Luke 23 Part 1–Jesus on Trial

As the time for our Savior’s death approached, it was apparent that the sacrifice was real.  Jesus stood before the Roman governor who had no reason to judge or punish Him.  Then He was sent to the Jewish king and that man simply wanted a magic show–Jesus would not humor him.  These leaders knew this was a man that had not committed any crime but was hated by the religious leaders–a true no-win situation for the two governing leaders.

Jesus also knew He had committed no crime.  He had simply met the needs of the folks with whom He came into contact.  He spoke the truth, in love about God’s love for people and the folks in Israel.  He called the religious leaders out for doing everything to honor themselves in the name of God. That was the point, God had tried sending priests and prophets to express His desire to redeem His people.  Those He sent were ridiculed and injured; even killed. Now, as in the parable of the landowner and tenants, God sent His Son to make peace and get on track with the tenants (Religious leaders).  They were now plotting His death so that they would not be accountable to the Landowner (God). Luke 20:19. Neither our Lord nor Father God was surprised.  The critical thing was that Jesus did know what had to happen and allowed these “Keystone Cops” to think they were completing a grand plan to rid themselves of a rival. 

Then and now, we are the beneficiaries of His willingness to give what no man could take without God’s help or consent.  As Paul reminded us in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In this season when Easter is fast approaching, we need to reflect on the personal relationship we have with God, and we need to allow Him to be a part of all aspects of our lives.  We cannot simply acknowledge God’s sacrifice; we must allow it to change us and help us to become more like Him.

God Bless You


Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

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 11 Part 2–Driving Out Demons and Looking for Unity

After such a great insight on prayer, Luke moves to another critical kingdom topic, unity.  Jesus was crossing Israel and simply teaching truth and restoring lives.  The religious leaders could not stand it.  They hated the competition, but worse, they hated seeing God working and them not getting the glory for it.  So, on this day, Jesus drives a demon out of a man that has closed his mouth.  When Jesus drives the demon out, of course, the man starts praising God.  The Jewish leaders start accusing Jesus of driving demons out by the power of the head demon–Satan.

Jesus laughs at them.  He reminds them that a house divided against itself will not stand.  Satan defeating Satan is a ridiculous proposition.  What Jesus does not say; but clearly infers, however, is “It is almost as ridiculous as God’s religious leadership attacking God’s Messiah…”  Jesus does call them out, however, He points out that if God is using Him to drive out demons, they would have to admit that He is sent by God.  They would rather make a ridiculous statement than do that.  I am sure it was painful to see such self-righteous men miss God when God was standing among them!

In our world, we see the same disunity.  Churches get bent and divided when great things are happening–simply because the great things are not following leadership’s Standard Operating Procedure.  SOP is code for the leadership is not getting the credit.  As a family, God’s people must unify, pray, and live in a manner worthy of the Gospel.  We must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  We must walk as Christ’s ambassadors.  We live and speak in a way that brings God glory and honor.  In that life, the church will endure and grow to lead the world to a relationship with God.  We will be that nation of priests that God had in mind when He chose us as His own.

Unity with a focus on God will win the day.  That can only happen if we will cling to the notion that God is God, and we are not! 

God Bless You


Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.

23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Luke 10 Part 4–Priorities for 2021

It is that glorious day.  New Year’s Eve!!!!! 2020 will soon be in the rear-view mirror forever.  What a year it has been.  It is ironic that this passage is the passage for today.  Jesus is visiting some new friends, (Mary, Maetha and Lazarus).  Mary is taking in the teaching of Jesus, while her sister is busying herself with the duties of a hostess.  After a time, Martha is frustrated and comes to Jesus to have Him get her sister off her lazy seat and help.  After all, Jesus should see it simply is not fair for her to do all the work; right?!!?

Jesus does not provide the answer Martha wants.  He lovingly responds to Martha that it is Mary who has properly prioritized her day…WHAT??? Martha was just being a good hostess and caring for the things that had to be done…Or was she? Martha stood in the very presence of God and she was more concerned with the napkins being properly placed and the floor being swept.  In the kindest way Jesus could, Jesus told Martha that being in God’s presence was so much more important the daily housekeeping duties.

