New Message: Birthday Bash Day 1 - We're giving away an apparel bundle. Enter now! Close

Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 17

The Lord Will Reign as King

by

Today's Text: Isaiah 23:1-18, Isaiah 24:1-23, Romans 1:18-23, Philippians 2:5-11

Text: Isaiah 23:1-18, Isaiah 24:1-23, Romans 1:18-23, Philippians 2:5-11

On a sunny day in January, I stood at the very end of a jetty on Newport Beach. (I don’t live in California, but I’ll take a work trip to the left coast in the middle of winter every year, please and thank you.) I hadn’t originally wanted to walk all the way to the end of the jetty, out where the water gets deep and the waves crash. There were so many jagged-edged rocks, and I know my own proclivity toward injury. I also have a thing with sharks (that thing being a massive fear of sharks), so the whole experience seemed less than enjoyable.

But I wanted to see the view from there. It felt like it might mean something to me. So I cautiously walked out. It was probably only thirty yards long, but it took me a few minutes to maneuver my way down the rocks. The view was beautiful, and I was right: it was worth the trek. I stood there—Ellie Holcomb’s latest album, Red Sea Road, in my ears—watching the ocean, while somehow standing right in the middle of it. I was so glad I’d made the effort.

That is, until the waves started to crash, each one a little wilder than the last. As I watched them roll in and out with increasing force, I became nervous, pushing my hands out in front of me like a crossing guard and saying out loud, “Okay, waves, be cool. Settle down.”

And then I heard a tiny giggle behind me.

Unbeknownst to me, a family had walked out to the end of the jetty as well. The son, no older than seven, was standing right behind me. “You can’t boss the ocean like that,” he said to me, laughing. And I laughed, too, though admittedly a little embarrassed.

But he was right: I can’t control the waves. I know I can’t. (But it felt good to try.) And yet, when life presents those walk-to-the-edge-of-the-jetty opportunities, I’m game. I get “brave,” then act as if I can control what happens next. As soon as something gets uncomfortable—like those waves crashing a little too high for my liking—I want to take control.

It seems like this is all God wants to talk with me about these days: control, and my lack of it. And my continual persistence in trying to prove to Him that I’ve got everything under control, thankyouverymuch.

But I don’t. So I constantly find myself returning to Him, confessing those moments when I grasp for the reins, then gently allowing His Word, His voice, to remind me that me being out of control isn’t all that bad. Because in reality, He’s been in control all along.

Admitting my lack of control is just an admission of what’s true: God controls all the things. Nothing is out of His grasp or view. Not oceans or governments, the weather or my heart. I’m never really flailing or falling—I’m held, kept. No matter how chaotic life feels, the waves will not overtake me. The One whose hand stretched out over the ocean waters—the One who created them—can surely calm them (Isaiah 23:11; 48:13). Nothing moves without His knowledge.

I can’t stand before the sea and tell the waves which way to roll. But He can. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in my life (Romans 8:11). I can’t heal my own heart, save the lost, right the wrongs, or calm the storm—in me, in my home, or in the world. But He can. And He does. Because He holds all things together.

SRT-LENT2017-Instagram17s

Leave a Reply to Evie Cancel reply

/

  • Michelle C.

    God is so awesome!

  • Oh how this message resonated through me. I’ve always hated the feeling of being out of control to the point of serious anxiety. The unknown terrifies me but maybe, just maybe, the more I lean into Christ, the controller of it all, I can begin to release my desire to know every next step & fall back on the promises He’s given me to never let me fall.

  • Great devotional to accompany a powerful image of our Father who disciplines the ones he loves with purpose. I love in Isaiah 23:9 he speaks of purpose and then again in verse 18 he tells plainly of what this purpose is. He never does anything without purpose. So not only is he in control of it all, it all serves a good purpose because God is good, and it will all bring him glory. Yes, reading up to now has been bleak but seeing glimpses of light through hints of Jesus has been so uplifting. The contrast of the two, destruction and redemption has been my biggest takeaway so far and has moved me to my core that we serve such an amazing God.

  • Annie I had to come back and read this again after meeting you yesterday. This time I saw your face telling me your story and enjoying hearing your spunk come through your words. Thank you for the encouragement. So good for someone like me to always be in control and have a plan!!

  • Shawn Bowers Buxton

    I’m behind, so late to the party, but man! — what a powerful metaphor standing at the end of a jetty and trying to control the sea. Thanks for such insight!

  • Rachel Jamison

    I have recently been realizing the unconfronted sin of control in my life, and this was so convicting and perfect for me to read at this point in my life! God is good!

    This brought the Jeremy Camp song, “Same Power,” to my mind.

    “The same power that rose Jesus from the grave, the same power that commands the dead to wake, lives in us, lives in us! The same power that rose mountains when He speaks, the same power that can calm a raging sea, lives in us, lives in us! He lives in us, lives in us!”

