The Ransomed Return to Zion

Open Your Bible

Isaiah 35:1-10, Isaiah 36:1-22, Hebrews 12:14, Revelation 21:4

Text: Isaiah 35:1-10, Isaiah 36:1-22, Hebrews 12:14, Revelation 21:4

I lead a women’s Bible study at The Next Door, a faith-based residential addiction recovery program. When visiting, I always bring dark chocolate (which, admittedly, is self-serving), and some small amenity they don’t have easy access to, like good shampoo or soft socks. Just a little treat to remind them someone’s pulling for them while they’re fighting the toughest battle of their lives.

So when I went to Ireland a few years ago, I picked up a some small souvenirs for my Next Door friends: some fancy European chocolate, miniature Celtic crosses, and cheesy leprechaun keychains. I also kept a few euros, assuming they might enjoy seeing the difference between European money and American money.

But when I got back home I thought twice about bringing them the euros. I wondered if giving them foreign coins might come across as condescending since that’s usually the type of trinket you give a child. Or if it would rub salt in their wounds, since most of them are on parole because of past felonies and are very limited when it comes to traveling within the US, much less internationally. In the end, I decided to leave the coins in my bag and thought, “I’ll just play it by ear when I get there.”  

Of course my gracious friends were overtly appreciative of everything—they ate the chocolate, clasped the crosses to their chests, and carefully divided the euros among themselves, proclaiming the coins to be “really cool.” Then we put the treats aside so we could dive into a story about Jesus together. I didn’t give the Irish booty another thought until I got home later that night and received this exact text from one of “my girls” named Sheri:

one of the things i feel the worst about was when i stole my dads rare coin collection so i could get high. But with no gift for father’s day yet i now have the best gift i could give him, a new rare and cool coin! That’s how Jesus works! thanks lisa

During my next visit, Sherri explained how deeply ashamed she’d been of stealing from her father because unlike almost everyone else in her life, he’d never given up on her. She’d worried about what—if anything—she could get him for Father’s Day because she didn’t have much money. Then she beamed at me and said, “But then you showed up and gave me that rare and precious coin which is the perfect Father’s Day gift. I can’t wait to give it to him on Sunday!”

Left speechless and close to collapsing into a blubbering heap, I handed her a small velvet bag containing every single foreign coin I’d dug out of my dresser after receiving her text, and said, “Why don’t you give him these, too?”

I’m continually amazed by how redemptive our Redeemer is, lavishly covering our mistakes with the cape of His mercy, faithfully promising us a glorious future that will not be limited or defined or tarnished by the past. This is the resounding theme in today’s reading:

“‘Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God… he will save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert…”
– Isaiah 35:4-6

Just as God proved Himself faithful to rescue and restore our ancestors, the theocracy of Israel and King Hezekiah, so will He always prove Himself faithful to us. He will bring us to our forever home.

However dry and parched your emotional landscape may feel this season, don’t despair. Because when the rain of God’s reign inevitably falls, your life will bloom.


Lisa Harper is a master storyteller with a masters of Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary. She’s lauded as an engaging, hilarious communicator as well as an authentic and substantive Bible teacher. She’s been in vocational ministry for 30 years and has written 15 books and Bible study curriculums but says her greatest accomplishment by far is that of becoming Missy’s (her adopted daughter from Haiti) mama! They live on a hilly farmette south of Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy eating copious amounts of chips, queso, and guacamole.

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89 thoughts on "The Ransomed Return to Zion"

  1. Maria Baer says:

    “I’m continually amazed by how redemptive our Redeemer is, lavishly covering our mistakes with the cape of His mercy…” oh how this made me burst into tears. This really touched me because I tend to dwell at times in my past mistakes and park in the feelings they stir, not realizing that I’ve been forgiven and continuing to dwell there is like saying I do not believe God has that redemptive power.

  2. Juli Futrell says:

    What a beautiful story on the devotional today. Jesus truly redeems every part of our lives. He’s so breathtakingly stunning

  3. Keena DaSilva says:

    Such a great post! Thank you!!

