Archive for July, 2021

Hold on, the time is coming (Isaiah 58-62)

July 30, 2021

“I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it,” Isaiah 60:22

Where can a person go to get away from the violence and evil in our world? A few days ago Sherry, John, and I stopped in a fast food restaurant to get a quick meal. As we stood in line, a guy who had gone through the drive through came in steaming mad. His anger was over the lack of quality in the food he had ordered.

It was true, this was not the best of quality of food, but it was adequate for what we were paying. The problem was this man was angry with life. His steaming anger spilled over to the people behind the counter. He went on and on talking to those employees in ways that were shameful.

This morning I could not help but raise my hands and praise the Lord that His righteous has changed my life and has changed the way I look at life. I know there is a place where there is no violence and evil. Yes, you know the place as well. The place is Heaven.

In the chapters before us in Isaiah, we see both the place of Heaven and the coming time of Heaven. In Isaiah 60 we read about the coming time of Heaven. Isaiah writes:


Brothers and sisters, I must place before you the place that is coming. As one enters the gates of Heaven he or she will be praising God because there is no violence inside the walls of Heaven. Isaiah identifies the walls as salvation.

I confess, we are not there yet. But there is coming a day when we will enter the gates of the city. There will be no night there (Isaiah 60:19-21). Jesus will reign (Revelation 21).

I am ready for that place! But at the same time I am longing more than ever to tell people about a person who leads all people out of their spiritual captivity (Isaiah 61:2-3). It is true we live in a world of violence and evil. But this violence and evil does not dwell within us. We have come spiritually inside the walls of His salvation and the gates of our heart offer praise to the God who has brought peace into our hearts and minds!!

After the man finished his tyrant attack on those employees, he left and the place calmed down. When we had finished our meal, I went over to the employees and thanked them for doing an amazing job. God used that moment to restore hope to those people.

Those of us who dwell spiritually inside the walls of salvation are called to get outside the walls with the amazing gospel of Jesus Christ!!

Two Questions:

  1. Do you spiritually take time to refuel each day inside the walls of salvation?
  2. How can you minister outside the walls today?

A Better Way (Isaiah 54-57)

July 29, 2021

“Incline your ear that you may hear, and come to me; that your soul may live…” Isaiah 55:3

When Sherry and I travel she alway gets on our Maps App to decide which is the best route to take. Sometimes there will be two or three options. Usually we take the quickest route, but at other times because we know the routes we take, maybe not the shortest route, but the easiest to drive. We are willing to give up some time to take what we believe is the better way.

As we continue to read Isaiah, we come to one of my personal favorite chapters in Isaiah. I love chapter 55. The prophet began the chapter with a personal invitation to take the better route. The better route is Jesus!

According to the prophet, this route is for those who thirst for God (55:1), the true and living God. Sadly, the nation of Israel was choosing a path that had zero eternal return (55:2).

Question: What return are you getting on the route you are taking?

Isaiah challenges his readers in the following ways:

  1. He challenges us to incline our ear and listen to the Lord.
  2. He challenges us to seek the Lord while He is near.
  3. He challenges us to turn from our ways of thinking and embrace His thoughts and His ways.
  4. He challenges us to believe that God’s ways will always have a miracle return, “They will not return empty.”

Brothers and sisters, I want with all my heart to know Him more and I know you do as well. Let us each set our spiritual GPS to the coordinates of Jesus alone!

For all who make this decision there is a life of impact. It may seem small for you to incline your ear, seek the Lord, turn from your ways, and believe in Him, but it is not. Jesus said, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” Lk. 16:10

Bigger things are coming for those who magnify the Lord!!!

Two Questions:

  1. Will you make more time in your day to listen and to seek the Lord?
  2. What miracle path is God is leading you to take?

What He did for you (Isaiah 49-53)

July 28, 2021

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:4

Isaiah the prophet offers his readers an abundance of hope in today’s reading. For example, Isaiah points us to the unceasing love of God in 49:15-16:

15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
    that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
    yet I will not forget you.
16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are continually before me.

Isaiah assures us that those who wait for the Lord will not be put to shame (49:23). The God of Israel has all power to deliver (50:2).

For all who place their trust in God, they will experience everlasting joy (51:11). Brothers and sisters these are only a a sampling of all the things that God has done for us. As we rejoice together in what He has done, I want to place one more example before you this day.

Over and over Isaiah points us to the coming of our Messiah. In particular I ask that you pause here and read Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Did you read it? If not, please do so now.

