Blog Archive

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Necessity is Laid Upon Me

"For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
~ Acts 4:20 (NKJV)

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!
~ 1 Corinthians 9:16 (NKJV)

Let everything that has breath praise YHWH.
Hallelu Yah!
~ Psalms 150:6 (author)

I thank every one of you who reads this, because through you God is fulfilling the desire of my heart. What His Spirit puts in me cannot be contained there. I cannot but speak about my God. Indeed, necessity is laid upon me to share Him everywhere, and to be grateful for all who hear.

There was a time when I was criticized as way too showy about my faith. Sundays were a bittersweet time. Praise time was always conducted with upmost decorum rather than the exuberance in my soul. I entered church hoping for an opportunity to share the Lord, rejoiced if I received such an opportunity, and then weathered disdain for being so vocal.

The Lord has brought me to a church with an enthusiastic music pastor, praise orchestra and choir. My drama team director encourages me to be "over the top" in every performance which gives testimony to my Lord. And I am blessed with this blog, an unedited forum to declare Him.

Thank you for the moments of your day you give to consider the wonders of our God.

Oh my Lord, I can hardly bear the love You've put in me for You. You are exceedingly more glorious than the creation presented as Your gift. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant. Please cause this blog to be seen by whomever You will, richly bless each of them, and speak to their hearts through me.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Freelance: FINAL COST, PART I

Proverbs 22:7 says the borrower is servant to the lender. In Bible times, a man unable to meet his debts sold himself (or a family member) as slave to repay. Although he was not made a slave on the day he borrowed, the proverb's author rightly asserted a borrower's status as servant from day one.

We no longer take debt so seriously. Who cares about the final cost? Credit cards finance everything from vacations costing thousands to lunch at McDonald's. "Buy now and do not pay until 2011." Or, "Just $29.99 per month!* *On charge card. APR 27.3%, $120 annual fee, $30 late fee."

Sufficient credit pushes aside restraint. Insufficient income prompts borrow more rather than spend less. When credit runs out and running from creditors becomes unpleasant, bankruptcy provides an often employed escape from debt far less painful than slavery and debtor's prison.

Government leads the way on borrowing. Taxpayers know but seem unconcerned about footing the bill for horrifically huge bailout packages. As with individual debt—and especially with panic-induced debt—who cares about the final cost? Why worry now about how to repay? The present goal is avoid a depression, regardless of the price tag.

In the meantime, where does the money come from? Exactly who buys all those T-bills backed by the U.S. government? Even if nervous stock market investors switch to T-bills, do we surmise there are enough U.S. dollars to finance the billions being handed out?

Sighs of relief for bailout dollars cover pitches of "America for sale" on the global market. A plummeting dollar means rock-bottom prices for foreign investors. Shares of the good old USA are as available as corporate shares sold on the stock market.

But unlike stock market issues, the U.S. isn't using funds for capital investments which will pay dividends. We're simply doing at the highest level what we've been doing for years at the individual level: borrowing money to refinance the debt of indulgent choices so we can again breathe easy, while bankruptcy lurks at the door.

Foreign investors may not be as willing to grant the clemency allowed by bankruptcy. On a not too distant date in the future, they may actually choose to exercise ownership rights.

How? Maybe our debt will be allowed to ride in exchange for our support on a U.N. resolution. Painful economic sanctions might lie in the future. Eventually, we could face compromise of national sovereignty.

All this is purely hypothetical. More debt could work. Perhaps the borrower need not be servant to the lender.


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Times of Refreshing

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."
~ Acts 3:19 (NKJV)

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent... To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." ~ Revelation 3:19,21 (NKJV)

Few would disagree that the American church needs revival—a fresh infusion of the Holy Spirit to inflame our hearts. The path to times of refreshing is repentance of sin.

There is no condemnation to those in Christ. Our sins are indeed covered by the blood of Jesus. And they're still every bit as detestable as they were before Christ owned us. Until we reach heaven, we will need to regularly confess and repent of sin.

Jesus, thank You for salvation. Please give us fresh eyes each day to see the darkness of sin. Let its stench compel us to be washed with the water of Your Word. Manifest Your Spirit in us as we respond to You. Please bring times of refreshing to Your church.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Repent and be Baptized

They were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."
~ Acts 2:37-39 (ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
~ Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

This is my testimony: I heard and accepted the Good News of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I played church for three years, with one foot in the world and one in the kingdom. I was more miserable than before I heard the Good News, and didn't know why.

Then one sermon I heard the words of Peter, "Repent and be baptized." The Holy Spirit said "Do it!" I didn't understand baptism, but I told God, "If that's what You want, that's what I'll do."

Self was crucified and Jesus became my Lord that autumn day in 1988. He gave me His Spirit to change me from the inside out. He's never asked me for anything He did not replace with something exceedingly better. His life is as much better than my old life as the heavens are higher than the earth.

Lord, Thank You for calling me to Yourself when I was far off. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for loving me when I fail You. I gladly die for You daily and live for You daily. I'll love You forever with all I am. Please keep me near You.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wait for the Promise

[Jesus] commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." ~ Acts 1:4-5 (NKJV)

For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,

It will not tarry.
~ Habakkuk 2:3 (NKJV)

At one time 500 people saw the risen Jesus. Only 120 were waiting in the upper room. Where were the others? Why did three out of four disciples not wait for the Promise? Were they not included in the invitation? Did they file away slowly over the ten days of waiting?

