Isaiah 25

O Lord, You are my God.
I will exalt You,
I will praise Your name,
For You have done wonderful things;
Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. (Isaiah 25:1)

This is a beautiful chapter talking of the praise and worship and redemption of those who are suffering through the Great Tribulation. But this makes me think: those people are gonna go through such great pain and suffering – and they still will praise. What is keeping me from doing that?

I’ve been going through some pain and suffering myself – granted not on the scale of those that will during the tribulation – but significant to me. I have been whiny, complain-y, just a round about baby.

What am I getting at? We need to praise God during our time of pain and suffering. God has allowed us to go through this time of pain and we should praise Him. I mean – I know I’ve said it before but:

 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4 NKJV)

God is using this time to make you grow. Isn’t that awesome? Yeah, I know. Not really feeling it now, but friend: God knows how this time of suffering – will just cause us to grow closer to Him.

We should be praising God when the pain is great, when the bills have no way of being paid, when your child is diagnosed as being differently abled, when you have a chasm growing between you and your mom (or dad – really just when you have a divide with anyone). God will use that situation to cause you to grow.

You may not see it immediately but it will happen. God does marvelous things all the time – praise Him, rely on Him, look to Him in everything and He will bless your obedience.

He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord Godwill wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8 NKJV)

 

Isaiah 24

Fear and the pit and the snare
Are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth.
18 And it shall be
That he who flees from the noise of the fear
Shall fall into the pit,
And he who comes up from the midst of the pit
Shall be caught in the snare;
For the windows from on high are open,
And the foundations of the earth are shaken. (Isaiah 24:17-18 NKJV)

This chapter is purely on what happens during the Great Tribulation. I know we talked a little about the tribulation but now I wanna talk about us and the Great Tribulation.

The Book of Revelation, writing of this time of Great Tribulation, makes constant reference to those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 3:10, 6:10, 11:10, 13:12, 13:14). This is in contrast to those who dwell in heaven (Revelation 13:6)… —David Guzik

Where are you?

large-left-behind1I know the majority of the people that read this have read The Left Behind Series, well probably. Anyways, its a great series a must read – literally some of the things that happened in the series are starting to happen. Funny side note, at first when I saw things were “eerily” close to the book I was like: how did they know?? Then it hit me. Sigh. Duh, Jessica.

Anyways, in the first book the rapture happens and this one guy – who was a pastor – was left behind. He knew immediately why. I can’t find my book to quote it but basically he says he was left behind because he was just going through the motions. A fair weather Christian, ya know? Didn’t have an actual relationship with God. Is that you?

I think of that more now than ever – I mean God is coming back so soon, we all should be thinking about that. Not to worry or be scared of where we are in regards to our relationship with God; but wondering if our relationship with God is in the right place. We must think: Am I an inhabitant of earth, looking toward earthly things and centering my life on whats important here? Or am I a an inhabitant of heaven? One who looks toward God and centering our heart on Him?

(regarding v18) Simply put, the judgment of the LORD is inescapable. If escape the fear, you will fall into the pit. If you escape the pit, you will fall into the snare. God’s judgment has enough back-up plans to catch everyone. The only way to escape the judgment of God is to satisfy it, and the only place God’s judgment was ever satisfied was on the cross. — David Guzik 

Isaiah 23

Cross over to Tarshish;
Wail, you inhabitants of the coastland!
Is this your joyous city,
Whose antiquity is from ancient days,
Whose feet carried her far off to dwell?
Who has taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city,
Whose merchants are princes,
Whose traders are the honorable of the earth?
The Lord of hosts has purposed it,
To bring to dishonor the pride of all glory,
To bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth. (Isaiah 23: 6-9 NKJV)

This is an interesting chapter. You see God brought Tyre to ruin, Tyre, at the time, was the greatest shipping capital of the world. So, God allowed the Assyrians, Babylonians and Alexander the Great to destroy them. Even though there were Christians who lived there – and why? Pride. They thought they were the best and couldn’t be touched.

All through out history we are given example after example of pride being defeated – that I could go into; but what really matters is whats happening in you and me.

