Take a look at what’s going on at the top! Take a look at what character attributes are on display! Do you realize what people are getting away with? Do you realize what people are trying to get away with? Is there a rule of law? Is there a standard that applies for everyone? Is there any reason why some people seem to get away with things that anyone else would have gotten punished for? Is there any way that such a double standard should be in place? Do you realize the impact it has in the trickle down effect?
Will you just sit around and do nothing? Will you sit quietly and have your own little pity party? Will you step up and stand up for what is right? Will you speak out for what is true, what is right, and what is just? Will you do something about it? Will you write? Will you call? Will you go? Will you ? How far down will it have to go? Do we want to accelerate to the end or do we want to try and provide a voice to those who need a voice and try to share good news with those who have yet to hear it?
We all have a choice! We are all facing decisions! And how we respond will make a difference, not only for today but for how the rest of eternity will play out not only for us but for others! Choose wisely! Decide justly! Respond in truth and love!
Let’s turn back to God before it is too late!
Take a look at your country…
do you see what’s going on?
Today’s reading starts with Isaiah…As much as the world changes, things stay the same…and people need to hear the Word and turn back to God! Obedience is better than offerings! Without obedience, it is just going through the motions…This world needs Jesus who can clean things up…Will you be Jesus with skin on? Will you bring the hope that is within you to the world that is around you? There is right and wrong! There is truth and false! Which side will you choose to live on? Let’s make a difference today!
1The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah:
A Nation Sick With Sin
2Listen! Heavens, and hear, earth, for Adonai has spoken: “Sons I have raised and brought up, but they have rebelled against Me. 3The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand.” 4Oy , a sinful nation, a people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons dealing corruptly! They have abandoned Adonai. They have despised Israel’s Holy One. They have turned backwards. 5Where will you be struck again, as you stray away more and more? The whole head is sick, the whole heart faint. 6From the foot to the head there is no soundness. Wounds, bruises and raw sores: not pressed, nor bandaged, nor softened with oil. 7Your land is desolate; your cities are burned with fire; your fields, strangers devour it in your presence—a desolation, overthrown by strangers. 8So the Daughter of Zion is left as a sukkah in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Unless Adonai-Tzva’ot had left us a small remnant, we would have been as Sodom, we would have been as Gomorrah. 10Hear the word of Adonai, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the Torah of our God, you people of Gomorrah!
11“For what is it to Me— the multitude of your sacrifices?” says Adonai. “I am full of burnt offerings of rams and fat of fed animals. I have no delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or he-goats. 12When you come to appear before Me, who has required this at your hand— trampling My courts? 13Bring no more worthless offerings! Incense is an abomination to Me. New Moon and Shabbat, the calling of convocations —I cannot endure it— iniquity with solemn assembly. 14Your New Moons and your Festivals My soul hates! They are a burden to Me. I am weary to bear them. 15When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you. When you multiply prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood!”
Scarlet Sins as Snow
16“Wash and make yourselves clean. Put away the evil of your deeds from before My eyes. Cease to do evil. 17Learn to do good, seek justice, relieve the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” 18“Come now, let us reason together,” says Adonai. “Though your sins be like scarlet, they will be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they will become like wool. 19If you are willing and obey, you will eat the good of the land. 20But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured with the sword.” For the mouth of Adonai has spoken.
Restore the Faithful City
21How the Faithful City became a harlot! She once was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her— but now murderers! 22Your silver has become dross, your wine diluted by water. 23Your princes are rebellious and friends with thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, nor does a widow’s case come to them. 24Therefore says the Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot, the Mighty One of Israel: “Oy ! I will get relief from My foes and avenge Myself on My enemies. 25Then I will turn My hand on you, purge away your dross, and remove all your alloy. 26I will restore your judges as at first, your counselors as at the start. Afterward you will be called City of Righteousness, Faithful City. 27Zion will be redeemed with justice, her repentant with righteousness.” 28But there will be a crushing of transgressors and sinners together. Forsaking Adonai, they will be consumed. 29For they will be ashamed of the sacred oaks that you desired, and embarrassed because of the gardens that you have chosen. 30For you will be like an oak of withering leaf, like a garden that has no water. 31So the strong will become tinder and his work like a spark— both will burn together, and no one will quench them.
–from Isaiah 1
Will you ask Jesus into your heart? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you? Will you call on the Father for help? Will you turn back to God? Will you give your life up to Him? Will you try it His way now? or…will the downward spiral continue? will you wait till you hit rock bottom before you start to look up? We all have to make the choice for ourselves! We all need to make a choice in how we will live! We all need to make a choice in what we will live for! We all need to make a choice what does our priority list look like and will we live it out! Don’t allow pride to keep you from doing what is right! Where does your hope and help come from? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord who provides our hope and our help!