Noah entered the ark filled with animals and waited seven days, on dry land, before the rains came. Moses spent forty years as a shepherd in the desert before he met a burning bush. The Jews waited centuries for their Messiah to appear and establish a kingdom—and most still wait.

God often uses times of waiting to refine faith before He acts. When it seems nothing is moving forward in our lives, it is a time to pray and prepare for what God will ask of us. When He does move, He is entirely unpredictable and completely reliable.

Father, Your ways are good. Your timing and Your mighty acts are perfect and wonderful. We are not patient people. Please speak to our hearts and show us the way we should go and the way we should wait. Please lead us not into temptation, but through it, as Your Refiner's fire.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dwelling Place of God

Thus says YHWH:
"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? ...
To this one will I gaze upon and regard with favor:
To the lowly, of a contrite spirit,
Who is trembling at My word."
~ Isaiah 66:1-2 (author)

... you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:22 (NKJV)

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God."
~ Revelation 21:2-3 (NKJV)

One of the most earnest endeavors any man undertakes is to build himself a house. He overlooks no detail to customize and prepare the dwelling place in which he will take his rest.

The jewel of Solomon's kingdom was a grand and glorious temple. God's glory came to dwell in it—but only to signify the ultimate dwelling place of God: His people. We partially fulfill that destiny in this era of the Holy Spirit's kingdom, for we are the temple of God's Spirit.

In the imminent kingdom of Jesus, the present spiritual reality will achieve fulfillment with physical reality. The Lord's people will finally be made one, as a beautifully adorned bride—His jewel—and she will be the blissful dwelling place of God.

Lord Jesus, please give Your people eyes for only You. Plesae wash us with Your Word and make us ready for Your arrival. Please unite our hearts with each other and make us one with each other, that we might be one with You.
Father, please send us our Beloved Bridegroom soon.

O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah,
Lovely as Jerusalem ...
Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have overcome me.
Song of Solomon 6:4-5 (NKJV)

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Ministering to All Kinds

The Spirit of the Lord YHWH is upon me,
Because YHWH has anointed me.
He has sent me to proclaim good news to the lowly,
To heal those with broken hearts,
To declare liberty to the captives
And release from darkness to those in bondage.

~ Isaiah 61:1 (author)

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and ministering to all kinds of sickness and all kinds of infirmities among the people.
~ Matthew 4:23 (author)

But you are a ... a royal priesthood ... His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)

The word Matthew uses for Jesus healing, or ministering to, all kinds of sickness and infirmity is therapeuo. Strong defines it as literally "to wait upon menially," and Zodhiates defines it as "to serve as therapon [servant, attendant, minister, physician]."

Jesus said He came as servant. He served and ministered to the most lowly—touching lepers and unclean women, dining freely with despised tax agents and blatant sinners. He rebuffed critics by pointing out that the sick, not healthy, need ministers of healing.

"Christ" means "anointed." A Christian is both anointed by God's Spirit, and a disciple of Christ who ministers as would Christ, our King and Priest. Likewise, we are royalty who are to be ministering to all kinds—the lowly, brokenhearted, captives, diseased, unclean, and despised, whether unsaved sinner or saint. We minister good news and healing, liberty and light.

Lord Jesus, how privileged we are to share Your ministry! We are surrounded by both brethren and neighbors who need Your light and love. Please help our hearts to hear Your Spirit's direction. Please empower our words and increase our love that we may give of ourselves all You ask.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Oh, that You would rend the heavens!
That You would come down!
That the mountains might shake at Your presence ...
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.
~ Isaiah 64:1,4 (NKJV)

If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come! [Maranatha!] ~ 1 Corinthians 16:22 (NKJV)

And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" ... He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
~ Revelation 22:17,20 (NKJV)

Isaiah's words are over 2700 years old. All over the world, the Spirit of God is breathing new life into them. The Lord Jesus' return to earth draws near with mounting and tangible anticipation. When in all of history have songs of praise extolled Him with words of such unbridled desire?

The day of the Lord's return is not known. It may be many years away. But the fervor with which God's people look for His return is building. Even among Jews, expectancy mounts for the arrival of Messiah. It can be nothing less than God's Spirit putting in our hearts what is in Himself.

If we sing songs of desire and bid Him come, then let us make ready. Let His Word be continually before our eyes and in our hearts. Let our lives be externally purged of whatever repels Him. Let our souls be cleansed of all not holy.

Let the Bridegroom find a pure and radiant bride ready for Him.

Lord Jesus, can You feel our longing for You? Surely it is less than Your own for us. There are days when we seek little more than escape from this world's darkness. Please purify us with Your Light that we would instead make You manifest amid the darkness.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009


Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or his ear dull, that it cannot hear ...
Justice is turned back ...
truth has stumbled in the public squares ...
he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.
Isaiah 59:1,14-15 (ESV)

But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! ... Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? ~ 1 Corinthians 6:6-7 (NKJV)

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
Romans 12:18-19 (NKJV)

Should the innocent make himself prey for the wicked? Should Christians always turn the other cheek? When and how may we seek justice?

Paul clearly frowns on Christians taking one another to court, seeing it preferable to be cheated. He teaches us to live peaceably with "all men"—which includes the unpleasant, the unreasonable, and the unrepentant.

Jesus established well-defined steps in Matthew 18:15-17 for Christians to deal with sin among themselves. Those who call themselves believers but are unwilling to be accountable to the church may be treated as unbelievers.

