Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is. 64:6 We are all infected and impure with sin.

Is. 64:6  We are all infected and impure with sin.  When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags.  Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall.  And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.

Sin drives us away from God and keeps us away from Him.  Sin clouds our thinking and causes us to think we are good enough for God on our own and as we are.  Sin is like a cancer cell in the soul.  If left untreated it multiplies and soon takes over by destroying the good cells of righteousness.  If not caught in time it cannot be treated.  There is nothing good about sin left unattended to in the soul.

Sin must not be left untreated.  It will suck the life right out of the soul.  It will so alienate the soul from God that there is no more joy or peace for living.  There is no such thing as an “innocent sin.”  There is no such thing as a little sin.  Sin is sin and must be dealt with in order for there to be peace with God.  Some have the idea that because we live in grace and are children of God, it doesn’t matter, that we don’t have to concern ourselves with the sin that creeps into the soul.  But, it does matter!  God commands us to be a holy people, a people after His own heart.  We cannot be holy before God while harboring sin in our hearts.

Don’t put off dealing with sin.  Humble yourself before Christ, confess it, and ask Him to forgive you.  He will do it, but only if you ask Him to.  He will not force forgiveness on you.  And, He will not forgive you if you only partially give Him your sin.  You must open your heart up to Him and give Him permission to come in and clean house, every sin lodged there. 

It doesn’t do any good to try and hide some sin from Him.  The Lord knows your heart and every sin there.  You may deny that there is any sin there, but both you and the Lord know better.  We are all guilty of sin.  No one lives a sin-free life.  We all sin and fall short of God’s perfect law.  We all need our Savior.  We all need His righteousness and a soul free from sin.

A heart right with God is one who humbly knows he needs Christ’s forgiveness and turns to Him for it.  It is impossible to be good enough to not need forgiveness.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Is. 64:5 How can anyone be saved?


Is. 64:5  You welcome those who cheerfully do good, who follow godly ways.  But we are not godly.  We are constant sinners, so your anger is heavy on us.  How can people like us be saved?

We understand how God can be receptive to the godly.  It’s not hard to understand how the godly are favored by Him.  It is hard for us to grasp how God can save the ungodly, those who constantly live in sin.  We easily dismiss the ungodly as being beyond the reach of salvation.  We understand how good people are easily loved, but fail to understand how bad people can be loved by a loving God.

Maybe you see yourself as being too much of a sinner to be loved by God.  No one is beyond the scope of God’s love.  He loves all people equally, regardless if they love Him in return or not.  He loves all because He is love.  He longs to have a relationship with everyone, including you.  He gladly welcomes all who come to Him for the forgiveness of their sins and a life in Him.

We are prone to look down on the ungodly, but what we fail to grasp is that all of us who are saved were amongst the ungodly.  Each of us were just as they are now, sinners in need of a Savior.  All of us constantly sinned against God before our salvation.  None of us knew what it was like to be loved by God.  All of us willfully did not let the Lord into our hearts.  All of us once were subject to the wrath of God. 

Instead of looking down on the ungodly, we should have compassion on them.  They have enough people in the world who look down on them and judge them for the way they choose to live.  They need people who genuinely love them and care for their souls.  They need people to help them find their way out of their sinful lives.  They need people to accept them for who they are and prayerfully be a witness of God’s grace before their eyes.  They need people who believe in who they can become in Christ if they would only surrender to Him.

How can anyone be saved?  It is only through God’s grace and His outpoured love on our lives.  No one deserves it, but all can have it.  God desires a relationship with everyone.  He knows that all won’t accept His offer to save them, but that doesn’t change His love for them.  God won’t give up on the lost and neither should we.  Someone cared enough about you to love you while you were a sinner and pointed you to the Lord.  Someone prayed for your salvation.  Will you do the same for someone you know?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Is. 62:10 Go out! Prepare the highway for my people to return!


Is. 62:10  Go out! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see.

The thought that jumps out at me here is the mandate to go and prepare a way for people to return.  As Christians, we are sent out into the world.  We are to go out amongst those who are not Christians.  We are not very good at doing this.  We want people to come to us, not we go to them.  We would rather remain cozy and comfortable than get our hands dirty by going into the cesspool of sin to reach whom we can.

We are to prepare the way for people to return.  We are to make a way for people who want out of their sin to get out.  It may take us thought and work, but if we are willing we can help people find their way to Christ.  Many people remain in sin because no one has been able to show them how to get out of it in a way they can understand.  Everybody has a basic need for Christ.  Ask the Lord to show you how to be an effective witness to someone you know.