In those chapters our Messiah is identified as “the suffering servant.” He was pierced for our transgressions. Please linger her. Take a few moments and reflect on what we have read:

  • Jesus took upon Himself the pain of our sorrows and griefs.
  • Jesus took upon Himself the judgment of God. He bore the wrath intended for me.
  • Jesus suffered and died in my place.
  • Jesus brings spiritual healing to all who surrender their lives to Him.

Dear friend lift your voice in praise for our Messiah who in complete obedience, as the Lamb of God, went to the cross. The sinless lamb of God was considered a wicked man when in truth He was the only righteous man dying for all unrighteous men.

All these things Jesus did with one goal in mind. He did it all for you! Oh I love Isaiah 53:11

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.

Oh what a Savior is Jesus our Lord. No matter what you are facing today, He is Lord. No matter how much unknown you may be dealing with, He is leading and you can trust Him. No matter how many times you blow it, He still loves you!!!

Now here is where we conclude today: What are we doing for the one who has done everything for us?

Your Name Oh Lord (II Kings 18:9-19:37; Psalm 46,80,135)

July 27, 2021

Your name, O Lord, endures forever,
    your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages. Psalm 135:13

Brothers and sisters, it is true, our help is in the name of the Lord. I want to testify before you that I believe because I know the Lord. I have experienced His work in my own life. I have also heard and seen so much of God’s work in my years on this earth.

This morning I have read about His greatness in the days of the Old Testament. This morning I read how the commander of the armies of Assyria came to the walls of the city of Jerusalem and proclaimed, “It is without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it,” (II Kings 18:25). This wicked commander challenged Israel’s God. In his blindness and wickedness he thought he was greater than God.

He did not know that the Lord had determined long ago that the Assyrian nation would be His (God) instrument for the discipline for the Northern Tribes of Israel (II Kings 19:25). He did not know that God would defeat his nation as a testimony to His (God) own greatness, (II Kings 19:19). The Lord knew all about Assyria and her every move (II Kings 19:27).

Through the prophet Isaiah, God spoke: “I will defend this city to save it! For my own sake and for the sake of my servant David,” (II Kings 19:34). Brothers and sisters, we can believe in the Lord.

Question: Are you in a dark place or are you in a battle that has wiped out all your energies? If so, do as King Hezekiah did, “He spread it all out before the Lord.”

Oh what a wonderful example this is for our lives. Each day we must do the following:

  • Lay out everything before God, Heb. 4:14-16.
  • Leave everything before the Lord, Psalm 46:10.
  • Lift up our voices and praise the name of the one true God, Psalm 135.

I believe the following with all that I am: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the most Him.”

If you have Jesus how could you every want or need more?

Paying Attention (Isaiah 44-48)

July 26, 2021

Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
    Then your peace would have been like a river,
    and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; Isaiah 48:18

Several weeks ago I had the honor of teaching in a pastors meeting, by Face Time, in Malawi Africa. As I taught I noticed two of the pastors who seemed tired from the start. The longer I taught the more they fought falling asleep. At one point I wanted to ask Stanley to tell the brothers to pay attention. In other meetings I have heard Stanley strongly challenged sleepers to pay attention. I have heard Stanley say, “This is important so pay attention.”

As Isaiah wrote to Israel, I believe the Holy Spirit was saying through him: Pay attention. Take a few moments and consider with me who this God is that we are called to pay attention:

  • He is the God who is the first and the last. Beside Him there is no other God, 44:6.
  • He is the God who knows the end from the beginning, 46:10.
  • He is the one whose counsel stands, and He accomplishes His purposes, 46:10.
  • He is the God who declares things before they happen, 48:5.
  • He is the God who leads us in the ways we should go, 48:17.
  • He is the God who walks with us even to grey hair and old age, 46:4.

Brothers and sisters, this is the God Israel needed to pay attention. But they did not pay attention. All they needed to do was to listen and obey,

Question: What or who do you and I pay attention?

I have found in my own life that I am much more productive when I pay attention to God. Please notice that I did not say I was perfect or that my life was problem free. I also did not say that my path was without pain.

The truth is, Sherry and I often have problems. Our light bulbs blow, our tires wear out, the cars occasionally break down, and our bodies get sick.

The reason we are productive is only because of Him. The redeemer of all the earth has redeemed us for His purposes. He alone is worthy of our ear and our heart!

Jesus stood before the city of Jerusalem and He wept because they would not pay attention to Him (Lk. 19:41-42).

2 questions:

  1. Who has your ear?
  2. Who has your heart?

What Do You Believe? (Isaiah 35-36)

July 23, 2021

 15 Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” Isaiah 36:15

Have you every known someone who’s philosophy of life was simply, I only believe what I see? In some ways I have this philosophy of life. For example, I do not believe much of what the media places before us. I only believe what I see. When some people tell me they will show up somewhere, I only believe it if they show up.