  • Keri McCue

    “being out of control isn’t all that bad. Because in reality, He’s been in control all along.” THIS!!!! I’m also a fellow (recovering) control freak. I still battle so often with going into control mode. God has done a huge work in my heart about control. It’s SO comforting and grounding to know that He is in control. It’s silly for me to even think that I have even a tiny bit of control. But being out of control takes the pressure and worry off of us, doesn’t it? And what a glorious feeing that is!!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • This makes me think of a song, Center, by Charlie Hall. Such a wonderful reminder Annie that Jesus is indeed the one who holds it all together. Be He be at the center of our hearts and minds.

    You’re the center of the universe
    Everything was made in You Jesus
    Breath of every living thing
    Everyone was made for You

    You hold everything together
    You hold everything together

    Christ be the center of our lives
    Be the place we fix our eyes
    Be the center of our lives

    We lift our eyes to heaven
    We wrap our lives around your life
    We lift our eyes to heaven, to You

  • I can’t tell you how perfectly fitting this was today. Thank you so much for your ministry and listening to the spirit’s leading as you write.

    “Nothing moves without his knowledge. I can’t stand before the sea and tell the waves which way to move. But he can.”

    After praying through some real fear last night what a perfect thing to read this morning!

  • The one scripture referenced in the devotional, the only one that would have been a part of today’s reading, Isaiah 23:20, doesn’t exist

    • Katelyn

      I think that’s a typo :) it’s supposed to be 23:11. I just noticed it’s on the image.

  • As I read Isaiah this morning, I am again feeling convicted because I am so reluctant to share the Gospel verbally with those around me. This is the wrath they will face without Christ. And I love these people enough that I should share God’s plan of redemption with them while I have the chance . And not be so anxious about feeling rejected if they don’t want to hear the Good News.

    If any of you are willing, please pray that I will be brave and wise and winsome in sharing God’s redemptive love with my father while I am visiting with him this weekend. He grew up in a Jewish home but as an adult he does not have a faith in God.

    And I appreciate the devotional thoughts as well. My 16 year old has been declared terminal after battling stage 4 cancer for the past 18 months. We are about to embark on a clinical trial. But when I despair at the thought of losing my beloved son, I cling to the hope that in the end he will be with Jesus and I will see him again and spend eternity with him in Heaven.

    It still feels like more than my mothers heart can bear but God will not leave me even in my darkest times of grief and pain.

    • Mary Joseph

      Laura, I am praying for you. That you would be able to accept the grace of the Lord who commands the sea and the winds. He is so pleased by this desire of your heart, and I am praying for that desire to be honored and met with boldness and fearlessness as you declare the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Understanding that you do not have to think about what you will say to your father, but only allow the Holy Spirit to speak.
      And for this journey with your son…. I cannot even imagine. Praying that you would know the Lord is with you every step of the way.

    • Corrie Mae

      Praying for you Laura

    • Rfhale

      I am praying for you dear sister

    • Victoria

      Praying

      • Debbi Faust

        Laura, I have been remembering you and Luke in prayer almost every day since I read your comment on SRT on March 6. My heart goes out to you. I can’t even imagine being in your place. You are much stronger than I could ever be. You are also a great witness to us all.

  • Heidi Vaughan

    He can. He will. He does. Amen.

  • This was a great little piece about our personal need to realize we’re not in control but where is the depth? Where is the connection to any of the passages that we were to read… especially Isaiah? And where is the connection to the reason why Lent is practiced? I would love for there to be actual Biblical discussion about the Lord’s promises and His means of rescue (the gospel) rather than personal antedotes that don’t really seem to make a connection to the passage at all : /

    • Jessica

      Agreed. So far this week, I haven’t seen much connection between he scripture and the commentary – and there is so much to say about this scripture! This was a great piece but there was so much more from today’s reading (a look at days still to come on this earth – judgement and destruction of the whole Earth!) that was left unsaid here.

    • Alisa

      In Isaiah, all these kingdoms were pursuing riches yet failing to honor God who bestows those blessings. In judgement, they were stripped of all. The reminder is that He is in control of all things – great and small.

  • Sarah Joy

    “Admitting my lack of control is just an admission of what’s true: God controls all the things. Nothing is out of His grasp or view.”
    How often do
    I need to remind myself that God sees me? He sees me. Today. Where I am. A dear friend said to me once as she leaned her face uncomfortably close to mine, “this is where He is when He sees you.” Tears again. He is close by, not far off. He is in me, beside me, leading me. Admit what is true – he’s in control.

  • And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    Colossians 1 :17

  • Just what I needed to hear this morning. As I have had an out of my control stomach bug this week, but more than that, an out of my control year. Along with this days devotion and Ellie’s new songs I too surrender to my Lord who’s got it all in His control

  • Jenn Jones

    almost didn’t read this tonight. thank you Lord for these passages and devotional. so good and so needed

  • Truly, Annie, I cannot thank you enough for this profound bible study.
    God does meet us exactly where we are. I struggle with wanting to be in control of things that are greater than I am. You truly made me remember that He is with us…. That He controls not just the sea but ALL that transpires in our life. What a relief. God bless you and GOD BLESS She READS Truth…. Clinging close to him brings incredible peace. I will sleep better tonight. His LOVE conquers all…. PRAISE GOD!

