Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Call to Return

Jeremiah 2: 26 “As a thief is disgraced when he is caught,
    so the people of Israel are disgraced—
they, their kings and their officials,
    their priests and their prophets.
27 They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’
    and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs to me
    and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
    ‘Come and save us!’


Pouting, I said “I will not serve you.” My immaturity said it all. I mean, I was not getting my way no matter how hard I was praying. I was tired of “my” circumstance and I decided that GOD must have been the problem.

  • When I tried to leave GOD, it was simply an excuse to go my own way.
  • When I tried to ignore GOD, it was simply a justification for my abysmal actions.
  • When I tried to blame GOD, it was simply a cover up for what I was doing wrong.

Blame is truly easy to do. Instead of taking responsibilities for “my” actions I look to GOD and say, “What is YOUR problem?” I then try to justify my blame by pointing out to HIM how wrong HE is by not loving me the way I think I should be loved. Fortunately GOD is superior.

  • GOD has unlimited love for me so HE accepts my return to HIM.
  • GOD has endless belief in me so HE receives my return when I believe in HIM.
  • GOD has infinite faith in me so HE receives my return when I put my trust in HIM.

Returning to GOD is a must. HE stays right where HE is until I realize that “I” am the problem, not HIM. HE wants me to turn my face towards HIM as I did in my youth. HE wants my childlike trust instead of matured blame and doubt. When I place my full trust in GOD, HE has never disappointed me. When I say “Come save me” HE is there ungrudgingly.

  • Are you blaming?
  • Do you think GOD or someone else is “the problem?”
  • Can you open your eyes and recognize the need to turn your face to GOD?
  • Will you grow up and see the immaturity of your relationship with GOD?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

HE is Calling You

Jeremiah 1:The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.


16 I will pronounce my judgments on my people
    because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
    and in worshiping what their hands have made.


“Teach MY people” was the overwhelming desire that came over me. I felt this sensation to teach about GOD, but I had not read the Bible. How in the world was I qualified to “teach?” I asked.

  • Sometimes when I am called I do not want to answer.
  • Sometimes when I am called I make up all kinds of excuses.
  • Sometimes when I am called I think of ways to get out of my calling.

Putting GOD in a box means I can only see what I can see. If HE is inside a box, then I cannot see HIS wonderful power working inside of me. I also cannot see the wrong things I am doing. “The Man Upstairs” or “The Universe” are labels I can put on GOD to make HIM useless, unattached and uncaring. BUT GOD wants a different kind of relationship with me.

  • GOD wants me to talk about HIS word no matter what knowledge level I have.
  • GOD wants me to speak about HIS SON to bring everyone HE sends me back to HIM.
  • GOD wants me to tell people about HIS word no matter how difficult the words may be.

When GOD calls me I should answer. HIS route is usually more difficult, more embarrassing and one that I would not have taken. BUT GOD blesses me each time I choose HIS way. HE opens my eyes to my own sins meanwhile consecrating me to do HIS bidding. HE blesses each step and carries me to the finish line. GOD has a wonderful plan for me!

  • Are you turning away from GOD?
  • Are you making up excuses?
  • Will you allow GOD to change your life for HIM?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Make HIM Bigger

Isaiah 66: This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
    Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things,
    and so they came into being?”
declares the Lord.
“These are the ones I look on with favor:
    those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
    and who tremble at my word.


Searching all over the house, I could not find my keys. I said a quick prayer “LORD help me” and in a moment I got a thought to look on the side of the bed and there they were. Another time, I could not get a bolt off of the car I was fixing. “LORD help me” were my words and soon the bolt eased its stubbornness and subsided. But when a large problem occurred I said “I wonder if I should even pray.”

  • There were times when I thought GOD was small.
  • There were times when I thought GOD was nothing but a punisher.
  • There were times when I thought GOD was the “Man Upstairs” not paying attention to my needs.

Relegating GOD only to small tasks of finding keys or helping me fix a car or turning off the oven when I left to go to work became the norm. My faith in GOD soon followed. I did not believe HE could solve large problems because I never gave HIM the chance. BUT GOD was graceful to me.

  • GOD placed me in situations where I had to trust HIM and HE did what HE said.
  • GOD put me in circumstances where I had to believe only in HIM because there was nowhere to turn.
  • GOD sent me to places where it was only me and HIM and I had to see that I was never alone.

Once I realized that GOD could never be contained in a building I soon saw how BIG HE truly is. HE is the GOD of the heavens and the earth. HE has all power and is everywhere. HE knows all, sees all and is in all, yet HE is concerned about finding my keys as well as any large issue I face. All HE wants from me is to love HIM through understanding HIS ways in HIS Word. That is humbling.