Pride is a tough subject. Especially because of things like the picture I posted. We have been so ingrained that we need to be proud of our accomplishments or just even ourselves for living the day – instead of praising God for allowing us to get there.

In the end, God doesn’t want us to have pride. Why?

Good question.

Why would I try to do something worthwhile without Him? So that I might glory in my flesh, and cause someone else to glory in me. –Chuck Smith

We seek attention from everyone…anyone. “See this scar? I was in a horrible car accident and survived with just this scar!” “I lost 86lbs!” “I gave birth without meds!” Yes, those are great things but God doesn’t want us to glory in what we did (or are doing) but in how He saved us.

Lets keep God where He belongs – in front and on high.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (john 15:5 NKJV)

Isaiah 22

He removed the protection of Judah.
You looked in that day to the armor of the House of the Forest; (Isaiah 22:8 NKJV)

What could make  this happen? That God would remove his protection from Jerusalem? Well, yeah – sin. They looked to things of this earth and not God.

And in that day the Lord God of hosts
Called for weeping and for mourning,
For baldness and for girding with sackcloth.
13 But instead, joy and gladness,
Slaying oxen and killing sheep,
Eating meat and drinking wine:
“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:12-13 NKJV)

God wanted the people of Jerusalem to repent, to turn their hearts toward God. He wanted complete surrender. There are things in life that cause us to look away from God – even things we think aren’t bad. Its this fallen world – but how we react when God reprimands us or brings these things to attention determines a lot.

Not acknowledging God is a sin.

What is this sin that can’t be forgiven? The sin of ignoring God, of refusing to humble yourself before the LORD and repent. —David Guzik

We can get comfortable and lazy in our relationship with the Lord. Thats when the sin starts to sneak in – cause thats sin. Not blaring and obvious. Its sneaky and underhanded. Thats why we as Christians need to be ever on our guard, being careful of what we listen to, watch and so on.

Everything of this world is the enemy trying to distract us from God – remember that. Strive to keep yourself pure – its hard I know, I fumble daily. But there’s such a great blessing waiting 

Isaiah 21

I’m not posting any specific verse because its all so….powerful. Wow. You can see the chapter here or if you want an interesting explanation here. (highly recommend it)

Basically it is prophesy against the Babylonians and what happens when they are defeated by Persia and the people of Edom and….well go ahead and just click the link. Its cool – God is just cool.

Anyways, in verse 11 (I guess I am gonna quote the bible) it says:

The burden against Dumah.
He calls to me out of Seir,
“Watchman, what of the night?
Watchman, what of the night?” (Isaiah 21:11 NKJV)

Ok. And?

Using a powerful dramatic scene of a cry to a watchman in the night, Isaiah paints the picture of the judgment and terror that will come upon Edom. —David Guzik

This made me think about what is gonna happen during the tribulation. How much pain and suffering will occur. Yes, we will be saved by the rapture – but what about everyone else?

The other day we talked about a certain calling and today? Lets think about why is God calling us. God doesn’t need us to witness – He doesn’t need anything. But God wants us to do this, so we can see the power of His love.

Well, lemme put it this way. A baby. God wants us to be like children. Fully and completely loving everyone we come across and through that love? We show His love.

Yes. It is hard. But God gives us a way – prayer. Ask God to show you how to love. I do that every. single. day. Sometimes 50xs a day actually. Because I know God wants me to love this person or that, and I can’t do it on my own strength.

Through this love, we are a HUGE witness to the power of God. From a simple smile to a in depth conversation. Showing Gods love isn’t easy but its worth it.

Isaiah 20

at the same time the Lordspoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet.” And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.Then the Lord said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, (Isaiah 20:2-3 NKJV)

I read this this morning and was floored. My pastor talked about it a little last night too. Isaiah walked around barefoot and naked for 3 years. Wow right? I mean yeah, he was a prophet so he knew when God was talking to him – but still dude! To have that type of faith! Made me think about listening to Gods voice…or even Gods call on your life and having faith in that calling.

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12 NKJV)

I know and agree – its hard. Feeling God call you to leave that job, or talk to that person or just reaching out to someone for ministry. How can you be sure? Is it you or is it God? How can you know? How do you listen to hear Gods still small voice?

Faith.