We are to smooth out the road.  The way to salvation is often complicated by the doings of others.  Some people who profess Christ make a mess of things and perhaps leave a bitter taste in the mouths of unbelievers.  We can help smooth the road by not being like that.  We can live holy lives before the world so that the world can see what Christians should really be like.  We can by our actions and words refute the failures and weaknesses of faith of others.  We can live in such a way that others will want what we have by removing the obstacles others have placed on the path.

Examine your life and talk.  What kind of a witness for Christ are you?  Do you turn people on to Christ or turn them off?  Are you a boulder in someone’s pathway or are you a smooth pathway to God?  Let all who see you see Christ in a positive light.  Let all see that Christ can really change us into a holy people.  Let all see what life is really like when Jesus is both Savior and   Lord of life.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Is. 61:10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!

Is. 61:10  I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!  For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.  I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.

When was the last time you were overwhelmed with joy at the thought that Jesus saves and that He has saved you?  Be honest.  If you are like most of us, you don’t live on an emotional high much of the time.  You simply do not get all excited every time you think of salvation.  It doesn’t mean that it is not real or precious to you; it’s just not possible to always feel the excitement of it.  Yet, it is good to think about what the Lord does for us in salvation.  It ought to cause us to appreciate it more and bow before Him in thanksgiving, praise, and love.

He has clothed us in salvation.  Without clothing we are embarrassed to be seen.  Clothing covers up our flaws.  It covers up parts of the body that should not be seen by others.  It keeps us warm.  It protects us from the elements.  It makes us more attractive to others.  Clothing comes in a wide variety of styles and sizes.  We wear our clothing differently.  And, we wear our clothing for our common good; it helps to keep us from tempting others and being tempted by them.  Now, consider how salvation does these things for us.

He has draped us in robes of righteousness.  Robes add to the ability of clothing to keep us warm.  They are often used to add distinction to our appearances.  They sometimes speak of honor and dignity, and even authority.

“I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.”  Why do most people dress up when they get married?  Isn’t it because one’s wedding is an honorable and memorable day in the couple’s lives?  It is a day in which a public commitment is made to live in a relationship with each other in ways they never had before.  It is a day of great joy and excitement that they want to share with family, friends, and God.  It is the beginning of the process of blending two lives into one that lasts until death.

The day of salvation is like that.  It is a very special and unforgettable day in the life of a person.  It is a day in which life is forever changed.  It is a day of not looking back wishing it had never happened.  It is a day of looking forward to what is yet to come.  It is a day of commitment that binds the soul to God for all of eternity.  It is a day of great joy and excitement.  It is a day to be shared with others over and over again.  It is a day in which the old passes away and all things become new. 

Oh dear friend, revisit that wondrous day.  Remember the joy you knew when Christ saved you.  Recall the changes He has made in your life.  Renew the commitment you made to Him that day.  Let the joy of salvation reclaim your soul today.  If your soul has become stale and you have taken your salvation for granted, flee to your Savior and let Him rewash you in His precious blood.  Let Him put on you a new robe of righteousness so that you can once again know the joys of your salvation.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Is. 59:1,2 Listen! The Lord is not too weak to save you.....

Is. 59:1-2 Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. But here is a problem---your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

The Lord is not too weak to save.  His ability to save is stronger than the worst of sinners.  There is no one who is beyond God’s saving grace if they humble themselves before Him, confess their sins, and turn to Him for forgiveness.  He hears and answers every sincere prayer of repentance. 

Sometimes we let sin get in-between us and God.  The more we let sin into our heart, the more distant God becomes to us.  It is not that God has wandered away from us; we have wandered away from Him.  God has not changed.  He is as He always was and always shall be.  He hears and answers us when we call on Him, when we approach Him with holy hearts.  Sin breaks off the lines of communication.  It prevents God from hearing us when we call on Him.

If it seems like the Lord is no longer near to your heart, it is probably because of a sin problem you have.  If your prayers keep bouncing off the ceiling, you need to first examine your heart before God.  If you don’t know what your sin might be, ask the Lord to show you.  He will not hide it from you.  He wants you to know your sin so you can confess it and be forgiven.

Honesty of heart is essential when dealing with sin.  We must admit it before God when we sin.  There is no way to avoid this step.  Confession involves taking responsibility for our sinful choices.  Sin is done willfully and we must declare it so before God.  Sin cuts us off from God and unless it is dealt with, God will turn away from us.  He cannot overlook sin; it must be dealt with.  He is holy and without holiness of heart, no one will see God.