  • Are you making GOD small by not asking HIM to meet or exceed your needs?
  • Will you allow HIM to meet your needs in HIS time?
  • Can you open your eyes around you and see just how large HE truly is?
  • Will you allow HIM to grow you?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Future Bright with Joy and Delight

Isaiah 65: 17 “See, I will create
    new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
    and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
    and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
    will be heard in it no more.


“Start on the bottom with both hands grasping a sponge. Edge the board to the top and proceed across, then down the other side. Rinse your sponges, wring them out until damp and go across the board until reaching the bottom.” These were the instructions of washing a chalkboard during my janitor days. After following these instructions, I had a “clean slate” in each room.

  • GOD says to me “I will create new heavens and a new earth.”
  • GOD says to me “The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”
  • GOD says to me “I will delight in MY people, the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more.”

GOD reaches HIS hand out to me on a daily basis even though HE despises my sin. HE loves me and cares enough for me to erase my past and provide for me a bright future. All the sins that GOD would count against me will be wiped away, like cleaning a chalkboard.

  • ALL of my sins are forgiven by GOD because I believe in the Risen SON.
  • There will come a day when I will look back and see nothing but grace from the FATHER.
  • One day all of my tears will be wiped away and every sin that has been accounted for will be thrown away.

Joy and delight is the plan GOD has for me. HE tells me to rejoice now because of the wonderful future HE has for me.

  • Are you concerned about today’s problems?
  • Are you worried about something?
  • Can you look towards the future and see that GOD is holding HIS hand out to you to erase the past and provide you with a wondrous life?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Recognizing the Need to Ask

Isaiah 64: All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name
    or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
    and have given us over to our sins.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
    do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look on us, we pray,
    for we are all your people.


Arriving to perfection is something I strived for. I mean I had dropped off about 85% of the sins I did before, sometimes 90%. I attended church weekly, almost all the time. I read the Bible and gave biblical advice. When stuff around me still fell down I asked “Why?”

  • At one time I had false thinking that “I” could be perfect.
  • At one time I thought perfection was something to strive for.
  • At one time I had the thought that I controlled GOD by my self-declared righteous acts.

Who wants another lesson or a spanking from GOD, not me! I thought that if I were to act “good” then nothing “bad” would happen to me. On the contrary… as soon as I said to GOD “I want to live more for YOU” it seemed like everything started falling apart. Money, fame and relationships disintegrated and I had more questions than answers.

  • When I live for GOD I have to realize my righteous acts are coming from a sinful perspective.
  • When I live for GOD I must know that perfection is out of my reach but is granted only by HIM.
  • When I live for GOD I must recognize the need to “Ask” versus telling HIM what I need.

Assuming I know what I need and placing GOD’s name on it is worse than simply asking HIM and letting HIM dictate my direction. Becoming clay means I allow GOD to mold me in HIS likeness which means HE is allowed to take things away from me HE feels I do not need.

My trust grows as I allow HIM to mold me and shape me daily. I “Ask” that HE comes into my life more and more, erasing sins that I did not know I even had. Asking means I recognize the need for help and that help only comes from GOD.

  • Do you feel you can reach perfection?
  • Are you “on your way?”
  • Can you stop seeking for self-perfection and self-preservation and seek GOD for a change?
  • Will you allow HIM to mold you so HE can instill joy, trust and faith in you?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Go Tell It

Isaiah 63:I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord,
    the deeds for which he is to be praised,
    according to all the Lord has done for us—
yes, the many good things
    he has done for Israel,
    according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
He said, “Surely they are my people,
    children who will be true to me”;
    and so he became their Savior.
In all their distress he too was distressed,
    and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
    he lifted them up and carried them
    all the days of old.


Hours and hours seemed to drag on and on. I took up pacing for a hobby while I waited. Finally the dealer came out and I had my new car. I immediately drove it to my friends and told them to get in. They enjoyed that new car smell as I took them for a ride. They enjoyed a mix tape I blasted as we zipped down the road.

  • When I have good news I can’t keep it in.
  • When I have good news I want to share it.
  • When I have good news I want everyone around me to enjoy it.

Life, however, does not always make me want to shout from the mountain top. When problems creep in and the river of pain arises I sometimes want to slip back into the abyss of silence. BUT GOD wants me to do something different.

  • GOD wants me to remember what HE has done for me by becoming my Savior.
  • GOD wants me to recognize that HE too is distressed when I go through issues.
  • GOD wants me to reverberate HIS love, mercy and redemption especially when I am going through troubles.

