Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 39

Come to the Lord

by

Today's Text: Isaiah 55:1-13, Isaiah 56:1-12, John 7:37-39, 1 Corinthians 2:9

Text: Isaiah 55:1-13, Isaiah 56:1-12, John 7:37-39, 1 Corinthians 2:9

Last August, my husband and I went to Seattle for a Christian counseling conference. The entire city was experiencing an “unprecedented heat wave” of 80-degree days, which to us felt like a welcome reprieve from the sweltering weather we’d been suffering in Tennessee. On the second to last day of the conference, we noticed another couple at our table smirk when the facilitator apologized yet again for the weather, and quickly struck up a conversation about our common hatred of humidity.

As it turned out, they were from Atlanta, and since we only had a few minutes to chat, the couple asked if we wanted to join them that night for dinner. They’d had reservations for their anniversary at an acclaimed waterfront restaurant for more than six months, but the wife assured me that she could call and get the hostess to add two more seats to the table.

What unfolded that night over dinner was nothing short of the gospel. As the sun melted into the water, our conversation went wide and deep, covering the vast terrain of our lives. We tasted grilled octopus and braised lamb shoulder and homemade pastas. When the entrees arrived, Patrick and I ordered the most expensive bottle of wine we could afford, hoping to offer a small gesture of gratitude to our new friends for sharing their anniversary reservation with us. I still remember looking at the price and wondering if we’d gone a little overboard. But this night was special; there was something providential about it.

Several hours later, I noticed the waitress drop a black folded book in front of our new friends. I elbowed my husband in the ribs hard—the universal wife-code for ‘get out your wallet!’—but it was too late. The check had been paid. A signature was already on the bottom of the receipt.

“But,” I started, embarrassed. “That was a really expensive meal. We wanted to…” I looked to Patrick for back-up. “…This was your anniversary!”

It’s hard to think of the extravagance of that night without imagining the extravagance of Jesus. Isaiah paints us a picture of the most opulent love—a free gift available to anyone and everyone. No one is excluded. No one is unwelcome. Our God says, “Come!” He prepares a table before us with food—not just for our bodies, but for our souls. And it costs us nothing. The view from that table will be magnificent because our host, our friend, is the Son of God.

Isaiah and Jesus invite all to come. But as the bride of Christ, we, too, can join in offering the invitation, which echoes from the Old Testament straight through the book of Revelation:

The Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come! Whoever is thirsty let him come and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
- Revelation 22:17

Let nothing keep us from joining in the feast. For as gracious as our God has been in His invitation, not one of us can fathom the goodness He’s prepared for us—for all who love Him—in the days to come (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Thanks be to God.

SRT-LENT2017-Instagram39s

Claire Gibson is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured both locally and nationally in publications including The Washington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves her husband, Patrick, and their dog, Winnie.

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  • Carrie Rogers

    Amen!

  • I have long loved Isaiah- especially chapters 43, 53-55. It’s been so prophetic in my life. But the riches of the promises of Isaiah 55 are that much sweeter for having read through all the preceding chapters of judgment.

  • I just love this song by Andrew Peterson, which borrows from Is. 55 and John 15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcNVcK6xZdE

    • Gina

      That is absolutely one of my favorite songs! Couldn’t get it out of my head during the reading.

      • Katie Kelley

        Same! I love it when musicians use Scripture as the basis for this songs. And this is one of my very favorites.

  • Christina

    I’m amazed at how much of what we quote at different times and for different situations comes from Isaiah 55. I could have copied and pasted the entire chapter, practically, as my devotion!

    I also love how at the beginning of chapter 56, we are reminded that the inability (for whatever reason) to physically have children does not make the individual any less important to God. In this particular chapter, eunuchs had the opportunity to make just as much of a spiritual impact for the kingdom of God as married folks with families. I so wish I’d had that mindset as a young, single woman! And I pray my husband and I now can impart that desire for the glory and kingdom of God to be manifest in all circumstances into our own children, that they may be content and passionate for Him no matter where they find themselves.