If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  I John 1:9

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Is. 58:13-14a Keep the Sabbath day holy.

Is. 58:13-14a  Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the LORD in everything you do, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. If you do this, the LORD will be your delight.

This is a truth of God’s Word that has long plagued me.  I understand that we no longer live under the Law.  We are no longer compelled to obey the Law in order to be righteous and holy.  Jesus has fulfilled the Law’s demands on us and has made us right with God.

But, I am convinced that the Lord’s Day should be a day we set aside for worship and restoration.  It should be a day in which we break away from the normal routines of life and turn our thoughts to the Lord.

Rarely do we keep the Sabbath Day holy anymore.  We fill it with all sorts of things that drain us.  We take more delight in the things that we do than we do with the Lord.  We squeeze in time for worship when we can, but it’s not the priority of the day.  How is it honoring to the Lord to spend the day of rest he put into our week with activities that crowd him out of our thoughts?

So often we use the Lord’s Day as a day to catch up on what we did not do the rest of the week.  We catch up on our rest, our laundry, our housework, our work in the yard, our paperwork, etc.  For many of us our workplace compels us to work.  Each of us must decide how we handle the Lord’s Day.  I wonder how many of us have ever prayed and asked the Lord what we can or cannot do.  All I know is that the Lord speaks about it a lot in His Word for a reason.  He considers it to be an important matter and so should we.

If you want the Lord to be more of a presence and pleasure in your life, a good place to start would be to examine the way you spend your Sabbath, or Sunday, rest.  Do you keep the Sabbath Day holy?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Is. 57:20-21 "There is not peace for the wicked," says the Lord.


Is. 57:20-21  “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea.  It is never still but continually churns up mire and dirt.  There is not peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.

There just is no peace to be found for the soul apart from the Lord.  All the promises of the world for peace are so shallow and empty.  The soul is restless without the Lord and will never settle down to a life of peacefulness.  The least little thing can break the appearances of peace.  Because the soul without Christ is self-centered, it will always have problems with those who do not cater to its wants. 

Living without the Lord never satisfies the longing of the soul.  It is impossible for the soul to be content without the Lord.  There will always be a craving for something else to satisfy.  No matter what a person does or accumulates in life, it will never be enough.  There will always be an empitness, a lostness of the soul.  People will crave for a sense of purpose and meaning for their lives, but will not find anything in the world which can give it to them.  The restless soul will always be threatened or jealous of the accomplishments of others.  It’s a life that never finds rest.  There is no such thing as a wicked soul who has it altogether and is satisfied with it. 

God gave us souls with a need for Christ.  Only Jesus can clear up the muddy waters that encase the soul.  He alone can give us what our souls need.  He alone can give us purpose and meaning for living.  When the Lord has control of the soul there no longer is a longing for something else.  A relationship with God is what we were created for.  In Christ alone we find the peace the soul craves for.

In those times in which we wander from God and reject His role in our lives, we find ourselves restless and unsatisfied.  Peace eludes us and life is miserable.  Dear friend, if you have wandered away from God or have rejected Him altogether, you will never be satisfied or find the peace your soul desperately needs.  Only in Christ will you find what your soul craves for.  Do not let another moment go by without the Lord.  Turn to the Lord, confess your sins and the foolishness of your ways.  Ask the Lord to forgive you and He will.  In place of the emptiness of your soul He will give you a peace that passes all understanding. 

Don’t believe Satan’s lies that you can find peace in the world apart from Christ.  The only thing you will find is misery and death for your soul.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Is. 57:1,2 Dealing with the godly dying before their time.

Is. 57:1-2  The righteous pass away; the godly often die before their time. And no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For the godly who die will rest in peace.

Here are a couple of verses that should be taught and learned by all of the body of Christ.  We often wonder why certain people die when they do.  In our minds it just doesn’t seem to be right, especially if they are young and are offering so much to life.  It is especially true when their death is compared to that of those who may survive and have very little to contribute.  It just doesn’t seem fair to us that some die when they do.  Why would God allow people to die who are having great impact on their families, church, friends and the world?  We will never know the answers to the questions we often have.  Yet, we can take great comfort in God’s Word today.

