Are you so proud that you think it was all in your own strength? Are you so stubborn that you won’t be swayed? Do you realize that it was said before to make sure you couldn’t take full credit? Do you realize that it was said before to make sure you couldn’t give credit to someone else? Have you heard it? Have you listened? Have you considered?
God created everything! He spoke it into motion! God is eternal – He knows the beginning and the end! The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! When you read God’s Word, don’t you hear the fact that things aren’t that different? Human nature isn’t that different. God is Love! God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!
Today’s reading begins in Isaiah 48…
Who Foretold These Things?
1Hear this, house of Jacob, who are called by the Name of Israel, who came from the wellspring of Judah, who swear by the Name of Adonai and confess the God of Israel— but not in truth or righteousness. 2For they call themselves by the holy city, and lean on the God of Israel, Adonai-Tzva’ot is His Name. 3“I foretold the former things long ago. They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to be heard. Suddenly I acted, so they came about. 4For I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is iron sinew, and your forehead bronze. 5So I foretold it to you long ago. before it came about I made you hear, lest you should say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image, yes, my molded image commanded them.’ 6You have heard. See all of it. So will you not admit it? I proclaim to you new things from now on—hidden things that you have not known. 7They are created now, not long ago. Before today you had not heard them. So you will not say, ‘Sure, I knew them.’ 8You have not heard; you never knew; even from long ago your ear has not been open. For I knew that you are treacherous, and from birth were called a rebel. 9For My Name’s sake I defer My anger, for My praise I will restrain it for you— otherwise I would cut you off. 10Behold, I have refined you, though not as silver. I tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11For My own sake, for My own sake, I act. For how should I be profaned? I will not give My glory to another. 12Listen to Me, Jacob, Israel whom I called: I am He; I am the first; I am also the last. 13Surely My hand founded the earth, My right hand spread out the heavens. When I call to them, they stand together. 14Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them foretold these things? Adonai loves him. He will do His will against Babylon— His arm against the Chaldeans. 15I, I have spoken, yes I called him. I will bring him, so his ways will succeed. 16Draw near to Me, hear this: Since the beginning, I have not spoken in secret. From the time it existed, I was there. So now Adonai Elohim has sent Me, and His Ruach.” 17Thus says Adonai, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am Adonai your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. 18If only you had listened to My commandments! then your peace would be like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. 19Your seed would have been like sand, and your offspring like its grains. Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before Me.” 20“Get out of Babylon, flee from Chaldea! With a shout of joy, proclaim this, send it out to the end of the earth, say: ‘Adonai has redeemed His servant Jacob! 21They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts. He caused the water to flow out of the rock for them. He split the rock also, and the waters gushed out.’” 22“There is no shalom,” says Adonai, “for the wicked.”
–from Isaiah 48
Jesus came to save! Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, He came that through Him the world could be saved! Have you heard of Jesus? Have you asked Him into your heart? Has your life been transformed thanks to Jesus? Have your eyes been opened to all God has called you to be? Have your ears been opened to hear the still quiet voice of the Spirit who will lead you, guide you, instruct you, and direct you? Is today your day to ask Jesus into your life? Is today the day you make Jesus more than just a good teacher and a good example, but actually make Him Lord of your life? Is today the day you ask Jesus into your heart and allow Him to become the savior of your life?
