Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012 … The New Jerusalem

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 213 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 64-66 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: All of Chapter 64 : [NIV] … Isaiah, Chapter 64 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 65: 6-10 : [NIV] … 6 "See, it stands written before me: I will not keep silent but will pay back in full; I will pay it back into their laps — 7 both your sins and the sins of your ancestors," says the Lord. "Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains and defied me on the hills, I will measure into their laps the full payment for their former deeds." 8 This is what the Lord says: "As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and people say, 'Don't destroy it, there is still a blessing in it,' so will I do in behalf of my servants; I will not destroy them all. 9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live. 10 Sharon will become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds, for my people who seek me. 
Highlight Passage: Chapter 65: 17-25 : [NIV] … To study Isaiah’s vision of the New Jerusalem (i.e. heaven), go to this link
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 66: 1-2 : [NIV] … 1 This is what the Lord says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? 2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the Lord. "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” 

My Journal for Today: It’s raining this morning as I write this journal entry. Last night the rains came and cleansed the air and it’s now cleaning off the streets. In some respects, when it rains like this and then the sun comes out to shine brightly on a cleansed earth, I think of what Isaiah wrote about in these last three chapters of his prophetic books, especially his word pictures of the New Jerusalem or “heaven” as we know and refer to God’s final throne. And I think of how, being cleansed of this fallen world, the “Son” will rise again and redeem all the earth for His glory.

And just as I am this morning as I anticipate the sun rising on a cleansed (though still unredeemed) earth, it gives me great promise and hope of what my God has waiting for me in heaven. But, … some might ask how do I have confidence and hope that I will be in the New Jerusalem one day? Well, the answer to that is found in Isaiah’s clear declaration of whom will be the heaven dwellers forever. Read it above in Isaiah 66: 2, where he wrote God’s declaration: "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” 

That’s me, folks. How about you?

Am I always humble?  ... No; … but that is my obsessive drive in life … to live and serve the Lord as humbly as I can with a contrite spirit, doing all I can to become Like Jesus, the very Son of God, Who described Himself as humble and contrite (i.e., meek – see Matt. 11: 29). God knows my heart and my heart is to be completed into Christ’s image (see Phil. 1: 6 and 2: 5). … And yes, I absolutely am one who “trembles” at (i.e., reveres and compulsively pursues) God’s word. Why do you think I so willingly and obsessively am driven by a heart’s desire to read, study, and receive God’s word in my chronological trek through God’s word this year? It’s why I’m here, grabbing on to any truth I can glean from God’s word.

That doesn’t make me special. It only is a sign for me that I’m one of the redeemed remnant that Isaiah writes about – for God - in these last chapters; and it helps to give me hope when I consider the plight of this dark, and ever darkening, world in which we live … much like the world Isaiah saw around him in his days.

I pray this morning that we all fit into the criteria of the remnant God will take with Him into His New Jerusalem, and where He will rule on His throne forever.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to be humble and hold on to my contrite desire to be like You and to spend eternity with You in the New Jerusalem. Amen

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012 … He said, “The Spirit is upon Me.”

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 212 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 59-63 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Isaiah 59: 1-2; 20-21 : [NIV] … 1 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. … 20 "The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the Lord. 21 "As for me, this is my covenant with them," says the Lord. "My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever," says the Lord.
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 60: 1-2: 15 : [NIV] … [To God’s remnant of chosen believers] 1 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. … 15 "Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. …”
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 61: 1-2 : [NIV] … 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me [reference to Messiah], because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, … 
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.  
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 62: 1-3 : [NIV] … 1 For Zion's sake I [Isaiah in prayer for God’s chosen] will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. 2 The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.   3 You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. … 11 The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: "Say to Daughter Zion, 'See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.'" 12 They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 63: 1-4 : [NIV] … 1 Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with His garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, [i.e., The Messiah] proclaiming victory, mighty to save." 2 Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? 3 "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. 4 It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come. 

My Journal for Today: It’s Jesus! He’s the One, the Lamb of God. He’s the One about Whom Isaiah was called to prophesy. And if you read the passages God’s Spirit (I believe) led me to highlight above, I’m sure you’ll be as uplifted with hope as I was about our Savior.

But … of all the passages of promise above, the one I have emboldened and underlined is the prophetic declaration of The Messiah on which I want to focus today. And perhaps you remember from Jesus’ ministry on earth that dramatic scene, documented in Luke 4: 18 and following, where Jesus, as an itinerate, traveling Rabbi, was asked to open the scrolls of the Torah in the Synagogue in Nazareth, His home town, and to read from God’s word. This was a tradition in those times for highly regarded visiting Rabbis to be given this honor on the Sabbath during a time of corporate worship or study into God’s Holy Scriptures. And it would have been the local Priest of the Synagogue who selected the reading for Jesus to read. And wow! The passage selected just happened to be the prophetic words of Isaiah from Chapter 61: 1-2.

And I can just imagine Jesus stepping up, taking the scroll, with this preselected passage from the Priest and all the men in the Synagogue sat down to hear God’s word being read by this well-regarded visiting teacher, who was building a reputation for doing miraculous things. All attention was riveted on Jesus, even from the women who would have been in a gallery separate from the men. All eyes and ears were on this teacher, coming home to be with the people who knew Jesus growing up as a boy in this town.

And I can just imagine that Jesus, the God-man, spoke clearly the words of Isaiah, who in this highlighted passage was speaking – through God – His own words, declaring the truth, some 700+ years before Christ’s coming, … His own prophetic declaration of Who He was. And then, after reading this text, as we read in Luke 4: 20-21 Jesus handed the scroll back to the attendant for the Priest, and He sat down, declaring, “This Scripture has come true today before your very eyes!” 

And I can just imagine, the sighs of disbelief when Jesus said that. There would have been many sitting there who knew exactly what Jesus was saying in that moment. What they were hearing was Jesus declaring to his hometown people that He, Jesus, was THE ONE Who had come to fulfill the words of the Prophet and God’s prophesy of His coming. “What?!!!” … would have been the sentiment. In fact, Luke 4: 22 reports that many in the synagogue that day were saying, “Isn’t this Joseph’s boy?” They just couldn’t believe that the carpenter’s boy, who had been doing all these miracles around Galilee, having come from Capernaum to Nazareth, had just declared Himself to be The Messiah right there in front of them.