  • Wow. Just wow-this.today.at the end of my day! Thank you God (and Annie) for the reminder!

  • God is awesome

  • Alesha Gregg

    At this exact moment my husband, his siblings, and grandmother are meeting with hospice to discuss options for care for my mother in law. I am holding my sleeping 16 month old fretting about not being able to DO anything, and my heart is hurting as I think about my husband constantly walking to his mom’s bedside, taking her hand, talking to her with the hope that just maybe she will respond. When all I want is control and to ease everyone’s suffering this scripture and devotional was such a beautiful way for God to remind me not to worry, that he has everything in control.

    • Michele

      Praying for you and your family, Alesha.

    • She Reads Truth

      Alesha, what a difficult time for you and your family. Praying for you in this. Asking God to grant peace and comfort in the midst of worry and pain. Grateful for you.

      – Stormye

  • Phew- anyone else struggling getting through this study? I know we can’t control Isaiah and it’s content, but I wish the posts after gave more insight into the passage and less just random thoughts about God. I would love them to unpack what we just read. Today’s reading and post seem a lil unrelated and random to me.

    • Sarah D.

      I feel you! I’ve been taking away that after all the destruction and chaos that goes on in the verses, God is still there in the midst of it, and we have to let go and let Him handle it, even when everything storms around us.

    • Eden

      Agree! Today especially. Other posts have tried to dissect it a little more but today I couldn’t draw the connection between the scripture and the post. I switched my bible over to message instead of king James and it has made all the difference in reading through what has proven to be a very difficult book!

    • Lisa Dawn

      Yeah, I’ve struggled with the same thing, looking forward to some more insight into what we’ve read and being a little disappointed that some of the reflections don’t even address the passages in Isaiah. As I think about an overall theme from this book that I’ve been picking up, it is that God is completely in control and One to be feared more than we may realize. He takes sin very seriously and, even after much patience and with a heart of compassion for His created, He will punish those who live in rebellion towards Him. He used many godless nations to discipline His chosen people. But even then, in the end, we see His justice that those nations will be punished as well; they are God’s tools of discipline but because they don’t recognize God’s power in it all and take credit for their own strength, God humbles them in severe ways. We serve a powerful, righteous God who will not stand for injustice and disobedience. However, this mighty God also has such a heart of compassion that through these harsh means of discipline His intention is to restore His people to Himself. It’s beautiful, really.

    • Marianne

      Same thoughts here! Wishing more insight into the biblical text. SRT, do you hear us? :)

    • Kendra

      I agree… I do think if you’re familiar with the Kings and Chronicles, Isaiah makes a lot more sense. The kings all attempted to control their destinies, and made decisions for God’s people that landed them squarely in God’s wrath and made the need for a Savior unequivocal. I think only the picture of God’s chosen people in the midst of chaos and ruin – juxtaposed against His absolute grace in the form of His Son – can show us just what a sacrifice and gift Jesus is. We’re no different from the people of Israel in those days – making decisions to our “benefit” and needing grace to rescue us. Devastation of our making against the grace of our loving Father. That is the constant picture of Isaiah.

    • Sarah Joy

      I started working through the Isaiah passages in a study Bible to get a little historical context. It’s still a tough book to slog through.

    • Jessica

      Agreed! Wish we could “like” comments! I have found The Message to be helpful for understanding a bit more what is going on and who is doing the talking. Would love more context in the devotionals!

    • Rfhale

      Susan I totally agree. Isiah is difficult to understand and then it just seems like one verse is picked and a short thought on it is discussed. I could use more on the passage of Isaiah in the devotional

    • Jessica

      I’m with you. Someone linked to this commentary a few days ago and it has been so helpful and insightful in understanding Isaiah: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Isa/Isa_24.cfm

    • Rhiannon

      Agree!! I think it is a good piece about not being in control, but not really addressing the bigger picture of the devastation the passage addresses.

  • Also y’all, this has nothing to do with the message, but today I just got in the mail my Opal colored Swell water bottle, and it matches the Lent study book!!! :D so cool!

    • truthseeker

      I just looked up the water bottle and you are correct – it does match the study book. Very cool :)

  • Wow how beautiful and true and on point thank you Jesus for it all!!

  • Dana Moore

    And now I’m gonna go listen to All Sons & Daughters sing “You Hold It All Together” (and the entire Poets &a Saints album because it’s just so good).

  • PronetoWander

    The very last paragraph of the devotional really stood out to me. “The same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in my life” And “I can’t heal my own heart…right the wrongs or calm the storm, in me, in my home… But He can. And he DOES. Because he holds all things together.” This is a powerful reminder , and to my relief, that it’s not up to me! But I do have to obey. But God is good and lately I’ve just been praying ‘I want to want you’ because sometimes God doesn’t sound all that appealing, that’s when I know I’m far from where I need to be with my relationship with him. My prayer ‘I want to want to want you’ must be insulting to him, how could it not hurt to hear that? But he loves me enough to meet me where I am! He has given me a desire for him again and I’m enjoying it so much! I don’t want to screw it up! Lol

  • This has been my lesson a lot, a lot, a lot lately. There are so many things I thought I heard God telling me, and so many things I’m finding just don’t tie into it. It’s like if I could just get some kind of control? I’d be ok. I could keep moving forward, or on, or something. But God? Yeah, He is in control. Always. I can’t heal my own heart, indeed. Grateful for this one.

