Isaiah 36:16-17 Don’t Make Deals With The Enemy

“Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a  land like your own–a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.” Isaiah 36:16-17

The king of Assyria had sent someone to talk to the people of Jerusalem about giving up a fight. He was working on invading the city and the people were holding out. They were asked to surrender and make peace with him, and he would allow them to live in their own land until he could bring them to his land. They were given many promises.

On the surface, the promises that were made sound very good. They were offered free moving to a new land that had grain, wine, bread and vineyards–everything they had and needed. Going with him would mean no battle or war to be fought and no one would die.

Despite the promises, there was nothing good about the move. The land may have all those things, but they would most likely not be able to enjoy them. They would go there as prisoners or slaves.

The enemy still does this type of talk today. The world tries to tell you to follow their ways and you will have life and be able to enjoy it. Wealth, health, and fun is promised if you will just leave what God has told you to do and walk their way.

Movies promise joy in entertainment if you will watch what God calls filth. Drugs and sex are pushed to give you a moment of pleasure. Living in certain lifestyles promises enjoyment. Changing gender, now is a promise of a better life.

Living the ways of the world may provide a short-term pleasure, but in the end it brings captivity and death. The other side of the fence may look good, but it is filled with death.

Who are you trusting in to provide the best life for you?

If you are trusting in God, do not allow the world to sway you to their lies and deception. The world cannot provide better, or even as good of a life as God can. Do not trust this world. Live for God.

I pray today that you will put your trust in God; that you will not be swayed by the promises of the world; that God will reveal all truth to you; and that you will know the provision and blessings God has for you.

Isaiah 35:1-2 Blooming With Joy

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel  and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2

Deserts are amazing places. When there is no rain, all a person can see is sand as far as the eye can see. At the times of the rains, however, the landscape changes. Grass and flowers shoot up and blossom everywhere, almost overnight. The desert flowers shine brightly with many colors. Life arises very quickly in the desert with the rains.

Isaiah paints this picture as he describes the time of God’s splendor being revealed on the earth. That splendor is the salvation that Jesus provides. Jesus, like the rains, brings new life where everything was dead.

People living in this world, live in a desert. There is no real life, even though they feel as though they are living life to the fullest. Life is full of fear, worries, pain, suffering, meaningless, hatred, jealousy, and death. There seems to be no meaning to what is going on in the world.

Once a person accepts the forgiveness Jesus provides, there is a new life. Jesus makes a person a new creation, with new, abundant life.

It is at this point that the person bursts with shouts of joy. They have new life. Their outlook on life has changed. In what was a desert place, there is now life, blooming with great joy.

Your life may be or may have been a desert place, when you did not know Jesus. Going through life may be mundane and boring, with no excitement or joy.

Following Jesus will allow you to bloom with God’s glory and splendor. You are God’s prized possession, because of what Jesus has done for you and in you. You can know the joy of the salvation given to you. You can know abundant life that Jesus provides.

As you go through this life, allow yourself to be filled with abundant joy and life. Bloom with the characteristics of God in this desert place of a world.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your savior; that you will allow God to make you into a new creation; that you will bloom with the joy of God in this world; and that you will bring life to those around you.

In Over The Head

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on a cruise with one of my sons to the Bahamas. The views of the beaches and the water was astounding! I had never seen water so blue in my life, unless you count Kool-Aid in a glass. Living in Central Texas, there are no long, nice sandy beaches anywhere to be seen and the water is definitely not blue.

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While in the Bahamas, I was able to go swimming in the ocean on one of their many beaches. It was my first time to ever swim in the ocean. It was amazing to swim in the water. The water was warm and crystal clear. Occasionally I could see a small tropical fish swimming in the water nearby.

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I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and swam in Lake Superior all the time. One of the things about swimming in that lake when you went out into the deeper water, you had to know how to swim or at least be able to float on the water. If you did not know how to do either, you would sink and go under.

The amazing thing on the water in the Bahamas, was that I could float without trying. The salt in the water was enough to keep me floating without work. I could actually stand up straight, with my arms at my sides, in over my head and float there in place. I had never floated without having to work at it and stay concentrated.

