"My thoughts are not your thoughts"

The Lord says, "My thoughts are not like
your thoughts.
Your ways are not like my ways.
Just as the heavens are higher than the
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your
Rain and snow fall from the sky
and don't return without watering the
They cause the plants to sprout and grow,
making seeds for the farmer
and bread for the people.
The same thing is true of the words I
They will not return to me empty.
They make the things happen that I want
to happen,
and they succeed in doing what I send
them to do.
So you will go out with joy
and be led out in peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into
song before you, and all the trees in the fields will clap
their hands.
Large cypress trees will grow where thornbushes were.
Myrtle trees will grow where weeds
These things will be a reminder of the
Lord's promise,
and this reminder will never be

Isaiah 55:8-13

Wow. His Word will not return void. And when we go out with peace and with joy, hearts that were once shriveled and hard will be revived.
Sometimes I wonder if what I'm doing or would like to do is truly what God would have for me to do. And truthfully, I probably spend more time thinking about that than just doing.

Cliff's message at Lighthouse this week, entitled "Are You Ready" (http://lighthousecollective.com/category/podcast/series) just blew me away. Sidenote: he is such a vessel for what God wants to speak to His people. Cliff spoke on Acts 20-parts of 21, right after Paul's journey through Ephesus, and through Macedonia and Greece, and he's on his way to Jerusalem. He was warned by the Holy Spirit of the suffering of this journey (as he was on every previous journey), yet he still went. How many times would we still go ahead with something even after being warned by the Holy Spirit that, frankly, it is dangerous! ? Paul's life was worth nothing to him. "... through the Spirit," Paul is told he shouldn't go to Jerusalem. Paul was bound and determined, and he was ready. The thing here is that there is a difference between a warning and a prohibition, or putting a complete stop to Paul's journey. Others were getting warnings too, and were pleading with Paul not to go. But these warnings were warnings, and they were being interpreted as a message of "don't go!"
We have a choice of either taking the advice of those that are trying to protect us, versus seeing what God wants for us. My life is God's life that He has graciously given to me. Sometimes the voices of reason, protection, and logic might not be the voice of God. I am to say, "God, how can you use this life to advance your grace and Gospel?" We've all heard the saying, "The safest place in the world to be is in the center of the will of God."... it might not be the safest place, but it is the best place to be. God sees the eternity in situations, when we see the here and now. At some point, heat needs to be added to the clay that He has molded. Sometimes we go through the fire only to bring out the best of God's glory. If we hear something that is consistent with who He is and is consistent with advancing the Gospel, we are to take into account what others are saying, but we are not to put limits on God. My life is worth nothing in comparison to how God can use it to advance His kingdom.

Ugh. After listening to that message, I felt so heavy, yet so compelled and inspired by Paul's example of unconditional faithfulness. I often let my own selfish thoughts and the opinions of others get in the way. The whole previously mentioned World Vision/Seattle thing, for example. It's really amazing when you mix this message with the one about being stretched by God, in prayer and in service, to your utmost limits.
I'm a planner. A big planner. I like to make lists and think about what my life story will be. But it's funny when I stop and think about how God has changed pretty much every plan I've made for myself. I need to be aware and concerned, yes, but I also need to let God have the reigns (as we always say, don't we? Yet we take the end of the reigns anyways, and still try to have some control) and just do instead of think.

(sorry that this was so scattered... it's a combination of Cliff's and my thoughts)

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