Of course I will be challenged! Of course I will be tempted! GOD has a delusional enemy who was created and thinks he can take over. BUT GOD has already won! HE paved the way for many and has taken on ALL of my sins. HE picked me up even though I turned away from HIM. HE redeemed me and carried me back to HIM.

  • Are you complaining about something to the LORD?
  • Have your prayers turned into nothing but complaints about something else that is wrong?
  • When is the last time you told someone the GOOD NEWS ABOUT CHRIST?
  • Can you take a moment to recognize the depth and breadth of JESUS’ salvation of your soul? 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Name New Identity

Isaiah 62: For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
    for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
    her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your vindication,
    and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
    a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
    or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
    and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
    and your land will be married.


“Weakling” was one name the jocks gave me. “Too [insert word]” were the many names the other people gave me. I still remember the names so they must have hurt when people gave them to me. In fact, some of the names made me take a path to clear the name. For “Skinny” I lifted weights until people changed the name to “Muscles” but soon I found no kingdom merit in that name. What name should I seek?

  • Sometimes I seek names from other people.
  • Sometimes the names other people give me hurt instead of helps.
  • Sometimes I may be seeking the wrong name when I should be seeking another name.

“Famous” or “Wealthy” or “Party Animal” were all names I sought after to clear the other names I had been called over the years. After becoming all of the above I received no merit in those names. I was famous at one place and wealthy amongst my peers but my life was pointing to me and had no “fruit.”  GOD wanted me on a new path.

  • GOD said to me “Go feed my sheep” which meant I had to have the name of “Teacher” to be ready to feed people from GOD’s word.
  • GOD said to me “Pray for the multitudes I send you” which meant I needed the name “Understanding” to be able to reach people of many nations.
  • GOD said to me “Forgive them” which meant I had to obtain the name “Gracious” which means pointing all towards the SON instead of pointing them to me.

With a new name came a new identity. I had to walk with GOD as I talked with HIM. I had to actually have faith, not just talk about belief and hiding behind my wealth. If I wanted GOD’s fruit I had to obtain it HIS way, not mine. “Arrogant” had to be exchanged for “Humble”. GOD demanded major changes in my life and I bow to those changes. I have not arrived, but I’m on my way to my new name.

  • Are you trying to make a name for yourself?
  • Do you want to prove yourself to other people?
  • Can you take a step back and seek the name GOD has for you?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

An Undeserved Reward

Isaiah 61: Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”


Struggling to find the correct answer, I simply could not get the mathematics right. I turned in my test and walked away with a sinking feeling. A few days later when I got the test back, I was shocked to see an “A” on the top. The teacher dug through my work and saw where I made my multiplication error and gave me full credit for the problem.

  • Life has many problems.
  • Life sometimes is a struggle to be perfect and correct.
  • Life can have moments of shame, loss or pain.

Just like the math problem, there were times in my life where I tried to get everything right, but missed something and got “it” wrong. Then when I would try to correct the flub, the bell would ring and the period would be over. Will my sins be permanent? No!

  • GOD says to me “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion.”
  • GOD says to me “Instead of your disgrace you will receive in your inheritance.”
  • GOD says to me “Everlasting Joy will be yours.”

The LORD loves justice and HE is the only one who is just. HE hates those who are robbers of peace and providers of wrongdoing. HE pardons me for all my wrongs and does something spectacular. HE rewards me instead of punishing me because of HIS faithfulness. GOD has removed my disgrace and shown to people HE is the way!

  • Do you feel disgraced?
  • Do you feel like hiding?
  • Can you come out of hiding and proclaim GOD?
  • Will you shout how great GOD is instead of complaining today?

Monday, March 21, 2016

No More Ruin

Isaiah 60: 18 No longer will violence be heard in your land,
    nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
    and your gates Praise.
19 The sun will no more be your light by day,
    nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your God will be your glory.


“I AM going to ruin you” were the words I heard as I prayed about my situation.  “Ruin” I thought to myself. Why ruin me? I mean haven’t I done X, Y and Z? This was not the best choice of words during an already stressful time. I expected GOD to say to me “Everything will be fine or don’t worry” instead HE told me to “Pray for my enemies.” Wait a minute, what about me?

  • As a young follower of GOD I thought nothing should go wrong?
  • As an immature follower of GOD I thought everything should go my way and I could act any old way towards anyone and still be forgiven and blessed.
  • As an infantile flower of GOD I never thought I would hear the words “I AM going to ruin you.”

I don’t think I uttered these words to people around me. I mean I was used to being on top and having many people praise “me” for my stature. I was on the very top and I loved the respect it brought. Who wants to be “low” again?