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As I was floating around noticing how this worked it God impressed upon me something. I was out in over my head in the water. In order for me to touch the floor of the ocean, I would have to dive down at least two feet below the water. And the interesting thing was, that because of the buoyancy of the water, that was  not exactly easy to do.

I could not see the salt, or anything else in the water that would hold me up. I had to trust what was unseen to keep my floating and I did not have to work at it. It was not my effort that kept me floating, but the salt level in the water.

In the very same way in life, there are times I must be in over my head in situations in life. God has called me to be His witness to this world. In order to be His witness I have to get out in this ocean of a world and be that witness. I have to step out into deeper waters where the fish (men and women) are to tell them about Jesus.

It is so easy to think that I cannot be the one to witness to someone. Maybe that person is too important, or maybe he is such a bad person, or maybe that person does not like me. Fears that the person may be angry or retaliate. Or maybe I am in a hurry and cannot take the time to witness. The reasons to not witness are numerous.

Yet, God has called us to step out into the deeper waters and trust Him. He is like the salt in the ocean, you cannot see Him, but He is there holding you up. As you step out into the ocean of this world, among the people you can float and be His witness.

Just as a person must let go of his fears of going under the water and drowning when in the ocean near the Bahamas and be willing to float, so you must let go of your fears to go out and be His witness.

God will be there with you and take care of you. He will not let you fail, if you are doing His will, in His way, and in His time.

Today, I want to encourage you to step out into the deeper waters, in over your head and trust God. Trust God to take care of you as you do His will and be His witness. Just as it was exciting for me to be floating, while standing straight up, so it will be exciting when God touches lives through you.

God can and will do amazing things in and through you, if you will allow Him to do it. Trust Him today in the deep waters of this world.

Isaiah 34:1 Get Near And Listen

Come near, you nations, and listen: pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! Isaiah 34:1

Isaiah is calling all the nations to gather around and listen to what God is saying. God is angry with the nations, because of all the sin that is occurring. Isaiah is pointing to a future time in which God is going to bring out judgment upon all the nations. They will be judged for their sins and destroyed.

That call for the nations to listen has never changed. The time of God’s full judgment upon the nations and the people has yet to fully come. The final, ultimate judgment will be when Jesus returns to take His people home to heaven for all eternity. At that time God will judge every person by what they have done or not done.

Even today, people need to get together and listen to what God has to say. The world tries to say that God does not exist or is silent. Many believers will even say that God is silent and does not really speak to anyone anymore.

When Jesus left the earth, He sent back to the earth His Holy Spirit to be with each believer. God is still speaking today through His Holy Spirit.

What God has to say may be different for each person, but it is still important. He will point out things that need to change in your life, sins that need to be repented of and tossed out. God will also speak to you about what to say when you have an opportunity to be His witness. He will open doors for you to share the gospel message and His love and mercy with those around you.

If you are keeping your ears closed, you will not hear what God is trying to tell you. You will not hear what God is doing in this world. You will not hear how God is doing miracles in the lives of others and in your own life.

Turn off the phone and the music and listen for God to speak. Be willing to be silent for a moment and hear Him. He has great things to tell you, if you will just listen.

I pray today that you will hear God’s voice in your life; that you will follow God’s instructions; that you will be God’s voice to this world; and that God will do great things in and through you.

Isaiah 33:21 Broad Rivers And Streams

There the LORD will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. Isaiah 33:21

Isaiah is describing Jerusalem in the future, in which the city will be rebuilt and there will be peace. God will be the King of the city and all the enemies will be removed. He states that the place will be like a place of broad rivers and streams.

Broad rivers are a place of peace and life. All along the banks of a river, one will see trees and plants. Many animals will come to its banks to drink of the water. The water will be flowing a smooth, but steady pace. The waters are not raging and roaring, but calm and peaceful.

Narrow rivers tend to be very rapid, fast flowing rivers. This is especially true during times of heavy rains. Rivers that are great for white-water rafting are usually narrow. There is very little peace and calm about them. They are all about excitement and fast movement.

