Monthly Archives: September 2012

Isaiah 47,48,49; Romans 9:1-15

And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. Romans 9:5b NLT.

Words of a savior, who writes names on the palms of his hands, in Isaiah.

Thoughts on God’s mercy and compassion on whom he chooses. Before we are born and have done anything good or bad–he loves. Romans.

I read of Babylon’s beauty and coming shame. Worthless idols, human wisdom and knowledge, astrology and all that wants to dethrone the Lord–he won’t stand it. Not then. Not today.

All of this stops me in my tracks, to put him first.

Lord, I pray that I would live my life with you always first. How do I keep you held high, when lesser things dance and distract me? Your word regains my focus. You are redeemer and savior–my name written in blood on your hands. I want to always remember this.

Courtney (66books365)

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Isaiah 45, Isaiah 46, Romans 8:22-39

I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. A just God and a Savior; Isaiah  45

 I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46

 … good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. It is God Who justifies, Who also makes intercession for us, Through Him Who loved us. Romans 8

Read Bible Passage – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2045,%2046;%20Romans%208:22-39&version=NKJV

Isaiah 45                   Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—To subdue, And loose, To open, … I will go, And make, I will break, And cut, I will give, I will gird you, That you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.

                Lord God, You called a man, King Cyrus, saying “I have named You, though You have not known Me.”  You had Cyrus DO Your Good and Perfect Will! (Romans 12:1-2) You use whom You will, as You will for Your will and immense Glory for ONE Major Purpose!! “That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other;” 

              Lord God, You are SO Rich!! So Full of Power, Majesty and Brilliance!! I stand in Awe of You by Your Word!!  I tremble in holy fear of the Lord God “Who created the heavens, formed the earth, established it and formed it to be inhabited!”   

     I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things. … I, the Lord, have created it.  “Woe to him who strives with his Maker!

                  Lord God Almighty, “Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together!”  Have your people deeply trust and obey Your Word by Your Holy Spirit and know without any doubt that they “shall be saved by the Lord With an everlasting salvation; You shall not be ashamed or disgraced Forever and ever.” For You say, “I have not spoken in secret. I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

            Lord Jesus, in this time and day, have “the nations. They have no knowledge,” make supplication to Your people, “saying, ‘Surely God is in you, And there is no other; There is no other God. Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!” so they will be saved by Your Atoning Blood Sacrifice!!

“Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! I have sworn by Myself; The Word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow,”

In the Lord all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified, and shall glory.’”

Isaiah 46                   Bel bows down, Nebo stoops; Their idols were on the beasts. Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer Nor save him out of his trouble. —  Listen to Me, who have been upheld by Me from birth, Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! and will deliver you. To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal And compare Me, that we should be alike?

             Lord God, thank You for being all Wise, Nurturing, Faithful and Perfect in Your relating with me All Ways!! Lord Jesus, I regret and am deeply sorry for turning my heart and mind away from You. I have harmed myself most of all. Yes, I have hurt others, You and Your Kingdom agenda, too. “Jumping Ship” is Never excusable. Turning my back on Pure Love, Truth, and Hope (You are all of this Jesus!) in a trade for acting upon lies and deception is the cause of pain, loneliness, heartache and much worse. 1

              I have bowed down to “idols” because of my own fear of man and my own deceptions and insecurities. How wicked when I have You God Who is SOOO Real, Vibrant and Completely Good!!! The world might not even notice my sins because they may not consider it sin, but higher are Your Ways, Oh God, than mine!! I am to live a life of faith pleasing to You, Lord God, a life of Faith and Truth in my innermost parts, to Delight myself in You and rejoice that You are my Very Great Reward!  2

            Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word and Blood! I acknowledge MY sins as my own. I confess them to You directly. I turn away from each section whole heartedly and in disgust and hatred for the willful “evil” of them. And I rejoice in Your complete cleansing of my soul and conscience! Teach me Your Ways in my innermost parts so that I will not sin against You and others. I rejoice in You, my God and Savior! 3

I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ —  I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.

