Friday, June 29, 2012

sweet reminders.

Isaiah 61.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
  and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

     About two years ago, in my college Sunday school class, we studied this text. It was something that I had never read before, or perhaps that never really stuck out to me. But that morning as we went through the text, I was so intrigued by this passage. I went back to my campus apartment and read it again. The Lord so very sweetly nudged my heart, planting the desire in my heart to "proclaim good news to the poor" and "bind up the brokenhearted"--to physically go and do the things listed here in Isaiah. This was my mission.

      So yesterday, I found myself in this chapter again, as I have been going through Isaiah this summer, and chapter 61 was yesterday's reading. Again I was reminded of the truth that God has revealed to me--the validity of His calling. I was reading and studying further, too, as I was reminded of Luke 4 (verses 14-21), where Jesus is in Nazareth. He stands up to read from the scroll of the prophet of Isaiah, and reads:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
 He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners 
and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

     After this, Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

     Jesus announced his mission using Isaiah 61. And before realizing that connection, Jesus announced his mission in my heart using Isaiah 61, too. As I was reflecting on that yesterday, I realized something. Of course he would use that same scripture to give direction to my life. And why? Because it is His mission we are living for, not our own.

Matthew 16:24 says "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Follow what Christ does. 
         What does Christ do? Read Isaiah 61. 

In Matthew 26:39, Jesus cries out to the Father and says, "Not as I will, but as You will." 
         What does the Father will? Salvation through Christ for all peoples.

He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, 
according to the purpose of his will
(Ephesians 1:5)

For this is the will of God, that every one who sees the Son 
and believes in him should have eternal life. 
(John 6:40)

I've also been learning through Isaiah that God's will is His glory.

" gain for Himself an everlasting renown."

" make for yourself (God) a glorious name."

"For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? 
I will not yield my glory to another."

" that you may know that I am Lord."

" that men may know there is none besides me."

     That all may know His salvation and He may receive all glory. That is what we as Christians should live and even die for. That is what I am learning to do, as I graciously thank Christ for reminding me of His mission and how it is mine as well.

Also, a quick thought from my journal--something that was so simple, but so profound, especially as I am struggling with finances and leaving in August:

Pain and suffering--these are usually seen as bad. But as I begin to think about my 'suffering' in raising funds for the Fall, I am reminded just how much suffering is a gift. In suffering, God gives us Himself, which is the greatest gift to be given. So suffering should be rejoiced in! (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-4) God gives us Himself--to learn, grow, be comforted, understand that He is all we need. Thank you, Lord, for very literally giving me yourself.

Thanks for reading all my random thoughts. Praying that you are blessed through your sufferings and that God may be glorified!


1 comment:

  1. I like the way you think. Thanks for putting it into words and sharing. God doesn't always give us answers, but He always gives us Himself. :-) I'm praying with you.