 And when reports of this got back to the Jewish leaders and the Pharisees, as history tells us actually happened, Jesus, in His own declaration had set Himself on His journey to the cross. But He also, in the words of this passage, was declaring His mission statement as the Messiah; and so, when you read this passage, my dear fellow believer, recognize that Jesus was declaring, clearly from God’s word, Who He was and WHY He had come to BE THE LIVING GOSPEL.

And when we read Jesus’ mission statement we, as His disciples, we should seeing ourselves somewhere in that statement. We’re here, in this life, my beloved to be completed in Jesus’ image (see Phil. 1: 6 and 2: 5); and so, when Jesus says clearly WHO HE IS, then we should take this as our mission to become that person in our lives.

 And so, … when Jesus declares that God’s Spirit is on Him, we need to recognize that God’s Spirit is on all Christians,  >>> When Jesus says that He came to preach the “Good News” (i.e., the Gospel), we need to be witnessing God’s good news to others. >>>  When Jesus declares that He came to set the captives free, give sight to the blind, and to free the oppressed, somehow, in some way, we should be finding ourselves involved in these areas of mission.

If this is Whom Jesus declared Himself to be, this is whom we should aspire to become. This is where we should be focusing our life’s energies. And so, dear one, I put it to all of us who call ourselves disciples of Jesus, … are we doing what Jesus came to do on earth? Are we taking on Jesus’ mission here on earth? Because that’s what He commissioned us to do (see Matt. 28: 19-20); and He said in that commission that He would be with us, giving us the same Spirit-power which raised Him from the dead to carry out His mission and His commission.

 I’ll leave it to you to take charge from Jesus and decide whether we’re living up to Jesus’ mission statement.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I have your mission before me. Help me to live it for Your glory. Amen

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29, 2012 … A Witness of Numbers

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 211 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 54-58 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Isaiah 54: 6-8 : [NIV] … 6 The Lord will call you [Israel] back as if you were a [childless] wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God. 7 "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the Lord, your Redeemer.
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 55: 6-8 : [NIV] … 6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon. 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 56: 6-8 : [NIV] … 6 And foreigners [i.e., Gentiles] who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to Him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be His servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to My covenant — 7 these I will bring to My holy mountain and give them joy in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." 8 The Sovereign Lord declares — he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."  
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 57: 6-8 : [NIV] … 6 The idols among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion; indeed, they are your lot. Yes, to them you have poured out drink offerings and offered grain offerings. In view of all this, should I relent? 7 You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill; there you went up to offer your sacrifices. 8 Behind your doors and your doorposts you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked with lust on their naked bodies. 
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 58: 6-8 : [NIV] … 6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 

My Journal for Today: Ever since I became a Christian, almost 30 years ago, God has used a type of Spirit-led numerology to speak to me. For example, God used the number “13” strongly to bring me to Himself back in 1983, using Philippians 4: 13 on April 13th (i.e., 4/13) on that exact date to speak to my heart, inviting me to find the spiritual strength I so desperately needed in a relationship with Jesus. And even before that He made me sensitive to the number “13” because my wife and I had our first date on 4/13/60 … AND … we were married on the 13th of a month in 1965 … AND … our 1st daughter was born on the 13th of a month … AND … my doctorate was awarded on the 13th of a month … AND … I opened my first clinical as a new doctor on the 13th of a month. And there were others before that Spirit-engineered day on 4/13/83 where God led me to see I needed Him for my salvation.

Well, today God did an interesting thing. Every morning, I pray that God would make clear from His word something from my daily – pre-assigned chronological Bible read – that will edify me or help me to edify someone else; and today, a pattern of highlighted scriptures exploded out at me which told me a story of redemption and hope and encouragement.

Note above that in the five chapters of Isaiah which I was led to read/study today, the highlighted passages which God emboldened for my attention were in Verses 6-8 of each of Chapters 54-58. And in studying these chapters/passages, a strong theme emerged.

And that theme is one of “whosoever would come to the Lord in faith will be saved!” Please take the time to at least read through the highlighted passages which are extracted by – I believe – God’s Spirit highlighting them for me; and see what message you get from them, collectively and individually.

The context here is Isaiah, led by the Spirit of the Lord, crying out to all who would hear, listen, and receive the Lord’s message that ANYONE who calls on the Name of the Lord, by witnessing of His all-inclusive love by their worship of devotion and obedience and faith, will be included in His glorious redemption. And aren’t you grateful that our Lord, who was not about to renege on His promises of redemption for Israel; has also included His covenant promise of salvation to any/all who would come to Him in the faith of obedient worship and righteous living.

That message just jumps off of the pages in this curious witness of passage numbers in verses 6-8 of the five chapters I was led to read and to study today. I hope you are as encouraged and uplifted from this curious study today as was I.

My Prayer Today: … You bless me so powerfully from Your word, Lord! Amen

Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28, 2012 … All, Like Sheep, Have Gone Astray

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 210 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 49-53 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Isaiah 49: 1: 7; 14-15 : [NIV] … 1 Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother's womb he has spoken my name. … 7 This is what the Lord says — the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel — to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: "Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you." … 14 But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." 15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 50: 10-11 : [NIV] … 10 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God. 11 But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches; go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.
 Highlight Passage: Isaiah 51: 1-3; 7; 11; 22 : [NIV] … 1 "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; 2 look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many. 3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. … 7 "Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults. … 11 Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. … <22 This is what your Sovereign Lord says, your God, who defends his people: "See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again. 
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 52: 1-3: 7; 13-14 : [NIV] … 1 Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. 2 Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive. 3 For this is what the Lord says: "You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed." … 7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" … 13 See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness— …  
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 53; 6 : [NIV] … Read – Study – Meditate on all of Chapter 53 from the link above! 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 

My Journal for Today: Wow! How does one, who has been drinking in such large quantities of Isaiah’s writings, choose what to journal, especially when I’m led to this particular section of the Prophet’s book, ... i.e., Chapters 49-53, where Isaiah, speaking/writing for God lays out the coming of the “suffering Servant,” the Lamb of God, Who would redeem all mankind from their sins? How does one summarize the wondrous prophesies about the One Who would suffer so ignominiously and be sacrifice beyond recognition; … yet, the One God would honor above all others as His Redeemer.

