Isaiah 3 Part 2–So You Don’t Like What You Have?

 Isaiah’s next prophecy deals with that very problem. God says to the women, “So, you spend all day craning your necks to see what is the newest, the hottest, the best in fashion, in decor and in stuff. I’m sorry, that all I have provided is not sufficient for you.  I tell you what, since you do not like what I have provided, I will take it back. Your fashion will be what you can scrape up on your own, your beauty will fade with the effort to survive. There will be no fine jewelry, hair, or accessories–you will be left broken, brokenhearted, and alone.”

Paul made clear the importance of being content. In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul says he has learned to be content in all circumstances.  Whether well fed or hungry; living in plenty or in want; he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. Learning to be content is critical in the growth in our relationship with God. Isaiah was simply warning the people to turn it around. In short, spend all that energy that they were expending on jealosy and covetousness on selflessness and graciousness.  Concern yourself with the care and nurture of others, and allow God to worry about your provision and protection! 

 We all face the temptation to want what is new, sparkly, and cool. Yet, when we look around, we are living in oppulence compared to most.  We, like Paul, must learn to be content in our own lives.  We need to be grateful for what we have, and not ungrateful for what we think we lack.  It is all God’s stuff.  He provides and He can also take it back. If that  is what lies ahead, make no mistake, it will be tough, but, if one will focus on the right heart and attitude, they can endure to the end! Like Paul said, “Whether well fed or hungry; living in plenty or in want–I can do ALL things through Christ who stengthens me.

God Bless You

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The Lord has taken his place to contend;
    he stands to judge peoples.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment
    with the elders and princes of his people:
“It is you who have devoured[f] the vineyard,
    the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people,
    by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord God of hosts.

16 The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
    and walk with outstretched necks,
    glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
    tinkling with their feet,
17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
    the heads of the daughters of Zion,
    and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
    and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
    and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
    and branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword
    and your mighty men in battle.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;
    empty, she shall sit on the ground.

Isaiah 3 Part 1 They Did This to Themselves

The recurring message of Isaiah was and is God is pulling away His hand of Protection and allowing those that are his own to face the consequence of their actions.  As any father would say, “If you think you are so independent, GO FOR IT! In Isaiah’s prophecy what does that look like, it is a matter of support and supply.

Israel and specifically Judah had grown to expect God to meet their every wish and desire.  Protection, provision and prominence were the expectation for the folks in Israel.  So, the word was Given to Isaiah–I am pulling my support and supply.  All food and water, all military and civil protection and all wisdom and leadership will now be up to you.  You are going to be run by punks.  You are going to be led by immature and inexperienced children.  They will crumble and fall–naked and ashamed. They will be unable to recover because they are too busy bickering and blaming.

They will turn on each other–siblings, parents, friends.  They will be led away–cities in ruin and spirit broken they will become slaves and sycophants to their masters.Isaiah called them out–You have become militantly sinful praising your rebellion as a show of pride and courage. 

So be it! For you, there is a reckoning awaiting.  The righteous will be spared but the rest of you will have nothing left to hope for because the judgement is real. What an incredibly sad message. 

 In our lives, we have to understand that God’s judgement is not a beating he brings on us; it is so much worse.  It is Him simply removing His protection and His support. 

When that happens, those under his care become immediately vulnerable to the outcome of their pitiful choices.  They simply reap all that has grown from what they have sewn.  Please, Lord, do not remove your protection from those whom you have loved.  Help us to stand in your shadow and follow you closely and humbly.

God Bless You


For behold, the Lord God of hosts
    is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and supply,[a]
    all support of bread,
    and all support of water;
the mighty man and the soldier,
    the judge and the prophet,
    the diviner and the elder,
the captain of fifty
    and the man of rank,
the counselor and the skillful magician
    and the expert in charms.
And I will make boys their princes,
    and infants[b] shall rule over them.
And the people will oppress one another,
    every one his fellow
    and every one his neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder,
    and the despised to the honorable.

Joshua 6 Part 1–Joshua’s Leadership Perspective

Now, as a guy, I love action movies.  I have seen more westerns, war movies, and covert-ops intrigue movies than I can count.  I must admit, however, that in the hundreds of hours of entertainment that I have enjoyed–NEVER did the big battle scene start with a bunch of priests leading the brass section of a marching band…God’s ways rarely are the same as our ways. 