  • Looking back I can see GOD wanted me to see HIM no matter where HE took me.
  • Looking back I can see GOD wanted to remove distractions to doing HIS will.
  • Looking back I can see GOD wanted me to have a real relationship with HIM, not one that only depended on HIM giving me everything I wanted, like a spoiled brat.

GOD only “ruins” HIS children for a short time, otherwise who would stand. HE wants me to depend upon HIS salvation and have true praise within my walls. HE wants me to look on HIS everlasting light and know I am protected only by HIM.
  • Is GOD ruining you?
  • Are you squirming because it seems hard and difficult?
  • Will you stop squirming and know HE is making you stronger?
  • Will you allow HIM to grow you up for HIS purposes?

Friday, March 18, 2016

It Starts With Reality

Isaiah 59: 20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.
21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.


“I don’t know” were the first words I could think of to deflect the wrath of my parents when asked who broke the “insert object.” Spray paint on the dented car was my way of concealing the accident. A friend of mine said these words to himself that made me think about the path that I was on… “I’m lying even when I don’t have to lie, what do I have to gain by that?”

  • There were times where I did not want to face consequence.
  • There were times where I did not desire to be the blame.
  • There were times where I did not want to confess because I might not get my way.

Little did I know that one lie piles on top of another and then another. Soon I was living in a pseudo reality that I cannot remember what the truth looked like. One day I sat at my desk and said “No more lies!” I looked at my resume and took all the false statements of where I wanted to be versus what I had truly accomplished. What do you know, it worked!

  • GOD wants me to see that I am a sinner and I need HIS grace.
  • GOD wants me to recognize that “I” am the problem, not HIM.
  • GOD wants me to understand that I need to own up to my sins and accept HIS consequence in order to grow up and truly have a relationship with HIM.

Little by little I started telling the truth in other areas of my life. Soon I was excelling because I could get help from those who had been in my shoes and faced the same problems or overcome the difficulties I was going through. I found people who were there to help me and I soon realized that GOD was doing the same.

HE wants me to confess my sins to HIM, acknowledging that they are against HIM. GOD forgives me when I acknowledge I need HIM.

  • Do you need to be forgiven or are you digging in your heals in your reality?
  • Are you growing up or do you still have to be right?
  • Can you allow GOD to give you the consequence you deserve so HE can grow you?
  • Will you open up your eyes to start seeking HIM again so HE will always be with you?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

True Fasting

Isaiah 58: 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.


“Do you want to join us in a fast?” someone asked me. “I’ll see” was my way of saying “No!” I mean what’s the purpose? I don’t eat or drink and what does that do? I went on my merry way. Weren’t these people just being religious fanatics?

  • I used to think fasting was useless.
  • I one time thought fasting was ridiculous.
  • I used to think fasting was only for the religious freaks who were hypocrites by “my” standard.

When I read about the powerless disciples who came back beat up after fighting a demonic battle, I was curious. JESUS said, “This kind of demon can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.” These seemingly powerless weapons were the most powerful to GOD. I mean prayer does not involve any on my part to solve or resolve the problem, nor does fasting.

When I tried fasting once, it seemed like an eternity. I never realized how much I ate during one day. I got used to it but my fasting eventually ended up pointing to “me” fasting. GOD wanted more.

  • GOD wants me to fast with a purpose. 
  • HE wants me to miss a meal so someone else can have one. 
  • GOD wants me to help the poor and guide my family to GOD. 

HIS fast calls me to point to HIM.

  • Are you afraid to fast?
  • Is your fast selfish?
  • Are you unchanged in your ways after a fast?
  • Will you give up your will versus giving up a meal?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Removing Obstacles

Isaiah 57: 14 And it will be said:
“Build up, build up, prepare the road!
    Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
15 For this is what the high and exalted One says—
    he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
    but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 I will not accuse them forever,
    nor will I always be angry,
for then they would faint away because of me—
    the very people I have created.


Sleep could not find me; rest hid its face as well. I tossed and turned trying to think of how to solve a problem at work and I just could not think of the answer. Suddenly I got the answer in the middle of the night. I was so excited that I got up and wrote down the answer. The next day I went into work only to find the rules had changed and another obstacle was put in place.

  • Many times I have faced obstacles.
  • Many times the road seemed impossible to travel.
  • Many times it seemed like giving up was the best option.

“Why try if ‘they’ are going to make up new rules on the fly?” I thought to myself. I mean sometimes the obstacles seem too large and come too often. Shouldn’t I just run and hide in a cave, never to talk to anyone again? I mean, why try?