 Once again I just hope that you take in, as I have this morning, these great prophesies of truth, which speak, over 700 years before Christ would be born as a man, live, and die on a cross, so accurately and specifically of how The Christ would die for our sins, … as the prophet would say, above in verse 6 of Chapter 53; … ”and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

I once questioned a Jewish co-worker how he could read through Chapter 53 of Isaiah’s prophesies and not see that Isaiah was writing about Jesus; and my friend, a very wise and good man by worldly standards, simply dismissed my interpretation by saying that this was not a reference to Jesus. His Rabbi had taught him that the “him” reference in Isaiah 53: 6 was a reference to all of Israel as a nation. No matter how hard and clearly I spoke of all the references to Christ’s suffering on the cross from this and other OT scriptures, my friend (who was actually my superior at work) simply could not see it the way Christian scholars have interpreted these passages since shortly after the foundation of the church when the Bible was canonized into Scripture.

 But, one day, all mankind, especially those who experience the time when the Lamb of God comes as God’s Bridegroom for His bride, the Church, will recognize that Isaiah, when he was led to pen these chapters was speaking about the deliverance of the Israelites from Babylon, for one; but more importantly Isaiah was prophesying the coming of the Messiah and the Son of God, The Christ, delivering mankind from our sins.

And as Jesus said it on the cross, … ”It is finished!”   And so, one day in the future, all mankind will bow and declare that Jesus is LORD!!! [see Phil. 2: 6-11

My Prayer Today: … I declare it now, my Jesus, … You are LORD!!! Amen

Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012 … The Worship of Repentance

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 209 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Kings, Chapter 19 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 46 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 80 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 135 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: 2nd Kings 19: 14-19 :[NIV] … 14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: "Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. 17 It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands.18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands.19 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God." 31 [Isaiah, prophesying] … For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. "The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” 
Highlight Passage: Psalm 46: 1; 10-11 :[NIV] … 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. … 10 He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. ============
Highlight Passage: Psalm 80: 1-3; 7; 19 :[NIV] … 1 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us. 3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. … 7 Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved … 19 Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. ============
Highlight Passage: Psalm 135: 13-14 :[NIV] … 13 Your name, Lord, endures forever, your renown, Lord, through all generations. 14 For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. 

My Journal for Today: Okay, Bible history again (and again and again) has a lesson for us today. What is it that is said? “Those who’re unwilling to look at history and doomed to repeat their failures in the future.” … Well, something like that!

And our Bible history tells us, through men (i.e., leaders) like Hezekiah (and so many others) that when things look grim (yes, as they do now in our world), we need to go to God in prayer, repent of our sinful ways, and humbly wait on God for His deliverance. And God has promised, as we read in today’s highlight history lesson and these Psalms of deliverance, that the remnant of the faithful and chosen believers will be saved.

But we’ve got to be willing to pray, pray, pray, … just as did Hezekiah when all seemed lost. It isn’t rocket science, my friends; … it’s faith! It’s faith in God’s promises and a clear understand of His word which will lead us to our knees, as did Hezekiah, … to pray for us to repent and come back to God; because He has promised to deliver us.

When will we, dear ones? … Will we, my beloved??

My Prayer Today: … I am here praying for our deliverance, my LORD; but I know that it will only happen when we humbly pray and wait on You. Amen

And for your worship today … from Hillsong … Here I Am To Worship at this link:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26, 2012 … Refiner’s fire!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 208 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 44-48 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Isaiah 44: 6; 9-11; : [NIV] … 6 "This is what the Lord says — Israel's King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. … 9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. 10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing? 11 People who do that will be put to shame such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame. … 21 "Remember these things, Jacob for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you. 22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you." … 28 who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt," and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid."' 
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 45: 1-4; 18-19; 22-23 : [NIV] … 1 "This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: 2 I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. 4 For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me.” … 18 For this is what the Lord says — he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited — he says: "I am the Lord, and there is no other. 19 I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, 'Seek me in vain.' I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right. … 22 "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. 
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 46: 12-13 : [NIV] … 12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from my righteousness. 13 I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 47: 5-8 : [NIV] … 5 "Sit in silence, go into darkness, queen city of the Babylonians; no more will you be called queen of kingdoms. 6 I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance; I gave them into your hand, and you showed them no mercy. Even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke. 7 You said, 'I am forever — the eternal queen!' But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen. 8 "Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.'  
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 48: 1-4; 9-11 : [NIV] … 1 "Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord and invoke the God of Israel—but not in truth or righteousness—2 you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and claim to rely on the God of Israel — the Lord Almighty is his name: 3 I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. 4 For I knew how stubborn you were; your neck muscles were iron, your forehead was bronze. … 9 For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely. 10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. 

My Journal for Today: I’ve copied (above) significant passages from each of these five chapters from Isaiah; and to me I’ve always been blown away by this section of scripture as spoken by God through His Prophet. I’m blown away because Isaiah’s prophesies about Babylon – so long before the actual historical events occurred – illustrate God’s truth in His canonized word and are so powerful in their accuracy.

And in today’s study, God almost brags about how He allows – under His sovereignty – for Cyrus to become God’s agent in the rebuilding of God’s temple many years hence, which we read about being documented by scripture, much later chronologically, in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. How could anyone read these prophesies and not be impressed with God’s predictions, as well as doubly taken away by God’s love and mercy with his disobedient Israelite children? It is wondrous, i.e., His love, … isn’t it?

I’m not going to say very much today. Just take in these powerful chapters – or at least meditate on the highlighted portions above – and stop to PRAISE GOD [!!], as I am in my consciousness this morning, knowing that we, who have responded to God’s ultimate prophesy and His ultimate mercy, by believing in and receiving His ultimate love through our Messiah, Jesus, the Christ, have been saved from our own disobedience to be able to spend eternity in God’s ultimate promised-land, the New Jerusalem.

So, join me in shouting aloud in our spirit … Hallelujah!!