God sees and knows what we don’t.  He knows what the future holds for us.  He knows the affect the future will have on us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.   In order to protect His children from certain disaster in the future, the Lord may call some home in what we would say would be prematurely.  The death of His children is a good thing.  It is a testimony of God’s love, mercy, and compassion.  For those who die, the Lord is sparing them from what is to come.  For those who remain to mourn their passing, the Lord gives them comfort and peace as they rest in His presence.  And, He reassures us that even though one may pass on into eternity ahead of us, we will indeed see them again. 

For the believer, death is a good thing.  It is what each of us lives for.  Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace.  We will see the Lord!  Let us not look upon death as an unwelcome intrusion in our lives.  Let us not turn against God in our grief and sorrow.  Let us instead thank the Lord for sparing us from what we don’t know and bringing to us rest from our labors.  Let us thank the Lord for the wonderful life that awaits us in Christ beyond the grave.  Let us thank Him for the comfort He gives in knowing that those who die in the Lord are with Him for all of eternity.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Is. 56:1,2 Want to honor the Lord in your living?

Is. 56:1-2  “Be just and fair to all,” says the LORD.  “Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you.  Blessed are those who are careful to do this.  Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest by refusing to work.  And blessed are those who keep themselves from doing wrong.”

Want to honor the Lord in your living?  The Lord gives us three things to do here that will honor Him.  We are to be just and fair.  This reminds us that how we treat others does matter.  Being just means that we don’t treat people in ways they don’t deserve to be treated.  We honor the Lord’s admonition to be loving and gracious.  When it becomes necessary to punish someone for the wrongs they have done, we don’t cower away from it.  It is only fair that people be punished for the wrongs they do, but when we do it, we do it out of love and not vengence.  The goal should always be to motivate others to repent and change their ways, to restore them to good standing before God and man. 

It also honors the Lord when we honor the Lord’s Day.  Now I know that there is a tremendous amount of disagreement in the church over what this means in practical terms and I don’t want to upset anyone or stir up a debate.  What I do want to do is to challenge you to think about what the Lord’s Day is designed to do for us.  Scripture says that when God had finished His labors of creation, He rested on the seventh day.  I don’t believe it was because He was tired, but it was because He had completed His work, it was good, and there was nothing else for Him to do to make it better.  He wants us to take the time to reflect on the works He has done, to appreciate them and to understand that what He did and continues to do is for our good and His glory. 

He admonishes us to rest from our labors one day a week because He knows that we are not Him; we need the rest.  We get weary from our labors physically, mentally and emotionally and it affects our souls.  God knows that when man is always working, he is not paying attention to his soul like he needs to.  Whatever you do on the Lord’s Day, take the time to refresh your soul, to be holy before God.  You need the Lord more than anything your labors on earth may accomplish for you.

It also honors the Lord when we keep ourselves from doing wrong.  What we do does matter to God.  Sin affects our relationship with God.  It keeps God at arm’s length in our souls.  We can never be right with God as long as we allow ourselves to sin against God.  It is never okay with God when we wander into sin.  When God’s children sin, it insults God.  It brings shame not only upon us, but it dishonors His holy name.  Sin in our hearts keeps God’s blessings at bay in our lives.  We must heed the admonition of God to be holy, even as He is holy. 

In what ways are you honoring the Lord in your life?  Do you treat others the way you should?  Do you honor the Lord’s Day in the way you should?  Do you keep yourself from sinning before God?  Blessed are those who honor the Lord in all things.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Is. 55:10-11 The Word never fails to fulfill its mission that God sends it on.

Is. 55:10-11  The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.  They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.  It is the same with my word.  I send it out and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

One of the great mysteries of the Gospel is how God uses it when it is sent forth.  The effectiveness of the Word to bring about change in the human soul lies solely in God.  We can do nothing to cause anyone to hear the Word and let it change their life.  Nothing.  The messenger is only that, a messenger.  It doesn’t matter how well or powerfully the messenger may speak.  It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable he may be.  It doesn’t matter how acceptable he may be amongst man.  It is not about the messenger; it’s about the message.

The Word never fails to fulfill its mission that God sends it on.  When God’s Word is proclaimed, God makes sure that somone gets the message He intended for it to deliver.  It always touches a need and produces fruit in the heart of man.  Always.  We must never pass up opportunities to get the Word out, because God has promised that when we do proclaim it God will bless our efforts and use His Word.  It doesn’t matter how you do it or how well you do it; it just matters that you do it.  Do your part and God will do the rest.

God sends His Word out.  He knows where and when it is needed.  He knows who to send it with and to.  He never fails to offer people an opportunity to hear it and apply it to their life.  Not everyone is willing to hear, but nevertheless, God gives them a witness.   No one has an excuse to reject Him when they hear the Word.  The Word will either draw man to God or condemn man for rejecting God.  Each will be judged by the Word revealed, whether it be the written or Living Word. 

