Tuesday, August 25, 2015

WHEN GOD SPEAKS......



By Angeline M Duran Santiago

What a blessing I had this morning, while on the J train and on my way to work. There are mornings where I just want to listen to music, but usually I set myself to have devotion time, or let's say, time to read the Scriptures and look forward to how God's Word will speak to me. I pray and hope that it will prepare me for the day. Today was one of those days where it seems the Bible came alive before me and I wanted to shout, "Praise the Lord!" and rejoice and even cry. But, imagine that? A grown woman getting all emotional in the sardine packed train, all while reading the Book of Isaiah?

Oh, but please let me share those passages that popped out at me today. God truly knew what I needed this morning. He knows our hearts and our minds. God understands our worries and thoughts.

Isaiah 50:2
said to me, "Do I lack the strength to save? Or is there no power in me to deliver?"

Wow! Thank you Lord, for reminding me there is nothing hard for you.





Look at Isaiah 51:7
"Listen to me, you who know righteousness, people who have my teaching in their heart; you must not fear the reproach of men, or be terrified because of their abuse."

Sometimes we are afraid of what we will face on the train, the bus, the street, the workplace or school. Isn't this a perfect scripture to remind us that we can't look into anyone's face and be fearless.

And then look at this one:
Isaiah 51:12
"I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man? He dies!"

Oh my Lord, if this doesn't speak deep into your heart as you are passing the storm, nothing will.

But, this is where I was taken away the most:
Isaiah 52:1
"Awake! Awake; put on your strength, Zion! Put on the garments of your beauty, Jerusalem, holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean shall not continue to enter you any longer. 



Well, let me tell you, that this just shook me up. You see, when I look at "Awake!" I see the exclamation marks at the end as if someone is yelling or speaking loudly and with authority to me. The word is saying, "Get up! Stop sleeping! Stand up! Get to that place in your mind and in your senses where you are ready to understand, ready to listen and comprehend the directions you are getting ready to receive." It says Awake, Awake! twice, so we pay attention, get up, wash the sleep off of our eyes and face and get ready. 




Then the directions come. We are instructed to put on strength. What? Really? I thought the joy of the Lord is my strength? I thought God is my strength and my salvation. Now, you are telling me not to just acknowledge He is your strength? What I understood this morning was that God's word was saying, "Angie, maybe today you don't feel strong. Maybe today you are tired and fed up. Maybe today you don't know what you are going to face." In my heart, I sensed the Lord telling me to go into a state of movement, maybe not in the realm of the reality around me, but in my heart and in my mind. God's word was instructing me to get up, lift up my arms and my hands and find the strength that I needed to find in Him, to stretch for it, to grab it and take it, to embrace it and put it on. It's not for me to wait on the Lord to fill me with strength, but for me to know it has already been provided for me, so reach out and take it, then dress yourself up in the strength of the Lord, all inside and upon you.

I went to the next one, "Shake yourself free from the dust!" If I have to shake myself free from the dust, then I am covered by it and if I am covered in it, then I must find myself in a place where the dust easily gets on me. To me, this must be the ground, or a locked away, abandoned place where dust has collected. Dust is found on forgotten shelves and in a place that is rarely visited and cleaned. I think of Dust in the desert, in a lonely place where few want to be. And then, this Word comes to us. "Shake" An instruction to follow. A word of action. "Yourself" to you who feels abandoned, alone and discouraged. To you who lays on the ground, trampled, defeated, unable to rise. "Shake yourself free from the dust!" What is the dust in your life? In my life? I felt the Lord saying, "Get rid of your negative thinking, believing you are less than other people, thinking you have nothing to say, seeing yourself as worthless, Shake this off!"




And then, "Rise up!" another instruction of action. Don't just shake yourself off, (In other words, don't wait for someone to pick you up and clean you up) but get it out of your system and then, Rise up, and sit! Wow! No longer on the floor, forgotten, broken and confused, but sitting in your right mind, confident, able, believing and hoping again. 

Free yourselves from the bonds of your neck, captive daughter of Zion!"
The last instruction here is again, not for anyone to help you, but for you and I to do it on your own. It says to free yourself from the bonds, (the torment, the thoughts, the pressure, the anxiety, the depression and wrong thinking, the things that keep you down) Free yourself.
You and I have been captive, enslaved and bound to the wrong thinking, the wrong feelings and attitudes even though we confess we are Christians and believe in God's word. 

I believe in my heart that this morning the Lord chose to encourage me. Can I share this with you, too? See, after it says to put on your strength, it also says to put on your garments of beauty. 
Beauty? I asked the Lord. What beauty? When God is your strength, you walk in confidence and you are bold. God's presence in you makes beautiful. There is beauty in your appearance when the lines of sadness and the signs of depression and despair are removed. There is beauty in your life when God's presence is greater than your weakness, stronger than your troubles, and bigger than your pain.
"Lord, do I even have those garments of beauty?" I ask Him.
And I realize those garments are in my hands, His Word, filling me with joy and peace.
Times of prayer in God's presence, the garments of beauty, readily available for me to put on.

My friend, my family, if you find yourself in need of encouragement, hear the Lord saying today, 




"Do I lack the strength to save? Or is there no power in me to deliver?"
"Listen to me, you who know righteousness, people who have my teaching in their heart; you must not fear the reproach of men, or be terrified because of their abuse."
"I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man? He dies!"
"Awake! Awake; put on your strength, Zion! Put on the garments of your beauty, Jerusalem, holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean shall not continue to enter you any longer. Shake yourself free from the dust! Rise up: sit, Jerusalem! Free yourselves from the bonds of your neck, captive daughter of Zion!"

I was the captive daughter of Zion, but now I am free! I was and I was and I was but now I am strong, I am fearless, I am dressed with beauty, I am awake and ready to face the world, I have shaken off my worries, my doubts and fears, I have risen in the confidence that I am God's child and nothing can overtake me, I am sitting in his presence, holding on to His promises and I have free! I am free to worship! I am free from the things that held me captive!"

This is what the Lord wants to do in us each day! May the Lord fill your life in a great way today. May you rise up and take action to do what He places in your heart to do. God bless you greatly.



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