Guidance to get us out of Trouble

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 3

OBSERVATION

Isaiah 3:8-9 ~ … you rebelled against your glorious LORD– your words and your actions, made you stumble and fall. The look on your faces shows that you are sinful as Sodom, and you don’t try to hide it. You are in for trouble, and you have brought it all on yourselves.

APPLICATION

  1. If I hadn’t read the whole passage, I would have thought that this passage was addressed to the church of today. However the thing that I am reminded of is that God has placed this passage in His Word so that it may speak to His people reading His Word at any time, especially today. So as I read this I was specifically challenged with the thought that I, my family, my Christian friends and my church, must be cautious about following God’s Word so that we may not stumble and fall. God has a warning for us and this is in spite of us being given His guide book to direct us and show us the way.

PRAYER

  1. Lord, may I be smart enough to follow Your instructions and do Your will in everything that I attempt. Thank You for providing your guidebook for me and giving me the understanding to follow Your instructions. Please give me the boldness and wisdom to follow Your will each and every day so that I may avoid the ‘trouble’ that You speak of in this verse. Please help me to be proactive in studying Your Word daily so that I may be well equipped with Your instruction and therefore avoid bringing trouble on myself. May I be an influence to others as I accomplish Your will, is my sincere prayer today.

What it takes for Pure Worship

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 1:21-25

OBSERVATION

Isaiah 1:24-25 ~ I am the LORD All-Powerful, the mighty ruler of Israel, and I make you a promise: You are now my enemy, and I will show my anger by taking revenge on you. I will punish you terribly and burn away everything that makes you unfit to worship me.

APPLICATION

I wonder if God’s anger has been provoked by our country, our churches or even us as individuals, to the extent that He is ready to show His revenge, like He told the rulers of Israel in these verses? It seems like we have done an awful job at following God’s commands and truly being a church that He could use for His glory to do His will in a lost world. I know that we have done nothing to be proud of, so God has every reason to show His anger in order to awake us out of the self denial, lackadaisical attitude that we have permitted ourselves to fall into. I’m reminded of us simply standing by and watching a building burn while making no effort to extinguish the flame, although we have hoses in our hands filled with water. So it is in the spiritual world, we stand by and watch a world die and go to Hell while having the truth about how our sacrificial Lamb, our Savior, having the keys to the glorious kingdom of heaven and could save those destined for Hell. Oh that we may have surrendered lives and allow God to work through us to save the lost.

PRAYER

Father, You have warned us in Your Word that no one knows the time that Christ will return to take His bride, the church, away. Please help us to treat with urgency the awesome job of sharing Your grace and Your love with those around us that still need to know You as Lord. Please help us to live our lives so pure before You that You could inhabit our lives and work through us to reach the unsaved and speak very soberly to the uncommitted and unconcerned Christians. You sacrificed so much for me, please help me to sacrifice self pride and personal will so that I may be usable by You today.

The Invitation

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 1:17-20

OBSERVATION

  1. Isaiah 1:18-20 ~
    I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool. If you willingly obey me, the best crops in the land will be yours. But if you turn against me, your enemies will kill you. I, the LORD, have spoken.

APPLICATION

  1. Just as Jesus gave the invitation to Israel as relayed to us in these verses, His Word explains to us throughout its pages that as we become obedient and totally surrender our lives to Him, then we will have that ‘new’ life that only He can offer, a life that will be filled with joy, peace, contentment and love, filled with confidence of life eternal with Jesus. The alternative is a life filled with despair, heartaches and a great absence of hope. Nothing to look forward to. A life destined for total destruction and Hell itself. The alternative is our worst nightmare. Praise God that He loves us so much that He invites us to join His royal family and become sons and daughters of the King of kings and Lord of lords! That’s the Jesus that I have accepted and that I love, adore and marvel over each and every day! I have a hope that helps me make it through each day and look forward to the next. I want so badly for each of my family, friends and loved ones to have that same hope, to have that assurance that on the day that Christ calls us home, that we can together look forward to the time with our Lord and Savior and not a life of Hell and damnation. Thank God for that hope in Him!

