HEAR THAT? Isaiah 48

It bugs me when I’m speaking with someone who’s obviously paying no attention.  In one ear (maybe!), out the other (probably!).  Or some hotshot, who jumps in when I take a breath, interrupting, telling his own story, a much more moving or tragic one, of course!  Few listen.  Too many with big mouths.  Present company excluded?  Me…or you?  If only you’d listen!

Reading Isaiah 48 you’ll notice that the Lord yearns for His people to ‘listen’ to Him.  Ears cocked.  Tuned in.  Isaiah 48–‘Listen to this…(v.1)’, ‘Listen to me…(v.12)’, ‘Come near and listen…(v.16).’  Hear that?

Two ears, one mouth.  A hint?  You think?  As Jesus’ follower, we’re His listener.  One who travels a step behind, eager to hear what He has to say.  Obedient rather than rebellious, being those who suffer life’s twists and turns under their own steam.  Wouldn’t you rather be in the fire with Jesus than out the frying pan without Him?  Think about Daniel’s three fired-up friends (Dan. 3).

Listening to God involves getting into His Word, your Bible.  Making it a meal you never miss.  Oxygen without which, well, you know.  How can you listen if you ignore His words; having, at best, a cursory knowledge?  Can’t!  God’s Word cries out for quality and quantity time.  So dive in.  The water’s fine.  Ready?

Something you’ll want to note about the word ‘listen’, is that it implies a following through, going by the Book, with His flow.  That’s listening.  Not simply gathering information or being a gossip and know-it-all, but to toe the line for Jesus.  Not like the one who preaches–‘do what I say but not what I do’.  No.  Jump in with both feet.  Eagerly catching every word from His mouth to your ears.  To do them.

Did you hear that?


Lord Jesus, we say ‘yes’ to you, to be better listeners.  Amen.



OLD GOAT Isaiah 46

It happens again when completing an online survey.  It requires my birth year.  To get to it, I scroll down this endless list.  Takes so long, I wonder if it’s even included.  Finally, eureka!  1947!  Guess it means I’m old as dirt, barely standing on my last leg, worse for wear, an over-the-hill geezer.  Enough already.  We get the point.

Thankfully, it takes only a few verses from my Bible to give a much needed lift.  Isaiah 46: 3-4–‘Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth.  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you.  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.’  See?  Told you so!

Since conception we’re in God’s good care.  Lovingly, He then carries us onward from birth.  Even an old goat like me receives His continuous, unbroken TLC.  Hardly means that we’ll dodge troubles and trials.  I wish… but not quite.  Does mean that God never deserts us.  Never.  Not a snowball’s chance…

That takes faith.  If only the size of a tiny mustard seed, it’s off to a good start.  As best you can, grab hold of God’s promises found in your Bible; which, amazingly, no longer gathers dust on an upper shelf but begins to blow off cobwebs of doubt and fear.  True?  Need a dust rag?

Remember, He’s always near and dear to us.  After all, He’s loved us from our life’s first moment.  Even before (Jeremiah 1:5).  There’s a thought for this week.  Chew on that until it’s well digested.  And then head back for seconds.  There’s lots more goodies where that came from!


Thank you, Jesus, for always being with us.  Amen.


SLIGHTLY TWISTED! WHO ME? Lamentations 3: 21-26

If you’ve only read a few of my weekly devotionals, possibly you’ve wondered about my mental health!  These writings may not be the staid and stuffy one’s you’re used to.  Even though life overflows with pandemic fears, political conflicts and serious moral failures, my peripheral vision somehow captures a somewhat humorous angle, though slightly twisted.  Maybe I should be more serious.  Perhaps.  After all, what’s found here in the Old Testament book of Lamentations is hardly a laughing matter.  Not in the least.

The prophet Jeremiah likely pens this lament.  It’s a sorrowful tale about Jerusalem’s destruction.  Tragedy hangs out on every corner.  Violence rushes down streets like Spanish Pamplona bulls.  Tears flood lanes and alleys.  Ruination rules day and night.  As I said, no laughing matter.

Yet, in its midst come these comforting words–“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him'” (Lam. 3: 22-24).

God’s great love…unfailing compassion…daily newness…extraordinary faithfulness.  All together giving us His hope.  When the sky is falling, we need an encouraging word or two or three.  These are them!