  • GOD said to me “I will prepare your road for you.”
  • GOD said to me “I will remove the obstacles out of your way.”
  • GOD said to me “I will revive your spirit for MY sake. I know your sins and I will not accuse your of them forever.”

After the rules changed once too often, the leadership was removed and soon I had a group of people who seemed to be helpful rather than accusatory. I could thrive and the barriers were removed without me lifting a finger. GOD made me realize that I sometimes place barriers in the way of others and I should remove them as much as possible. In spite of being sinful, GOD blesses me anyway.

  • Are you facing obstacles?
  • Do you feel like giving up?
  • Can you stop being angry at GOD for a moment to notice HIS compassion?
  • Will you allow HIM to remove the obstacle in HIS time?
  • Can you be content with where HE has you until HE removes the barrier you are facing?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Anyone is Welcome

Isaiah 56: For this is what the Lord says:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
    who choose what pleases me
    and hold fast to my covenant—
to them I will give within my temple and its walls
    a memorial and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
    that will endure forever.


Holes in my pants kept me from being best dressed, although I confidently wore them in college and fit in. When I arrived at a church with holey pants I did not fit in again. What was going on?

  • There were times that I did not feel like I fit into “church.”
  • There were some protocols of “church” I disagreed with.
  • There were behaviors of “church” I did not feel comfortable with.

My suit was too small because I had not bought one nor had one bought for me since high school. I was appalled at the sneers at my clothing. Someone offered to buy me some clothes and that set me on a path that I stand on to this day. Anyone should be welcome, regardless of appearance.

  • GOD says to me “Welcome everyone, no matter how different they appear to me.”
  • GOD says to me “Love everyone I send to you.”
  • GOD says to me “Go where I send you and give them MY word so I may bless them.”

Since then, I noticed people as being people. What clothes or skin they wear does not matter. GOD wants “all” humans to come back to HIM. HE wants me to be open to serving everyone, not just those who I feel comfortable with.

  • Look around, are you serving people who are different than you?
  • Have you been sent to a different group of people than yourself?
  • Have you welcomed a person who dresses different into your circle?
  • Can you allow GOD to send people to you who have differences but love HIM?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Past No Longer Counts

Isaiah 55: Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.


Reading the Bible made me more aware of my sins. I started dropping one sin off after another in a quest to be perfect. Every now and then I would do or say something that I knew was a sin. When things went wrong, I would immaturely say “I will never do that again!” After a while I stopped asking for forgiveness because when I dropped one sin, another would pop up. It seemed I could not be as “sinless” as I thought.

  • At one time I thought I could be sinless.
  • At one time I thought I could be perfect.
  • At one time I thought I could drop all my sins and everything would go well for me because of “my” perfection.

Steering GOD by being “sinless” to gain wealth and status was my plan. I mean HE wanted me to not be sinful and it says righteous people will be rich, right? Yes, sort of… Wealth may not be monetary and is extremely relative. GOD’s wealth is in humans and besides, HE cannot be manipulated by my filthy righteousness. I thoroughly missed the understanding of what it meant to truly be forgiven.

  • GOD says to me “MY thoughts are not your thoughts” meaning I may think HE cannot possibly forgive me “this” time and HE truly can.
  • GOD says to me “MY ways are not your ways” meaning when I feel like giving up, GOD stays steady.
  • GOD says to me “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” meaning when I worry or doubt HE does not.

GOD declares my efforts at being “righteous” as a dung pile. One reason is I am measuring myself to my own standards, not HIS. I then go to far in the other direction, thinking I cannot possibly be forgiven. GOD says “I forgive you” plain and simple. HIS forgiveness is entirely misunderstood. I do not have to “do” so much rather just “be.” GOD is my fortress.

  • Do you keep pointing in the past for where you are today?
  • Are you stuck in a place where you think you are being punished by GOD?
  • Can you allow HIM to open your eyes to HIS everlasting and marvelous grace?
  • Will you place a little of your trust in HIM today?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Redeemed From Abandonment

Isaiah 54:“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
    I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
    I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord your Redeemer.


Crying was the only tactic I could pull off at that time. I ran to the parking lot and there was no bus. The group I had arrived with left without me. I felt abandoned. When I won awards and accolades I was surrounded at work. When a new group of leaders came in, no one came around me. I felt abandoned again.

  • Sometimes I have felt abandoned.
  • Sometimes I have felt left behind.
  • Sometimes I have felt lost and alone with no one to guide me.