  4. Emilee says:

    I’m a few days behind on my reading…obviously but this was beautiful. Our God really does love us so deeply and He redeems those things we once thought were lost.

  5. Andrea Cantu says:

    I love how God really does redeem our lost time and mistakes.

  6. Nads says:

    Ladies, I have agreed with everyone who has had difficulty with the “history” parts of Isaiah but, today’s reading gave me so much joy…bringing me back to how beautifully these stories and themes are explored in the Chronicles of the Kungs series by Lynn Austen…I’m not a great reader but, found myself getting through huge chunks at a time. (The first book is the least captivating to me but, then awesome after that.)


  7. Zoe says:

    I am a fool. I act like I’ve learned nothing–like God has done nothing for me–on a regular basis! Glad His grace will always keep me from going astray.
    “I, the Lord, am it’s keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day.” Isaiah 27:3

  8. Tricia C says:

    Well I’m a day late doing this reading but what a blessing. It’s nice to read God’s Word, he commentary by Lisa, and then see what all of you lovely women have to say!
    Have a blessed weekend sisters!

  9. Tina says:

    What a beautiful story about Sherri and the coins… A small act, that blesses two fold… I love it… !
    I work with the disadvantaged, the marginalised in our society, so I was moved to tears with Sherris story…
    I think there are two sides to that coin, excuse the pun… 1) the changing heart and mind of someone who has not had an easy time, but is working her way back to be the person God has created het to be in His image… The repentant heart, the wanting to right the wrong done to her father, the joy in realising she could make amends, in love, to her dad. Sherri didn’t want those euros for herself, she wanted to bless her dad, she wanted to say I’m sorry, forgive me dad, I’m changing. … I’ve changed. . I love you and thank you for being dad.
    Lord. I would just like to thank you for Sherri, and her life change, her mind change, her heart change… Thank you that you love her and that you never let go of those you love… I pray continued grace over her Lord God, and I pray your freedom from the past over her… Thank you that you are washing her white as snow, that you are putting a new, God lead heart in her..Thank you Lord. Thank you. X

    Thank you Lisa Harper for equipping her to be a blessing, for giving and showing love that blessed her to want to bless another… my heart sings this morning. ..Thank you.

    2) But God….
    His arms are open…. WIDE. His hands outstretched…. FURTHER. His heart thumping …. With LOVE. His grace sufficient for ALL in our weaknesses.
    Oh how He loves us!
    Thank you Lord.


    Praying God turn His face to shine on each and everyone of you my beautifully are in God’s image sisters…xxx

    1. Clarene Radford says:

      Amen Tina. I come into agreement with you regarding Sherri. Thank you for the prayer at the end. I appreciate it. Thank you.

    2. Sandy W. says:

      Love your comments Tina!

  10. Kristen says:

    I loved Isaiah 35:8: “… it shall belong to those who walk on the Way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.” So grateful for glimpses of grace – even in the midst of all of the pain and destruction. And for a God who is faithfully calling, redeeming, and providing the Way – even in the midst of my foolishness.

    1. Clarene Radford says:

      Yes Kristen! I love this scripture as well. Even if they are fools they shall not go astray…Isaiah 35.8. Girlfriend in Christ, I can’t help but to think about His faithfulness as well and through His Grace He redeems us. Now in return the Love God so freely gives us, the mercy and grace He extends to us daily, how we dare not extend to others. We all have or had acted foolishly too. Great post Kristen!

  11. Sarah D. says:

    Wow. The last part reminds me of the song “There Is A Cloud” by Elevation Worship
    “For the dry season is over, there is a Cloud, beginning to swell…we receive Your rain…like a flood, we receive Your love”
    Thank you Lord for being there. You can bring good, even out of the midst of a storm. Thank you for nevering leaving my side.

    1. Sarah D. says:

      Also reminds me of the song Starlight by Bethel music:
      He comes in close, even in the waiting, even in the midst and after the storm. “You’re not far away, you’re coming close…You are closer than the very oxygen I’m breathing.”

