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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Be alert! Be present!

"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine.  When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.  When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end—because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior.  I paid a huge price for you...  So don't be afraid: I'm with you."  (Is. 43:1-4)

What a wonderful message given to Israel all those years ago.  I have redeemed you - paid the ransom price to give you your freedom.  I have called your name - specifically recognizing that you are mine. I think God says the same thing today to each of us - I've redeemed you and called your name.  Awesome!  I like the next part best - when we are in over our heads, he'll be there with us!  God knows perfectly well that we are creatures of habit - if we got into the mess we are in once, we're likely to get into it again!  He promises to be right there alongside us even when we are in the mess we have made by our own doing - our own ill-chosen path. 

God knows our present situation, just as much as he knew our past and sees our future.  He sees all the mess of our lives and is continually attentive to guiding us to know the steps to take to get out of it!  Yet, we don't get out of the mess we have made of our lives alone - he is right there, guiding us each step of the way.  It is important to stop here for a moment.  None of us can "go it alone" in life.  We may try, but eventually our need will become too great for us to bear up under alone.  We'll feel the pressures of life mounting - either because we have enjoyed greater success than we are emotional or spiritually capable of handling without it crushing us from a pride standpoint; or we will have failed so miserably that we wallow in self-pity and shame.  When we are in that state - he reaches out with the redeemer's hand, pulling us out of the mess and setting us on a firm footing again.

Isaiah goes on in this same chapter to tell us that God wants us to be alert - to live in the present.  It is of no value to dwell on the past - it only pulls us down and keeps us rooted in what "was" or "could have been". 

"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history.  Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new."  (Is. 43:18-19)

God asks us to be alert and to be present.  If we are, we won't miss what he is about to do.  See what he promises - I am about to do something brand new.  Not something refurbished or re-invented, but something brand new.  That is exactly what God does in our lives - he makes us brand spanking new!  Our part - be present!  Pay attention to what he is doing - use your senses to take in what is all around us.  God gives his revelation to those who are alert, present in what he is doing. 

We often get so "stuck" in the way it "was" that we cannot see the hope or the potential of the way it "is" today.  We can miss the tremendous blessing of today's revelation of God if we are so focused on the "what if's" of yesterday, or the "could be's" of tomorrow.  Two simple commands:  Be alert!  Be present!  Yet, so very difficult to accomplish in our daily walk, huh?  Let's begin today afresh, asking God to help us be both alert and present in our walk with him.  In so doing, we are asking God to take the "in over our heads" choices we've made and turn them around into something "brand new" that only he is capable of doing.