  • The reflection on today’s readings really brought me back to a book I just finished called Wild and Free! It’s basically about learning how to trust in the lord to help deal with the anxieties that women face today. It seems like more and more I have friends who are struggling with severe anxiety.

  • I like the reminder that He is in control and reigns supreme. The reminder serves as an invitation to rest in the relief of knowing His hand is in everything. If I am being honest, I don’t think I always rejoice in this truth or find it as comforting as I should. I think there are roots in me that find comfort knowing that He is in control of this world. My guess is that my relief in this comes because I am not able to control the world. When it comes to my own life, I am not sure that I find as much comfort from His supremacy because it doesn’t guarantee that life will work out for my definition of “good.” This leads me to conclude that I don’t always trust in His goodness. I want my faith to grow deeper so that I can fully trust even when the waves are crashing and hurting me. He is after this in me, and I want to continue to allow him to erode the control and self-sufficiency away so that I am left utterly dependent on Him.

  • I wanted to check out one of the scripture references at the end but it was incorrect There is not an Isaiah 23:20. Could someone tell what the correct reference is?

  • RondaGale

    In 2015 I was faced with thyroid cancer and in the waiting for surgery and treatment I found myself with peace beyond imagination. I woke in the night thinking “God if this is from your hand I accept it and whatever else it brings and I thank you for it, but if this is from satan I refuse to accept it and bind it in the Name of Jesus. ” and went on back to sleep. I’ve found it to be true as Philippians 4: 6-7 says to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving , let your requests be made know to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”. 3 readings from Jesus Calling changed my way of dealing with things beyond my control. December 18. May 21. April 11
    ❤️

    • healthygirlgoingstrong

      Thank you, Ronda! I’m thankful for the peace you received when you most needed it and the readings that helped you. I’m going back to them now. Bless you!

  • Very well written. It painted a picture which took me back to a time I was as close to the ocean as you were. I’m on Day 3 of my very first fast & have decided its going to be in intercession. I relate to this article so much in that I think I can do it on my own and don’t need to depend on God unless I’m in the worst place ever in my life..doing this fast and now reading this article the morning of my 3rd day has opened my eyes to the fact that I can fully rely on Him even if my own life is going well. I’m very humbled by this article. Thanks for sharing.

  • This hit me right where I needed it. He has started showing me that I’m not in control but he is. Thank God!!! In myself I mess up but God’s grace has me.

  • Chelsea Giles

    This shot straight to my heart this morning. When I feel out of control I make these insane attempts to get it back. But it’s not even mine in the first place. Thank you for writing these words, the Lord has touched my heart with them today. Gently reminding that He holds me, keeps me. What a comfort.

  • Diane Huntsman

    Mankind.. we’ve always battled the futility of being smarter than God.. thinking we know best and surly we can navigate ourselves through this life better than He can.. scripture reveals the foolishness of this all over the place and then it’s good to remind us of the consequences of usurping Gods role.. I get frustrated at the disobedient people of the Bible then quickly see my own reflection in the mirror.. I’m just like them.. quick to think I’ve got life, I want to captain my own ship.. I also see all the things I idolize, they might to be as obvious as carvin images or golden calves but they are still the same idols.. I think Jesus would have some tables to overturn in my heart big time.. in thankful for the hard truths of the Word of God that reveal my heart.. my need to really investigate my motives and my heart condition.. in Christianity today we can be unwittingly trained to “say all the right things” talk that Christian talk but then the insides are not quite matching up.. we can really become Pharisees and forget how invested and how much Jesus wants our hearts to be tended and dealt with and how sin needs to be repented of.. the big sin of pride.. it’s a little harder to detect yet its destruction is devastating.. I’m thankful for this study that forces me to face some giants in my heart.. some hard to face giants I might add. May we take all we are learning in put these golden nuggets into practice! It can’t stop at the closing of this beautiful app.

  • This is so beautifully written – thank you for sharing. The feelings you so eloquently described are so familiar to me and the reassurance was a welcome reminder. Forwarded this on to my little sister.

  • I love this Isaiah verse and love this story. Isn’t amazing how God is always speaking to us, especially through little kids? This devotion also reminded me of the song “He Makes Me Brave”

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • As I read Isaiah I write reflective thoughts on the side…judgment, desolation, panic…so many emotions & thoughts that have washed over me in my 3 year pancreatic cancer journey…but thanks be to God…The Holy Spirit always rushes to my defense and reassures me of my standing in Christ…As throughout our readings, how good it is to be reminded that God is in control…from the standing of Nations and Rulers to the very minute detail of my daily walk with Him! May we ever bring praise & honor to His Name as we walk the path He has mapped out for us..God bless you dear Sisters in Christ<

    • She Reads Truth

      Joan, praying for you in this. Thank you for sharing this morning.

