Morning Prayer for Thursday, December 14, 2023

Morning Chapel Prayer Playlist
Morning Chapel Prayer Today

Brother John…

Good morning, everyone. Thank you for coming.

So in just kind of thinking about today and possibly where we may want to start, I was reading through various things this week. And one of the things I think was kind of coming up to me… and it’s not like it’s something brand new or different. But it’s just with everything going on in this world, there’s a lot to consider and think about. It feels like there’s so much weighing on us. And I know a lot of times as we’re going through everything that pertained to our lives and seeing what’s going on in the culture and around the world, it can feel so overwhelming. And so I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to actually come to our God even when we don’t feel like it. And I think that’s probably one of the hardest things to do, is to be able to come to God, either when you don’t feel like it or you’re tired, you’re feeling run down, you’re feeding beat up.

It’s easy to worship God when everything is awesome…

People like to talk about how it’s real easy to come to God when things are going awesome… It’s really easy to praise Him. And so one of the things that He was showing me and again, I can’t remember what study I was listening to, but they had referenced something in Isaiah 40. And it just really kind of hit me. And so in thinking about at least where to start today, I’m going to read through a lot of Isaiah 40. Because so much of this is just talking about the greatness of God. And we know in our minds that God is good. He’s always here for us. But we also understand if you’ve been around for more than a day or two, that it can be really hard to lose sight of how really good He is and is He really here for us?

And as I was reading through Isaiah 40, it was just a really good reminder of who He is. And I know there’s things all throughout the Word of how good God is… and maybe we’ll get to them, maybe we won’t. But I just want to remind ourselves of how good He is and He’s always here and He really does care for everything you’re going through, whether big or small.

And so, Father, we just come to you this morning and we purpose in our hearts to throw away all those things that want to distract us.

The enemy uses distraction as a weapon…

I was distracted a lot, even just driving in here today, and I probably didn’t need to drive in to be distracted. I could have been sitting at home and been distracted too, because that is a weapon the enemy wants to use on us every single day as much as he possibly can to get us to get our eyes off of who God is, what God has promised for us. Because if we can be distracted from how good He is or forgetful of all the promises He has for us, we start focusing on all those things around us.

So, Holy Spirit, help us as we purpose to either spend time away from what we’re doing or driving here or coming here to the chapel to pray. Or even if someone happens to be watching this later, that Holy Spirit helps us to be here and be in your presence just to commune and talk with you.

Holy Spirit, I am trusting and believing that whatever anyone is going through, that whatever we’re praying, you’re showing them. I’ve heard several times that it’s not always maybe what I might be praying or someone else might be praying or someone else might be teaching, but that Holy Spirit can speak to us. And that is so amazing all at the same time, He can be speaking something different to each of us all at the same time.

So, Father, we thank you that you are here helping every single person individually, whether with themselves or their family or their friends or whatever might be laying heavy on their heart today, that we choose despite all the distractions that are in our day-to-day lives, that you are here to help us through everything. That you really are our strength, that we come to that place where we can constantly see that you are a source for everything that we face in this world.

And so, God, we give you this time. We thank you, Holy Spirit. We recognize that you can have your way to teach us. Jesus said, it’s going to be way better if I leave. Which at the time probably seemed like it didn’t make any sense. You know, sometimes when I read the Word, it can be easy to forget that what was written down, they were living it in real time. And some things they were getting, but a lot of it, they didn’t get till later.

And so, Father, you said you sent your Holy Spirit to comfort us, but also that you would remind us of the words that you said through Jesus and that you would teach us all things.

So we just thank you, Father, for this day and for what you’re about to do in every single person’s life here today, that we would set aside time… even when you’re in the middle of something, we can pray in our spirit language when we don’t know what to pray. What an amazing thing that the enemy doesn’t even get to hear our words until he gets in our way. And then, boy, is he going to hear our words.

So I’m just going to start reading a little bit.

I’m not going to read everything. I’m going to just read from Isaiah 40. I’m going to start in the Message just because, it’s a little bit more modern language. But the way they say things can maybe help us connect in some ways than other versions. But I may go to other versions as well. And the way they kind of say them, if you really think about these things, some of the parts I kind of just laugh at because I’m like, “Wow, that’s a way to say it right to the point.” We’re not using flowery language. And in a couple versions, a lot of times, there’s a kind of a headline of maybe that the writers put in here. One says “comfort for God’s people.” One says, “the Greatness of God.” Another version here in the Message says, “Messages of Comfort.”

And obviously a lot of this, especially because it is in Isaiah, it was written during the time when they didn’t have the Holy Spirit always around. It would come upon people for certain times and for certain occasions. But when you really stop and think, the relationship that Isaiah had to be able to say all these things is just amazing that God gave us these gifts that we could use thousands of years later. And the Word is never going to lose its power.

I’m going to start in about verse three here in the Message.

Thunder in the Desert…

“Prepare for God’s arrival. Make the road straight and smooth, a highway fit for our God. Fill the valleys, level off the hills, smooth out the ruts, clear out the rocks. Then God’s bright glory will shine and everyone will see it. Yes, just as God has said. A voice says, shout. And I said, Well, what should I shout?”

This is funny.

“Shout that these people are nothing but grass and their love is fragile as wildflowers. The grass withers, the wildflowers fade if God so much as puffs on them. Aren’t these people just so much grass? True. The grass withers and the wild flowers fade, but our God’s word stands firm and forever.”

