I think of Denny’s description of the young pregnant girl, “All she needs is the love of Jesus.” She needs a great reversal of how she sees the world, how she lives her life, to find peace and rest, to no longer fear…. We were all there. The promise of everything new, of the desert flowers blossoming… if we could only find a way for that message to be heard….
- What are some of the great desert stories in the Bible?
- Desert is a major theme of the Bible…. (show condordance)
- What is the spiritual significance of a desert?
- Have you ever had time in your own life you felt like you were in the desert?
- The 40 days of lent is a desert experience.
- How are we as a nation/world wandering in the desert right now?
- Why are we more likely to see God in the wilderness?
Is. 35:1-2 describes a sudden breakthrough! Describe the crocus…
The crocus is a beautiful image of a person coming to life… this is why we keep going as Christians sharing the message of Christ… like a crocus that burst forth… the heralds of spring. When I see a crocus I smile… winter is about to start, but spring is coming…
Glory of Lebanon is a revival of the temple of Solomon when Lebanon provided Cedar for the temple…
Carmel, Sharon are considered especially beautiful places, what’s the prettiest garden in Whatcom County? How about heather meadows in June/July when the snow is gone from the end of Mt. Baker Highway….
Is. 35:3-7: READ vv. 3-4 is actually a command/invitation. This is how we prepare for the coming of the Lord, by being compassionate, by bringing a word of hope. 90% of my job in the world is to be a cheerleader for those that are struggling…Henri Nouwen wrote: “Joy is hidden in compassion. The word compassion literally means "to suffer with. It seems quite unlikely that suffering with another person would bring joy. Yet being with a person in pain, offering simple presence to someone in despair, sharing with a friend times of confusion and uncertainty...such experiences can bring us deep joy. Not happiness, not excitement, not great satisfaction, but the quiet joy of being there for someone else and living in deep solidarity with our brothers and sisters in this human family. Often this is a solidarity in weakness, in brokenness, in woundedness, but it leads us to the center of joy, which is sharing our humanity with others.”
Only the person who knows the desert will receive the transformation of the Lord. Transformation begins with compassion. 3-4 is preparation for 5-7! Streams in the desert is a beautiful image of renewal…
I think of the story one of my professors told of being on a mission trip in one of the Caribbean Islands… a woman just glowed, an aura… Why are you so happy he asked, so she took him down a path and showed him four graves of her husband and sons, and described how they had all died a few years earlier and how for a long time she just wanted to die, then one night the Lord came to her and told her that he was with her, and it was time to start living, and her world/outlook were all changed in an instant. Her family was still all gone, but the Lord told her to focus on life. My professor said it was an amazing testimony, but then the woman turned to him and said, “What’s your story.” He’s looking at this woman who is more alive than anyone he’s ever met with an amazing story and stammered out, “well, I don’t really have a story.” And the woman said to him, “Everyone has a story.”
Do you know, to this day, that is what helps me listen well to people… to hear the stories… I try to be compassionate, to listen, to encourage, to
The movement of Is. 35 continues with the next verses, this is one of the reasons I love this chapter so much. It goes from the transforming power of God, which is beautiful all by itself, but now it describes a journey and a destination. This is the Christian life, it is a journey pointing to a destiny. READ Is. 35:8-10.
In terms of history, this is as prophecy pointing to the Babylonian exile and return to Jerusalem…but the ultimate fulfillment is still being realized and still coming. The return to Jerusalem is a symbol for us of a journey to eternal life with the Lrod Jesus Christ.
Why is joy so elusive in our world. How do we recapture JOY. Why is JOY one of the greatest signs of knowing Christ.