Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 32

There Is No Other God

by

Today's Text: Isaiah 44:1-28, Isaiah 45:1-25, Romans 14:10-11, Revelation 22:12-13

Text: Isaiah 44:1-28, Isaiah 45:1-25, Romans 14:10-11, Revelation 22:12-13

After countless rave reviews, I just had to see the modern-day movie musical La La Land. Actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were charming as per usual, and as they sang and danced across the screen, the audience seemed to buzz along with the energy of the film’s message: Don’t settle. Chase your dreams. Pursue your passions. Follow your heart.

It’s a message that speaks to our deepest longings. We want to cry out in unison, “Yes! This!” We want a life lived to the fullest.

We all have dreams and desires. Our heavenly Father knows the longings of our hearts just as surely as He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). But our hearts can lead us astray (Jeremiah 17:9). It can be a struggle to know if our desires are from the Lord or from our brokenness.

As a counselor, I often hear people say, “If I just had _____, I would be happy.” You can fill in that blank with a job, a possession, a relationship, or any number of different things. We’ve all fallen prey to this way of thinking.

The trouble with putting all your hopes for happiness in a dream is that the dream will, at some point, fall short of what it promises. You get the new job, and six months later you feel restless again. You start a promising relationship, but still feel a crushing loneliness. You lose the weight, but still struggle to see your beauty and worth.

We are always unsatisfied when we look to this world to satisfy us. Only God can satisfy our desires for peace, justice, and beauty. Only God can fulfill His promises. We create idols when we worship people or jobs or dreams, as if they have the power to save us.

Why do we still ache for what God has already promised? Because we live in a fallen world. We cry out to the Lord for justice where we see injustice, and for peace where we see strife. As C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” We feel unsatisfied because ultimately we are longing for heaven, where we will be in the presence of Christ.  

Our hearts are made for the new heaven and new earth, where all of God’s promises will be perfected. But even in this present time, we get a taste of heaven because we live in a time of “already and not yet.” God has already defeated death but His full plan has not yet reached its great culmination. God has already fulfilled His promises in the coming of Christ, yet we still live in a broken world that leaves us feeling unsatisfied. God has already executed justice for all, and yet injustice will linger in this world until He comes again.

When you feel tempted to look for satisfaction outside of God, remember that your loving Father is the only one who can fulfill your heart’s desires. There is no god besides Yahweh (Isaiah 44:6). For now we live within the tension of this temporal world and our eternal home, but the Lord has fulfilled His promises in Jesus and He will come again to set all things right.

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
-Revelation 22:12-13

SRT-LENT2017-Instagram32s

Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.

  • I agree that we can never be fully satisfied by anything of this world, but often times God gives us passions for a reason, and some of those feelings can come from us not living in His will, whether it be from stubbornness, fear, or the effects the world has had on us. The important thing is to seek Him first, and then we will begin to make decisions that reflect His will, versus our own. We will begin to see when we are doing things for the wrong reasons. He will reveal those truths to us. That does not mean we will never struggle, but we feel more fulfilled when we are in His will. Our passions and dreams are a part of that.

  • Christina

    I love when my response to the Scripture for the day is reinforced by the devotion. This is what I wrote between reading the Scripture and the devotion:

    From the same tree, planted by one human being, the carpenter would make a fire to cook his food and keep himself warm. Then he would use the rest of that one tree that he, human being that he was, had planted and create a pointless, powerless image in his own likeness. And he would worship it. As if the tree he planted was powerful to accomplish something for him. As if he didn’t need the food and warmth for energy and survival, but because he had planted, he had used his planting, and he had benefited from his planting, his tree was powerful. I used to think that, in our culture at least, idol worship as described here in Isaiah 44 was irrelevant. But what if it isn’t? Take anything that we value today: job, position, identity, a well-groomed home with plenty of room to wander, peace, comfort, security, nice clothing. We need most of these things to survive and in surviving to give us purpose. Our family needs a job to afford food. We need clothing to walk around as contributing members of society. I am very well aware of my identity as a homeschool mom, etc., etc. These things in themselves are not bad. They are good. They are part of living life on this earth. On the other hand, we can take the good thing (the carpenter’s tree) and not only use it for good, but idolize it. It’s the same thing, approached from a different perspective. We begin to live for our job, for our position, for our identity, for our home, for our comfort and peace and security, for our status-indicating clothing. I no longer acknowledge the God who provided the job, called me to motherhood, allowed the funds to buy the home, placed me in a country of relative peace. I somehow look at the tools He has provided for me to use in my life to glorify Him and decide those tools are worth much more than He is, because I’ve used them well. This simply is not true. Doing so does not satisfy. Only the Maker Himself is worthy of worship. Only He satisfies me.

