The verse I am using today has often strengthened me, given courage to me when I felt like throwing in the towel. Peter is not the last Christian to throw up his hands and blurt out, “I go a fishing.” Nor will he be the last. But take heart when this spirit comes upon you, Jesus has a fish cooking for you in His time. (John 21:9).
The devil, my own conscience, and the never shrinking herd of detractors keep the negative barrage of “what’s wrong with Larry” sailing through the air. Truth is, if anyone is attempting to serve Jesus they are and will suffer the same, unless they find a formula that even Jesus and the apostles missed.
Genesis 49 is the record from Jacob’s sons, the seed God used for the founding of Israel, Jacobs God given name. Genesis 49 reminds me of Luther’s famous statement concerning the material God uses to accomplish many of His purposes: “He carves the rotten wood and rides the lame horse!” I suppose I am included in one or the other of the two categories. If I had a dollar for each tear shed that I am in one or the other of the stated categories, I would be three times richer than Solomon. Such is life; a life that often finds refuge in 1John 1:9.
There is a principle, often overlooked, in the Word that anyone called by God’s name is owned by God. Such is the verse that I have chosen today. Perhaps you will find some line that helps you along the rough trail of life.
“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” Isaiah 43:1.
The context has it that God is Israel’s deliverer, comforter and sustainer through trouble. Isaiah 41, 42 and 43 cover this ground. If God is this concerned about Israel, called as His own, how much more the blood bought children of the New Testament? No harm is done if we grab a hold on this and other passages to strengthen our faith and courage.
One of the blessings given to believers is one of many Jesus used to comfort the disciples who walked along the Sea of Galilee by His side:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:27.
This is in harmony with Isaiah’s dramatic words of comfort for struggling people.
I do not know the battles you may be waging, nor of the inner turmoil that may be causing you to feel like an animal that has broken free, hunting for a kind heart and hand, but I do know that there is a balm in Gilead, a touch from the hand of Jesus to make a difference in your outlook and life.
The other day I had the privilege of sharing the story of my latest book, Outrageous Forgiveness in 30 Days with a varied group of Christians. The story and the book was very well received. Two of the men at the meeting shared similar stories of God’s working in their life. One, told of how God had saved him and given him the courage to reclaim his wife after she had went off on drugs, abandoning him and the children and had in the course of that lifestyle had a child by another man. This brother had a terrible time with accepting the child of such a relationship. He wept as he told the story of God dealing with him and bringing him to acceptance and true love for the child of passion. His pastor was in the room fighting back tears as he spent many hours, days and months praying with and teaching this brother.
The next man who did not know the first, told a similar story of God’s grace. Once His name is stamped in blood, thus blotting out your old name, not only is the new name written down in glory, but God is proud to have His name on you, and to tell the world of His ownership.
Years ago I watched a film of how the Hope Diamond was prepared for showing to the world. When it was first mined, it didn’t appear all that great to the untrained eye. But the experts on diamonds knew it was priceless, and thus using a variety of processes gradually removed everything that did not look like the Hope Diamond until the gorgeous stone we now see and wonder at was finished.
That’s what Luther meant when he spoke of the rotten wood and the lame horse. When God is finished His work in us, we will be as Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
The late Dr. John McCormick used to say on this passage, “The entire creation is standing on tip toe just waiting to behold the unveiling of the sons of God stripped of the remnant of the Adamic and the glory of Christ showing forth.” The Hope Diamond will pale to insignificance in the comparison.
Copyright © 2014 Larry Lilly