God has entrusted you with His Word.  Don’t deny anyone the opportunity to hear it and know it.  He holds you accountable for what you do with it.  Your life is your pulpit.  Proclaim loudly the Word and God so that all who are in your world will hear it.  God will put it the soil of people’s souls, water it, nurture it, and cause it to take root and grow. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is. 55:8-9 God's ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.

Is. 55:8-9  “My thoughts are completely different from yours, says the LORD.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Let us pause and think about these things for a few moments.  The Lord says that He thinks differently than we do about things.  He has an unrestricted and unlimited capacity for thought.  His thoughts are not influenced one iota by sin.  Every thought of God is pure and good.  Everything God thinks about makes perfect sense.  He never has to change His mind about anything. 

God’s ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.  No one can know how God did what He did in creation.  The vastness and variety of creation is beyond our understanding.  We can’t begin to imagine the things God can and does do.  It is futile to think about the things we cannot know.  There are things going on right now that we don’t have any clue about.  God is working out of our sight preparing creation for His coming and our reunion with Him.  We must simply accept by faith what we cannot know and bow before Him in awe.

Because God is who He is and does what He does, it ought to cause us to bow down and worship Him from the very depth of our souls.  He is our Father who oversees all He has created, He is our Savior who died for our sins, He is our Sanctifier who makes us holy, and He is our Lord who rules over His church.

“Thank you, Lord for who you are and all the things you have done, are doing, and shall do for me.  I thank you for making yourself known to me, Lord.  You are the Lover of my soul and I bow before you today in worship.  You are all that I need to know about life from its beginning to its end.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is. 55:6-7 Seek the Lord while you can find him.


Is. 55:6-7  Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the people turn from their wicked deeds. Let them banish from their minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

The admonition here is for us to seek the Lord.  The Lord puts upon us the responsibility of seeking.  He initiates the contact, but we must do our part.  The Lord will not intrude on our space by forcing himself upon us.  We must reach out for Him in response to His reaching out to us.  Are you seeking the Lord?  Are you intentionally and diligently looking for the Lord’s presence in your life?

The Lord may not always be around to be found.  If we ignore Him enough times and for long enough, we may no longer be able to find Him.  It’s not that He moves away from us, but it’s that we move away from Him.  We can shut Him out to the point where we will no longer be open to the desire of the heart for Him.  If you are guilty of shutting the Lord out of your life, you are treading on very dangerous soil.  Sin hardens the heart and eventually leads to such deadness of soul that one will no longer let the Lord in. 

Ignoring or neglecting the disciplines of Bible study and prayer causes us to drift from the Lord.  We become independent of Him and no longer deem them to be essential for our lives.  We become spiritually dull and lose our sense of connection to the Lord.  Soon, we begin to allow sin to creep in and no longer feel guilt and shame over it.  We become conditioned to sin and it takes over our lives.

If you are guilty of doing your thing and not seeking the Lord, take seriously today’s admonition.  Seek the Lord while He may be found.  If you don’t consistently make the Lord a part of your living, you will wander away from Him.  You may drift far enough from Him that you won’t find your way back.  Ignoring the Lord is very serious business.  Turn to the Lord now while he is near to your soul.  The Lord will forgive you and restore you to a right relationship with Him.  He is waiting for you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Is. 55:3 "Come to me with your ears wide open....."

Is. 55:3  “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the mercies and unfailing love that I promised to David.”

Come to me with your ears wide open.  How many times do you do that?  Do you approach God with an intention to just listen to Him, or do you come with an agenda that you want to unload on Him?  When was the last time you intentionally went to the Lord to hear from Him?  When was the last time God actually spoke to you and you heard it? 

God speaks to us His Word.  He shows us things we need to know in it.  In the Word we find a response from God for whatever our souls need.  God uses His Word to convict, instruct, guide, encourage, correct, comfort, inspire and challenge us.  He knows what we need for each day and if we are listening to what His Word says we will hear what we need.  It is one of the reasons why we must hide the Word in our hearts so we will hear it speak to our needs.

In order to hear God speak, we must have quiet hearts.  We must not be distracted by all the things going on around us or in us.  We must focus on Him and Him alone.  We must seek Him out.  We must let His Word sink deep within us.  We must forget the clock and wait before Him.  Don’t expect to hear from the Lord while you are rushing in and out of  His presence.  We must take the time to appreciate the life we have in Him and express our gratitude for it.  We must take the time to praise Him.

