Luke 14 Part 2–Inclusion and Sacrifice

Jesus was committed to the preparation of the apostles and others that would follow Him.  So, every message had an important component to their development.  In this story, the lessons were about opening the family of God, and about counting the cost of following God.

In the first part, Jesus tells the story of the bridegroom being snubbed by the family and close friends.  As that occurs, the bridegroom then invites others outside the original group to fill the hall.  Jesus was foreshadowing the spread of the Gospel.   Jesus came to be the Messiah for Israel.  But, after the Jewish nation rejected Jesus, in Acts, we learn that God opened the hall and led gentiles from around the globe to be a part of the family at the wedding feast of the Lamb.  In Romans 1:16, Paul writes, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God unto salvation to anyone that believes. First to the Jew, and then to the Gentile.”  God’s plan was always to reclaim the entire world. 

Next, Jesus discusses the cost of following Him.  No matter how one slices it, Jesus was clear–He must be the center of the believer’s life.  Jesus and the salvation He provides must never be an accessory nor an afterthought.  Our Lord wants His chosen to understand that being Christ’s disciple is an all or nothing proposition.  It does not mean that we do not live our lives and do our jobs, it simply means that as we do, we do all things in a way that reflects and honors Jesus Christ.  Jesus was not being harsh or mean, He was simply making clear that following Christ is the life, not simply a component of our lives. 

Paul said it best, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” We conduct our lives with Christ at the core.  Not as an afterthought or occasional token. Our faith draws us to be like Christ and to share the Gospel with any that will listen.  That is the calling, and that is the life.

God Bless You


When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

The Cost of Being a Disciple

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Luke 14 Part 1–Humility vs. Self-Promotion

Jesus was now under major scrutiny by the religious leaders.  They had but one goal, get rid of Jesus.  Jesus was invited to a prominent Pharisee’s house for dinner and there, waiting, is a man to be healed.  Of course, it was on the sabbath.  I am sure Jesus was thinking, “Really, healing on the Sabbath again???”  So, Jesus simply asked the leaders the question, is it OK to heal on the sabbath?  They of course did not answer–if they answered No then Jesus had them because as He pointed, they would save their kids and livestock on the sabbath. Doing good was allowed!   If they would have answered yes, then Jesus would have taken away their best trap. It was becoming comical.

Next Jesus talked about living a life of Humility.  He showed that those who try to constantly exalt themselves, will be embarrassed.  Conversely, if one simply lives and acts humbly; God and others will exalt them.  What a gift and what a more lasting honor.  Jesus tried so ardently to help people to shift their thoughts from self-centered survival to an attitude of faith; trusting God to lead and provide. Sadly, the leaders were not grasping the concept.  That was the most frustrating aspect for Jesus.  These were supposed to be God’s best and brightest; but they missed the most important aspect of a life of devotion to God–selfless faith.

In our lives, Jesus still wants us to grasp the principle, Seek God and follow Him.  Then He will meet your needs and lift you up to a life of peace and joy.  The Lord will also prepare for you an eternal life with Him as His chosen.  We need not spend our days trying to earn prominence or self-promoting our spirituality.  That will get us nowhere.  Instead, we simply and humbly follow the Father, then, we can allow the Lord to lift us up.  It is a great way to live and brings peace during chaos.

God Bless You


One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.

Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child[a] or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” And they had nothing to say.

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 10 Part 1–Sending out the Teams

Jesus’s ministry was growing.  He sent out 36 teams to prepare for his visits.  He taught then the importance of walking by faith.  Take no food and make no arrangements in advance.  The disciples were to experience ministry on the front line.  Jesus knew they would be rejected by some.  Jesus wanted to teach His folks that rejection of them was more accurately rejection of the Lord.  They need not give it a second thought.  So as Jesus sent them out, He armed them with peace and courage. 

Now, these thousands of years later, He is still sending us out.  He is still arming us with peace and courage.  Jesus is still reminding us that when our message is rejected it is at Jesus and not us that rejection is aimed.  He also still wants His chosen to remember He is with us always.  He is faithful to supply all our needs.  We are His workmanship, and we need to follow Him closely.  If we will; this journey will have purpose and make sense.  Otherwise, we will wander aimlessly to an empty conclusion.