There are several reasons for that.  I want to highlight three.  First–God is God and we are not.  As Joshua watched God over the 40 years he spent in the desert; one thing became clear–It is God’s power and leadership that delivered Israel–not anything they had or did.  Manna from heaven, water from rocks, crossing seas and rivers on dry land, leadership by clouds of fire and smoke all reminded Joshua that God did the heavy lifting–and as leader; he needed simply to trust and follow.

Second, God sees all time at once.  The Lord knows the outcome at the same time He knows the planning.  God never has to wonder what the end looks like.  So, when God directed Joshua’s battle strategy, He did so already aware of the outcome.  Joshua saw God forecast for Moses the entire journey from Egypt–God was never wrong.  So, when God gave Joshua direction, Joshua never questioned it.  Joshua simply followed.

Finally, God made sure that His own name was exalted–not Joshua’s nor the Israel’s.  While that may sound egocentric, the reality was that when the people become the center of attention, they release their dependence on God, and become self-important.  That independence always leads to chaos and defeat. As a group, people are a mess. God loved Israel and wanted them to enjoy the inheritance that He provided.  The Lord knew that would never last unless they did things with humility and dependence upon Him. So, that was why God always did things in a way that pointed back to His plan and His power. Starting a war with a concert was a great way to show that enemies were facing God–not a bunch of nomadic wanderers. 

If we, as His chosen, could accept that truth as readily as Joshua accepted it, then we could experience the same victory and blessing that God gave Joshua.  Joshua led with wisdom and humility–that choice was and is a perpetual one; it is made daily and sometimes hourly.  It is a mindset that is not dependent upon circumstance.  It is a life of surrender and trust in the God that created and is in control of ALL things.

God Bless You


Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat,[a] and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.”

And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. 10 But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” 11 So he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.

12 Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.13 And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. 14 And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.

15 On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.

Joshua 5 Part 2–The Adventure Begins

It must have been odd to see the world change before them.  Joshua had marched behind a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night for 40 years.  Now that they had crossed the Jordan and sat outside of Jericho, things were changing very quickly.

First, Israel celebrated their first Passover meal in the new land.  The people gathered what they needed from this land that flowed with milk and honey–that must have been fun.  The meal was so amazing–but, then, the manna simply ceased.  All at once, Israel was able to provide for itself and from then on, this free people no longer had to rely upon God for daily provision. (Well, truth be told they still had to rely upon God, it just was not as obvious.)

Next, Joshua looks out and sees a man with a sword and he approaches the man.  He asks a fair question–“Are you friend or foe?” The man responds–“NO! I am the commander of the Army of the Lord!” God came and was ready to do battle; and Joshua got to be a part! Joshua asked what he should do…The Angel of the Lord replied, “Take off your shoes; you are standing on holy ground!” Joshua, God’s leader for Israel, was given the same message that his mentor Moses received at the beginning of the adventure. It was a new beginning for God’s people, and the excitement was just beginning. 

In our lives, we can pinpoint God’s hand most often when we experience change.  While change is usually difficult, if we look, we can often see God’s plan being played out for our benefit and according to His will.  Like Joshua, we simply need to be ready to listen and to respond to God’s call–no matter what the circumstances hold for us. Usually, change in our lives will lead to a closer walk with God and a much better perspective.

As His people, we simply must respond by faith, and humbly continue to seek the Lord with all our hearts. Our response and perspective should be as one who is safe in God’s shadow. Paul said it well in Colossians 3:4, “For, you have died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, you will also appear with Him in Glory!”

God Bless You


While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. 11 And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes, and parched grain. 12 And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

The Commander of the Lord’s Army

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped[c] and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

A New Direction–Exodus 2 Continued

Moses’ life took a big turn. From prince to fugitive, he had to recreate himself. He escaped to Midian, where  he immediately saved some ladies in distress. Humble, heroic and unique, he was quickly adopted by the local priest and married his daughter. 

This would never have been how he would have scripted his own journey, but, now the prince and chosen one of Israel was safe, provided for, and free from the threats of Egypt. 

It is easy to allow course corrections in our lives to embitter, discourage and nullify our walk with God. When we become entrapped by the circumstances, we miss the many underlying blessings that accompany the change. 

