"It's dangerous business walking out one's front door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to".... You never know when or where He may sweep you off to on a glorious adventure... but this is the place where I will humbly attempt to share many of these adventures.

Friday, January 31, 2014

L3 - What kind of Legacy will you leave?

R - Exodus 13:2b, 8, 9c, 14, 16, 21-22
     2c - The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me
     8 - On that day tell your son, “I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt
     9c - the law of the Lord is to be on your lips
     14 - When your son asks you, “What does this mean?” say to him, “With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”
     16 - And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead.
     21-22 - By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

- Acts 7:35, 37, 39, 51-53, 59-60
     35 - This is the same Moses who they had rejected with the words, “Who made you ruler and judge?” He was sent to be ruler and judge by God himself.
     37 - This is that Moses who told the Israelites, God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.
     39 - But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back.
     51-53 - You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: you always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him - you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels have not obeyed it.”
     59-60 - While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

E - In Exodus 13, God has just given them instructions for the Passover and allowed them to walk out of Egypt rich and free. HE has just killed every firstborn Egyptian, and now he turns and tell His people - every firstborn belongs to me - animal and human. This will be a son to your children, and you are to use it to instruct them. God was putting things in place to allow fathers to pass on a legacy - that God’s mighty right hand has saved them and will always save them. Then the chapter ends with this picture of God leading His people - by cloud and by fire. He perfectly leads them. HIs plan and way is perfect…. and he never leaves them. Then you read Acts 7 and holy cow. Stephen is brought before the Sanhedrin and just rolls through all of this history we have been reading about - genesis to exodus. He points out that Moses was appointed by God, and they all know this, and yet their own fathers rejected his leadership and didn’t follow him correctly. Then Moses promises that there will one day be a prophet like him that will lead them - JESUS!!!!! - and they receive him they same way their fathers received moses - the rejected him. They are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart - they are the circumcised people but their hearts are far from him. Stephen shares the truth with them and they stone him for it. His response - Father receive my spirit and do not hold this sin against them!!!!!!!! 

A - Legacy. Sums it all up. God called the people of Israel out of slavery and handed them a perfect plan for life and godliness. He gave them the law and taught them how to live. He showed them how to hand down this legacy from generation to generation, and yet they failed completely at this task. Why? Their hearts were uncircumcised and far from Him. From the beginning they rejected God’s appointed leader and way, and they trusted in their own understanding. The rest of the OT is time after time of this truth coming into the light - unless your heart is solely and completely surrendered to the Lord, you will fail. Legacy. Every person will pass on a legacy, either for good or for bad. Most of Israel passed on a bad legacy. And Stephen so beautifully points this out. They have always rejected God’s way, because it is the way of humility and trust. But their “fathers” and they themselves have always wanted to do it their way. In Stephen’s day, they revered the writings of the prophets, yet when those prophets were alive and writing, their fathers rejected and persecuted them. Stephen so beautifully connects this to the present situation - you have rejected Jesus and yet HE is the perfect prophet, priest, and king. You have killed the righteous one. Then they get really mad and stone Stephen to death. What does Stephen do? He prays for God to not hold their sin against them!!! Wow. Sounds eerily like Jesus prayer on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” All I see and hear throughout all of this is one word - Legacy! In Christ we have such a legacy to walk in. The disciples walked in it. They passed it on to Stephen. They taught Barnabas. Barnabas taught Paul, who was Saul who watched and approved of Stephen’s death. And this process continues on throughout history of missionaries and believers who laid down their life on behalf of others. They live such lives of obedience to Christ that to die is gain, to quote Paul. So today, what legacy will I choose? Will I choose to get caught up in my own life and with my own desires and pass on a legacy of pride and selfishness? Or will I choose humility, suffering, and love? The way of the cross. “If any man would lose HIs life for my sake, He will find it.” I want life in Him, and I want to walk in the legacy of two thousand years of believers who have gone before me. And I want to pass that legacy on to physical and spiritual children. I, we, can trust God to lead us. He is the sovereign Lord, and He is so good. He came down from heaven to set us free, and we are free indeed. I choose Christ. I choose death to self, and life in humble obedience to Him. Even if it costs me everything, it is worth it. I want a heart that loves so much, that even when they are stoning me, I cry out for their forgiveness and salvation!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Precious Promises

Well, this will be an interesting post. I hope you will be able to follow it. I just want to share what God has been speaking into my heart the last week or so in the midst of life and things here. Such sweet reminders. Many of you know that my permit was rejected and is in the process of appeal. As I await the outcome, God has brought these promises and truths to mind. In 2 Peter 1:4, Peter tells us that God has given us very great and precious promises that we might partake of the Divine nature and escape enslavement to the world’s way.

Habakkuk 2:14
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

Habakkuk 3:17-19
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds feet, and makes me walk on my high places.”

Wow. I have always loved these last verses in Habakkuk, but now they are alive. God has called me here to proclaim His truth, and He has promised to fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory – Christ Jesus! No matter what happens, I will rejoice because His plans will be accomplished. He is the Lord and God of my salvation. He has made me new. He has made me free. Forever. Whether my permit is granted or denied, I will praise Him.
In the midst of this, I know God is doing things here, but it is also easy to get discouraged. As I watch some of those I love struggle with sin and see the magnitude of the task given, I feel as though I might be squashed. And God speaks again.

Zephaniah 3:9-10, 17
“For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, My worshipers, My dispersed ones, will bring My offerings… The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

Who will give them the ability to repent and believe? God will. He will call them from all over the earth. He is victorious. Nothing can stop Him. He will exult over us in joy and love. The job is not mine to bring success. My job is to obey. God does everything else. WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY! We are called to a task that God has promised to do. He is in our midst. He is with us!

Haggai 1:13-14
“Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke by the commission of the Lord to the people saying, “I am with you; declares the Lord.” So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.”

Haggai 2:4-7
“But now, take courage, Zerubbabel, declares the Lord, take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage, declares the Lord, and work; for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts. As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear! For thus says the Lord of hosts, Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.”

This is what I read this morning, sending me over the edge. God is with me. He is with you. He stirred up the leaders and the people to His will. The task here may be huge, but God is bigger. He is stirring up hearts to obey His will. It will come together. He will do. I must take courage and do the work. IE – OBEY! He is with me. His Spirit abides in me. I have nothing to fear. He is going to shake the heavens and the earth. He will shake all nations, and they will come to Him. His glory will fill the earth.

I pray these truths resonate in our hearts. May we hold on to these precious promises and live in the way we were created to!

“God, shake this nation. Stir up mighty men and women, young and old, who will obey your will above all else. Fill this place with Your glory. Stir up Your people to do the work! No matter what happens, no matter what it costs, raise up a people who will praise you above all. You are with us. You are all that we need, both now and forever. We are Yours. Have Your way in and through us!”

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Important is Church Discipline?

Well, as always, God is challenging me and growing me in specific ways. Over the last few months, He has put me in several church discipline situations. For all of you that know me, you know I am awful at confrontation and being firm. Ha. Well, God is changing that, and He is doing so from His word. I have always known that church discipline is biblical, but it is so rare in our day. Not to mention, the few instances I have seen have not been handled well. Add that together with my personality, and you have a recipe for never participating in church discipline. God is not ok with that, and now, 6 months later, neither am I. For the last six months, I have been reading through Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. I think the two passages I read yesterday really sum up what God has been revealing to me. In Ezekiel 28 God is bringing condemnation on Tyre and Sidon. In verse 14 He says, “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.” Then in verse 18 He continues, “By the multitude of your sins, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries, therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you.” Then at the end of verse 22, He says, “And I will manifest My holiness in her.” God praises Tyre initially as a place of wisdom and glory, but then condemns it because of its sinful pride that has led it astray. In chapter 29, He says the same thing about Egypt. Verse 9-10 make it clear – “The land of Egypt will become a desolation and waste. Then they will know that I am the Lord. Because you have said, ‘The Nile is mine, and I have made it,’ therefore, behold, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syne and even to the border of Ethiopia.” It is quite clear that God detests sin. He will not let it go unpunished. But do you see His heart in it? He disciplines and destroys to manifest His holiness in the world– that we would know that He is the Lord.

We so often look at discipline as judgmental. I cannot express how many times I have heard John 8 quoted in the wrong context – “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Or Matthew 7:1, 3-4 – “Do not judge so that you will not be judged…Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” At first glance, this sounds biblical… not because it is biblical, but because this is what our world teaches – tolerance. Really, it comes down to our view of sin. I don’t know if we would admit it or not, but culturally we look at people as decent and mostly good. Everyone makes mistakes. It is ok. Just sweep it under the rug and go on. Well, God has shown me quite clearly this is not ok! All throughout Isaiah-Ezekiel, over and over God shows His fury over sin and His desire to eradicate it from the lives of His children. He does not tolerate it. He will destroy nations to manifest His holiness. Sin is serious business. It is no joke. Maybe you are thinking, “That was God in the Old Testament.” I thought that for a moment, until God reminded me of Acts 5:1-10. Here, we get a pretty crazy story. I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon on this passage. I think we are scared of it. Two people sell their land and give money to the church, but the do it pride fully. What does God do? ZAP! They both fall down dead. WHAT?! That makes zero sense to us. Why would God take the lives of two people who just gave the church a lot of money? The holiness of His people is more important than money, power, and any one man or woman. What happens when God disciplines His people and protects His holiness? Read verse 14 – more men and women were added to their number daily! Wow.

Honestly, I originally found this hard to believe, but now I am seeing this true in my life. Over the last few months, God has really convicted me over some things… and disciplined me. And guess what? I have never experienced such joy and freedom. God disciplines us to produce holiness in us. Holiness in us leads to deeper intimacy with Him. God is holy and commands us to be holy so that we can walk with Him intimately. I know I am taking a long time to say something simple, but it has taken me a long time to truly understand the importance of this truth. Let’s go back to John 8 and Matthew 7 for a moment. After Jesus’ famous quote, he looks at the sinful woman and says, “Go and sin no more.” Jesus doesn’t condemn her, but He commands her to sin no more. Wow. In Matthew 7, verse 1 and 3-4 sound like we shouldn’t be about church discipline, but look at verse 5 – “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and THEN you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Jesus does not say, “Do not discipline one another.” No, He says let me discipline and change you, and then you will be able to train and raise up others. The only two times Jesus talks about the church in the gospels is in the context church discipline and holiness! It is so important to Him. This leads me to Psalm 51:12-13. David is praying for forgiveness and restoration, and this is what he says, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. THEN I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.” David knew God’s way of doing things. He doesn’t redeem us and sustain us for ourselves, but as He develops holiness in us, it is to train others in holiness. I began to pray this prayer, and God has made it come to pass. Recently I have been a part of 2 big discipline conversations. With one, I am overjoyed to say that the brother has repented, and the joy of salvation has been restored to him. He is in a process of restoration with the local church and is making great progress. The other brother, please pray for him. Pride is the vilest of sins, and the hardest to let go of. Pray God breaks him of this and leads him to repentance and restoration.

Now more than ever, I am convinced of this. We do not see discipleship and multiplication happening in our day like in the book of Acts because we are not committed to holiness. When sin is belittled, so is holiness. We must see sin for the vile and disgusting thing that it is, and we must see the importance of holiness. In 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Paul tells Timothy that there are vessels fit for great service and ordinary service in God’s house. What is the difference between them? Holiness. One has been cleansed and is fit for service, and the other is not. We look for new ways to do things - new programs and tactics. I am convinced that this is not what we need. We have the word of God. We have the same Spirit that resided in the Apostles and in Christ. We need holiness. We need to be committed to His ways, no matter how hard. I promise, I am not preaching at anyone. I am preaching to myself, and as God is changing my heart concerning this, I can promise you it is worth it. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Unity in Christ for the Proclamation of the Gospel

Wow. Where to begin. It has been a very busy month, but in a good way. We had teams here from PL over Spring Break, and I cannot express in words how encouraging and effective they were. I give all the praise and glory to the Father for orchestrating such a time. I was able to lead out with one of the teams in a way that has never happened here before – a joint mission trip. It just so happened that the universities here had the same Spring Break, and the student ministry was looking to go on a mission trip as well. We were able to partner up as 5 new Americans, 6 locals, and 3 on ground missionaries. It was groundbreaking for us. This wasn’t a trip where Americans come, and we find translators to help them. No, this was 14 people walking as one in the Lord for the proclamation of the Gospel. I cannot put into words the unity and joy we all found together, even though many of us had never known each other before the trip. When Jesus talks about us being one in Him, it is true! Despite color, culture, upbringing, and all of those things, we walked as one. I saw and heard over and over how one would begin sharing, another join in, and another finish the conversation. God would direct each one to speak His will in tandem. God is good! Two stories come to mind that I would like to share. One of them is in my words and demonstrates how God went before us preparing fruit, and the other is from one of the volunteers that came and displays the passion these local young men and women have to reach their people.

