Are you interested in the one? Are you interested in yourself? Are you interested in others? Are you interested in helping one? Are you interested in helping a multitude?
Will you give them fish to help them for a day? Will you teach them to fish and help them for a lifetime? Will you help them build a fish pond and set them up to help generations to come?
What are you saying? What are you doing? Is it a matter of the heart or are you just going through the motions and not really in it? Do you believe? Are you pretending? What’s it going to take for it to be real? Are you acting out of love? Are you acting out of fear?
God sees beyond the surface! God knows your heart! God knows your every thought! Nothing is hidden from Him!
Why not turn back to Jesus! Why not invite Him into your life? Why not allow Him into your heart? Why not follow after Him and His lead and His example? Be transformed! Be renewed! And be for real! No more acting! Be true! No more pretending! Be real!
This world needs you to be! Live in a way that will leave a legacy! Be transformed! Bring transformation around you!
Today’s reading continues in the book of Isaiah…
Night Vision of Ariel
1Oy , Ariel, Ariel! City where David camped. Year to year again—festivals in a cycle. 2But I will distress Ariel. There will be lamenting and moaning— then will she be like Ariel to Me? 3I will encamp against you all around, I will set up siege-works against you and will raise up ramps against you. 4You will be brought low, you will speak from the ground. From the dust where you are prostrate your speech will come. Your voice will be like a ghost out of the ground, and your speech will whisper out of the dust. 5Yet the multitude of your foes will become like fine dust, and the multitude of the terrifying like chaff that passes away. It will happen in an instant, suddenly. 6You will be visited by Adonai-Tzva’ot with thunder, earthquake, huge noise, whirlwind and storm-wind, and the flame of a consuming fire. 7It will be like a dream, a night vision: the multitude of all the nations warring against Ariel, yes, all warring against her, the ramparts around her and her besiegers. 8It will be like a hungry man dreaming and behold, he is eating, but awakes with his hunger unsatisfied, or like a thirsty man dreaming and behold, he is drinking, but awakes faint, his soul thirsting. So it will be with the multitude of all the nations warring against Mount Zion. 9Wait, and be astounded! Blind yourselves, and be blind! Drunk, but not with wine, Stagger, but not with strong drink. 10For Adonai has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep, and has shut your eyes—the prophets, and covered your heads—the seers. 11So this entire vision is for you like the words of a sealed scroll, which they give to one who knows books, saying, “Read this, please,” but he says, “I can’t, because it’s sealed.” 12Then the scroll is given to one who does not know books, saying, “Read this, please,” but he says, “I don’t know books.” 13So Adonai says, “Since these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, yet their hearts are far from Me, and their fear of Me is a mitzvah taught by men. 14Therefore, behold, once more I will do a marvelous work among this people— a marvel and a wonder— so the wisdom of their wise will perish, and the discernment of their discerning will be concealed.” 15Oy , those who go to great depths to hide their plans from Adonai! Their works are in the dark. They say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” 16Your perversity! Should the potter be regarded the same as the clay? Should the thing made say to its maker, “You did not make me”? Or the thing formed say of its former, “You have no understanding?” 17Will it not be just a very little while before Lebanon turns into a garden, and a garden will seem like a forest? 18In that day the deaf will hear words of a book, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19The meek will add to their joy in Adonai, and the needy of humanity will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished, and all watching to do evil cut off. 21Those who make a man out to be guilty with a word, and trap him who reproves at the gate, and deny justice with meaninglessness. 22Therefore, thus says Adonai, Redeemer of Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob will no longer be ashamed, no longer will his face grow pale; 23for when he sees his children, the work of My hands in his midst, they will sanctify My Name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24Those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will learn instruction.”
–from Isaiah 29
Wondering where to start? Wondering where to turn? Wondering where to go?