God asks us to simply trust his plan and follow him. When we do, especially with a humble and grateful heart, he can mold us into his image and use us to accomplish great things. Otherwise, we find our lives spin horribly downward and we miss the joy set before us. Thank you, Lord for setting out the journey and blessing me along the way. 

God Bless You 

Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.

When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?”

They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”

“And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.”

Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.

We Have No King But Caesar–John 19 Part 1

When the truth was finally laid out, three facts remained—Jesus was innocent, the crucifixion was a farce and the Jewish leaders would denounce all things dear to complete their political plan. The longer Pilate listened, the more he knew Jesus was not a criminal—especially one deserving to die. He tried every loophole to avoid pronouncing judgment. Sadly, however—he was matching wits with the Jewish leaders—the masters of loopholes. In the end, he had no personal interest or desire to cause an uprising—so he gave in.

The Jewish leaders, however, were willing to break every rule and do anything necessary to rid themselves of Jesus. The ultimate test and proof was the call of allegiance—We have no King but Caesar. These men, the “men of God” easily changed their tone and publicly bowed to their earthly king, simply because it was politically expedient. What they REALLY meant was “We have no king but our own self-interest.”

In today’s culture, men are faced with the same choice—who will they serve. And while the names vary—God, money, beauty, entertainment, power and so many more; the ultimate choice is either God or Self. As with the Jewish leaders, the proof lies in what we are willing to do for our king. If we serve God, we must be willing to humble ourselves and follow his lead. If we do, our thoughts and actions push toward honoring and becoming like the Lord. Conversely, if we choose self, our actions, words and thoughts ultimately support our personal agenda and our personal gain—it is inevitable. But, in the end, following Christ means freedom, and following self interest means slavery and chaos.

Bob Dylan said it best—“You gotta serve somebody. It may be the Devil or it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody!”(Bob Dylan—Long Train Coming) In the book of Joshua, Joshua tells the people of Israel that each must make a similar choice—God or self. I join in his choice—“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)

God Bless You

 

Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.

Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”

When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”

The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters[a] again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”

11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

12 Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’[b] Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”

13 When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). 14 It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people,[c] “Look, here is your king!”

15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”

“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.

16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.

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.

Live Like Christ–But Do it in His Power 1 Peter 4

There is a sense of urgency–We should be living as though Christ is returning…Because he is! It is so easy to become complacent in these current circumstances.  No matter how comfortable things seem, we are living for eternity.  That means we seek God, we love others and we act as he would act.  The great news is that we do not have to do it in our power.  The Holy Spirit comes and fills us and guides us to living a Christ like life. 

So what does that life look like, well according to Peter their are three major components–Love, selflessness and humility. If we are selfless and humble, it does not mean we act like EEOre.  It only means that we are always looking for ways to promote others and show them Christ in our lives. Loving others means that we see the from God’s perspective and as members of our family.  We accept them as they are but steer them to the wonderful journey with Christ.  Life is about selfless, loving humility.

Living that kind of life is a sign we are looking to eternity–not simply existing for today!

God Bless You

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Let It Go!!!–! Peter 2 Revisited

Frozen–a great Disney flick! The Part that grips us all is the scene where Elsa sings Let it Go.  She has lived a life in fear and finds that her worst fears are realized.  She runs away to the hills and in a moment of clarity drops all the baggage Continue reading “Let It Go!!!–! Peter 2 Revisited”

I Timothy 3 Part 1–Leadership

It is no small thing to lead.  Everyone has some desire to control and be in charge, but, few truly want to be a leader. The main reason is that leaders have to epitomize the qualities of selflessness and humility.  In order to be a great leader, one needs to put aside one’s personal desires and focus on the needs of those they lead. They show that in their image among the community, in the way they raise their family and in the way they decide personal and corporate goals.

In addition to attitude, leaders must be properly equipped. They cannot be new and inexperienced.  It is not because such folks are not smart or don’t have good ideas, it is because their newness and inexperience exposes them to falling for the tricks of pride and self importance.  Such tricks abolish humility and expose the leader to falling into traps and thinking themselves as experts that know better than those they are to listen to.

Bottom line–a Good leader takes the role because of their desire to serve and their ability to do so humbly. If they need the praise and power in order to lead, they are not the ones that should be leading.  How do we know, ask their friends, neighbors and look at their family–it becomes apparent.

God Bless You

If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap.