Plans of God

Isaiah 14:26-27
26 “This is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. 27 “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?”

Nothing and I mean nothing can derail something that God has planned.  There is absolutely nobody who can alter what He has planned.  The Devil tried his hardest when Jesus was on the earth.  He tried to give Christ, an easy way out, so that He would not have to suffer at the cross.  Satan tempted Jesus three times in the desert and failed all three times.  He tried using the disciples to talk Jesus out of dying for our sins.  An example of that is Peter.  Jesus had just asked the disciples who they thought He was and Peter knocked it out of the park.  He said “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16).  After Jesus affirmed that Peter was correct, He tells the disciples about His upcoming suffering and death.  Peter tries to rebuke Jesus and tell Him that He is talking foolishly.  Jesus responds in Matthew 16:23, for Satan to get behind Him and to stop trying to make Him stumble.  Nothing can frustrate the plans of God.

How often do we forget that?  God has plans for our lives.  God has made promises.  Nothing can stop those plans and nothing can cause God to break those promises.  Rejoice in that child of God.  What God has promised nothing can cause that promise to not come true.

  • He promises to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  Nothing can pry God away from us.  He will always be there for us.  Rejoice in this and praise Him.
  • He promised to come again and bring us to the place He is preparing for us (John 14:3).  Jesus is returning one day and nothing can stop that from happening.  Everyday is one day closer to His return.  Rejoice that He is coming back for you and me.
  • He promises that one day Satan will pay for the evil he has done and will be tormented forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).  What a glorious day, when Satan will be thrown into Hell, never to lead people astray again.  Rejoice, that our enemy will be defeated.
  • God promises to created a new heaven and new earth for us to liven in for eternity (Revelation 21:1).  The new creation will not be corrupted by sin.  It will be even more beautiful than the current one.  Rejoice!

These are but a few of His promises.  All of His plans and promises will come true.  They will not be thwarted.  Our God is on the move and nobody can stop Him!

Dear God, I thank you that Your plans cannot be stopped.  Nobody can thwart them.  Nobody can prevent them.  Nobody can alter them.  You are faithful.  You are Holy.  You are worthy.  Lord, I rejoice in You!  No one is like You!  You are all-powerful and mighty!  No one can stand in Your way!  Who is like You, Oh God!  No one of course.  Your plans are perfect, like You.  I so look forward to the day of Your return.  That day is getting closer and I pray that I would be ready and I that would warn others about it.  Give me words to say, in order that You might be glorified!  Amen.

A Good Neighbor

Luke 10:29, 36-37
29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

Who is my neighbor?  This is the question a lawyer asked Jesus.  The lawyer came to Jesus seeking to understand how to inherit eternal life.  Jesus’ response was to ask what the laws says and the lawyer correctly sums up the law into two different things.  We are love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.  Verse 29 says he asked Jesus who his neighbor was in order to find justification.  His concern was not to who might be his neighbor, but instead who are the few I need to love.  The lawyer wanted to limit who he had to be nice to.  Jesus’ answer was that everyone is our neighbor.

Who is our neighbor?  This is a question we need to ask ourselves.  It just those who live around us?  It just those in our little circles?  Is it just those we work with?  Is it just those who look like us?  Those with the same skin color?  Jesus’ answer to the lawyer, is still our answer today.  Everyone is our neighbor and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Everyone includes people from different races and who are of a different ethnic background.  It includes people from a different religion background.  It includes those who speak a different language than us.  It includes those who have a different political philosophy than we do.  Quite simply, everyone includes everyone!

Sadly a lot of people are not loving their neighbor anymore.  We let irrelevant things divide us.  We need to love those of other races.  We need to go out of our way to show love to them.  Think about with everything in the news lately.  A racist is anyone who hates somebody else of a different race because of their race.  It is wrong and it does not fit in with what Jesus said to do.  We are love one another.

We need to love God and love others!