One group walked into a yard and started sharing the Gospel. As they finished sharing, one of the ladies said that she wanted to be born again – to walk with Jesus on the path of life no matter the cost. She then proceeded to tell them that she had skipped work that day. She had just gotten up in the morning and decided she wasn’t supposed to go. She finished by saying, “Now I know why – that salvation would come to my life. I may lose my job, but I have found something worth far more.” Praise the Lord!

In R’s words,“I will never forget the day that N (Local university student), K, T and I went back to visit an elderly woman who we had spoken with the day before. N had done most of the talking and sharing with her the previous day, and at the end of our time together she sang her a hymn in Setswana. Midway through the hymn she forgot some of the words and had to cut the song short. The next day, N had a Setswana hymnal with her and she simply told our group, “I have to go back to her and finish the song. She needs to hear the rest of the words.” This story may seem trivial, but it was so moving to me. Through the desire N had to see this woman come to know Christ, she went back to her so she could finish the song. The hymn was “Are You Washed in the Blood”, and N wanted her to know that the only way to be spotless before God is to be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. Her willingness to go back to this elderly woman and finish her song simply so this woman could know the rest of the story convicted me to stop for “the one”, whoever that “one” might be.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Promises and Prayers

As I read Isaiah 56 this morning, verse 4-5 really struck me hard. Isaiah is sharing the Word from the Lord and says,
"To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
To them I will give in My house and
within my walls a memorial,
And a name better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give to them an everlasting name,
which will not be cut off."

I noticed something this morning that I had not that about in the past when reading these verses. God is talking to eunuchs... people who can never reproduce... who cannot pass on their name to a new generation. Yet there is this beautiful picture of God's love and plan. He tells these hopeless people - I will give you My house and even make a memorial for you, and I will give you a name better than that of sons and daughters - an everlasting name! Wow. This defiled and broken people...without a hope of a legacy, purpose, or future.. God gives hope, purpose, and a bright, bright future. Chapter 56 is all about how God's people have rejected Him, but that the He is going to do something new that will bring defiled and gentiles peoples to Him - making them better than Israel - His sons and daughters. God's ways and plans are so much higher than ours, and His word never returns void (Isaiah 55:8-9,11). God has chosen to take broken, defiled people and give them an everlasting hope if they will choose Him.

And then I thought about where I am right now in Botswana, a nation is full of broken homes and families. HIV/AIDS run rampant. Teenage pregnancy is ridiculously high. And the amount of children growing up without a legacy to receive nor a future to look forward to. It is dismal. And yet, If God can bring a hope and a future to a people so broken and abused in Isaiah's day.... He can do it now. He can transform this nation. He can establish real families and give them an everlasting name - a true legacy. 

So please, join us in praying for God to do just this - to redeem the family and establish His everlasting name here, to turn hearts to Him to know and understand His Gospel message, bringing true hope and life to a world full of death. Give thanks to Him for the doors He has opened thus far for the message of truth to go out, and pray that when we open ours mouths, words will be given to us to proclaim the truth as we ought to.