My Prayer Today: … Again I say, HALLELUJAH!!! Amen

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25, 2012 … Hope Is In The Lord

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 207  

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 40-43 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Isaiah 40: 29-31 : [NIV] … 29 He [Yahweh] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 41: 4 : [NIV] … 4 Who has done this [i.e., released the Israelites from captivity under Cyrus II over a hundred years in the future of this prophesy] and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord—with the first of them and with the last—I am he." … 8 "But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham, my friend, 9 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 42: 1-4; 10; 18-20 : [NIV] … 1 "Here is my servant [i.e., the Messiah], whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. 3 A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice; 4 He will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth. In His teaching the islands [i.e., the remnant of believers] will put their hope." … 10 Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands [i.e., those who hold out hope/belief only in The Messiah], and all who live in them…. 18 "Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see! 19 Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one in covenant with me, blind like the servant of the Lord? 20 You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen." 
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 43: 1-4 : [NIV] … 1 But now, this is what the Lord says — He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cusht and Seba in your stead. 4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. 

My Journal for Today: Well, if you’ve been following my journal entries and reading along with me in my chronological trek through the Bible, of late we’ve been studying the rather gruesome prophesies of Isaiah, primarily towards Judah, who, though Hezekiah had led them to a degree of strength and righteousness, was still under God’s chastisement for their waning of faith and wayward failings, falling away from His written word and will.

Isaiah had prophesied the fall of Judah to Babylon, which had to have been bummer news to the Lord’s people, especially the leaders of His chosen ones in Judah. But in Chapters 40-43 of Isaiah’s book, which was my study assignment for today, we see a shift in mood and a much more comforting message to any/all in Judah who might be willing to hear the Prophet and follow, in faith and hopefulness, the promises of God.

Have you ever been really down when you hear the evening news, with murder and mayhem leading the TV reports in your area? And when you look down the road, do you almost grieve for what you see what your kids and grandkids are likely to face in their future? The present and the perceived future are not a pretty picture, are they? Well, that’s the way things looked for Judah at the end of Chapter 39 of Isaiah. But here in these four chapters (i.e., 40-43) the message is one of hope and a future filled with joy and peace for God’s chosen believers.

In fact, … when I’m down and bummed out, possibly stressed out or emotionally weakened about the circumstances of my life, I have learned to use a few prescriptive verses to lift my spirits – passages like Prov. 3: 5-6, Is. 26: 3, Phil. 4: 6-7 &13, and 2nd Cor. 12: 9. But probably the main verse which lifts my attitude toward hopefulness and away from sinful anxiety is one of those from today’s reading - Isaiah 41: 10, which I’ve memorized in the NKJV and which reads, Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ 

Who, along with many of the verses and passages from these chapters from God through Isaiah, would not be uplifted … IF … that person truly believed these words from God. In these chapters, Isaiah is bringing God’s reiterated promises of the Messiah and the re-gathering of His chosen peoples into His promised land; and that is in spite of their horrible and chronic disobedience. Yes, the remnant of true believers should take great hope in the promises of these prophesies from Isaiah, highlighted above for your reading.

And if you feel dragged out and weary of heart from life these days, take note and BELIEVE in the promises of that oft quoted passage in Isaiah 40: 29-31. Go ahead and read it above. Read it OUT LOUD! Read it again!! … Doesn’t it make you feel good inside … right to the core of your soul? It sure does that for my spirit; and I implore you to place a “FAVORITES” mental marker on these passages in Isaiah in the future when you feel a bit down. And come back here and read through these chapters ALOUD; and if, as I do, you REALLY believe that God’s word and His promises are true, you’ll be uplifted by these words of God; and you’ll soar like the eagle with God’s promises of His return to bring us into His New Jerusalem.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, this morning I soar with hope on the wings of Your promises. Amen

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24, 2012 … Praying Like the Ancients

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 206 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 37-39 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this linkPassage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 76 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Isaiah 38: 1-6 : [NIV] … 1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover." 2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 "Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5 "Go and tell Hezekiah, 'This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.  
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 37: 1-4; 14-18; 33-37 : [NIV] … 1 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. 2 He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3 They told him, "This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives." … 14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 "Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.” 18 "It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 19 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 20 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God." … 33 [God through Isaiah] "Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: "He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. 34 By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city," declares the Lord. 35 "I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!" 36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. 

My Journal for Today: There’s a lot which one could journal about in all the assigned chronological chapters from the writings of Isaiah and Psalm 76 for today’s reading. However, I want to focus on the exposé on prayer in Chapters 37-38 of Isaiah’s book; but, I will do so in reverse order; because in studying these chapters it’s quite obvious that chapter 38 was written before chapter 37. Why they were compiled in the order they were in our Bible, I cannot say; and I could find no commentary to give me the reason.

No matter; what I want to focus on were the prayers of both Isaiah and Hezekiah into today’s Bible study; and there is a lot of meat for us to digest here today.

First, we note that these two men had a priority strategy when it came to handling problematic circumstances in their lives; and their first-order and priority strategy (what I’d call a “battle plan”) was what? Yes, … if you’ve read even my highlighted passages above, you’ll note that PRAYER was the default problem-solving strategy for both Hezekiah, the King of Judah and Isaiah, the Prophet of God whom Hezekiah relied upon most.

When Hezekiah became deathly ill (see highlight on Chapter 38 above), Isaiah had a word from God that Hezekiah was close to death (and true Prophets of God never were wrong in their prophesies). Hearing the gloomy message from Isaiah, what did Hezekiah do immediately, almost in knee-jerk reaction to the news? HE PRAYED! And what did Hezekiah’s Pastor/Prophet do immediately. HE PRAYED!! And what was the result? God “changed His mind;” … or some might say it appeared that God changed His course when, in actuality, it was God’s plan all along that the Lord would add length to the life of Hezekiah so that the King would be able to deal with the Assyrians who were coming to assault Judah at the time of Hezekiah’s illness.

