Isaiah FOG (Focus on God service)

Sunday 9th November
On Remembrance Sunday morning worship, I prayed that God would set hearts on fire for his will, his Word and his ways and then at FOG (Focus on God), evening service, we learned about Isaiah, chapter 64. My prayer seems to echo Isaiah's. 'Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known...'

Isaiah's is a real plea for intervention. It is built upon the firm foundation of what God has done in the past: in Exodus, in the rescue of his people. This is a passionate prayer. God enters into relationship with us and we with him but there are conditions; three conditions – we have to wait, live according to God's ways and remember God's ways. We have to trust in God. He holds us in his hands. When we trust that God also holds our future lives in his hands, it frees us to live in the present. Ours should be lives marked by self-control, honesty and integrity and compassion. These are the ways of God. We live within them and draw near to him and he draws near to us. Isaiah speaks of how we have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.' We haven't lived according to his purposes. This is our sin and it is in our refusal to trust our lives to God and care for his ways. God's people make him angry. We are the leaves; the autumn leaves in which life has ebbed away, they remain on the branch but with one blow of the wind, they are swept away and are gone. We need to rest in God as our source of nourishment, rest in God's light and feed on the nourishment of his word. When we don't call on the lord, it will seem as though he is hiding his face from us: 'No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us...' But God has adopted us, we are his children; he won't let us go. He loves to love us, he will continue to love us even though we do not deserve it. He will continue to shape us into something valuable in his sight, removing our lumps and starting afresh his molding of us: the clay in his hands. We must trust in this and his love and this can be the basis of our prayer.

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