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Showing posts from September 9, 2012

Treasure and Trust

There are treasures to be found in the book of Isaiah, some of which take a little longer to unearth. In Isaiah 20 God has Isaiah speak of the futures of the kingoms of Assyria, Babylon, Elam, Media, Dumah, Arabia and Kedar.
As we investigate these people groups they are to the north, south and east of Israel. They are today Iran, Iraq, and the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. The last to be mentioned is Kedar which had been a powerful people.
Kedar is one of the tribes of Ismael, the first son of Abraham by the maid servant Hagar at the permission of Sarah trying to fulfill the promise that God would later fulfill in Isaac. Ismael, at thirteen, makes fun of Sarah and Abraham sends him on his way with his mother, Hagar. They almost die in the desert but God intervenes and provides water and a promise of twelve princes that will come from Ishmael and the eventual Egyptian wife his mother, Hagar, gets for him from her homeland, Egypt. (Genesis 16 & 21)
Here is the treasure in this passag…

Apply

Who encourages you in your spiritual development? Our human frailty causes us to focus on our physical wellbeing but what about our spiritual wellbeing? Going to church one hour per week is not enough to fuel the spiritual fires within us. We must have other ways to grow spiritually or we will become dwarfed.
The writer of Proverbs expresses it clearly, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.”(23:12) He is encouraging us to make a routine for nourishment of the soul and spirit. To “apply your heart” is to direct your mind, emotions and will to involve you in learning. We should be lifelong learners. This is not a passive act but one of strong determination in order to develop the person within.
Those who refuse to be instructed are arrogant and those who apply themselves to instruction are humble. When the heart is open, softened and enlightened the ear tunes in, which produces learning, increases our confidence and expands our thinking.
The greatest source…

Trinity

The teaching of the Trinity has always been a part of the church’s theology and here we find one of its roots. In 2 Corinthians 13:14 Paul concludes his remarks of two painful, instructional, and challenging books to a church that was full of problems. He has taken them to task related to their actions, and sought to encourage and teach them in the ways of God. This final verse reveals his perspective on how important is the Trinity to their existence.
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
It initiates with grace which comes through the second person of the Trinity. Each name of this person has powerful meaning. He is the Lord, the one to whom we belong because he has purchased us with his blood. He is Jesus, the name of his humanity necessary for his temptation to be endured and his blood to be spilt. And, he is the Christ, Messiah, saving all who turn to him.
This grace coming through the second person of t…

Reality

There seems to be within most of us a fear of people who do not believe in God as we do. We are hesitant to share our faith and cautious when we do. Why are we afraid?
In Psalm 56:11 the writer says this, “in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” That is a good question. We have seen men in prisoner of war camps that have been abused, starved, and worked to death but have never been broken to deny their nation. We have seen vicious rulers try to destroy a people only to have God intervene. Can anything man does to you be of any eternal consequence? The answer is a resounding “NO!”
Then why are we afraid of sharing our faith? What could a person do to you if you did? Say “no.” Get mad and hit you. Gather others to abuse you. Plunder your home. What is the worst thing that could happen to you, death? Even if it came to that would that be a bad thing? The end result of being in heaven would be a good thing.
So, I suggest we start using this question, “what can man do to…

Alliances

A story of allied relationships teaches us a lesson in Isaiah chapter seven. In 734BC the Northern Kingdom of Ephraim had allied itself with Syria and together their massive forces were intent on plundering the Southern Kingdom of Judah. King Ahaz of Judah knew this and was fearful and shaken by it. So, he was considering, maybe already in the first stages of, an alliance with Assyria for protection.
However, God wanted King Ahaz to trust in Him and so He sent Isaiah to him to share a different perspective. Isaiah shared the picture that Rezin, King of Syria, and Pekah, King of the Ephraim were merely smoldering stubs of firewood. Assyria would conquer Syria two years later, 732BC, and the Northern Kingdom of Ephraim would go into captivity ten years after that, 722BC. Both of these once mighty nations would be no more than dust sixty-five years later.
King Ahaz had chosen to ally himself with the Assyrians instead of challenge his people to prayer, fasting and faith in God. Isaiah lai…

Trust

There is a distinct difference between the daily life of an evil and righteous person. We sometimes forget this and therefore envy the wicked. Although God lives outside of time He is very aware and involved in the lives of each of His beloved.
Psalm 32:10 reflects on this difference when it says, “Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.”
The wicked person has to continuously stir the pot to keep things going his way. In the doing of this he faces several woes including: those who would like to take him out and sit in his seat; the threat of revenge by those he has abused; or the loss of his material gains by his unlawful acts through police or armies. These woes cause him to sleep with one eye open, protect himself with his own military, and drive him to deaden himself with substances that capture his senses.
On the other end of the spectrum is the one who trusts in God. The Lord not only loves him in the moment but unfailingl…