Beware, sometimes the Lord may have to put us on our backs in order for us to be in a position where we can listen to Him when we get too busy to do it on our own.  The Lord has things to say to us and if we don’t take the time to listen, He may very well force us to take the time we need.  We must listen to the Lord for our very souls are at stake.

The Lord is ready to take an active role in your life.  He desires to pour out on you His unfailing love and mercies.  He has wonderful things for you to enjoy in life.  He longs to give you all the blessings He has stored up for you.  Will you give Him his rightful place in your heart?  Will you take the time to worship Him and listen to what He is saying to you?  Will you open your ears wide open so you can hear Him?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Is. 53:6 All of us have strayed away like sheep.

Is. 53:6  All of us have strayed away like sheep.  We have left God’s path to follow our own.  Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all.

Sheep are interesting creatures.  They are so engrossed in their grazing when they eat that they are oblivious to where they are going or what is going on around them.  They are not concerned about anything but feasting on what is before them.  They know what they want and go for it until they get their fill.  They often wander away from their shepherd’s protective care and must be sought after and brought back.  We are much like sheep.

All of us are prone to wander away from God.  No one is so spiritually-minded that he is beyond the ability to stray and fall into sin.  We think we are, but we need to be careful about what we believe about ourselves.  We are inherently inclined to sin.  It comes naturally for us and will be a problem for us all of our earthly lives.  We want to do what we want to do, and when it conflicts with what God wants us to do, we often win out.  We feast on the pleasures set before us and wander around seeking more of them without regard to whether or not they are good for us or take us away from God’s protective care into the dangerous clutches of Satan.

Yet, we don’t have to be victims of our sinful tendencies  We can resist our urges and choose to do what pleases God instead of ourselves.  We can minimize the times we fall into sin.  We can break sin’s death grip on us.  God laid on Jesus our sin, guilt and shame.  He determined that He would do that which otherwise would be impossible for us to.  Jesus satisfied God’s demand for justice against sin.  He stood between God and man and declared innocent all who put their faith in Him, and God said that is was good.  In Christ we are made righteous and acceptable to God.

Only in Christ can our wandering days come to an end.  Only in Christ are we kept safe.  Only in Christ do we find that which is good for our souls.  Only in Christ are we able to find our way home to God.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Is. 53:4-6 Each step the Lord took on His way to Calvary, He took with us on His mind.


Is. 53:4-6  Yet it was our weaknesses he carried. It was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment for his own sins. But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we are healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s path to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sin of us all.

Each step the Lord took on His way to Calvary, He took with us on His mind.  Every agonizing moment He endured for us.  He understood our need for a Savior and that He was the only one who could do it.  He knew that no one would understand what He was doing until afterwards.  He knew the capability of man to do harm, but faced it boldly and without complaining for us.  He knew that what He was about to go through was not for anything He had done, but was for what we had done.  Jesus knew each step He took that His death was needed for our freedom.

All of us deserve to walk the walk that Jesus did.  We all deserve to die for our sins.  Not a one of us can claim to not have a sin problem.  All of us have determined in our hearts to go our own way and do our own thing.  Only Jesus can claim to have perfectly followed God’s will.  Only Jesus lived a sinless life.  Yet, it was Jesus who died for sin, not us.

Everything Jesus endured as He died for our sins was so that we could have peace with God, a peace that would never go away.  He was a willing participant in God’s plan.  He let our Father put all of our sins on himself, even though He knew no sin.  All of our sin, guilt and shame became His.

Let us today humble our hearts before Him and admit that it was for our sins He died.  Let us thank Him for doing what we could not do, satisfy God’s demand for justice against sin.  Let us thank Him today for freeing us from sin’s death penalty and giving us life in fellowship with God.  Let us worship Him today for He alone is worthy of worship, honor, glory, and praise.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Is. 53:2 Things are not as they always appear to be.

Is. 53:2  My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground.  There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

In a world that puts so much emphasis on appearances, we need to grasp the significance of this passage.  What you see is not what you necessarily want or need.  No matter how well put together the package is, if the content is not good, it’s a waste of time and effort to get the package.  What is worth having is worth the effort to find out what you are really getting.

Jesus did not stand out amongst men because of His appearance.  He was just a common man amongst many as far as what the eye could see.  What made Christ different was His character.  He was not like anyone else; He lived a life totally pleasing to God.  He could never be accused of sinning, because He never did.  He drew a large following for what He shared.  Depth of character was certainly His strength, even in His death. 

