I remember years back when because of lies, broken promises, deception, I got bitter. Allowing yourself to get bitter is like taking poison and thinking the other person is going to somehow get impacted. Through that experience, I learned that the way to stop it and the key to turning it around is two fold. First we need to turn back to God and give it all up into His hands. Second we need to forgive them! Wit this combination the weight, the pressure, the pain, and the bitterness can all be released and free you from it all. It may sound easy, but it wasn’t easy for me. It took me about 3 months of the downward spiral before I was willing to listen to what God had to say. Every night there would be songs on the radio to forgive and I would battle God over it saying “but God you know what they’ve done to me” and wouldn’t give it up to Him and forgive them. But God’s Word tells us that the battle belongs to the Lord! God’s Word tells us that vengeance is the Lord’s! God’s Word tells us to forgive them! God’s Word tells us to bless those who persecute us, bless and do not curse! God’s Word tells us to bless our enemies – feed them if they are hungry, give them something to drink if they are thirsty! Don’t wait till you hit rock bottom before you look up to God! Remember this quote from Dr. Willie Jolley “A setback is just a setup for a comeback!” By focusing on what is yet to come, we can be encouraged and trusting in what God’s Word promises! Jesus is coming back! We will be spending eternity with Him because of our decision to follow Him! And He hasn’t called us to heaven yet, so the best is yet to come!
So will you make the choice today to stop the downward spiral? Will you choose to forgive? Will you choose to let go of the bitterness? Will you choose to ask God to forgive you and to lead you and guide you forward? Will you allow that setback to be a setup for a comeback? Will you grab hold of the hope that the best is yet to come?
Today’s reading begins in Isaiah…We need to be light and salt and helping this world around us to turn back to God and to see who He really is. We need to help them turn back to God before they have to deal with the consequences of having walked out from out of the covering of Jesus. We need to help them to come back home where we have protection. We need to help them to turn back to God and be filled with hope before it is too late…We want them to be part of the celebration during the end times…
Curse of Empty Land
1Behold, Adonai makes the land empty and makes it waste, twists its face, and scatters its inhabitants. 2So it shall be: as with the people, so with the kohen, as with a servant, so with his master, as with a maid, so with her mistress, as with a buyer, so with the seller, as with a lender, so with the borrower, as with a creditor, so with the debtor. 3The land will be utterly emptied, and totally plundered. For Adonai has spoken this word. 4The land faints and fades away, The world wilts and fades away, The exalted people of the earth wilt. 5The land is polluted by its inhabitants, for they have transgressed Torah, violated statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. 6Therefore a curse will devour the land. Those dwelling there are found guilty. Therefore the inhabitants of the land will be burned up, so the people remaining are few. 7The new wine fails, the vine wilts, all the merry-hearted sigh. 8The glee of tambourines stops, the noise of revelers ends, the joy of the harp ceases. 9They no longer drink wine with song. Liquor is bitter to those drinking it. 10The shattered city is in chaos. Every house is shut up, none may enter. 11In the streets is an outcry for wine; all joy becomes dark as evening; the mirth of the land is banished. 12The city is left in ruins; the gate is battered down.
Last Days’ Judgments
13So will it be in the earth and among the nations, as when shaking an olive tree, or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest. 14They will raise their voices, They will sing for joy, of the majesty of Adonai they shout from the sea. 15‘Therefore glorify Adonai in the east, the Name of Adonai, the God of Israel, in the isles of the sea. 16From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: “Glory to the righteous!” But I say, “I waste away, I waste away! Oy to me! Traitors betray! With treachery traitors betray!” 17Panic, pit and trap are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth. 18And it shall come to pass: whoever flees from the sound of panic will fall in the pit, and whoever climbs up out of the pit will be caught in the trap. For the windows of heaven are opened and the foundations of the earth shake. 19The earth is broken apart, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken utterly. 20The earth reels to and fro like a drunk, and sways like a hut. its transgression is so heavy upon it that it will fall and never rise again. 21It will come about in that day, Adonai will punish the host of heaven on high, and the kings of the earth on the earth. 22They will be gathered together, like prisoners in the Pit, and will be shut up in the prison, and after many days be punished. 23Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, for Adonai-Tzva’ot will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His elders, gloriously.
