I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I
send, and who will go for Us? Then I said, ‘Here am
I, Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8)
Do you sometimes forget to take
a day off? That’s the habit my wife, Genevieve, and
I have been falling into. During the years that we
were “bi-vocational” (worked on jobs in addition to
ministry), a surprising amount of necessary things
that must be completed in order for the First Church
On The Net to run smoothly, were just put “on
hold.” And now that we can get to them, it seems
like there is never enough time to do it all!
Monday is supposed to be our
day-off. That’s what my wife said, and I agreed,
but then Mondays disappeared – there was just too
much to do! And so, after an even more busy Sunday
than usual, we declared “this
is (was) it!”
We would take Monday off! But there were just a few
things to do in the morning, and by the time
everything was done, including an appointment across
town that literally could NOT be missed, we were
ready to go!
By that time, it was almost
2:00 PM, and it was tempting to just reschedule for
another day, but she looked at me in that certain
way, and so, off we went. It wasn’t Laguna Beach
and the tide pools like we originally planned, but a
closer beach would be OK and a little while later,
there we were at the Bluffs in Huntington Beach.
It’s a section of beach posted for dogs and it
really is a fun place to be.
We had been there before. A
few months ago, we did a wedding for a couple at the
Bluffs picnic tables, a grassy area next to the
sand, and it turned-out well. I was the pastor and
Genevieve, my wife, was the wedding coordinator.
That was a time of sunset, but this Monday it was
full afternoon. The waves were pretty, just like
the last time, the sun was warmer now, the breeze
was pleasant and the sand felt good. But it was the
dogs that caught my attention, particularly one of
We were some distance away, but
it looked like the dog in question was what is
called a “mutt,” rather than some kind of “purebred”
animal. There were “purebreds” around, but they
weren’t as much fun as this one. He was responsive
to his master, who, we noticed, was throwing a ball
into the water for him. When the ball was thrown,
the dog would RACE into the water and FLING himself
through one wave after another, swimming as hard as
he could in an attempt to get that ball! Also, he
had learned to “surf” back to shore. He would
dog-paddle to just the right position and let the
waves carry him in. He was enjoying himself, and so
was his master.
There were quite a number of
other dogs on the beach, and almost all of them were
unleashed. It has been my thought for a long time
that if I ever have another dog, I want the
relationship to be based in trust. Just like with
people. God has set us free and we should be able
to TRUST one another.
The other dogs noticed the dog
that surfed, and increasingly, when that hand would
go forward and the ball was flung out into the
waves, they would start to run, too. But they did
not jump into the water. A few got their feet wet,
but most of them stopped even short of that. A
couple of the other dog owners saw what was
occurring, liked the idea, and started throwing what
looked like sticks into the waves, but only the
first dog would race into the water. One of the
other owners actually walked into the water himself,
trying to get his dog interested, but it did not
work. That dog just looked at him and stood,
unwilling to move.
If you think about it, God has
taken us off the leash. You are not restrained. Oh
yes, we have restraints in CERTAIN ways, but not in
many key areas. He wants you to “play” with Him, to
love Him in response to His great love for you, and
He has important assignments for you, too. But He
is not forcing you. You are free to love Him or
not, serve Him or not, as you choose. He is
“throwing the ball,” but most don’t fully respond.
That is like what was happening
in relation to Isaiah, in today’s Scripture.
Judah’s King Uzziah had recently died, and suddenly,
the Lord revealed Himself to Isaiah in a vision
(Isaiah 6:1). The man saw great and amazing
creatures in front of the throne of God, who called
out to one another, “Holy,
Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is
full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Isaiah
would have been still somewhat young at the time
King Uzziah died, and he probably was upset at the
loss of his earthly king. But seeing his true King
in all His glory, all else dimmed in comparison!
Isaiah was stunned by what he saw, and he cried out:
“Woe is me, for I am
undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I
dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for
my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts”
(Isaiah 6:5). He was astounded by the wonder of the
Lord and instantly KNEW that he was unworthy to be
in God’s presence! Just as you and I are unworthy
to be in the presence of God, he was, too.
Many get stuck right there.
They KNOW they are sinners and decide they have two
choices: 1) Repress and deny it even to themselves,
often becoming “perfectionists” in an attempt to
fool everybody, or 2) Decide it’s “too late,”
lapsing into drug use and/or deviant behavior. 3) A
third option was given through one of the great
beings at the throne of God: “Your
iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged”
(verse 7). Isaiah was forgiven.
But that wasn’t all. Now he “heard
the voice of the Lord,” saying: ‘Whom
shall I send, and who will go for Us?” (verse
8). And not unlike that wonderful dog at the
Bluffs, who LEAPT joyously into the water at the
urging of his master, Isaiah replied (and I am sure
he SHOUTED at that moment), “Here
am I. SEND ME!”
God has a plan for your life.
You may think that what has happened in your past
disqualifies you from serving Him. You may feel
you’re too old, or just not up to the job. You may
be right. And it is especially true that if you are
NOT up to the job, God CAN use you. HIS strength is
what is needed. We will be surprised in eternity,
not only by who is there and who is not – but also
by what service here on earth is rewarded. God
loves your prayers. When we look to Him in prayer,
it’s like He has “thrown the ball” and we “jump into
the water” in response to Him. When you pray, you
are useful. Others may not do it, but you do. He
LOVES it when you call to Him and He will answer
Father, I want to do ANYTHING
that brings pleasure to You. Teach me to respond,
to pray, to love. Forgive me. And Lord, send ME!
Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Friday Study Ministries
First Church On The Net
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"
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