Devotionals

When God shows up

Posted on

Isaiah 64

1      Oh, that You would rend the heavens!

That You would come down!

That the mountains might shake at Your presence—

2    As fire burns brushwood,

As fire causes water to boil—

To make Your name known to Your adversaries,

That the nations may tremble at Your presence!

3    When You did awesome things for which we did not look,

You came down,

The mountains shook at Your presence.

4    For since the beginning of the world

Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,

Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,

Who acts for the one who waits for Him.

These four verses are worth re-reading.  Think about these for a moment.  The prophet is looking for God to come down from the heavens to shake the mountains to burn the forests and to boil the oceans to make His name known to those who area against Him so that all the nations of the world will tremble at His presence.  Have we not seen some of God’s power in the last month?  We have had three major hurricanes and two major earthquakes all doing damage beyond what any war or weapon of man can do.  On Christian radio I have heard God exalted but not on secular news.

The prophet longed for the nations to recognize God as the Lord and believed that when God came and showed His power in His presence the world would sit up and listen.  Let us pray that they will listen and that they will acknowledge that God is the Lord.

In verse 4 we find and interesting statement about God and the world’s religions.  Here we learn that from the beginning of the world, no man has heard from any other god and no eye has ever seen any other god for there is no other god besides the Lord God of heaven.  All other gods of this world have been the figments of the imaginations of those who thought them up.  And beyond this thought we read that God is the one who acts for those who in faith wait for Him.  Join me today in waiting on the Lord.  He will give us good courage and will not let us down when we patiently and in faith wait upon Him.  He alone is God.

Tomorrow from 4:00 – 6:00 there is an outdoor prayer meeting at the Grand Pavillion on Naperville’s river walk.  This is behind the VFW. During this two hour prayer meeting we will hear from different men and women who will present specific needs to pray for.  We will then take six minute segments in small groups to pray for each specific need.  This is the third year for Pray! Naperville to have an outdoor prayer gathering of all who would come and pray for our community.  I encourage each of you to come and join us in prayer.  There are many places in the world where this type of public prayer gathering would be illegal.  While we still can, let us gather with other followers of Christ and join them in prayer. 

I have been asked to bring the gospel message at the end.  Pray that if some there do not know the Savior that they will be drawn to Him for salvation.

Sunday, I plan to show some more of my pictures from my trip.  I do hope you will be there.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Called to Rest and to Glorify God’s Great Name

Posted on

Isaiah 63:14–16

14 As a beast goes down into the valley, And the Spirit of the Lord causes him to rest, So You lead Your people, To make Yourself a glorious name.

15 Look down from heaven, And see from Your habitation, holy and glorious. Where are Your zeal and Your strength, The yearning of Your heart and Your mercies toward me? Are they restrained?

16 Doubtless You are our Father, Though Abraham was ignorant of us, And Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O Lord, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.

The prophet starts with a simple illustration of an animal in the wilderness going down into a valley to rest. The animal is a large animal that does not fear predators and in the valley is able to rest from the travels of the day. The prophet then asks the Lord to lead His people to the place of their rest so they will make God’s name glorious.

 

When we gather on Sundays, it is a time of spiritual rest with the people of God. We gather and make God’s name glorious together. Our church gatherings around the person and work of Christ are a foretaste of heaven to us. We are resting from the pressures and the people of the world even if just for a few minutes. When we leave, we are refreshed and ready to go out again.

 

The prophet is calling out to God to bring His people back to the place of their rest. He is their Father, He is our Redeemer from Everlasting.   Are you in need of rest? I am. I look forward to time together resting with God’s people to receive strength to continue. We won’t know our permanent rest until heaven. Until then we enjoy the rest we find in the valley with our Father, our Redeemer, where we gather to make His name great.

 

Do the troubles of this world today grieve you? What a painful day yesterday was in this world. From a hurricane to an earthquake people lost loved ones and possessions. From one day to the next their lives have been overturned. Let us pray for thousands of people to cry out to the Lord Jesus for salvation. Let us pray that the world will sit up and take note that God is God and there is no other. Let us pray that people will repent of their sins and know that the Lord, He is God and that He alone can carry them by His grace through this trouble.

 

We are praying tonight. Join us.

 

Pray for our teens as we meet. We have been having teens come week after week who do not know the Savior. Pray for the Lord to grip their hearts tonight. I could still use a driver for this Saturday’s Dare2Share event in Oswego.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

A Day of the Lord, soon coming

Posted on

Isaiah 62:11–12

11 Indeed the Lord has proclaimed To the end of the world: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.’ ”

12 And they shall call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.

I have been paying attention to prophecies that have days and times assigned to them. For when God assigns a day and a time to a prophecy that means that it is on His calendar as a day that is going to happen and the clock is ticking toward that date. This passage has a specific date attached to it. “the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the world…” This is a specific day on God’s calendar. It is coming. And though we don’t know when, God does and is directing all things toward it.