  12. Sara says:

    It has been so easy to despair in the desert season. I’ve been so discouraged by even a small group that dismissed me because a study we were doing caused me to have panic attacks, & they kept praying that I’d soften my heart toward something that triggered things that are not yet healed. I’ve been worried about a job that I’m a doormat at, & not finding something better. And, so down because I don’t see any end to this season, or even a chance to move from where I’m at (in more ways than one). And just. Man. What a reminder. God is faithful. One day He’s going to bring me to that forever home. One day all this sorrow will be gone. Ready for it. Excited for it!!

    1. Bev says:

      Praying for you, Sara, that you will have confidence in those ‘streams in the desert’ and that hope will bring you comfort.

      1. Sara says:

        Thank you!!

    2. Kelsey says:

      Sara, I can relate–to the panic attacks, to the worry about work, and to the feeling that this season will never end. I’m praying for you, and praying that the inevitable blessing rain will pour down soon. Sending you lots of love!

  13. Carrie Rogers says:

    My heart is open shouting Yes, Yes, Yes!

  14. Meredith Lea says:

    That was a good one! Cried reading it!

  15. Caroline says:

    Isaiah has been rocking me lately! I love this verse and I love —-> “However dry and parched your emotional landscape may feel this season, don’t despair. Because when the rain of God’s reign inevitably falls, your life will bloom.” Come on DOWNPOUR!

  16. Emily says:

    Thank you ladies for praying with me in the loss of my baby yesterday. It meant more than I can say. Clinging to the word this morning as my body and heart feel like an empty desert…
    “the wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing.” Isaiah 35:1-2
    He is good and my life will bloom again. thankful for this community and His word.

    1. Kendra says:

      Still praying, Emily- for peace and assistance as you walk through your grief.

    2. Sara says:

      Praying still!

    3. Churchmouse says:

      Prayers continue. Hugging you from here.

    4. Cecilia says:

      Wrapping you in prayers.

    5. Miranda says:

      Oh Emily…. there just are no words. I had to say goodbye to my twin daughters five years ago and the ache is so deep. I am praying for God to wrap His loving arms around you

    6. ~ B ~ says:

      Emily, I am so sorry. Prayerful that God cover you with an unbelievable peace in your grief.

  17. Casey says:

    My life has really been a desert for the past few years and when you’re stuck in that desert for so long, it becomes so easy to forget that anything else exists. That’s why I love the verse on the photo today, Isaiah 35:1. I love that it says the desert and wilderness will be glad and blossom again. Because sometimes when you’re standing out there and all you can see is sand, it feels impossible that there will ever be gladness again. But slowly, God has been healing and restoring and building a deeper faith in me. And isn’t that amazing how He can use our desert places, our heartbreaks, our disappointments and turn them into something good that draws us deeper into relationship with Him? It’s like He’s trying to show us that we were only scratching the surface before and now we’re ready to take the plunge! Always scary, sometimes hard and always good in the end.

    1. Cecelia Enns Schulz says:

      I completely understand. And I’m reminded of Hosea 2:14 But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.
      Sometimes the desert is exactly the place where God leads us into a deeper understanding of who he is and who we are. He WILL turn our Valley of Achor into a gateway of hope!

    2. Lara says:

      I hear you Casey! I have experienced His tenderness in the wilderness. Still do really. In my eyes life still looks like a desert. I guess what God really sees is a glorious opportunity to be alone with us and have our undivided attention. And yes, we long for the blossoming part, but I guess once we trust and let go and embrace the desert and the intimacy with Him… that would be what a sanctified life looks like.
      Bless you! ❤ Good to know we’re not the only ones living a desert life.

