Isaiah 62–A Prophet’s Prayer

It is difficult to be gifted with the gift of prophecy.  Prophecy has two parts: foretelling the future and forthtelling the truth.  In part, many admire and are amazed at the accuracy of Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus and about Israel.  Remember, at the time of these prophecies, Jerusalem, was prosperous and proud.  They were very sacrosanct and holy–they were just ignoring God.  They were checking boxes like mad, but had no heart for their Creator, Savior, and Provider.

Israel, like most still loved themselves more than God.  They did not mind making God a part of their lives as long as He did not interfere.  That is why much of Isaiah’s prophecy is simply calling them out for their sins of commission and omission. Here in chapter 62, We are blessed to see this prophet’s love for God and God’s chosen.  He personally prayed for their restoration.  for the return of their name and dignity.  The normally blunt and harsh prophet is now bearing his broken heart for these people, God’s Chosen.

We are also His chosen.  Isaiah wants us to also enjoy the blessing and restoration that is due God’s people.  When we trust the Lord as our savior, He will bring us into His family and, like Israel, will gather us and care for us.  This world is not our home.  We are being prepared for an eternal life in God’s presence.  Here there will be no fear, no darkness, no tears, and no regrets.  We will be new creations in the Heavenlies, in God’s loving family.  Like the Israel described in this passage, we will be restored and renewed in the image of our Lord.  What an amazing promise and gift.

God Bless You


Because I love Zion,
    I will not keep still.
Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem,
    I cannot remain silent.
I will not stop praying for her
    until her righteousness shines like the dawn,
    and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.
The nations will see your righteousness.
    World leaders will be blinded by your glory.
And you will be given a new name
    by the Lord’s own mouth.
The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—
    a splendid crown in the hand of God.
Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”[a]
    or “The Desolate Land.”[b]
Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”[c]
    and “The Bride of God,”[d]
for the Lord delights in you
    and will claim you as his bride.
Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem,
    just as a young man commits himself to his bride.
Then God will rejoice over you
    as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.

O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls;
    they will pray day and night, continually.
    Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.
Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work,
    until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.
The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength:
    “I will never again hand you over to your enemies.
Never again will foreign warriors come
    and take away your grain and new wine.
You raised the grain, and you will eat it,
    praising the Lord.
Within the courtyards of the Temple,
    you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.”

10 Go out through the gates!
    Prepare the highway for my people to return!
Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders;
    raise a flag for all the nations to see.
11 The Lord has sent this message to every land:
    “Tell the people of Israel,[e]
‘Look, your Savior is coming.
    See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’”
12 They will be called “The Holy People”
    and “The People Redeemed by the Lord.”
And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place”
    and “The City No Longer Forsaken.”

The Importance of the Law–I Timothy 1 Part 2

Laws and Contracts–they are powerful tools.  Funny thing is, however, neither were ever designed or intended for those who would choose to comply with or follow them. The Law was designed to expose and to stop those whose intentions were never to keep the law or the contract. 

Those that do intend to push, stretch or completely disregard the law usually can quote the law word for word.  Those that violate contracts  can point to page and paragraph, and attempt to explain chapter and verse–on why they do not apply.

Paul is teaching Pastor Timothy it is not his job to argue extensively with those that have no intention of following Christ about things that they neither care about, nor really want to know the facts or truth.  He encourages Timothy and us–spend your time simply seeking God and realizing his grace is for those that seek it–of which Paul was the chief.

We, like Paul, do not  need to spend our days arguing about menial theological questions.  Instead, we need to walk humbly, preach boldly and encourage endlessly others that would come to know him.  God has never been about the rules or the tasks.  He has always sought to be in relationship and develop us from the heart outward to simply follow him and live to serve him and others.  If we walk in that selfless mode, the laws and doctrines that seem so important to those that are looking for loopholes–are mere window dressing and do not dictate how we live each day under God’s grace and power.  

Live to please God out of love–not out of obligation.  Then the laws and rules can be available for those who never intended to follow them anyway!

God Bless You

We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders,[c] liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.

Paul’s Gratitude for God’s Mercy

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him,13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners.