God Bless You


After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Luke 8 Part 1–The Parable of the Sower

Of the messages from the Lord, the parable of the sower is both one of the most convicting and freeing messages Jesus shared.  In a sense it is very convicting.  When we realize we are to be sharing God’s message, it is a very daunting reality that many will hear the message but not be changed.  Life happens, and people reject the message, fail to grow because there is no follow-up, or simply allow life to choke out their walk with God.  Still, as we are faithful, with His message, God draws people into the kingdom, and they draw others until the Gospel wins the day.

So, while it is important that we share the Gospel, it is equally important to realize once sown, we do not control what happens to the message.  Sure, we need to follow up and disciple those who we know have received Christ, but we cannot stop people’s personal choices and life’s incredible attack.  That is God’s job through His Spirit in men’s lives.  Jesus was making clear that the message gets out there. God makes sure of that.  What men do with that message is all over the board.  We, as His chosen, need to share boldly and love unconditionally as we minister.  We are not the judges, we are the planters, crop caretakers, and harvesters of the message.  We allow the Lord to do the work and change lives. As Paul reminded us in Romans1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe!”

God Bless You


Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.

Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed

One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

‘When they look, they won’t really see.
    When they hear, they won’t understand.’[b]

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. 14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

Isaiah 42 Part 1–The Character of God’s Chosen and of God

God made it clear to Isaiah that his chosen are people with character.  They do not whine or complain.  They are people of integrity that represent God well and represent themselves as separate and different.  They are selfless, content with God’s plan and leadership.  They will seek God with their heart.  They do not compromise or put their needs ahead of those of the Father.

As such, God takes them by the hand and leads them.  He protects, provides, and brings them to a place that they walk and act like the God that leads them.  Unlike the world, they are humble, honest and consider others needs as important as their own.  So as any good Father Adonai meet5s and exceeds the meeting of their needs.  He will never be outdone.  He answers prayers with such specificity and meets needs so completely that his power and authority is not an issue.

In our world, so many voices seek to undermine and minimize God’s hand in the world.  They would have one believe that either things happen by coincidence or at the expertise from their own hands. We must not be fooled by such a ridiculous lie.  One need only look up and see the stars to understand how insignificant our impact on the world.  We need to trust and follow God and allow him to complete his plan in our lives and in the lives of those we pass each day. Ours is not to try to figure it out God’s plan, but to simply allow Him to lead us along the path of this amazing journey.

God Bless You


Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen, in whom my soul delights.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
    he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
    or make it heard in the street.
a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.
    he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged[a]
    till he has established justice in the earth.
    and the coastlands wait for his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out?
    who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it?
    and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you[b] in righteousness.
    I will take you by the hand and keep you.
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
    a light for the nations,
    to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
    from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord; that is my name.
    my glory I give to no other,
    nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
    and new things I now declare.
before they spring forth
    I tell you of them.”

Isaiah 29-30 With God, There Is Always the Hope of Restoration

It is an amazing part of the knowledge of the Lord, to realize the reality that God’s strongest desire is to bless and protect the ones He loves.  In Isaiah 29-30, God speaks first of the siege of Jerusalem.  He speaks of the sadness as Jerusalem is taken down.  He warns not to run from what is ahead–but, to repent.  Turn their hearts from other gods and destroy their idols.  Then as they return to Him, the Lord will protect and restore them.  He will restore their faith, hope, and their future.  

When they return to Him, the Lord will then come in a fury and destroy the enemy, restore the land, and restore the faith and joy of the people.  Amid the sieges, the captivity, and the loss of national identity, it had to be these promises that allowed many to maintain their faith and follow God.  It was these promises that led the remnant back and through the centuries allowed the people of Israel to continue their traditions and seek the Messiah.

Now these thousands of years later, the Messiah has come and died and rose again; and, we all can be in personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus.  That faith will bring hope in all circumstance and as in the passage return us to days of peace and times of joy.  We will quit worshiping our handmade gods and humbly seek our Father.  We will experience peace, love, and have the confidence that we will be with the Lord throughout eternity.  

We can live without fear in a fearful time.  We can have real joy during chaos and unrest.  In short, we can and will live abundant lives even while the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) We can walk in confidence as we allow our lives to be hidden in Christ with God. (Col 3:1-4) Thanks Father, that Your peace does pass all human understanding; and Your desire is to bless those You love.

