Ladies and gentlemen…I am BACK! Fr. Anthony is now in the building and it’s time to get back to turning the world upside down for the glory of God!
In case you didn’t notice, I was off from blogging for the past two months (pleeeeeease tell me you noticed!). I took the summer off in order to concentrate on two other projects – two HUGE, ginormous, God-sized, set-the-world-on-fire projects which you’ll be hearing about very soon.
But before I tell you about those projects (sorry, but trust me, it’s coming, check back here on Monday morning), I wanted to share a verse that has become very special to me over the past few months. It’s actually my “promise for 2014” – a verse that I randomly selected at our New Year’s Eve party as we all chose a verse from the Bible as our promise for the new year.
Here it is (I’m staring at it right now since it’s displayed right next to my computer screen at all times):
“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, So that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:2-3
I’ve been relying on this verse every single day for this entire year. I have it by my bed and it’s the first thing I look at I when I wake up and last thing I see before I go to sleep. It’s more than a verse… more than a prayer… it’s God’s promise to me. And I hold Him accountable to it every single day.
This year has been extremely overwhelming for me – I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been asked to do anything as hard as what I’ve done this year. Starting from back in January, this year thrown challenge after challenge at me and every time I think to myself “I can’t do this. This is too big. Too hard. This is more than I can do.”
But then I look to my promise – the promise that God made to me personally before the year started. In it, He says that the mountains will be leveled (picture that for a second), the bronze gates will be broken down, and the iron bars will be destroyed. In other words, He is saying that hard things…or rather…IMPOSSIBLE things will be happening this year – things which you didn’t think you could do before.
“I will go before you and will level the mountains” says the Lord. And then He goes on to say that He will give “hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places.”
At first, I read this verse and said to myself “Sweet! This is definitely my year to play the lottery!” (sorry, but I’m human too). But I quickly realized that the ‘hidden treasures” and the “riches in secret places” means much more than that.
It means that God is planning to do BIG things in my life and BIGGER things in my ministry; that I never dreamed I could do. He is going to pull out treasures and riches that will make me say “Wow! Did I do that? That had to be God!” Hidden treasures.
And why is He doing all that? “So that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
I hope you see the beauty and comfort and reassurance that I see in these words. God is saying:
“Relax. Yes, I am going to challenge you this year. I am going to ask you to do things that you don’t think you can do and things that don’t have the ability to accomplish. But through those challenges, I am going to work in a magnificent way.
You’ll see things that you never thought you’d see. If you see mountains today, you might wake up and find them completely leveled tomorrow. If you see bronze gates or iron bars, take a picture because tomorrow they might be destroyed. I am going to do BIG things.
And why? So you never ever EVER forget who I AM! I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name and as long as you got Me in your life, you put your head down and fear nothing. Because I am with you and that’s all you need.”
PRAISE BE TO OUR GOD!!!!!!!!
Why am I sharing all of this with you today?
First of all, I shared this because it’s my blog and it makes more sense for me to share what God is doing in my life versus sharing what He’s doing in other people’s lives (I think that’s called gossip).
Secondly, I want to ENCOURAGE YOU if God is asking you to do something hard as well. Don’t focus on the task; focus on the One giving you the task. God has asked some very BIG things of me recently and on my own, there’s no way I could do it. I’ve wanted to quit 100 times. But when I take my eyes off the task and move them onto the task giver, it changes everything.
Thirdly, I want to MOTIVATE YOU to find your own special promises in the Bible. What makes my promise special is that it is MY promise. God gave it to me in a very personal way. It wouldn’t be the same if I just heard the same words in a sermon or read it on someone else’s blog. God gave this promise to ME!
Getting random promises from the Bible and trying to find hope in them is like trying to make career decisions from a fortune cookie. That’s not how it works. We don’t need more random verses; we need ALONE time with God; quality time spent in prayer and meditation in God’s Word. From there, God will give us promises – personalized messages from our Father who is in heaven.
But we have to believe that and invest in that alone time with God.
Without this verse, I would have quit both of the projects a long time ago (I know I know, you want to know what it is…WAIT TILL MONDAY!). But with His promise both in front of my eyes and also deep within my heart, I found hope. I found motivation. I found persistence and courage in the face of fear and challenges.
And I want you to find the same thing.