Romans 8:22-39                 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

            Thank you for the gift of praying with the Holy Spirit! Holy Spirit I praise you for interceding for me! I worship You Almighty Living God!

            Thank You Lord God for having me in Your process of conforming me into the image of Your Son Jesus! No wonder you fill me with the Holy Spirit in order to protect, teach, comfort, guide, etc. for You to succeed in having me “more than conqueror” through You Lord God each moment!!  4

NO Thing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Bible Insights –

1 – 1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:16; Psalm 119:160; John 14:6; John 1:14; John 17:17; Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:21; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

2- Proverbs 29:25; Proverbs 14:27; Psalm 52:1; Psalm 73:1; Psalm 118:1; James 1:17; Psalm 143:10; Isaiah 55:8-9; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38; Hebrews 11:6; Psalm 51; Psalm 37:4; Philippians 4:4; Genesis 15:1  

3- Psalm 51, Ezekiel 18:32, Psalm 119:11, Luke 1:47

4- 1 Corinthians 14:14-19; Hebrews 7:25; Exodus 31:3; Matthew 3:11; Acts 2:4; Acts 4:8; Acts 4:31; Acts 13:9; Acts 13:52; Romans 15:13; Ephesians 5:18

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Isaiah 43-44, Romans 8:1-21

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.  I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.  I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Isaiah 43:10-12 

“This is what the Lord says—   Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last;   apart from me there is no God. Do not tremble, do not be afraid.   Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?  No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” Isaiah 44:6,8 

“Remember these things, Jacob,  for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant;   Israel, I will not forget you. I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,   your sins like the morning mist. Return to me,   for I have redeemed you.”

Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this;   shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains,  you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob,  he displays his glory in Israel. Isaiah 44:21-22 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4

 Whatever happened to reading and reflection?

People want their information digested and regurgitated back to them in quick digestible bits as if they were baby birds. There is too much information to go through and evaluate properly. Consequently, the evaluation of information is left to cogs turning behind faceless media acronyms. I know little about their perspective or agenda. That’s what scares me.

But we have a Savior God, who wants to redeem us.    His word is trustworthy. The things he has foretold have come true. He does not lie. His agenda is not to sell us any product. He wants us to be free from condemnation, so that we can come to Him without fear or guilt. He shares his Holy Spirit with us to show us how to live an abundant life.

The Bible is the standard by which other sources should be evaluated. Millennia have not dulled its principals. With my last breath, I will continue to quote its wisdom and set it as a guide for my life. I no longer have time to waste reading or listening to prefabricated junk.

I need time to think. Give me my Bible.

yicareggie

 

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Isaiah 41,42; Romans 7

Scripture:

Isaiah 42:1  Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2  He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3  a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4  He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law. (ESV)

Observation:

The book of Isaiah is filled with Messianic prophecies. This is one such passage. In the midst of discouraging words and issues of sin there is this promise that some day a Person will come — a servant no less — to make things right. Now things are not right, but when justice is established on the earth things will be right. N.T. Wright — Bishop of Durham — gives us reason for why things are not right. He writes:

Every human relationship ends in tears. Think about it. People meet and fall in love and then fall out of love and tears are shed. Or, people meet and fall in love and are married for 52 years and then one of them dies and there are tears. Wright states that this is evidence that things aren’t right. This isn’t the way it was meant to be. Sin has entered the world and things are broken. Even in the best of circumstances things are broken. So we need Jesus to help us put things back right. Although Christ-followers experience loss and tears, there is the promise that some day Jesus is going to make all things right including this issue of death. We’ll have no more tears or troubles and will live with him in eternity. 

Things are not right, but God has promised a servant who came once and is coming again who will set all things straight. That includes the injustices we see all around us and that we have experienced ourselves.