Then we move chronologically to the exposé in Chapter 37, where the confrontation between the Assyrian King, Sennacherib, and Hezekiah occurred in Judah. Here we read the Assyrians boastfully came to capture Judah; and by all human perspective, the Assyrians were a far superior force than the Israelites in Jerusalem and Judah. So, what did Hezekiah immediately do? Yes, … at Isaiah’s exhortation, HE PRAYED!!! And you can read Hezekiah’s prayers above in bold/underlined from Isaiah 37: 16-20, where the king prayed for God’s deliverance from the superior forces of the Assyrians. And what was the result? God protected and delivered those in Judah … well, at least for this brief period of history.

If we fast forward in biblical accounts, one day, Hezekiah’s pride would grab a hold of him; and the tribes of Judah would be consumed by the judgment of God by their captivity at the hands of the Babylonians. But right at the time of Chapters 38 and 37 in Isaiah, in that correct chronological order, we read of how God honors the prayers of surrendered believers, especially leaders, like Hezekiah and Isaiah.

And that principle of God bending down to listen to His children, especially when we’re in distress, can be found in one of my favorite psalms [see Psalm 116, verses 1-6]. This is what Hezekiah and Isaiah relied upon; and their surrendered attitudes of humility were honored by God when He gave Hezekiah healing and longer life and Judah deliverance from the Assyrians, … all in answer to the humble prayers of God’s servants, Hezekiah and Isaiah.

But you might ask” “Will God answer my prayers the way He answered those of these Old Testament giants?” Well, on the authority of God’s word (such as Proverbs 3: 5-6 and Paul’s exhortation in Phil. 4: 6-7 as well as Jesus’ pronouncements in John 15: 7), when we’re in proper vertical alignment with God, as were Hezekiah and Isaiah when they prayed in these historical times, we can expect the same superpower from prayer with powerful personal outcomes like our Bible icons experienced as we read about them in their times.

Right now as I write this, I’m reading a book by a new friend of mine. The book is entitled Superpower: Praying Like the Ancients. I met the author, Matthew Bryan, who lives here in Memphis, a few months ago; and his new book (which can be accessed at his website – linked here)  has really given my prayer life a boost. It’s a short, but powerful, read; and if you’d like to get more Isaiah-like prayer results, I’d highly recommend Matthew Bryan’s cleverly-written book to help you.

That’s enough for today; and if you can get the kind of enhanced prayer life from this read, much as I have recently from applying the biblical principles exhibited by Hezekiah and Isaiah and written about by Matthew Bryan in his new book, this journal entry will be well worth the time God used for me to write it.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You today for highlighting Your wondrous and powerful vehicle of prayer to bring my into alignment with Your will and Your way … especially when I pray to You from Your word. And I do so today in the Name of Jesus! Amen

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012 … The Joys of Glory

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 205 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 35-36 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Isaiah, Chapter 35 [MSG] To study this chapter in the Message version, go to this link
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 36: 1-2; 4-7 : [NIV] … 1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2 Then the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. … 4 The field commander said to them, "Tell Hezekiah: "'This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? 5 You say you have counsel and might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? 6 Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. 7 But if you say to me, "We are depending on the Lord our God"—isn't he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship before this altar"? 

My Journal for Today: In the past few days, we’ve been delving into all of the doom-and-gloom prophesies God leveled on His own people, the Israelites, both in the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, as to how God’s wrath would be visited on both kingdoms because they had fallen away from their pursuit of the will and ways of the living God, Yahweh, by ignoring and snubbing His written word. And the prophesies are grim, to say the least, reminding us of what will be the eternal outcomes for those who reject Yahweh.

Then, in Chapter 35 of his writings, Isaiah takes a break from the negative with a chapter loaded with positive prophesy. It would be like walking out of the parched desert wilderness, dying of thirst, and walking into an oasis of joy, peace, and fruit-laden beauty. And if you’re ever been in a bad place as a believer in Yahweh, Who came to earth to deliver us from our desert of sinfulness and selfishness, just go to Isaiah 35, which I have linked for you above, and upon which I suggest you slowly meditate from The Message version of the Bible. It’s promising beauty is refreshing … to say the least!

As I’ve been reading through the past assigned chronologically presented chapters, from the prophets of Isaiah’s day, one can’t help but see that so many people today are caught up in the same desert of sinfulness and selfishness which was being practiced by the Israelites as well as their pagan neighbors, in those days, about 700+ years before Christ. And Isaiah’s dire prophesies to God’s chosen ones in those times would certainly apply to non-believers and mockers of God and Christ today.

This also was my feeling a I studied Chapter 36 today, where the King of Assyria, Sennacherib, came against Hezekiah, the King in Judah, mocking and falsely claiming to follow the true god, which was a fabrication from his false beliefs in pagan gods. And today we see so many in our culture/world who worship and promote idolatry and false beliefs. And they come against those of us who worship and revere the One, True God, Who came to earth to save mankind from such foolish and false worship and to give believers in the Messiah the way to find what Isaiah wrote about in his Chapter 35.

So, please go back and get a refreshing drink from the fountain of God’s promises about Heaven in this chapter and be refreshed with joy, knowing that you’re reading about the time when Jesus, The Messiah, comes again to take us to live in the New Jerusalem, where we will not have to weep and moan for all those who are lost. We will see the lamb lay down with the lion; and we will shed only tears of joy … forever.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I can’t wait to be with You forever in that joyous and glorious place. Amen

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22, 2012 … God’s Wrath Upon Edom

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 204 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 31-34 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Isaiah 31: 1; 6-7 : [NIV] … 1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord. … 6 Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. 7 For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.  
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 32: 1-3 : [NIV] … 1 See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. 2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. 3 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen.
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 33: 5-6 : [NIV] … 5 The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness. 6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. ============
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 34: 1-3; 5-6 : [NIV] … 1 Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! 2 The Lord is angry with all nations; His wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy them; He will give them over to slaughter. … 5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed. 6 The sword of the Lord is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat — the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 

My Journal for Today: Four more chapters from the prophesies of God from Isaiah in my readings today, in this case directed to any/all who would come against God and try to oppose or destroy His people. And right at the end of these chapters in Isaiah book, Chapter 34, some verses highlighted above, God, through Isaiah, uses the nation of Edom as an example of how God’s wrath will not be compromised and how His destruction will be complete against any/all who might come against His promised and covenant peoples, especially against those who had remained true in their worship of Yahweh by living as God had intended when He gave the Israelites, through Moses, His ways from His word.

Edom was a first-cousin nation to Israel, having descended from Esau; and having been dispersed into the hills just east of God’s promised land. The Edomites where mountain and cave dwellers; and they built mighty structures in the mountains of what is now the country of Jordan; and they were constant enemies of Israel, harassing God’s people, the descendants of Jacob, at every opportunity. And here in Isaiah’s prophesies God lays down His picture of how He would eradicate any nation or any people, like Edom, who would reject Yahweh; and we know from history that Isaiah’s prophesies about Edom were fulfilled to the letter in the utter destruction of the Edomites as a nation and as a people.

All of today’s segment of what Isaiah referred to as His “Book of the Lord” (referring to Isaiah’s prophesies – see the NLT for this reference in Isaiah 34: 16 - points to the reality and truth that any individual, and especially any nation, who would come against God’s will and His ways, as laid out in His word, will suffer His wrath of judgment; and we, New Covenant believers, know that this is spelled out in the prophesies from the Apostle John in the Book of the Revelation.

But … and this is a very important BUT … those who do believe in Yahweh and follow His “Book of the Lord,” as Isaiah referred to God’s word, will one day find themselves in the New Jerusalem; and they will be able to worship Yahweh in Yeshua forever in peace and covered by the light of God’s love. Isaiah writes about this in today’s segment from his prophesies; so, I hope you take the time to read and mediate on what we faith-followers of Jesus can expect when we come to experience the glory of the New Jerusalem.

But fair and clear warning is given in these prophesies to any/all who mock Yahweh with their lives, … especially the ones who openly come against God and His peoples. They are going to experience the carnage of God’s wrath for eternity; and it will be horrible and complete.

As Steve McGarrett used to say in the TV show Hawaii 50 … “Book it, Danno!” … God said it; as did Jesus from the cross, “IT IS FINISHED!” And everything I read/studied in today’s prophesies from Isaiah will come to pass.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I believe ALL of Your prophesies; and I yield in faith to Your promises, knowing that You will lead me to the New Jerusalem. … HALLELUJAH!!! Amen

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 21, 2012 … Looking Into God’s Mirror of Truth

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 203  

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 28-30 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Isaiah 28: 1-3; 11-12; 16-18 : [NIV] … 1 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley — to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine! 2 See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground. 3 That wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, will be trampled underfoot. … 11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, 12 to whom he said, "This is the resting place, let the weary rest"; and, "This is the place of repose" — but they would not listen. … 16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. 17 I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place. 18 Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it.  
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 29: 13-15; 17-20 : [NIV] … 13 The Lord says: "These people [i.e., Judah] come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. 14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish." 15 Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, "Who sees us? Who will know?" … 17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? 18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear, and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down— …
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 30: 1-3; 10-11; 15 : [NIV] … 1 "Woe to the obstinate children," declares the Lord, "to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge. 3 But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame, Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace. … 10 They [i.e., many in Judah] say to the seers [to Isaiah and other prophets of God], "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!" … 15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.  

My Journal for Today: After reading of Hosea’s prophesies to the northern kingdom of Israelites the last few days, we return to the plaintive pleas of Isaiah to the southern kingdom in Judah, where God – through His prophet, Isaiah, is trying to get the more obedient children of Israel to realize that they are going astray.

Hezekiah, as we’ve seen in earlier studies of the kings of Israel, had been a pretty good leader in Jerusalem, doing a lot of good things for God. But he let his pride grab him; and he was fearful of what the king of Assyria could do to the Israelites; and he set out to forge an alliance with Egypt. … NOT GOOD!!! … And Isaiah cried out against this move, where Judah was not waiting on God for His promised protection of His children. Rather, … Hezekiah just didn’t want to hear how Isaiah and other prophets were warning Judah. You can read this in the highlight verses above I’ve selected from these three chapters of Isaiah’s writings. And in the last verses – in bold and underlined – one application for all believers is evident. And I call this the phenomena of looking into God’s mirror of truth, which is my title for today’s journal entry.

Hey, ... very few people like to be naked and stand in front of a mirror. By doing so, we see all the flaws on the outside; and most of the time we don’t like what we see. And when we do work up enough muster to look into the mirror, I generally see three reactions taking place.

First, there are the DEFIANT, … the ones who look into the mirror and see the truth and get angry, ... maybe even so angry that they try to destroy the mirror. Those could have been a lot of the Judeans who rebelled in anger as we read in Isaiah 30: 10-11 copied above. These people, not wanting to hear anymore of God’s truth from Isaiah and other prophets, just wanted to strike out in defiant anger when they were shown the mirror of God’s truth.

But, then there are the DEFENSIVE, probably like King Hezekiah, who became self-absorbed when seeing (or hearing) from God’s truth. These may read of truth in God’s word or hear of it from a pulpit sermon or maybe even get it from a discerning friend; and rather than looking deeper or listening more for God’s direction, they turn toward selfish or prideful directions and walk away from the mirror. These are people who, after looking into God’s mirror of truth, may, like Hezekiah, turn to their own way or maybe they just quit getting into God’s word or back away from the fellowship of believers (i.e., the church) for a time. They just get personally defensive when they are shown God’s mirror of truth.

Finally, there are the DETERMINED believers, who, when shown their own clear image in the mirror of God’s truth, are determined to change. Maybe these believers saw themselves clearly from a prophetic message or from studying God’s word deeply or in being confronted by a dear, fellow believer who really wants to help (as in Phil. 2: 3-4 or Gal. 6: 1). No matter how they see the mirror of truth, they clearly see who they are or who they not; and these believers become determined to be reshaped into a more God-like image

The followers of God in Judah in Isaiah’s time were believers; and they even had leaders, like Hezekiah, who wanted to follow God. However, when they were confronted with God’s mirror of truth, many, including Hezekiah, took the very human and natural route of becoming DEFIANT or DEFENSIVE, rather than being DETERMINED to see and hear God’s truth and to wait on God to give them the direction and protection He had promised them.