When accountability is rightfully requested at court, we are to have absence of malice, and seek not vengeance but only the justice pleasing to God. And regardless of what happens inside or outside any human court, the Lord's hand is not shortened. He is the final Arbiter of justice, in this world and the next.

Judge of all the earth, You will surely do what is right and execute perfect justice and perfect mercy for each of us. Thank You that the blood of Jesus Christ has paid the just penalty for my sin. Please give us love of justice and mercy. Please enable us to live peaceable lives.

"When a man's ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." ~ Proverbs 16:7 (NKJV)

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Fruit of the Lips

"I create the fruit of the lips:
Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,"
Says the LORD, "And I will heal him."
But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
When it cannot rest,
Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
"There is no peace,"
Says my God, "for the wicked."
Isaiah 57:19-21 (NKJV)

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. ~ Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)

"Thus says the LORD:
'Again there shall be heard in this place ...
the voice of joy and the voice of gladness ...
the voice of those who will say:
"Praise the LORD of hosts,
For the LORD is good,
For His mercy endures forever" —
and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise
into the house of the LORD.' "
Jeremiah 33:10-11 (NKJV)

Fruit is produced by a seed which is planted in good soil, watered and tended, and patiently waited upon until the day its new life manifests sweetness and new seed. The Word of God is a seed planted in our hearts, watered and tended by the Holy Spirit that it might produce the sacrifice of praise born of perfect peace—the fruit of the lips.

Popular lyrics proclaim, "Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful ... blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering.* " Amid plenty the sacrifice is giving pause from blessing to praise the Lord who gave it. Amid suffering the sacrifice is giving no place to pain which restrains praise.

The heart right with God produces peace and praise regardless of circumstances. The wicked heart knows neither rest nor peace and withholds praise—regardless of circumstances.

Lord God, You know all is not well in our lives. But Your Son's blood has reconciled us to You, Your Spirit lives within us, and all is well with our souls. You are indeed good. You are the Author of perfect peace. Produce in us the fruit of the lips which blesses and praises Your name.

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* Lyrics of Blessed be Your Name by Beth Redman and Matt Redman, © 2002 ThankYou Music

Friday Freelance: WINDOW OF HEAVEN

I recently read In Silence: Growing Up Hearing in a Deaf World by Ruth Sidransky, daughter of two deaf parents. Rarely has a book so so profoundly moved me, or so thoroughly transported me into another realm of understanding and appreciation.

What will surely remain with me forever is Ruth's account of when her parents buy a radio, so that she might receive audio stimulation in a silent home environment. Ruth describes it thus:

"I heard music for the first time. The music made me uncomfortable. I didn't feel that I should listen to music's magnificence. My parents would never hear it. I moved the dial."

Ruth's words move me to tears every time I read them. There are times we are so happy we weep, times we experience something so wonderful it hurts. There is a place in our souls so deep that it can only be reached by something of exquisite beauty and pleasure—a place so sensitive that to touch it produces pain.

It is the place where God dwells. The Creator breathed into man life in the image of God. The life-giving part of God which exists only in humans continually hungers for God. We may attempt to gratify it with pleasure, but it is satisfied by nothing less than Divinity.

God speaks to that place through all of our senses—in creation's grandeur of mountain vista or glorious sunrise, in the taste of wholesome fruit plucked from the earth, in the scent of fragrant blossom or loved one's presence, in the passion of pure love from spouse, in the sound of music that cracks open the window of heaven itself.

Music is the true language of the soul. It can be used for health or harm. It can stir men to battle courageously or languish in desperation. It can evoke pure emotions of sensual beauty or dark emotions perverse and corrupt.

When music praises God, it gives glory to Him and life to man. When it bridges the breach between heaven and earth, it touches that place in our souls where God dwells, arousing us to reach for Him and know His fleeting caress.

God rarely speaks audibly. Those who have heard Him with the ear and not just the heart testify of it in situations so obscure and so desperate that such a thing cannot be sought. When God's Spirit speaks to the heart, His gentle voice is too easily missed. If He speaks with insistence, compelling us to move in the face of fear, it is only the soul which knows His voice.

A day lies in the future when we will no longer be mostly blind and nearly deaf to the sights and sounds of heaven and heaven's God. Music is eternity's gift to us in the meantime, one of the few things we can take with us into the next world.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Will Not Let You Go

"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there, But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from
My mouth; It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."
Isaiah 55:10-11 (NKJV)

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day... And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!"
Genesis 32:24-26 (NKJV)

My four-year-old son Daniel loves to leap on his daddy and yell, "I got you!" The two wrestle as equals, until Daniel prevails victorious and Daddy succumbs in willing defeat.

Jacob wrestles with the Angel of YHWH (a manifestation of God Himself). Jacob prevails, holding onto the Lord and insisting, "I will not let You go." One cannot help but smile as God becomes a willing captive, and goes along with the charade as an opportunity to bless.

When a child of God reads His Word, the encounter can be approached like an adult's brisk handshake, or like a wrestling match in which we hold on and insist "I will not let You go unless You bless me." The Lord readily becomes a willing captive to the sincere heart, and pours out understanding through His Holy Spirit so that His Word may accomplish all He pleases.