      – Stormye

  • I very much needed this reminder today. I just emailed my pastor on his weekly day of prayer about a few things I have been losing sleep over because they should be resolved but aren’t. I am a worrier and so easily forget that Someone else knows all and controls all. Thank goodness for that.

  • Wow I love this so much. The ocean has always been so beautiful to me. It’s such an amazing picture of Jesus, even still, it ends, and He does not. I love the picture of standing by the waves and letting go. Raising my arm up and saying, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Hard, but worth it. Excited to say that as I finish my senior year of high school, and most likely go to Liberty next year. It’s been a hard four years, but God is faithful. Thank you Lord for never giving up on me, even after I fail you and turn from you. Thank you for your amazing, unwavering love.

  • I totally get those “I want to be in control” moments, doesn’t every body? It’s a good thing God shows us how small and powerless we really are, and how powerful he is.

  • Melissa Eagle

    Annie, I am right there with you, sister, on that whole control thing! Control is an illusion that I keep forgetting isn’t real. I am thankful that the One who is in control keeps gently reminding me that I am not.

  • Oh this is so true. I’m constantly reminding myself that God is control in my life because I have moments where I want to steer myself in a certain direction because it’s what I really want or because I want to try something new…. but then I realize nothing is going to work in my favor unless God says it will. I want soo many things in life; dreams, wishes, desires, and sometimes I wonder if God will grant me everything I’ve been longing for. But then I remind myself that He is in control and He’ll give me what I want so long as it’s a part of His plan. The best moments where I give up the reigns are those where I feel lost because He reminds me that nothing happens without His permission. The burden to carry such heavy loads in my life is taken away because God is right there sharing it with me, and sometimes taking it whole. Thank you Lord for always reminding me that You have the power always and that I am not alone.

  • The control message here is good, yes. However, I was hoping the author would touch on the striking ending of the reading today. Between 24:13 and 14, Isaiah takes an abrupt turn. After speaking only of desolation and destruction, he turns to writing about how there will be shouts of joy and praise and that the glory of God will be seen. This is echoed in the Philippians passage where Jesus faced “destruction,” death on a cross, but then was exalted to a place of glory where every tongue confesses He is Lord. It is this message for me that ultimately reminds me that God is in control, that his power and justice will always win, and we as his people have the imperative to humble ourselves before him as Christ did and also reach as many people as we can for Him.

    • Chrystal

      Thank you, Sara. The contrast from devastation, destruction, and death to singing, proclaiming and honoring is a welcomed view. It is definitely difficult to read Isaiah, but to find a snippet of grace, hope and Jesus eases the harshness of Isaiah. I am always humbled by his unconditional love.

    • Elle

      I’d also love to hear more commentary on that. It sounded almost like the praising was coming from somewhere else (the West) and Israel was hearing the blessings of other people while they themselves still went without. I may totally gotten that wrong though! Anyone?

    • KemC

      Yes!! I loved how today’s readings weren’t just focused on the judgements of God but the hope God gives. It’s that hope that I lean into when I’m trying to control something and recognize it’s a false feeling of control. It’s the Hope of salvation that keeps me going! Remembering I’m living for an eternal life, not this temporal world.

  • rebecca7395

    How very thankful I am that the New Testament passages are included in this study! How much hope they bring, in stark contrast to the dire consequences written of in Isaiah. As I read the text from Isaiah I am weighed down and sorrowful-rightfully so! But then we are allowed a peek into the New Testament, into the work of Jesus, and hope sings in my heart. My sins and failings are numerous, our world is a mess, but God has provided a Way in Jesus. I don’t know why, but this really struck me this morning. “…and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

  • That control thing, though – ouch….. I needed these words, badly

  • So good, Annie. I need this today. Perfect word to go with today’s tough reading

  • Cassie Kendall

    I was really touched by Romans 1:18-23 today. I feel like so often we forget God when He has made Himself so plain to us. Just like the people in the scripture, we forget God and turn to man made things and other people instead of looking towards the Savior of the world. Or, we turn to ourselves and try to take the reigns of our lives- and that never turns out so well! God, help all my sisters here to look to you first! Help us to see the evidence of you and your hand, because it is everywhere we look. Help us to never trust in people or the things of this world before you!

  • Eunice Alasa

    “I can’t heal my own heart”
    That phrase right there did it for me
    I have to trust the one who holds it all together

  • My two year old son woke me up this morning before 5 and I brought him back to my bed to sleep. As I was struggling to fall back asleep I was incredibly convicted of how much of life I do on my own. I don’t pray like I should, I give God an hour before the kids wake up and read my bible but so often it’s routine then as my day goes on with my tasks. How gracious the Lord is to convict me of this before reading Annie’s devotional. I know I’m not in control I know I can’t make my heart beat and yet I live life so often like I am in control then when sickness happens or I’m struggling with something I go to the Lord and ask Him for His help. He is so gracious and so often answers my prayers for help and then I go back to “my life”. Thank you Annie for your words of encouragement because God is in control and He is good and He is seated on His throne and has defeated sin including the sin of my pride. God help us all today to live in victory over sin and draw near to the Lord. He is good and He is near.

