Passage: Isaiah 30:18-22
The LORD Will Be Gracious
18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.
20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, "Be gone!"
Journal: There are a number of the wonderful characteristics of God mentioned here. He is gracious. He exalts Himself. He is merciful. He is just. He blesses the patient. He answers our cries. He tests us with adversity and affliction. He is our teacher. He reveals Himself. He prepares a way for us. He brings us to repentance.
His character reveals His great love for us. It is not some distant love that lacks present impact. No, it is an active love; a love that involves itself in our sanctification. His love is perfectly rounded; it is just what it needs in just the right measure and moment. His justice is honed by His mercy. His exaltation walks hand in hand with His humility. His arrows of adversity and affliction hit His target of our sanctification.
It is that sanctification process that will lead us to repentance and to an ability to say "Be gone!" to our "unclean things." "Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you."
Heard 'Round the House: Song [age 9 from Shanghai, China] has a secret. She appears to some to be shy and quiet but, in reality, can talk an absolute blue streak. However, last week, when she was sick, she spent about five days staring into space and might have said 10 words per day. She had spun herself a sick cocoon. Well, she started feeling better over the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, I was out working in the garden. Song walked up and started talking to me. During the next hour, I must have said "uh-huh" and "ok" and "I see" about 50 times. I did not need to say anything else except perhaps instructing Song to breathe between sentences. It is as if the words had been trapped and released. Well, it was a bit chilly and I had on a sweat shirt. Song was in short sleeves and after the hour of non-stop talking decided she was cold and was going to go in. So, I told her how much I had enjoyed our conversation and spending time together. She paused, and then informed me that she was going to go put a jacket on and would return. She came back and proceeded to talk another 30 minutes until we both decided it was dark and time to go in. Welcome back, Song. Perhaps we should have named you Talk.
Note: The latest update from Alan is below. Please keep praying . . .
Thanks again for all of your prayers, notes and emails. We are overwhelmed by all the support and encouragement. Tiffany Grace had an overall good day. She is stable for the most part - heart rate, breathing, oxygen levels are all in the acceptable range. She is still on the ventilator to keep her as de-stressed as possible and some meds for her heart. They did an echo cardiogram today that revealed a mild condition that they think will resolve itself but won't know for several days. Overall, the fact she is stable is a lot to be thankful for at about 48 hrs into this world after all she went through the last few days in the womb. Please continue to pray for her to get stronger, her organs to further mature and her heart condition to resolve itself. She is in His hands and we continue to trust in Him praying expectantly for full recovery.