Abba, our Papa, we too frequently come to You as busy grown-ups, with things to do, places to go, people to meet—often on only our computers. Please help us come to You as little children, eager to wrestle with You in prayer and in Your Word, persisting until we know we've been blessed.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Everlasting Kindness

Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem,
You who have drunk at the hand of the LORD
The cup of His fury ...
These two things have come to you ...
Desolation and destruction, famine and sword ...
The rebuke of your God.
Isaiah 51:17-20 (NKJV)

"For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,"
Says the LORD, your Redeemer.
Isaiah 54:7-8 (NKJV)

In Isaiah 51 God rebuked Jerusalem by the prophet for the last time. In Isaiah 52-53 lay prophecies of atonement through Messiah. Now all has changed. The rest of Isaiah's prophecy contains condemnation only for other nations. To His people God will speak only everlasting kindness.

Such is the effect of Calvary. We measure time BC and AD. Even the politically correct who use BCE and CE are compelled to speak of all history in terms of whether it occurred before or after the time of Jesus Christ.

All my history is likewise defined as before I trusted Jesus—a time of turmoil and distress, when peace eluded me regardless of where I sought it—or when I surrendered myself to Him, was born again into everlasting life, and began to grow in the knowledge of everlasting kindness.

Such is the power of the cross.

Wonderful, merciful Savior, precious Redeemer and Friend, You make me whole. You are, indeed, all I need. This life's greatest blessing is nothing compared to the indescribable privilege of knowing You and Your everlasting kindness. Let me never neglect so great a salvation.

"When you believe He's all you need, that will be your defining moment." ~ Newsong *

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*(Defining Moment © 2000 Sony-ATV Songs / Lowery Music / BMI / WB Music Corp.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Man of Sorrows

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised,
and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53:3-4 (NIV)

Then Ishbi-Benob ... who was bearing a new sword, thought he could kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, "You shall go out no more with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel." ~ 2 Samuel 21:16-17 (NKJV)

A king is the man esteemed by his subjects above all men, who lives amid opulent comfort, whose blood is protected at any cost. But our divine King—the king above all Kings—lived as a Man despised and rejected by His subjects, suffered as no other man, and gave His blood to protect us from the consequences of sin.

The Father looks at a onetime wretch like me without condemnation because of His Son's blood. I cannot sing about the blood or think long about the blood without shedding tears for my beloved King. In that moment my heart is fully yielded to Him.

Before I know it, I yield to pride, lust, selfishness. I esteem Him not enough to cease from sin. I unmindfully hide my face from Him. And so the Man of Sorrows is once again despised, by me, who desperately wants to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

When I come to myself the tears flow again.

Beloved Jesus, I long for the day when You are no longer a Man of sorrows, when I and all Your people are faithful without fail, love You without restraint, and yield to You alone. Thank You for setting us free from the consequences of sin and the power of sin. Come Lord Jesus! Set Your creation free from the presence of sin.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Depths of Pain

Just as many were astonished at you,
So His [appearance] was marred more than any man,
And His form more than the sons of men.
Isaiah 52:14 (NKJV)

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted [tried] as we are, yet without sin. ~ Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

When we hear of another's suffering, we can often relate an account of our own—and come across as trying to out-martyr someone. It requires grace and empathy to convey that we share someone else's pain from the well of our own pain.

Isaiah spoke to the suffering Israelites and lovingly relates the account of their suffering Messiah. But to this day, they see Isaiah's prophecy of Messiah's great suffering as a picture of their own suffering. They have yet to comprehend what God took upon Himself for them, or to know the depth of His own pain.

In every hour of anguish, our divine High Priest is united to our suffering. As a human, Jesus suffered all we do and more. His Spirit lives within us and is one with our pain. And our loving Father cannot help but grieve when His children sorrow.

We never plumb the depths of pain alone.

Almighty God, King of the Universe, what kind of God submits Himself to human misery? What depths of love compels You to know our depths of pain and plunge deeper still? You are worthy of our highest praise, our deepest love, our greatest sacrifice. Come Lord Jesus and make all things new!

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Bring It On

Therefore have I set my face like flint ...
He who vindicates me is near.
Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign LORD who helps me.
Who is he that will condemn me?
Isaiah 50:7-9 (NIV)

A Psalm of David ...
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? ...
The LORD hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Psalms 4:2-4 (ESV)

Anger itself is not a sinful emotion. God gets angry. Sin comes in the reason for our anger and the way we express our anger.

David is an example of a good excuse for anger. He yet spent many years of his life as an innocent fugitive, fleeing from unrighteous men rather than striking against them. Yet he exhorted, "Be angry, and do not sin." Like Isaiah, his confidence was that "He who vindicates me is near."

Sure, I can have a face like a flint—if I'm struck just so, the sparks fly. WRONG application! Oh for the ability to set one's face like a flint as Isaiah, unmoved in the face of the worst provocation! Oh for the ability to say, "Bring it on," because I am so strong in the Spirit that I will respond correctly.

Sovereign Lord, Your anger is as holy as You are. The wrath of man is so ugly and sinful, completely at odds with Your Spirit's work in us. Please help us yield to Your Spirit and respond to situations as Jesus would. Let anger motivate us without provoking us, because we are like Him.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Peace Like a River

"I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea... "
Isaiah 48:17-18 (NKJV)

He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness ...
Psalms 23:2-3 (NKJV)

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27 (NKJV)

After the air we breath, water is most necessary element we take in to sustain our bodies. We are made of water. We are cleansed of toxins, inside and out, by water. Peace of soul is found in the very presence of water—rhythmic waves, babbling brook, crashing waterfall.

