Isaiah 63–A Story From Three Perspectives

Isaiah 63 could easily be a script to a Hollywood movie.  It looks At Israel from 3 perspectives; the Father that avenges His chosen’s enemies, a grateful child that recognizes and regrets their rebellion, and a humble recipient that begs for forgiveness for their wicked behavior.  The title could be “Three Genres”. 

In the first genre, the audience would see the rage of a Heavenly Father tired of seeing His chosen attacked and abused by all that are around them.  In His mind, these are His precious treasures, and no one will help them.  So, as any great Dad would–The Father interceded.  It was not pretty, and the enemies were destroyed “Hollywood Style”.  The Father wanted to make clear that while there are times when he has had to discipline them–no one can mess with His kids and not pay a price!

Act two is staged in a quiet forest, where a Lovely child tells the story of a Father’s patience and love for Children that chose to rebel.  She sings the praises of the patience of a Father that would love despite the rebellion.  One can hear the beautiful and humble grateful heart of this child of the King.  She knows she did not deserve the effort, but also that Her Heavenly father would Have it no other way.

Then the final vignette.  This vignette is in a chapel on a hill where a child who has given the Father a very difficult time realizes the err of their ways and repents and asks for the pardon the awful behavior.  In that, the Father gladly scoops up the child and forgives the child without a second thought.  It is a scene like the prodigal son with fine robes, fatted calves and celebration that lasts for days.  All are reunited, redeemed, and restored and the family of God walks in peace and unity…

The closing credits display three verses–Romans 5:8, 2 Chronicles 7:14 and I John 1:9…

God Bless You


Who is this who comes from Edom,
    from the city of Bozrah,
    with his clothing stained red?
Who is this in royal robes,
    marching in his great strength?

“It is I, the Lord, announcing your salvation!
    It is I, the Lord, who has the power to save!”

Why are your clothes so red,
    as if you have been treading out grapes?

“I have been treading the winepress alone;
    no one was there to help me.
In my anger I have trampled my enemies
    as if they were grapes.
In my fury I have trampled my foes.
    Their blood has stained my clothes.
For the time has come for me to avenge my people,
    to ransom them from their oppressors.
I was amazed to see that no one intervened
    to help the oppressed.
So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm,
    and my wrath sustained me.
I crushed the nations in my anger
    and made them stagger and fall to the ground,
    spilling their blood upon the earth.”

Confession is Great for the Soul–1 John 1 final

I heard in a sermon a few weeks ago that no one simply drifts into a great life.  We were designed by God to be intentional and God Like.  That is why sin has had such a terrible impact upon us and upon the world as a whole.  The natural man defaults away from God and drifts toward a selfish and empty life.  Even with eternity in the balance, men choose to be separated from God naturally.

But God chose differently.  Through his spirit, we are drawn back to him.  In that, if we confess our sin–our natural desire to be Lord of our own life, and follow his lead and begin the personal relationship with him as Lord of our lives–our affirmative decision to surrender allows him to forgive us and restore our eternal life and journey with him.

While simple, it is by no means easy.  we have to choose each day to follow him and not run our own show.  But, when we choose that life–we have a Great Life Indeed!

God Bless You

This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

A False Teacher’s Destiny–2 Peter 2

God takes seriously the diluting or falsifying of his message of hope and freedom.  He does not tolerate those that would use his name to extort, intimidate, control or in any other way deceive his chosen ones.  Like any father, he could tolerate someone attacking or trying to lead him astray, but if you mess with his kids, it will not go well for you.

So many have tried to use God’s message of freedom for personal gain or glory.  He tells us that the end for them will be awful.  We have to seek the truth.  We also have to carefully discern the message those who teach are spreading.  If their focus is on anyone other than the Lord, it is a sign they are not teaching the truth.  Their message should be clear, consistent and Christ centered, otherwise its veracity is suspect.  We need to follow the true message and teachers that are committed to its communication.  Help me Lord to listen to and teach the truth!

God Bless You

But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.

I Samuel I Part I–Fervent Prayer

When we are hurting, there is nothing more powerful than prayer.  Prayer is our ongoing conversation with the one that created and loves us unconditionally.  The greatest gift we have is the ability to talk to God Directly.  We do not need an intermediary—we have Jesus the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. God wants to hear from us directly.  He wants the good and the bad.  He knows us, sees us and loves us.  Hannah cried out to him and God heard her prayer.  It did not happen overnight, but, he heard and he answered in a huge way.

We have to continue to cry out to God.  He is not Santa and he is not always going to change things instantly—but, like any father, He is always listening, loving and looking for ways to provide and protect his kids.  We may receive taunting, it may seem like you have prayed forever—but pray knowing he hears you and is preparing the best for you.

Help me Lord to seek you, and wait upon your answer—it is the best.

God Bless You

 And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion[b] because the Lord had given her no children. So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle.[c] Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.

“Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”

Hannah’s Prayer for a Son

Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle.[d] 10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 11 And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.[e]

12 As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. 13 Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. 14 “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”

15 “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”

17 “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”

 

Matthew 11 part 1–John the Baptist

When the pressure increases and life gets difficult, our faith is really tested.  John the Baptist was the man that announced Jesus entrance into ministry.  He baptized Jesus and stepped aside as Jesus Ministry flourished.  Now as John was being persecuted for his faith, even he began to question the very center of his faith—Is Jesus the one???  Jesus didn’t get angry, he did not criticize his cousin.  Instead, Jesus comforted him with facts and answered his question directly.  Jesus then told the crowd of his love for John and the view God had of him—he was one of the great ones.

We often worry that if we have a bad day or a crisis of faith that God will somehow erase all the devotion and tireless following we have done and write us of as some worn out has been.  No Father does that to his child.  God is our main Cheerleader and coach.  He will meet us where we are and will draw us to himself to give us the strength to press on even on days that simply does not seem possible.  When we are feeling weak and discouraged—that s when we need to lean into the Lord.  Prayer, study and fellowship with others on the journey become the lifeline in times of crisis.  Never be afraid to ask the father for anything—at any time.  He alone is the Lord God and he loves us more than anyone.

God Bless You

2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’[c]

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

 

 

Matthew 6 part 2–Prayer

One of the amazing ironies in life is the Lord’s prayer. As Jesus talked to  the crowd, he was laying out to them what the Father was concerned about.  As he began to discuss prayer, he focused upon three things, attitude, solitude and purpose.  Jesus said prayer is not about the show—there are no prayer style points.  You will neither be judged nor rewarded because you look or sound good when you pray.  Prayer is to be personal, authentic and real.  God wants you simply to speak your heart. Next, Prayer is not to be an event—it is to be a conversation.  God loves you to be one-on-one; no distractions no fanfare.  He encourages us to get alone and get real. Finally, God wants us not to simply babble words, he wants our prayers to be thoughtful, meaningful discourse that honors and thanks him. We need to be humble, real and open as we talk to God.  He wants to know our thoughts, attitudes and fears.

That  is what is so ironic about the “Lord’s Prayer” Jesus never intended it to be a formula.  It is not a set of magic words. When we recite it, it should remind us that He wants us to be real, specific and honest. So when we pray, let’s not simply recite words—let’s share our hearts with the Father!

God Bless You

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.