[QTVOTD] Attitude of Gratitude…

“Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and tremble with joy [at the glorious deliverance] and be enlarged; because the abundant wealth of the [Dead]Sea shall be turned to you, unto you shall the nations come with their treasures.” Isaiah 60:5 ->me: After reading the entire chapter (Isaiah 60) I realize that this is a glimpse into the glory that God will bestow on the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem in the 1000 year reign. I had never realized (or worse, forgot) that this was described here in Isaiah. Today I covered verses 4 through 7 in detail and verse 5 stood out. The Israelites are still be beaming, shocked, overjoyed, and smitten with the glory of the return of Jesus to the earth and their deliverance by Him. I can see them shaking their heads back and forth in amazement and disbelief as wave upon wave of people, camels, and treasure come their way. I wanted to take an introspective look into what God wants me to take away from this passage today and then it came to me…I have already been delivered by Jesus! Do I stand here in amazement of the love He has heaped upon me by sacrificing Himself to pay for all of my sin. Do I gaze at the scriptures in wonder at all that He has provided me in spiritual wealth and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Do I sit humbled by the shear grace He has afforded me after the way I have treated Him and disobeyed? This word today has allowed me to reflect on what I have in Him and tomorrow I need to live every moment understanding what He has given me and work there is yet to do in His name before He returns.

[QTVOTD] Light bursting forth…

“​ARISE [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!” Isaiah 60:1 ->me: As a grafted member into the vine, I need to let the light of God in me shine through. Although this is a prophesy about Jerusalem rising to the glory the Lord has for those Israelites who repent of their transgressions, I see it as a call to those gentiles who have been brought into the fold as well. When I was ‘born again’, God called me to rise with His Son out of the grave, that was my life before, and to allow His light in me to shine through. My light has come and because of all that He has done, His glory now shines on me. When I seek Him and am obedient to His calling, His work is done in me…the light cannot be contained…it bursts out!

[QTVOTD] A covenant I don’t deserve.

“As for Me, this is My covenant or league with them, says the Lord: My Spirit, Who is upon you [and Who writes the law of God inwardly on the heart], and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouths of your [true, spiritual] children, or out of the mouths of your children’s children, says the Lord, from henceforth and forever.” Isaiah 59:21 ->me: This verse packs a couple of punches for me today. 1) The Holy Spirit writes truth on the inner places of my heart. 2) When I consume His word He says that it will not depart from me, my biological children, my spiritual children (those whom I shepherd), and all of their children. God’s word does not return void. So, when I combine the Holy Spirit being upon me and His word not departing from my mouth…ever, then I have everything I need to do His work and it will stay with me henceforth, and forever. Lord God in heaven, I so humbly come before you seeking your mercy and grace. I am not worth what this passage promises and I deserver none of it. You, O God, alone are my way; I am nothing and You are everything. As I continue forward in my sanctification, help me to stay focused on you, for you are my strength.

Sin killing machine.

As a Christian my ultimate enemy is Sin.  I must become a sin killing machine.  If I am not killing sin then sin is killing me.  Before I was saved I had a gun (my will) but it had no bullets so any sin I pointed my gun at and shot was not affected.  I could bludgeon my sin with the gun but the sin would ultimately prevail; bullets are the only thing that can mortally kill the sin.  When I became saved, the Lord put His power into my gun (bullets) -> now I can kill sin!  But, I still must pull the trigger.  Now that I have my gun with sin killing bullets, I need sights that help me zero in on the sin – I better my sights by reading the word of God, the truth that calls out the sin in my life.

[QTVOTD] The Helmet and Breastplate of my King!

“For [the Lord] put on righteousness as a breastplate or coat of mail, and salvation as a helmet upon His head; He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal [and furious divine jealousy] as a cloak. According as their deeds deserve, so will He repay wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; on the foreign islands and coastlands He will make compensation.” Isaiah 59:17-18 ->me: I had never read about the breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation being first worn by Jesus our Messiah. In my written notes I wrote out all of the pieces of clothing (Breastplate of Righteousness, Helmet of Salvation, Shoes of Peace/Gospel, and Belt of Truth) as well as the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit/Word noted in Ephesians 6:14-17. It came to me that the Helmet and Breastplate we get from our Savior – Because we are IN Him we have access to these two pieces – we just need to put them on. The Belt of Truth and the Shoes of the Gospel must be put on daily to keep our clothes in order and our walk in the will and purposes of God. The Shield of Faith and Sword of the Spirit are drawn and wielded in the face of battle. I am still sitting here mesmerized by the fact that I get to wear the Helmet and Breastplate of my King…overwhelming.

[QTVOTD] Vessel of mercy or wrath…

“Therefore are justice and right far from us, and righteousness and salvation do not overtake us. We expectantly wait for light, but [only] see darkness; for brightness, but we walk in obscurity and gloom. We grope for the wall like the blind, yes, we grope like those who have no eyes. We stumble at noonday as in the twilight; in dark places and among those who are full of life and vigor, we are as dead men.” Isaiah 59:9-10 ->me: Now the text of Isaiah 59 turns to the people speaking in first person what they realize about themselves in their sinful state. While I was getting ready this morning I listened to a message on Romans 9:23 which talks about us, as believers, being ‘vessels of mercy’. I like the term vessel because it suggests that the function of the vessel is to receive [be filled up] and to pour out. What is described here is the exact opposite; in fact I would call these ‘vessels of wrath’ (also from the message I listened to). When we continue in the sin spoken of here – it drives away righteousness and the deliverance our God can provide. When we have unrepentant sin we strive to see the light but darkness is all we find. We want the world around us to be illuminated but we trudge around in a foggy gloom and with a lack of identity. We grope for those things in this world that bring us temporary relief. It is no matter whether it is light or darkness in reality because the darkness is within us. Verses 12 and 13 go on to talk about how, in our unconfessed and unrepentant sin can become vessels of wrath. When I see believers who have fallen away, these are the attributes I see them possess which inspires me to consistently check that I am right with God so that I can be a vessel of mercy to be poured out on those who have walked away.