  18. Sharon says:

    I have been in a void lately. Chaos of job/creative life/church/aging mother/aging business partner. I have let it take over my peace. The anxiety of it can be paralyzing. I just keep slogging through, but have become more and more reclusive. I made my daily recovery an endless dawning of days mired in mindless computer games/jigsaw puzzles, or endless failures of paintings that are meant to bring joy to the life of a creative sort. Lent came and has been passing in a blur with nary a thought from me. This morning, I heard the whisper. I searched for “best online bible studies”, and landed here. I read this message, and clicked on Isaiah 35:1-10, and there was God speaking as if only to me (He has a way of doing that for all of us). To see my own name called out on the page brought immediate tears of release. Coming home to God’s word, and being directed to this particular devotion and Bible verse…well…a good way to start the day. Sharon means a level place or plain. Sharon valley was apparently a very lovely and fertile place. This message called me to remember to be fertile in planting seeds of encouragement, kindness, peace and perseverance. To nourish the seeds of gifts planted in me that are meant to be shared with others. Splashing my favorite color of joy in having received this gift this morning.

    1. DebbieinAZ says:

      Sharon, so glad you found us. This is a wonderful place to learn and share. Hope you stay a while. Praying Gods abundant blessings on you and yours this morning.

    2. Mary says:

      Isn’t it wonderful how God meets us in our need? Praise Him!!❤

  19. Keri McCue says:

    “However dry and parched your emotional landscape may feel this season, don’t despair. Because when the rain of God’s reign inevitably falls, your life will bloom.” I love this!! It is such a reminder of God’s sovereignty and grace!! Knowing that, in the end, He will still be reigning is so comforting :)

  20. Susie says:

    So good! The last line in todays devotional is full of hope. ‘However dry and parched your emotional landscape may feel this season, don’t despair. Because when the rain of God’s reign inevitably falls, your life will bloom.’ I read it with a personalized twist, …because when the rain of God’s reign inevitably falls, my life will bloom.

  21. Kelsey says:

    What a great reminder that God can redeem all aspects of our lives. I know I have a lot of shortcomings and make mistakes but I can rejoice knowing that God can still use those things for His glory. Hallelujah!

  22. Miss M says:

    Isaiah 35 was a balm. It was redemptive.
    May joy and gladness overtake us all!

  23. Katalina says:

    I remember the garden analogy that has been mentioned before so to hear it again must be confirmation from the Lord! There are times when our struggles seem to be everlasting. You may have a garden thats wilting, seeds are not sprouting, and you find yourself questioning why this is happening or what else you can do to save it. Years could have passed and you still see the same result. If this has happened to you, like it has to me, I’m here as testimony to tell you just keep going. Even if you give up, remember that God never gives up on you. When everyone else turns away, just thinking about the love and mercy Christ has for His people should give you that little energy you have left to push forward and try one more time. He made you. He created you for a purpose. He is so faithful and He tells you to not be afraid. We may not understand it, the obstacles we face or the length of each hardship, but one thing we can always put our faith in and find peace in is God.

  24. Tochi Heredia says:

    “They shall see the glory of the Lord,
    the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands,
    and make firm the feeble knees.
    Say to those who have an anxious heart,
    “Be strong; fear not!
    Behold, your God
    will come with vengeance,
    with the recompense of God.
    He will come and save you.” —Isaiah 35:2-3

    This verse stood out to me because of the use of present tense.
    We have the assurance today that we will see God’s glory. No matter how devastatingly grim everything around us seems to be, he’ll deliver us.

    Today we can strengthen, make firm, and say, because we shall see and He shall come.
    Thanks be to God.

  25. ~ B ~ says:

    “‘Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God… he will save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert…”
    – Isaiah 35:4-6

    The other day I referenced a hard season here. One of many in my marriage, really, but the culminating one that would bring about real change for me. And today, Isaiah’s 35:4-6 reminds me how very true God’s word is. Here, He returned the Jews from Exile and He did the same for my husband, who has he puts it was years “in his own prison”. We celebrate the anniversary of His “exchange” in just a few days days, it’s been nine years now and life prior seems so distant. My handsome husband once blinded by his own sin, once deafened by his own pride and paralyzed by his own fear, now free and running like the deer in this passage. Just last night our eldest daughter was sitting at our dining table with us as we chatted and my husband and I began discussing a small issue.

