9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth,
saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you
and will not throw you away.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Is 41:9-10) NLT
There is an enemy who wants nothing more than to deceive me and convince me that I am not chosen by anyone—why would anyone want me? It started off early in life on the playground when I was one of the last people chosen when they were choosing teams. First choice was always the champion of whatever sport it happened to be. Next would come the “popular kids”. Then there were those of us who were neither great at sports nor popular. Middle school wasn’t much different. School dances when I wanted someone to ask me to dance. I still remember the crushing feeling of having a boy look at me and moving on. Thankfully, I had girlfriends and learned to have fun without all the teenage drama.
Adulthood has had its share of rejections as well. It wasn’t until I found Jesus that I learned the truth of my value. I have a Father who loves me, a Friend who defends me and encourages me, a Teacher who guides me, and a Deliverer who saved me. The verses above assure me I am chosen and the apple of his eye (Ps 17:8). It took a long time for me to grasp that and hold it deep in my heart. His words changed my life.
“Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, 2 and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before— 3 do not listen to them. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul. 4 Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. Deut 13:1-4) NLT
The world wants to draw me away from God. It is insidious at times and I don’t realize it right away. My flesh can be drawn to whatever is loudest around me. I’ve found that it isn’t God. He has given me his words, he has given me his directions, he has shown me how he wants me to live. He has invested dearly into my life. His voice is always soft and loving—never loud. He waits to see which I will choose—Him? Yes, Lord, I choose you! Just as you chose me!
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.[a]
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation. (Ps 100) NLT
My God is worthy of all my praise. I know the day will come when all the saints will sing of his glory in one voice. I remember the first time I walked into a church that was alive with the Holy Spirit. I’m not even sure I had accepted Jesus yet but I was seeking. I was a few minutes late and the congregation was singing songs of praise I had never heard. I looked around at their faces. There was a glow as hands and faces were turned upwards singing with everything in them. I thought to myself, “I don’t know what “that” is, but “that” is what I’m looking for!” I could feel it in my soul—hearts united in thanksgiving. Five years later, I was in a church service singing with everything in me. I had a sense that I had left the building and I was standing in the very throne room of God singing only to Him! At the end of the song, I remembered that first time and I realized God had answered a silent prayer I had made that day long ago. What I was searching for was not a “that” but a Who! “His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”
Lord, thank you for choosing me! This world tries to convince me there is something better—but there isn’t anything better than you! Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere. In my minds eye, I have seen you clapping in delight when I’ve danced for you or sang a song just for you. You’ve shown me over and over just how dearly loved I am by you. I praise you! In Jesus mighty name, Amen