    • Susan Camara

      Amen. Beautiful.

      • Amy

        Christina, How blessed your children are to be homeschooled by you. You are a woman after God’s own heart and your wisdom abounds…. Thank you for sharing your profound gleanings today. They blessed me….

  • I just knew that once I bought a new house I’d finally find the joy I’ve been seeking. House bought. Yep, happy….thankful, but still where is THAT joy I’m searching for? Why do I still feel a sense of emptiness?
    It wasn’t until I really, fully, wholeheartedly seeked Him in all that I am and all that I do that I finally felt complete and that joy I was after. Thank you Jesus!

    • Amie

      A good reminder. I live in a basement suite and am itching for the day that I can live above ground and own my house. Reminded to be content because this is the gift he has given– “does the clay say to the potter, “what are you making?””

  • I am so restless, i found out some scary news about my mom and I want so bad for God to fix it instantly. However, I know He has plans to handle the situation and is already in action. I trust that, yet it is so hard to not be scared and relying on worldy things.

    • Cindy

      May God comfort you, give you God peace, see you through this. This from the Message Bible, end of Psalm 5 may encourage you as it does me:
      . .
      Every morning
      I lay out the pieces of my life
      on your altar
      and watch for Your fire to descend.

  • The restlessness struggle is real. Such an awesome reminder to look to Jesus as the only one that can satisfy!

  • Melody Suarez

    I’m so excited for heaven!

  • Ahh! This hit so many places of my heart this morning!

    It is so easy to get stuck in the “if only I had ___” trap. Lately I have been struggling to fully surrender my future to the Lord. I have no idea what God has in store for the next season of my life, and sitting in transition really has me filling in that blank with everything but Jesus. Thankful for this reminder today, that “There is no god besides Yahweh.” Praying my eyes will turn only to Him in uncertainty.

    • Freda

      I feel like that as well. As though I am in transition for something but I don’t know what comes next. What I have come to realize is that it is in this time of transition and uncertainty that our faith is made strongest in God.

  • Elizabeth

    This was great! I think that too often, we forget that there really is just one God. We always prioritize things over spending time with Him, yet He loves us anyways. I am also struggling with my weight right now. I just had a baby in September. I have 30 pounds of baby weight on me and I feel horrible. I don’t even want people to really see me. It has been a struggle but I am breaking through! This was amazing and just what I needed today! Thank you!

    • Lucy

      You are a beautiful, worthy woman created in the image of God whose body has just brought forth new life. What an amazing thing!

    • Emily

      Don’t let Satan steal your joy! You were made for a purpose, body and soul, no matter what either of those look like.

    • Brenda

      Praying for you Elizabeth. Being a new Mom is tough, but so worth it. Keep looking upward and He will help you with all of it. Praying for you.

  • I love verse 20! “I have not spoken in secret….I the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.”
    We need not wonder what God is like, His character is not a mystery, something we have to wonder and struggle with. He tells us exactly what He is like. Loved these 2 chapters today!! We can sing for joy for the fact alone that we are a redeemed people!

  • I loved verse 9 in chp 44: “All who make idols are nothing, and what they treasure does not profit.” and then verse 15 talks about cultivating these empty longings to idols, how it serves as “fuel for man.”
    These verses particularly stirred me this morning. How many idols do I craft and long for day after day, thinking they bring fulfillment and wholeness. When instead they bring nothing but more emptiness, more unfulfilled longing. May I long for eternity instead of ash.

    I also found this quote: “The idolater picks up the figurine in his hand, holding it, but in reality it holds him. He is in bondage to a lie.” (Motyer)
    Ouch, right?!

  • I had that ache for all things to be made new and the desire for His perfect presence and peace this morning as I read the reading for today. I was made for another world.

  • Micah lee

    Alpha and Omega. It’s so comforting to hear that.

