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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Immanuel, God with us.


I’m slowly getting into the Christmas Spirit. I’m in recovery from my food coma from Thanksgiving, playing Christmas music, and in the process of getting the decorations up. 

I realize some of you may not really be looking forward to the holiday season. Maybe you are going through a rough season of your own. Hey I get it. I haven’t exactly been spared myself. I’m going through conflicts of my own and it’s not fun. 

I want to encourage you today from God’s marvelous Word. Isaiah 8 is an amazing chapter that has such relevancy for us today. It never ceases to amaze me how powerful His Word is and how it speaks to my heart just in the right moment. Let’s dive right in. 

In verses 5-8, it tells of evil sweeping over the land like a flood. It will rise up to even the necks. Evil may plot against God’s people, but guess what?

“Plan and plot all you want—nothing will come of it.
    All your talk is mere talk, empty words,
Because when all is said and done,
    the last word is Immanuel—God-With-Us.” The Message

Do you see that? Get that in your spirit beloved! Through the rivers, the fire, the flood, whatever....He is with us and that is enough. What are you facing right now? When all is said and done, the last word is Immanuel, God with us. He is with you, you are not alone in this. You. will. get. through. this.

Verses 11-15 tells us “Don’t be like this people,
    always afraid somebody is plotting against them.
Don’t fear what they fear.
    Don’t take on their worries.” The Message

What are other people confessing around you? Or worse yet, to you? Hopelessness? Fear? Worry? Anxiety? What are you confessing to yourself? Are you stuck on negativity like a nagging ear worm? What or who are you listening to?

Don’t be like them. Without a hope. Don’t fear what they fear. Don’t take on their worries or anxieties. When all is said and done, the last word is Immanuel, God with us. You have Jesus. Trust Him, rest in Him. He has you. He is your refuge.

Verses 16-18 tells us “While I wait for God as long as he remains in hiding,
    while I wait and hope for him.
I stand my ground and hope,
    I and the children God gave me as signs to Israel” The Message

Don’t give up beloved. Don’t give up. Stand firm. Don’t compromise. Wait on God. Know He will move on your behalf. 

Verse 19-22 says, “When people tell you, “Try out the fortunetellers.
    Consult the spiritualists.
Why not tap into the spirit-world,
    get in touch with the dead?”
Tell them, “No, we’re going to study the Scriptures.”

This is how we build up our faith, “Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.” Romans 10:17  Let others search elsewhere. We will stand on the Word. We will speak it out. The promises are “yes in Christ” 2 Corinthians 1:20 We will anchor our lives in the Truth. The Living and Active Word, Living and Abiding Word. 

I hope this encourages you today. I know it’s greatly encouraged me You know, I can’t control what happens around me. But I can choose my actions. What I confess in my thoughts and words. This message in Isaiah encourages me and challenges me that I don’t have to be like others who without hope. I can be intentional. I don’t want to be merely reactionary. I’d like to set the pace. 

You can too. I hope you enjoy this upcoming Christmas season. Remember this:

When all is said and done, 
     the last word is Immanuel,

God-with-us. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Broken Cisterns and Living Fountains


“Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” 2 Chronicles 25:15

Why indeed? King Amaziah of Judah just defeated the Edomites, with God Almighty’s help of course. So does he return with a grateful heart full of praise for his God? No, instead he brings back their idols and sets them up as his gods and worships them. 

God then sends a prophet to ask this striking question to the foolish king. How absurd is this? To worship the gods of those he just defeated? What did he see in these things that he would look away from the Great I Am and worship idols? 

What do we see in these things that we devote ourselves to? If we would just consider their inability to fill our emptiness. 

I’m no different. I allow my heart to be swayed in other directions. I devote my heart, time, energy, etc...to things that do nothing for their devotees. They are like “broken cisterns that can hold no water”. Jeremiah 2:13 

So I “forsake the fountain of living water” for these things. I look elsewhere and wonder why I feel empty and soul hungry. Then inevitably I feel that tugging at my heart. His woos me back. Then wonder why I wandered astray in the first place. 

The Edomite idols cannot deliver their own people. Why should King Amaziah expect any different? Why do I expect anything different? Why should I seek after things that cannot deliver their own followers? 

It’s humbling to consider the wanderings of my heart. But even more humbling is how faithful my God is, even when I am faithless. 2 Timothy 2:13 

Beloved, you will only find satisfaction, security, joy and peace in Jesus. Only Him. You won’t find it in anything else. To know Jesus is to know life everlasting. 

There are certain things I do enjoy and even have a passion for. I don’t live in a cave. But I don’t devote my heart to them. They are only temporary. My heart belongs to Jesus. He has me. I wrote in my last blog about being stable. It’s Jesus who holds me secure. He has my heart, my life. And I will never be disappointed. 

Loosen your grip on these things that can do nothing for you and fasten your heart on Jesus. You will not be found lacking. 

There is none like You, O Lord; You are great and Your name is great in might. But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. Jeremiah 10:6+10


Yes amen, there is none like You Jesus. 

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