The Inevitable Nature of God’s Handiwork–Genesis 43 Part 1

They would not mind telling you–The brothers were not looking forward to going back to Egypt.  Sure, they had to go and retrieve Simeon–but, that Governor guy was mean and Israel was pretty clear about his letting Benjamin make the trip.  Still, hunger was setting in.  Wives and kids were affected–so despite the desire to avoid the conflict, The brothers knew they had to go back.  It is interesting, however, that Judah was the leader of the brothers–he personally pledged his life for the family and for Benjamin.  His heart, his response was a picture of what was to come for the lineage and the legacy.
 
It was inevitable that Joseph’s brothers would return to face him and it was inevitable that Judah the patriarch of the lineage of our Lord would be the family member willing to sacrifice his life for the lives of his brothers.  God does not wing it! He knew from the beginning of time that this day would come and this journey would happen.  He also knew that its outcome would change the course of the people of Israel and the world.  There would be no plan B.  Plan A was perfect down to the foreshadowing it exposed.
 
He is as careful in planning in our lives.  So much that we face seems random and meaningless–but, then as we continue to trust and follow him; his glorious plan is revealed, and our lives and legacies are exposed to the glorious power of God.  It is neither easy nor fun–but, it is amazing and can truly change the world–if we allow it.  It may not change today or tomorrow–but our lives, in God’s hands, will inevitably impact the lives and the world we know.
 
God Bless You
 Now the famine was still severe in the land. So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”

Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”

They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”

Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10 As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”

The Face of Wisdom–Proverbs 8 continued

What does Wisdom look like? It is the person never too busy to help. It is the world leader that makes the tough decisions on behalf of others not simply for political expediency.  Wisdom is the wealthy person who is defined by character and not by net worth.  Wisdom is the humble laborer that raises his family to be loving and honest—seeking ways to make a difference. It is the teacher that impacts a generation and the judge that does not allow circumstance to define law.  Wisdom appears in all walks of life and in all races, sexes and ages.

 The one commonality among the wise—their love for God and their desire to seek him in any and all circumstances. The wise do not allow the troubles of the day to define them…They allow the Lord and his teachings to define them.  Often, ones wisdom is enhanced by trials and tribulation, however, it can also be defined by discretion and restraint.  To be wise, one need only to trust and follow the Lord.  Then as we seek him, he gladly imparts his truth and his character upon us.  That truth and Character has eternal implications that we could never fathom on earth—but, it will carry us through any and all circumstances, as Paul said in Philippians 4, “I have learned to be content in any and all circumstance—whether well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want—I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13

 God Bless You

“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;     I possess knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;     I hate pride and arrogance,     evil behavior and perverse speech. 14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;     I have insight, I have power. 15 By me kings reign     and rulers issue decrees that are just; 16 by me princes govern,     and nobles—all who rule on earth. 17 I love those who love me,     and those who seek me find me. 18 With me are riches and honor,     enduring wealth and prosperity. 19 My fruit is better than fine gold;     what I yield surpasses choice silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness,     along the paths of justice, 21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me     and making their treasuries full.

Something Lost in Translation–Mark 14

Jesus knew his time was coming to an end. As he was moving closer to Golgotha he was anointed with fine perfume. The reaction was mixed—His enemies were incensed—What a waste of money.  His Disciples were confused—Wow that was odd.  But Jesus and the rest of us know he was being anointed for the days ahead.  Often, those who fail to understand the gospel and its impact on our lives find its applications appalling or confusing.  Paul said the natural man does not understand the things of God, it is foolishness to them for it is spiritually discerned.

 We need to rely on the Spirit of God to direct our paths, to guide us to truth and to comfort us n trial.  When we do, in the midst of the discomfort of trials, we understand that we are simply passing through on our way to eternity. That is because we are spiritually minded and eternal in our mindset.  The natural man is worldly minded, self directed and temporal in thinking. It is like speaking French in Japan.  That is why our mission is to lead folks to Christ, to act as a translator and guide. We can never underestimate the importance of being the ambassadors we have been called to be.

 Happy New Year

God Bless You

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.