When you apply these truths to people, it changes everything.  Instead of going after those who appear to have it altogether, we need to go after those we know have it altogether.  Many people of great character have been spurned because of outward appearances.  It would be interesting to know how many wonderful opportunities we have passed up on because we were not willing to get beyond the appearance of someone to really get to know them.  Also, I wonder how many people develop low self-esteem and fail to live up their God-given potential because they are spurned by those who are more focused on appearance than substance. 

I also believe that one of the ways we can help curb the divorce rate is to encourage one another to look deeper than the appearance of a person and get to know the heart before we make a commitment to fall in love and marry.  Far too many marriages fall apart because couples discover in the daily routines of life the person they married is not the person they thought they knew.

Is there someone you know whom you have failed to  get to know because of their appearance?  Is there someone you have put on a pedestal simply because of their appearance?  If so, ask the Lord to correct your soul vision today.  Ask Him to help you see people on a much deeper level than you are accustomed to.  Ask Him to forgive you for your shallowness and for your passing up opportunities that he has given to you to really know someone special in your life that you have passed up on.  Heart-to-heart connections are the only connections that will stand the test of time and circumstances. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Isaiah 50:7 "I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will."

Is. 50:7  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph.

Don’t let life throw you for a loop.  The Lord is sovereign over life and if you are living in him, there is nothing that is beyond his ability to see you through.  You can overcome any obstacle in your way because the Lord is your helper.

Let the Lord help you; set your face like a stone.  Determine in your heart that you will do His will.  Don’t let anyone or anything take away from you your focus.  Set the desires of your heart on the Lord.  Commit to living a life that pleases Him.  Determine in your heart that you will say no to sin.  Determine in your heart that you will strive to live a holy life.  Seek the Lord above everything else and He will help you to do it.

You will not fail if you set your heart on doing God’s will.  You will become holy in Him.  You will be led by His hand.  You will overcome all the obstacles Satan puts in your path, for greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

If you find that you don’t have the determination you need to follow through on your commitment to do His will, ask the Lord to help you.  Ask Him to strengthen your resolve.   Ask Him and He will do it.  His help comes through His Word and in your prayer closet.  There is no way around it.  If you want to do God’s will for your life and please Him, you must be consistently and faithfully into His Word and in touch with Him.

So many like to live on what they think they know.  However, with the Word a little knowledge does not go a long way.  There is so much the Lord wants us to know and understand beyond what we know.  No matter how much you study the Word of God, there is more to learn.  No one ever masters it all.  The Lord uses His Word in different ways to minister to us, depending on our needs at the moment.  The same passage we study today may be used by the Spirit to address our needs tomorrow in a totally different way. 

For those who are determined to seek the Lord out daily to do His will, they will live in victory.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Isaiah 49:16a "See, I have written your name on my hand....."

Is. 49:16a  “See, I have written your name on my hand…”

What an awesome sentence to latch onto!  Think about it for a few moments.  Hold your hand up so you can see it with the palm facing towards you.  If you have a pen or pencil handy, write your name on your palm.  Now imagine that the ink you used was a permanent marker that could not be erased.  There your name is for you to see every time you look at your hand.  The Lord has written your name on His hand, not with ink, but with the blood of Christ at Calvary.

You are always on the Lord’s mind.  You are never forgotten.  You are always known by God.  Not only does He know your name, He knows your heart.  He has you in the palm of His hand to always protect you.  He never lets you out of His sight.  He holds you close so that He is always available to minister to your needs.  He wants you to always know that He will never leave you or forsake you wherever you may go.  He will never wander away and leave you behind.  He will never let you get outside the reaches of His hand.  He has you close to His heart at all times to love and cherish you. 

The Lord has written YOUR name on His hand.  He will cover you up when Satan tries to attack you so you won’t get hurt.  He will always have His hand under you so that you won’t fall out of His sight.  He looks upon you with His loving heart and always breathes into you afresh the breath of life. 

Your name has special meaning to Him.  He made you special and unique.  You were put together with love and tender care.  He has never stopped looking at you with love.  Life may have been very hard on you, but He loves you.  You may have done some very bad and stupid things, but He looks at you with tender love.  You may see yourself as unworthy and even worthless, but He sees you as worth dying for.  He holds in His hand all who have been washed in the shed blood of Christ at Calvary.  He clothes us in His righteousness and sees our sins no more.  We are not who we were; we are now His precious children who have been made into a new creation for His glory and honor. 

