Monday, July 09, 2007

Over exposed?

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Isaiah 20, 21, 22, 23

Isaiah 20

1 In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it – 2 at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot. 3 Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared – to Egypt’s shame. 5 Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame. 6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?’”

Good morning!

At 4am, this particular scripture passage jolted me awake quicker than the aroma of that steaming cup of coffee sitting on the kitchen countertop. He keeps asking me, “How much of yourself are you willing to expose for my sake?” Oh boy. Isaiah must have felt a variety of emotions when the Lord asked him to remove his garments and run around buck naked for three years. There are some messages in life that cannot be illustrated with words. This is definitely one of those moments.

I don’t know if I could do it! If God called out to me this morning and said, “Lay it all down, expose yourself – I want you to show them what real faith is,” would I not somehow hesitate or try to reason with the Master? “Oh Lord, I’ll run your people off for sure. If I expose who I really am to the ones you are trying to reach, they will take one good look at me and never ever trust you again. Please don’t ask me to do this!”

The naked truth exposes all of us, at some point in life. What if God called you to humble yourself this morning - to expose your human weaknesses and imperfections to your family, friends and neighbors? Would you be willing to do it? If He could use your witness to reach a lost and hurting soul, would you let Him expose you?

I am surrounded by a cloud of amazing witnesses. It is a privilege to be in relationship with the family of faith. Every day, I am exposed to the living witness of those who are called to serve Him, and in many ways, their calling comes with a great price. It is a revealing of who they are and just how far they may go to help someone else experience the love of Christ. A prime example is a pastor who witnessed her faith beautifully last night at Faith Church. She has been a living witness to me for the last two years of my faith walk. As I have observed her witness faith through service and in love, nothing has been more meaningful than what I saw her do last night.

This pastor has an amazing gift of song. When she opens her mouth to sing, the Holy Spirit is released into the air and all those around her are caught up in His holy presence. With virtually no effort, the melody that pours from her mouth reaches deep into the hearts of all who hear her, and everything shifts in the amazing sound of this voice. She traveled many miles to sing for the people of Faith Church last night. However, yesterday morning when she woke up, Pastor realized that singing anything this day would be next to impossible. She had caught a rotten cold. She could barely speak, much less sing. All the way to Faith Church, she prayed for the Lord to help her serve Him, with whatever voice she could muster. Exposed and humiliated, she stood before the congregation and spoke every word to each song she had chosen to sing. Unable to carry a tune, her voice was popping and fading like “a young boy entering puberty” (her words, not mine.) She continued to speak, finishing the entire program, with a humble heart and a willingness to serve Her Lord, even at a great personal sacrifice.

I don’t know about you, but I would have been tempted to call the church and say, “I’m sorry – I can’t make it tonight. I’m ill.” This pastor would never do it; as long as she has breath in her body and could hear Him calling her to go, she would give it everything she has and then some, to share the Gospel message, with or without a voice. She is not the only one who I’ve seen step out in faith. I have witnessed faithful service time and time again through the lives of His children, who sacrifice everything they’ve got to share the Gospel, not only when it is convenient, but especially when it is hard.

So why would anyone run around, exposing themselves before the Lord? The answer is His love. It’s the kind of love that grabs you by your heart strings and pulls you into a relationship that you have never ever experienced before. When Jesus Christ becomes reveals Himself to you – when He covers the naked truth of your life with His forgiveness and grace, there is nothing you wouldn’t do to serve Him. There is no place you wouldn’t go to share the Gospel message – He lives! He reigns! He loves you! He died to save you! Won’t you drop your pretense, pride, and arrogant self-centeredness, allowing His love to expose your heart and heal your soul, once and for all?

Do you know Him? Are you willing to expose the naked truth of your life to the One who sees you and loves you still?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: willingness to lay it all down before the Lord today. He is calling us to expose and humble ourselves before Him. Serving the Lord wholeheartedly, loving Him enough to give it all up, especially when it is humiliating and hard, is the greatest privilege we know in life. How much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice for Jesus Christ today?


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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