He is my rock

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

 

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;

Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed,

Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;

Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow,

All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.

 

Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling;

Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath, When my eyes shall close in death,

When I rise to worlds unknown, And behold Thee on Thy throne,

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.
Augustus M. Toplady, 1776

Powerful words for us all to contemplate – read slowly, worship, repent, rest, and hide.

Burning within me,

JOY!

Scoffers unaware

Peter says there will be scoffers -those who say that even though God’s people speak of Jesus’ return, nothing has changed since the beginning of time. (2 Peter 3:4) He goes on to write that the world will be destroyed by fire as it once was destroyed by flood. The difference is it will be burned up in its entirety: the earth and its works – continue to read chapter 3 of 2 Peter.

Isaiah says much the same as he prophesies to the Israelites. Isaiah 28:22 “And now do not carry on as scoffers, or your fetters will be made stronger; for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts of decisive destruction on all the earth.” “Decisive destruction” is permanent, imminent and total. Dictionary.com gives the following synonyms for decisive: conclusive, final, firm.

How soon will it happen? We all seem to erringly live as the scoffer; it will happen years from now or after my life time. How does that cause unbelievers observing us to live? Peter reminds us we are looking forward to a new heaven and new earth where righteousness dwells and thus we should be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.

According to Bible prophesy scholars, the signs in our time are pointing to Jesus’ soon return. It’s politically, socially, economically and spiritually lining up. Are there lost individuals you are concerned about? Beloved, it is time to pray and love like we never have before. We who know Him should make sure we are not scoffers unaware, not looking intently to the eastern sky in anticipation of His appearance. A decisive destruction is coming.

Burning within me,

JOY!

Proven

Internet shoppers often look at reviews to decide if a product is effective and satisfactory or a gimmick or overpriced. When prescribed new medicines, savvy patients will review side effects and case studies. Research into how much testing an item has undergone lends confidence in our trust of the given merchandise or prescribed cure.

God proved the trustworthiness and value of Jesus in His life, death and resurrection. He used the term of cornerstone to describe Him. The one rock on which the weight of a building rested. Isaiah predicted Jesus would be a “tried” weight bearer.

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore says the Lord God, Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly stone, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

He was tempted and tested with trials such as we, and yet He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15) He was made perfect through suffering (Hebrews 2:10) He died without objection or retaliation. (Acts 8:32) He overcame death by rising from the grave. (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Luke, Peter and Paul all use this imagery, borrowed from Isaiah, of the cornerstone to speak of our Lord. You can put all your weight on Him. You can trust Him. Isaiah says your belief in Him will not let you be disturbed. He has been tried and passed all tests. Remember that among whatever trial faces you this day.

I go to the rock of my salvation,

I go to the stone that the builders rejected.

I go to the mountain and the mountain stands by me.

When all around me is shifting sands,

On Christ the solid rock I stand.

When I need a shelter,

When I need a friend,

I go to the rock.

Burning within me,

JOY!

The greatest act of a mother

Two books (“Fox Book of Martyrs” and Stephen Mussick’s “Judas Maccabeus, The Hammer of God”) have made me aware of a mother of a caliber I cannot fathom. Her belief and knowledge and trust of our God is beyond my comprehension. I will summarize her story here. In a time when the Greeks were trying to assimilate the Jews into Greek culture, persecution was again a way of life for God’s chosen ones. A mother and her seven sons were taken captive during this effort to annihilate the Jewish culture. They were compelled by the king to taste swine’s flesh and were tormented with scourges and whips. As the brothers refused, each was killed in the sight of the mother and his brothers. As each was dismembered, he was exhorted by his mother and remaining brothers to die manfully. The mother spoke to them as such, “I cannot tell how ye came into my womb; for I neither gave you breath nor life, neither was it I that formed the members of everyone one of you, but doubtless the Creator of the world, who formed the generation of man, and found out the beginning of all things, will also of his own mercy give you breath and life again, as ye now regard not your own selves for his Laws’ sake.” When Antiochus reached the youngest brother he coerced him with friendship and position. He encouraged the mother to counsel the young man to save his life. The mother did counsel him with agonizing words, “O my son, have pity on me that bare thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up into this age, and endured the troubles of education. I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not; and so was mankind made likewise. Fear not this tormentor, but, being worthy of thy brethren, take thy death that I may receive thee again in mercy with thy brethren.”

The details of the torture were left out (by me) – I only pointed to the faithfulness to God. It is a haunting story – to know that mother did the right thing in the sight of the Lord. They did not love their lives so much as to shrink back from death (the mother included was executed), but gave their lives to keep from denying their one true God. In a day of Christian persecution, this causes me to seriously consider, “what is my greatest goal?” What am I truly willing to sacrifice in my devotion to God? I appreciate Adrian Rogers saying in such hours you do not have to wonder what you will say; Christ told the disciples the Spirit would give them utterance. However, will my focus be the preservation of their earthly lives or their eternity? I pray none of us as mothers ever face such an overwhelming test.

