Isaiah

Looking forward to eternity? I am!

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Isaiah 66

22   “For as the new heavens and the new earth

Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord,

“So shall your descendants and your name remain.

23   And it shall come to pass

That from one New Moon to another,

And from one Sabbath to another,

All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord.

If you would read the verses before and after this one you would find that God predicts times of war against Him, times of scattering of His people and of restoring His people.  The prophecy speaks of death of God’s enemies and life for God’s chosen.  It speaks of Gentile nations coming to Him and serving Him in His temple.

There must come a day when the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, must come and execute His wrath on those who have sinned against Him and have rejected His Son.  At the same time, those who have repented of their sin and have sought the grace of God by faith through the work of the Son will be received and will know an eternal abode with their Lord.

As I read passages like this my faith is confirmed and my heart leaps for joy that I am one of God’s.  I have been adopted by Him and will know His glorious Abba love forever.  I know that the troubles of this world both within me and outside of me are temporal and that bliss with God is eternal.  Again, I rejoice.  Know this; God is in control of all time and of all eternity.  God’s eternal purposes include us with Him apart from any of sin and its pain forever.  We can faithfully endure in this life and we must.  God’s plans are in place and are going to happen for our eternal salvation with Him.

I am thankful for a great day together with God’s people yesterday in church.  Thanks to the musicians who worked diligently to lead us.  Thanks to the teachers who prepared and taught our children.  Thanks to all who came so that together we could gather as the body of Christ on this earth. 

Our kids are off of school today.  I hope they get some needed rest. 

This Friday is our last movie night of the season.  Join us at 7:00 for Facing the Giants.  Bring a friend who could benefit from the message of the film. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

A wonderful promise to a displaced people

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Isaiah 66

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,

PS

God’s illustration of certainty

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Isaiah 66

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,

PS

A God when we want a god?

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Isaiah 66

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,
PS

What does God want from us?

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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.

 

http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/10/02/act-pure-evil-searching-meaning-las-vegas/

 

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trump-spokesman-says-u.s.-still-one-nation-under-god-following-vegas-attack?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com&utm_campaign=5d7e63625f-Daily%2520Headlines%2520-%2520U.S.&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_12387f0e3e-5d7e63625f-401454777

 

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,
PS

This is worth waiting for

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Isaiah 65

23   They shall not labor in vain,

Nor bring forth children for trouble;

For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord,

And their offspring with them.

24   “It shall come to pass

That before they call, I will answer;

And while they are still speaking, I will hear.

25   The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,

The lion shall eat straw like the ox,

And dust shall be the serpent’s food.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,”

Says the Lord.

The last two chapters of Isaiah mirror the book of Revelation.  They speak of the New Jerusalem where God will dwell forever with His own.  These verses speak to a coming day when no labor will be in vain.  How many times have I done a job that was either done wrong or just didn’t matter?  Never again will that be the case when we are in our eternal habitation.  Since it does speak of labor it does not say that we will be sitting on clouds holding harps.  Boy-oh-boy am I glad of that.

“We won’t bring forth children for trouble” is a euphemistic phrase because Jesus said that there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage in heaven.  This speaks to our labor always being righteous. So often in parenting we wonder what we worked so hard for.  This will never be the case in heaven for all that we do will be for righteousness.

We will be so close to God at all times that verse 22 says before we call out to God He will answer and while we are speaking to God He is hearing us.  Immediate answers to prayer are one of the blessings of heaven.  No more will we send out a cry to God and wonder for He will be hearing and answering as we pray.

Ever since God had to kill the first lambs to cover the first sins, there has been violence on the earth.  In creation, God made the animals to eat herbs and plants.  There was no fear in the Garden that man or animal was in danger.  So it will be again in heaven.  All animals will be domesticated and we will not fear them nor will they fear us.  But notice this; the serpent is still cursed for it will still slither along the ground.

It all ends with “Thus says the Lord.”  God’s signature is on His document and His promises are set in the stone of His immutability.  God will never change thus we can always trust His word to be true.  So, there is coming a wonderful day when all who came to God through Christ in this life will enjoy His presence in His holy place forever.  That is a day to look forward to.

7:00 Tonight at the Riverwalk we will begin our last sketchboard outreach for the season.  We are going to need some in the crowd who can sing for us.  I trust you can make it out. 

Dinner day is Sunday after church.  Plan to stay and join with us.

Thanks to God, Dawn’s surgery went well, she was home earlier than expected.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Is God a good “shaper?”

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Isaiah 64

8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.

Here is the breakdown of this sentence:

  • You our Father
  • We the clay
  • You our potter
  • We the work of Your hand

 

Do you see God as your Father, the potter, and the shaper of your life? Do you see yourself as simple clay being shaped as God sees fit? This is both a wonderful truth and a humbling truth. God shapes us exactly into the person that He wants us to be.

 

As a human father, I always wanted what was best for my children. Bobbi and I have sought to use different methods to shape the lives and abilities of our children to become men and women of character and ability. We have learned that our parenting is limited to human understanding. Using human parenting as an example, God is the perfect parent who knows exactly what He is doing to shape His children’s lives. So not only is God the potter but God is also the ultimate parent.

