Ever read something and wondered? Ever looked for answers? Ever started looking for answers? Ever started searching for the trigger? Ever began to seeking the person? Ever wondered how could that be? Ever considered what it would take? In the midst of it all did you ever consider that you need to be a part of it? In the contemplation, have you thought of how you are supposed to respond? There is an answer! From the beginning till the end, there is a way! From the highs and thru the lows, there is hope! The answer is right in front of you! The answer is right besides you! The answer is all around you! We all received the gift of freewill! So we all get to decide for ourselves if we will to or resist it!
So where are you at? Have you decided? Have you chosen? Are you living it out now?
The choice is yours…so what are you going to do with this power?
Today’s reading continues in Isaiah and speaks to the hope for Israel that was yet to come thru who we know today as Jesus! Today we have the benefit of the old and the new testament and so we get to hear the truth before Jesus and after Jesus and how God was in it all! We are faced with decisions and choices that we have made or will have to to make…God has a plan and a purpose for you and your life! God’s plan is better than yours! God’s plan is higher than yours! He sent Jesus so that we could have a hope and a future!
Trees of the Field will Clap Their Hands
1“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! 2Why do you spend money for what is not bread? Your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. 3Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, so that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the trustworthy loyalty to David. 4Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5Behold, you will summon a nation you do not know, and a nation that did not know you will run to you, because of Adonai your God and the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you.” 6Seek Adonai while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. 7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous one his thoughts, let him return to Adonai, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. 9“For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without having watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to sow and bread to eat, 11so My word will be that goes out from My mouth. It will not return to Me in vain, but will accomplish what I intend, and will succeed in what I sent it for. 12“Yes, you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace. The mountains and the hills will break forth before you singing, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands! 13Instead of the thorn bush, a cypress will come up, and instead of the brier, a myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to Adonai, as an everlasting sign that will never be cut off.”
–from Isaiah 55
Israel was and is God’s people. God’s plan was to expand and share the truth with all of the world! He started with Abram who became Abraham. God’s plan was around us need to love Him and love people! Jesus came because there was no other way for justice to be fulfilled! God had to take things into His own hands to be able to make a way for us to be reconciled back into His life! Reconciled in a way that would end it, not something that had to be repeated, but once and for all! Now that He did His part, our part is to receive it! Will you receive the gift of salvation? Will you ask Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior? Will you make the choice that each one had to make so that you can be saved? Are you pondering it? Are you rejecting it? Are you fighting against it? Have you received it? God loves you so much that He is calling you into a relationship with Him! Will you answer the call?
Foreigners Keeping Shabbat
1Thus says Adonai: “Preserve justice, do righteousness. For My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. 2Blessed is the one who does this, the son of man who takes hold of it, who keeps from profaning Shabbat, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. 3Do not let a son of a foreigner who has joined himself to Adonai say, ‘Adonai will surely exclude me from His people.” Nor let the eunuch say, ‘Behold, I am a dry tree.’” 4For thus says Adonai, “To the eunuchs who keep My Shabbatot, who choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant: 5I will give to them in My House and within My walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. 6Also the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai, to minister to Him, and to love the Name of Adonai, and to be His servants— all who keep from profaning Shabbat, and hold fast to My covenant— 7these I will bring to My holy mountain, and let them rejoice in My House of Prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar. For My House will be called a House of Prayer for all nations.” 8Adonai Elohim, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “I will gather still others to him, to those already gathered.” 9All you beasts of the field, come to eat, all you beasts in the forest. 10His watchmen are all blind. All of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, dreamers lying down, lovers of slumber, 11and the dogs are greedy— they never have enough. They are shepherds with no discernment. They have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all. 12“Come, let’s get wine, let’s guzzle strong drink. Tomorrow will be like today, only even better!”
–from Isaiah 56
Some think that every way will lead to heaven, but that’s not true. Some think that it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, but that’s not true. Some think that it doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, but that’s not true. Some think that it ends when we die because we are buried or cremated, but there is more that this. There is something beyond this life but our choices decide how that will be. There is something beyond this life and our decisions will direct how that will be. We are eternal and so our choices will determine if we will live out eternity with God or apart from God! So we need to decide if Jesus will be our way or if it will be the stumbling block that keeps you away. He is the way, the truth, and the life and through Him we will be able to enter into eternity with God! No matter where you are and what you are going through, there is hope! And His name is Jesus!
Remove Every Stumbling Block
1The righteous one perishes, but no one takes it to heart. Godly men are taken away, but no one discerns that the righteous man is taken from evil. 2He enters into shalom. They rest on their beds, each who walked in his integrity. 3But as for you, come here, you children of a sorceress, offspring of an adulterer and prostitute. 4Whom are you mocking? At whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, offspring of deceit? 5You who burn with lust among the oaks and under every green tree, who sacrifice your children in the wadis and under the clefts of the rocks? 6Among the smooth stones of the wadi is your portion—they are your lot. To them you have even poured out a drink offering, made a grain offering. Shall I relent concerning these things?7Upon a high and lofty mountain you made your bed. You also went up there to offer sacrifice. 8Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your memorial sign. For away from Me, you uncovered, went up and made your bed wide, and cut covenant with them. You loved their bed— you looked on their nakedness. 9You journeyed to the king with oil and multiplied your perfumes. You sent your ambassadors far away, and made them go down to Sheol. 10You wearied of the length of your way, yet you did not say, “It is hopeless!” You found renewed strength, so you did not weaken. 11“Whom was it you dreaded and feared, so that you lied. But you did not remember Me or take it to heart? Have I not kept silent a long time— yet you do not fear Me? 12I will expose your ‘righteousness’, and your deeds—they will not profit you. 13When you cry out, will your collection of idols save you? The wind will carry them off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me will possess the land, and will inherit My holy mountain.” 14Then it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every stumbling block out of the way of My people.” 15For thus says the High and Exalted One who inhabits eternity, whose Name is Holy: “I dwell in a high and holy place, yet also with a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and revive the heart of the contrite. 16For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry, for the spirit would grow weak before Me, the breath of those whom I made. 17Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry; I struck him; I hid My face; I was angry—but he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. 18I have seen his ways, but I will heal him. I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners. 19Creating the praise of lips: ‘Shalom, shalom to him who is far and to him who is near,’ says Adonai, ‘and I will heal him.’” 20But the wicked are like a troubled sea, for it cannot rest, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. 21 “There is no shalom,” says my God “for the wicked.”