Second Servant Song: Light of the Nations
1Listen, to Me, islands! Pay attention, peoples far away. Adonai called Me from the womb, from My mother’s belly He named Me. 2He made My mouth like a sharp sword. in the shadow of His hand He hid Me. He made Me a polished arrow, He has hidden Me in His quiver. 3He said to Me, “You are My servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” 4But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and futility. Yet surely the justice due to me is with Adonai, and my reward with my God.” 5So now says Adonai, who formed Me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, to gather Israel back to Him. For I am honored in the eyes of Adonai and My God has become my strength. 6So He says, “It is too trifling a thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the preserved ones of Israel. So I will give You as a light for the nations, that You should be My salvation to the end of the earth.” 7Thus says Adonai, the Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, to the One despised, to the One the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers: “Kings will see and arise, princes will also bow down, because of Adonai who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”
Compassion on Zion’s Children
8Thus says Adonai: “In a time of favor I will answer you. in a day of salvation I will help you. I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the land, to make them possess its desolate inheritances, 9saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out!’ to those in darkness, ‘Be shown!’ Along the roads they will graze— their pasture will be on all the barren heights. 10They will not hunger or thirst, nor scorching wind or sun strike them, for their compassionate One will lead them, and will guide them by springs of water. 11I will make all My mountains a road, and My highways will be raised up. 12“Behold, these shall come from afar. behold, these from the north and from the west, and from the land of Sinim. 13Shout for joy, heavens! Rejoice, earth! Break forth into ringing shouts, O mountains! For Adonai has comforted His people and has compassion on His afflicted.” 14But Zion said: “Adonai has forsaken me, Adonai has forgotten me.” 15“Can a woman forget her nursing baby or lack compassion for a child of her womb? Even if these forget, I will not forget you. 16Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. Your walls are continually before Me. 17Your children will come quickly. Your destroyers and devastators will go away from you. 18Lift up your eyes around and see: all of them will gather and come to you.” “As I live” —it is Adonai’s declaration— “you will wear them all as jewelry and bind them on like a bride.” 19For your waste and desolate places and your destroyed land will now be surely too small for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. 20The children of your bereavement will yet say in your ears, “The place is too cramped for me! Make room for me to settle in.” 21Then you will say in your heart, “Who has borne these for me? Wasn’t I bereaved of my children— barren, an exile and wandering? So who has raised these? Behold, I was left alone— these, where were they?” 22Thus says Adonai Elohim: “Look, I will lift My hand to the nations, and raise My banner to the peoples! They will bring your sons on their chest, and carry your daughters on their shoulders. 23Kings will be your guardians, their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their face to the ground, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am Adonai— those hoping in Me will not be ashamed.” 24Can plunder be taken from the mighty, or captives of the righteous freed? 25For thus says Adonai: “Yes, captives of the mighty will be taken and the prey of the tyrant will be freed. For I will oppose your adversary. I will save your children. 26I will feed your oppressors their flesh. They will be drunk with their blood as with sweet wine. Then all flesh will know that I, Adonai, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
–from Isaiah 49
Do you realize that even those who oppose you can open doors for you to testify of the greatness of God? Do you realize that even those who persecute you can ask questions they didn’t expect the answer to be Jesus? Do you realize that God goes before you preparing all the good works He has for you to do? Do you realize that God loves you? Right here! Right now! And He loves you too much to stop at that! He sees your potential! He sees beyond the here and the now into the what can be and what could be and what will be! Are you willing to become everything God has planned and purposed for you to be? Are you willing to give up the selfish things in order to step up and become who God created you to be? Are you willing to become a vessel that God can use to perform miracles through? If God can get it through you, He will get it to you! Pray today for wisdom! Pray today for courage! Pray today for an obedient spirit and heart to hear and then do! Let’s foster unity!
Standing Before the Sanhedrin
1As Peter and John were speaking to the people, the kohanim and the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees came up to them. 2They were indignant because Peter and John were teaching the people and announcing in Yeshua the resurrection of the dead. 3So they grabbed them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. 4But many who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. 5On the next day, the rulers and elders and Torah scholars were gathered together in Jerusalem. 6Annas the kohen gadol was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all those who were of high-priestly descent. 7When they had placed Peter and John in their midst, they began to inquire, “By what power or in what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are on trial today for a mitzvah done for a sick man, as to how this fellow was healed, 10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Yeshua ha-Mashiach ha-Natzrati—whom you had crucified, whom God raised from the dead—this one stands before you whole. 11This Yeshua is ‘the stone—rejected by you, the builders—that has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved!” 13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and figured out they were laymen without training, they were amazed. They began to realize that these men had been with Yeshua. 14But seeing the healed man standing with them, they had nothing to say in response. 15When they had ordered Peter and John to go out of the council chamber, they began to confer with one another, 16saying, “What shall we do with these men? For indeed, it’s obvious to everyone living in Jerusalem that a remarkable miracle has happened through them, and we cannot deny it. 17But so it won’t spread any further among the people, let’s warn them not to speak anymore to anyone in this name.” 18So they called them in and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Yeshua. 19But Peter and John replied, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. 20For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21After threatening them again, they let them go—finding no way they could punish them on account of the people, because they all were glorifying God for what had happened. 22For the man in whom this miracle of healing had happened was more than forty years old.