Trusted people have dropped me out of their lives which left me with the feeling of abandonment, even when I cried out to GOD, it felt like HIS silence was deafening. BUT GOD said “I AM here.”

  • When I stopped following GOD, HE allowed me to feel abandoned.
  • When I sought GOD’s face HE welcomed me back with open arms.
  • When I sought my own path GOD hid HIS face from me.
  • When I asked HIM for forgiveness HE poured it out on me like a flood.

Even when GOD allows me to step away from HIM for a minute, HE never leaves me. HE carefully watches over me and still provides for me. HE brings me back to HIM because I would not seek HIS face. HE washes me up and gives me everlasting kindness. GOD is my redeemer.

  • Are you lonely even in a crowd?
  • Has a trusted person abandoned you?
  • Can you forgive that person even though you may never forget?
  • Will you allow GOD to bring you back to HIM so HE can pour out HIS everlasting kindness on you?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Never Considered

Isaiah 53: Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.


Tired of struggling, I just sat. Bills were greater than pay, car was not working and my grades were suffering. I was exhausted from trying hard and not getting anywhere. Could someone just reach out their arms and pick me up like a little baby?

  • Sometimes life has brought me tough times.
  • Sometimes life has delivered to me trials.
  • Sometimes life has given me prolonged pain that I cannot think my way out of.

I had no idea where to turn or what to do, then something inside said “Pray.” This did not make sense. I had not prayed in a while nor had I considered it effective. I mean could I just pray for X amount of money and get it? I had never seen anyone do that and have it work for them. I prayed “Help me! I don’t know what to do.” I felt peace to keep going.

  • JESUS has no beauty or majesty to attract me to HIM.
  • JESUS has nothing in HIS appearance for me to desire HIM.
  • JESUS was despised and held with low esteem so I did not consider HIM.

I considered the lottery. I considered selling my stuff to get out of bills, but I did not consider JESUS as being an answer to day to day problems. Yeah HE saved me but did HE care about the debt collector calling me? HE led me beside still waters that day. HE said “Keep going” so I did. I truly cannot remember how I was delivered, but I was.

With bills paid and car fixed, I graduated and moved onto another phase of my life. I sought after GOD from then to now. HE has never failed me.

  • Are you trying things on your own?
  • Do you feel like you have ot do thing under your own power?
  • Can you stop trying to carry the load and allow GOD to help you?
  • Will you believe that no matter what you have done in the past, you are forgiven by JESUS who took your punishment for you?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hated and Appalled

Isaiah 52: 13 See, my servant will act wisely;
    he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
    his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
    and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,
    and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
    and what they have not heard, they will understand.


“Hey ” the crowd called out in a mocking fashion. “Not so powerful now are you?” they jeered. One person spit, then the next. Soon the crowd got comfortable and because everyone else was focused on this one person, they joined in. No spotlight on anyone in the mob, rather the beacon shined directly on one poor soul.

  • It is easy to join in the crowd.
  • It is easy to be part of the mob.
  • It is easy to say what is wrong and become part of the problem rather than being part of the solution.

Mobs look for what is wrong and try to rally people to their cause. Labels are quickly put in place that everyone around agrees with and suddenly the mob can do what they want to do because “everyone else” is doing it. This is unfortunate for the mob.

  • JESUS was appalled by HIS own creation.
  • JESUS was beaten to the point of disfiguration.
  • JESUS was marred beyond human likeness.

Which side of the mob would I have been on? Would I spit on JESUS or would I risk my life and step into help HIM. This test happens daily. The hard choice to follow GOD is placed in front of me on a daily basis. Will I hide my relationship with JESUS in order to get ahead? Will I slander “that” person in order to look right in everyone else’s eyes? Will I go against GOD’s word and sin anyway?

GOD has done far more that I can imagine for me. HE went out on a limb to save me and has faced far more than I have ever faced. HIS ridicule and defacement won’t last though. HE acted wisely and took on every human’s sins, even mine. HE is now raised and lifted up. HE IS highly exalted!

  • Are you part of the mob?
  • Do you try to rally people to “your” cause rather than spreading GOD’s word?
  • Can you stop slandering and start spreading the GOOD NEWS?
  • Will you recognize what JESUS has done for you today?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Being Called “Names”

Isaiah 51:“Hear me, you who know what is right,
    you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
    or be terrified by their insults.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
    the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
    my salvation through all generations.”


“Skinny Minnie, Captain Naps, and Floods” were some of the hurtful words people threw at me during one stage of my life. I tried to adjust. “Slow Poke, Weak, and Pitiful” were other words given to me by jocks. So, I tried to adjust again. Even more sinister words were given to me as labels as I grew up, some by those I thought I could trust. “Hmmm.”

