Tag Archives: Jesus

Micah; Jesus Is King

Chapter five contains a beautiful prophecy about the coming Messiah. I’m sure many of us are familiar with the words God inspired Micah to write. But, actually, I see Jesus and the Church throughout this precious book, not just in chapter five.

Jesus, our Rock, our Foundation, our Shepherd, the One the Old Testament prophets told us about, our eternal King. God, who is not willing that any should perish, did what the blood of thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of oil could not do when Jesus died once and for all. We Gentiles joined the remnant of Israel to form the Church, the eternal spiritual kingdom of God.

There is war in this spiritual kingdom. There are severe consequences for sin. But we win because Jesus is the Victor!

Yes, our hearts should be broken over present sin in the world and the judgment that is coming. God is serious about sin in the world, in the nation, and in our individual hearts.

But as for me I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right, He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. (7:7-9)

And so will you, if you know Him, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus the Christ.

Obediah; There is Hope

I can’t help but think of the sweet reunion between Esau and Jacob as recorded in Genesis 33. A lot had gone down between the two, but when the brothers met after years of separation, they hugged and kissed each other. It seemed all was forgiven. It seemed they would finally live in peace.

If you know their history, you know peace was short-lived. That makes me sad.

Obadiah tells the descendants of Esau that judgment is coming because of their hatred for and mistreatment of Jacob’s family, the family God chose above all other nations to be His instrument. Edom will be punished for rejecting God.

Once again I am reminded how serious God is about being obeyed, about being honored as the only true God. All other religions are doomed to destruction.

But I love how God, even after rendering a death sentence for sin, points to the Messiah. No one has to die in their sin. There is hope. There is salvation through the blood of Jesus for anyone who believes.

The kingdom is the Lord’s. I pray you are a citizen.

Joel; Only One Exit

A new trend these days is the “Escape Room.” These fun houses are popping up everywhere. Have you tried it? I confess I have not, although I think it sounds like fun. You and a few friends are locked in a room together. The clock is ticking, and you must find and follow the clues that will eventually open the door before time runs out. Of course, you are in no real danger. It’s you against the clock. But I can imagine the adrenaline rush as time ticks down.

I thought about that today as I read the book of Joel this morning. God is being very explicit as He inspires Joel to describe what was ahead for His disobedient children. Judgment is coming. It’s inevitable. And it’s ugly.

But within this book are the clues that can open the exit door:

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart…” (2:12)

God goes on and tells His people to fast, weep, repent, because God is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” (2:13)

Someone has said you can’t flee from God’s judgment, except by fleeing to Him.

I hope you’ll read Joel today. It’s only three chapters. Hear God tell you that sin will be judged, and the consequences are devastating. Then hear Him tell you He’d much rather pour out His Spirit on you, to shower you with Living Water, and pardon your sins once and forever.

If you’ve never admitted you are a sinner, asked God to forgive you, and turned from your former way of life, I pray you’ll do that today. Judgment is coming. That’s a fact. And there is only one exit door.

His name is Jesus.

Ezekiel 45-48; Sweet and Salty

My favorite dessert.

But I’m not going to talk about the gigantic piece of chocolate cake with thick fudge frosting, drizzled with hot fudge, a scoop of ice-cream, and peanuts that my friends and I shared last night at dinner. Give me a second…

Ok. I’m back. 🙂

I live on an island in the Atlantic, surrounded by beautiful, mysterious marshland. There are several rivers near me that flow through the marshes and into the ocean. You can take your boat from the salty waters of the Atlantic, right into fresh flowing water that comes from the mainland. And vise versa.

Sometimes those rivers overflow their banks and pour their sweet water into the marshes before rushing into the ocean. That is quite a sight to see. Really, the marshland scenery changes all the time. I love it.

The water from these rivers never stops flowing. Every minute of every day, thousands and thousands of gallons of fresh water pour into the ocean Yet with all that fresh water, the ocean is still salty. That’s a fact.

So when I read chapter 47 I was a bit confused. Water from a river making salty water fresh? That’s not the way it works.

So as I sat here considering how this passage could be true, God reminded me that this is a vision, Connie. Not a science lesson.

Oh right. A vision!

So – what does the fresh water represent?

Jesus! The Gospel!

What is described in Ezekiel’s vision is so true in the life a believer. This water we know as Jesus Himself, changes our saltiness, uselessness, our guilt, into something refreshing, and fruit-bearing. Sin cannot do what Jesus can do. The Gospel is life-giving! It’s a miracle.

Then I thought back to chapter 46 where God tells Ezekiel that people must come into the temple by one gate, walk straight through, and exit through the opposite gate. No turning back. It speaks about we who come to know the Lord, and leave our past behind to follow Him. That’s what God demands:

“Don’t look back, Lot’s wife. Don’t look back. Keep going.” (Oh, she turned to salt when she disobeyed, didn’t she? She didn’t accept the fresh water of salvation that was hers for the taking. And she died in her sin.)

Keep moving, Christian. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep sharing the Gospel and allow God to do the impossible – changing salt water into fresh, changing sinners into saints through the blood of Jesus as people confess their sins and repent.

Now that’s sweet.