–from Isaiah 57
So will you join in covenant with God? Will you ask Jesus into your life today? Will you walk out the rest of your life on earth with God aligned with Jesus so that when you leave and move on that you will get to spend eternity with God too? Do you remember what happened? Have you gone back to review what has taken place so that you can appreciate even more where you are at today? So let’s keep our eyes on God! Let’s keep our eyes on God’s calling and purpose for our lives! Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus who will help us get through each day! He is the way, the truth, and the life and our one way trip to God the Father! Don’t allow bitterness and frustration to get the best of you! Forgive! They don’t realize what they are doing! They may think they do, but in the greater scheme of things they don’t. Jesus as He was being crucified ask God to forgive them for they know not what they do. Stephen in today’s reading similarly ask God to not hold it against them! Is there anything that we need to let go of today? Is there anything we need to forgive today? Forgiveness is the key to freedom! Don’t allow bitterness and anger drag you down the downward spiral till you hit rock bottom! Look up to God just as Stephen did and forgive them!
1Then the kohen gadol said, “Are these things so?” 2Stephen declared, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3He said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come here to the land that I will show you.’ 4Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God moved him to this land where you now live. 5He gave him no inheritance in it—not even a foothold—yet He promised ‘to give it to him as a possession to him and to his descendants after him,’ even though he had no child. 6“But God spoke in this way, that his ‘descendants would be foreigners in a land belonging to others, and they would enslave and mistreat them for four hundred years. 7But I will judge the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’ 8“Then God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. So he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day, and so Isaac with Jacob, and Jacob with the twelve patriarchs. 9The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him. 10He rescued him out of all his troubles and granted him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and all his household. 11“Famine and great suffering came over all Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers could find no food. 12But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13On the second visit, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and his family became known to Pharaoh. 14So Joseph sent and called for Jacob and all his relatives—seventy-five persons. 15Jacob went down to Egypt and died, he and our fathers. 16They were carried to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. 17“But as the time drew near for the promise God had sworn to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt— 18until ‘there arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.’ 19Dealing with our people with cruel cunning, this king mistreated our fathers and forced them to abandon their infants so they would not survive. 20“At this time Moses was born—extraordinary before God. For three months he was nurtured in his father’s house. 21And when he was set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and raised him as her own son. 22Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in his words and deeds. 23“When he was approaching forty years of age, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, Bnei-Yisrael. 24When he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he went to the defense of the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25He was assuming that his brothers understood that by his hand God was delivering them, but they did not understand. 26So on the next day he appeared to them as they were fighting. He tried to reconcile them in shalom, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?’ 27“But the one doing wrong to his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? 28You don’t want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ 29At this remark, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. 30“When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai in the flame of a burning bush. 31When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. But when he came up to look, there came the voice of Adonai: 32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’ “Moses trembled in fear and did not dare to look. 33But Adonai said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have surely seen the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. Now come—let Me send you to Egypt.’ 35“This Moses—whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who appointed you as ruler and judge?’—is the one whom God sent as both ruler and redeemer, by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 38“This is the one who was in the community in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living words to pass on to us. 39Our fathers did not want to be obedient to him, but shoved him aside. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us who will go before us. For this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt—we have no idea what has happened to him.’ 41“And they made a calf in those days, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42But God turned and gave them over to serve the host of heaven, just as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘It was not to Me that you brought sacrifices and offerings for forty years in the wilderness, was it, O House of Israel? 43You also took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images you made to worship. And I will deport you beyond Babylon.’ 44“Our fathers had the Tent of Witness in the wilderness—just as the One speaking to Moses had directed him to make it according to the design he had seen. 45Our fathers received it in turn and brought it in with Joshua when they took possession of the land of the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it remained until the days of David, 46who found favor in God’s sight. He asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47But Solomon built a house for Him. 48However, Elyon does not dwell in man-made houses. As the prophet says, 49‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is the footstool of My feet. What kind of house will you build for Me, says Adonai, or what is the place of My rest? 50Did not My Hand make all these things?’ 51“O you stiff-necked people! You uncircumcised of heart and ears! You always resist the Ruach ha-Kodesh; just as your fathers did, you do as well. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed the ones who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. Now you have become His betrayers and murderers— 53you who received the Torah by direction of angels and did not keep it!” 54When they heard these things, they became enraged and began gnashing their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God—and Yeshua standing at the right hand of God. 56And he said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57But they covered their ears; and crying out with a loud voice, they rushed at him with one impulse. 58Driving him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59They went on stoning Stephen as he was calling out, “Lord Yeshua, receive my spirit!” 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” After he said this, he died.
–from Acts 7