Acts 13 Part 3–If Anyone is In Christ…

God used Peter to establish His intention to not only restore the Jewish people to a right relationship with God, but to offer salvation to all that would believe.  Cornelius was the poster child for God’s intention to save the entire world.  One need not forget that God set Israel apart not to be a nation of warriors, but to be a nation of priests and ambassadors for Him.  While Paul and Barnabus were preaching the Gospel in the synagogues, many devout Jews were hearing the Gospel and being saved. Still, the religious leaders were not happy and stirred up opposition among the prominent families, to stop Paul and Barnabus from sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people in the area.  During one such event, Paul declared to the crowd that while God was committed to making salvation available to the Jewish nation, He always intended to be available to all people.

  
It is important to know that God truly desires that no one would perish.  The Father sacrificed all that was precious to Him so that we could enjoy a renewed and personal relationship with the Lord.  Paul says in Romans, in Corinthians, In Philippian’s and in Colossians, here there is no Jew or Greek, male or female, Barbarian or Scythian slave or free. The point God wants us to grasp is that if we are in Christ, we are citizens of Heaven.  our earthly origins and nationalities are of no consequence once we join the family of God.  Paul and Barnabus were simply the first of countless men and women that have marched around the globe presenting God’s message of salvation to all that would listen.  We must see the world from God’s perspective to grasp the enormity of the Gospel’s scope and freedom.  The Gospel is divisive because the enemy does not want to admit defeat and will fight against God’s message at each front.  But the message is truly the most unifying message of all time.  It is best said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.” 


God Bless You


 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews[d] saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 12–Herod’s Persecution of the Church

Now Paul was converted, his mission set, and with Barnabus at his side, it seemed as though the church entered a time of peace.  Sadly, that would not be the case.  Herod, the Jewish king, decided to persecute the church and its leadership.  He had James, John’s brother, arrested and killed. Next, he tracked down and arrested Peter.  Herod’s goal was to repeat the scene Pilate played out with Jesus. Herod would wait until Passover, and then parade Peter out before the people and kill the Apostle. 

As the Bible has demonstrated many times, however, that would not be the case this time.  God literally sent an angel to enter the jail, free Peter, and march him out from among His captors, right under their noses.  This was neither no small feat, nor was it a dream or vision.  The churches prayer vigil to save Peter was literally interrupted by Peter’s return. The guards charged with Peter’s oversight were executed for failing their duty.  Peter was then secreted away to safety and ultimately, Herod died of vanity and narcissism! 

God will not be mocked.  He will execute His plan for our lives.  That plan may have some trials, bumps, and difficult circumstances, but in the end, nothing escapes God’s sight or understanding.  We simply need to remember that whatever the outcome, this is not our home.  We are in route to our home, Heaven. Heaven is where we will spend eternity with God and others whom God has redeemed.  In the meanwhile, we must remain ready to honor God with all that we have, and all that we do,  following His lead in our lives.  If we will, He will bless us, use us, and give us a full, meaningful, and abundant life.

God Bless You


About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Peter Is Rescued

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.”[a] Then he departed and went to another place.

Act’s 10 Part 2–Peter’s Faithfulness Was God’s Game Changer

What a dream! Peter had no idea that the picnic he was just attending was the precursor to God’s bigger plan.  Peter stood with Jesus as the Lord returned to His Father.  Jesus told the Disciples that they would be God’s witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.  Peter was now faced with the opportunity to make that charge a reality.  

Cornelius Had served God and His people faithfully.  As the local Roman leader, he was kind and generous to God’s people. He sought God and followed as best as he was allowed.  Now, God would honor Cornelius’s faithfulness by giving Him and His household salvation. Peter was gifted with the opportunity to see the Spirit fall upon these people who were not Jewish.  How could that be, you ask?  Well, as the Lord had demonstrated to Peter, What God had prepared, no man would be able to call common, or unclean.

The Church stands in communities across the globe because of Peter and Cornelius’s faithfulness.  Paul was able to express the idea most clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any person ne in Christ, He is a new creation.  The old is gone and the new Has come.” Later Paul said in Colossians 3:11, “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian or Scythian, slave or free.”  Why? you ask, it is simple–because Christ is all and in all!

To whom and how Christ spreads His Gospel is only our responsibility to the extent that we remain obedient in sharing His message. Like Peter, ours is not to determine if someone is fit to hear the message of salvation, our only responsibility is to remain available and speak God’s truth in love.  He will do the rest, and we will enjoy the blessing that comes from following Him.  

God Bless You


 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation,[c] for I have sent them.” 21 And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” 23 So he invited them in to be his guests.

The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends…
34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

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 22 Final–The Trial…

It must have been surreal for Jesus to watch everything unfold.  He had seen this day since the dawn of time.  It is interesting to ponder which of the details that must have stuck out to our Lord.  Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, the religious leaders stumbling over themselves as they tried to make a case against the Lord.  I am sure that the grief Peter bore as he looked into Jesus’ eyes after denying Him was overwhelming. Judas could not bear his shame, and so he committed suicide.

Meanwhile, the enemy and the Jewish leaders were having a ball.  Here, the one that had beaten them all now stood before the council on trial for His life. During the process, every punch, every slap, every curse thrown at Jesus, was done so for our redemption.  One can only imagine the pain and frustration Jesus set aside as those He came to save were mocking and preparing to kill Him. Still, Jesus faced the mob. He did not interfere with their kangaroo court.  He did, after all, write the law that they used as the basis for their mockery of justice.

His disciples were scattered, and now, all that transpired would happen according to the script that was written as Eve prepared the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  The trial was not actually before the religious leaders.  The trial was, in fact, being played out on a heavenly stage. The finding was simply whether God would demonstrate His love for us–in that while we were yet sinners, would Christ die for us? Romans 5:8.

Praise God that He did in fact endure the next hours and day. His sacrifice freed us from the curse our sinful nature bound us to.  We can become new creatures by simply trusting the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:17. What was to come made all that possible.  We can never understand the depth of love Jesus’ sacrifice embodied.  Our prayer needs not to be one for understanding, however. It simply needs to be one of acceptance of the gift, and submission to the amazing plan our Lord prepared and executed to redeem and restore us.

God Bless You


Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus Is Mocked

63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. 64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.

Jesus Before the Council

66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, 67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, 68 and if I ask you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”

Luke 19 Part 1–Seeking and Saving that Which is Lost

The story of Zacchaeus has several great components.  First, we see the lost man’s desire to meet the Master.  Zacchaeus was one of the most hated and powerful men in his community.  As chief tax collector, Zacchaeus had the ear of the Romans and the wealth of the city.  Even with all that power and wealth, Zacchaeus was still empty.  He wanted to learn more about this Jesus that had changed so many lives. Sadly, he could not see Jesus over the crowd.  He had to climb a tree to catch a glimpse.  

Next, we see the perspective of the Lord.  As Jesus passed through, like the shepherd He saw the one sheep that was lost and called out to this man in the tree and told Zacchaeus he was the reason for Jesus being there that day.  It changed Zacchaeus’ Life.  In an instant, Zacchaeus became generous and sought to make amends to all he had wronged.  His heart was redeemed.  What a picture of the power of God. Jesus had truly sought and saved that which was lost.

Finally, there was the crowd.  They were incensed by Jesus’ choice of company that day.  In their minds, Zacchaeus was the least worthy person to be with Jesus. Still, after He met the Lord, Zacchaeus would become a benefactor and friend to those that despised him.  Sadly, the people that should embrace those that need Jesus, were the ones that cast Zacchaeus aside.

In our lives, we need to have Jesus’ heart and not the heart of the crowd.  Jesus saw Zacchaeus in the tree, and He knew Zacchaeus was the point of the journey.  The crowd only saw Zacchaeus sin.  We, as Jesus chosen, need also to seek and to save that which is lost.  We can never lose sight of our mission.  Many people search high and low for a way to be saved, but they cannot see over the crowd.  It is our job to reach out and bring them to Jesus. It is not our job to judge them.  

Finally, if You have tried to find peace through power, influence, money, or any other means, Like Zacchaeus, you will still be empty inside.  Jesus is uniquely suited to fill the void in your life.  Once you give your life to Him, you will be free from the void left in your heart by a world gone mad.  All Jesus asks is for you to accept His gift of salvation, and then trust the Lord to do a work in your heart–just like He did with Zacchaeus.

God Bless You

 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short, he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

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 48–Giving God the Credit He Deserves

Isaiah’s next prophecy was to set the record straight on why Judah was still standing. It was not because they were a holy people.  It was not because they were valient or faithful.  It was not because they had come up with a plan to defeat the rest of the world or to fool God.  No, simply put, they still stood because God loved them and made a covenant to make them a great nation.

It was irritating to God to continue to support such a stiff necked and disobedient people.  He, however had skin in the game.  He delivered them out of slavery and brought them to this land.  He defeated their enemies and prospered them.  So, the decision to allow them to be catered and exiled was not an easy one to make.  In this passage, God makes clear that their very presence only happened as a gift from Him.  Such grace should be heralded and worshipped.  Sadly, the people simply went about their busy lives neither acknowledging God’s grace, nor retuning to the worship and submission to His lordship.

In present day, Many are faced with the same clear message.  It is not because we were that good or reverent; it is simply because God is a God of grace and mercy.  His chosen have not lived with the humility or passion to follow Him that He deserves.  But, As Paul said in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  That message rings loud in this time and culture.  We need to be humble, grateful and follow God closely.  It is only by His grace that we are still standing.

God Bless You


​“Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob,    you who are called by the name of Israel  and come from the line of Judah,you who take oaths in the name of the Lord    and invoke the God of Israel—    but not in truth or righteousness—you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city    and claim to rely on the God of Israel—    the Lord Almighty is his name:I foretold the former things long ago,    my mouth announced them, and I made them known.    then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.For I knew how stubborn you were.    your neck muscles were iron,    your forehead was bronze.Therefore I told you these things long ago;    before they happened, I announced them to youso that you could not say,    ‘My images brought them about;    my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’You have heard these things; look at them all.    Will you not admit them?“From now on I will tell you of new things,    of hidden things unknown to you.They are created now, and not long ago;    you have not heard of them before today.So you cannot say,    ‘Yes, I knew of them.’You have neither heard nor understood;    from of old your ears have not been open.Well do I know how treacherous you are;    you were called a rebel from birth.For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath;    for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you,    so as not to destroy you completely.10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver;    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.    How can I let myself be defamed?    I will not yield my glory to another.

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.