him.

My dear beloved readers, I will close this post by inviting all of us to once again reflect our life prayer. Let’s see if there is something wrong in the prayer we pray. Whether there are certain things in our prayers that become an obstacle so God will not answer our prayer. Also, let’s bear in our heart and mind that God has his own reason why he doesn’t answer our prayer. When the answer is, “No” Please don’t be disappointed and discouraged, don’t think that God doesn’t love and care to us, don’t hate and leave Him. When God doesn’t answer our prayer, I encourage all of us to remember that God has a plan to give more beautiful than we ask and He will give according to His will and plan as He said,

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) Amen!

 

Karina Lam – Living by faith

Image source: ibelieve.com

A Bruised Reed

Drooping reed

A bruised reed will not be broken

A smoldering wick, will not be quenched

Your love overcome all my weaknesses

Your love bears all of my sin

How glorious You are

You do not deny me when I am ran to you

You take in me with open arms

A perfect forgiveness you give

No matter how big the sin that I made

How glorious You are

I adore you wholeheartedly

I adore you with all my strength

I give honor and praise only for You, Just the way I am

I adore You the name above all names

I worship You Lord above all God

Just The way I am, I worship You

The drooping reed not be broken

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.”

Karina. Inspired from Isaiah 42:3

Photo credit: theologynetwork.org