Oh, how we, SO OFTEN, react by letting our human defaults get in the way and distort what we see when we look into God’s mirror of truth. What about you (or me)? Are we looking into God’s mirror of truth – from His word - daily to see our selves clearly in God’s light; and if so, are we willing to be DETERMINED believers who just really desire to use God’s mirror to let us see and become a more Christlike image?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I see me in the mirror; and I do so want to become more like You. Amen

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20, 2012 … Choices !!!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 202 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Hosea, Chapters 1-7 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Hosea 8: 1-4; 13-14 :[NIV] … 1 "Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the Lord because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law. 2 Israel cries out to me, 'Our God, we acknowledge you!' 3 But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him. 4 They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction. … 13 Though they offer sacrifices as gifts to me, and though they eat the meat, the Lord is not pleased with them. Now he will remember their wickedness and punish their sins: They will return to Egypt [figuratively into captivity - this time by the Assyrians]. 14 Israel has forgotten their Maker and built palaces; Judah has fortified many towns. But I will send fire on their cities that will consume their fortresses." 
Highlight Passage #2: Hosea 9: 7; 15-17 :[NIV] … 7 The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, … the inspired person a maniac. … 15 "Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious. 16 Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit. Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring." 17 My God will reject them because they have not obeyed him; they will be wanderers among the nations.
Highlight Passage #3: Hosea 10: 1: 12-14 :[NIV] … 1 Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself. As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones. … 12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. 13 But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors,14 the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated …  
Highlight Passage #4: Hosea 11: 1-4 :[NIV] … 1 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. 3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.
Highlight Passage #5: Hosea 12: 6: 9; 13-14 :[NIV] … 6 But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always. … 9 "I have been the Lord your God ever since you came out of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, as in the days of your appointed festivals…. 13 The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt, by a prophet he cared for him. 14 But Ephraim has aroused his bitter anger; his Lord will leave on him the guilt of his bloodshed and will repay him for his contempt.
Highlight Passage #6: Hosea 13: 1-3 :[NIV] … 1 When Ephraim spoke, people trembled; he was exalted in Israel. But he became guilty of Baal worship and died. 2 Now they sin more and more; they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images, all of them the work of craftsmen. It is said of these people, "They offer human sacrifices! They kiss calf-idols!" 3 Therefore they will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window.
Highlight Passage #7: Hosea 14: 1; 9 :[NIV] … 1 Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 2 Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” … 9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. 

My Journal for Today: Today, we finished out the prophesies of Hosea in chapters 8-14; and I know that the length of such a reading assignment can be daunting; but I hope you’ll at least read through the passages I’ve highlighted above and take in these final comments I’ll make as I went through these chapters today in Hosea.

Hosea, as one of God’s prophets, really had a tough gig. He was called on to paint comparative canvases of truth before the rebellious children of Jacob (renamed to be “Israel”); and at this time in their history, the 12 tribes had separated into two geographically separated and spiritually divided cultural groups. One of them was the northern tribes, referred to in scripture often as “Israel” or “Ephraim,” depending on your Bible translation. These northern Jews had been terribly and almost irrevocably infested by paganism, idolatry, and selfish greed, carrying out all kinds of ungodly living/worship practices. Judah, on the other hand, located where God’s temple was in Jerusalem, further south, had, to some degree, maintained some of the disciplines and practices of the faith they had gotten from Moses, the Priesthood, and the Prophets, the teachers and spiritual shepherds whom God had provided to remind Judah of what was written for them in God’s Book of the Law by Moses. But even Judah began to choose to move toward selfish and sinful practices, forgetting what God had led them to understand was His will and His ways and CHOOSING to disobey Yahweh.

“Choices,” which is the title of my journal entry today, is really the subtext of the last six chapters in Hosea; and in these writings, the Prophet pours out God’s documentation of the waywardness and sinfulness of His chosen people, whom the Lord had delivered from Egypt decades earlier than Hosea was living. But in these chapters, as you can read above, we also see God, in his ever-loving mercy, continually returning to the plea for any of those recalcitrant Jews to repent and turn back to the ways of God, written in the Book of the Law and preached by the Prophets.

Even though God was about to discipline the nation of Israel (both northern and southern kingdoms) for their collective rebellion and sinful worship of idols and lascivious lifestyles, as a culture, Yahweh always provided a choice which involved repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. And back and forth, you see that balance in reading through these last chapters in Hosea. Finally, as we close out the Prophet’s book, in Chapter 14, this choice becomes blatantly apparent; … as God’s children we can CHOOSE to live by God’s ways, seeking and following His will, clearly spelled out in His word; … OR … we can turn away from our Savior and seek the selfish ways which will be clearly laid out for us by Satan and his minions in the world.

Israel, as a nation in Hosea’s time, chose the latter; and we see what happened to them. America, as a nation, is following suit; and can you be prophet to predict, based upon God’s word, what might happen to us in our country’s future – if we, as a nation continue on this path? Duh!

But you and I don’t have to follow the sinful ways of idolatry, selfish greed, and injustice which Hosea and other prophets of God preached about, do we? We can CHOOSE to follow God and to live out what Jesus commanded His disciples to do (that verse I’ve probably quoted more often than any other in my journaling), as our Lord said, If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” 

 If you’ve read with me today, our CHOICE is clear … self or Savior!

My Prayer Today: … I choose Your way, Lord! Amen

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012 … Our faithful, forgiving God

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 201 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Hosea, Chapters 1-7 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Hosea 1: 1-3 :[NIV] … 1 The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoasht king of Israel: … 2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, "Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord."3 So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.  
Highlight Passage #2: Hosea 3: 1-5 :[NIV] … 1 The Lord said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes." 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you." 4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.  
Highlight Passage #3: Hosea 4: 1 :[NIV] … 1 Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. … 15 "Though you, Israel, commit adultery, do not let Judah become guilty. "Do not go to Gilgal; do not go up to Beth Aven. And do not swear, 'As surely as the Lord lives!' 
Highlight Passage #4: Hosea 5: 1; 4 :[NIV] … 1 "Hear this, you priests! Pay attention, you Israelites. Listen, royal house! This judgment is against you: You have been a snare at Mizpah, a net spread out on Tabor. … 4 Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord. … “  
Highlight Passage #5: Hosea 6: 4-6 :[NIV] … 4 "What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. 5 Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets. I killed you with the words of my mouth — then my judgments go forth like the sun. 6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.  
Highlight Passage #6: Hosea 7: 1-2 :[NIV] … 1 Whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim [i.e., Israel] are exposed and the crimes of Samaria revealed. They practice deceit, thieves break into houses, bandits rob in the streets; 2 but they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are always before me. … 8 "Ephraim mixes with the nations; Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over. 9 Foreigners sap his strength, but he does not realize it. His hair is sprinkled with gray, but he does not notice. 10 Israel's arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the Lord his God or search for him. 