Turn to God! Ask Jesus into your heart! Ask Him to give you eyes to see and ears to hear! Ask Him to give you wisdom! Open His Word! Read His Word daily! Open the Bible! Don’t have one and want one? You can read it online at http://bible.com! You can read it on your phone by getting the Bible app at http://bible.com/app! You can get paper versions at bookstores or contact a local church or ask a friend (if they are like me, they have several)! It’s God’s love letter to us! It’s a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path! It’s a book of wisdom, instruction, direction, hope, love! (more free resources…)
No Help In Egypt
1“Oy , the rebellious children” —it is a declaration of Adonai— “Who carry out a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Ruach, so they may add sin to sin, 2who go down to Egypt, but did not consult Me, to take refuge in Pharaoh’s stronghold, to seek shelter in Egypt’s shadow. 3Therefore Pharaoh’s stronghold will become your shame, and the shelter in Egypt’s shadow will become your disgrace. 4For though their princes are at Zoan and their ambassadors reach Hanes, 5they will all be ashamed of a people who cannot profit them. They are neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.” 6The burden concerning the beasts of the Negev: Through a land of trouble and anguish, in which are lioness and lion, viper and flying serpent, they are carrying their riches on the backs of young donkeys, their treasures on camel humps, to a people who cannot profit them. 7Egypt’s help is futile and pointless. Therefore I have called her “Rahab who just sits.”
Witness Against False Prophets
8Now go, write it on a tablet for them and inscribe it in a scroll, so that it may be as a witness for the last day, forever. 9For this is a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to obey the Torah of Adonai. 10They say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right. Speak to us smooth words. Prophesy illusions. 11Get out of the way! Turn away from the path! Let’s hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” 12Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: “Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and rely on perversity, 13therefore this sin will be to you like a crack bulging in a high wall, about to fall— its collapse comes suddenly, in an instant! 14Its collapse is like smashing a clay jar, so ruthlessly shattered that a shard will not be found among the pieces to take fire from the hearth or scoop water from the cistern.”
Longing to Be Gracious
15For thus says Adonai Elohim, the Holy One of Israel: “By repentance and rest you are saved, in quietness and trust is your strength— but you were not willing.” 16But you said, “No, we will flee on horses!” Therefore you will flee. And, “We will ride on swift horses!” Therefore your pursuers will be swift. 17A thousand will flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you will flee, until you are left like a flag on the top of a mountain, and like a banner on a hill. 18Therefore Adonai is longing to be gracious to you. Thus He will be exalted, so He may have mercy on you. For Adonai is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him. 19For the people of Zion who are dwelling in Jerusalem will weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. When He hears you, He will answer. 20Though Adonai gives you the bread of adversity and the water of oppression, your teachers will no longer be hidden, but your eyes will see your teachers. 21Your ears will hear a word behind you saying: “This is the way, walk in it. When you turn to the right, or when you turn to the left.” 22You will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your metal images covered with gold. You will throw them away like a menstrual cloth. You will say, “Be gone!” 23Then He will give you rain for your seed, which you will sow in the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed in wide-open pasture. 24The oxen and the young donkeys that till the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and pitchfork. 25There will be, on every high mountain and on every lofty hill, streams running with water— on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter— like the light of seven days— in the day Adonai binds up the brokenness of His people, and heals the wounds He inflicted. 27Look, Adonai’s Name comes from afar, burning with His anger, in thick rising smoke, His lips full of indignation, His tongue like a consuming fire, 28His Ruach like an overflowing torrent rising up to the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of the worthless, to put in the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads away. 29You will have songs as in the night when you keep a holy festival, and gladness of heart like one walking with the flute to go to the mountain of Adonai, to the Rock of Israel.
30Adonai will make His glorious voice heard, and reveal His arm descending with fierce fury in a consuming fire, in cloudburst, rainstorm and hailstones. 31For at the voice of Adonai, Assyria will be terrified— when He strikes with the rod. 32Every stroke of His punishing rod that Adonai brings down on him —with tambourines and harps, and battles brandishing His arm— He will fight against them. 33For Topheth has long been ready, prepared for the king, its fire pit made deep and wide, a pyre of fire with plenty of wood. The breath of Adonai, like a torrent of brimstone, sets it aflame.
–from Isaiah 30
We don’t have to be stuck in our old ways! We can choose to have a new start! We can choose to be born again! We can choose to be transformed! We can ask Jesus in and allow His hope to fill us up! We can leave the past where it belongs behind us! We can stop allowing setbacks to define us and just let them be a setup for a comeback! We need to put our trust in God! We need to start a living relationship with Jesus! And then let’s move forward transformed for the glory of God! While you are living, it’s never too late to start believing in Jesus! So why not you? Why not now? Why not right where you are right now?