PRAYER

  1. Father I praise You for sending Your Son so that I may have the hope expressed in the above application. I have been reminded again from these verses observed, that the alternative to accepting You is not good. Please tender the hearts of each family member that have not surrendered their life totally over to You and therefore have no hope of You in their life each day here on this earth, nor any hope for eternal life with You. Please help me to share Your love and Your Word in meaningful ways to them so that they may catch a glimpse of You. Please tender their hearts and convince them of their sin even today.

Live Right

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 1:6-16

OBSERVATION

  1. Isaiah 1:16 ~ Wash yourselves clean! I am disgusted with your filthy deeds. Stop doing wrong and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend widows and orphans and help those in need.

APPLICATION

  1. It is evident that God was very angry at Israel. Are we any different today? God has provided His Word so that it might be a light unto our path, He sacrificed His only Son that we may have life eternal, yet we continue on in sin, we ignore Him, and we crucify Him through our deeds and actions. We are far away from being ‘little Christ’s’ or imitators of Him. As God told Israel, I believe that He is telling us today – we must stop doing wrong and learn to live right. We must defend our widows and orphans and help those in need, as God has instructed us to do.

PRAYER

  1. Father, I am guilty, guilty, guilty, for I allow everything else in this world to take priority over serving the widows, orphans and less fortunate. In today’s society there is no shortage of folk that are in need. Please help me to follow Your commands and busy myself with the opportunities at hand. These folk are looking for Christ in our world. If I am to represent You well dear Lord, please help me to be the example of Christ to these folk. Hopefully as they see You exampled in practical and needy ways, they may realize how alive You truly are and how they need You in every aspect of their lives.

Cause and Effect, Yet the Power of Freedom

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 1

OBSERVATION

Isaiah 1:5 ~ Why be punished more? Why not give up your sin? Your head is badly bruised, and you are weak all over.

APPLICATION

It is evident from this verse that God disciplines those that sin against Him. Here on this earth, it is difficult for my neighbor to be punished without me feeling the effects. Therefore I believe there are times that we all suffer from the sins of those around us, whether it be our neighbor, our fellow church member or even our country. We often hear it asked: Why are we being treated this way? Why is God punishing us? Or even, How long, how long will You punish us oh Lord? The answer is evident in this verse, we are being punished because of our sin, because of our unrighteousness before a just, holy and righteous God. Cleanse ourselves of the cause, and the effects become understandable and bearable, without blaming the Almighty, who is only trying to get our stubborn attention.

PRAYER

Father I am almost ashamed to come before You knowing that You are such a righteous and holy God, but because of Your love for Your created ones and especially for those that have accepted Your plan of salvation, You have demanded that we cleanse ourselves before You and seek forgiveness. I feel like we are suffering as a family, as a church, as a city, as a state and even as a nation because of our sin and disregard for You and Your principles. Please forgive me of my shortcomings, my church for it has become ineffective in our community, my state because it has dabbled so much in the things promoted by Satan that it is far from right in Your eyes, and of course my nation as it has promoted every other religion or belief while making every effort to silent Your Word, Your people and any credit attributable to You for whatever You may do among us. As one leader once said, we are a ‘sorry’ people. Please help us to regain our vision for serving You in those ways that You desire and demand of us, so that Your will may be done and that we may see a turning away from sin and instead, a massive move towards reaching the lost for You. As we approach a weekend of celebrating our national freedoms, may we not lose sight of the freedom that we possess in having a loving Savior to turn to each and every day, for each and every situation. I am Your child dear Jesus, please help me to act like a child of the King and show love and compassion in all that I do and say.

Found Faithful

SCRIPTURE

Studied: 2 Timothy 4

OBSERVATION

  1. 2 Timothy 4:7 ~ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

APPLICATION

  1. Paul recognized and acknowledged that he felt his life was coming to an end, however he had no regrets for he felt like he had kept the faith and pleased God well during his time here on earth. No matter what we may, or may not accomplish here on this earth, we must remember that only what’s done for Jesus will last. For the times that we have helped a brother, or been there for a sister in trouble, or encouraged a teen who was looking for something substantial to hang on to and we may have encouraged her towards a decision for the Lord, these things would have had an impact that touched the heart of God and for which He will proudly say, “well done you good and faithful servant”. For me, this is what life is about. This is what success is all about. This is what God will look at when I stand before Him. Therefore this is what matters in the end.

PRAYER

  1. Lord, may I be found faithful to You to the end. May I find strength, guidance and fortitude to endure while here on this earth as I endeavor to do Your will and follow Your ways.

Make us strong, so that we may do Your work

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Psalm 80; 2 Timothy 4

OBSERVATION

  1. Psalm 80:19 ~ LORD God All-Powerful, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.
  2. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 ~ with God and Christ as witnesses, I command you 2to preach God’s message. Do it willingly, even if it isn’t the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient.

APPLICATION

  1. There are times in the life of believers that we may feel like we and/or the church is ineffective in our ministry for the Lord. These days, it would appear like the church is totally that way, as folk refuse to attend church because there are so many other things that pull them away. It is interesting to note the words chosen by David in this verse. First of all, he recognizes that he is talking/praying to the Lord God who is All-Powerful, for He is the maker and ruler of everything and because of that strength recognized in Jesus Christ, David asks that He make him and his people strong again. After all, when we are not feeling quite so strong, we would never go to the ‘weak’ for strength. David asked that God would smile on them and save them. In other words, please do us a favor and listen to our plea for help and save us from whatever we feel in bondage over or restricted by. Old Satan is busy these days, and he is extremely busy at work in the lives of ‘Christians’ and the life of God’s church. We must learn to be constant in prayer before the One that has all power, the only One that could save us from deteriorating any more in our witness for Christ.
  2. Often when we look to the grand stands and see those that are rooting for us, we gain strength and boldness to really pull from deep within to achieve the goal. This is the image I see Paul portraying to Timothy in these two verses. Hey God and Christ is there rooting for you, so be bold and preach the gospel message. While I may not be a preacher, I am one who has a message to share with others. Sharing that message knowing that God and Christ are there rooting for me the whole way, gives me strength for those times that I feel so weary and like I just can’t take my only open evening to visit the sick or shut-ins, or possibly a prospect that visited church this past Sunday, or perhaps the boldness to visit that friend that I’ve been praying for a long time would accept Jesus and attend church. Christ went to the cross in spite of how He may have felt – remember from the Word He pleaded that the Father would take away that cup, but yet He went to the cross anyway because of me. Why then would I look at excuses when it comes to doing something for Him?

PRAYER

  1. We are so easily led astray and pointed away from the only true and living God who has given us life itself, and who has brought us through so many battles in this life, yet we take our eyes off Him and allow Satan to have his way in too many areas of our life. Father, please forgive us, in fact please forgive me. Help me to stay focused on the cross – the empty cross, knowing that You sacrificed Your Son so that I may have life eternal with You. Please make me strong again as Your child, Your witness, Your representative in a world that often will not even recognize You because of how far they have allowed Satan to take them. Please smile on me, and all Christians willing to carry Your cross and follow You daily, and save us from the evil one, and all the things of this world that tend to cause us to stray. To be a better witness for You, I must be more like You in my daily walk and in my daily talk. Please grant me the strength and boldness to do just that each and every day, especially this day!
  2. Please smile on us and save us dear Lord. Save us from further deterioration in our walk for You, and instead remind us that You are always there for us, cheering us on as we strive to walk and witness for You. Please help us to never be ashamed of the gospel and always willing to speak up for You so that others may also come to know You as Lord. I am reminded again about the wonderful Lord that I know and serve! Sharing this good news with others should be easy, because You have blessed me in so many ways, especially with You rooting for me the whole way!

Punishment for those who disobey God.

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Amos 2

OBSERVATION

  1. Amos 2:4 ~ The LORD said: I will punish Judah for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They have rejected my teachings and refused to obey me. They were led astray by the same false gods their ancestors worshiped.

APPLICATION

  1. As a nation we have truly rejected God’s teachings and refused to obey Him in so many ways. Abortion, treating His day of rest like any other day, serving/worshipping other gods rather than Him – and while some may quickly think that they are not worshipping any golden images or other gods like that, I must remind myself that anytime we put God in second place when it comes to assembling ourselves to worship the one true God, then we have idolized that thing or person above God. God made us in His own image, and since we were so incapable of keeping His laws and following His commands, He then went a step further and provided His only Son as a sacrifice that we may have eternal life with Him. After doing all this for us, should we dare question why He would become upset when we reject His teachings and refuse to obey Him? Just like He punished Judah, I’m sure that He is punishing the USA for all that He sees going on with His people (church folk) and even more so with others that He created and now to hear them say that they are atheist, or that they are not pleased with the gender that they were created? Oh my, this is mockery in the face of the Almighty God that created us.

PRAYER

  1. Please have mercy on us oh Lord God. Thank You for reminding me day after day about Your love for me and how You carefully watch over me each and every day. Thank You for loving me so much that You gave it all so that I could be prepared to meet You in glory whenever You see fit to call me home. “Oh how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus, because He first loved me”! “There is strength in the name of the Lord, There is power in the name of the Lord, there is hope in the name of the Lord, Blessed is he who comes, in the name of the Lord”. Let us turn to Jesus for all that we may feel inadequate in handling on our own. Speak to Him as a brother or friend, for the Word says that He will stick closer to us than a brother, and He will hear our prayer.

Fan the Flame and be used of God!

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Joel 2; Joel 3; 2 Timothy 1

OBSERVATION

  1. Joel 2:13 ~ Tear your hearts, not your clothes. Return to the Lord your God. He is merciful and compassionate, patient, and always ready to forgive and to change his plans about disaster.
  2. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 ~ This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

APPLICATION

  1. Praise God that we have a Father who is a lot more forgiving than we tend to be, for this verse encourages us to humble our hearts and return to the Lord God, for He is not only merciful, compassionate, patient and forgiving, but He may even change His mind about disaster that may be destined for us. Wow, this is powerful! I was once corrected by an elderly gentlemen about praying for rain, for he told me that I should never pray for natural things that is controlled solely by God. This verse tends to contradict that advice, and give some validity to those Christians that have gone to our Florida coast and prayed God’s protection upon our shorelines, wildlife and sea life with such a disastrous oil spill just off our coast. It also serves to remind me that we should pray for God to redirect or dissipate hurricanes headed our way. However, there is a pre-cursor to all this, we must first tender our hearts and come before God with a broken heart about the sin that has edged into our lives and the life of our churches and towns and state. In other words, we needn’t go before a holy and just God with a pompous, sinful, and proud heart, for God wants a life that is truly sorry for the ways that we have let our lives go unchecked by His Word, and how we have been a stumbling block to those that are desperate to find a mentor of Jesus. Those that are weak, or don’t know Jesus at all, have a desperate need to see Jesus working in the flesh through us, for we are the only Bible that they will read. Let’s not disappoint them!
  2. Paul took his mentoring of those that he led to the Lord very seriously. I believe that if only we would practice this today, we will see a much stronger church. Imagine if we said to a brother or sister that we were instrumental in leading them to Christ, that they should now fan the flame that Christ has lit in their lives, let those gifts that God has highlighted in their new spiritual walk shine with such intensity that God’s power and love will be promoted through them to reach a lost world, and that they would have the self-discipline to live a life that exemplifies Christ! This would have such an impact of our world for Jesus! If only we could be a mentor for life, of those that we have led to Christ! I believe that the back doors to our churches will be permanently shut and our churches will be in a constant growth mode instead.