  • Alpha and Omega
    What refreshing security to know He was always before me and He is in control through the end. Nothing is outside of Him. Even in my difficulty he is there, providing, sustaining.

  • I’ve been facing heart aches and difficulties the last few days. Actually on and off for the past three years. I cling to the one in only who can get me through this and that my Jesus. Prayers are so appreciated. I’ve been in this valley for too long and would like it for it to be over. For today my family and I want to enjoy our son who turns 16 years old today. Im blessed for the most part he is a great kid, typical teenager however he loves Jesus and loves to serve Him. We the parents are so proud of him as he just got back from a weeklong missions trip during his spring break. Serving others in Mexico.

  • Isn’t that the truth? We can spend our whole life trying to find happiness when it’s right in front of us. I love that joy can ALWAYS be found because of Jesus.

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

  • Exactly what the heart needed today! Thank you!

  • Keri McCue

    It’s crazy how we so quickly forget this truth! We all do this. We all tend to look for comfort and worth in things around us, things we desire. Even when we know that they cannot fulfill us wholly. I have been struggling with this truth because I have so many goals and dreams, and that’s okay, but not when I am putting my hope in those things. My hope and trust and confidence can only be in God.

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • the time of the piece is divine. Thank You! We Wait On You Father. #comelordjesus

  • This was so timely…God has been working out this truth in my life! I so quickly fall prey to the world’s lies of what brings peace and joy instead of resting on the one true Rock. Thank you Katie for your wise words!

  • 44:25 really spoke to me today after a long day in court for my one year old foster daughter yesterday. If you’ve ever been in those courtrooms you will know what I mean when I say there is so much foolishness, so much. The case against her Mom is flimsy at best and it’s tragic in some ways that she can’t be home with her; and simultaneously there are real concerns; and simultaneously not a single lawyer did their job well. “It is I who overturns wise counsel and makes their wisdom seem foolish.” Today’s devotional reminded me that ultimately our court dates are an absolute minuscule part of God’s great plan for her: God formed her in her mothers womb…for a purpose! All the lawyers and judges their opinion is nothing to God’s power and plan. God is redeeming her, day by day by day, faithfully. It is only my job to submit to God’s plans and be faithful in what God called me to do and trust what God has promised, “I will pour my spirit in your descendants and my blessings on your offspring!”

    • Hailey T.

      Thank you for serving God by being a foster parent. You are doing great works! I know it is hard to see how broken our system is…but it is like you said: in the brokenness we are driven to see the truth that God is in control and has the plans. Blessing to you!

    • Irina

      I hear you, Cate! I’ve been on the opposite site of those courtrooms. And when I felt that my case goes wrong, I prayed that God would change atty/judge minds and it would turn in different direction. And God was making miracles. So, do not loose your spirit and pray, and hope like God did it already. Much love to you my dear.

    • Emily

      You are awesome! Thank you for sharing part of your story with us today.

  • Churchmouse

    I am always encouraged when reading about how powerful God is coupled with the command to not be afraid. He created the universe and all that is in it (me,too!). If I have Him on my side, what is there to be afraid of? If the worst case scenario of any of my circumstances is that I die, I enter heaven. Bummer. (Yes, sarcasm). I don’t make light of my difficulties on this earth but these Scriptures help me keep life in proper perspective. Grateful for the reminder, SRT.

  • God’s timing is impeccable. I needed this exact devotional today….every time I act so surprised that God meets me exactly where I need Him, and yet this is who God is. He is faithful and true, and always there holding my hand.

  • Here is OUR GOD!!! The Alpha & Omega, Redeemer, Creator, Restorer, Potter, levels paths, Opens doors, Speaks Truth and calls us to Himself…Hallelujah, what a Savior!!! I am “breaking out into singing” as I meditate on all that The Lord has done, is doing and will do…oh Dear Lord, keep our eyes fixed on You, the Author & Finisher of our faith…have a blessed Thursday dear sisters<

  • Good morning ladies,
    I have a prayer request this morning- i got news on Monday that a polyps in my cervix can back with cancer. I am going to a specialist this morning to find out if it was caught very early or not or what is happening. I am very scared and need prayer for peace, and knowledge of what is going on from this appt. pray that this is just something hat can be easily treated!
    I just makes no sense I have absolutely no family history of this, and the enemy is trying to flood my husbands and my head with fear, I just rebuke this in Jesus name.

