Royalty

Isaiah 59–61: Do you feel like royalty? Child of the King you are whether you feel like it or not. Isaiah say it like this,
Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
As a child of the King you are robed in righteousness. His blood covered your sin and you were given birthright into being a child of The King. No longer does your sin separate you from God and now He has adorned you with clothing fit for a royal. Glory to God for His unspeakable gifts given to us not because we deserved it, but because of His great love and mercy.

He Was the Son of God

Luke 23:44-49: The day that Jesus died had to be an alarming day even if you did not know what was happening at Golgatha. The Bible tells it like this. Luke 23:45 “While the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.”
A few weeks ago we experienced the eclipse that only lasted a few minutes and total darkness enveloped some areas of our country. We had weeks of warning and even commentary about what to expect. The day Jesus died there was no forewarning. There was no commentator to remind the people to remain calm. It was just the dark. The same priests and religious leaders who had tried Jesus in their court of religious law and found him guilty of lying about who He was experienced something that no one could explain. The veil in the temple that had always separated the most holy place mysteriously tore from the top to the bottom on its own. No human hand would dare touch it and yet it was there for all to see. Darkness, mysterious, a heaviness of the hearts of people, I can just imagine. Then when the Savior breathed His last, I can also imagine those standing around saying, “What have we done?” “He was the Son of God.” “What will God do it us now?” Somber, eery, sad that must have been the feelings of those who loved Jesus but also those who had just committed murder against God’s Son. The right word to use may also be fear. And yet, God’s love for us was shown as He withheld destruction on these very people. His love knew that there was a greater plan at work and within 3 days all the world then and now would know the power of God through the gift of His Son. Awing! Oh God, thank you for that day and for every day since. Thank you Jesus for offering yourself as the sacrifice for sin, mine and everyone else’s. Thank you that on the cross that day you defeated sin, death, and the enemy who still longs to steal, kill and destroy us. Thank you that we can know for certain that one day soon You will return. Please Father, find us faithful telling others until You return.

Assurance

Hebrews 10:19-39;: This weekend I am speaking in Indiana on being a Daughter of the King. One of the assignments I have during the weekend is to address the subject of assurance. As I read Hebrews 10 this morning it was such a great reminder of why we can have assurance.
19 “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Some of you reading this may be wondering what the curtain and the holy place has to do with what Jesus did for us. In the Old Testament only the High Priest could enter the most holy place and he could only enter it once a year as he gave an animal sacrifice for his sin and those of his people. When Jesus came He paid the price for our sin so no animal sacrifice would ever be needed again. When Jesus died the curtain in that most holy place was ripped from the top to the bottom. God was saying there is no longer a barrier between God and man. Jesus paid that price to bring us back into right relationship with Him. Therefore we now can come to Him having confessed our sin and finding forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus. We can know that we are saved and have an audience with God. He draws near to us and we to Him. An outward sign of what has happened on the inside is that we love each other and encourage one another to continue to grow in Christ. We are to gather together for the purpose of sharing Christian fellowship and encouraging one another to walk as Christ would have us walk. The return of Christ is coming and as a believer we long for the Father to find us faithfully doing His will when He returns.

Return

Isaiah 42, 43: I know it sounds crazy, but the Old Testament characters are like old friends to me. I have read their stories so often that it is as though I know them. Isaiah is one of those that you can just hear the pleading in his voice for his people to return to the God of their Fathers. He longed for obedience yet knew that the only way they would return would be by divine miracle. Listen to what he wrote
Isaiah 43:18 “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
20 The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.”
Oh how we need to face this truth as well. We can’t do it our old way. We must stop, turn back to Him and walk right in His paths. We too need that way in the wilderness and that river in the desert. We too need to turn before it is too late. I am not speaking of the nation at large, but the church, those of us who know and have experienced His power. May we all draw hear to Him with a whole heart and realize that friendship with the world (lustful desires) makes us at odds with God. Its time for a self evaluation and a drawing near to God. May we all pray for revival in our local church and community.

Our Big God

Isaiah 40, 41: I am just blown away with how awesome God is. I taught yesterday that one of the reasons we can trust God is because of who He is. These were not the verses I used, but oh how they could have been.
Isaiah 40:12 “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?a measure:
13Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?his…: Heb. man of his counsel
14With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
15Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.”
Do you see the picture of what He has said. He measures all of the waters that cover the earth in the hollow of His hands. WOW! He takes His hand and the distance between his pinkie finger and this thumb is the distance of the heavens. He weighs the mountains on a scale. He has all wisdom and knowledge He needs no counselor and no one is even qualified to give Him advice. All the nations are a drop in a bucket to Him. We serve a huge God and yet He loves us and cares for us. Oh friend, I hope you are as overwhelmed with God as I am this morning, and the sweetest thing of all is He allows us to worship Him. I praise Him. My tongue cannot speak enough words of thanksgiving for all He has done for me.

