Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Archive for July, 2013

Be Still and Know that I Am God

sennacherib-cheops

Sennacherib & Cheops Ltd. photo by Kevan Davis on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

What is your favorite Psalm? I have several, but Psalm 46 has to be at the top of my list. I must admit that I was a little sad when I realized that this Psalm was not written by King David, but what I did learn from my chronological Bible reading schedule this time around is that this Psalm was written during King Hezekiah’s reign.  Sennacherib king of Assyria sent messengers to Jerusalem to announce that the city would be taken by the Assyrian army and to give up without a fight. Hezekiah was a man of prayer, so he took this threat straight to the throne of God, who answered the king through the prophet Isaiah. God assured Hezekiah that the Assyrian king would not set foot in Jerusalem, nor shoot an arrow there, but rather would return the way he came.

2 Kings 19:35 records that in one night the angel of the LORD killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, thus ending the terror that Sennacherib brought to Judah. Knowing the background of Psalm 46 makes me appreciate it even more!

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46, NIV)

If you find yourself feeling fearful about the current events on any given day, Psalm 46 is the place to go. It would be very difficult to read this chapter without feeling the peaceful relief that comes from being under the protection of God Almighty!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

Isaiah 40

Soaring bald eagle

Photo by Carl Chapman on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

“Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God.” (Isaiah 40:1, KJV)

As soon as I read this line, the song from Handel’s Messiah started playing in my head and continued as I read through the chapter. What a beautiful song of hope for the future written by the prophet Isaiah during a time of moral decay in the nation of Israel. The chapter starts out with Messianic prophecies, then turns to expound on the greatness of God:

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?” (Is. 40:12, NIV)

For those of you who may think the earth is flat, the prophet clarified this in verse 22, some 800 years before Christ:

“He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…”

The chapter ends with a promise and encouragement for the faithful:

“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)

I encourage you today to play your Christmas CD with Handel’s Messiah or find it online (here’s a You Tube link), pull out your Bible and take the next half hour to refresh yourself in the majesty of Isaiah 40!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

An Open Invitation to Worship

Hezekiah's Messenger_BiblePaintings

Illustration courtesy of Visual Bible Alive Resource Center.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Hezekiah became king at a time when Judah had already been overrun by Syrians and many of the people were carried off as captives. 2 Chronicles 28:5 makes it clear that this defeat was due to the unfaithful lifestyle of his predecessor, King Ahaz. This time, Israel defeated the Syrian army and eventually returned the captives to Judah. When Hezekiah ascended the throne, the first thing he did was open up the temple, repair the doors and summon the Levite priests to clean up and start doing their jobs again. Hezekiah understood that God’s blessings only came when the nation was obedient to His commandments.

Once the leadership had repented and were committed to worshipping God as He required, Hezekiah sent messengers with letters to all of Israel and Judah, inviting them to join in the Passover celebration. The letters begged the people to consider the consequences of their ancestors’ choices (many of the Israelis were captives in Assyria) and to come back to serving God, “that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.” (2 Chronicles 30:8c, NKJV) The letters went on to assure that if the people in Israel repented and committed to serving God, those in captivity would “be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.” (2 Chronicles 30:9, NKJV)

What do you think was the response to this generous offer? Many of the people of Judah and some from a few of the tribes of Israel humbly came to the celebration, but most of them “laughed at them (the messengers) and mocked them.” (2 Chronicles 30:10b, NKJV) Sound familiar?

We have all been given a similar message to deliver to the world: turn away from practices and behaviors that cause pain and sorrow, repent and come serve the LORD God with all your heart. Those who accept God’s generous offer of salvation and eternal life can testify that there is no judgment in their new life. As messengers, we should not be discouraged by the jeers and laughter; we will all face the same God in the end. Ours is to make sure that the message is delivered humbly and with the complete love that only God can give.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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