Month: October 2017
10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem,
And be glad with her, all you who love her;
Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her;
11 That you may feed and be satisfied
With the consolation of her bosom,
That you may drink deeply and be delighted
With the abundance of her glory.”
12 For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.
Then you shall feed;
On her sides shall you be carried,
And be dandled on her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
As I read through the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel I see a very sad picture of a nation loved by God yet under the severe hand of God’s chastening. For centuries the nation of Israel, as a whole, had ignored the messengers God sent, they had ignored the written Scriptures left by Moses, and they refused to listen, submit to, and obey the very voice and will of God Almighty. After repeated warnings to them, up until the very time of their city’s destruction, God sent foreign kings and their armies to destroy Jerusalem, break down the Temple built by Solomon, and either kill the people or take them captive. It was the darkest day of their history.
For the people in captivity to read Isaiah 66, for they were in captivity according to God’s plan for 70 years, they would either sigh in disbelief or they would rejoice in hope. God used the illustration of a healthy mother caring for and feeding her loved child to help them picture themselves back in their beloved city being cared for by God. This is a very specific prophecy sent to a very defeated and discouraged people.
What has sin continued to do? Any of you could answer this question for in our own lifetime, as well as for the last 2,000 years, mankind has rejected the word of God, rebelled against the will of God, and has faced the wrath of God. Those who refuse the prophets of God and won’t listen to their messages blame God for their troubles. Those of us who study the Bible and seek to understand God’s messages can clearly see His hand of judgment and mercy at His will. (Read Daniel 9)
My friends, the glory of the Christian life is yet to be fulfilled. We have seal of God within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. God has given us the earnest of heaven in our souls but we know we are not in heaven yet. We glorify God for saving us and giving us peace in a troubled world while we look forward to our heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, where we will dwell eternally with our Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Do not miss the message of Isaiah 66. God has a future promised for all of His chosen of whom we are also partakers.
Do not get discouraged in the length of our time in faith. Very soon our faith will be sight and we will be forever with our wonderful Savior in His wonderful place that He has gone to prepare for us.
Tomorrow morning at 7:30 we will have our monthly prayer breakfast at Denny’s near New York St and Route 59. We study God’s word, pray, and eat breakfast together. If this has not been your habit, join us for a day and you might just want to make it your new habit.
Sunday morning I will be looking again at 2 Corinthians 13:5. There was a bit of conversation after last week’s message on testing and examining ourselves to see if we are in the faith. I am going to look at that proposition and action again in hopes of bringing greater clarity to our church. If you know someone struggling with their faith this would be a good message to invite them to hear.
Have a great day in the Lord,
7 “Before she was in labor, she gave birth; Before her pain came, She delivered a male child.
8 Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, She gave birth to her children.
9 Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the Lord. “Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God.
Using an illustration understood by all people of all times, God tells us all that just as a woman who is pregnant is going to have that baby, so He who gave His word is going to fulfill it. When we see a pregnant woman in public we rejoice with her for the life that she is carrying and is going to deliver. When Bobbi was carrying our children women would stop her and ask her how far along she was, which child this was for her, and other such woman-like questions. It was obvious she was with child and women liked to share in that joy.
God wants us to be just as convinced that the words that He has said are going to come to pass. Sometimes God’s word seems to wait as long as a full-term pregnancy with all of the discomfort that goes along with that wait. God has said that He would bring His people to Himself and yet they were still in Babylon. We are still in this life still struggling with so many things awaiting our Lord and hoping He might even come today. Be assured of this, just as the baby in the womb is going to be delivered so the words of God are going to be fulfilled.
But there is one difference in this passage. A baby that comes early without any delivery pains is unheard of. In fact, when a woman begins labor too early she is told to stay in bed to keep the baby in the womb for as long as possible. But there are times when God’s words come to pass sooner than we expected and without the pain that we expected. Do not be surprised when God steps in and fulfills His word when we do not expect Him to. God can step in whenever He wants to, He is God.
Finally, just as God does not shut up the womb of a pregnant woman, God is not going to shut off the fulfillment of His promises to us, His people. As absurd as a pregnant woman not delivering in her term, so absurd is the idea that God is not going to do as He has said he will.
Are you secure in the promises of God today? He wants you to be.
I had a great time with the teens last night. There is so much potential for the Lord in that room. We took time to pray for the families of the victims in the Las Vegas shooting. The Los Angeles Times has each victim with a bio and some with pictures. We learned that one was a special ed teacher and realized that her students would wonder where she was. This prayer time brought a seriousness to us as we prayed for families of individual people whose beds were empty, whose desks were empty, whose cars were empty but whose caskets were full. We then looked at tragedy from God’s eyes citing Luke 13:1 where Jesus took a tragic incident and told them that they too would one day likewise perish. God have an eternal view of life and calls us to the same view.
