Monday, 24 July 2017

Let grace be shown

Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the Lord.
Lord, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see.
But they will see and be ashamed
For their envy of people;
Yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them. – Isaiah 26.10-11

‘Let grace be shown to the wicked even though he will not learn righteousness.’

That’s an amazing statement. It tells us that God is willing to show His grace to anyone – even those who are going to reject it. God shows grace everyday to a world that doesn’t deserve it. He keeps the water cycle working. He keeps providing fresh air. He shows grace by holding back the full impact of sin on the world.

I think what we are seeing here is a reminder of the love of God and the grace that goes with it. As God shows grace to the ungodly knowing that they will not respond so should we continue to show grace to the world around us even if there is no chance of a response.

That’s pretty amazing.

If our perfect, sinless, holy God is willing to keep showing grace to a world rejecting Him what ought we we to?

The principle is that God’s grace is always worthy of sharing just because it is God’s grace. The whole world needs to know that we serve a God of all grace. We show His grace through our words and our actions. We show it by loving others even when they don’t love us back.

Let me manifest God’s grace in this tired old broken world.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Perfect peace

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You. – Isaiah 26.3


Perfect peace. That is a goal I think all of us can identify with. We would all lie to have total peace in our lives where we don’t have to worry about all the thing that trouble our minds.

God says here that those who minds are fixed on Christ and those who trust in Him will find perfect peace. Of course I think about Philippians 4 when I read this passage. Have a look:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

The way to perfect peace is clear – it all depends on whether we are willing to go after it. Don’t let yourself be full of cares. Pray with thanksgiving and peace beyond comprehension will be yours. Think about and focus on the right things and the peace of God will be with you. Perfect peace comes when we cast our cares on Him knowing that he cares for us.

We lack peace because we are relying on ourselves instead of relying on God.

Unrest comes when we depend on us. Great peace when we leave it all up to him.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Good things come to those who wait

And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” – Isaiah 25.9

As much as I might not understand it or ‘get it’ waiting is a good thing. God says that it is good to learn how to wait while we are young. I think part of the reason is that the older we get the harder it is to wait.

Right now it is pretty tough to live in this broken world, and wait on the Lord to come back and sort all this mess out.

Here we have an insight into what it is going to be like in that day when Jesus has come to establish His reign on earth. On that day the broken world will be fixed and we will see the wonder of seeing Christ face to face.

‘We have waited’ the people say, ‘and now we will be glad and rejoice in His final salvation.’

In other words they are saying ‘we waited and now it will be worth it all.’ The old saying ‘good things com to those who wait’ and this is the ultimate example of that adage.

The great old hymn ‘When We See Jesus’ says it perfectly.

Ofttimes the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We're tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God's eternal day.

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Death is swallowed up

He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken. – Isaiah 25.8

Like a lot of Christians on of my favourite modern hymns is the Getty’s’ song ‘The Power of the Cross.’ It is a wonderful song proclaiming what Christ accomplished at the cross. One stanza says

‘Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.’

I love the line ‘death is crushed to death’ and that idea is seen way back here in Isaiah with the words ‘He will swallow up death.’ We see the results of that in 1 Corinthians where we read ‘O death where is your sting?’

Nobody likes the idea of dying. Dying is so unknown that it is natural to be anxious about it. It si scary to thing about.

That’s natural, but for the believer death has no power over is. We have nothing to be afraid of. Death has no sting – because Jesus swallowed it up. He crushed death to death. ‘He is risen’ gave hope to all generations.

But that hope is only for those who have put their faith in Him because He along had the power to conquer death.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Shade from the heat

For You have been a strength to the poor,
A strength to the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm,
A shade from the heat;
For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. – Isaiah 25.4

We have been in the South for about six weeks now and one word sticks out – HOT!  I have been able to do quite a bit of geocaching, but I can’t do all I want because it is just so hot. You step outside the house or the air conditioned car and within seconds you are drenched with sweat. I find myself looking for spots of shade for relief from the heat.

Life can be like that sometimes. There are times when we can’t seem to escape the heat of the pressures of life. The heat can seem relentless. It beats us down and we are exhausted.

The wonderful truth is that just like I can find shade and comfort from the hot sun the Lord will be our shade from the heat. The heat will still be there, but we can find rest and comfort in the shade of His protection.

When the heat just gets to hot let us run to the shade that only He can provide.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Peace in the MIddle East

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. – Isaiah 19.23

The goal of peace in the Middle East is a noble one. There has never been peace there since the time of Christ, but most of us are fully aware of the current situation there. Since the modern state of Israel in 1948 there has been conflict and ensuing attempts at a resolution to the conflict. The one that sticks out the most in my mind when President Carter’s Camp David Accord. There is a famous photo of the president with the leaders of Israel and Egypt shaking hands. People thought or hoped that this was finally the answer – but it wasn’t.

Today we still see nearly daily reports of rocket attacks and suicide attacks and all sorts of violence. There is no peace in the Middle East.

And it is not going to happen. It won’t happen because wars are caused by man’s selfish lusts and desires. Nations are never going to be willing to accept what is not going to be best for them. Wars and conflicts are going to go on and on and on.

But there is a day coming when Israel and Egypt and Assyria are all going to be called God’s people and there will be unity in the land.

But that is only going to happen through the power of Christ. It is not President Carter or Reagan or Bush or Clinton or Bush or Obama or Trump or anyone else who will negotiate lasting peace. Only Christ has the power to do that.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Sing

Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’ ”
Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
And in that day you will say:
“Praise the Lord, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth. – Isaiah 12.2-5

Singing is special. Singing is universal. In every culture singing plays an important role. Even in the cultures most secluded from human material progress some plays a role. We sing praises to our nation or our schools or our sports teams or even how favourite toothpaste.

But here we go again – how are we about singing praises to our God?

I love singing in church, and I have been blest to be in a lot of services where there is a real godly spirit of singing in a way that honours God.

But too often our song services our just a matter of going through the motions.

That’s not want God wants. Our singing is to honour God, edify others, and to encourage our own spirits. We are to sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord. We are encourage each other with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

It is not just in church, but we ought to fill our lives with praiseworthy songs so that in those quiet moments songs of praise fill our hearts instead of toothpaste jingles.