    • She Reads Truth

      Stacey, praying for this right now. Asking the Lord to give you peace in this scary, uncertain time and to heal you. Thank you for sharing this. Grateful for you, friend.

      – Stormye

    • Kendra

      Praying, Stacey!

    • Candy

      Prayers said for you and your family Stacey. Who better to have on your side but the creator of your body?!! God bless you and give you peace

    • Tricia C

      I’m just reading this and praying that you have peace Stacey.

  • Already and not yet. That’s a perfect description of me and how sometimes I hold fast and other times not so much. I often wonder why when faced with trials I don’t readily recall God’s grace and provision in prior joys and challenges. Guess that’s my not yet side. The already side is gaining ground but like Israel I am a work in progress. Thank you God for your relentless love and for never giving up on the not yet me.

  • 45:7 brings me so many questions where it says he creates disaster. I haven’t dug into how I feel about this. Today I will cling to the devotional passage We feel unsatisfied because ultimately we are longing for heaven, where we will be in the presence of Christ.  I love that. But I do think I need to understand the first verse to understand God more fully.

    • Clarene Radford

      Good morning. I struggled with the same verse, however may I suggest you study commentary as well alongside of this scripture. It helps me to better understand scripture. Hope this helps.

    • Sara

      Kathleen, I happened to dig into that verse in the context and translation because mine said “makes calamity” and I kind of struggled with God creating it. From what I could discern the translation is a bit mixed from the original intent of the fact God is sovereign over all, both good and evil and that nothing compares to the power and the holiness of Creator God. It also alludes to His discipline over His people, what they see as disaster (captivity/exile) He brought about for their ultimate return to Him.

    • Sarah

      Kathleen, my viewpoint on this is that God allows disaster. We still live in a broken world, and that sinful broken world has free will which leads to disaster. If God intervened over every disaster to prevent it, there would no longer be free will. I think this refers to that, and also to Gods discipline on the people.

    • SarahMay

      I had to re-read this passage for better context & understanding. The second time I wrote out all of who God says He is or claims to be. Incredible! This passage is about God being the ONLY God, there is no other (repeated 12 times in these 2 chapters!). Twice is says He announces the future, particularly to those who make their own idols, regarding their destruction because they haven’t turned to Him. References about Him forming or making us, on the other hand: I found 7. The message is clear that, as you look at His character and study the rebellious nature of Israel (and humanity), God brings destruction on those who refuse to surrender to His Lordship, but success to those who submit to & follow Him. [I don’t mean to imply worldly/material success or destruction, although one could infer that from some of the passage; rather, God confirms the message of His servant, strengthens us, levels roads, never forgets us, sweeps away transgressions, etc., implying more spiritual success as a result of following Him.].

      It’s a long post but well worth looking into His character to understand His ways.

  • “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” (Is. 44:6). Over and over we read “there is no other God”, there is no god like God.” I found this quote in a commentary on Isaiah, “The message that this royal Redeemer wants to impart is that there is no one who can even be compared to Him. It is not merely that He is the greatest of gods, but that in comparison to Him, there is no other god…But the God of the promise is much more than an aloof, if benevolent, Master of History. He is one on whom we can hide when storms, whether deserved or undeserved, break on us.”
    I spend so much time dwelling on what I need God to do for me, that I forget who He is. He is Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth. He is so far above me I can’t even begin to comprehend even a sliver of who He truly is. And, this King of Kings loves and cares for me.
    “Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob (and Kathy), and will be glorified in Israel (and in me).” Is. 44:23
    Be blessed, sisters!

  • This is just me through through….always living in the future or past and never the present. Rarely satisfied in what I have and always thinking ‘what if’. I’ve had countless ideas and dreams of future endevours and achievements…when actually in the present I am achieving ALOT!!!

    The biggest problem is that as people we have this natural need for control. We struggle in trusting in the Lord and giving it to him; I struggle with that. I believe in God but I have a problem letting go and trusting that he will what’s right for me.

    Isaiah 45:9‭-‬10 NLT – I will pray these verses when I am struggling with letting go of control, trusting in the Lord and living on false dreams. Lord make these verses a constant reminder of my learning to trust in your ways.

    • Lana

      I love this concept of false dreams. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Thank you for phrasing it this way.

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