I asked my pastors wife about this. She said in her experience, you just feel an unbelievable urge to do something. Usually thats the Lord trying to tell you something. Then she gave me an example: This one person was standing in an aisle of a grocery store – just ready to do something (sorry I can’t be more specific, my memory is shot). The person cried a simple prayer in the most ridiculous way they could think of: “God please show me you are real by making someone come in here and do a handstand in the middle of this aisle”. A minute passes by and a woman walks in to the aisle, looks around and does a handstand. The person, who prayed, ran up to her and asked why she did that; to which she replied she just felt an unbelievable urge to do this. In fact, she almost didn’t do it too.

What if that woman ignored God? I don’t know. I don’t have this all figured out – I’m learning like you. But friend, what is God calling you to do? Call upon the Lord. Let God use you in a mighty way, by blessing someone…anyone.

I know its scary – I’m right there with ya. But trust. Trust God and know He’s in control. Pray continually for wisdom and open your heart and? Have faith.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1John 4:18 NKJV)

Open your heart to God and let Him work through you – mighty things will happen.

Isaiah 19

“I will set Egyptians against Egyptians;
Everyone will fight against his brother,
And everyone against his neighbor,
City against city, kingdom against kingdom.
The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst;
I will destroy their counsel,
And they will consult the idols and the charmers,
The mediums and the sorcerers.
And the Egyptians I will give
Into the hand of a cruel master,
And a fierce king will rule over them,”
Says the Lord, the Lord of hosts. (Isaiah 19:2-4 NKJV)

This chapter is another prophesy, this whole book is actually one prophesy after another. But, these verses caught me.

0a68409fcc53906ffef1ac1afc332892-coming-soon-modernYou see we are the Egyptians. Sin has caused us to turn our back against God and turn toward idols (TV, porn, internet stuff etc.) For me it was netflix and I didn’t see it. I was a slave to it.

 

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. (John 8:34 NKJV)

You know my days were surrounded around how much netflix I could watch. If anyone got in my “way” of watching – I would let out my “grrr”. It was bad. What got me to realize? Well, we had a guest speaker at the church and? I was feeling a nudging from the Lord. I just didn’t want to acknowledge it until that guest speaker.

God let me be overindulged (v4) and I ignored the jibs (is that the word?) that I would get from others. “Oh Jessica spends her days binge watching shows.” I shake my head now, for so long – how could I not see?

The nudging I would get, it would be me noticing how angry I got when people got in the way of my TV or noticing my devotional time was lacking. Then when I realized? Its like a weight has been lifted off.

20 And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them (Isaiah 19:20 NKJV)

Be careful friends, something that can seem so innocent – can be so … well deadly, for lack of a better word. It is a life of sin, one that has an idol. Its sin – never mind its a perfect word. Sin leads to death. Ask God to show you any idols you may have in your life  and keep reaching out toward Him.

Isaiah 18

This chapter is pure prophesy against Ethiopia (which was the enemy of Israel then and this prophesy is seen completed in Acts 8:26-40) and you can read some interpretations here of this chapter – but I was struck by some verses.

Woe to the land shadowed with buzzing wings,
Which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,
Which sends ambassadors by sea,
Even in vessels of reed on the waters, saying,
“Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin,
To a people terrible from their beginning onward,
A nation powerful and treading down,
Whose land the rivers divide.” (Isaiah 18:1-2 NKJV)

We as a people have done terrible things and continue to do terrible things, in my opinion. We are full of ourselves to think this can't touch us or that…and so on. Why?

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 NKJV)

We are sinful creatures. We fail yes, but sometimes we make a conscientious effort to fail – ya know?

But these verses in Isaiah just struck me as a warning. A warning to myself. I am such a sinner, I am so selfish….oh how I could go on. I need to keep Christ the center of my life. Where am I going with this? God wants to be in your life as well. He is standing there with His arms out waiting for you to accept Him.

But Jessica? I am saved. I am a Christian. well. I'm glad you said that.

For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect
And the sour grape is ripening in the flower,
He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks
And take away and cut down the branches. (Isaiah 18:5 NKJV)

God is coming back and soon. Now He doesn't want anyone to be left behind, so God has called us to be witnesses; to be examples of His love to everyone we come across. He wants everyone to spend eternity in heaven, not that He needs help, but He knows helping others causes us to grow.