  • There have been people who have hurled insults at me.
  • There have been people who have placed me in a box and stuck a label on it.
  • There have been people who decided in their mind that I am not a “good fit” for whatever.

When I received the insult, at first I would try to brush it off but then after a number of people said the same insult, I wondered, “What is wrong with me?” I mean I was skinny, so what? I was born into this culture, what am I to do?

  • GOD says to me “I made you and I AM pleased.”
  • GOD says to me “I have given you MY words, love those who insult you.”
  • GOD says to me “Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults, for I AM the everlasting GOD who loves you and has given you a purpose.”

Fearing what someone thinks of me can lead to losing my identity. I try so hard to please the crowd that I wind up looking like them and acting like them. Soon I am off the track that GOD has me on. BUT GOD sees me and says to me “You are fine.” No need for many other words, no need for a long pep talk. GOD says “MY righteousness will last forever, MY salvation through all generations.”

GOD surpasses those who hurl insults or wield their power over me in an effort to keep me down. HE says “Keep going” in spite of their attempts. GOD is my rock.

  • Are you being held back by someone?
  • Do you replay their insults in your mind over and over?
  • Can you look past their attempt to control you and let GOD have your life?
  • Will you look to HIM for your salvation in this situation and eternally?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Using the Gift

Isaiah 50:The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.


Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.


Led out to the garage, I saw the huge box. It was a wonderful gift that thrilled my heart. I have not had a chance to use it because I have not assembled it. The gift is hidden from the world, for now.

  • When a gift is given to me the giver expects me to use it.
  • When a gift is given to me the giver expects me to delight in it.
  • When a gift is given to me the giver expects me to thank them for it and perhaps share it with others.

Gifts are given to me with excitement that I will grow closer to the giver. GOD has also given me gifts. HE has provided me with talents that HE expects me to use. HE was excited when HE gave me the gift and wants me to open up the package and use the gift.

  • GOD has given me a well-instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary.
  • GOD has given me a home to share with my neighbors who need to hear that word.
  • GOD has given me another day to listen to HIM and to use my gifts for HIS glory.

Each gift I use for HIS purpose brings delight to HIS heart. HE helps me and I will not be disgraced. HE tells me to “go” forth and I proceed without shame. GOD gets the glory when I use the gifts HE has given me.

  • Are you hiding the gifts GOD has given you?
  • Do you have more talents that you do not know about that are hidden because you are not using your current gifts for GOD?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • Can you go out and use your gifts for GOD today and not worry about shame or disgrace?

Friday, March 4, 2016

Never Disappointed

Isaiah 49: 19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate
    and your land laid waste,
now you will be too small for your people,
    and those who devoured you will be far away.
20 The children born during your bereavement
    will yet say in your hearing,
‘This place is too small for us;
    give us more space to live in.’
21 Then you will say in your heart,
    ‘Who bore me these?
I was bereaved and barren;
    I was exiled and rejected.
    Who brought these up?
I was left all alone,
    but these—where have they come from?’”
22 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“See, I will beckon to the nations,
    I will lift up my banner to the peoples;
they will bring your sons in their arms
    and carry your daughters on their hips.
23 Kings will be your foster fathers,
    and their queens your nursing mothers.
They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground;
    they will lick the dust at your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
    those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”


Just a little salt is what the recipe called for. As I tipped the shaker, the top fell off and the entire contents flew into the pot. The dish I made was ruined. Another time, I spent hours drawing a house for a class, with meticulous detail. I made a mistake in my calculations and had to erase the blunder. After erasing too many times, I ripped the paper ever so slightly. The drawing was ruined.

  • I do not like things to get ruined.
  • I do not like situations where something gets ruined.
  • I do not like going through the process of being ruined.

“Ruined” sounds so permanent. I mean once something is ruined, it means it is no good to anyone anymore, right? Wrong!

  • GOD ruins me to open up my eyes.
  • GOD ruins me to change my path to HIS restoration.
  • GOD ruins me to open up my hands in dependence of HIS way.

Every once in a while I have had to go through some situation or circumstance that felt horrible at the time. BUT GOD was with me especially when I felt alone. HE was there when the crowd stepped away and blamed me for my very existence. I place my hope in GOD and have never been disappointed.
Are you being ruined?

  • Can you not see the light at the end of the tunnel?
  • Will you praise GOD for ruining you for HIS purpose?
  • Will you allow HIM to restore you HIS way instead of yours?
  • Can you place your hope in GOD today?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Paying Attention in Class

Isaiah 48: 17 This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you what is best for you,
    who directs you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
    your peace would have been like a river,
    your well-being like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been like the sand,
    your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be blotted out
    nor destroyed from before me.”