Jesus gave His life on the cross so that we can live! Don’t allow it to be for nothing! Receive it!
Lazarus Is Dead
1Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Miriam and her sister Martha. 2This was the same Miriam who anointed the Master with perfume and wiped His feet with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. 3So the sisters sent a word to Yeshua, saying, “Master, the one you love is sick!” 4When Yeshua heard this, He said, “This sickness will not end in death. It is for God’s glory, so that Ben-Elohim may be glorified through it.” 5Now Yeshua loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6However, when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was for two more days. 7Then after this, He said to His disciples, “Let’s go up to Judea again.” 8“Rabbi,” the disciples say to Him, “just now the Judean leaders were trying to stone You! And You’re going back there again?” 9Yeshua answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours in the day? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of the world. 10But if a man should walk around at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11After He said this, He tells them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m going there to wake him up.” 12So the disciples said to Him, “Master, if he has fallen asleep, he will get better.” 13Now Yeshua had spoken about his death, but they thought He was talking about ordinary sleep. 14Then Yeshua told them clearly, “Lazarus is dead! 15I’m glad for your sake I wasn’t there, so that you may believe. Anyway, let’s go to him!” 16Then Thomas called the Twin said to the other disciples, “Let’s go too, so that we may die with Him!”
Comforting the Mourners
17So when Yeshua arrived, He discovered that Lazarus had been in the tomb already for four days. 18Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19and many of the Judeans had come to Martha and Miriam to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Yeshua was coming, she went out to meet Him; but Miriam sat in the house. 21Martha said to Yeshua, “Master, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died! 22But I know, even now, that whatever You may ask of God, He will give You.” 23Yeshua said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to Him, “I know, he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Yeshua said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life! Whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, shall live. 26And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27She says to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, Ben-Elohim who has come into the world.” 28After she said this, she left and secretly told her sister Miriam, “The Teacher is here, and He’s calling for you.” 29As soon as Miriam heard, she quickly got up and was coming to Him. 30Now Yeshua had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met Him. 31The Judeans, who were with Miriam in the house and comforting her, seeing how quickly she got up and went out, followed her. They thought she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32So when Miriam came to where Yeshua was, she saw Him and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!” 33When Yeshua saw her weeping, and the Judeans who came with her weeping, He was deeply troubled in spirit and Himself agitated. 34“Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see, Master,” they tell Him. 35Yeshua wept. 36So the Judeans said, “See how He loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Couldn’t this One, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have also kept this man from dying?”
Yeshua’s Word Raises the Dead
38So Yeshua, again deeply troubled within Himself, comes to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Yeshua says, “Roll away the stone!” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to Him, “Master, by this time he stinks! He’s been dead for four days!” 40Yeshua says to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they rolled away the stone. Yeshua lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard Me. 42I knew that You always hear Me; but because of this crowd standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43And when He had said this, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44He who had been dead came out, wrapped in burial clothes binding his hands and feet, with a cloth over his face. And Yeshua tells them, “Cut him loose, and let him go!”
Better that One Man Die
45Therefore many of the Judeans, who had come to Miriam and had seen what Yeshua had done, put their trust in Him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Yeshua had done. 47So the ruling kohanim and Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we doing?” they asked. “This Man is performing many signs! 48If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our holy place and our nation.” 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was kohen gadol that year, said to them, “You know nothing! 50You don’t take into account that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” 51Now he did not say this by himself; but as the kohen gadol that year, he prophesied that Yeshua would die for the nation. 52And not for the nation only, but also so that He might gather together into one the scattered children of God. 53So from that day on, they plotted to kill Him. 54Therefore Yeshua no longer walked openly among the Judeans, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim. He stayed there with His disciples. 55Now the Jewish Passover was near; and many people went up out of the regions to Jerusalem before Passover, to purify themselves. 56So they were searching for Yeshua, saying to one another as they stood in the Temple, “What do you think? Won’t He come to the feast at all?” 57Now the ruling kohanim and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it so that they might arrest Him.
–from John 11