Lets be that witness together.

Isaiah 17

In that day a man will look to his Maker,
And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.
He will not look to the altars,
The work of his hands;
He will not respect what his fingers have made,
Nor the wooden images[a] nor the incense altars. (Isaiah 17:7-8 NKJV)

Isaiah 17 starts with talking about the judgement of Damascus (the capital of Syria) and Ephraim (the northern tribe of Israel). In the midst of this judgement, some people (v7) responded in the right way – they looked toward God and were repentant.

In response God removed the things that caused them to fall away. Their false idols and wooden images.

c6b4ac1b756137cf21f05a7b5e9a7182-classroom-signs-classroom-postersGot me thinking about how when we go through a trial there is always something we gravitate to during the hardest parts. Food, TV, another person – whatever. (For me its been food and TV)

After this past two weeks of my testing, I realized how wrong I was. I became so convicted – we should always be looking toward the Lord for our help. Our comfort should only come from the one who can give it.

I’ve learned, that there are different types of testing/trials we go through. Times of testing could be God protecting us or God putting us through a time of testing because He is correcting us.

But?

Each are time we are going through this? Is cause God wants us to stop looking at the world and start looking at Him.

 

How can you tell which is which? Ask God. He’ll be very up front with you.

 Great tribulation brings out the great strength of God. If you never feel inward conflicts and sinking of soul, you do not know much of the upholding power of God; but if you go down, down, into the depths of soul-anguish till the deep threatens to shut her mouth upon you, and then the Lord rides upon a cherub and does fly, yea, rides upon the wings of the wind and delivers your soul, (Ps 18:9-10; Deut 33:26-27) and catches you away to the third heaven of delight, then you perceive the majesty of divine grace. Oh, there must be the weakness of man, felt, recognized, and mourned over, or else the strength of the Son of God will never be perfected in us.” (Spurgeon)

Cry out to Jesus

He’ll meet you wherever you are.

Cry out to Jesus

– Third Day

“I will never become a Christian. You don’t know what I’ve done.”

“I’m going to heaven; I’m a good person”

And on and on. But, my friend? God.

They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”[a]

Romans 3:12 NKJV

 No one and I mean no one is good. Why? Cause everyone sins. Its apart of our reality…our fallen world (this sin cursed world, evil world). The thing thats awesome? God loves us so much that He sent His son to allow us a way into heaven. But Why? Why does God love us? Well, because He thought of us and He spent precious time making us. But? We turned our back on God and … well, sinned.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 NKJV)
Whats sin? Its like my kids say: sin is when you do something wrong. Lies (even white lies), lustful thoughts (really anything lustful), gossiping, hate, in the end its anything you do wrong. Everyone and I mean everyone does wrong and we do it constantly.
God doesn’t care what you did – as long as you are repentant. What is repentant? Well, that you realize your sin and your need for Jesus. Even more basic, that you are sorry for what you did, and you want Jesus to clean you of all sins.
 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NKJV)
cross-crown-nails-2Now, in order for you to get into heaven. You must realize your sin, ask God to clean your heart and ask Him to come into your heart…your life. God sent His son so that, if we accept Him into our heart, we can live forever in heaven.
Do we actually live in heaven? Well, if you really want to know that – email me: mydearsaviorreigns @ gmail.com. But basically, yeah.
My friend, God doesn’t want you to die. He wants you to enter heaven and live with Him. Don’t let the thoughts that you are not good enough for heaven stop you. God sees you where you are and still loves you. No matter what you did, what have done, what you are doing – God loves you.
So here you are – you realize your sin, you want your heart clean and you want to ask God into your heart. Yes, but HOW? Pray. Now, how to pray? Thats so really between you and God – I can’t tell you how to pray. Thats a personal thing between you and God but I won’t leave you without an example. here is one I used with my kids:
Dear Jesus, I’m sorry for my sins. Please forgive me and come live in my heart. amen.
God has made a way for you to come live with Him in heaven. All you hafta do is cry out to Jesus.