Looking out the window, I could see the trees gently moving in the warm breeze. “Was that a squirrel?” I thought to myself. Then the teacher called on me and woke me up from my daydream. I should have been paying attention.

  • There were times that I should have paid attention to what is important.
  • There were times that I should have noticed what was going on.
  • There were times that I should have stopped what I was doing and listened.

Listening to humans is one thing but listening to GOD is quite a different path. I listened to humans because of fear of a broken relationship or fear of loss of money and went down the wrong paths many times. GOD wants me to act differently.

  • GOD wants to take care of me so I need to listen to HIM.
  • GOD wants to grow me so I need to heed HIS commands.
  • GOD wants to protect me so I need to “go” out and spread HIS message no matter where HE sends me.

Peace and security only comes from GOD. People will lead me to believe that money will bring that security or if I could just get that right job “then” I will have peace. GOD says to me “Pay attention to MY commands and you will have peace like a river.” HE takes care of my well-being and watches over my descendants.

  • Is peace missing out of your life?
  • Are you discontent and complaining to everyone?
  • Will you stop looking and start connecting to GOD’s peace?
  • Will you allow HIS perfect plan to be in effect in your life?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Placing My Trust

Isaiah 47: Our Redeemer—the Lord Almighty is his name—
    is the Holy One of Israel.
“Sit in silence, go into darkness,
    queen city of the Babylonians;
no more will you be called
    queen of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people
    and desecrated my inheritance;
I gave them into your hand,
    and you showed them no mercy.
Even on the aged
    you laid a very heavy yoke.


“Can you get rid of a third of the department” was the killer question in my interview. I was at a point in my life where firing people was no longer where I wanted to be. I remember my hand trembled during the discussion. I could not lie. “No” I answered. I did not get the position.

  • There were places that I have been where I had to be “tough.”
  • There were places that I have been where I had to be “thick skinned.”
  • There were places that I have been where I had to be “so cool that I was cold.”

Praised many times over for firing people, I felt strange for a change. Would my legacy be that of a wealthy cold hearted person without compassion? That was my course. BUT GOD rescued me from myself.

  • GOD said to me “Do not focus on Babylon as your redeemer” meaning GOD is my only savior.
  • GOD said to me “Do not put your trust in Egypt” meaning my trust needs to be focused on HIM and HIM alone.
  • GOD said to me “Do not fear those who can hurt the body, but fear the ONE who can hurt the soul” meaning I need to have a healthy fear of the LORD and follow HIS way.

The world cheers after cold hearted, non-compassionate heroes and that was my path. BUT GOD saw fit to remove me from that path and open my eyes. HE wants me to pray for people not blame them for their existence. HE wants me to point them to HIS ark of salvation while there is still time. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

  • Are you being “tough?”
  • Do you feel you need to be combative with those people?
  • Can you allow GOD to melt you heart and to provide compassion?
  • Will you truly seek GOD rather than mouthing the words and allow HIM to ruin you to the world while building you up for HIS kingdom?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What is Said Will Be Done

Isaiah 46: 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
    from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
    what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
    you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
    it is not far away;
    and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
    my splendor to Israel.


“I will be there in about forty five minutes” I said. When I jumped on the road there was road construction and I made it to my destination thirty minutes late. “I will buy a new suit” I thought to myself.  On my way home, my transmission went out and I no longer had the funds to buy anything for a long time. My predictions don’t always come true.

  • Some things are out of my control.
  • Some circumstances are not mine to predict.
  • Some situations pop up that I could never foresee.

Even when I planned ahead and walked the line as carefully as I could, it seemed like some “unforeseen” circumstance would appear that was out of my control which would make me have unresolved worry. What was I to do?

  • GOD says to me “Depend only on MY plans for what I have said that I will bring about.”
  • GOD says to me “Place your trust in ME for what I have planned that I will do.”
  • GOD says to me “Listen to ME, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from MY righteousness, I AM bringing MY righteousness near, it is not far away.”

Trust in GOD means I have to drop my stubbornness to follow HIS plan. HE is the only one who can save me. I have no ability within myself to get where I am going. GOD can choose to send me here and there and I must be willing to go where HE leads me. HIS salvation is far greater than anything I can do. I place my trust in HIM.

  • What do you place your trust in?
  • Are you filled with mistrust, fear and doubt?
  • Can you drop your stubbornness and your fight and place your trust in GOD?
  • Will you look to HIM for HIS nearby salvation?