Friday, September 18, 2015, 8:39 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “I Sing of His Mercy.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 28:16-29 (NASB). For the Foundation (v. 16) Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. Zion is another word to describe the people of God, the church, the body of Christ. God has given us Jesus Christ, God the Son, as the foundation for the church on which our lives are to be built (cf. 1 Co. 3:11). Peter quoted this passage from Isaiah when he talked about Jesus Christ as the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God. We also, “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). “He who believes in Him will not be disappointed” (v. 6). We “are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you” (we) “may declare the praises of him who called you” (us) “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (v. 9). Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone for that foundation (See: Eph. 2:20). A cornerstone “is important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure” (Wikipedia). I don’t think I had ever read that definition before, but that says it, doesn’t it? We who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives are the other stones in this building. We are to be set (aligned) in reference to Jesus Christ, i.e. he is the one who determines what our individual lives and the whole building should look like. In other words, he sets the standard we are to follow, but not in our own strength or of our own fleshly works, but only via submission to the cross of Christ and via surrender to the working of the Spirit of God in our lives in transforming us into Christ’s image. We don’t set ourselves, in other words, but we allow the master builder to place us in God’s building and to conform us to Jesus Christ and to his standard. So, what is his standard? What is the foundation on which our lives are to be built? Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) Jesus. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin) we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25). Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (2 Co. 5:15). He died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who walk (conduct our lives) not according to the flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit (Ro. 8:1-14). If we say we have fellowship with God, but we persist in conducting our lives according to our sinful flesh, then we are liars. Is Christ our Foundation? So, is Jesus Christ truly the foundation for our lives? Have we allowed God to place us in his building, aligned with Jesus Christ and his standard? What if the stones in buildings were alive and after being put in place they decided to rebel and to go their own way? The building would collapse, not because it lacked a solid foundation, and not because the cornerstone was not properly laid, but because the stones themselves rejected being aligned (set) in reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did not die for our sins just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died to give us new lives in him, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). He called us out of darkness (sin) into his wonderful light (righteousness and holiness). He didn’t come just to give us a free ticket into heaven. He came to metamorphose us. He called us to be holy, separate from (different, unlike) this sinful world, because we are becoming like Christ, because we are aligned with him and with his Word. In chapter nineteen in Isaiah we learned about other cornerstones. These cornerstones were the leaders of the people, both their spiritual leaders and their political leaders, who had led the people astray. The people had put their trust and dependency in these leaders, and it was to their downfall. That is why the Bible warns us often about putting our trust in human leaders, because humans may lie to us, deceive, betray and set a trap for us to fall into, or else we might make them our gods and follow after them instead of following the Lord. That is why we need to make sure that Jesus is our foundation, and that our trust is in him and in his word. Then, we need to test everything we hear or see coming from these leaders of the people, prayerfully, asking God for much wisdom and discernment so that we do not fall into their traps and find ourselves deceived. In contrast to these human leaders, some or many of whom today are leading the people of God astray, is Jesus Christ, our sure foundation. On him we can fully place our trust, and we will not be disappointed. He will keep his Word. He is completely trustworthy. He will not abandon those who are his. He will never betray us. He gave his life up for us so that we could be free from slavery to sin and so we could be free to walk daily in his righteousness, and he has given us all we need to live godly and holy lives while we wait for his return (See: Tit. 2:11-14). He is always with us, teaching us the way we should go. We just need to hear his voice, listen to what he says, and then follow him in obedience (See: Jn. 10:27). Plowing and Harrowing (vv. 23-26) “Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my words. Does the farmer plow continually to plant seed? Does he continually turn and harrow the ground? Does he not level its surface And sow dill and scatter cummin And plant wheat in rows, Barley in its place and rye within its area? For his God instructs and teaches him properly.” One of the ways in which God gets his people to be conformed to the image of Christ is through divine discipline and correction (1 Co. 11:27-32; Heb. 12:3-12; Rev. 3:19). We, the church, are like this field which must be plowed and harrowed as preparation for the soil to be fit for the sowing to take place. Even those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Savior of their lives can sometimes become spiritually dull of hearing and would thus need to have their spiritual ears opened to what the Spirit is saying to the churches (See: Rev. 2-3). So, God speaks to them through his Word, and through his servants and messengers, and he confronts them with their sins of idolatry and spiritual adultery, warns of judgment and calls them to repentance. If they don’t heed the warnings, but they continue in their stubborn ways, then he must break up their hardened hearts via judgment so that they will listen to the Lord and so the Lord can instruct and teach them in the way they should go. I do believe this is where the majority of the church in America is right now. They have been led astray by the wrong cornerstones, and so God has sent them message after message confronting them with their sins, warning of judgment, and calling them to repentance. Now the harrowing has begun, I believe, via God’s divine instruments of judgment who or which are now coming after the church to persecute and kill her, and to do away with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to bring all religions of the world under one roof. This act of God’s divine discipline and correction on his wayward church will divide the true church from the false church, as those who are truly the Lord’s will not bow to the “beast,” and will not agree to cease from sharing the gospel and to accepting all religions as viable. Part of this harrowing also involves taking apart all sovereign nations in order to bring all nations of the world under a one-world government. Through this time of judgment, I believe many eyes and ears will be opened so that their soil will be responsive to hearing and to heeding the Word of the Lord (the seed), so that his Word bears a fruitful harvest in their lives. I Sing of His Mercy / An Original Work Based off Psalm 32 / April 10, 2014 Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven By the blood of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does Not count against them; freedom found. When, in silence, I did not confess My sin to You; had no strength. Then I owned up to my sin and You forgave and cleansed me within. Therefore let the godly pray to You; Draw near to You; grace they’ll find. They will not be o’ertaken by afflictions, But in Christ peace abounds. Lord, You are my hiding place. I find my refuge in You secure. You protect me from all evil. You give songs of vict’ry in You. Lord, You teach me to walk in Your ways; Counsel me in love, I know. Help me to not be stubborn and Unwilling to follow in Your truth. Thank You for Your love and mercy. I put my trust in You always. I rejoice in my Lord and I sing of Him throughout all my days.