Application:

So how do we deal with the injustices we see around us? Do we follow the lead of the Great Servant who even laid down His life for us all or do we just move on through life without thinking about God’s call for justice and putting things right? Are you daily looking forward to the time Jesus returns and puts things right for ever? I know I’m not. In this matter we need to follow the lead of Jesus our suffering servant.

Prayer:

Father God we thank you for the promise of things being set right some day. It might be today only God the Father knows. We commit our lives to You in such a way that we are always watching and while we watch we are your agents of justice & reconciliation in this world. We pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen!

dmbaldwin

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Isaiah 39,40; Romans 6

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.  We are no longer slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6 NLT

It truly is amazing the freedom we have in Christ when we accept Him.  But it’s not a magic pill or automatic trigger for a life of freedom from sin.  Did you notice that word might in the verse above?  It’s kind of like having the prison cell door opened, but it is up to us to not only walk out, but to live in such a way that we do not fall back into the prison of sinful behavior.  Just like studies have shown that released convicts are very prone to repeating their same mistakes, we too, if we are not careful can have the same happen to us.  We are creatures of habit and given time and a lack of discipline, we fall.  The answer I believe is found in this same chapter.

“Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin.  Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life.  So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” Romans 6:13 NLT

As creatures of habit, when we are trying to break ourselves of our vices, studies have shown that we need to replace bad habits with good ones.  So we find that here in this verse.  “Instead” signals a change of behavior.  Of course that is often easier said than done.  I mean after all, our vices are usually quite enjoyable.  Sometimes, they may even seem harmless or innocent.  The trick of course is moderation with many of these things.  I can think of a few for myself that if I am not careful can lead me down a path that is not glorifying to God

What about you?  What’s keeping you from true freedom?  If nothing is coming to mind, then pray about it.  Ask God to show you what parts of your heart, body, mind and soul are holding you back from serving God with everything.  He promises to answer that prayer in His word.

Allen (allen4myfamily)

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Isaiah 37,38; Romans 5

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. Isaiah 38:2 – 5

As Amy said last week about her 4 year old, I feel the same now.  I am in awe of the faith of the heroes of the bible.   Hezekiah thought his number was up.  Heck – God told him it was.  But, his act of faith – the simple prayer – showed God that Hezekiah was worth it.  His tears must have truly been bitter.

I sit and worry that my faith could never match theirs. But then I think –  aside from the fact many of them were kings, or Prophets, or (like Paul) apostles, they were still human.  As am I.  They all sinned. they all had baggage of some sort that, in some cases, drove wedges between them and God.  But, God still loved them – and He loves me.  I know I grieve Him sometimes when going back to my sin, but, I am confident that my faith will preserver – that God will not relent in His pursuit of my heart – that Jesus will intercede on my behalf – that the Holy Spirit will guide me every day.

The mystery for me is why God constructed it this way.  Why did He give us free will to choose faith or not?  I’ve read several things on this subject and they all say it has to do with the fact that because God is a loving God, if he forced His will on us, even though He knows it would be for our benefit, that would nullify His true nature.  OK, but it’s still a mystery.  I’ll take it though!  I wonder if God is sad that not everyone will take it?

Faithful Father – Thank you for Faith.  Thank you that you allow us to choose faith.  Thank you for showing me that my faith can be as strong, as wide, as deep as those I read in your Word (and those of a 4 year old).  In Jesus name. Amen.

Jim (jmitch1)

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Isaiah 34, 35, 36; Romans 4

We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” Romans 4:17-18 (MSG)

I am nobody and yet I am somebody. I am somebody, not because of who I am or because of anything I did; I am somebody because of who Jesus is and what He did for me. My value lies in my belief, my trust, and my faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary.

When in the midst of the circumstances of life I have to choices. I can either look at things as being hopeless, never to come to a ‘successful’ pass or I can trust in the God of the impossible, trust in His promises, trust in His love. I can trust that nothing that my Father in Heaven has said will come back void.