Prayer for Courage
23As soon as they were released, Peter and John went to their own people and reported all that the ruling kohanim and elders had said to them. 24When they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “O Sovereign Master, ‘You made heaven and earth and the sea, and everything in them.’ 25You said by the Ruach ha-Kodesh, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, ‘Why did the nations rage and the peoples plot foolish things? 26The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers were gathered together against Adonai and against His Anointed One.’ 27“For truly both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together in this city against Your holy Servant Yeshua, whom You anointed. 28They did whatever Your hand and Your purpose predetermined to happen. 29And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant Your servants to speak Your word with utmost courage— 30while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy Servant Yeshua.” 31When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. And they were all filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Ruach-Filled Community Life
32Now the whole group of those who believed was one in heart and mind. No one would say anything he owned was his own, but they had everything in common. 33With great power the emissaries were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Yeshua, and abundant favor was upon them all. 34No one among them was needy, for all who were owners of lands or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds 35and set them at the feet of the emissaries. And the proceeds were distributed according to the need each one had. 36Now Joseph, also called Barnabas by the emissaries (which is translated Son of Encouragement), was a Levite and native of Cyprus. 37He sold a field that he owned and brought the money and laid it at the feet of the emissaries.
–from Acts 4
Let’s pursue love today! Let’s desire the gifts from God! Let’s desire prophecy! Ever looked up prophecy?
Today’s reading concludes on this subject…
Orderly Governing of the Gifts
1Pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to people but to God—for no one understands, but in the Ruach he speaks mysteries. 3But one who prophesies speaks to people for building up, urging on, and uplifting. 4One who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but one who prophesies builds up the community. 5Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues—unless he interprets, so that the community may be built up. 6But now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you—unless I speak to you by way of revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7It is the same for lifeless things that make a sound—like a flute or a harp. If they make no distinction in the tones, how will what is played be recognized? 8For if the trumpet makes an unclear sound, who will prepare himself for battle? 9So also with you with your tongue—unless you utter speech that is intelligible, how will what is spoken be understood? For you will be talking to the wind! 10It may be that there are many kinds of languages in the world—and none without meaning. 11If then I do not understand the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker will be a foreigner to me. 12Likewise with you—since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, keep trying to excel for the building up of the community. 13Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15What is it then? I will pray in my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing praises with my spirit, and I will also sing praises with my mind. 16Otherwise if you give thanks and praise in the spirit, how will one filling the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he has no idea what you’re saying? 17For you certainly give thanks well, but the other person is not built up. 18I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19However, in Messiah’s community I would rather speak five words with my mind, so I may also instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20Brothers and sisters, stop being children in your thinking—rather, be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21In the Prophets it is written, “By those with strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people. And not even then will they listen to me,” says Adonai. 22Therefore tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers—but prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23So if Messiah’s whole community comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and uninstructed or unbelieving people come in, won’t they say that you are crazy? 24But if all are prophesying and some unbelieving or ungifted person comes in, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all. 25The secrets of his heart become known, and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring, “God really is among you!” 26What is it then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27If someone speaks in a tongue, let it be by two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. 28But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the community but speak to himself and to God. 29Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others evaluate. 30But if something is revealed to another sitting nearby, let the first one become silent. 31For you can all prophesy one by one, so all may learn and be encouraged. 32The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 33for God is not a God of confusion, but shalom. As in all the communities of the kedoshim, 34let women keep silent in the communities, for it is not permitted for them to speak out. Rather let them be in order, as the Torah also says. 35If they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home—for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak out in the community. 36Did the word of God originate with you? Or did it reach you alone? 37If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. 38But if someone does not recognize it, he is not recognized. 39Therefore, brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But let everything be done decently and in order.
–from 1 Corinthians 14