Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No Stress, Just Courage - Isaiah 41:10

Hello all,
For my friends that follow me here on “Angie’s Notes of Grace”, I want to share a couple of things. I have started a second blog. It is not to replace this one but to supplement it. Basically I am using it because I have joined an Online Bible Study and we are blogging once a week. The format for the OBS blog is different than this one so I had to start another one for the OBS. I will be posting that blog on here each week to share with each of you. This is the first one. We are reading the book, “Stressed-Less Life” by Tracie Miles. If you think you’d be interested in reading the book or joining the study (you DO NOT have to blog) it’s not too late, check it out at Proverbs 31 Ministries or Melissa Taylor’s page, she is our Bible study leader. Hope you enjoy what I bring from the study to this blog! Here we go!!!
Let me first say that I am getting SO much out of this study already! I am so glad I joined it!
I love how God works in me. I read through the options we had for doing a blog and God didn't really impress me one way or another as to what I should write. But this morning as I looked at the topics again, I knew. God had been searing Isaiah 41:10 onto my heart all week, so I knew that was it.
I have been "verse mapping" in my head throughout the week and here are some thoughts I have come up with.
Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. 
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
 I will strengthen you and help you. 
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Notice how this verse starts with the word don't and the second sentence repeats it. I had a pastor that used to say, "If anything is repeated in the Bible, you better pay attention! Because that means it's important." So I would say the fact that the don'ts are repeated and the fact that this a command, not a suggestion or a question also makes it important. Now here is where I think it gets interesting. "Don't be afraid" & "Don't be discouraged" , normally I would read those as is, but when you do "verse mapping" you take apart each word asking God what He wants to show you. This is what He showed me. The word "do" is to take action, so "don't" is the absence of action. Ok let's go ahead and take "afraid" of course it is nothing more than fear, and "discouraged" is the opposite of courage. What do you think of when you think of the opposite of courage? Well, I came up with words like weak, fearful, worried and cowardly.
Now let's move on to the end of those 2 sentences. God says "I am with you" and "I am your God".  "I am" the first thing I thought of is that this is one of the name's of God! Right here He reaffirms who He is, LOVE IT!!! The next thing I observed is "am" present tense, right NOW!  Now the words "with you" He is right here by my side! I don't have to worry about being alone. In the next sentence, "your God" this is so overwhelming to me. "Your God" you know "your" shows ownership. That shows a belonging, I am a part of something. I'm a part of God's family!!! Wow!!! The almighty, sovereign, all-powerful, creator of the universe has invited me to be part of HIS family!
So this is how I look at the first 2 lines, and what I am praying for:
Almighty God is my God and is with me because, of Him I have NO fear and He gives me courage.
Now to the second part of the verse.
"I will strengthen you", How do you get your body strong? Do you workout? If you don't you, like myself, you know that working out is the only way we will strengthen our body. So I have started looking at God as my personal trainer. He is going to strengthen me. He is right there showing me what "exercises" I need to do to strengthen my spiritual self. Prayer, Bible Reading, Bible Studies (like this one), etc. and he guides me along. The next phrase is "and help you". Part of what a personal trainer does is help you. This made such an impact on me, to see God as my personal trainer, right there beside me training me in spiritual strengthening. Too cool!
Now the last sentence, " I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.". Now I have to admit I struggled with this one. Not because I don't think God will hold us up with His Strong and Victorious Hand. No, no, no, Not At All!!! I wanted to know WHY did he say RIGHT HAND. Isaiah would not have put right in there if there was not a reason for it. I thought and thought. I thought back to Moses and Aaron and other people and events in history where either God "out stretched His hand", or God had people lift their hands, but nothing talked about God's RIGHT hand. I even looked at cross references on Bible Gateway and still nothing. So I finally went to a website called Bible Study Tools. From there I typed in the verse and it gave me a list of sources I could use as study aides. I scrolled down to "John Gill's Exposition of the Bible", instead of having us look back at history, he suggests we look forward. Doesn't that make sense, considering Isaiah was a prophet and his book is full of prophecy about Jesus. He looks at this part of the verse like this, that through Jesus, who sits at His right hand of God, we will be held up, by the grace that is extended to us. Because of this amazing grace we will be able to persevere through any trials and temptations.
So the 2nd part says this to me.
I am here as your personal trainer, ready to train you and make you strong for anything you need to go through. Not only that but look, sitting to my right is my son who I sent as your sacrifice. Because of Him and the grace I now give to you, if you just trust in me you can get through ANYTHING!
One last thought that keeps bouncing around in my head, and that is...
It's ALL about JESUS!!!
Living in Grace,