However, there is one I always believe. I believe what this one says even when I don’t immediately understand Him or see immediately what He promised. I believe because He has proven Himself trustworthy. I hope you know in whom I am writing about? His name is Jesus.

In Isaiah 35-36 the prophet exhorts Israel to believe in what God says. The prophet points the people beyond the days of judgment. He points the people to the day when the Lord Himself will come. The prophet identifies the Lord as “the majesty of God,” (35:2).

We need to grasp this today. People who believe find strength to face life in any circumstances. Let me explain. Here is what Isaiah wrote:

Strengthen the weak hands,
    and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
    “Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
    will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
    He will come and save you.”

Those who believe in the Lord experience the following:

  • Their hands are strengthened for the work ahead.
  • Their knees are strengthened to engage in true intercessory prayer.
  • Their anxious hearts become confident hearts for God.
  • Their lives begin to follow with confidence in the Lord’s power.

These things happened when Jesus first came to the earth, (John 7:38-39). I believe my friends. But there is more. Jesus is coming again (35:8-10).

When He comes, He will take His people to Heaven. Take time to ready 35:8-10

And a highway shall be there,
    and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
    It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
    even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.[a]
No lion shall be there,
    nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
    but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Oh how I am longing to live in the place where the streets are named, “the way of holiness.” I am rejoicing in knowing that in Heaven there will be no sin and there will no longer be a curse. In Heaven there will be unhindered worship.

Brothers and sisters, check out Revelation 7:17; 21:4. When the Devil comes against you, remind Him in whom you believe. When the Devil offers you a different path, remind Him of the way of holiness.

Let us sing with the redeemed of the all the ages, The Lord reigns!!!

Where Should we Turn (Isaiah 31-34)

July 22, 2021

Turn to him from whom people[c] have deeply revolted, O children of Israel. Isaiah 31:6

Could it even be possible that we are headed to another national shutdown because of a new type of Covid-19? One news castor asked this question: How much more can our nation take? Brothers and sisters, I plead with you to read today’s blog as being crucial for your life and for the nation we love.

Anyone who understands our day knows fully well that we are living in unstable times.

The Prophet Isaiah wrote about the unstable days he lived in. Isaiah wrote that the people had deeply revolted. Question: What does deeply revolted look like?

Isaiah gave us a picture of deep revolt in chapter 1:

Ah, sinful nation,
    a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
    children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
    they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
    they are utterly estranged.

Why will you still be struck down?
    Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
    and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
    there is no soundness in it,

The Apostle Paul also gave a report on deeply revolting people in Romans 1:18-32.

Brothers and sisters, do you know what happens to people who deeply revolt?

  • They will all perish together, 31:3.
  • The Lord who comes to judge has a sword called judgment, 34:6.
  • The Lord has a day when His judgment will take place, 34:8.
  • The Lord’s judgment is eternal, 34:10.

The days of instability must become our wakeup call as a Body of Believers. We must wake up to the eternal destiny of our friends and neighbors. As God’s people we are called to reveal God’s path for all people. Isaiah wrote, “God will be the stability of our times,” 33:8.

Let us join with Isaiah who called out to God, “O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the times of trouble.”

Let us join with Isaiah in calling out to our nation, “Turn to Him.”

Yes, it is an unstable time. But if people will return to God here is what God promises:

“In returning you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall you be strengthened,” 31:6.

This is where we need to turn as a nation! Dear Father, may your church become the place where people turn!!!

The Lord Waits (Isaiah 28-30)

July 21, 2021

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18

Who is this God that waits on people to turn to Him? Who is this God who holds in His hands grace and mercy ready to be given to human beings? Who is this God who is willing to cleanse even the worst of sinners?

The prophet Isaiah knew who this God was and is. In our focal text we learn so much about who this God is. Here is just a sample of the facts about this God:

  • He is mighty and strong, 28:2.
  • He is the foundation and cornerstone of His kingdom, 28:16.
  • He is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom, 28:29.
  • He is the potter and His creation is the clay, 29:16.
  • He is the holy one of Israel, 29:19.

Yes, this is the God who waits for His creation to turn to Him. He is the God who each and every day calls out to His creation, “This is the way, walk in it,” 30:21.

Question: Do you know this God that waits and is He waiting on you or are you walking with Him?

Oh how the Lord is calling loudly to a world that like Israel is saying, “we no longer want to hear about the Lord.”