The healthy mind craves peace. The world defines peace as absence of conflict. Absence of conflict does not exist, so peace will not be found there. Peace is not the absence of conflict, but power, love and a sound mind in the face of conflict.

Conflict is neither cause for anxiety nor opportunity for pride, but simply presents challenges to strengthen us. And in the conflict between God's will and ours is opportunity for greatest peace. The Lord our God teaches us to profit, and leads in the way we should go. To heed Him is to know peace like a river—peace as essential to our souls as water is to our bodies.

Prince of Peace, Your ways are perfect. We can take no path more excellent than Yours. Please give us willing spirits, and the strength of Your Spirit to prevail over weak flesh. Please give us Your Spirit's power, love and sound mind. Let us know Your peace like a river.

"There is no peace for the wicked." ~ YHWH

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Freelance: FREEDOM'S FALL

When the I-94 bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, numerous critics cited it as an example of the nation's crumbling infrastructure. They say inspection would have been unlikely to adequately reveal the seriousness of decay present in the I-94 bridge, nor is it possible to know the full scope of disintegration present in bridges throughout the nation.

Likewise, the full extent of our nation's crumbling moral infrastructure is known only to God. Those most aware of it are those who revel in depravity, and are therefore least likely to repair it.

I recently learned about the "body art" popular in temperate climates such as Key West and New Orleans. Individuals paint "clothes" on their bodies, and wear nothing else as they circulate in public places, particularly those where casual and homosexual sex is performed openly.

This exemplifies where we have come as a nation: contemptuous of the sacred relationship intended by God for physical intimacy; utterly perverse and gratuitous in debasing sex itself; so thoroughly unashamed of spiritual nakedness that it is defiantly flaunted in Heaven's face.

Next week we will learn if our nation's new leader follows through with his promise to make his first act as president implementing the "Freedom of Choice Act," therefore nullifying all legislation which restricts abortion, without regard for states' rights or individual conscience.

I believe in freedom of choice. God gave mankind the freedom to choose obedience or rebellion in the Garden of Eden. Some 3500 years ago, God gave His people the Ten Commandments, and again offered a choice of God's will and life, or man's will and death.

We never lost the freedom of choice. What our nation attempts to legislate is freedom from consequences for murder. The Lord is not so easily rebuffed.

Jesus said the wise man builds upon a rock by putting into practice Jesus' sayings, and therefore withstands storms. The foolish man builds on the shifting sands of relativity to create his own "truth," and falls with a great crash in storms.

One definition of intuition is to hear with the heart. I am not a prophet who has heard God say audibly to tell anyone, "Thus says the Lord ..." However, I am a child of God in whom His Spirit dwells, and I hear clearly with my heart the sounds which precede a crash.

But I have built upon the Rock, and—by the grace of God and my faith in Him—I will remain standing throughout the storm.

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The Least of These

On the elderly you laid your yoke very heavily...
You have said, 'No one sees me';
Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you;
And you have said in your heart,
'I am, and there is no one else besides me.'
Therefore evil shall come upon you ...
And trouble shall fall upon you;
You will not be able to put it off.
Isaiah 47:6,10-11 (NKJV)

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?
Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

"Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' " ~ Matthew 25:44-45 (NKJV)

In the movie The Boys Next Door, a speech about the need to assist the mentally handicapped includes a remark to the effect of, "Civilizations are judged by how they treat their weakest members."

I am grateful for nursing homes which provide care to the elderly on a level their loved ones cannot. Nonetheless, nursing homes should always be a supplement to and not substitute for the nurture of family.

I once heard a man decline to visit his grandmother with the words, "I don't do nursing homes." What is the benefit of avoiding the place where one may someday live?

Wherever our aged may live, they yet have much to offer us. If nothing else, they provide the opportunity to minister to Jesus through "the least of these."

Father, thank You for long life as You grant it. Thank You for the opportunity to learn from those who have gone before us. Please comfort those who have lost or will soon lose a beloved relative of years. Please show us how to demonstrate our love for those You leave us.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Israel Shall be Saved

But Israel shall be saved by the LORD
With an everlasting salvation;
You shall not be ashamed or disgraced
Forever and ever.
For thus says the LORD,
"... I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
'Seek Me in vain' ...
Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations...
In the LORD all the descendants of Israel
Shall be justified, and shall glory."
Isaiah 45:17-20,25 (NKJV)

For I do not desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written ... They are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Romans 11:25-26,28-29 (EMTV)

"I am the Good Shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his very life for the sheep... I have also other sheep--which do not belong to this fold. Those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice; and they shall become one flock under one Shepherd." ~ John 10:11,16 (WNT)

How has tiny Israel survived the centuries? How impossible is it for Jews to return home as a nation after nearly two millennia of exile among many nations? How did they survive every attempt to annihilate them?

God promised them everlasting salvation.

Foremost among their persecutors have been both false and misled Christians. We have condemned them as Christ-killers, when our own sins pierced Jesus. They now see our evangelists as covert assassins, attempting to destroy Judaism by conversion. And some Christians refuse to acknowledge Jews of faith, denying all faith apart from Christ.

Indeed, no one comes to the Father except through His Son Jesus. But Paul also assures that Jews of Abraham's faith are true Israel, and that all Israel shall be saved. They and we shall be one flock, with one Shepherd.

Paul calls Israel beloved, as indeed she is.