[QTVOTD] Light in the darkness…

“Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their paths and highways. The way of peace they know not, and there is no justice or right in their goings. They have made them into crooked paths; whoever goes in them does not know peace.” Isaiah 59:7-8 ->me: These verses describe the world we live and operate in. When God talks about us being a light -> it is in this darkness. At the root there is no submission to God’s judgement: what He has authoritatively decided to be right. In the broader sense there is no setting up of what is right and just – for themselves, for other people, for society as an entity. They have turned their own paths into crooked roads; literally, they have twisted their paths for themselves/to their own hurt. There has been a deliberate adoption of crooked/tangled paths, and in them they will meet sin like a boomerang coming home. The task we have, to make more and better disciples, seems daunting if you keep a human mindset…in reality we are fighting a battle we cannot lose…the war has already been won! I must must keep my mind centered on this fact and have hope in the eternity I strive for. This world will only get worse and I should not be surprised when I see the characteristics, mentioned here from verse 4 through 8, happening in the news and in the lives of people around me every day. I must stand not only in preparedness to be used but to stand up for what is right as Isaiah 58:6-7 instructs.

[QTVOTD] The wall that Ben builds…

“BEHOLD, THE Lord’s hand is not shortened at all, that it cannot save, nor His ear dull with deafness, that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness.” Isaiah 59:1-3 ->me: God is so good to bring various angles to His word when He is teaching me both new and known concepts of His truth. I started this morning reading the whole next chapter in Isaiah (59) that I am starting for my QT. This whole chapter is dedicated to essentially answering the accusations leveled against God by the Israelites in 58:3-4, which goes…”why have we fasted and you have not seen it?” (see my QTVOTD on ‘It’s all about Motive‘). When we choose a direction, fulfil a desire, or act in any way counter to the Lord’s will and written Truths, WE put a wall between ourselves and the God Who so wants to be with us. The Jews believe the Law can save them but now that Jesus has come and provided the ultimate sacrifice; the Law only serves to make us aware of our sin. We have all met the criteria and description in verse 3…we are doomed…were it not for the saving work of Jesus on the cross. His sacrifice ALONE bore the punishment necessary to clear the sin that sits between the Lord and us. It is because of this that I always try to remember to confess my sin and repent if necessary before praying to my Father in heaven. According to this scripture, before I do this, God cannot hear me and I cannot see His face, His character, or His instruction.

[QTVOTD] The Sabbath!!!

“If you turn away your foot from [traveling unduly on] the Sabbath, from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a [spiritual] delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor Him and it, not going your own way or seeking or finding your own pleasure or speaking with your own [idle] words, then will you delight yourself in the Lord, and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage [promised for you] of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.” Isaiah 58:13-14 ->me: The points being made here by Isaiah are very focused on our minds being entirely directed towards the Lord for just one day of the week. A day where we dwell on God, what He has done for us, His grace, His mercy, and more we can learn about Him. The thing that jumps out the most at me is Isaiah’s divinely insightful thought on when we find Spiritual delight in the Sabbath we will then delight in ourselves in the Lord…we will be encouraged in our own walk. This is revolutionary for me!! Let me say this another way – What Isaiah is saying is…when I look on the Sabbath day as a spiritual delight (not a pain because I miss the Seahawks game or miss the pruning that needs done in the yard) then I myself will be delighted in my own life in the Lord and God will give me the best of what the world has to offer – just read Deuteronomy 32:13-14 where Moses describes what the ‘ride on high places of the earth’ is. The Sabbath is integral to finding a little of heaven here on earth. Look at what my family is missing out on!!

[QTVOTD] Fasting summarized…

“And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.” Isaiah 58:11 ->me: Fasting passage concluded – Here in verse 10 there are four blessings if we take care of those less fortunate and freeing the oppressed. 1) Clarity in life’s darknesses and perplexities. A light given to you in the darkness to show the way.  Does not mean you are taken out of the darkness, it means that you will have the ability to see the path when in it.  2) Timely supply – when things are bleak and when we are vulnerable, He will strengthen our frame and give us durability in the face of harsh demands. 3) The blessing of fresh incoming resource and vitality; like water brought for the garden, but balancing ministry of the watering can, there is a spring, an unfailing internal fountain. (John 4:14) 4) The blessings of restoration and continuance; recovery from past disaster and a returning to the greatness of those before us. Also in this is provision for a secure future living. Fasting Summary: Once again God shows us His blessing when the focus is taken off of ourselves and put on Him and others…in that order. The act of fasting itself is to withhold from ourselves the very thing that keeps out earthly flesh alive so that we focus on the very thing that keeps our spirit alive -> loving and seeking God with all our heart, mind, and strength. He becomes our focus and the fast helps us keep that focus throughout the fasting time. Then…when you bring in giving to the hungry, shelter for the homeless, justice for the oppressed, and clothing for the naked, you bring in ‘do unto others as you would have done unto yourself’. Again, God’s grace and provision linking the teaching of Jesus back to the old testament. “And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).  This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment and a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.  These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.