1The word which Isaiah, son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
Torah From Jerusalem
2It will come to pass in the last days that the mountain of Adonai’s House will stand firm as head of the mountains and will be exalted above the hills. So all nations will flow to it. 3Then many peoples will go and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the House of the God of Jacob! Then He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For Torah will go forth from Zion and the word of Adonai from Jerusalem. 4He will judge between the nations and decide for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war any more. 5Come house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of Adonai. 6For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob. For they are filled with soothsayers from the east, and they have clapped hands with the children of foreigners. 7Their land also is full of silver and gold, nor is there any limit to their treasures. Their land also is full of horses, nor is there any limit to their chariots. 8Their land also is full of idols. They worship the work of their hands, what their own fingers have made. 9So humanity bows down as each one lowers himself. Pardon them not! 10Enter into the rock and hide in the dust, for fear of Adonai, and the glory of His majesty.
Lofty Ones Brought Low
11The man of haughty eyes is humbled, the lofty ones brought low, for Adonai alone will be exalted in that day. 12For the day of Adonai-Tzva’ot will be against anyone proud and haughty, against anyone lifted up—he will be humbled, 13against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up, against all the oaks of Bashan, 14against all the high mountains, against all the exalted hills, 15against every high tower, against every fortified wall, 16against all the Tarshish ships, and against all the luxury boats. 17The pride of man will be humbled, the arrogance of men abased, for Adonai alone will be exalted in that day. 18The idols will completely pass away. 19People will go into the caves of the rocks and into the holes of the earth, because of the fear of Adonai and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth. 20In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which they made to worship, to the moles and to the bats! 21They go into the clefts of the rocks and the crevices of the crags, because of fear of Adonai and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth. 22Stop trusting in mankind —whose breath is in his nose— for what is he really worth?
–from Isaiah 2
Is your heart too hard and needs to be softened? Is your heart so hard that nothing can get in? good or bad? Is your heart so hard to protect you from what has happened that it is preventing you from receiving the good things too? Call on Jesus! Invite Him into your heart! Allow Him to start a work in there to bring freedom! to bring peace! to bring hope! to bring love! to bring forgiveness! to bring reconciliation! to clean out the pains and the hurt! to clean out the anger and the frustration! to give you a new heart!
Let’s make it more than just routine or lip service! Let’s make it truth and a matter of the heart!
Ever noticed how people try to come up with ways to justify behavior? Ever noticed how people try to validate that what they did is somehow ok? Ever come across people who seem to be oblivious to the wrongs that have been committed? Has it ever been you? Have you apologized? Have you asked for forgiveness? Have you asked God for forgiveness? Have you allowed the door of reconciliation to be opened up? Have you stood up for what is right? Have you been willing to deal with the consequences of your decisions rather than just shaking them off? or hiding them? or ignoring them?
What’s coming out of you? What are you saying? What are you doing? Is it good? Is it true? Is it loving? Is is encouraging? Are you making a difference in the lives of the people around you?
1Now the Pharisees and some of the Torah scholars who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Yeshua. 2And they saw that some of His disciples were eating bread with unclean hands, that is, not washed. 3(For the Pharisees and all Jewish people do not eat unless they wash their hands up to the elbow, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4And when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they perform a ritual washing. There are many other traditions they have received and hold, such as the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels.) 5The Pharisees and Torah scholars questioned Yeshua, “Why don’t Your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders? Why do they eat bread with unwashed hands?” 6And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors Me with their lips but their heart is far from Me. 7And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8Having left behind the commandment of God, you hold on to the tradition of men.” 9He was also telling them, “You set aside the commands of God, in order that you may validate your own tradition. 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.’ 11But you say if anyone tells his father or mother, ‘Whatever you might have gained from me is korban (that is, an offering to God),’ 12then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13making void the word of God with your tradition that you’ve handed down. And you do many such things.” 14Then Yeshua called the crowd again and began saying to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand. 15There is nothing outside the man that can make him unholy by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of the man that makes the man unholy.” 16[footnote: Some mss. Add: If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.] 17When He had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18And He said to them, “Are you then also lacking understanding? Don’t you grasp that whatever goes into the man cannot make him unholy? 19For it does not enter into the heart but into the stomach, and then goes out into the sewer, cleansing all foods.” 20And He continued, “It is what comes out of the man that makes the man unholy. 21For from within, out of the heart of men, come evil intentions, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustfulness, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23All these evil things come from within and make the man unholy.”
Miracles Touch Gentile Lives
24Yeshua got up and left from there to the region of Tyre. When He had entered a house, He didn’t want anyone to know; but He couldn’t escape notice. 25A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him. She came immediately and fell at His feet. 26The woman was a Greek, from Syrophoenicia. And she kept begging Yeshua to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27He was telling her, “First let the children get their fill, for it’s not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28“Yes, Master,” she said to Him, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29Then He said to her, “Because of this word, go your way! The demon has left your daughter.” 30She went home and found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. 31Again He left the region of Tyre and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of the Decapolis. 32They bring Him a deaf man who had a speech impediment, and they beg Him to lay His hand on him. 33Yeshua took him aside from the crowd to a private place, and He put His fingers in the man’s ears. After spitting, He touched the man’s tongue. 34Looking up to heaven, He says to the man, “Ephphatha,” which means “Be opened!” 35Immediately the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak plainly. 36Yeshua ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more He ordered them, the more they continued proclaiming it. 37People were completely astounded, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear and the mute speak!”
–from Mark 7
God loves you!