In our world, we are constantly pushed by the tyranny of the urgent.  We become so entrenched by the things we think we need to do, that we completely miss God’s best for our lives.  Sadly, even our religious pursuits drag us away from the very presence of the God we serve.  Jesus told Martha and is telling us that we need to be more concerned with being with the Father than we are for checking off the list of things to do for our Father.  Like Mary, we need to listen to the Lord’s word and input in our lives, and simply trust and follow His lead. 

We will never be busy enough or check off enough boxes to please God. His pleasure is derived by our simple presence.  In 2021, we need to make Matthew 6:33 our New Year’s resolution, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and, all these things will be added to you.”

God Bless You


38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus[d] entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary.[e] Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 8 Part 2–Lamps and Faith

Luke takes us through an average day with Jesus. He started with the parable of the sower–see yesterday.  After the parable, Luke walks through some scenarios.  First, is a reminder that we have the message of Salvation.  The good news.  Jesus tells his followers that kind of message is not kept secret.  We broadcast it like a lamp in its stand.  One should never be ashamed of the Gospel.  In Acts, Paul says it best, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God for salvation to all that believe!” 

Next, Luke highlights Jesus in the midst of the day.  His family had come and were trying to come in and see him. In Mark 3:21 it indicates they were coming to restrain Him.  So, Jesus says–nope! My family are the ones that put God’s word into practice.  It had to be a disappointment for Jesus, if anyone should have known His mission, His family would be the ones.  Sadly, pressure from religious leaders and community has an impact. So. instead, Jesus focuses on the mission and continues to preach, heal, and encourage.  

Next, after a tough day of ministry, Jesus heads across the Lake to the next spot .  He lays down to sleep while the team sails the boat.  A storm comes in and the boat is getting pummeled.  So, the disciples wake Jesus and tell him that they are doomed.  Jesus calms the storm with a word.  Then He looks at the group and shakes his head that they doubted God’s protection. And then goes back to sleep.  Jesus was always on mission and never out of control. What a day.

The message for us is the same.  We can never be ashamed of the Gospel.  It is God’s power in our lives.  We are His chosen.  As such, we need to follow Him and trust His plan.  I difficult times, we move forward in faith and trust that He is in charge,  if we will, we will be blessed beyond measure.

God Bless You


16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Jesus Calms the Storm

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Luke 6 Part 4–We are Known By Our Fruit

Jesus wraps up His talk with a critical reminder.  Jesus reminds His followers that people will be known by their fruit.  As one lives their life, their actions, their legacy, and their reputation are built and cemented by the things they say and do.  People can see past the veneer–it is how one behaves during difficult and stressful times that often reveals one’s true character. Jesus, as He briefed followers, wanted those followers to realize that their religious leaders were often not what they seemed to be. 

 Jesus’ entire ministry was filled with conflict and contact with the religious leadership.  His constant disappointment was that these people had no heart for God.  They were self-righteous, self-absorbed, and self-centered.  Jesus came to shift people’s focus to being faithful, others focused, and God centered.  He hated the fact that those that were leading His chosen were the least like the God they represented.  From the start, Jesus worked to show God’s character and lead people to become like God.

In our lives, we are still called.  We are not called to be religious, instead, we are called to be in relationship with God.  In that relationship, we must follow His leadership and His call.  Our fruit will show God, not us. Our foundation will be in Christ.  Not our own abilities, not our own good deeds.  It is simply a reflection of our walk with Him. 

We should be grounded to God and His word.  it is the foundation of stone Jesus describes.  If grounded in the Lord, the fruit of our lives will also reflect God.  The pressure will be gone, and our duty will be to follow Adonai humbly and gratefully.  In good times and in bad, we continue to follow Him closely.  That journey will leave a legacy that honors God and shows Christ’s impact on our lives and families.

God Bless You


No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

The Wise and Foolish Builders

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed, and its destruction was complete.”