 

At that time God’s salvation is coming, His reward to the faithful is with Him and all of His work will be before Him. No thing and no one will avoid this day. It is a day of salvation to all of God’s people. His people will be called “The Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord, Sought Out, and A City Not Forsaken.” When you consider how the nation of Israel has gone back and forth from captivity, this is a powerful prophecy.

 

As Gentile Christians, we can over-lay the work of Christ and the purifying of our hearts through His blood on top of the teachings of God’s chosen people and know that we too, His redeemed from all ages, will be a part of his glorious day. All of us who have suffered reproach for the name of Christ will be welcomed into this glorious and eternal city of God.

 

Whatever happens in the world today, and a lot is happening, God is preparing for a day when He will reign on this world in His power and in His righteousness. We will be a part of that world. Amen.

 

I watched a BBC news report on the island of Tortola in the chain of islands below the Dominican Republic. There is not a home on the island that wasn’t hit by Hurricane Irma. They are without food and water. They have little hope of rebuilding because the government doesn’t have enough money to rebuild. One woman, while holding on to a tree to keep from being blown around by the wind, had her baby pulled from her arm never to see him again. In the light of Hurricane Jose, they were trying to evacuate the whole island. The stories of devastation abound. Do pray for these dear people to find hope and peace in very difficult situations.

 

I will be back at Sunrise Assisted Living today for the first time in a month. I am looking forward to seeing our friends there.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Our New Name

Posted on

Isaiah 62

For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace,

And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,

Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,

And her salvation as a lamp that burns.

2     The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,

And all kings your glory.

You shall be called by a new name,

Which the mouth of the Lord will name.

3     You shall also be a crown of glory

In the hand of the Lord,

And a royal diadem

In the hand of your God.

Acts 11:26  And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

 

Revelation 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

The world has called the people of God many things.  I was in a classroom a few years ago where evolution was being taught.  The professor was talking about those who don’t believe in evolution and called us right wing Bible believers.  It wasn’t a complimentary term.  I have been called a “born-againer” in a not so nice manner.  I have been asked if I were “one of those” where “those” was meant as a slander against the Christians in the room.  The world has many choice names and expressions for the people of God.

Note in these passages that the day is coming when God will call His own people by a new name which He will give them.  The name that God has for us is a special name with a special relationship attached to it.  When the people in Antioch called the believers “Christians” it wasn’t a compliment, it was a sneer, but the name stuck.

Who are you in Christ?  First off all, you are not the same person you were apart from Christ.  If you had a nick-name that went with your old sinful life then when you came to Christ and found forgiveness of sin you might have wanted to change that sin-induced nick-name.  You now had a new identity.

Rejoice with the Lord, He has a new name for you!  His name for you will define you as His chosen for all eternity.  So whatever derogatory name others have for you now, God has a new name for you and will give it to you when you are with Him in His presence.  Hallelujah!

We are looking forward to Sunday.  It will be another great day in the life of Grace for Life Bible Church.  I plan to show a few more pictures of my trip with a bit more of the report from it.  We will also be observing the Lord’s Table together which is a great moment of reflection on the wonderful work of Christ on our behalf.

Pray for the needs of our church.  The summer months offerings were well below budget leaving us very close on our bank balances.  We are having to pick and choose what bills to pay as offerings come in.  Pray with us about this need and ask the Lord what you can do. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Rejoice, God is clothing us with His salvation

Posted on

Isaiah 61

10   I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,

My soul shall be joyful in my God;

For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,

He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,

And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11   For as the earth brings forth its bud,

As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,

So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

I was in the car for a few minutes on the 11th and heard a bit of Chris Brooks on the Moody noon show, Equipped.  Chris said much of what I have been thinking that the many natural disasters of the past months and years including the terror attacks on us and on others, are the hand of God seeking to get our attention that we might recognize that God is the Lord.  I have been listening to and reading the reports of hurricane Irma and not once did I hear that this was a demonstration of the power of God Almighty. If you did not hear it from anyone else, hear it from me today, the earth is groaning and travailing in pain until the day of the Lord.  God is showing us His power and we need to sit up and take notice that He is the Lord.

According to Isaiah 61 there is coming a day when God will deck out His bride, the church, as a bride adorned with ornaments of jewelry.  God makes us beautiful with the garments of salvation and with the robe of His righteousness.  For while I know that the nations are running away from God we are running toward Him.  We look forward to the day when He with His righteousness and praise will spring forth before all the nations.  That day is coming.  As sure as we are here today we will be with the Lord when He reigns in righteousness.

