Who Will Go For Us?

courtesy pixabayAround 742 B.C. the prophet Isaiah heard the Lord ask, “Who will go for us?”

To which the prophet replied, “Here am I. Send me!”

I wonder…are we as eager to respond to God’s call as Isaiah?

Here I am, God. Whatever you ask, I’ll do it.

Wherever you send, I’ll go.

No matter how difficult, or how far outside my comfort zone, if you call, I’m the person for the job.

What I’ve often found is when we feel God calls us to step up and take on something for him, we become afraid to say yes to his “Who will go for us?”

We’re afraid God might ask us to do something beyond our abilities.

Or something unpleasant.

Or something which will require too much from us.

Or…fill in your own blanks.

Every time God called one of his prophets in the Old Testament it cost the prophet something.

Anoint Saul’s successor while Saul’s still king of Israel, realizing if Saul chased David all around the country to keep him from taking his throne, he wouldn’t be too happy having you anoint him. (Samuel) Cast into a cistern? Put in stocks? (Jeremiah) Told your wife would die, yet you are not to mourn outwardly for her? (Ezekiel) Thrown in a lion’s den? (Daniel)

It was beyond human ability to accomplish on their own.

Call down fire from the sky? Fed by ravens beside a brook? Raise a widow’s son back to life? (Elijah) Divide the Jordan River by striking it with a cloak? Provide unlimited oil to pay a creditor to save a widow’s two sons from slavery? Cure leprosy? (Elisha)

It was often unpleasant, and usually involved being despised by the people God sent the men to reach.

Plague of locusts? (Joel) Declare social justice is inseparable from true piety? (Amos) Swallowed by a large fish? (Jonah) Warn kings and rulers who despised justice and distorted what is right, their city would be reduced to rubble. Remind rulers God requires all men (and woman) to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the LORD?(Micah)

Warn the arrogant, those who make themselves wealthy through extortion, and build their realm by unjust gain, they will not escape God’s wrath? (Habakkuk) Declare woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled? (Zephaniah) Warn the people to give careful thought to their actions and the need to put God first. (Haggai) Declare judgment on the nations at Christ’s return. (Zechariah) Punishment to those who do not follow the Lord’s ways? (Malachi)

Phew.

I’m thinking not many of us will be called upon to serve God in the same way prophets in the Old Testament did.

Still, we may be hesitant. We may forget the One who calls us knows what we are capable of. We may forget he knows our strengths and our weaknesses. We may also forget God will not send us where he knows we’ll fail. Why would he do that?

Isaiah and the other prophets were able to reply, “Here am I. Send me!” when God asked, “Who will go for us?” because they trusted the One sending them.

Let’s pray when we’re called, we’ll respond the same way. Here am I. Send me!

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Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Gluten-free Gumdrop Cookie Bar Recipe

Here is a delicious gluten-free Gumdrop Cookie Bar recipe from my childhood. The hardest part of the recipe for me is refraining from eating all the cinnamon and spearmint gumdrops before they make it to the batter. 🙂

  • 2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sliced gumdrops
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Sift and mix together flour, salt, and cinnamon.

Beat eggs, sugar, and milk.

Add dry ingredients to eggs mixture. The batter will be stiff.

Add gumdrops and nuts.

You can cut the gumdrops with kitchen shears, or a sharp knife. Sugar from the gumdrops will make the knife sticky. Dipping it into a glass of warm water helps.

Spread in greased 9 X 11″ pan.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes. The top will be cracked.

Enjoy!

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Nothing We Can Carry In Our Hands

The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing we can carry in our hands from this world to the next. Egyptian Pharaohs tried. Given the evidence found in King Tut’s tomb when it was opened, we’d have to say they weren’t successful.

It won’t matter how much stuff we amass…wealth, possessions, accolades, awards…nothing we can carry in our hands will follow us to heaven. The only things of value which will have our names on them are things we cannot carry.

Sounds a little contradictory to our way of human thinking.

The impact we have on others, the memories we leave behind of our loving kindness and sacrifice, the investments we make in another’s life. Those are the things which last and go before us. We can’t carry those things in our hands. Those things are written on our hearts and the hearts of others.

What we invest our time and money in shows a great deal about our priorities.The writer of Ecclesiastes understood that.

Solomon, King David’s son, was the richest king in Israel’s history. He had wealth, fame, and waaay too many wives and concubines. He had everything he could image, still he wrote about chasing after the wind. Meaningless, meaningless was how he described the things around him.