At this stage of my life I am am asking, how can it be that anyone would not want to listen and obey the God who waits? The answer comes from Isaiah who wrote, “the nation turned aside from the path,” 30:11.

Brothers and sisters, we are living in a nation that has turned from the path. But we must remember God waits for people to turn. At the same time we must remember they cannot turn to a God they have never heard and they cannot turn to a God they have never known about. This is were you and I come in. Paul reminds us that we are called to go and tell our friends and neighbors about this God we know (Rom. 10:14-17).

As God waits, He is not only waiting for people to come to Him, He is waiting for His church to go for Him to all people. This very day, I am going and I want to ask you to go. The souls of all around you need to hear the voice of God! Let’s go because the harvest is everywhere.

No More! (Hosea 8-14)

July 20, 2021

Assyria shall not save us;
    we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
    to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.” Hosea 14:3

The words of the prophet Hosea are certainly anti-cultural for our day. Our culture teaches that we each are free to do what we want to do and we are free to set the rules of life as we see fit. Our culture says we have the right to whatever we feel is right and if we feel it is right it is right for us.

Many who read Hosea would question his thought process. Here is the question of all questions for Hosea? What gives you the right to tell anyone what is right.

I can hear the prophets response: I am only the messenger. God is the one who is putting forth what is right. Who is this God? Hosea reminds us that:

  1. This God is the creator of the universe and everything in it, 8:14.

2. This God cares for His creation, 11:1.

3. This God calls His creation to honor and obey Him, 10:3.

The nation of Israel in many ways pictures our modern day viewpoints. Israel chose to deny God as their king (11:3). Israel chose to attribute their blessings to their own self-efforts (11:1). The more God called to them the farther they walked away (11:2). Year after year God gave them time to repent, but to no avail. Hosea reminded Israel:

“There is only one true God, and besides Him there is no Savior” (13:6).

Each day the people stumbled in their transgressions (14:9).

God, in response to their actions simply said: “You sow the wind and now you will reap the whirlwind,” (8:7). The days of punishment and recompense had come, (9:7).

Brothers and sisters, my heart aches as I realize I live in a nation that is sowing the winds of rebellion against God. We must be so close to the whirlwinds of judgment. I believe the mercy of God is holding back the whirlwinds. This could be the days leading to the end (II Thess. 2:4-9).

Brothers and sisters, while we have time, let us pray for God’s awakening. Let us get our houses in order and let the church of the Lord Jesus rise up in true faith and obedience so that we can be a lighthouse in these last days.

Two questions:

  1. Are there things in your life that you need to say “no more.”
  2. Are you ready to bend your will to His in every area of your life?

A Messed Up People (Hosea 1-7)

July 19, 2021

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children. Hosea 4:6

I still remember the feeling of shame and sorrow as I attempted to answer two questions offered by the pastors at a pastors conference in Malawi. The first question caught me off guard. The pastor smiled and asked; “Do Christians really say it’s ok to practice homosexuality in America?” The shame of having to admit that some pastors and some congregations do this hit home. The second question came right after the first; “Why do American pastors not preach against such sin?” Again there was the shame and the added sorrow of telling my brothers of the shame in the lives of people who identify as pastors.

What happened next was even more humbling. The pastors began to mourn and to pray for the American church. I believe this must have been the heart of the prophet Hosea as he was called to illustrate the message in what Warren Wiersbe refers to as, “a painful action sermon.”

Here were his actions:

  • He was asked to marry a prostitute and he did.
  • He was asked to bear children by her and he did.
  • He was asked to take his wife back after she again became a whore.

What in the world did all this mean?

We know that the prostitute represented Israel. She was a sinner who needed a different life. Hosea represented God who was giving mercy to her. The children represented the mercy of God in all He had done for them. The scene of Hosea going after her and taking her back represented Jesus Christ coming to this world to buy back the opportunity of Israel and the world to be redeemed to Christ. There will be a day when Israel will come home (Zechariah 12:10-13:1).

Two things stand out here:

  1. God’s love is unconditional.
  2. God’s blessings are conditional.

Dr. Wiersbe helps us to understand these things: “The expression of God’s love is certainly unconditional, but our enjoyment of that love is conditional and depends on our faith and obedience,” (Wiersbe, Warren, Be Amazed, Selected Minor Prophets, Pg. 14)

Take a moment and consider your own life as I have mine. God reached out to unworthy people and offered grace to ungodly people who He made into Godly people.

As I think back to the pastors conference, I remembered praying that God would open American’s hearts to the truth that we have been called out of sin and not called to continue in sin. Will you join me in continuing to pray for spiritually awakening in American and around the world.