Your name is written on His hand with the precious blood of Jesus.  You will never be out of His mind or His heart.  The Lord always is watchful over you and will hold you close until the day you arrive home to be with Him forever.  Praise His holy name!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is. 45:22-23 For I am God; there is no other.

Is. 45:22-23  “Let all the world look to me for salvation!  For I am God; there is no other.  I have sworn by my own name, and I will never go back on my word.  Every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to my name.”

People look everywhere for salvation.  They try all sort of things to convince themselves that they are right with God.  They come up with all kind of ideas as to what salvation really means.  There is very little consensus as to what is the best or right way to find God.  There are many paths that man travel on to God, but there is only way that gets us to God, it is the way of the cross. 

Part of the reason why there are so many different ideas about how to be saved is because there are so many different ideas out there about God.  Only in the Scriptures do we find God declaring who He is.  The Scriptures make it very clear who God is.  God shouts the message loud and clear over and over again, “I am God and there is no other.”  God does not give any us any leeway regarding how we can draw near to Him.  Jesus is the way to God.  Period.  Only those who come to Jesus humbly, broken over their sins, confess them, and ask Him for forgiveness will be saved.  No one will see God except through a heart connection with Jesus.  It doesn’t matter what man thinks about it; Jesus is THE way, truth and life and no one will know God apart from Him. 

God always keeps His word.  What He declares happens and He makes it very clear that every knee will bow before Him and confess allegiance to Him.  Everyone will be humbled before Him and declare that He is God, Lord of life.  There is coming a day in which no one will deny that He is God.  No matter how strongly one may declare today that He is not God or that He cannot be known in the heart, they will acknowledge that God is exactly who He reveals himself to be.  You will bow before Him and declare Him to be Lord.  Whether it be by your own will or by the will of God, you will declare that He is Lord.

Dear friend, don’t be a fool.  Don’t wait until you will be forced to declare that Jesus is Lord.  Turn to Him now and know that He is Lord.  When you bow before God on Judgment Day, it will be way too late to save your soul.  Today is the day of salvation; tomorrow may never come for you.  If you die without Jesus being your Lord, you will be without Him for all of eternity.  Is Jesus your Lord today?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Isaiah 45:18 God is, and there is no other.

Is. 45:18  For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place.  He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos.  “I am the LORD,” he says, “and there is no other.”

The world tries very hard to get us to believe that God did not create what is, that it all somehow evolved and came into being by accident.  But, God did create it all.  In order to not believe in God as the Creator of all things one must deny that the Biblical record is true.  The proofs of God creating all that is is self-evident for those who have eyes to see them.  Not only did He create all things, God put everything in its place and told them to stay there.  Nothing is out of order in creation.  Everything can be counted on to be exactly where it’s supposed to be; in fact, our very existence depends on it.

Man is constantly trying to find other places in the universe that can sustain life as we know it, but to no avail.  God made the world we live in to be inhabitable.  Everything that makes up our world runs smoothly because God designed it and set it in motion.  Life is sustainable on earth because every part of it is interdependable.  There is nothing on earth that is not important for the sustainabilty of life.  We don’t know how everything perfectly fits together, but God does.  The more we discover about the mechanisms of life, the more in awe we become of what God has done.

The darkened soul fails to see and appreciate the hand of God in creation and life.  He is not capable of putting God into the mix and worshipping Him.  Instead, because nothing makes sense to him, he does his best to deny the very God who created him.  Sin prevents God from shining in.  Many set out to prove that God is not and life has no purpose other than the moments we are in.  Without the Lord, there is no hope of understanding the world we live in and our place in the universe.  All understanding of God begins at Calvary.

Jesus removes the darkness of the soul that sin causes.  He opens up the eyes so that we can see God.  In Christ we are able to grasp that God is and there is none beside Him.  In Christ, God becomes real and personal.  We discover that God is more than an explanation for life, He is life itself.  God becomes one whom we can have a relationship with and not just an entity that exists apart from human experience.  In Christ everything comes together and begins to make perfect sense.  We discover that it is okay to not have a reasonable explanation for everything, that what we don’t get we can accept as truth by faith because God is and has declared it to be so.

If you don’t know that God is and that He is yours, there may never be another chance for you to get to know Him than right now.  By faith, reach out to Him and He will take your hand.  Admit your sins, accept responsibility for them, confess them, ask the Lord to forgive you, and He will.  You can know God is from personal experience right now.  Don’t put it off.  You may never be given another opportunity to do so.