    Upon coming home from a little work, my younger kiddos were requiring my assistance what seemed like each minute and there was an undercurrent of hidden stress for me that allowed their need of me to cause some outward expression of stress from me and then …. sugar. I sat at the table talking about how I had forgotten to grab sugar for my husband’s coffee so I had to run out in the midst of it all to pick some up, so he’d have some with his coffee. He smiled and said, “B, I could have gone without. You didn’t need to make a special trip”, to which my response was something like, “Well, I didn’t know that. You’ve always needed sugar and I just wanted to take care of you” … He went on about how he can also take care of himself and that I needed to not worry so much about his needs, especially on days like those …. as we spoke, our daughter started laughing. We stopped speaking and looked at her, this beauty who endured much with us and witnessed, years ago, atrocities I’d never wish on any adult, let alone child. Immediately, she said, “Wow, you guys have changed so much that you’re arguing about SUGAR!” She proceeded to add, “You’re just old now”, which I found totally unnecessary but nevertheless we laughed along side her. My husband smiled, turned to me and high fived me for our ridiculousness. We got a good chuckle at the situation because she was right. Things have changed. And I consider that in a season my husband is without employment which is enough to stress any normal soul, and yet there is so much crazy peace, add to that today we will say good-bye to my husband’s old and faithful pup and still this redeemed man leads with a smile, knowing full well how merciful our Lord has been to us.

    Ladies, God is so good to fulfill His word, both scriptural word and personal word. I am so thankful He delivered my family and rejoice that, unbeknownst to me, it was years in the making. Our exile ended and our family leaps for joy and drinks of the lovely water He has provided. I’m prayerful that this be our daily thanks, whether now in celebrating 9 years redeemed or 50 … to God be the glory! And friends, as always you are all prayed for today, as well. I don’t have adequate words for what God has gifted me in this beautiful community and your love over one another, myself included, is a beautiful example of loving thy neighbor …. even if over the web. :)

    1. ~ B ~ says:

      I must have entered my email address incorrectly. Doesn’t surprise me today. :)

      1. Kelli says:

        This is such a powerful, beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing!

        1. ~ B ~ says:

          I am happy to share! :)

      2. BML says:

        Thank you B, I was in the same situation for many years. My husband was in such bondage of sin which caused such anger, shame, and distancing himself from the family. It caused much heartache but drew me so close to the Lord and dependence on Him. He pushed our children so far from him and hurt them in so many ways. But praise God we are about to celebrate 8 years of victory from bondage. God uses him so much now to minister in the lives of so many others. Many bridges have been repairs with the children, though there is still work to be done in some areas. My terribly dry desert has turned into such a beautiful blooming garden. We continue to learn from the Lo d and grow together in Him. The many, many years of hurt are far in the past now. It has been all God doing wonderful miracles. Ladies don’t give up, no matter how many years it takes. Do not let Satan rob your victory by becoming bitter and giving up. Continue to serve your husband as unto the Lord, 1 Peter 3:1. Thank you son much for your testimony, B.

        1. ~ B ~ says:

          I love hearing this! God is so good to turn it all around. Congratulations on 8 years, BML!

      3. Miranda says:

        I am so thankful that you shared this here B. It helps me to know I am not alone

        1. ~ B ~ says:

          Miranda, you, by far, are not alone. Not only is God with you but there are so many like you and I pray that He surround you with “standers” who will cover you in prayer and lift you up.

    2. Churchmouse says:

      And you have greatly blessed me. Thank you for sharing your struggles and your great joys – life lived relying on the Lord!

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        Your words are a balm, Churchmouse. Every single day. Love to you and yours!

    3. Audrey says:

      What a great testimony! Thank you for sharing

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        Happy to! :)

    4. Susan says:

      Thank you for opening your heart and giving me glimpses of hope! I have been trusting God for this miracle in my marriage for years. He is able and one day soon I know God will grab his heart and tear down the walls of anger, pride, and control and he will let God rule his heart, mind, soul and spirit. For now I keep praying to keep my attitude and heart pure and for him.