Dear God, help me to love others and show that love Your love to others.  Forgive us for not loving others and showing hate when we should show love.  Help us to be a good neighbor.  Amen.

The Leader We Need

Isaiah 9:6-7
6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

This world is missing a true leader.  That statement is not a shot at anybody, just the truth.  There is only one individual who can fill that role.  That person is of course Jesus.  Every other leader throughout history has fallen short.  Only His Kingdom, will be truly just and full of peace.  He will rule forever and ever and no one will tire of His rule.  Everyone will live satisfied and no one will complain.

This world desperately needs Him.  We look for Him.  We hope for Him.  Unfortunately, we are always barking up the wrong tree.  No human ruler can live up to that role.  Only Jesus, both fully man and fully God, can fulfill that roll.  We long for Him.  All of creation is waiting for Him to get on His throne.  Come Lord, Jesus, Come!

Dear Jesus, we so long for You to rule on this Earth.  We need You, Oh God.  We are so desperate for You.  I am so desperate for You.  Come Lord Jesus, Come!  Amen. 

A Glimpse Into Heaven

Isaiah 6:1-5
1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

This is one of the few passages in the Bible that give us a glimpse into Heaven.  Isaiah gets to look into the Holy Throne Room of God.  What he sees causes him to feel so inadequate for his job.  Words can hardly describe how beautiful and wonderful the picture is.  He sees God on His throne.  He says that God is lofty (or high) and exalted.  Here is the King over all sitting on His throne, with all of the majesty due Him.  That majesty is so great, we cannot even hardly imagine how wonderful of sight this is.  Wow!  John goes into more detail in Revelations.  The throne room is filled with gems and stones.  It’s beauty is unmatched.

The Lord had Seraphim, Holy Angels around Him.  They each had six wings.  The wings showed the humility of these mighty creatures before their great God.  They covered their feet and faces.  They do not feel worthy enough to show them to God.  They call to one another continually, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory”.  These great creature constantly call out His praise and worship.

As Isaiah saw God on His throne and these creatures constantly worshiping Him, he feels the foundations shake and saw the throne room fill with smoke.  Each of his senses are totally stimulated.  He sees God, he hears the angels, and feels the trembles.  It does not mention smell, but I think I can safely say that Heaven will smell wonderful.  He is overwhelmed at this whole picture and all he can say is woe is me.  He knows his sin and how unholy he is compared to a Holy God.  His humility is on display.

When we take this is in, we cannot help but to agree with him.  We are not worthy of being in Heaven.  We deserve eternal punishment in Hell, each and every one of us.  Only by the grace of God can we experience what Isaiah experienced.  Do you really think you could stand before this Holy God, on His majestic throne and tell Him that you are good enough?  Like Isaiah all we could say is woe is me.  Our only hope is to ask Jesus to save us.  He will and then and only then will be worthy (All because of Jesus) to stand before that Holy God!

Dear God, You are Holy, Holy, Holy!  You are majestic, high and lifted up.  We have no standing before You without Jesus.  Thank you for saving me.  I had no chance without You.  You are my only hope.  Help me to constantly join in the song of the Seraphim and sing Your praises!  Amen.

Backwards

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Sadly a lot of people get things backwards these days.  They call what is truly evil, good and what is truly good, evil.  We live in a day of age that you profess to follow God, people think ill of you.  They think you are backwards and outdated.  They believe that they know more than God.  How sad.

We live in a world where people try to justify their sin by any means necessary.  They shame anybody who stands up against them.  They shout them down, thinking the louder you are the more right you are.  They shove their behavior into the faces of others and dare you to take a stand.  We live in an evil world.  But this evil world is not a surprise.  The Bible said times like this would come.  Where people would have everything backwards.

A time is coming, when the order will be restored.  Evil will face judgement and be banished forever.  Good will ultimately defeat evil.  And good will be called good once again.

Dear Jesus, we live in sad day.  Evil is called good and good called evil.  People run to the darkness thinking it is the light, only to be fooled.  I look forward to the day of Your return and the day You set up Your eternal Kingdom, when everything will be restored to its rightful order.  Come soon, Lord Jesus! Amen. 