  • Two things stand out to me immediately from today’s reading: One, God’s ways are different than ours. I continually have to remind myself of this. Two, that God’s Word is sent out, but doesn’t come back empty handed. It does what it’s supposed to do and gets His work done. It gives me encouragement to continue spending time in His Word.

  • Asking for prayer: one of the girls in the youth group I serve with confided in me last night that she and her mom have until this Saturday to secure housing, or else they will be living out of their car (again). She wept and told me she doesn’t want to be on the streets again. She’s only in the 8th grade and she’s also trying to keep her grades from falling while they’re dealing with this so that she’ll be able to go on to high school next year. So many facets to this heartbreaking situation. But we are praying, and I know God can make a way. Will you pray with us? I would be so grateful. Her name is Paige

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying for sweet Paige right now, April. Thank you for sharing this. I’m so grateful that Paige has you in her life to love on her through these hard times.

      – Stormye

    • Jodie

      Lord go before Paige and her mother. Pave a way. Provide a miracle for the Glory of Your name. In Jesus Name Amen.

    • Barbie

      my prayers are going now for Paige and her mom–

    • Pettyann

      Praying that God will make a way where there seem to be no way. May she and her family find housing and May God do it for His Glory in Jesus’ name Amen

    • BML

      Praying for Paige and her mom, also that you would be an instrument in God’s hands for them.

    • April

      Praise report!! Paige just sent me a text saying she and her mom were granted one more month before they have to be out – just a gracious whim on their landlord’s part. Thank you Jesus! She also said she had just a really wonderful day and did well at her science fair. God is so good to us. Please remember her and her mom in your prayers, but for the very immediate future their needs are met. So thankful for this community.

      • Alex

        I am a day behind in my reading and just BLOWN AWAY by this exchange from yesterday–to the point of tears of joy! Our God is a God of action! Thank you, LORD, for your swift action here and for inviting this community of women into your work. Thank you for April and her willingness to share and to ask! Thank you for Paige and her mom and for Your provision. Be with them as they walk and continually remind them and us that YOU are the source of their/our security here on earth and eternally!

      • She Reads Truth

        Thank you for the update, April! So glad to hear that. Asking the Lord to continue to grant them favor and to find them a place to live!

        – Stormye

  • Yet another great illustration of God’s extravagant love, as well as the great mercy and grace He extends to us. No matter who we are or where we’ve been He says, “Come, to the Living Water and thirst no more.” Thank you Claire, great post as always! God bless!

  • This study this morning left me feeling a wave of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians, it writes, “Spirit recognizes Spirit” — the exact feeling that I have right now. The amazing works of Jesus have washed over me and reminded me just how GOOD He is. Not that I have ever thought anything but, but the true power of that statement will sometimes hit me – in moments of weakness or in moments where my heart seems hardened to His Wonderful Mercies. “Lord, help my hardened heart seek Your Face.” & in those moments its where I feel His Light shine into the depths of my heart. Like a swimmer who comes up for air, the gasp of air, bringing me back to life. So, thank you endlessly for this amazing devotional this morning. You, my dear, have left me feeling inspired and convicted to spend more time with Him.

  • Diane Huntsman

    Oh the sting of rejection has become far too familiar these past few years.. so to read “no one is unwelcome, no one is excluded” makes my broken heart come alive.. all too often the treatment we endure rolls over, often unwittingly, to how we think God views us.. we become convinced that we are pretty much a beggar of sorts happy with the crumbs of His notice… may we not ever see God the way we see people.. He adores us, invites us, gets giddy over us! We don’t annoy Him or worst disgust Him.. we are not a people He’s forced to try and love.. we are the apple of His eye and the objects of His deep affection.. His capacity to see beyond our many flaws is incomprehensible.. humans get frustrated so quickly so often.. God is not like that.. I pray we all understand this Easter that His life was poured our for us, yes because of sin, but oh yes because of love, a great love for each of us personally.. we are always invited, always included, always wanted, forever cherished and lavishly loved. Yes and amen.