Thank you for continuing to follow and support the work here in Botswana. God is moving and preparing something!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

He alone brings salvation

 Isaiah 45:5b-6, 8, 17, 21b-25
"I equip you, though you do not know me,
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other
...Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the Lord have created it...
...But Israel is saved by the Lord 
with everlasting salvation;
you shall not be put to shame or confounded
to all eternity...
...And there is no other god besides me
righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.
Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance
Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed
all who were incensed against him.
In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”
Examining Text
The Lord is speaking to His people telling them of what is happening now and how He is using it for the future. In verses 5-6, He is speaking about King Cyrus - whom He has equipped to show the world that He is God even though Cyrus doesn't know Him. From there, the Lord goes on to say that He will bring forth both righteousness and salvation, which He created and causes to sprout. For His salvation is an everlasting one, and all who receive it will never be put to shame. There is no other God besides Him. He alone is righteous and savior. He then condemns those who would challenge His authority and wisdom - what can the clay say to the potter? - calls His people to turn to Him and be saved. Why? One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is God, and all those who were incensed against Him will be put to shame. Only in the Lord can be found righteousness and strength. Only the offspring of His people will be justified and shall glory. So there are only two options - turn to Him and receive justification and salvation for eternity or be incensed against Him and receive shame and destruction for eternity, because one day - everyone will bow before Him and recognize His authority.
Application and Thoughts
This passage is full of wisdom, hope, and correction. First, It reminds us of all that God has done and is doing and what our role is in all of it. God created all things to bring LIFE into the world. We chose to go a different way than He created us to go - SIN. And what did our choice bring into the world? DEATH. What right do we - as created beings - have to challenge the CREATOR's plan? And yet, even when we - I - rejected His way, He brought for salvation and righteousness. He created a way back to Him. Wow. His salvation is an everlasting one. Perfect. Those He receive it will NEVER be put to shame. He alone is God and Savior. What must I do? Turn to Him. Bow to Him. Swear allegiance to Him. Why? If I do not, then I will be put to shame forever. One way or another, I will bow to Him. Will it be in joy or torment? This passage brings me back to the Gospel. God created LIFE. We chose DEATH. He made a way to turn back to Him - EVERLASTING SALVATION, where one is justified and glorified in Him. How could I reject that?

Secondly, He equips and uses people who don't even know Him to show the world that He alone is God. He equips. That is a powerful reality. As I look back over my life thus far, everything that has happened to me has equipped me for this work. He has used His people and even those who reject Him to mold me into who I am today. It is nothing I have done. It was and is God's plan. Before I even knew Him, He was working. There is so much peace and comfort in that. It is all Him. It is all about Him, and it is all for Him. I just need to remain moldable clay - humble! 

Truly, He is moving here, calling people to Himself, and raising up leaders. He is bringing unity among the body that hasn't existed before, and that unity is centered on fulfilling the Great Commission. The more that we begin to rely on Him, the more He amazes us. The enemy is fighting back, but God keeps turning those attacks into opportunities to display His glory. God is truly alive and moving today as He has always been!!!
"Father, help me to rest in Your peace. You alone are God. You alone have brought salvation to Your people. You alone are righteous, and You alone can justify and glorify. It is Your great joy to redeem and to reveal to the world that You are God. One day, every knee will bow and confess that You are Lord. Keep me mindful of this. It is so easy Father to look at the world and to become discouraged because of persecution and/or lack of fruit. It is so easy to take my eyes off of You. Help me to trust You. To keep my eyes set on You. You will win. All those who rebel against Your Lordship will recognize it one day. You are constantly working to display Your majesty and to draw people to You. Many are turning to You and are being saved. And in You, no one will ever be put to shame. Those are powerful promises and truths. Lord, help me to walk in the confidence of Your Word. And please, cause the earth to spring forth salvation and righteousness! You alone can bring this about. I simply want to be obedient to Your voice and Your plan. Lead me Father in whatever path You have chosen. I am willing. I know it will be for Your glory to bring about salvation. In Jesus name, Amen."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Who Do You Trust?

This is a culmination of what God has been reminding me of over the past few days.
Reference Verses
"The bed is too short on which to stretch out, and the blanket is too small to wrap oneself in." - Isaiah 28:20

 "Because this people draw near with their words and honor me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.." - Isaiah 29:13

"Woe to the rebellious children who execute a plan, but not Mine.." - Isaiah 30:1

"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses and trust in chariots because they are many and in horseman because they are strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!" - Isaiah 31:1

"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You." - Isaiah 26:3

"Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed." - Isaiah 28:16

"On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. The afflicted ones also will increase their gladness in the Lord, and the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." - Isaiah 29:18-19

"Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long/wait for Him... ...Your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right of to the left." - Isaiah 30:18, 20b-21 

"Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field is considered as a forest... ...and the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness quietness and confidence forever." - Isaiah 32:15, 17
Examining Texts
Wow. Over and over I keep seeing the same things in these passages. God is denouncing those who have put their trust in their own abilities or the abilities of others instead of looking to Him. People are making their own plans.. and going their own ways, and I love the description God gives of this in Isaiah 28:20 - it is like laying down on a bed too short with a sheet to small to cover you... It just won't work. That is what our works are - too short... to small to cover our sin. On our own, we cannot make it. There are even those who say all the right things and do many of the right things, but their hearts are far from God. They do these things because they have disciplined themselves to live in such a way, but they remain masters of their own souls. This too is disaster. Works cannot cover our heart problem. How we respond to this truth says everything about our souls. Many, when faced with this dilemma, will turn to others - to Egypts and horses and chariots - because they are big and strong, but this will not work either. The blind cannot lead the blind! The people must seek the Lord! Those who look to the Lord and trust in Him will have perfect peace, and God offers this perfect peace by laying a stone, the tested stone, the costly cornerstone. All who believe in it - in Christ! - will not be disturbed. The deaf will hear His voice, and the blind will see Him. The afflicted ones will rejoice, and the needy will rejoices in the Lord. Why? The Lord longs to be gracious. It is His desire to save us. Those who long/wait for Him are blessed - because they will know their Teacher. They will see Him and hear His voice leading them in every way. His Spirit will be poured out on them, turning wildernesses into fertile fields and forests. Why? Because the work of righteousness brings peace, quietness and confidence forever. When God's Spirit is poured out on a man - his/her soul is made alive for ever! It has rest from all these works that cannot cover the problem... and is free to see and know GOD, leading to confidence forever in Him. His plan has and always will be salvation and rest in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. To try and go any other way is to be a rebellious child executing a plan that will always lead to death...
Well, there is so much in this, but I will stick to what is truly hitting me hard this week. In my Christian walk, it is so easy to make things about me - doing the right thing and avoiding the wrong. I can make plans for going out and doing godly things, and I can dream about future works and plans... but if these plans are not His plans, I am sleeping on a bed too short for me. Somewhere in all of this there is a subtle shift that takes God's things and turns them into MY things. I look to my own plans... I look to help from others... and I wonder why it is hard to find rest and peace. Especially right now as I think about the future. I do not know what life after June has in store, and I catch myself obsessing over what is next. Why can't I walk in peace? MY EYES ARE NOT SET ON HIM!! I AM NOT TRUSTING HIM! I was made to seek Him, to know Him, and to walk with Him. I was made to set my eyes on Him and to long/wait for Him. He has been so gracious to me. He has given me the chief cornerstone, and He has placed His Spirit within me. If I cannot walk in peace, it is because I am not seeking Him and listening to Him. My job has and always will be to look to Him in faith. I love Isaiah 32:17 - "The work of righteousness will be peace and quietness and confidence forever." Who accomplished the work of righteousness? Christ! In Christ their is peace, quietness, and confidence forever. So application for today... and always needs to be - look to the Lord and trust in Him. His plans are always for His glory and to produce a crop for Himself. I can trust in His plans and His mercy. In Christ, He has given me a bed long enough to sleep in, and a sheet long enough to cover me. He alone is my Teacher, and He alone will tell me when to turn and where to go. I can trust that.
"Father, I come before you with a thankful heart. Your constant reminders to look to You above all else are exactly what I need, because all that I need is You. You are my Teacher. You have laid a perfect foundation in Christ, providing a righteousness that brings real peace, quietness, and confidence in You forever. You have given me Your Spirit - transforming my heart and soul from death to life! You have given me a new heart, that I might seek and know you. Help me to hide Your word in my heart - to treasure it that I might not sin against you. Grant me a steadfast mind. Give me eyes to see You and ears to hear Your voice. Help me to walk in faith - to trust You in all things. You hold my future in Your hands. My life is Yours. I no longer live, but it is Christ alive in me. Lead me as You please. May I not wander from Your path, devising my own plans. Help me to wait on You. I want to know You and to trust You. Help me! Father, I do not ask these things for me own gain. I ask them because I want to live a life worthy of Your name. I desire to be found faithful with what You have given me. For the glory of Your name, Lord. Amen."