God Bless You


18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore, he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all those who wait for him.

19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”

23 And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24 and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

27 Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar,
    burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;[d]
his lips are full of fury,
    and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28 his breath is like an overflowing stream
    that reaches up to the neck;
to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,
    and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.

29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. 30 And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. 31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. 32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. 33 For a burning place[e] has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

Isaiah 17–The Rise and Fall Of Empires

Isaiah was sadly having to deliver a message to Damascus and to the Northern Tribes of Israel.  After the Division of Israel under Jeroboam, the northern tribes took on the identity of Ephriam. The Southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin took on the identity of Judah as the sons of David. As time progressed, Ephriam became increasingly evil and first aligned with the Assyrians, whose capitol city was Damascus.  Then after some time they were conquered by the Assyrians, removed from the lands, and transplanted in Samaria.

Isaiah was giving both groups fair warning–If they thought they would take Judah; God had a different plan.  As they dared to challenge God and His people, God would destroy them, disband them, and make sure they would be completely and utterly forgettable. History tells us, that is exactly what happened.  The northern tribes were scattered. Assyria defeated, absorbed, and forgotten.

Amazingly, God’s people are still a nation, God is still in charge, and His name still above all names.  In our culture, men still believe they can eradicate God from the world–they are as mistaken as were the Assyrians.  Try though they may, all attempts to defeat and dispel God will fail. 

We as His chosen must remain on our knees and pray for direction and revival of our hearts and the heart of our nation.  Following God is always the best answer for peace, security, and prosperity. All other answers are at best band-aids and are never successful.  We must change the course and return to being “One nation under God, indivisible; with liberty and justice for all.” If we will; we can still have an impact on the world.

 Sadly, the alternative has been played out many times. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medes & Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Prussians, Mongols, Japanese, British, Axis, USSR…nations and empires rise and fall–God simply does not.  That’s why following the Lord and His plan is always the right course.

God Bless You


An oracle concerning Damascus.

Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city
    and will become a heap of ruins.
The cities of Aroer are deserted;
    they will be for flocks,
    which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.
The fortress will disappear from Ephraim,
    and the kingdom from Damascus;
and the remnant of Syria will be
    like the glory of the children of Israel,
declares the Lord of hosts.

And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low,
    and the fat of his flesh will grow lean.
And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain
    and his arm harvests the ears,
and as when one gleans the ears of grain
    in the Valley of Rephaim.
Gleanings will be left in it,
    as when an olive tree is beaten—
two or three berries
    in the top of the highest bough,
four or five
    on the branches of a fruit tree,
declares the Lord God of Israel.

In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense.

In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the wooded heights and the hilltops, which they deserted because of the children of Israel, and there will be desolation.

10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
    and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge.
therefore, though you plant pleasant plants
    and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,
11 though you make them grow[a] on the day that you plant them,
    and make them blossom in the morning that you sow,
yet the harvest will flee away[b]
    in a day of grief and incurable pain.

12 Ah, the thunder of many peoples;
    they thunder like the thundering of the sea!
Ah, the roar of nations;
    they roar like the roaring of mighty waters!
13 The nations roar like the roaring of many waters,
    but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away,
chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind
    and whirling dust before the storm.
14 At evening time, behold, terror!
    Before morning, they are no more!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
    and the lot of those who plunder us.

Isaiah 12–Isaiah Prophet and Worship Leader

Isaiah’s role as a prophet was a very multi-faceted role. Historian, truth teller, evangelist, battle strategist.  But on this day, Isaiah was a worship leader.  It must have been unique to see the future destruction and then the restoration of God’s people.  It would have been hard to keep from judging the sin of Israel or trying to figure out the mind of God.

Isaiah did neither of those things.  Isaiah simply spoke the truth.  To him, having a glimpse of God’s perspective that looks at all places and times at once, was a gift.  Isaiah was worshipping the Lord and watching God’s chosen worship the Lord, because God had, in fact, destroyed Israel’s enemy and returned them to their inheritance.  For Israel, the song was yet premature, they had not yet been exiled nor had the Assyrians and Babylonians been destroyed.  The Remnant had not left, much less been returned.  But this song that Isaiah wrote was an accurate ballad for a later date.  What is more, it was a promise for hope–when the history of Israel had become abysmal.