Jeremiah 16-20; And Yet

Have you ever felt you can’t win for losing? That if it weren’t for bad luck, you’d have no luck at all? That no matter what you do, someone is going to be mad? I think Jeremiah was right there.

God gave him a message for the people. And the people wanted to kill the messenger. Shouldn’t God give him success if he was only doing what God told him to? Hear what Jeremiah tells us the people said about him for telling the truth:

So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says. (18:18b) (Sometimes it seems the Bible could have been written in 2018)

Reading these chapters, you can feel Jeremiah’s despair, his frustration. He was ready to cash it all in.

And yet, he said something in chapter 20 that convicts me:

But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more of his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (20:9)

That begs the questions: Am I ingesting God’s Word to the point where I’ll just burst if I don’t tell someone? Is God’s Word like heartburn that can only be belched out to bring peace? Am I aching to tell someone the good news of Jesus? Am I tired of holding it in?

So last night, I went to Chick fil A and ordered a spicy chicken sandwich and fries. I ate the whole thing and loved every bite. But about 45 minutes later, I had such heartburn I thought I was having a heart attack. It hurt so bad. I was bloated, and miserable. (this is no reflection on Chick fil A. It has everything to do with the fact I didn’t take my acid reflux medicine yesterday. Ahh, love the aging process)

That’s when I started burping. I will confess that, being the classy lady I am, I let ’em rip loud and long. 🙂 I live alone so I didn’t hold back. (I just hope my neighbors didn’t hear) Sometimes the belch itself hurt, but after a while the pressure in my chest and stomach calmed down.

Sorry for being so gross, but I thought of this while reading Jeremiah’s words this morning. And I can’t help but be convicted that my love of God’s Word doesn’t always burn within me like that, until I let it out.

The liberal media, false teachers, people who don’t want to hear from God because it doesn’t fit their agenda want us to shut up about Him. These bullies threaten to attack us with their tongues, and ignore what we have to say. They have the power to shut down businesses, or refuse to serve us in their restaurants. They call us names from their talk shows, and ridicule us to our faces.

So many of us are being intimidated to keep quiet. Who needs the aggravation? Right?

And yet, God is worth the aggravation. If I get my feeling hurt when ridiculed or challenged for following Jesus, so what? I am reminded God died for the person giving me a hard time. People gave Jesus a hard time. And He died for them, too.

I need to be reading and thinking about God’s Word every day. I need to be learning, growing, allowing Him to fill me to the point where I have to tell people or die.

God, thank you for your Word that is so personal, I can get a lesson from You out of heartburn. I love You! I do love reading Your Word. I do love the time I spend with You, allowing You to share Your heart with me through these pages. God, give me heartburn, and may it burn with the good news of Jesus Christ for those who don’t know Him. May You find me faithful.

 

 

 

Isaiah 50-53; Read It Again

Isaiah 53 always stops me in my tracks. It is one of those passages in Scripture that I can’t just power through. In fact, it’s one of those I have to read, and reread so I don’t miss a word of it. I love it so much. It amazes me and blesses me every time.

If you ever doubted the supernatural power of God’s Word, read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last days on this earth in bodily form, AFTER you read Isaiah 53. It is an amazingly accurate description of your Savior.

And it was written hundreds of years before Jesus’ humble birth, before He experienced the rejection of His people, before His trial when He stood absolutely guiltless and didn’t open His mouth to defend Himself, before He let them pierce Him without resisting, before He was crucified between two thieves, buried in a rich man’s tomb, and before He rose again. Everything Isaiah said would happen, happened. How can anyone deny the facts?

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6) (emphasis mine)

Jesus did that for you. He did that for me. I am so thankful that I have humbled myself and accepted God’s amazing grace, the forgiveness of my sin, paid for by the death of His Son Jesus. I love Him so much.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read Isaiah 53 again and love on the One who loves me much more than I deserve.

Isaiah 44-49; A Matter of Life and Death

I don’t know what you think about God, or religion. I don’t know your world view, or your level of spirituality. But I challenge you to read these chapters with an open mind. Hear what God says about Himself. Pay attention to the proof He gives that what He says is true. It is a matter of life and death.

You’ll hear God repeat the statement that “I am God. There is no one like me.” You’ll hear Him point to evidence of His reality in creation, the proof in nature. He’ll ask you to use common sense. And He will tell the future of the Israelites in such detail that, if you study their history, you’ll find it will happen just like God said it did, down to the pagan king named Cyrus who is said to have a nose like an eagle’s beak.

But I don’t want you to stop there. Once you realize God is exactly who He says He is, I want you to go to the New Testament and hear what the One and Only God says about Jesus. Read the Gospels and hear what the angel said to Mary about the birth of her Son, to Joseph about his future step son.

Hear what the One and Only God said to anyone within earshot when Jesus was baptized. “This is my Son…” He’ll say it again in Matthew 17. Then hear God’s Son Jesus say in no uncertain terms that He is the Messiah. (John 4:25-26)

Then I challenge you to turn to John 14:6, and understand it means exactly what it says.

I don’t know what you think about God, or religion. But I know that unless you believe God is who He says He is, and that His Son Jesus in the only way to know Him, you are wrong.

Do you know Him? Have you received what Jesus died to give you, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life? Like I said, it’s a matter of life and death.

I’m praying for you.