Remember Isaiah is trying to encourage his people to not forget who God is, and I think we always need that. Even if you think, oh yeah, I’ve heard that, I heard that. I heard that. He can still show you more things even if you know what the words say. That’s the great thing about our God and the Holy Spirit. And he goes on…

“Climb a high mountain, Zion. You’re the preacher of good news. Raise your voice, make it good and loud, Jerusalem. You’re the preacher of good news. Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid. Tell the cities of Judah, Look your God. Look at Him. God, the master, comes in power, ready to go into action. He is going to pay back His enemies and reward those who have loved Him. Like a shepherd He will care for His flock gathering the lambs in His arms, hugging them as He carries them. Leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.”

And then he reminds us… and what I love sometimes about the Psalms is they ask questions to hopefully get you to stop and really think about what He’s talking about. Because again, we can be so distracted. He says…

“Who has scooped up the ocean in His two hands? Or measured the sky between His thumb and little finger? Who has put all the earth’s dirt in one of His baskets and weighed each mountain and hill? Who could ever have told God what to do or taught Him His business?”

I know a lot of times that we like to tell God what His business is and He’s saying, “Well, no. I already told you what My business is. You just need to come into agreement with it despite your circumstances.” He does it in such a gentle way. It goes on, “What expert would…” I’m going to switch “he” for God. So it’s maybe easier to think about. “What expert would God have gone to for advice? What school would God attend to learn justice? What God do you suppose might have taught God what He knows? What small God do you suppose might have taught God what He knows or show God how things work.”

I’m just laughing because so many times, I remember even this summer when I was sick and laying there at two or three in the morning saying, “God, you don’t care.” And I knew that wasn’t true. It was just my human experience crying out because I was so frustrated. And He knows I’m so thankful that God isn’t a man that He should lie or should change His mind about anything. He hasn’t changed His mind about anything He’s promised or given us. He’s like, “I have all this. I’m not like you in the sense that I’m not going to change my mind, or I’m going to doubt or I’m going to waver.”

And in a sense, Holy Spirit can help each of us to really step back from those when our mind wants to race and spin and our emotions want to take over. And our logic says this can’t work, or this is impossible. I believe He’s talking to us like a loving, good Father where He wants to bring compassion as well as truth. He’s not gonna say, “Oh, poor little… I understand.” He’s like, “I understand. Come back to Me and I’m going to teach you these things. I really have some things to show you.”

And it goes on here, “Why the nations are but a drop in a bucket, a mere smudge on the window. Watch God sweep up the islands like so much dust off the floor. There aren’t enough trees in Lebanon nor enough animals in those vast forests to furnish adequate fuel and offerings for His worship.” Wow. “All the nations add up to simply nothing before Him. Less than nothing is more like it, a minus. So who even comes close to being like God? Some know god idol. That’s ridiculous. It’s made in a workshop cast in bronze, given a thin veneer of gold and draped with silver filigree.” It’s like a silver chain. “Or perhaps someone will select a fine wood, olive wood that won’t rot, and then hire a wood carver to make a no God giving special care to its base so it won’t tip over.”

And as I was reading through this in the various translations, it was just a gentle reminder of what are those things that we’re not saying it, but how many times are we thinking “I’m making a little idle?” It can be very subtle because that’s how the enemy works. But thank God He always has a way of bringing us back into what is really true. It’s Him.

And then He goes on, “Have you not been paying attention? Have you not been listening? Haven’t you heard these stories all your life? Don’t you understand the foundation of all things? God sits high above the earth. The people look like mere ants. He stretches out the skies like a canvas, like a tent canvas to live under. He ignores what all the princes say and do.”

In other versions, He’s talking about the leaders. And as I’m reading some of these things, I’m thinking about all these leaders that we say, “They’re so evil. How do they get in power? What are we going to do? We can’t do anything. They’re going to ruin our lives.” And He’s wanting to remind us that God ignores what all the princes and all the leaders say and do.

“The rulers of the earth count for nothing. Princes and rulers don’t amount to much like seeds, barely rooted, just sprouted. They shrivel when God blows on them. Like flex of chaff, they’re gone with the wind. So who is like Me? Who holds a candle to Me, says the holy? Look at the night skies, who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each one by name.”

I mean, the fact that God calls this… that one really caught my eye is like God named all the stars. Wow!

“So magnificent, so powerful, and never overlooks a single one.” God never overlooks a single star. And what are the stars compared to us? His children. You know, in other versions it talks about the birds of the air, like God takes care of them. It’s like you think God cares more about birds than you?

And he goes on, “Why would you ever complain, O Jacob? Or whine, Israel, saying, God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me.” I mean, that’s what I was saying this summer. I’m like, “You don’t care.” And in my mind, I’m like going, “I know He does.” But I wonder if we’ve all had those thoughts, complaining and whining. God’s lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me. And then the Holy Spirit comes in and says, “Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.

“He’s creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired. He doesn’t pause to catch His breath. He knows everything inside and out. He energizes those who get tired. Gives fresh strength to dropouts.” I think that’s a funny way to say that. He gives fresh strength to people who didn’t finish college or high school! I think obviously it’s a little bit more than that. That just kind of made me laugh.

“He gives fresh strength to dropouts.” And when I see that, it’s like He’s saying, “I’m going to give fresh strength to those who maybe started something but just couldn’t finish for whatever reason.” You just got tired and worn out.

“For even young people tire and drop out, young people in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don’t get tired. They walk and don’t lag behind.”

So, Father, I just thank you so much that we can remind ourselves how amazing you are, how good you are to us, that your strength never fails. It doesn’t matter what we’re going through. It doesn’t matter what we experience 10 years ago that wore us out and maybe changed the course of our lives. You are still God, and you are encouraging us like it says in Isaiah. You know, get up from these situations that have caused you to feel as if you’re defeated and if there’s nothing going on.

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