Luke 6 Part 1–The Sabbath

One of the struggles God has with His chosen is helping them to understand why there are rules in life.  God framed life for us to give us the maximum experience.  He set parameters for our benefit and aid.  He did not craft rules as some “GOTCHA Mechanism”. When Jesus began his ministry, His primary focus was to show the world a true snapshot of the Father, not some ominous caricature of a cosmic kill joy, with a ruler to slap our hands every time we missed a box or failed to properly honor a rule.  Chief among those gotchas was the sabbath.  Make no mistake, God wants us to set aside a day for rest and worship.  We need that.  We get to spinning so fast on our axis, that sometimes we would wear out if we did not take a day and slow down refocus and reconnect with the Lord.  

Still, that process was never intended to be a burden, in fact, it was designed as the opposite–a relief to the week’s burdens. The Jewish leaders, however had crafted the law so carefully as to completely lose the meaning behind God’s day of rest.  They made it so intricate that people literally dreaded what God intended to be the best day of the week.  So, Jesus as He was ministering, showed these “scholars” that they were missing the boat.  He simply celebrated the day without fanfare or worry–not sweating the small stuff.  The religious leaders hated that!  “Where is the guilt?, where is the oppression in that?”, they thought.  Jesus simply shook His head and left examples for those that had eyes to see, that God was not playing Gotcha–no Father does that!

We, as God’s chosen, are loved and saved from our sin and the world’s grip on our lives.  Why would the Father save us to then make us miserable with rules and checklists that direct each breath and step we take?  Jesus said it best when asked what laws were the most important–He replied, “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength! then Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” If we will do those two things, there will never be a need for a checklist.  Our behavior will reflect the Father! Jesus knew that and did his best to teach and demonstrate that throughout His ministry!

God Bless You


 One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain. But some Pharisees said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”

Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions.” And Jesus added, “The Son of Man[a] is Lord, even over the Sabbath.”

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.

But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?”

10 He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 11 At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.

Isaiah 66–Isaiah’s Concluding Prophecy

So, in closing , God makes His position clear; I created all this!  The heavens are my throne and the earth my footstool! Please know that it is not your sacrifices that impress me, it is your hearts.  Make no mistake; I know the difference.  I watched my beloved speak of me with Love–and they are persecuted.  I hate it, but, know this–that behavior will not go unpunished.  As any father, I will love my kids–I absolutely adore them.  So, those that harm them will face the wrath of an angry Father.  

But here is the thing, I love My kids from every nation and people. I will bless those that love Me no matter where they are from or who they are! Conversely, there will be no mercy on those that hate Me and prey on My people.  there will be a reckoning like none other.  In short, be ready for I will be back, and you will know it when it happens.  In the meantime, I love you and will be there with and for you until My return! 

Few would say that God was not making His conclusion clear.  He loves His own.  It is not a thing that you can pretend.  Seek first His kingdom and righteousness; and all these things will be added to you! Matthew 6:33

Help me , Father, to walk in your ways and live a life worthy of Your Love.

God Bless You


This is what the Lord says:

“Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
    Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things,
    and so they came into being?”
declares the Lord.

“These are the ones I look on with favor:
    those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
    and who tremble at my word.
But whoever sacrifices a bull
    is like one who kills a person,
and whoever offers a lamb
    is like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
whoever makes a grain offering
    is like one who presents pig’s blood,
and whoever burns memorial incense
    is like one who worships an idol.
They have chosen their own ways,
    and they delight in their abominations;
so I also will choose harsh treatment for them
    and will bring on them what they dread.
For when I called, no one answered,
    when I spoke, no one listened.
They did evil in my sight
    and chose what displeases me.”

Hear the word of the Lord,
    you who tremble at his word:
“Your own people who hate you,
    and exclude you because of my name, have said,
‘Let the Lord be glorified,
    that we may see your joy!’
    Yet they will be put to shame.
Hear that uproar from the city,
    hear that noise from the temple!
It is the sound of the Lord
    repaying his enemies all they deserve.

“Before she goes into labor,
    she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her,
    she delivers a son.
Who has ever heard of such things?
    Who has ever seen things like this?
Can a country be born in a day
    or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labor
    than she gives birth to her children.
Do I bring to the moment of birth
    and not give delivery?” says the Lord.
“Do I close up the womb
    when I bring to delivery?” says your God.
10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
    all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
    all you who mourn over her.
11 For you will nurse and be satisfied
    at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
    and delight in her overflowing abundance.”