The world wants everyone to be in a fast-paced movement, constantly doing something. The reason for this is that God wants a believer to be still and know that He is God and the world does not want the believer to know God. Moving a fast pace causes anxiety and fear. There is very little peace in moving quickly.

Take a look at your life and see what the pace is. If you are like the average person, it is probably moving rapidly. There are many things to do, places to go, and people to see. It is difficult for you to slow down and listen to God.

Invite God into your life. Slow down enough to meet with Him. God is never in a hurry, because He is in control and knows everything that is happening and will happen right now. Find the peace and life that God can bring in your life.

Wherever God is, will be like a broad river. There will be life all around Him and there will be peace at the center.

Which river are you next to today?

The narrow, fast paced river?

Or God’s broad, slow-moving, peaceful, life-giving river?

I pray today that you will know God in your life; that you will allow Him to be the king and ruler of your life; that you will know His peace and life that He can give you; and that you will not fear this world.

Isaiah 31:1 Where To Get Help

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD. Isaiah 31:1

Every person needs help at different times in their life. Finding the needed help is not always the easiest thing to do. People look for someone who is able to help them in the best way possible. The Israelites were looking to Egypt for help.

When a person has a vehicle break down, finding a mechanic that is affordable, reliable, and quick at doing the repairs is difficult. Often the person will ask others for references or they will just search the internet and read the reviews of various mechanics. Once a mechanic is found, the trust of the vehicle is put into that mechanic.

Along with finding help with vehicles, many people seek out assistance in many other ways. Searching for a job, provision of money, provision for a vacation, health care, healing, and the list goes on.

There is nothing wrong with seeking help from others, the problem comes in when total trust is put in the others first. Most people rely on others in this world for everything. They trust their large paying jobs, big bank accounts, personal influence, influence of others, the doctors, counselors, and psychiatrists.

The one that may people do not immediately go to for help and rely on first is God. Many believers go to other people first, before stopping and praying about the situation with God.

When a situation comes up in your life, where you need help, the best thing you can do is immediately stop and go to God for help. Ask Him for assistance. He can guide you to the right person for help or He can supernaturally take care of the situation Himself.

Who has a better chance at helping you: God–who is in absolute control and made everything? Or the people and things of this world–that are all temporary and can fail?

Do not go down to Egypt for help. Seek out the One who can really help you. Seek out God first in your life for every situation, whether large or small. He can and will help you.

I pray today that you will know God’s heart towards you; that you will trust God’s help and provision for your life; that you will seek out God first in your life for everything; and that you will trust in God for everything in your life.

Isaiah 30:19 God Is Quick To Hear And Answer

People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Isaiah 30:19

Just before this verse, Isaiah spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem. It would be so terrible that he states that one enemy would make a thousand flee, and just five enemy would make them all flee. The would happen because of the terror that they would feel. All of the destruction would occur because of the sin of turning away from God, rejecting God.

The great thing is that as soon as they would call out to God, He would hear them and answer them. Despite how angry God was with their sin, He was even more gracious and willing to forgive when they cried out to Him.

Many believers have made choices in their life that have pulled them away from God. God has chosen to life His hand of blessing from their lives because of continued sin in their lives.

Most believers are not unaware of what is occurring. They realize that they have strayed from God’s plans for their life and are paying a price for it. They feel as if they can make it without God’s direct guidance and help. That works until God’s hand of favor is lifted and things continue to go wrong.

Many will feel that because of their sin, they can no longer cry out to God. They feel He will no longer hear them because they have strayed so far from Him. You may be one of those in that position right now. You feel as if you cannot call out to God any more, that God will no longer listen to you.

Yet, as soon as you cry out to God, He will hear you. God is perfect love and is very gracious and always willing to forgive.

It is up to you to turn back to Him and seek forgiveness. God cannot extend His forgiveness and favor, unless you call out to Him. He will not force anything on you, you must want it.

Turn back to God today and cry out to Him. Seek His forgiveness in anything you may have done wrong. Then know His great love and mercy that He has for you. He is waiting and listening for you today.

I pray today that you will always seek God in your life; that you will turn from all sin to God; that you will continually cry out to God for help; and that you will know God’s love and forgiveness.