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        Susan, I am so sorry for this season of marriage for you. I know the pain in it and will be prayerful over you. You are so right to pray over your attitude towards him, it’s so important to remember who the enemy is while trying to navigate the emotional minefield of this all. Hugs to you friend! I am so hopeful God will redeem for you!

    5. Zoe says:

      Thank you for sharing your testimony; it was really encouraging to me. I’ve grown up witnessing a lot of strife in my parents’ marriage and right now I don’t know what’s going to happen with them, let alone in my own future marriage. It’s scary not knowing, and recognizing that strife will certainly be a part of it, but thank you for sharing your story of redemption after years of what may have seemed like a hopeless situation. The Lord is faithful and His plans are good, no matter how long it takes us to see that ❤

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        It is never too late for God to restore. I just watched testimony of a 70-year old woman who accepted Jesus for the first time in her life and all the changes that came with it. It is never, ever too late, Zoe. I am so sorry that as a daughter you have had a front row seat to the destruction the enemy can cause, but I pray that God redeems your parent’s marriage, your heart over it and that He protects your marriage in the midst of it all. So much love for you sweet sister.

    6. Sarah says:

      Thank you for sharing B! Rejoicing with you today!

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        Thank you, Sarah. I am daily rejoicing! :)

    7. She Reads Truth says:

      Thank you for sharing this – what a beautiful thing to be able to celebrate! Rejoicing with you this morning, friend!

      – Stormye

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        Thank you, Stormye. So incredibly grateful for God’s amazing redemption in it and how specific He was in it. Right down to redeeming my husband on the 16th anniversary of the very day our relationship began …. talk about redeeming the entire thing! He is so good.

    8. Casey says:

      So appreciate your sharing today! I needed the reminder of God’s redeeming power and that it can take time!!

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        His time is so different than ours, but always so perfect. I know the time in the middle is the hardest part. Prayerful that God lifts your exile season, Casey.

    9. Cecilia says:

      Oh B, your comments are always a blessing but particularly today, thank you. It doesn’t seem like there is a valley deeper than the turmoil that is my marriage – the enemy had a grip on my husband & I can only pray, use God’s word and hold on tight to his promises. He has and will continue to change me as I focus what He wants me to learn. Yet I am crushed for my toddler whose little heart hurts when she sees the constant eruptions of anger & then draws pics to help me feel better. What I wanted for my family versus what I am currently wading through couldn’t be more different BUT don’t get me wrong… God is with me. I will not fear. Thy will be done. I feel like my life is falling apart but that beaut of a song by Casting Crowns reminds me, it’s falling into place. And when sisters on SRT share their experiences and hearts with everyone, the encouragement is truly a blessing. Thanks again B!! ❤

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        Cecilia, your comment broke my heart because I can recall so vividly things my kiddos were privy to and I am just so thankful that their memory now is so incredibly limited. God is so good to repair it all. In fact, there was a day I felt destroyed over it all and screamed out to God wondering how He could “sit by” while we screwed up our children this way. Wondering what life would look like for them … and God was so quick to remind me that they are more His children than mine and that He can reroute their paths, clean up any destruction and set them on a course that diminishes any heartache. He can redeem the children too! So I just want you to feel encouraged that this won’t always be your picture or your daughter’s. I feel compelled to say that if you are ever in need of prayer, you are welcome to shoot me an email and I will be so prayerful. I know there are dark moments and you are not alone. I promise, none of you ladies are alone. ~ [email protected]

    10. Mari says:

      B, thank you so much for sharing this! I am encouraged!

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        Thank YOU for your kind words, Mari! Love to you!

  26. ZFM says:

    We receive Your rain!

  27. Sarah says:

    In Isaiah 36 when The Rabshakeh came, almost mocking King Hezekiah And his God, i was reminded of how much in society we as Christians are told or asked questions like ‘I can do more than your God.’, or ‘is He really that powerful?’ Or ‘i can make you happy / happier.’ This is what the Rabshakeh was doing taunting what had been happening in their land. We need to be careful because after time and time of hearing this we may start to believe them. Sin happens slowly sometimes. We need to stand firm in our God. Even when it’s difficult. It was a good reminder today that no matter who says what to me I need to “pursue peace with everyone, and holiness – without it no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) and I need to stand firm in The Lord our God and not believe necessarily what society or other say will make me happy or smarter or cooler or whatever else they say. And that I need to pray for those people.

