Studied: Isaiah 1
Isaiah 1:5 ~ Why be punished more? Why not give up your sin? Your head is badly bruised, and you are weak all over.
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.
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.
Studied: Psalm 80; 2 Timothy 4
- Psalm 80:19 ~ LORD God All-Powerful, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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!
- 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!
Studied: Joel 2; Joel 3; 2 Timothy 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 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Studied: 2 Chronicles 20; 1 Timothy 3
- 2 Chronicles 20:18-19 ~ Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.
- 2 Chronicles 20:22 ~ As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
- In the verses leading up to this we see where Jahaziel had share with the king and his people a word that he had received from the Lord about His help in the battle the next day. This word was received with such faith that an awesome worship time began. This touched my heart, because there are so many times that we will wait until after the victory (the proof) before we praise the Lord. In recognition of God’s promise, King Jehoshaphat and his people had a praise service. Oh that I may have that kind of faith! Oh that my church may have that kind of faith!
- In verse 22, I am totally overwhelmed by God and His power. I am also overwhelmed in seeing how important it is to God that we recognize His presence, His power and His promises. As these men were preparing to go to war against a very large, mighty army, they had every reason to be nervous and weak in the knees. Instead they were so confident in what God had promised them that they broke into singing praises to God as they left for the battleground. This was the trigger for God to begin His work in having the large opposing army self-destuct. God has placed us on this earth in His image and for His glory. When He sees us recognize Him and honor Him and His Word, He is pleased. We know from past experiences that God will do what He says, now all we need is the faith to act on what He says in confidence and giving Him praise every step of the way. He will do His part, may we always do our part!
- Father I believe, please help my unbelief. Please help me to have the kind of faith demonstrated in this story today. When I receive a word from You, help me to act on it as a done deal and not force myself into waiting to see the finished product. If You said, then I must believe it to the extent that I am willing to act on it! I need that kind of faith that only You can bless me with. Thank You Jesus!
- Lord Jesus I come to You this morning acknowledging that I am one that have always needed to see the results first. I realize that this is evidence of little faith in You and Your ability to honor Your Word. Please help me to be firm in my faith and always willing to believe what You say. There is no one like You, and while I may need to have an earthly friend prove themselves, I should always know that if You said it I can confidently believe it, trust it, and begin praising You for it, because it is like a done deal! Thank You for watching over me and taking care of me like this. You are truly awesome, and I love You Lord.