12 For this is what the Lord says:

“I will extend peace to her like a river,
    and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
    and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child,
    so will I comfort you;
    and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice
    and you will flourish like grass;
the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants,
    but his fury will be shown to his foes.
15 See, the Lord is coming with fire,
    and his chariots are like a whirlwind;
he will bring down his anger with fury,
    and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For with fire and with his sword
    the Lord will execute judgment on all people,
    and many will be those slain by the Lord.

17 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one who is among those who eat the flesh of pigs, rats and other unclean things—they will meet their end together with the one they follow,” declares the Lord.

18 “And I, because of what they have planned and done, am about to come[a] and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they will come and see my glory.

19 “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans[b] and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 And they will bring all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord—on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the Lord in ceremonially clean vessels. 21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the Lord.

22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Isaiah 61–The Most Lovely Prophecy

We have discussed repeatedly the idea that Isaiah was not only a prophet, but a true evangelist.  Of the many beautiful prophecies, Isaiah penned; none are more promising than Isaiah 61.  In a verse, Isaiah lays out the mission of the Lord and the mission of His chosen ones.  Just read and let this passage pour over you like a warm shower.  Let it reach into your spirit and remind you of the love of our Heavenly Father.  

From the beginning God wanted His kids to enjoy a full and meaningful life.  He wanted to restore all that had been lost.  He addresses all the pains of poverty, sickness, sadness, capture, imprisonment and blindness.  He understood that every need is unique, and that God cares for each of our needs personally and completely.  Isaiah speaks of restoration and vindication for God’s own.  He heals and restores them so that they can bring the same ministry to the world.

Christ has come.  He calls each to a personal relationship with God.  If we will follow, we will live eternally with Him in Heaven and will see Him prepare, protect, and provide for us while we are traveling through.  We must trust the Lord and know He always keeps His promises.  We can never forget that He will be there for us now and forever. Thanks Isaiah for sharing God’s beautiful promise.  Help me, Lord to trust You to carry it through.

God Bless You


The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations.

Isaiah 58–Fasting Like This Slows You Down

Chapter 58 reads like God is expressing a moment of complete exasperation. Picture the scene as the rabbi’s and the people are leaving synagogue;  everyone is saying Shalom and God Bless You and oh, yes, we are doing well.  Inside, their lives are shattered and empty because they are not getting the fulfillment from checking off the boxes in their Jewish religion.  God, the creator, the master of the universe is feeling completely at a loss.  

In His mind, it was never, is never, and will never be about checking the boxes.  In the Lord’s construct, it is always about the state of one’s heart.  God takes joy in our obedience–not, our sacrifice.  God does not care if you ever skip a meal–if you are loving Him and loving others. If you want to skip a meal, fine, but at least take it to someone that is hungry.  God says in short, if you want to be spiritual, I am grateful–but, do the right things and do them for the right reasons.  Feed the hungry, cloth the ones who need clothes. House the homeless, visit the sick and the lonely ones.

God is not taking attendance at church.  He is not putting stars by your name for religious endeavors.  God has always looked at our lives and our hearts and simply asked that we surrender both to His leadership.  If we will do that, the actions we do in His name will be real, heartfelt, and selfless–some would even say Christ like. That was the message from Isaiah on that Sabbath afternoon, and that is still the message thousands of years later.  “Please, My dear ones, trust and follow Me.  Don’t try to keep score–it is not a competition.  Simply lose yourselves in learning to be like Me and serving others–that is the fasting that will bless Me!!!

God Bless You


“Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek Me daily,
And delight to know My ways,
As a nation that did righteousness,
And did not forsake the ordinance of their God.
They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen?
Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’

“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure,
And [b]exploit all your laborers.
Indeed you fast for strife and debate,
And to strike with the fist of wickedness.
You will not fast as you do this day,
To make your voice heard on high.
Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the Lord?

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the [c]heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are [d]cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.

“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The [e]pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your [f]darkness shall be as the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.