Mental health, sprinkled with a random chuckle, pays rich dividends by adding capital to our fragile emotions.  Yet such sturdiness barely happens on its own.  No kidding, more is needed.  And we know whose helping hand reaches out to us.

Grab hold.  Mull over His promises, putting them front and center.  Help has arrived!  For the Lord stays close by.  No matter what comes our way, good, bad or indifferent, Jesus travels right beside us, His hand in ours.

Do I hear a hearty laugh of joy at that thought?  Yes!  And an old-fashioned ‘amen’ to boot!


Thank you, Jesus, for always helping me.  Amen.


I’ve never been one to sit back watching life pass me by, slipping and sliding through my fingers.  Goes faster than greased lightning.  I don’t need to remind you that the Lord has work for us to do.  So, don’t idle along!

Psalm 135 warns against idols.  I realize I’m shifting gears here.  Idle to idol.  But hear me out.  This psalm red flags idols and those absorbed in them.  It’s true that we don’t live in a culture where carved figurines receive much worship.  On the contrary, our society wants no god of any sort.  Banished.  Given the old heave-ho, including the bum’s rush.

However, in Old Testament times idols are everywhere.  Even in the holy city of Jerusalem.  Could hardly get around without bumping into pagan shrines.  Aren’t you glad we’re not like them?  Idol worshippers.

No, we’re among the smarty-pants.  Whiz kids and know-it-alls.  Our idols are computers and algorithms, profit and loss statements, political shenanigans coupled with never-ending greed.  Everyone bent over, bowing down to their smart phones.  Things which, sooner or later, will go out of fashion, become obsolete or break to smithereens .

Psalm 135:15-18–‘The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.  They have mouths, but cannot speak; eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear; nor is there breath in their mouths.  Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.’

Sounds wise not to get wrapped up in filthy lucre, or go ego-tripping on one’s high horse.  We’ll wind up becoming empty, useless, lifeless, not worth a plug nickel.  Idols that idle away precious life, missing the bus to serve in Jesus’ Kingdom.

So, don’t idle along getting along too well with modern day idols!  Get busy for Jesus.  There’s so much to do.  So much you can do.  Whatever that is, do it for Jesus.  Any ideas?  Then start…now!

Stop idling along!



Thank you, Jesus, for making life special.  Amen.


More than 30 years ago, I note some blurring in my eyesight.  When I close one eye, no problem.  But the other contains a gray, cloudy spot.  What gives?  Of course, I panic.  Fear I’m going blind.  Or worse, a brain tumor.  Not long for this world.

Visiting a local eye doctor, he categorizes my ailment as ‘macular degeneration’ for insurance purposes.  Looking up that condition in my handy-dandy hypochondriac’s ‘Medical Guide for Idiots’, I realize that a seeing eye dog is just around the corner.  That’s great, since I’m highly allergic to dog dander!  As it turns out, I don’t have macular whatever.  But this big eye medico’s insurance form shortcut causes me considerable stress and strain.  His two cents’ worth quacks like a duck!

Next I make an appointment with a retinal specialist.  Upon examination he wants to know if I’m a welder.  A what?  A welder?  I can hardly maneuver a hammer let alone an acetylene torch.

His conclusion is that I have a leakage in one eye that will either get worse or clear up on its own.  Not to panic.  If needed, he’ll help with laser treatments.  Fortunately or not, I’ve experienced no change.  Decades later–none better, none worse.

I’ve adjusted to it, rarely even thinking about it.  Using both eyes, they compensate for one being partially blurry.  Both together give me rather clear vision.

That’s how the Bible works for those of us who believe in Jesus.  One eye alone, focused exclusively on this world, blurs and distorts.  Life’s meaning tilts out-of-whack, not sure exactly what we’re seeing.  Confusion more than clarity.

Using both eyes, so to speak, as in also reading the Bible, digging deeper within on a regular basis (sorry, once in a blue moon doesn’t cut it!), digesting what it says, allowing trust to grow in our Lord, while becoming obedient to His will, gives understanding as plain as the nose on my face.

Psalm 119:18–‘Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.’  And Psalm 119:105–‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’  Let His light shine.  There’s plenty more where that came from.


Thank you, Jesus, for your Word that lights my way.  Amen.