    • Cassie Kendall

      Kelly,
      I can definitely identify with you on this! As moms especially, it is so easy to get caught up in the craziness of life. We get so busy doing life that we let God slip by. We forget to acknowledge Him and everything He is doing around us. We may whisper a quick prayer here and then, but we lack a deep connection with Him. We can’t forget how much we need Him. We can’t do this on our own! Glad your little guy was used by God today for you :)

    • She Reads Truth

      Kelly, thank you for this. I think so many of us can relate to this on some level. Grateful for your encouragement this morning!

      – Stormye

  • Christina

    I find it difficult to read the book of Isaiah devotionally. However, it is so rich and good to be shown where my heart strays from Truth… and where regular, consistent, unrepentant straying naturally leads me. I see much of what we are living out in these days (figuratively, and maybe even literally) in the lines of Isaiah, including the temptation to despair over the results of sin, to the glimpse of hope at the ultimate glory of God, to the reminder that we have not yet reached our ultimate destination where God’s glory dwells bodily. Am I admitting a sort of bipolar outlook on life? Maybe so. It’s hard to admit that I’m not in control, to glory in God when I do finally confess His constant control, and then to try to take control again. The whole point of Lent, from my limited understanding, is to take a good, long, honest self-evaluation of my sin issues; to understand the consequences of my sin; to recognize that Jesus took those consequences if I trust Him; to remind me to not simply abstain or address sin for a limited period of time, but to wildly abandon myself to His will and ways ALL the time; and to look at Lent, not as a time that is over and done for this year and forget what I learned, but as a catalyst for the joy of Easter, the Resurrection, and all it means for me.

    • Joy

      Christina, what a wonderfully written description of lent. It often rubs me the wrong way how people treat this season, magnifying IT rather than the heart-reasons for it … externalizing rather than internalizing it. I don’t want to hear what someone “gives up” for Lent. Is it changing their life? I thank you for this description, which encourages me to prepare my heart for Easter!

    • Kay minter

      This is excellent. The description of Lent , and why I am observing it, is so good, that I copied it word for word in my journal. Blessings to all of you ladies

  • What is the Isaiah 23:20 verse? I looked it up to read it, but Isaiah 23 only has 18 verses. I think you put the incorrect reference.

    • Kelly

      I’m thinking she meant 23:11

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Kim! Such a good catch. We did put the incorrect reference! It should have read Isaiah 23:11 and has been corrected. Thank you so much!

      – Stormye

  • God is in control no matter the storm or hurt or uncertainty. How wonderful to stand on that truth. Thank you for reminding me …

  • Thank you! How I needed to hear this today!

  • Tochi Heredia

    Something struck me today.
    How could we ever see ourselves as good?! Sometimes (I speak for myself, but I hope I’m not the only one) I go about my day thinking, “I didn’t commit any huge, evident sins. I prayed for others, I was kind to my coworkers, I was selfless at home… I’m not so bad.” We can get so confident of our self-righteousness, that is until our hearts bend towards idols. And it gets uncomfortable when our dark corners light up under God’s perfect goodness.
    Our frail attempts to illuminate our surroundings, pale in comparison to the Lord’s powerful, everlasting light.

    Father, I praise You this morning. I’m in awe at how amazing You are. I don’t understand how can you love such a faulty creature, but you do, and I’m forever grateful. Help me to stop thinking so highly of myself, and discard my perishing idols in submission to your ways.

    • Audrey

      I remember when I first started meeting with my mentor she would always say how just how wretched she was, and I never really understood it. She said it with sadness but also hope, and here I am trying to tell her “no you’re not…you’re doing better than you think…” completely missing her point. God was bringing her to the place in her life where she was seeing what you’re talking about. He was showing her just how sinful and evil we are on our own…just how much we need God. I watched her progress in this. I saw her yearning for God grow deeper and deeper still. Now almost 2 years later, I’m beginning to understand this experience because He is taking me along a similar path. May I repent in the moments where I try to become self-righteous. I am a wretched woman, who is deeply loved by her Father. Thank you Lord!

      • She Reads Truth

        Audrey, praise God for growing you in this way and opening your eyes to this! So blessed by your words this morning.

        – Stormye

    • Missy

      Amen!!!

    • She Reads Truth

      Wow, what a powerful reminder, Tochi. Thank you for this.

      – Stormye

  • Churchmouse

    “All joy grows dark.” (Is.24:11) A sad and somber sentence. I pause. I woke up just now to a text message /prayer request that makes me weep. All joy grows dark in my small world. How I need Annie’s devotion reminder that “nothing is out of His grasp or view. “. Oh yes. I need the comfort that comes from Truth. I need solid ground not shifting sand. Not platitudes but absolute assurance. I’m collapsing, yes collapsing in tears. But I know I’m held . I’m kept. There are no arms like the arms of Jesus. You cannot see me for I am enveloped by Him.

  • Thank you so much, Annie! This was my favourite devotional in this study so far. I laughed, I smiled and most definitely applied your devotional to my own life (in more ways than I imagined possible?!). It’s a lovely mid-week reminder and just a much needed reminder in general, that Our God controls all things and that our trust in this and in Him is most paramount.