Patrick’s surgery went well yesterday. Praise God and thank you for your prayers.
Have a great day in the Lord,
4 So will I choose their delusions, And bring their fears on them; Because, when I called, no one answered, When I spoke they did not hear; But they did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight.”
Have you recently heard people say things like, “I don’t want a God like that,” or “I could never believe in a God who did that”? Nothing has changed from Isaiah’s day. People want to create a god that fits with how they think a god should act and behave. They have never read the Bible with spiritual eyes and so discount what it teaches us about the eternal attributes of the God of heaven and earth.
As long as men and women are creating their own gods they have no god. In essence, they become a god unto themselves. Here is the rub, when the God of heaven, who has been denied, brings their delusions upon them, they, filled with fear, won’t have a god to cry out to. Having denied the true God, the god of their making has no real power and no real ability to help.
People have always thought that they could live any way they chose but when they needed God, He, like a good pet, would just be there for them. What they don’t know is that when people don’t listen to God but reject Him and His words, when they cry out to Him He won’t be listening but will allow their fears to come upon them.
Isaiah goes one step further and tells us that the people did evil before God and did not do that in which He delighted. We read yesterday that God delights in humility and brokenness for sin. God delights in those who tremble at His word. So those who pride-fully live against God’s word will find themselves without a god in the time of their fear.
Pray with me for the salvation of those we know, those we love, and those we don’t know but are concerned for.
This morning I met Patrick for prayer at Edward hospital. He is having his gallbladder removed today. Dawn is recovering at home and still appreciates our prayers.
When we moved here from Wisconsin our sons had lived pretty sheltered lives. So when they started playing team hockey they decided it was better to get dressed in the hallway than to listen to the filth talk of the other boys in the locker room. Stefani was on a bus last night that was bringing students back from state tryouts for music. The conversation of the boys behind her was so bad that she sought to engage with the people in front of her. The foul-mouthed boys would not be instructed and continued with their locker-room talk even in the presence of girls who asked them not to talk about those things. This is just a reminder that our kids are hearing filth on a regular basis and need the Word of God and Christian people in their lives as much as possible. Pray for our kids, mentor our kids, encourage them to be in church and let’s determine to stem the tide of the filth that constantly pushes into their young minds.
There is a group of people meeting outside of Compass Church from 6-6:30 tonight to pray for the families of the Las Vegas shooting. Anyone can join them.
Have a great day in the Lord,
Isaiah 66:1 Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?
2 For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.
Micah 6:6 With what shall I come before the Lord, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Throughout human history, from the offering of Cain on, men and women have sought to do something for God that they think will appease His wrath for their sin. From building immense temples to walking for miles on their knees, people have made great sacrifices to get to God. The human psyche seems to need to do something to placate (appease) God and not knowing or not wanting to accept the Bible keep doing more human works as if those works made a difference.
In both of these passages we see that God is not interested in temples nor in great amounts of sacrifices. What God wants from us is simply this: God wants our hearts broken for our sin and then, listening to His word, to walk humbly and justly before Him. The Christian church is unique in this emphasis.
The human mind is bent on doing some sort of good works to undo the sin that we commit. God knows that we cannot stop sinning and yet wants us to want to come to Him for forgiveness. In these passages God lets us clearly know that when we come to Him with humility and brokenness, trusting His word, He will accept us and will live with us.
Take some time to look at these passages and use them to examine your heart before God. Are you still bringing your works to God hoping He will think better of you or are you coming to God broken over your sin and begging Him to change your heart so you can follow Him?
In the light of the tragedy in Las Vegas, I came across two great articles that might be of help to you. The first one is from Dr. Al Mohler of Southern Baptist Seminary. The second one is from the White House Press Secretary. Satan hates life and is determined to destroy all the lives that he can. Satan is evil personified and all who act in evil are following Satan’s directives for their lives. Pray for the families of those who were mercilessly shot with no apparent reason.
I appreciate those who seek to help us make sense out of tragedy.
Pray for Caleb and Lindsey; they are in Taiwan this week on a survey trip to see if the Lord would lead them there when their contract expires in the spring.
Justin and Katelyn are starting a new ministry in Elk Grove, California next Sunday. Justin will be the senior pastor at Elk Grove Bible Church. We are excited for them and for all that God has done to make His will known to all involved.
Have a great day in the Lord,