  • “Let nothing keep us from joining in the feast. For as gracious as our God has been in His invitation, not one of us can fathom the goodness He’s prepared for us—for all who love Him—in the days to come” I love this so much! Jesus, let me not miss the feast!

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

  • isn’t it a wonderful thought, that we can look forward to a life in heaven!

  • Tochi Heredia

    Today’s reading reminded me of this quote by C. S. Lewis, from his book The Four Loves:

    “For a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends “You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. They are, like all beauties, derived from Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing. At this feast it is He who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. It is He, we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside. Let us not reckon without our Host.”
    I’m convicted of sometimes believing that I can earn that invitation by my own achievements. But if it wasn’t for Jesus, we wouldn’t even be invited.

    Father, when we think we’re better than another human being, or self-sufficient, or good in any way, let us see ourselves in comparison to your perfect goodness. You alone are holy, may your Spirit move us to never think highly of ourselves and to never withhold our love and compassion to another person

  • “It’s all part of the The Plan.” A friend of mine told me she reminds herself of this truth often, as a parent of triplet one-year olds. When they are late, someone is crying, some one is hungry, someone needs a diaper change….all at the same time. It’s all part of the The Plan. I’ve felt a huge sense of peace as I’ve now made this my mantra, repeating it to myself often as my two very young children have some pretty unscheduled needs. Try as I may to organize my day, my babies have different needs and it often leaves me feeling tired and frazzled; scrambling to make sure I don’t forget a diaper bag or to make dinner. I try to center myself by reminding myself that all this -this chaos, messy house, babies crying, no sleep – is all part of The Plan. His plan surpasses anything I could create, it will have more purpose; a more significant outcome.
    Isaiah 55:8 “For My thought are not your thoughts, My ways are not your ways.”
    1 Corinthians 2:9 “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him'”

    • Zoe

      Spot on momma! May God shower you with his grace and strength today and always.

    • rebecca7395

      Sarah, thank you so much for sharing this! I have a similar mantra to help me through the days raising our family! The Lord blessed my husband and I with 3 children, but it took 8 years and 3 miscarriages to get them. I gave up my dream of a larger family. Imagine our surprise, when at 40 the Lord opened my womb!! We had 2 more children in 2 years. Now facing turning 44 this summer (and my husband will be 55), I am pregnant with number 6! I am beyond thankful, but pregnancy is so much harder than it was when I was 25, 30, and 33. Long gone are the days of a perfect home, always washed clothes and dishes. Sometimes after a night of little sleep and facing a mountain of cleaning, I will wonder why the Lord didn’t bless us with these children 15 or 20 years ago!! But it’s all part of His plan. Amen!

      • She Reads Truth

        Rebecca – wow!! Blown away by this. Thank you so much for sharing.

        – Stormye

      • Bree

        congratulations Rebecca (I pray for your growing family) ! God has a lovely plan for your family clearly!

  • As just losing a precious cousin to cancer, I pray that I, his whole family, and especially his mom hold on to Isaiah 55:8 and believe that God has a greater purpose in this.. please pray for the hearts of my family at this time. I love this community and pray that each of you are blessed abundantly

  • Morning all! First time commenter here. I just wanted to share a song written by the worship team at my old church called “Trees Will Clap.” It’s based on Isaiah 55.
    Even my 3 yo and 2 yo love to sing and clap along to this. Hope you all have a wonderful day!
    http://crossingsongs.com/album/liturgy-of-seasons-vol-iii-springs-ardor

  • Some of my favorite verses are in chapter 55. I especially like verse 7, “…let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” I love that God doesn’t just pardon us. He abundantly pardons us. He brings out the best robe, puts a ring on our finger and kills the fatted calf. And we celebrate!
    Have a blessed day, sisters!