Stand Firm

Isaiah 37–39: I am so thankful God includes stories like Hezekiah’s story in the Bible. It is so easy to get overwhelmed when the enemy you face is so much bigger and stronger than you. It is so tempting to turn to what we can see and control for answers instead of trusting God. It is a much greater show of our faith when we know there are other options and yet we stop and follow what God is saying. Hezekiah shows us how to handle our struggles. He checked out the problem and heard the terms of the enemy. He was taunted by the enemy and yet he did not allow fear to take over. He took the enemy demands directly to God. Literally he laid out the letter with the demands and prayed over them. I believe there are just some times in our lives where we need to lay the bill on the table or the computer with the hurtful letter or comment. We need to lay it out before the Lord and say, “God I want to do your will. This is the situation, now show me what to do and I will trust you.” Then listen and wait on the Lord. Ugh I hate the waiting, but I know how important it is to allowing God to work. God wanted to give not just Hezekiah but also the Children of Israel victory in a way that not only they but the nations around could see that it was the hand of God. When God killed 185,000 in one day and what was left fled, Israel had not had to lift a hand. God may not want you to do anything but wait and see Him move. His purpose is your best and most of all to draw others to Him. So His way is the best way. It is easy for me to see and write this when I am not in the middle of the struggle. It is still truth and the plan even when I am in the middle and the challenges are great. I am praying for all of you who are reading this and just feel overwhelmed right now. The same God that worked on behalf of Hezekiah is the same God who is waiting to work on your behalf as well. Stand firm my friend.

Trusting God

Isaiah 34–36: Do people think your crazy sometimes because of your faith? Do they belittle you when you trust God and not the things our culture turns to. Isaiah 36 tells us about the Assyrian army that had come to conquer Jerusalem. Hezekiah the king had put his trust in God. He had led his people to do the same. When the enemy officer came to “discuss” their terms of giving up Hezekiah’s officers were told how crazy they were for trusting God. 36: 7 “But if you say to me, “We trust in the Lord our God,” is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar”? 8Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. ”
The Assyrian did not know that the altars that had been removed were for foreign gods. Hezekiah wanted his people to worship the One True God. Just has he had led them before Hezekiah led them to trust God in battle as well. The Assyrian promised war horses. Again in that day that was the measure of strength, but God can defeat any foe on horse or on foot. in our reading tomorrow we will get to see the power of God. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but we serve a GREAT God!!! Just as He will come through for Jerusalem and the Children of Israel, He will come through for you too. Don’t trust in your own strength or in what you can manipulate or control. Trust God who says to each of us, I’ve got this. We just need to trust.

Who or What do you Trust In?

Isaiah 31–33, Psalm 20:7 Some trust in horses and some in chariots but I trust in the Name of the Lord my God.”  In Bible days people expressed their security in their nation by how many horses and chariots they had. Horses and Chariots were weapons of war and the country that had many were considered the strongest. There was a real temptation to trust in the weapons of war rather than God. Isaiah said it like this, 31:1 “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the Lord!”
Today we don’t trust in weapons like horses or chariots, but we do trust in money, our own strength and ability, who we know or how we can control. When it boils down to it we trust what we think we can control.
The second thing that stands out to me, is that it is the Name of God that we must trust in. His Name is His character. God says I am the great I AM. He is whatever we need. He is our Healer,Provider, Sustainer and so much more. Oh my friend, I don’t know what you need God to be for you today, but as you Trust Him He Will Be There for You!

Drinking

Proverbs 23:19-35: Oh how I wish the Bible said, “Thou shall not drink alcohol.” It doesn’t, but it does have plenty to say about it. Today’s verses from Proverbs speak for themselves.
Proverbs 23:29 “Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
32 In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart utter perverse things.
34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast.
35 “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I must have another drink.”
As a person who has suffered the death of loved ones due to the affects of alcohol I am definitely biased, but I have never seen alcohol misused by someone who never chose to drink.

Praying Not Sleeping

Luke 22:39-46: I have read the story of Jesus’ preparation for crucifixion hundreds of times. I can quote some of it as Jesus prayed “Not my will but Thine be done.” I knew that the disciples fell asleep as He prayed, but I never noticed until this morning why the Bible says they were sleeping. Luke 22:5 “And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow,” Did you see that? They were sleeping because of sorrow. Oh friend, if you have ever faced a huge discouraging future you too may have just wanted to fall asleep and not face it. As humans we are just overwhelmed sometimes and since we don’t know how to respond we just close our eyes. I can understand the disciples not wanting to face what Jesus said would happen. Yet Jesus instructed the disciples to pray not sleep. The time for rest would come, but the time for action had come. For many you who are facing very hard life challenges, I pray you too will know God’s strength even when you are so overwhelmed. May He be your companion as you walk this journey. May you know He is listening as you pray and is there to answer.