–from Isaiah 24
We need them to realize they have a choice! We need them to realize that their choice makes a difference! We need them to know that their choices have a long lasting impact on what is yet to come! We need them to know that they should choose sooner rather than later in order to avoid even more challenging times than God desires for them to go through! We need them to know that right now, today, there is a choice to be made! We need them to know that they don’t have to wait, but they can make a decision today that will impact their lives into eternity!
Will you choose to ask Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior?
Last Days’ Deliverance
1Adonai, You are my God, I will exalt You, I will praise Your Name, for You have done wonderful things, plans of old with steadfast faithfulness. 2For You have made a city into a heap, a fortified city into a ruin, a foreigner’s palace a city no more— never to be rebuilt. 3Therefore a strong people will honor You. Cities of ruthless nations will fear You. 4For You have been a stronghold for the poor, a stronghold for the needy in distress, a refuge from the rainstorm, a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against the wall. 5Like heat in a dry place, You subdue the roar of foreigners. Like heat in the shade of a cloud, the song of tyrants is brought low. 6On this mountain, Adonai-Tzva’ot will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples— a banquet of aged wine— of rich food, of choice marrow, of aged wine well refined. 7On this mountain He will swallow up the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the veil spread over all nations. 8He will swallow up death forever. my Lord Adonai will wipe away tears from every face. He will remove His people’s reproach from all the earth. For Adonai has spoken. 9It will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God, We waited for Him—He will save us. This is Adonai—we waited for Him. We will rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” 10For the hand of Adonai will rest on this mountain. Moab will be trampled under Him, as straw is trampled in a manure pile. 11When he spreads his hands in it as a swimmer spreads his hands to swim, his pride will be brought down low together with the trickery of his hands. 12He will level your high-fortified walls, lay them low, and cast them down to the ground, down to dust.
–from Isaiah 25
Everyone has that spot that they try or have tried to fill with stuff. Everyone has that spot that feels or has felt empty. Everyone has a choice on temporarily filling the spot or permanently inviting Jesus into it and allow His Spirit to move in. Are you just living in the moment or living for eternity? Are you living for a temporary high or living with the hope that the best is yet to come? Are you living on the rollercoaster of emotions? Where does your hope and trust come from? Who can you trust? Turn back to God! He is waiting for you! He is waiting and ready and willing to help you get back in place and back on track! He will rejoice and celebrate upon your return! Just like in the story of the Lost Son or the Prodigal Son, God is ready to receive you and lift you back up! Don’t be downcast! Allow the fountain of living water to come into your life!
My Soul Thirsts for God
1For the music director, a contemplative song of the sons of Korah. 2As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. 3My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and appear before God? 4My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day: “Where is your God?” 5These things I remember as I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng, walking with them to the House of God, with a voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping a festival. 6Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why are you murmuring within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, for the salvation of His presence. 7My God, my soul is downcast within me! Therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan and from the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mitzar. 8Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls. All Your waves and breakers have swept over me. 9By day Adonai commands His love, and at night His song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. 10I will say to God my Rock: “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go about mourning, under the oppression of the enemy?” 11As with a crushing in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, by saying to me all day, “Where is your God?” 12Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why are you murmuring within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, the salvation of my countenance and my God.
–from Psalms 42
Let’s open our eyes to see! Let’s be light that other people’s eyes will be opened to see too! Let’s be salt and light into this dark world! Let’s be people pointing to the truth! For the truth will set you free! If Jesus asks you to do something hard to be saved would you do it? If Jesus asked you to do something simple to be saved would you do it? What’s it going to take for you to believe?
Bringing Light to the Blind
1As Yeshua was passing by, He saw a man who had been blind since birth. 2His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” 3Yeshua answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be brought to light in him. 4We must do the work of the One who sent Me, so long as it is day! Night is coming when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6Having said these things, He spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud on the blind man’s eyes. 7He told him, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which is translated Sent). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing. 8Therefore his neighbors and those who had seen him as a beggar kept saying, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9“This is the one!” some said. “No, but it looks like him,” said others. But the man himself kept saying, “I am!” 10So they asked him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11He answered, “The Man who is called Yeshua made mud, rubbed it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went away and washed, and then I received my sight!” 12“Where is He?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said. 13They bring to the Pharisees the man who once was blind. 14Now the day was Shabbat when Yeshua made the mud and opened the man’s eyes. 15So again the Pharisees were asking him how he received his sight. He responded, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see!” 16So some of the Pharisees began saying, “This man isn’t from God, because He doesn’t keep Shabbat!” But others were saying, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So there was a split among them. 17Again they say to the blind man, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He’s a prophet.” 18So the Judean leaders didn’t believe that he had been blind and received his sight until they called his parents. 19They questioned them, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? Then how does he see now?” 20Then his parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21We don’t know how he now sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him—he’s old enough. He will speak for himself.” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Judean leaders. For the Judean leaders had already agreed that anyone who professed Yeshua to be Messiah would be thrown out of the synagogue. 23That’s why his parents said, “He’s old enough—ask him.” 24So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner!” 25The man replied, “I don’t know whether He’s a sinner. One thing I do know is that I was blind, but now I see!” 26So they asked him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27“I told you already and you didn’t listen!” the man responded. “What, do you want to hear it again? You don’t want to become His disciples too, do you?” 28They railed at him and said, “You’re a disciple of that One, but we’re disciples of Moses! 29We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as for this fellow, we don’t know where He is from.” 30The man replied to them, “That’s amazing! You don’t know where He is from, yet He opened my eyes! 31We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners; but if anyone fears Him and does His will, He hears this one. 32Since the beginning of the world, no one has ever heard that anyone has opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, He couldn’t do anything.” 34They replied to him, “You were born completely in sin, and you’re teaching us?” And they threw him out.
Is Seeing Believing?
35Yeshua heard that they had thrown him out. Finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36The man answered, “Who is He, Sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in Him!” 37Yeshua said, “You have seen Him—He is the One speaking with you.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. 39Yeshua said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who don’t see may see, and the ones who do see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard Him say this and asked, “We’re not blind too, are we?” 41Yeshua said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, ‘We see.’ So your sin remains.”
–from John 9
So let’s start living today like Jesus! Let’s imitate Him as we humbly serve others! Let’s imitate Him as we love and share with others! Let’s be Jesus with skin on to the people we will engage with today to ensure that He is exalted and lift up while the door is being opened to welcome others into the Kingdom of God! Let’s point people to the Son whose light we are reflecting in this world!
Learning to Imitate Messiah’s Emissary
1So let each one think of us in this way—as Messiah’s helpers and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2In this case, moreover, what is required of stewards is to be found trustworthy. 3But to me it matters very little to be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore do not judge anything before the time—wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and also make clear the motives of the hearts. Then the praise for each one will come from God. 6Now I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so you might learn from us not to go beyond what is written. Then none of you will be puffed up in favor of one against the other. 7For who makes you different? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 8Already you are full! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish you were kings, so we also might be kings with you! 9For it seems to me that God has put us, the emissaries, on display last of all—like men sentenced to death. For we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people. 10We are fools for Messiah’s sake, but you are wise in Messiah! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are dishonored! 11To this very hour we are both hungry and thirsty, dressed in rags and mistreated and homeless. 12We toil, working with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless. When we are persecuted, we endure. 13When we are slandered, we speak kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the dregs of all things—even to this moment. 14I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to warn you as my dearly loved children. 15For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Messiah, yet you do not have many fathers. For in Messiah Yeshua, I became your father through the Good News. 16I urge you therefore—be imitators of me. 17For this reason I have sent you Timothy, my dearly loved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Messiah, just as I teach everywhere in every community. 18Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing; and I will find out not the talk of those who are puffed up, but their power. 20For the kingdom of God does not consist of talk but of power. 21What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
–from 1 Corinthians 4