  • “…let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
    let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

    Abundantly pardon.

    What a glorious thought. To turn from our sinful ways and be met with the lavish love of God. We turn from death and sadness and brokenness and are caught up in the wide, deep, and long love of Christ. We are wrapped in his arms.

    • Audrey

      These verses jumped out to me as well not only for the personal gratitude that He freely pardons my mess but also a deep conviction to never stand in the way of another repenting. I hate to admit it but I judge! There will be people I meet who I have a hard time accepting into the family because of whatever stupid thing my mind conjures up and I have to remember God freely pardons every single soul who seeks him. Who am I to turn my back instead of cheer them on? May we not simply let others turn to God but may we be women who celebrate and cheer for them as they do so…no matter who they are!

      • Heather

        So true. I’ve had to confess my own judgment of others and my self-righteous pride as well. God welcomes me abundantly just as he welcomes other sinners abundantly. I do not need to stand in the way of his grace. ❤

    • Emily B.

      I feel like we’ve been seeing a lot of opposites in the passages and devotions this week, and your comment hits on that, too. I love how God turns things around. Thank you for giving me yet another connection today!

  • For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways. – Isaiah 55:8. This is such a good reminder to me this morning. God is with us but is above us, He is in heaven and looking at things eternally, unlike us humans who tend to focus on the immediate of what our current situation is. He is looking at the picture as a whole. We each are a brush stroke in a painting, but without that brush stroke the painting isn’t complete. Thank you, God for your love for us and making each one of us so important in Your plan! Thank you for Your beautiful grace when we think our thoughts are bigger or better than Yours and when we think we know better. Forgive us and continue to guide us closer to You.

  • I loved this mornings reading, there is so much hope and promise in it! The Lord reminds us that His thoughts are beyond what we can imagine and that just a rain falls from heaven and causes the ground to produce fruit, His word will also produce what He has set for it. He is gathering not only Israel, but also… we are being gathered to Him. And in our belief, we will have streams of living waters that flow from deep within us. I want this today… I want to lean on His promises, to touch others with the flow of waters from within and to trust that He has something for me is using me to do His work.

  • Such a rich reading this morning…again calling all nations to Himself…promises so filled with His love and compassion…a House of prayer for all nations…going out with joy and being led forth with peace…my heart cry is to be that one shouting from the house top the “good news” of such a love, an open and free invitation to COME!!! Drink & eat of The Lord’s bounty!!! His Word will not return void!! Let us declare it today…with sweet humility ….in the power of The Holy Spirit. and God will be glorified..amen!
    Blessings dear SRT Sisters… Acts 20:32 <

  • Thank you dear Lord for preparing a place for me. Thank you that I can hear your invitation to come! You make a way for us through that narrow gate to have all the abundance for eternity. Your grace touches me so. I can only imagine that day when I will be with the Lord in his presence. I pray that I serve you well and plant your seed in another. In Jesus name amen

  • 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” This verse is so appealing to me. It sounds so satisfying and refreshing. Who would not want rivers of living ware to flow from within? And all it takes is belief ?! LOrd, help me with my unbelief, guide me back to you always so that your Holy Spirit may dwell in me.

  • Churchmouse

    It seems to me that when the Creator of the entire universe says “Come!”, you come. I’ve had the privilege of meeting two USA presidents (one from each political party) one in a casual, surprise encounter, the other more formal. When the President speaks, you listen. When the Secret Service motions for you to come closer, you move closer. Authority demands action. How awesome it is that the Supreme authority, God Himself, repeatedly calls for any and all of us to “Come!”. And we can walk right up to Him. We can freely converse with Him. Unlike my brief encounters with President Clinton and President Bush, we can actually say we know Him and He will say He knows us. We can then turn to others and introduce them to Him -no Secret Service to block the way – because we have first come. We have His authority to invite others to come. Authority demands action. Oh Lord, may I use the authority You have given me to eagerly invite others to come, that they might know You and rest in Your Presence and Your promises. Amen.