 

If I think I know what is good for my children then I can trust that God knows what is best for me and is constantly shaping my life as He sees fit. The result of God’s working is that I become the work of His hand, not mine. I cannot take credit for who I become when God is the ultimate Father and master Shaper. He has shaped me as He has seen fit and I have become the man He determined me to be. We are His workmanship, His trophies to show forth His power to those around us.

 

I read about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego this morning. They were God’s workmanship holding up God’s name and showed God’s power in the furnace. When they came out the king proclaimed their God the God of all power. Let God shape you today so that others will see His power.

 

We got most of the sign-painting done last night. Be in prayer with us for this Friday’s outreach that God will prepare hearts beforehand to hear the Gospel and be saved.

 

I will be bringing a message Sunday that is very timely regarding our need to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. Paul asked the Corinthians to be ready for his coming and Christ has called us to be ready for His. There are many signs that point to the second coming of Christ which should push us to be prepared.

 

Pray for the recovery of Krista who had surgery yesterday.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God, sin, and righteousness

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Isaiah 64

5    You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,

Who remembers You in Your ways.

You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—

In these ways we continue;

And we need to be saved.

6    But we are all like an unclean thing,

And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;

We all fade as a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind,

Have taken us away.

7    And there is no one who calls on Your name,

Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;

For You have hidden Your face from us,

And have consumed us because of our iniquities.

I see two themes here that we should look at.  The first theme is the desire of God for man.  God meets those who rejoice in Him and do righteousness.  From the Garden to the Cross we see God desiring man and man rejecting God.  Jesus himself wept over Jerusalem for their constant rejection of His message to them.  God created man for perfect fellowship and through the blood of Christ we have that fellowship restored.  God desires to fellowship with us who are created by Him in His image.

The second theme we look at is the reality of man’s sin and what it does to our fellowship with God.  God is angry with us because of our sin. We know right from wrong, we have a God-given conscience, but we go against righteousness all the time.  Then we come back and try to do something good for God and He says that those righteous deeds done by us to gain His favor are like filthy rags. Our fading continues like a leaf in the fall and our iniquities blow us away as a leaf is blown by the wind. We don’t call on the Lord and we naturally continue to drift further and further away.

The result of the reality of our sin is that God hides His face from us.  In the Garden, Adam and Eve hid their faces from God.  God sought them and confronted them in their sin.  When we are living in sin and cry out to God He hides His face from us.  As we continue in sin we will find that our sin, which we enjoyed at some point, consumes us.  God in His wisdom knows this and constantly calls us from our sin to Himself and to His righteousness.  Let us not underestimate sin.  It is always destructive.  Sin always causes separation from each other and from God.  Sin is what Jesus died to save us from therefore we must not compartmentalize any sin finding ways to downplay it lest we learn its consuming ways.  Turn with me from sin and let us enjoy the righteous fellowship of God.

Be in prayer with us for our last Riverwalk outreach this Friday night.  We will be at Dave’s tonight painting the sketch boards for Friday night.  If you have time to help, please do.  Pray for health, good weather, and open hearts to receive the message of the gospel.  This is our fourth time out this summer and we have yet to see someone come to Christ.  It would be a great joy to see God save a soul Friday night. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

When God shows up

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Who are God’s messengers?

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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

The Light of God’s Presence is Coming for Us All

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Isaiah 60

19   “The sun shall no longer be your light by day,

Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;

But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,

And your God your glory.

20   Your sun shall no longer go down,

Nor shall your moon withdraw itself;

For the Lord will be your everlasting light,

And the days of your mourning shall be ended.

21   Also your people shall all be righteous;

They shall inherit the land forever,

The branch of My planting,

The work of My hands,

That I may be glorified.

 

Can you imagine being a nation in exile because of your sin against God and hearing these words of a future promise in a future place like nothing you ever heard of before?  What a wonderful and redeeming God that we have.  He has been in the habit of saving His people for a very long time.  And not only does God save His people but He has eternal plans for all of them.  The Apostle John has a similar view of eternity recorded for us in Revelation.

Revelation 21: 22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.

Yes, our God is still in the business of saving His people and preparing an eternal place for them.

In the light of the loss of my friend, Pastor Phil, who went home to be with the Lord during the night, I have given more consideration to the passing from this life to eternity with God.  God creates life, sin takes life.  But sin only takes physical life for the soul that God created was designed to live forever.  So all who leave this body with their sins removed through the blood of Christ and faith in that grace, in God’s eyes don’t die, we just go from this life to His life.  We leave this confusion to God’s eternal peace and understanding.  Phil now knows more than we can ever know in this life and truly is in the presence of our Lord, where we will one day be.  At the end of this life sin’s curse has its last hurrah but the sorrow is short lived for the one who leaves us. We will understand this one day and will enjoy rejoicing with Pastor Phil and with all who have died in Christ.

At church last night Stefani and Kendall gave the message.  They spoke on the Cause and on prayer.  It is a joy to see our young people getting it and ready to bring their friends to what they have come to know.  Keep them all in your prayers as some have started school and face the challenges of standing for Christ every day.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS