Friday, April 26, 2013

Isaiah 35-36: Do Not Answer Him

Rabshakeh, a military officer delivered a message on behalf of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, to King Hezekiah's representatives.  The message used intimidation tactics and attempted to undermine the people's faith in God.  Just about the whole chapter of Isaiah 36 describes the taunting of the enemy of God's people.  I like the end of the chapter.

Isaiah 36:20-21

Amplified Bible (AMP)
20 Who among all the gods of these lands has delivered his land out of my hand, that [you should think that] the Lord can deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?
21 But they kept still and answered him not a word, for the king’s [Hezekiah’s] command was, Do not answer him.
(emphasis mine)

The Bible is all of its historical glory reveals the way we need to respond in the present.  When the enemy of God (satan) attempts to discourage us with his taunting lies, when he does his best to squash our faith in God, how should we respond?

Could it be that God (our King) is counselling us to be still and keep our mouths closed?

I know my mouth has gotten me into hot water even though my motives were pure.  If I would have "kept still" and not answered the evil one then I could have heard God's directions for my next action and words.

Having a tendency for impulsive behavior makes being still and closing my mouth difficult depending on the circumstance.  I do believe with all of my heart that God does command us to respond to the evil one, but that response MUST be borne out of His edict, not my own thoughts of what to do or say. 

The next time the evil one attempts to manipulate your emotions by taunts and lies, keep still in body and in soul and keep your mouth closed.  In this way, you will be able to hear Abba's direction through the still small voice of His Spirit.

Holy Spirit, please empower us to remain still and keep our mouths closed.  We wait for Your directions on what to do and say.  When to do and say.  You are Wisdom.  Pour out Wisdom through us.  All for the glory of the One called Jesus and always in His name alone...AMEN!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Isaiah 31-34: The Effect and Result of Righteousness

Isaiah 32:17
Amplified Bible (AMP)
17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.

Effect and Result.

Effect- the power to bring about a result

Result- the conclusion brought about the effect of something

Righteousness works both effect and result upon our souls.  

Righteousness' effect yields both internal and external peace.  When peace reigns within our souls, external circumstances don't weld the full impact of negatively.  The external circumstance may remain labeled as "difficult," but viewing those difficulties through eyes of peace sees them as small compared to the bigness of Abba.  
Because internal peace stays the soul, external circumstances are not worsened by frantic attempts to gain resolution by human strength or wisdom.  Internal peace actually influences external tumult.  Peace is a powerful tool, which may itself resolve difficult external circumstances.  Internal peace flows from our souls into external atmospheres of distress providing relief to the situation and those involved.
Righteousness' result "will be quietness and confident trust forever."  The conclusion of the effect of righteousness is a quiet faith, which endures throughout our life on this earth and into eternity!  WOW!

Where can we obtain this awesome gift of righteousness?

Romans 3:22-25

Amplified Bible (AMP)
22 Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction,
23 Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory [a]which God bestows and receives.
24 [All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,
25 Whom God put forward [[b]before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.

All we need to do is have a personal trust in Jesus.  It is Jesus' righteousness that poured out providing us with right standing with God.  This righteousness is a gift...we don't earn it by our "good" deeds and we certainly can't purchase it.  
Jesus purchased righteousness for us when He died on the cross for our sins for ALL have sinned and are falling short of His honor and glory.  

ALL of us!!!

Nice people are falling short. 

Nasty people are falling short.

Rich people are falling short.

Poor people are falling short.

All of us, fall short!!!

Jesus, we receive Your gift of righteousness, which effects both internal soul peace and external circumstantial peace.  Jesus we receive Your gift of righteousness, which results quietness and confident trust forever.  We do not judge circumstances based on internal emotions or external circumstances, but apply Your promise to our lives.  In the great and awesome Name of Jesus!  AMEN!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Isaiah 28-30: The Lord Waits for Us to Wait on Him

Isaiah 30:18 (Amplified)

"And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on your and show loving-kindness to you.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!"

Oftentimes, it may seem we are waiting for the Lord to intervene in our situation.  We wait and wait, yet that longstanding prayer seems to go unanswered, that ongoing heartache never seems to be soothed, and that persistent attack of body and mind continues on until the next day and the next.  In our eyes, this waiting can become discouraging, yet God commands us to wait on Him...expect Him to intervene, long for Him and the blessings that are manifested by a personal and unique relationship with Him. 

It is through Him that victory is attained! 

It is by contact with God that favor is poured out into whatever situation we find ourselves! 

When we draw near to Him, the eyes of our heart are opened to His Presence and His great unfailing love towards us! 

In Him is peace, because He is the Prince of Peace!

Joy bubbles out of our innermost being, because He stirs our souls with gladness!

We have the choice to have companionship with the Maker of heaven and earth!

Waiting is so much more than getting the desired resolution to a difficult situation.  Waiting is more than physical or psychological healing.  Waiting itself births the universal longing of each human be part of something bigger than us.

The Lord waits for us to wait on Him.  He asks nothing more of us than He Himself already does.  He knows that as we wait on Him, we are transformed into the people He dreamed we would be.  He desires to be gracious to us.  He longs to show us mercy.  He looks for opportunities to show us His great love and kindness.  An even more precious gift is oneness with Abba Father.

Jesus provided the gift of oneness with Abba Father by lifting Himself up (dying on the cross), and by waiting on Him, we become one with Him in practice.  We "walk out" the gift of oneness with the God of the Universe.  What is already a reality in our spirit, now becomes reality to our souls.

Holy Spirit, pour yourself out to us!  Draw us with cords that cannot be broken by the distractions of this world whether be a difficult situation or sickness or unfulfilled desire.  Let us feel You waiting for us, feel Your desire to pour out goodness upon our lives.  Let us know the benefits of waiting on You, here and now in the earthly realm in the great and awesome name of Jesus, the Lover of our souls.  AMEN!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hosea 8-10: Sow For Yourselves Righteousness

Hosea 10:12

Amplified Bible (AMP)
12 Sow for yourselves according to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God); reap according to mercy and loving-kindness. Break up your uncultivated ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, to inquire for and of Him, and to require His favor, till He comes and teaches you righteousness and rains His righteous gift of salvation upon you.
I have this verse highlighted and underlined in my Bible.  While reading today, I remember how this particular verse spoke to me many years ago when I had been caught in a scheme of the evil one.  
Looking at my life today, I recognize that still the evil one attempts to bind me with his lies and schemes.  I recognize that I still fall for his twisted whispers believing that somehow I need to protect myself, I need to secure justice for myself and others, I need to tell my side of the story, I need to accepted by men.  
It is starkly apparent that uncultivated (fallow) ground remains in my soul.
The clods of dirt are manifested differently today than clods from ten years ago, but a clod is still a clod and the uncultivated ground of my heart must be prepared for the way of the Lord.  The highway of holiness must run directly through my innermost being!  
What is the remedy, Lord?  How do I "sow according to righteousness" and "reap according to mercy and loving-kindness"?
"Seek Me," says the Lord.  "Only I can bestow righteousness.  It is only by Me that the harvest is reaped with mercy.  Loving-kindness is placed in your heart as a gift from Me.  I break up the hard ground of your heart and prepare it for the planting of My seeds.  I uproot the tares within you that choke the life of your spirit.  I Am your Protector.  I Am the Just Judge.  I will reveal the truth in My time.  I know the hearts of all men.  I know their triumphs and failures.  I love the hearts of men and will do what I will do to restore and deliver and save.  Resist the temptation to take matters into your own hands because your chariot will not save or deliver you.  Only My strength saves and delivers.  I pour my favor upon you, because you require it.  I will continue to teach you righteousness as I rain the gift of salvation upon your life."
Lord, let it be unto me as You have said.  I will be all that You dreamed!  In the great and awesome name of Jesus!  AMEN!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hosea 1-7: Personal Experience

Hosea 4:1

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy (a pleading contention) with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness, love, pity and mercy, or knowledge of God [from personal experience with Him] in the land.

Hosea 4:6

Amplified Bible (AMP)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you that you shall be no priest to Me; seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.

WOW!!!  These are some serious and sobering verses!!!
Most think about knowledge as gaining information, using facts and developing contexts.  But the knowledge referenced has little to due with using our cognitive processes and a whole lot to do with engaging our hearts in a personal and dynamic relationship with the One, True God!
Engaging my heart...which includes my emotions, my thoughts and my will to seek after a personal experience with God will keep me from destruction.  
It's personal experience with God that guides our path through this world, not the religious exercises of tradition.  Religious tradition seeks to bind our hearts to it, giving the illusion that if we attend a service or perform righteously or lead within the church structure, that we are safe from destruction.  
Although these things are good things, these things do not have the power to save!  
Jesus is the only One with the power to save us from eternal destruction!  By cultivating personal experiences with Him, our soul is taught to walk in His righteous ways, our spirit is bolstered with His Holy Spirit and our physical body is strengthened.
Holy Spirit, continue to reveal Jesus to us.  We require more personal experiences with the God of the Universe.  In the great and awesome name of Jesus!  AMEN!!!