God of Abraham, thank You for making Abraham father of many nations. Thank You for giving to us, who are strangers, a share in his inheritance. Please remind Israel to love the stranger as Moses commanded. Please teach us how to love Israel, pray for her, bless her, and become one flock with her.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

There is No Other

"I, even I, am the LORD,
And besides Me there is no savior...
And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand;
I work, and who will reverse it?...
I am the LORD, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King...
But you have not called upon Me ...
Do not fear, nor be afraid ...
Is there a God besides Me?
Indeed there is no other Rock."
Isaiah 43:11,13,15,22; 44:8 (NKJV)

Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said: "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it." ~ Job 40:1-2 (NKJV)

But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, 'This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,' and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. ~ Nehemiah 9:17-19 (ESV)

In Isaiah 44:8, the Hebrew word for God is Eloah (thought to be the singular of the plural noun Elohim). It appears in Scripture only a few times, in poetry and prophecy, and is used four times by God Himself. Its context is usually passages which emphasize fear of God for His ability to deliver—or His ability to bring down.

God here reminds His people that there is no other to save but Him, and there is no other to save from Him. It's no good to call 911, or the doctor or the plumber or anyone before calling upon Eloah. Any of those people may be His instruments to save from trouble, but they cannot reverse God's work if He is behind what we see as trouble.

Nehemiah 9:17 is another of the few instances using Eloah. It is a humble call upon God carrying the reminder that even when He needs to rebuke us, He shows great mercy and grace.

Eloah, You are our Creator. You are our only God, our only Savior, our only King. There is no other God besides You. Please forgive us when we rely upon others for deliverance. Please help us be discerning when You would use others to help us. Please remind us to call upon You first.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Friend

"But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend...
For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'
Fear not, you worm Jacob."
Isaiah 41:13,18-19 (NKJV)

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." ~ Romans 4:16-17 (NIV)

"You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I call you friends." ~ John 15:14-15 (NCV)

Who but God would call us both "My friend" and "you worm" in the same discourse? Though spoken through Isaiah to Abraham's descendants Israel, the words may readily be applied to the people of faith called "Abraham's offspring" by Paul and "friends" by Jesus.

Faith is the evidence which proves every Word spoken by unseen God, whether audibly to Abraham or as recorded by Scripture. Faith accepts Jesus as crucified Savior and Living Lord. Faith gratefully does whatever He asks.

Gratitude also remembers the heritage of being a worm—sinful, condemned wretches without hope except for our Creator's amazing grace and abundant mercy. We are royally clothed riff-raff, imposters before His throne until He recognizes the blood of His Son which covers us, extends His scepter, and declares, "My Friend."

My Lord and my God, how is it that You should want me as friend? How is it that You should cover me with Your Son's blood and see me without condemnation? Please let the same heart which hears you lovingly whisper "friend" also discern Your good will and leap to do it.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Wings Like Eagles

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

So then, after the Lord [Jesus] had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. ~ Mark 16:19 (NKJV)

When asked which animal I would be, I chose the eagle. I love heights, for straining toward the heavens above clouds seems to draw near to God. Twice, mountain peaks clothed in clouds and light actually looked to me like the throne room upon which I'll some day gaze continually.

Tommy Tenney likens waiting upon the Lord to a restaurant waiter of excellence who is content to simply stand by and watch for the slightest gesture of his patron, that he might rush to do his bidding, with no thought of either personal inconvenience or gain.

A good waiter might receive a generous tip from a benevolent patron of wealth. The Lord upon whom we wait rewards with strength, endurance and vigor to do all things—and with the ability to soar above the clouds near the presence of God, then plunge back to earth without fear.

Everlasting God who is with us always, however impatient we grow, remind us often that it is no burden to wait upon You and do Your every bidding. Let us not grow weary in well-doing amid people or tasks we find irritating or tiresome. Teach us how to depend fully upon You.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Against the Lord

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
... He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless...
"To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.
Isaiah 40:21,23,25 (NKJV)

The kings of the earth take a stand,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD, and against his Messiah ...
He who sits in the heavens will laugh.
The Lord will have them in derision.
Psalms 2:2,4 (HNV)

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God. ~ Romans 13:1-2 (NKJV)

A massive shift of power is about to take place in our nation. In many Christian circles are rumblings of fear, or anticipation for the beginning of the end. It is perceived that the new governing authorities do not fear God, and will boldly act against the Lord and His people in drastic times.

God alone knows the future and the timing of the end. His Word says authorities are appointed by Him, so whether or not they are against the Lord, they will fulfill His purposes. They have no power to frustrate Him, and efforts to do so elicit His laughter and ridicule.

My pastor once taught that we should obey the authorities unless they command what God clearly forbids, or forbid what God clearly commands. Even in uncertain times, we need not have trepidation if we remember the chain of command.

Almighty King, You alone rule the earth. No power great or small may contend with You. Please give us hearts of faith when doubt knocks. Please keep our eyes on You and on Your will. Please guide us in all our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions in all circumstances.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

In His Bosom

Behold, the Lord Jehovah will come with strength,
and His arm rules for Him.
Behold, His reward is with Him,
and His wage before Him.
He shall feed His flock like a shepherd;
He shall gather lambs with His arm;
and carry them in His bosom;
those with young He will lead;
Isaiah 40:10-11 (LITV)

But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." ~ Luke 18:16-17 (NKJV)

Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. ~ John 13:23 (NKJV)

Is there a more safe and intimate place than in His bosom?