    1. Kendra says:

      So true! Casting Crowns has a song called ‘slow fade’ talking about this. Thanks for sharing- it’s so important to stay rooted!

  28. Karen says:

    So dry and parched and desperately in need of His rain.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Praying for you, Karen. So, so glad you are in His Word today and in our community.

      – Stormye

  29. Churchmouse says:

    A four year old little boy has been beaten to death in my home town. A fourteen year old girl is brutally raped by two men in her high school. A London bridge becomes a terror site. Two toddlers are abducted in a car hijacking. The news is just. Too. Much. Look Oh Lord at what your creatures are doing to one another! How much longer, Lord? We are desperately in need of rescue and restoration. My heart breaks, yet I am holding on to Your faithfulness. I pray “Come Lord Jesus, come. Forgive us.”

    1. Whim says:

      Amen and amen

    2. Lexi says:

      My heart is so heavy from all this sadness and evil. I too pray often for Jesus to come and to come quickly. I remind myself this is my temporary home, and while I’m in it, I’m not OF IT! All thanks be to Jesus!

  30. Kristine L says:

    I took my first graders on a “signs of spring” hunt, drawing their attention to the little buds and first flush of green, things less obvious than the bright daffodils bobbing their heads. Today’s passage was like watching signs of spring creep over a landscape that this far has been, at least for me, pretty dry and desolate. Isaiah has been a tough read, but today felt like a little reward for our perseverance. I take comfort in Anna’s comment above, that some seeds take longer than others to show evidence of their growth, but even buried in the dirt as we sometimes are, there is life and hope.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      What a great perspective on this! Thank you for sharing, Kristine. I agree, today did feel good to read and reminded me that its so worth it to persevere. All of God’s Word is GOOD!

      – Stormye

  31. Kathleen says:

    Thank you Lord for leading us through this story. May we have new understand and reverence and gratitude for who You are and what You have done.

  32. Mel says:

    Great reminder for when we are unsure or uncertain of how God uses us. it brought to mind the passages from 1 Corinthians 26-31. 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord

    1. Ellen says:


    2. Katalina says:

      I agree, Amen!

    3. Naomi says:

      Amen and amen!

  33. Anna says:

    the gardening analogy at the end is interesting to me – a friend of mine was talking about Lent as a time to sow seeds of discipline that will yield a harvest in the following seasons. so if you’re not seeing results now in the midst of fasting and praying, or extended time in the word, please don’t be discouraged! spring is indeed coming and the seeds you’ve planted will produce growth!

    1. Rea says:

      That’s good!

    2. Ellen says:

      A few years ago, as a new Lenten practice, I started getting up at 5 am to spend time in Gods presence. I still continue this. I agree with your friend. Thank you for your words this morning.

      1. Shirley says:

        Ellen, I have been doing this as well for this season of lent. I agree it has indeed been precious and rewarding each morning. I actually look forward to getting up in the early morning quiet and feasting on God’s word

    3. Katalina says:

      Great reminder Anna! :)

    4. Elle says:

      Love this! I was just thinking about this on a walk yesterday. Nature shows us how to wait and grow. It may look like nothing is happening and all there is grey and dead branches, but underneath there is growth that will come to life come spring and Easter. It made me think about what I can do to really work to become a better person by the time lent is over and I’ve decided that I think I will start volunteering with a local groups that helps seniors. Plant the seeds now and they will grow into something beautiful!

      On a related note, there’s a videocast from a church in another state that I like to listen to and the preacher talked about how if you’re planting the seeds of faith you shouldn’t expect immediate rewards. Like a literal plant, it takes a long time to really build roots and flourish in faith.

    5. Miranda says:

      Love this