My Journal for Today: The first seven chapters of one of the most intriguing books in the OT, Hosea, provides the meat for my large meal of truth this morning. Wow! To think that Hosea, as a prophet of God, was chosen to be a living allegory for the people to whom he was asked to prophesy must’ve been very daunting for poor Hosea. Here he was asked by God to be a living picture of the Lord to His people; and the prostitute, Gomer, whom he married, become the living picture of Israel (and to some degree, Judah as well). Then, after chapter 3 in the book Hosea, God’s word from Hosea doesn’t focus on his own allegorical marriage anymore. He gets right to the message he has been charged by God to bring to God’s people, and especially to their leaders.

There’s a lot one could comment/journal about with regard to the Hosea – Gomer relationship, especially how it pictures God’s covenant loyalty to His chosen Bride. What an incredible picture was Hosea, by his own life and marriage, of God to God’s people of Hosea’s day and to us, as God’s chosen bride, the church, today. But this morning in this journal entry I want to focus on the verses I’ve highlighted above from Chapter 7.

In these verses, especially verses 1-2 of Chapter 7 [in bold above], we see that God is declaring that we, His people, who become recalcitrant and rebellious to His ways, need to remember that He is always watching; and He ALWAYS cares; and then the toughest of truths, … He will not abide our sinfulness. Yet, as the whole book of Hosea declares, though our Lord may chastise us in disobedience, as He did with Israel/Judah, our God will never forsake His promises and He will always remain faith, … always coming after His children to bring those who remain with Him, in faith, back into a loving relationship with Him.

How are we living and loving our Lord? Are we treating Him like the loving Bridegroom He is or are we being a prostitute, as was Gomer to Hosea? Are we, as it says in Revelation 19, His loving and betrothed bride, preparing our linens for the return of our faithful Groom, Who will one day come to sweep up His Bride and take her to the wedding feast of the Lamb?

I’ll leave you to contemplate and meditate on those questions; because they are at the heart of the message Hosea was bringing to His people in his time and to us in our troubled times today.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, forgive me if I’m in anyway unwilling to love You and patiently wait for You, preparing my linens for Your return. I do so want to be ready when You come for me. Amen

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18, 2012 … Humble Worship Restored

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 200  

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Kings 18 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link
 Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles, Chapters 29-31 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 48 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: 2nd Kings 18: 1; 5-7; 13 :[NIV] … 1 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. … 5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 
Highlight Passage #2: 2nd Chronicles 29: 3-5; 11; 20-21; 29-31 :[NIV] … 3 In the first month of the first year of his [Hezekiah’s] reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them.4 He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side5 and said: "Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. … [Hezekiah to the Levites] 11 “My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense." … 20 Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together and went up to the temple of the Lord.21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs and seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of the Lord…. 29 When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped.30 King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed down and worshiped. 31 Then Hezekiah said, "You have now dedicated yourselves to the Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the Lord." So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings.  
Highlight Passage #3: 2nd Chronicles 30: 1; 10-12; 15; 25 :[NIV] … 1 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. 10 The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but people scorned and ridiculed them.11 Nevertheless, some from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.12 Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the Lord. 15 They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the temple of the Lord. … 25 The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, along with the priests and Levites and all who had assembled from Israel, including the foreigners who had come from Israel and also those who resided in Judah. 
Highlight Passage #4: 2nd Chronicles 31: 1-2; 20-21 :[NIV] … 1 When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property. 2 Hezekiah assigned the priests and Levites to divisions—each of them according to their duties as priests or Levites—to offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to minister, to give thanks and to sing praises at the gates of the Lord's dwelling. 20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.  
Highlight Passage #5: Psalm 48: 1; 14 :[NIV] … 1 Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. … 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.  

My Journal for Today: Another rather rigorous reading day in my chronological reading plan, … today studying about King Hezekiah, one of the good guys in 2nd Kings and Chronicles; and the king in Judah who almost wrought a complete turn-around in the worship lives of the Israelites before Hezekiah’s progeny came in and wrecked it all.

But during Hezekiah’s rule, as you can read from today’s study, God was worshiped and the Book of the Law reintroduced; and many of the God-honoring festivals, like Passover, were brought back into the life of the Israelites. Hezekiah even tried to introduce Godly worship and devotion into the lives of the northern tribes; but most of them simply laughed at him. A small number (there always seems to be a remnant seeking God), however, did come back to Jerusalem to join in with the revival which God had released on His people because of Hezekiah’s Godly reign.

And if one does a little biblical study of the great Old Testament revivals, as I did for this journal entry, you would see that every one of these great returns to God from rebellion, idolatry, and the like was accompanied by a collective surrender to God and His word, great movements of fasting/prayer, and a spreading individual obedience to God’s will, usually following some great and Godly leader, like Moses, Samuel, David, Jehoshaphat, Ezra, Nehemiah, or our hero of the day, Hezekiah.

There are many in our world today who’re clamoring for revival and teaching Godly principles and calling our worldly leaders to repent and return to God’s ways through His word; ,,, men like John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, David Jeremiah (doesn’t he have a great biblical name), Chuck Swindoll, and others. But how many of us are listening; and how many churches are applying their teachings in their own churches? How many of us are fasting and praying for revival? And how many of us are living lives totally surrendered to God’s will from His word?

I believe, when God senses we, as a world, are moving in His direction, He, through His Spirit will release revival on our world; … OR … Jesus will return for His bride. Either one is in my prayers almost daily.  

My Prayer Today: … Lord, reign down Your love and righteousness in revival on this land; or come again … SOON!!! Amen