At the end of his book, Solomon gave this conclusion. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Solomon was unable to carry any of the wealth and riches he amassed with him when he died. None of his chasing after the wind went with him. It was all left behind for others to use and dispose of as they desired.

Same with us.

Our treasure is in our investment in the lives around us. It is in doing the will of God. Jesus told us we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as our self.

Those are things we cannot carry in our hands.

Those are the things we carry in our heart.

Where have we set our priorities? Are we amassing things we cannot carry in our hands?

In my early teens I read a poem written by missionary C. T. Studd. Although faded after all these years, the words from that poem are still there. I believe Solomon would find truth in the words.

Only one life ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands. Ecclesiastes 5:15 (NIV) 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Trusting God In The Wilderness

As the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, God tested them to see if they would lay down their desires and obey him. Once they learned to trust God, their pride was replaced with humility.

At the moment we believe in our ability more than God’s ability, pride can prevent us from trusting God through our wilderness journeys as well.

God laid out the rules for gathering the manna he provided. Gather only enough for the day’s needs every morning. Gather more than that, you’ll end up with a basketful of moldy maggot-filled manna.

The Israelites had to trust God would keep his word and provide for their daily needs. Their provision was not dependent on how hard they worked, or how efficiently they gathered and stored the manna. It had nothing to do with them other than obedience and trust.

If the Israelites wouldn’t trust God in the simple act of gathering manna each morning, it was doubtful they would trust God to deliver them from the wilderness to the land of Canaan. Their refusal to believe Joshua and Caleb’s report after the two men spied on the land proved that point. (Numbers 13 & 14)

The Israelites grumbled and complained about the manna. They wanted to go back to Egypt where they could eat the foods they were accustomed to. Even if that meant a return to slavery.

God tested the Israelites to see what was in their hearts. He tested them to prepare them for the greater things he planned. He tested them to move them from a place of pride in their own accomplishments to humble trust in his sovereignty.

God had big plans in store for the Israelites. Plans which included bringing his Son into this world as a sacrifice for our sins. Manna in the wilderness was a starting point of obedience to prepare the Israelites to trust God with bigger things.

God tests us in similar ways. He wants to see what is in our hearts. He wants to see if we will lay down our pride and humbly trust him. He wants to see how well we trust him with the small things, before moving us to a place of bigger possibilities.

Is there a wilderness area God is asking you to trust him in?

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Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him? Deuteronomy 8:2 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Guest Post – I Am Samuel

Today’s guest post, I Am Samuel, written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I Am Samuel

This is not my normal way of introducing myself and, as I said in my previous posts in the “I am _____” series, I have never introduced myself by saying, “I am Thomas” or “I am Mary” so it is safe to assume I will not start introducing myself by saying, “I am Samuel.” To clear up any misunderstandings that may come from this post; my name is Dave however I must, if I intend to introduce myself fully, use the words, “I am Samuel.”

Sometimes I hear voices.                                                    

Like most of you it can be the earworm song that runs around in your head. The music, the voice of the singers and the beat will not go away. I find myself playing air drums, air guitar and even repeating the words out loud as the voices in my head sing along or is it that I am singing along with the voices in my head? Either way you and I both have heard voices in our heads before.

Sometimes I hear different voices.

Are you like me? Sometimes I hear the bloodcurdling scream or the last words of my favorite film character. For you maybe it’s the real life last words of someone you lost or the reassuring words of someone you love. They play over and over again in your mind as if you were hearing them for the first time. Some hear the voices of those who belittled them as children. Others hear the voices of those who encouraged them throughout their life. All these voices, real or fictional, are a part of our memories. They bring out feelings and even dictate how we view ourselves.

Sometimes I hear a specific voice.

The voice does not always communicate the same way. Sometimes it is a thunderous sound; other times it is a small whisper. There are times it is more of a soothing feeling; other times it is an overwhelming wave of emotion. It does not always say the same types of things. It often says the unexpected, the not previously considered.

When I hear this voice I often question who and what I am hearing. I often mistake what is spoken for words and ideas I have heard from someone else or made up myself. I question, “Did I really hear that?” I wonder, “Was it all made up in my head?”

Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.”  And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 1 Samuel 3:4-6 (NIV)

Maybe I should call my mind Eli.

I hear a voice or maybe I should say I experience some form of communication in my head and like Samuel I too have my go-to guy when I hear God speak. My “Eli” is my mind. I assume that I am making things up or rehashing what I have heard others say. I figure that the answers to my prayers are not answers at all but rather my mind speaking to me especially when the answer is favourable.

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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