It grows more apparent, in these times, that the world is exploding.  Across the globe, God is systematically being excluded from government, education, and families.  In America, we are banning worship at church, but encouraging protesters by the thousand to gather in the streets. The great news is that God is patient.  He truly wants His people to humble themselves and to seek His face. As with Israel, God wants to restore us, His people, but that requires repentance and revival.  

We simply need to face the fact that our nation and our world is teetering on the brink of judgement–but, as with Israel, we can turn and be restored. Pray, seek God and His truth, walk humbly, and turn toward God and His plan. Do not turn away from God to do your own thing.  Then we can join Isaiah in worship and praise God for His restoration. Then we can walk in peace without fear.

God Bless You


In that day you will say:

“I will praise you, Lord.
    Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
    and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
    from the wells of salvation.

In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done,
    and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
    let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Isaiah 6-The Call of a Prophet

It truly must have been a daunting vision. Isaiah standing in Heaven in the presence of God.  To that point, Isaiah had been a historian for the king. The king died and I am sure that Isaiah was wondering what was next for his journey–then Bam! Isaiah was standing in God’s presence in stark fear, knowing that Uzziah became a leper for simply going into the Holy of Holies and touching the incense.

BUT GOD, was in control. He purified Isaiah, and He also sent Isaiah on a mission.  The purification was by an angel that literally touched Isaiah’s mouth with an ember from the alter of Heaven–that is something one does not experience every day. Then God described his mission–Go tell a group of people that are not seeing, hearing, or understanding that they are in big trouble, what lies ahead.  Further, be assured that when you tell them they will not understand.  That is not a job one would get a plethora of resumes for on Indeed.

Isaiah did the job he was called to do–for Judah and for the world.  For as sad as the message to the people truly was, the hope of salvation was equally as exciting. With God, there is always hope–that hope centers on the person of Jesus Christ.

We cling to the fact that Jesus is the Savior, and not our own sinful attempts to control life.  As we follow the Lord humbly and intently; He will show us the way to do this life, and He will prepare us for what lies ahead in eternity.I would be less than honest if I did not admit that I would not want Isaiah’s job; but, I would do what God calls me to do daily. I know God’s call will be preparation for what is to come.

God Bless You


In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train[a] of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.
the whole earth is full of his glory!”[b]

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for 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!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Isaiah’s Commission from the Lord

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

“‘Keep on hearing,[c] but do not understand.
keep on seeing,[d] but do not perceive.’
10 Make the heart of this people dull,[e]
    and their ears heavy,
    and blind their eyes.
lest they see with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”

Isaiah 1 Part 2–Sorry, Not Sorry

God had had it! He was very clearly using Isaiah to tell the people of Judah that he did not need any more bull or lambs’ blood.  He needed His chosen people to truly be sorry for their sinful lives and begin to turn their attitudes and heart back to Him.  From God’s view, the children of Israel would present each sacrifice with a, “Sorry–Not Sorry!”  God was clear–“Not a fan of animal blood, I am a fan of repentant people.”
 
The problem Isaiah was trying to express was simply that sacrifices were not a get out of jail free card.  Sacrifices were acts to atone for the guilt we have from our sin.  Sorry–not sorry does not express the true attitude of a repentant heart that a father looks for from an errant child.  So, in effect, God used Isaiah to tell the people–save your beef.  Save your lamb.  Have a cookout! I want to see different hearts and attitudes.  I want us to be able to talk about sin and its devastation using our heads and our hearts–not excuses.
 
Nothing has changed. We receive Christ and that begins a relationship and journey that leads us to become eternal minded and God focused. Praying the prayer, is no more a get out of jail free card than were the rams and bulls of old.  All the Lord has ever really wanted was a repentant heart and desire to follow Him. Without that, no amount of church attendance or “Sorry-Not Sorry” prayers will change our hearts.  As with Judah, God wants us to seek him.  He longs to be in relationship.  
 
He especially longs to be in a genuine relationship with his kids. In short, God says keep it real.
 
God Bless You

“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.

12 “When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17     learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.

18 “Come now, let us reason[c] together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”