Friday, October 23, 2015, 5:05 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Courageous!” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 66 (NASB). They Did Evil (vv. 1-4) Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. “But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog’s neck; He who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine’s blood; He who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, And their soul delights in their abominations, So I will choose their punishments And will bring on them what they dread. Because I called, but no one answered; I spoke, but they did not listen. And they did evil in My sight And chose that in which I did not delight.” The Lord is making reference here to his rebellious children who walk in ways which are not good, who follow their own way of thinking, and who continually provoke God to his face. He spreads out his hands to them day after day, but they continue in their worship of man-made idols. He said that these are those who are “smoke in his nostrils.” So, God said he would repay them for their iniquities. God called them, but they didn’t listen, and they didn’t respond to his calls, but instead they forsook the Lord, and continually did what was evil in his sight, “and chose that in which I did not delight,” said the Lord (See chap. 65). Yet, these who had forsaken their Lord, and had forgotten to revere him, and to follow him in obedience, were desirous to build a house for the Lord, yet this desire was not for God nor was it from hearts truly committed to the worship of God, but these were those who worshiped in form and ritual only while they followed after their own idols and they did just what they pleased. Yet, God is not interested in our forms of worship, or even our sacrifices to him if he does not have our hearts, and if our hearts are given to other gods, instead. To me, this relationship between God and his adulterous people would be a whole lot like this married couple: The husband, who claimed to be a follower of Christ, would bring his wife flowers and candy, and would write her sweet and affectionate notes, and would possibly even buy her expensive gifts, or would fix things around the house, or help with the dishes and the meals, etc., to try to convince her that he loved her. Yet, all the while he was doing this, he was continuously committing adultery against her behind her back, and then was covering up his adultery with lie upon lie. And, he treated her with contempt. Yet, she knew him, for they had been together a really long time, so she saw right through the lies. She appealed to him to be honest, to show integrity, to not commit adultery against her, to commit his life to Christ, to lead her spiritually, to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, and to love her as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. But, he seemed to ignore those pleas, and he continued to go his own way, thinking if he did enough “good deeds” that he would meet with her approval, yet he would never give her his heart, nor honor her requests. But, he continued in his adultery, and pursued his own course, and thought he could do what he wanted, even knowing it would hurt her. This is how a lot of people who say they believe in Jesus, and who declare they love him, and who claim to have fellowship with him, and who pursue forms of worship of him, treat him. They have no honor or reverence for God at all, but they treat him with contempt. They ignore his pleas, and they do what they want despite him, and despite what his word teaches. They chart their own course, and they do not inquire of their God to see what he wants for their lives. They mouth empty words which say “I love you,” but their actions do not match their words. In fact, their actions speak just the opposite, and God says that these are those who are “smoke in his nostrils.” Yet, they continue on playing religion, and pretending to have a relationship with God, while they do not honor God with their lives. The Humble and Contrite (vv. 5-6, 14b) Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at His word: “Your brothers who hate you, who exclude you for My name’s sake, Have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy.’ But they will be put to shame. “A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the temple, The voice of the Lord who is rendering recompense to His enemies… And the hand of the Lord will be made known to His servants…” The Lord honors those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at his word (See: v. 2b). To be humble means neither to think too highly or too lowly of yourself, but to view yourself with sound judgment, i.e. to see yourself through God’s eyes, and to be honest with who you are, and where you are, and of your need of God. To be contrite in spirit means to be repentant, which means to have a change of mind and heart away from living for sin and self to living for God and in his righteousness and holiness, and to show your repentance by your actions, i.e. to actually die to sin and live to righteousness – all in the power and working of the Spirit within you, as you cooperate fully with that work. To tremble at his word means to show awe, reverence, and honor for God and his word via obeying what the word teaches, and not be hearers of the word only (See: Jas. 1:19-27). Yet, oftentimes those who “tremble at his word” are those who become targets for those who are living in open rebellion against God, and so they suffer from their hands