  • “God controls all the things. Nothing is out of His grasp or view.” This is an appropriate reminder for me today as I wrestle with emotions and how to navigate hard extended family issues. Lord I pray you calm the waters on family tension.

  • God controls all things.nothing is out of his grasp or view. Thank goodness! If only we could truly believe this. I have to hear this good news over and over and over again. It all comes down to trust for me. Can I really trust Him? Will I?

    • Caitie

      I think many of us are in the same boat! I know God is in control and his plan is ultimately greater than any plan I can imagine, but I still find myself slipping back into self-reliance. I think that’s why it is so important to stay in His word each day.

      Trust is tough, but I think it comes in baby steps. I’ve found the Lord guiding me to trust him more in tiny little doses over the last few years. Rather than being afraid of a situation right away, now I can go to him in prayer and at least say to myself “God is in control. I am not going to worry about this.” He’s been faithful with every step of the way, which leads me to trust him more readily each time. He is carving me slowly into who he wants me to be, and he is doing the same for you! Praying for you!

  • Laura Lee

    God’s justice with Tyre is perfect for Tyre and every individual in it, as it is for you and me. It is seasoned with His passionate love for us and the gift of Jesus. It is holy and merciful. It is never unjust or cruel. Take Isaiah as a whole for a better overall sense of His powerful feelings and truths it divulges for us all. His tenderness toward us shows more in latter chapters.

  • As people have said over the last few days, these chapters are not easy, but they are really making clear to me that there are serious consequences for sin and ignoring God and going our own way. The warnings about self-reliance really hit home for me.
    As I read all the judgements on the different nations it made me think: what would God say to our nations today? It’s a scary thought as the Romans 1 passage sums up so much of what I see around me and there seems to be so much mess and chaos in the world. Then I turned to Philippians and was so encouraged by the reminder that there is a solution and Jesus provides it. He humbled himself and entered into our messed up world to put things right and to take the price of our sin, and one day he will be truly honored and acknowledged as king by everyone.

  • peanut cheese

    Good morning ladies,
    In today’s reading, the part that really spoke to me, is this verse from Philippians:

    “Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

    I have looked through some other translations in order to understand what exactly was meant here. It still hasn’t become completely clear :D , however it’s a great reminder that whatever we have received: money, talents, status are not to be used in order to magnify ourselves but should be used to increase our humility.

    Having said that, I found the Isaiah passages this morning hard to understand, like before, like many others in here. Today’s meditation helped focus on God’s mightiness. Yet I’m having difficulty with understanding and/or accepting the explanation that God is able to calm the oceans and rule the world if this means he does this by telling us how he will destroy each and everyone. Shouldn’t an almighty, saving God speak with more gentle words when addressing society? When including rulers and servants in his threats, isn’t it a form of injustice if so many of the people are not the cause of Godlessness but victims of injustice?

    Personally, I do not doubt God’s righteousness one bit, but when reading this passage with the eyes of an non-believer, I find it quite harsh and quite in contrast with the image of Jesus in the Philippians passage.

    I was hoping to read something about the comparison between Tyre and a prostitute, of which God would take up all the money. Maybe in here someone can explain how you read this?

    Have a blessed day!

    • Claire

      A somewhat recent experience of mine came to mind as I read your reflection…
      I’m the director at my work and a staff member recently brought up to me that I had been rather firm and seemed somewhat unfeeling when discussing an issue with another staff member. I’m fairly salt aware and, although humbled, happy to admit when I’ve made a mistake or spoken out of turn. In this instance, I hadn’t. I had previously spoken with the staff member I was in dialogue with and laid down expectations several times; after many discussions I had to draw the line and firmly say that enough is enough.
      For me, this relates to many of the chapters I have read through in Isaiah. God spoke many times and his prophets shared his heart. In the end, enough was enough and, for our own good, God draws the line.
      Hope this helps in some regard.
      Blessings upon you!

    • Marianne

      I also hoped that today´s devotional would throw some light on the passages in Isaiah …

      To your question whether God should have used more gentle words: I think he had already done this so many years and yet his people would not listen and follow their own ways. I read the passages as the consequence of their doings. And yet, hope shines through every now and then …

      Imo some passages can´t be understood on their own. Sometimes one has to see the big picture. This is why I wouldn´t recommend a non-believer to start with a book like Isaiah. Just my humble thoughts … :)

      • peanut cheese

        I totally agree with this. However, when Philip spoke to the chariot (Acts 8:30) he was reading Isaiah, we don’t always control this.
        This part by the way, might be the most inspirational bible passage to me. Apparently the spirit works even through this.