PRAYER

  1. Father for those times that the flesh (my own selfish/sinful desires) has taken control and not been obedient to Your Word, I truly seek your forgiveness this morning. I pray that Your Spirit would have such an impact on my life that I would be quickly alerted to those times that I am representing You poorly, or not at all. I want to be like Jesus in all that I say or do. I want You to be able to work in and through me so that You may not only grow me spiritually, but so that Your work may be accomplished through me. This old world is falling apart very quickly with earthquakes, volcanoes, oil spills, hurricanes, tornadoes, and just evil works of the devil. Please help me to be a part of the solution in seeing my family, friends, coworkers, community, state, country and world won for You, and not a part of the problem that is causing this old world to suffer through the last days of sin and strife that leads only to destruction/hell. Please be a constant reminder to me to tender my heart and surrender myself to You daily, so that I may rid myself of sin and selfish desires.
  2. Lord I pray that You will first of all help me to fan into flames the spiritual gift that You have blessed me with so that I may be on fire for You and shining before a lost world. Secondly, I pray that You will constantly remind me to check on those that I have led to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and encourage them along the way, and help them to also fan the flames of the spiritual gift that You have given to them. Please allow Your church to become so engulfed with fanning the flames within our spiritual beings and corporate body, that we will soar to new heights into reaching the world around us, and encouraging those around us, that are disheartened and discouraged because they have lost sight of the gift You have blessed them with.

The High Priority of Prayer

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Joel 1; Joel 2

OBSERVATION

  1. Joel 1:14 ~ Tell the leaders and people to come together at the temple. Order them to go without eating and to pray sincerely.
  2. Joel 2:12 ~
    The LORD said: it isn’t too late. You can still return to me with all your heart. Start crying and mourning! Go without eating.

APPLICATION

  1. This is interesting seeing what Joel ordered the leaders to do here. Just this past Wednesday evening we studied about fasting, and here it is again in this passage. Joel saw such a desperate need for the leaders to seek God’s ear until he urged them to make prayer a very high priority, even more so than food itself. I can think of several situations in our world today that require our urgent attention. In my situation, I feel like prayer is urgently needed for the local churches. Like our church, so are several around really hurting right now. As a Christian, it appears like we are losing the battle to the devil, and that the things and places of this world are attracting our people more so than the importance of meeting together with other believers. 2 Chronicles 7:14 reminds us that: if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Such important keywords in this verse: humble, pray, seek and turn. We often become frustrated over the condition of our world, but God gives us the answers on how these matters can be resolved, all we have to do is listen and obey!
  2. I thank God that He allows us to come back to Him to seek His face and petition before Him. From a worldly position, we would have written some folk off a long time ago because of things they may have said or done, however God is always working on us to live more noble lives for Him. Again this verse tells us to forget about food and concentrate on getting ourselves right with God, an action that should always have more priority than anything else. God has provided the way, the means and the book of instructions on how to get to a right place with Him, what excuse can we possibly have for not following Him for the rest of our lives? There’s a song whose lyrics read in part, “I want to be just like You”. Why don’t we put food aside and concentrate on that thought today? Being just like Christ will mean riding ourselves of actions and words that displease God; mending friendship and relationships that may currently not be in order; putting Christ first in our decision making, planning, worship and daily decisions; and with His help, seek to be more like Him in our actions and through the words that we speak. Let ‘love’ rule our lives!

PRAYER

  1. Lord, You have opened my eyes of understanding to remind me of what is needed to see things changed in my life, and in the lives of Your people. May this be the day that things will change for Your kingdom’s sake. Please begin a new work in me so that I may be more urgently about Your work.
  2. Lord, Your Word is powerful and it has spoken to me in very practical ways this morning. I can only be the kind of person that imitates You, if I truly allow You to control everything about my life. Again I pray that as I call on Your name, humble myself, pray, seek Your face and turn from my wicked way, that You will hear from heaven, forgive my sin and heal this old world that I live in. Please have Your will and way today dear Lord!