    • Kovalentine

      Love this! Thank you for sharing!

    • Brandi

      I love this! Authority demands action! Yes! So wonderful that I am known to Him! He knows me better than I know myself. He loves me still! Oh Father that I would continue to come closer and to live in a way that those around me want to meet you too!

    • She Reads Truth

      What a great illustration! Thank you for sharing, Churchmouse!

      – Stormye

  • Elisabeth7291

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts…my word shall not return empty….the foreigner…will be (brought) to my holy mountain.

    Some of my favorite scripture in these two chapters. As we were trudging through the first half of this book I had to remind myself often of the verse from this morning’s reading – my word shall not return empty. And this morning I must say, “how lovely are the feet of him who brings good news.”

    Blessings, sisters.

    • Cindy

      :-) Oh I so agree! It has been a trudge but today we land on several of my favorite life-changing oft-quoted or sung passages. A delicious extravagant meal!

  • The baby woke up this morning at 3:40 AM. I am trying not to be bitter about that–she’s asleep in my arms now but I’m wide awake. I smiled wryly at Isaiah 56:10–“they lie around and dream; they love to sleep.” There are lots of verses in the Bible that reference a love of sleep as the mark of a sluggard, so I am focusing today on trying to use these sleepless times wisely! Been reading “The Miracle Morning” and if you ignore the semi-new-agey bits, it’s actually fantastic advice about getting up early and focusing your day on your life purpose. I’ve been able to wake and stay current on this study like never before. Grateful for these quiet early morning times to focus and rest, even if that means not sleeping. Solidarity to all you 3 AM mamas out there! We will go out with joy and be lead forth with peace! :)

    • amyloukuo

      Good morning Heather! I am not a mama but too find myself awake this early. I’d love to look into that book you suggested! Praying for rest for you and your baby!

    • Alexandra

      I’ve heard about that book – and just googled/pinned the info instead of reading it – but I love it. I am SO not a morning person, especially with a toddler and an autoimmune disease but for the last couple of months, if I don’t get up at 5 and have my quiet time, coffee and shower, the rest of my day is so thrown off! Enjoy every second of those 3:40am snuggles. I miss them so much already!

    • Emily

      Heather, I know for certain you wrote these words just for me. As my alarm went off at 5:15 I was so groggy and bargained with God and said, I don’t want to get up but if I do please speak to me. ( a challenge I don’t recommends because he will ALWAYS rise to the challenges) You see, these last couple of nights I have been hesitantly falling asleep because my husband is out of town and my 2 year old has been randomly waking up at 4 am screaming there is a horse in her room. She doesn’t go back to bed and it makes for a LONG day. So as my head hit the pillow last night, I fervently prayed to God that he would both give us sleep tonight. Praise him that he did, but as a mama I still woke up 3 times wondering if I heard her cries on the baby monitor. Now hence why I’m so groggy and wanted to roll over and turn off the alarm. So as I opened the word this morning and read this precious text – then swiped to the comments, you were the first I read. Your first sentence literally hit me “the baby woke up this morning at 3:40″. Tears welled in my eyes because once again, ever so gently he’s showing me how much he loves me and that I am not alone and that there are sisters out there going through the same thing and that my prayers are heard and I must cling to him always. This story may seem so silly to you but just realizing as I dared to challenge God vs choosing sleep, he took me in his arms and showed me his grace. I know this is way more than you want to read, but I literally feel like you wrote those words just for me. Have a great day sister!

    • Mari

      I remember those days like they were yesterday and how I long to hold my babies in my arms like that. I remember sometimes crying because I was so sleep deprived. Now as a mother of a teenager and preteen I long for those sleepless nights and hold my babies in my arms again. Funny thing is my teenage son can now hold ME in his arm! Treasure those moments (as I know you do) because there here today and gone tomorrow. Blessings Heather.

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