When I truly gave my life to God with a desire to do His will rather than my own, I began to understand that in myself, with all of my talents and strengths, I was still nothing and had nothing to really offer without Jesus living through me. When I began to walk in His footsteps, within His strength, I realized that it wasn’t about whether I had the skills, the knowledge, the ability to do things. I had to put even more trust in God that I could do all things through Him. It wasn’t about whether or not I was equipped to do the tasks at hand. It was about whether I was called or not. It is a bit cliché, but true all the same: God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.

So many times on the mission field I have felt complete out of my league. I questioned whether I even had the ‘right’ to be there, whether I was ‘worthy’. And as I questioned those things, God would use me in such a way that I knew it wasn’t about me, but about Him and His Glory.

One of the biggest difficulties on the foreign mission field is struggles with languages. In my situation, I have learned enough of the language to have a basic conversation and I often don’t have ready access to a translator. But that has yet to stop God from using me.

One of my favorite testimonies is of a widow name Lakshmi. She is an older woman, probably in her mid 70’s. I participated in her baptism 5 years ago during my first trip in Tamil Nadu. I looked forward to seeing her on Sundays at church because of the joy of the Lord she carried with her all the time. I loved watching her worship, hands raised, eyes closed with tears of joy streaming down her face running into her smiling mouth. Week after week, I would see her toward the back of the building worshipping and praying to the God of Love. And then one Sunday she didn’t show; and then the next and the next and the next. We knew that she hadn’t died, one of the other widows would have told us; but she wasn’t coming to church any more. We went to visit her during the week after not seeing her for a while. We wanted to find out if anything was wrong. She explained that her employer had found out that she believed in Jesus and changed her working day to Sunday so she had to choose between having the money she needed to be able to eat throughout the week and going to church. We prayed with her and blessed her. We asked God for wisdom.

A few weeks passed and one Sunday she showed up in church. After the service was over she came up to me for prayer. Richard, my husband, was busy with some other believers and wasn’t able to come and tell me what she was asking prayer for. I didn’t know why she was asking for prayer, I couldn’t understand anything she was saying. I trusted that God knew what she needed and prayed into that. I few minutes passed and I saw a picture of a heart; it looked like there was a crack through it, similar to the pictures that are drawn to indicate a broken heart. I began focusing my prayer on that picture of a heart, asking the Lord to heal her broken heart. When she had come up to me her face was so sad, forlorn, and as I began praying into this small vision of a heart, I could see the joy rise back into her.

Later on  that day, Richard and I were interviewing some of the widows who had recently began coming to church so that we could get to know them, their needs, and there prayer requests better. During this time Lakshmi shared with us what had happened, this time Richard was able to translate.

She had felt led that Sunday to skip work and come to church. The need to be with other believers in the House of the Lord was so overwhelming that she didn’t think twice about whether or not she would have enough money to feed herself during the week. As she was walking the 2 kilometers to church she began having very strong, deep pains in her chest, as if she was having a heart attack. She explained that she couldn’t focus during the service, wasn’t able to worship. She prayed and felt the Lord direct her to come to me for prayer rather than Richard. She shared that the pain was increasing moment by moment, but as I began to pray for her, immediately the pain lifted in her chest and by the time we ended with Amen, all of the pain was gone.

We both knew this wasn’t anything I did. We both knew that this was God in His Healing Glory working through our trust and faith in God’s promises. In her hopelessness, she was shown first hand God’s everlasting love for her. We stood together and believed in what the Lord would do for her.

God has called all of us. He has given us all a mission, called everyone to ‘Go’. You may not feel like you’re up to it or able to do it, but you have been called in some capacity. Put your belief in God’s promises. Put your trust in God’s desire to make a somebody out of ‘nobody’.

Energize the limp hands,
strengthen the rubbery knees.
Tell fearful souls,
“Courage! Take heart!
God is here, right here,
on his way to put things right
And redress all wrongs.
He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”
Isaish 35:3-4 (MSG)

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

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