Having nursed five children who were held against my bosom for untold hours, I can attest that I never felt closer to them than during those years. And for them, mother's breast was their place of nurture and nourishment, comfort and contentment.

If the way to the bosom of Jesus is in the humble love and innocent trust of a little one, then let me forsake all pride and iniquity and doubt for love. Let me listen for my Shepherd's voice and follow Him closely. Let me show myself utterly helpless and so dependent upon Him that He picks me up and carries me close.

Let me be a faithful disciple, called one whom Jesus loves because it is evident in the contentment upon my face as my ear lies against His heart.

Good Shepherd, You restore our souls to life. There is no want where You lead, whether at still waters or in green pasture, whether in paths of righteousness or valley of the shadow of death, whether at Your table or in Your house. Please draw us to Your bosom and let us know Your heart.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Freelance: REDEMPTION

Once upon a time, the Creator prepared a perfect world and called it "good." He then shaped dirt of the earth into a man and breathed into him the spirit of life. Man was alone, which God declared "not good." So woman was created from part of man's flesh, designed to remain one flesh with him as intimate companion.

The two might choose Life or Death, and made themselves subjects of Death. Now the dark angel's minions, they shared with him being cursed. Woman would bring forth from her flesh the fruit of her womb with great travail, her longing toward the husband who ruled over her never quite satisfied. Man would also travail to bring forth fruit from the soil, which would return to him thorns for his sweat. And both man and his wife would one day succumb to Death and return to the earth from which they were taken.

God suffered with His people, for it is not possible to watch a beloved one suffer without sharing it. Though His great love often went unrequited, love compelled God to deliver His people from Death. But Death barters only with the lives of men. So God took on the flesh of dirt and became the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, and paid Death's redemption price with His own life and blood.

The more one has paid for something the more it is valued. Thus in paying the ultimate price to redeem His people, God's perfect love for them became even greater.

He once breathed into their bodies the spirit of life, and now put into their souls eternal life of His Spirit. He declares them His bride, unites His Spirit with her flesh—and shares the curse of His intimate companion.

His body was for a short time returned to the earth from which His flesh was taken. His wife's heart is the soil in which He sows the seed of His Word. He travails to bring forth the fruit of His Spirit from her, but with fruit she returns to Him thorns for His sweat—even as she travails against flesh to bring forth His fruit. She longs for her Bridegroom, yet often resists His rule over her.

God might have ordained that Death never enter the world. But in rescuing His people from Death, Savior and saved become more beloved to each other.

God might have brought about an immediate deliverance from Death, but until its full horror is suffered, how can we appreciate the value of His redemption?

Some six thousand years have passed since creation, God and His people suffering together. Surely suffering nears its culmination, and the full value of our redemption shall soon be known.

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The Ability to Prophesy

"All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field...
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever."
Isaiah 40:6-8 (NKJV)

Love never comes to an end. There is the gift of speaking what God has revealed [prophecies], but it will no longer be used. There is the gift of speaking in other languages [tongues], but it will stop by itself. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will no longer be used.
1 Corinthians 13:8 (GW, amplified)

Keep on pursuing love, and keep on desiring spiritual gifts, especially the ability to prophesy... the person who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding [edification], encouragement, and comfort. The person who speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but the person who prophesies builds the church up. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:1-4 (ISV, amplified)

The ability to prophesy is a gift of God. One example of its most basic use is to humbly pray, "Lord, please show me what to say to this person," to understand from the Holy Spirit the words needed, and to then speak in agreement with the Word of God. If there is a gift we "especially" need, it is the ability to communicate from the Word and Spirit of God and not from ourselves.

When all is fulfilled—in the day that we see face to face and know as we are known—prophecies and knowledge will no longer be used. In the meantime, neither has ceased, and both should be used with careful dependence on God—not to build up ourselves but to build up others in Christ.

Our Father, thank You for putting in us Your own Spirit. Thank You for enabling us for all You ask of us. Please give us the desire to increase in the knowledge of Your Word, and give us the ability to share Your mind and will with others as glorifies You and builds up Your church.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Speak Comfort

"Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" Says your God.
"Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her ...
That her iniquity is pardoned...
Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low ...
The glory of the LORD shall be revealed."
Isaiah 40:1-5 (NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NKJV)

"But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." ~ Matthew 23:11-12 (NKJV)

There is no greater comfort than receiving forgiveness of sin and laying down guilt. One may believe in God, exalt Jesus as Lord, and value righteous living. But until one feels the burden of sin, confesses it, and receives God's forgiveness, genuine comfort is not known.

Through the Gospel message comes the comfort of being made right with our Creator, and with that: faith that sees God (Hebrews 11:1), reliable hope for the future (1 Thessalonians 4:13), joy amid sorrow (John 16:22), full peace passing understanding (Philippians 4:7), and true love from which nothing can separate us (Romans 8:39). In these is genuine comfort.

If we would speak comfort based on Christ's faith, hope, love, joy, and peace, then we must be credible messengers of the Gospel. We will behave as His humble servants, and not show ourselves as exalted—unless it is to glory in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord.