Hannah is an example to us of a mother willing to give God back what He alone could give her. She begged him for a child, and she remained true to her confession and gave the child back to Him. As a mother, I have come to realize that is the most important thing I can do for my children. I cannot protect them. I cannot provide them an eternity. I did not give them breath, nor can I sustain it. I don’t want them to be reliant upon me because I have only one thing to give them – Jesus. So I give them to Jesus. Oh, I mess up and try to fashion their lives in the manner I see as best. In God’s righteousness He rebukes me, and I hand them back.

Mother, don’t miss you only have one thing to offer your child: Jesus. Make sure it is in the forefront of every act of love you perform. You can do nothing greater for your offspring than give them to Jesus. In return, you truly get to keep them.

Burning within me,

JOY!

“We must prepare the next generation to be martyrs.” – Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Bible Church, made this statement as he had a conversation with a lawyer whose expertise is Sharia Law. The lawyer had converted from Islam to Christianity and remained anonymous. As he and Lutzer spoke of the current Islamic campaign to overtake the world, he exhorted that was his (Lutzer’s) mission in life – prepare the next generation to be martyrs.

Women who are at ease

I have a burden, a trepidation God will not relieve. I see and hear the news and know that dangerous times have reached the world. America is in a sad condition and in a growingly dangerous position. The Middle East is rife with conflict, war and evil doings. I hear pastor’s sermons from years gone by of the stage being set for the days of Jacob’s trouble. Adrian Rogers preached before His death that America’s leadership was causing a famine – a shortage of food. I hear from today’s whistle blowers farm land is being bought by the government. The government manipulates and pays farmers to control what and when they plant. Isaiah 32 speaks of horrid times for the land of Israel. The words are written to the women who are at ease.

Isaiah 32:9-20 (NASB)

9 Rise up, you women who are at ease,

And hear my voice;

Give ear to my word,

You complacent daughters.

10 Within a year and a few days

You will be troubled, O complacent daughters;

For the vintage is ended,

And the fruit gathering will not come.

11 Tremble, you women who are at ease;

Be troubled, you complacent daughters;

Strip, undress and put sackcloth on your waist,

12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine,

13 For the land of my people in which thorns and briars shall come up;

Yea, for all the joyful houses and for the jubilant city.

14 Because the palace has been abandoned, the populated city forsaken.

Hill and watch-tower have become caves forever,

A delight for wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks;

I couldn’t help but think of our times. So many predicted afflictions and dire circumstances. And yet, we as believers are at ease. I know you are stressed dear one. But much of our stresses are self-chosen. My focuses are often carnal and not eternity based. We worry about wearing the right clothes, being the right size and having the right make up. It sounds silly as you read, but it’s true. We have cars and microwaves and internet shopping. We have so many conveniences we can’t keep up with the list we give ourselves. Yet, if we are discerning, we will be in our prayer closets asking God to prepare us for the days ahead.

My goal is not to be a “the sky is falling” Chicken Little. My burden is to seek out what God has told us is to come in His Word and live my life with wisdom having such knowledge. There is a very, very bright day coming. Isaiah finishes this chapter with “how blessed you will be” when He returns.

15 Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high,

And the wilderness becomes a fertile field,

And the fertile field is considered as a forest.

16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness

And righteousness will abide in the fertile field.

17 And the work of righteousness will be peace,

And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

18 Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation,

And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places;

19 And it will hail when the forest comes down,

And the city will be utterly laid low.

20 How blessed will you be, you who sow beside all waters,

Who let out freely the ox and the donkey.

I end today with wisdom from His precious, life-giving, eternal, unchanging Word. 

Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.

Be discerning oh women at ease.
Burning within me,
JOY!

Hide us

Matthew Henry’s commentary on Isaiah 26:20-21 is so potent and encouraging. I share it in part with you, my believer family, today.

Isaiah 26:20-21(NASB)

Come, my people, enter into your rooms

And close your doors behind you;

Hide for a little while

Until indignation runs its course.

For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place

To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;

And the earth will reveal her bloodshed

And will no longer cover her slain.

 

“When we commend ourselves to God to hide us, he will hide us either under heaven or in heaven…

There is hardly any truth more frequently repeated in Scripture, than God’s determined purpose to punish the workers of iniquity. Let us keep close to the Lord, and separate from the world; and let us seek comfort in secret prayer. A day of vengeance is coming on the world, and before it comes we are to expect tribulation and suffering. But because the Christian looks for these things, shall he be restless ad dismayed? No, let him repose himself in his God. Abiding in him, the believer is safe. And let us wait patiently the fulfilling of God’s promises.”

Intention of affliction

It’s not a state we accept with joy or readiness. No one wants afflictions, trials or persecution in their lives. Yet, the Bible states many times over it has purpose.

Isaiah 26:9 (NASB)

At night my soul longs for You,

Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently;

For when the earth experiences Your judgments

The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

Psalm 119:67(NASB)

Before I was afflicted I went astray,

But now I keep Your word.