    • Ana

      I too have the same problem with some passages. I believe that the comparison between Tyre and a prostitute is made because trade is viewed as a form of prostitution, profit is made without scruples or ethics and without care for the poor. I believe that it is so because of verse 18 where it is said that the profits will not be hoarded, but used to dress and feed. Like the rich man and Lazarus, perhaps? You can produce riches but to hoard them is wrong. There are other parables in the NT that come to mind, like the one about the man that hoarded all his harvest in newly built granaries or the passage where Christ talks of the acts of mercy we must do each other including to dress and to feed. It seems to be something really important to God and He expects that from everyone, I think, because of verse 2 in chapter 24. In this judgment it doesn’t matter your place in the world. Sometimes some people who have humbler jobs or social status think that they are exempt of this. I don’t know how to explain this because English is not my native language (I’m from Portugal) but each one of us is responsible for the material things we have or that God gave us trough work, trade, inheritance, lottery, etc, how do we use them to provide for us and for others? It doesn’t matter if we have much or little, what do we do with them? Are we like the poor widow in the temple that gave God all the little she had? On the other hand, how do we treat others? Based on their status? Some people who are exploited by others are servile towards them and cold to others. Are we aware of how our behavior, our choices, our priorities contribute to the injustices of the world? I rambled a little, sorry :) I hope I’ve made a helpful contribution to your pondering of this difficult passages. God bless you!

    • Lana

      Hey Peanut Cheese! I love your username!!! Lol. This is how I’ve been reading Isaiah and I hope it helps. I don’t read it literally like a history book. Instead I ask, “what wisdom is this ancient author trying to bestow about life?”

      What I’ve got so far is that arrogance and pride will destroy you. So “God’s wrath” = the natural consequences for arrogant and prideful behavior.

      Here’s what Ive learned so far in this study: in all things, you need to give God the credit because so much is out of our control. For example, I run my own business. My hard work and cleverness are not the sole reasons my business is successful. There are so many things outside of my control. Like timing. Like other people’s perceptions. Like the right magazine editor who just so happens to be introduced to the brand through a friend. All of these things are what make my business successful and most of them are out out my control.

      To give God the glory means to give him the credit. God is the reason my business is successful. I’m just aspiring to be his good and faithful to servant. He’s the CEO and I’m the employee.

      To credit myself is foolish because again, so much is out of my actual control. Thats why it’s like making a false idol out of myself. To hoard and glorify my profits, and use them to strictly glorify myself (to spend all my money on fancy clothes, luxuries, vacations), without using at least a portion of that income to help others, is wrong and will have me going down a bad path. I think that was the issue with Tyre. They made idols out of themselves and their money. They didn’t see it as God’s money and ask: hey God, what should we do with this great fortune? Instead, they just spent it on themselves. And who knows how they could have changed the world for the better with just one simple donation (or a series of them for that matter).

      Why is self-glorification and the glorification of others harmful? Because people can’t fulfill you. Money can’t fulfill you. Animals can’t fulfill you. Only God can fulfill you. And again, if you start chasing all those things and forget about God (the one who actually made all your success possible), who knows what path you might go down chasing the kind of love only your creator can provide. I do believe that’s why people often choose to self-medicate with drugs, sex, a sense of control, etc. but self-medication is never the answer. Only God can really give you that healing and he does it through his love. But to fully accept this love, you must do so with a spirit of humility. A recognition that you can’t live without it. And sometimes to achieve that humility, we have to have everything stripped from us. We have to be completely destroyed. Because unfortunately, the dramatics are what it often takes to get our heads out of our own butts (at least for me!).

      So anyway, in these chapters, I believe Isaiah is trying to remind us (by paintings the bleakest picture possible) to 1) remember to give God the credit for everything. Because 2) this fortifies our spirit of humility and 3) with this spirit we can love God, ourselves, and others better and more truthfully.

      AND when we allow our arrogance and pride to creep in, things will go astray. But God is always with us. And when we repent like Israel, Egypt, and Assyria, and ASK for help, he will hold our hand through our self-created storm. Not only hold our hand, but help us come back more beautiful and wise than before.

      AND when we see others go through their seasons of destruction, have compassion and give them refuge. Because this has been and can still be you. None of us are immune to arrogance.

      I never thought I would enjoy the book of Isaiah, but I do! I do believe this doom and gloom serves the purpose to really get us to see the harm in arrogant behavior. And for that, I find it really loving, and hopeful, and beautiful. Again, I hope this helps! I took all of this straight from my notes. Apologies for the essay!

      • She Reads Truth

        Lana, thank you for sharing this! Wow. So much goodness here.

        – Stormye

      • Shannon

        This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your insight!

      • Marianne

        Thx, Lana, this was really helpful! Btw, I run my own business as well and can so relate to your thoughts about giving God the credit …

    • Elle

      Totally with you on this! To the point of why both the powerful and powerless and treated the same, I wonder if the point may be that we are all in this together. If people are unkind and irresponsible to the point of hurting society or nature, we will all suffer. There’s an encouraging solidarity there in a way.

      I’m struggling more with the idea of God having control of all things. I just can’t grasp the idea of cancer and all of these things being inflicted by God. I think my own understanding of all this is more that God let’s things play out, but offers us immense strength and support and courage to be able to manage what comes. I can’t remember what author was taking apart the idea that God never gives you more than you can handle but the reasoning stuck with me. You get more than you can handle all the time, but with God you are given the strength to handle it. Maybe it’s a subtle difference, but it’s enough for me be able to make sense of hardships.

Further Reading...