Cleansing

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.

Our sin makes us dirty.  It makes us filthy.  We are dirty before a Holy God.  God is pure.  He is like the brightest white color you have ever seen.  He has no defect.  Sin leaves a stain on us, that no matter how much we scrub, we cannot get clean.  It leaves a permanent stain on us.  Nothing can wash it away but, the blood of Jesus.  His blood was shed on the cross for us.

For God says in the Bible, that there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood.  This is first seen in the garden.  When Adam and Eve sinned, the blood of  animal was shed to provide a covering for them.  The animal’s blood was shed and it died because of their sin.  Sin causes death.  It might not be an immediate death, but there will be death.  When Israel came out of Egypt, God instituted a sacrificial system so that the people would be forgiven of their sin.  Every day blood was shed for forgiveness.  This system worked up to when Jesus came.  He offered His perfect life, as the Lamb of God, and His blood was shed so that we might be forgiven.  This sacrifice only needed to be done once and it was good forever.

The verse above references that.  When we ask Jesus into our heart, our stains are made clean by the blood of Jesus.  Our crimson stain is made white as snow.  Our sins are wiped out and God the Father sees us the same as Jesus.  We are now pure incapable of having a sin stain anymore.  We still sin, but all of our sin, including future sin, has been forgiven.

Have you asked God to forgive you?  If not, do so today!

Dear God, I thank you for Your cleansing.  My sins made me dirty, but You have cleansed me.  I do not deserve Your cleansing, but I am so thankful for it.  Thank you for forgiving me and loving me.  Amen.

Unclean

Luke 5:12-13
12 While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him.

Unclean! Unclean!  That was the only thing somebody with leprosy was to say to “clean people”  The only close human interaction any of them had been other leprous people.  They had to keep their distance from people and make sure anytime somebody got close to yet out, “Unclean”, so they would not get close to them.  They were outcasts and lived outside the city.  They barely saw their family and never touched them.  Imagine never being able to hug your husband or wife ever again.  I know that would really make me sad.

All of this changed one day when Jesus was walking by.  Instead of yelling that he was unclean, the man yells for Jesus to help him.  It was a plea full of faith.  The man knew Jesus could heal him.  He had heard the stories of others.  Jesus gave him hope for healing.  There was no doubt in his mind that Jesus had the power to do so, so he simply asks Jesus to cleanse him.  Jesus’ response is amazing.  Not only does He heal him, but He touched the man.  How long had it been for this man since he was last touched?  We do not know, but what joy Jesus brought to Him.  By faith the man asked for healing and Jesus healed and cleansed him.

By faith, we who are/were spiritually unclean, need to ask Jesus by faith to cleanse us. Sin is just like leprosy.  It destroys us and kills us.  He will and He will go beyond just the cleansing.  He will touch our lives and we will never be the same.  I know because I have done this and experienced how great it is.  Jesus has cleansed me from my sin.  I am forgiven based on all that He has done.  I still sin and fail Him, but His cleansing lasts forever.  My sin is gone and I have been set free.  Have you?  Have you ever asked Jesus to cleanse you from your sin?  If not do so today.  He is willing and He is waiting for you to ask Him.

Dear Jesus, I thank you that You are willing to cleanse us from our sin.  I thank you that You love so much to touch our lives when we are untouchable.  I thank you for the faith of this man, who never doubted You.  He knew who You were.  You are God, in human flesh.  You are all-powerful!  There is no limit to Your power!  Everything is subjected under You.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Sow Goodness

Hosea 10:12-13
12 Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. 13 You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors

As we journey down the path of life, we are sowing seeds as we go.  Each time we choose between what is right and what is wrong, we drop a seed of either righteousness or wickedness.  Some seeds that we drop are quick-growing and we quickly see the results of our actions.  Others are slow to grow.  They take time and it takes a while for us to see what grew.

As we walk, we mostly reap what we sow.  It is NOT true that we always reap what sow, as many believe.  Thankfully, God does not always give us what we deserve.  God has power over our crops and His grace causes good things to grow from bad seeds.  If we always got what we sewed, that would mean that God has no power over them and could not inject grace into them.  As someone who has experienced way more of God’s amazing grace than I could ever deserve, I can tell you that it is true that God can cause a good crop to grow out of bad seed!  My life is a witness to that, as is yours.

Another example of this is Frederick Douglas.  He lived in the 1800’s.  He was a slave until he was 20, when he was able to escape.  He became a world renown abolitionist.  He wrote books on the horror of slavery.  He rose to be an adviser to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.  I am barely scratching the surface on the many things this man did.  You can find a good bio to start with here and here.   You are probably wondering what Frederick Douglas has to do with good fruit coming from bad seed, right?  Frederick’s mom was raped by her white master.  He was conceived through a rape, a really bad seed being sowed.  But God, grew this man to be a voice for the voiceless.  He brought people’s attention the atrocity and horrors of slavery.  By God’s grace we got this good man from an evil act.

Does this mean we can sow a bunch of bad seed and good things will allow grow?  Of course not.  We live among (and might be one ourselves) people’s whose lives are totally messed up because of evil seeds planted.  How many kids have a messed up life, because their parents sowed bad seeds.  We must be careful to plant good seeds as we go.  Sadly most of the seeds, which are planted in this world are full of wickedness.  We must do our part to plant good seeds for those who come after us and walk with us.  As we consciously decide between doing what is right and what is wrong, we need to think through what we are planting and then choose wisely.

Dear God, first and foremost I thank you for Your grace.  You have cause bad seeds in my life to grow up to good fruit.  Help me to plant good seeds as I go and reap what is right.  When I am choosing between obeying and disobeying, help me to think about his and choose what is right.  You alone have the power over our seed.  You have the power over everything.  There is nothing that is, which does come under Your authority.  You are a big, big God!  Amen.

Obey Rather Than Sacrifice

Hosea 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

God has no delight when we play church.  He is disgusted when we go through motions and repeat our rituals.  He hates our religious games.  God is after a relationship with You and me.  We please Him by obeying Him, not by fulfilling religious rituals.  God gets nothing out of meaningless sacrifices.  It is a waste of time and effort to Him.

God desires for us to truly know Him.  We are to be like a couple newly in love, thinking about the other and desiring to know them better.  God wants us to spend time alone with Him, seeking to know Him better.  He desires our company and wants us to desire His company.  When is the last time you got alone with God?  I know it has been a while for me.  Seek to spend time alone with Him soon.  Read His Word, pray and talk to Him.  Have a date with Jesus.

He delights in us obeying Him and getting to know Him better.

Dear Lord, forgive me for wasting time and spending it with You.  Help me spend my time wisely.  Help me to obey You and seek to know You better.  Thank you for Your patience with me.  Amen.

God’s People

Hosea 2:23 “I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’ “

Hosea was called to be a prophet of God.  Sometimes God gave His prophets roles to play as they prophesied for Him.  Their lives were witnesses to His message.  Hosea’s role to play was a husband to a cheating wife.  He was like God and his wife Gomer was like Israel who cheated on God.  Israel thought they were being blessed by idols, but it was really God who was taking care of them and providing for them.

God chose to have compassion on them.  He also chose to have compassion on us, who were not His people.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, God has compassion on us and we become His people.  He watches overs us and provides for us.  We had no claim to God, but now we do.  All because of what Jesus has done.  Hosea’s wife cheated on Him and he welcomed her back.  When we sin, we cheat on God and yet He welcomes us back in.  Praise be to God!

Dear God, I thank you for the adoption into Your family.  I had no claim to You, but You had compassion on me.  Forgive when I stray and help me to stay loyal to You.  For You alone are the One who takes care of me.  Amen.