 

The hardest times in life teach us righteousness. We are drawn to the source of our help in these times; we cry out to Him. If at all possible today beloved, in your suffering, recognize the joy and privilege of being made like Him. The alternative is revealed in Isaiah 26, “Though the wicked is shown favor, he does not learn righteousness.” We don’t want to be proved wicked. God chastens His sons, and I want to be known as His child.

Hebrews 12:6 “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Burning within me,

JOY!

A veil covers the earth

“In that day”, Isaiah tell us that the Lord will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over the nations. (Isaiah 25:7) The Believers’ Bible Commentary calls this veil, “the veil of satanic blindness that has shrouded all the nations.” Is this deception the root of the hostility so prevalent against believers? Jews have been the target of the kingdoms of the world from early times. Rulers have sought to assimilate them into the presiding culture and tortured and killed those who would not turn from “the laws of God”. Today, Christians are persecuted in the same way. The world does not accept the truth either people group represent. There has been a concerted effort down through time to eradicate not only the people of God but His written Word. Both have persisted. This is a testament to the authenticity of both. Stay strong Christian brothers and recognize that though the veil persists in our time, so do the people and the Word Satan has for all earth’s time tried to stamp out. A new world is coming where that veil will not exist, the Lord is going to “swallow it up”. He will receive all glory.

Burning within me,

JOY!

BURNED

What is your pride? Is it a collection, a career, a business, a trophy set, or a reputation? Is it eternity based? If it isn’t, it will be burned up with this world, destroyed in the fire of God’s wrath. As the song states, “only what’s done for Christ will last”. So many are intently focused on the world around them. We are drawn to things that swell our pride. However, this world and its works will be burned by fire. 2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” Knowing this makes me ask myself often is this “investment” worth my emotions and energy. Am I focusing on something that is going to be destroyed?

Peter says Christ’s return will be a like a thief,. Knowing this, are we preparing or are we focusing on the things that will be burned up? What will we have left of our time on earth?

Burning within me,

JOY!

Small thinking

Often evangelicals speak of God’s judgment of America. If God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, it is said, He will surely judge this nation. That is small thinking and dangerous. The truth given in Isaiah 24 is that God will judge the whole earth. He isn’t going to stop at a country He blessed that has in return renounced Him. All of the earth, teetering under the weight of its sin is how Isaiah describes it, will be destroyed. All nations and people left here will experience the wrath of God. The earth will be totally annihilated and replaced. It isn’t a surprise that lawlessness abounds. It is not a shock that people are self-centered (lovers of themselves), lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure. Paul wrote the scene out for Timothy and God preserved it for us to see. What is imperative is that God’s people recognize the times and prepare. Peter repeated in his first letter to the churches be sober. Be sober for the matter of prayer. Be sober and on the alert.

These are exciting days. The Lord’s return is imminent. No event is left to take place, according to the prophecies He has given us, in order for Jesus to rapture His bride. Although there are frightening happenings every day, the believer can be fully confident that God foresaw it all, gave us warning and has it all under control. Until He makes all things new, may the church be faithful. Judgment is coming, however, it involves much more than the USA.

Burning within me,

JOY!

Judgment on the Earth

Isaiah

24 Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants. 2 And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor. 3 The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the Lord has spoken this word. 4 The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. 5 The earth is also polluted [a]by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.

7 The new wine mourns,The vine decays, All the merry-hearted sigh.
 8 The gaiety of tambourines ceases,
The noise of revelers stops,
The gaiety of the harp ceases.
9 They do not drink wine with song;
Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
 10 The city of chaos is broken down;
Every house is shut up so that none may enter.
11 There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine;
All joy [b]turns to gloom.
The gaiety of the earth is banished.
12 Desolation is left in the city
And the gate is battered to ruins.
13 For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples,
As the [c]shaking of an olive tree,
As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over.
 14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy;
They cry out from the [d]west concerning the majesty of the Lord.
 15 Therefore glorify the Lord in the [e]east,
The name of the Lord, the God of Israel,
In the [f]coastlands of the sea.
16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs, “Glory to the Righteous One,”
B
ut I say, “[g]Woe to me! [h]Woe to me! Alas for me!
The treacherous deal treacherously,
And the treacherous deal very treacherously.”
17 Terror and pit and snare
[i]Confront you, O inhabitant of the earth.
18 Then it will be that he who flees the [j]report of disaster will fall into the pit,
And he who [k]climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare;
For the windows [l]above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake.
19 The earth is broken asunder,
The earth is split through,
The earth is shaken violently.
20 The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard
And it totters like a [m]shack,
For its transgression is heavy upon it,
And it will fall, never to rise again.
21 So it will happen in that day,
That the Lord will punish the host of [n]heaven on high,
And the kings of the earth on earth.
2
2 They will be gathered together
L
ike prisoners in the [o]dungeon,
And will be confined in prison;
And after many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed,
For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
And His glory will be before His elders.

 

 

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