persecution, abandonment, mistreatment, betrayal, hatred, envy and and/or rejection. Yet, we are to be encouraged. There is good news! The church will be revived and she will return to her Lord. So, those of us who have mourned and wept over the adulterous church of today can be comforted and we can rejoice in knowing that God will revive his church forlorn. In judgment, the people of God will be scattered, and yet some of them who survive the judgment will be dispersed among the nations so that they may proclaim the glory of God and the gospel of salvation wherever they go (are sent). And, many people will come to faith in Jesus Christ. Amen! Jesus will return for his bride, and we will forever be with our Lord. Then there will be a new heaven and a new earth. All sin, sadness, sickness, pain, heartache, and rejection will be gone! And, God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Amen! (See vv. 7-24; cf. the books of Isaiah and Revelation.) Like a Whirlwind (vv. 14c-16) But He will be indignant toward His enemies. For behold, the Lord will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. For the Lord will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh, And those slain by the Lord will be many. In the news: A 200 mph hurricane is projected to make landfall in Mexico this evening, and to cause enormous damage, extremely high waves, high winds, mud slides, heavy rain and flooding. They expect that the central southern US states could be impacted by this storm this weekend, as well. The storm is named “Patricia.” “This places Patricia among the most rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones ever witnessed anywhere in the world since the advent of modern meteorology” (The Weather Channel). “Residents were advised to prepare for the ‘worst-case scenario’ as Patricia was expected to race ashore around 7 p.m. on Friday.” “Patricia strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 5 monster — the strongest on the scale — in less than 24 hours, Weather Channel meteorologist Danielle Banks said” (NBC News). This could be devastating! I am praying for the people of Mexico. The name Patricia means “nobleman.” Noble means “of, belonging to, or constituting a hereditary class that has special social or political status in a country or state; of or pertaining to the aristocracy” (dictionary.com), i.e. pertaining to the Elite. With no disrespect meant to the people who may suffer from the intensity of this massive hurricane, I do believe the Lord is making a parallel here between this physical storm and a political storm presently hitting the world. The Elite (noblemen) of this world are the ones truly ruling this world, though they have been doing so from behind-the-scenes as a shadow government, for some time now. Their New World Order is taking the world by storm, and it is causing massive damage, the destruction of personal property, and the taking of human lives. It is a “monster,” i.e. a “beast,” and it will produce a “worst-case scenario” to human lives. It, too, is powerful, fast moving and rapidly intensifying. And, it is mowing down everything in its way, including independent governments and believers in Jesus Christ. I believe the Lord is paralleling this “monster,” i.e. the New World Order “Beast,” and its conquering of nations and peoples, and its pursuit and conquering of followers of Jesus Christ, not only with this “monster” storm coming down on Mexico and the southern US states, but also with this judgment of God on the world, which comes like a whirlwind. So, the people of God need to get ready, because Jesus Christ is coming soon. This “beast” storm is fast and furious, and it is hitting hard. It is the most rapidly intensifying “storm” ever seen in our world. We need to prepare for a “worst-case scenario” (like is prophesied in scripture), for it is a monster, and when we feel the full impact of it, it will be devastating. Don’t assume that just because you call yourself a Christian, and you go to church, and you do good deeds, that you have eternal life guaranteed. Repent of your sins today! For those who are the humble and contrite of heart, and who tremble at his word, know that God is with you, he will not leave you, and he will give you all you need to make it through this difficult time. So, stand strong in your faith, do not give the devil a foothold, do not get discouraged, and keep on keeping on fighting the good fight of faith. You will be blessed for your perseverance, because many will return to their Lord, and many more will come to faith in Jesus Christ before he returns. The Bible says so, and I believe God’s word! Courageous! / An Original Work / December 24, 2013 Based off Various Scriptures The Word of God throughout taught. Some people heard, but did doubt. Still others had faith in Christ. By grace He purified them. They turned from sin And they obeyed Christ. He opened up their blinded eyesight; Turned them from darkness To the true Light; Forgave their sin by His might. He strengthened them in their faith. He said, “Remain my faithful.” He called them to obedience. By faith, they were so grateful. By faith, they were to follow Jesus; To daily sit and listen to Him; To have such faith That mountains could move; To love those whom He gave them. Be on your guard; courageous. Stand firm in faith. Be thankful. Take up the shield of your faith; Protect against all evil. Do not move from The hope that you have. Your faith in Jesus let it endure. Hold to the truth; Your conscience be clear. Endure with perseverance.