Lord, Your great love compels our compassion for all the hurting people around us, their faces dark with the burdens they carry. Please make us sensitive to the voice of Your Holy Spirit, that He would speak comfort to them through us. Please let us know and understand You—reveal Your glory to us!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Repay According to the Favor Shown

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death... And the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, "Go and tell Hezekiah, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years."
Isaiah 38:4-5 (NKJV)

But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up... Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart. ~ 2 Chronicles 32:25-26 (NKJV)

"When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive." ~ Ezekiel 18:26-27 (NKJV)

King Saul, Absalom, and Judas Iscariot are examples of those who returned favor with betrayal and came to a bitter end. King David, King Hezekiah, and Peter are examples of transgressors who repented and received forgiveness, then went on to repay according to the favor shown.

The Lord is more interested in where we are than where we have been. When we have tasted eternal life—the greatest favor available through the blood of Jesus Christ, the holy Son of God Almighty—we cannot simply declare the favor as accepted and walk away to live for Self.

To repay according to the favor shown is not a work to show we are "good," but the response of a grateful heart. And while we cannot give God as much as He has given, we can take the time to pray when leisures beckon, we can forgive offenses far less than ours against God, and we can love the neighbor who is the image of our God, even when he or she is less than lovable.

Oh Lord our God, You have given us all things necessary to life and love, joy and peace. Please open our eyes to the many opportunities to show favor as You have shown us favor, to forgive as we’ve received forgiveness, and to love as You have loved us.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is Anything Too Hard for the LORD?

"Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you; nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria." ' " ... Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead.
Isaiah 36:13-15; 37:36 (NKJV)

And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?' Is anything too hard for the LORD?"

Genesis 18:13-14 (NKJV)

Elohim (God) created the universe, remodeled the earth with a flood, and confused the languages.

El Shaddai (God Almighty) gave aged Sarah Abraham's son, wrestled with Jacob, and elevated Joseph from lowest slave to highest ruler.

I AM appeared in pillar of cloud and flame, parted the Red Sea, and provided manna and water in the desert.

YHWH Sabaoth (the LORD of Hosts) stopped time for Joshua, sent Jonathan an earthquake, and felled Goliath before David.

Qadosh (The Holy One) sent fire from heaven for Elijah, slew the Assyrians for King Hezekiah, and raised the dead by Elisha's hand.

The Ancient of Days preserved Jonah in the fish, three Jewish boys in the fiery furnace, and Daniel in the lion's den.

Elyon (the Most High) came to earth as a helpless infant, healed the dead and dying, and stilled the raging storm.

Melech Kabod (King of Glory) submitted Himself to death, conquered the grave, and is seated in heaven.

El Olam (Everlasting God) thrice gave His people Jerusalem, still calls them His own, and is soon returning to His temple.

"Is anything too hard for the LORD?"

Most miraculous of all, Adonai (My Lord) wooed my hardened heart, came to live in it, and made me whole.

My Lord and my God, nothing is to hard for You. I praise You for Your mighty acts. I stand in humble thanks that so great a God should see fit to redeem a wretch such as me. Whatever else You desire to do in my life shall surely be as wonderful. You cannot ask too much of me.

"For with God nothing will be impossible." ~ The Angel Gabriel

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Rose Blossoms in the Desert

The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose ...
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb sing...
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 35:1,5-6,10 (NKJV)

For the creation was subjected to futility ... creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. ~ Romans 8:20-21 (NKJV)

Then [the other criminal] said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." ~ Luke 23:42-43 (NKJV)

God created only good. Sin entered the world, and with it the death and suffering and sorrow to which our bodies are in bondage. The physical creation waits for the liberation it will receive when the Lord restores perfection.

But the spiritual is already liberated from bondage. Anyone in Christ is already a new creation, a child of God living in glorious liberty and eternal life. The ransomed drink of the Holy Spirit's living waters in the desert of this world. The kingdom is now within us.

The dying thief asked to join Jesus in His Kingdom, and that day he entered Paradise by faith. In the day we join ourselves to Jesus, we enter His spiritual Paradise, living as rose blossoms in the desert. Our eyes and ears are opened, our tongues and limbs are loosed to praise.

The kingdom is yet at war. Will you today fight hard the battle the soul wages to live in the spirit's liberty rather than the body's bondage?

Holy One, thank You for the blood of our King, that we might live in His kingdom, the fragrance of Your life now ours. Please lead us to streams of waters in the desert of death all around us. Please be continually opening our eyes and ears, and loosing our limbs and tongues. Please arm us for the battle.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

To Whom Shall We Go?

For the LORD is our Judge,
The LORD is our Lawgiver,
The LORD is our King;
He will save us.
Isaiah 33:22 (NKJV)

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalms 73:25-26 (NKJV)

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." ~ John 6:66-69 (NKJV)

In the United States a system of "checks and balances" exists in the judicial, legislative, and administrative branches of government. The nation relies upon thousands of individuals at local, state and federal levels oversee the three functions which all find fulfillment in the Lord our God as Judge, Lawgiver and King.

To whom shall we go but God for all we need? It's often said if we have Jesus we have everything. Do we thus live? Do we worry for nothing else because He is first? Do we rise to bless Him with our first waking breath and drift to sleep with His name in our hearts? Do we live to love and know Him? Have we ceased from complaining about whatever He allows?

To know and love the Lord is more intensely satisfying than all other earthly pleasure. If we delight in Him, we will not wait to receive the desires of our heart, because He is the desire of our heart.

Everlasting Father, Lord Jesus, Precious Spirit, in You we live and move and have our being. You are the Alpha and the Omega and everything in between. You are goodness and light and love and the only One we need. May our highest privilege, greatest pleasure, and deepest passion be to glorify You.

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