Therefore, let us greatly rejoice; let our souls be joyful in our God.  For while wars and destruction come and will come God is in control and He alone will bring His judgment upon this earth and will then set up His righteous throne where He will rule and reign in righteousness, peace, and perfect justice. Greatly rejoice today my friends.  God has clothed us with the garments of His salvation.

One of the things I saw in the Philippines was just how hard people work just to be able to have a place to sleep and to have food to eat.  If enough money is made for one meal a day then that is all that they get. If enough money is made to keep their place to live then they have a place to sleep.  Coming back to the U.S. I know that some of you have the same struggle.  You work long and hard just to make enough money to keep your house, your car and food for your family.  I admire you for your hard work and your commitment to your family.  Let us pray more for one another that we might have a little more strength to do all that we are called to do each day.  Let us pray that God will provide for each of us according to the riches of His storehouse so that each of us would know that God is the Lord.

We are still short of workers for Kids4Truth.  If you are on the fence about serving in this important ministry to our children, call MaryEllen or Bobbi and let them know that you can serve. 

Thanks for your prayers yesterday, the message to the pastor’s went well.  I was thankful for the opportunity.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Doing what we are called to do

Posted on

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

(The devotional today is taken from Larry and Jane Parks’ recent newsletter.)

 

Talking about leadership… is what we do most these days.  On the field every seminary class session is opened with a challenge concerning leadership.  On furlough we find the challenge to be to explain the focus of our present and future ministry in Spain.  As one author so rightly said, God did not ask Moses to build the tabernacle, but rather to motivate those gifted to do the work of the ministry. To follow Moses’ example we need to be detailed in our obedience to God’s direction.  Likewise, it is not for us just to “sit and watch” God work, instead it is ours to give our best to the Master for His use when the call comes to get the job done.

Leadership does not equal dictatorship.  Leadership begins with being separated unto the Lord, beginning to end.  It is not necessarily about the task that one is given.  Leadership for the building of the tabernacle was needed in many areas as is the case for the church today.  The concept is that we are to be “holy” and “wholly” separated or dedicated to the Master Builder. In the introduction to the book of Leviticus, one author pointed out that God took His people out of Egypt.  The next step was to take Egypt out of His people.  God through Moses taught them that they had to change their way of thinking and living.  God demands that we dedicate every area of our lives to Him, as much in our motivation as in the practical day to day activities.  Although we do not have to practice all the rituals given to the people of God in Moses day, we must have the same spirit of preparation and devotion for lasting leadership.

 

God gave us a great service on Sunday. It was a joy to be back with you at Grace for Life Bible Church. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Philippines and in Bangkok, getting back home to our church was good. May God use the Word preached each week to challenge our hearts and to draw us closer to the men and the women that He wants us to be.

 

I would appreciate your prayers this morning as I will be speaking to 50 pastors. It is a great opportunity and I trust God will use me to be a help to them.

 

Keep our school kids in your prayers today. It was awesome to see so many in church Sunday and to know that each of them will be being prayed for throughout the year. Their needs are great, the world, the flesh, and the devil, are on them every day.

 

Kim Lavryk called me and asked for special prayer. Do keep Kim in your prayers that she would know God’s strength in her very weak body.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

Who are God’s messengers?

Posted on

Isaiah 61

1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Isaiah knew his mission in life. He knew what God had called him to do and did it in humble obedience to that calling.   Isaiah knew where the call came from; it came from the Spirit of the Lord God. He did not speak on his own authority but on the authority that came from God alone. Isaiah knew what the message from God was; the message was one of good tidings. The good tidings were that there was healing for the brokenhearted, there was liberty for the captive and there was opening of the prison to those where were bound up in their sin.

 

Let’s take a look at Peter’s writings to us:

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

God has called us out of the darkness of sin into His kingdom of marvelous light and has done so to make us His chosen people, His royal priesthood, His holy nation, His peculiar people who would show forth His praises into the darkness of this world.

We too have a mission and a message from God. We too, possessed of God’s Holy Spirit have been anointed to preach good tidings to the meek, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound in their sin. The acceptable year of the Lord is coming; the day of His vengeance will soon be here. Let us pick up the call of God to Isaiah as His call to us and let us be God’s messengers of His redemption. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us.

We have enjoyed having Janet McLanahan with us this week. What a special privilege it has been for so many of you to get to spent time with her. Let us uphold her in greater prayer as she continues to be used of God.

We do not have a Riverwalk outreach tonight. I know the calendar says we do but with my being gone the past two weeks we just could not pull it all together.

You don’t want to miss this Sunday. I will be giving a report on my trip which you, thankfully, sent me on. I have much to show you and am looking forward to our day together.

We had at least six unsaved girls in youth group last night. I changed the lesson and taught the Gospel in six words. Pray for these girls. They listened intently as I challenged them with their sin and their need of a Savior. What a thrill it would be for them to come back next week having trusted Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS