Wednesday, 30 October 2019
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isa 61. 1
This verse says so much about God’s sweet work of salvation. Salvation is most certainly God’s work. He may choose to use humans in the process of bringing others to the cross of Christ, but the work is His, and His alone.
The Spirit is God, and He works in tandem with the Father and the Son in the processes of salvation, conversion, and sanctification. The good news is preached, and the lost respond. This is the essence of salvation.
God is love. He desires to reach out to all people and to draw them to Him. He may work in them – changing, healing, equipping and empowering. He brings good things to the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives and the prisoners. This may well apply to most, if not all, people.
God is the destination, Jesus is the way, and the Spirit is the enabler. The Triune God works in the lives of those He calls to Himself.
Jesus declared the words of this verse (Isa. 61.1) over Himself in the synagogue at Nazareth. He lived out this commission. I believe, as we give ourselves to follow Him, so we, too, may be used by God to fulfil these blessings. We will bless others but in the process we shall be blessed ourselves.
How good God is! His reach is endless. His love is limitless. His desire is for all to come to Him, that no one should perish. In this world today, I see the Spirit as the holy agent. I offer myself freely into His way.
I come to You at the start of this new day. I look to journey through the day in company with You. I pray that You will lead me into the works that release people from the bondages and trials of life. I offer myself to be used by You. Amen.
Monday, 28 October 2019
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.
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more,
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end. Isa 60.19, 20
Through as long as humans have existed, I think light has come from the sun and the moon. Mankind has discovered the light of fire, and invented other forms of lighting but these are nothing compared with the natural illumination of sun and moon.
Now God prophesies that the sun and moon will not be needed to provide light, for He will bring His own brightness and glory to fill the world. What a wonderful day this will be!
Unlike the sun and moon, the light of the Lord will not dim. It will shine brightly in all time. It will fill the earth with the glory of God. It will last forever.
When the light of the Lord comes in reality and truth, all sorrow will end. Without sorrow, we might assume the absence of grief, heartache and trial. These things may be replaced by joy and the utmost well-being. The times will be glorious, the people content and happy.
When will this change come about? God alone knows. It will come in His time. It will be established in His way. He will be the originator, the Creator, and we will be the beneficiaries.
Most Glorious God,
I thrill at these words of hope and promise. Your light will come fully into this world. The darkness will be dispelled, and glorious light will burst forth. There will be no shadowy corners, all will be bright and shining. The glory of God will dazzle the whole of creation, which will respond in brilliant radiance.
Lord, we await the shining of Your light. Amen.
Saturday, 26 October 2019
Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth of the seas will be brought to you,
to you the riches of the nations will come. Isa 60. 5
Isaiah has talked of the light and the glory of God coming upon the people. The world may be in darkness, but God’s people are firmly in the light. The consequence of God’s light and glory on the people is His blessing on them.
God is over all. He is in control, and all of creation is at His command – He will bring prosperity to His people – the wealth of the seas and the riches of the nations – God’s people will not be in want.
This is good, yet what is more wonderful to me is the visage and outlook of the people. Their appearance is one of radiance. This will show on the outside but emanates from the inside: …Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col.1.27)
The hearts of the believers will throb and swell with joy. I know from my experiences when the Holy Spirit is at work within me, I feel as if I’m going to burst. Such is the effect of His presence in me that I cannot help myself from releasing and sharing the wonder of Almighty God in me.
As this (God’s working in us and His light and glory shining forth) manifests within us, I believe Christians should freely and gloriously let it out.
The. World is, generally, spiritually poor. Many see Christians as enmeshed in piety, glum and severe, bound up and lacking “joie de vivre”. The reality ought to be the opposite. We (believers) have a joy that the world does not know. We are in intimate relationship with the Almighty. It needs to show. Whilst Jesus is in me, I need also to let Him out, to let the world see the wonder of our relationship, and the joy it brings.
I pray that Your light will continue to shine bright and powerfully in and through me. Let me show the world the wonderful dynamic of our relationship. Let me share it and know that it is fruitful. Amen.
Friday, 25 October 2019
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over its peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.” Isa. 60.1,2
This is a most wonderful passage. Two words stand out for me: light, and glory.
The world is in darkness. Thick darkness covers the peoples of the earth, shutting out any light and allowing them no illumination or sight. Those things they need to see, and maybe even want to see, are hidden from them. It is possible that many do not know they are in darkness. They may be absorbed in worldly pursuits, and seemingly prospering in. them. Yet they are in the dark, even if they do not know it!
God brings enlightenment. All who truly come to Him will move out of the darkness and into the glorious light of revelation, salvation, and love.
The light emanates from the Godhead. Father, Son, and Spirit dazzle with the light that is a part of them. But they do not hold the light unto themselves. It is freely available to the believer. It is God’s light, but it is also my light. When I give. myself wholeheartedly to Jesus, His light shines on me; His light fills me, and His light shines forth from me.
The words though the prophet say: …your light has come. I believe he’s talking about me. The light Christ gives becomes my light. In Jesus I am lit up – to shine brightly into all the world, bringing illumination and revelation to those who stumble about in the darkness. The light brings forth the glory of the Lord shining upon me. I am mindful of Moses’ face when the Lord passed by him. He glowed with the glory of God. May I also glow – brightly and brilliantly, in the light and with the glory of my Great God.
I pray that the light of Jesus will shine upon me and totally infuse me with His presence. I seek the light that will shine through me, illuminating the path of Jesus in my journey through life. I dare to believe that the glory of God will arise on me. Hallelujah! Amen.
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD. Isa 59. 21
God’s faithfulness comes through once more in these words of renewed covenant. He will not deny His people. Though they are disobedient in the extreme His love for them overrides any negative action of theirs towards Him.
This is our God. This is the most wonderful love mankind could ever experience. Despite our failings and weaknesses, our disobedience and rebellion, God is faithful. His love for all of His creation continues unhindered, unabated, constant and endless.
The covenant that God speaks forth to His people is the promise of the Holy Spirit upon them and the enduring nature of the words He puts into their mouths. I don’t know to what extent these early followers experienced the Holy Spirit. What I do know is that the Spirit of God is freely available today to all who will cry out to Him and receive Him.
I have experienced God’s Holy Spirit work mightily n my life. The Spirit has led me and enabled me to minister powerfully in the lives of others. The Spirit is God’s power with us on earth today, ready to lead us, to equip us, and to enable us to do the work of the Holy Spirit on the stage of today’s secularism and decadence.
I give myself into God’s hands. I make myself fully available to Him. I pray that He will take me, fill me with His Holy Spirit, and use me in His work on this earth.
Mighty God, Heavenly Father,
I yearn for more of Your Spirit in my life. I ask You to fill me. Please equip and use me for more work of ministry in the grace of the Father, the peace and blessing of the Son, and the power and enabling of the Spirit. Thank You.
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
So justice is driven back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
honesty cannot enter.
Truth is nowhere to be found,
and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. Isa 59. 14, 15a
The transgressions of the Israelites are clearly and unequivocally stated. It would appear that they confess these failings themselves: “our offences,” “our sins.” Their iniquities include rebellion and treachery against God, turning their backs on Him; fomenting oppression and revolt; and uttering lies originating in their very hearts. Indeed, their list of offences is long, and heavily against the ways of God.
There is a marked, negative impact to these confessions: justice disappears, righteousness is distanced, truth stumbles, and honesty is shut out, barred. Anyone who stands against these actions and activities, who shuns evil, becomes a target for abuse, maybe even persecution.
The transgressions listed and confessed by the Israelites deny the very qualities that emanate from the Lord God. These qualities tell us who He is, and they ought to be taken up and followed by us. Without them we are not genuine and truthful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. We displease God (and “displease” is, perhaps, too mild a word in this context.) God looks on all of my activities – my thinking, my speaking, and my doing. I would not wish to be placed as these ancient Israelites were. Let me aim for obedience to God and to all He requires of me.
Most pure Father,
Please help me to learn from these ancient people of Yours. Let me learn and allow myself to be led by You in the right way. I thank You for this clear lesson. Christ demands a good behaviour of me. I desire to fulfil this requirement. Again I give myself to You. I can do nothing apart from You. I call out to You in surrender. I thank You. Amen.
Friday, 18 October 2019
We all growl like bears;
we mourn mournfully like doves.
We look for justice, but find none;
for deliverance, but it is far away. Isa 59. 11
The people together with the prophet declare their wrongdoing before God. They admit that justice and righteousness are far from them, that darkness leads them to walk in deep shadow like blind people, and they stumble in the light of midday as they would at twilight.
As the above verse states, they confess their errant behaviour, they acknowledge their rebellion and treachery against God, and the lies they have held in their hearts. They admit to a lack of justice and righteousness in their lives, and they admit also that they will carry their offences and iniquities ever with themselves. At first glance, it appears that they have realised their errors and brought themselves before God in confession.
As I read these actions, I see the repentant nature of the people or, at least, I hope this is what I am seeing. Are they genuine in their response? Previously (chapter 58), their shallow and insincere responses were noted. They did not fool God – and neither do we if we attempt to come to Him with anything other than the truth. God will see through all our attempts to wriggle through the challenges He gives regarding our commitment to Him.
I love my Lord, and I hold the strongest desire to honour Him, to respect Him and follow His ways for me and, further, to please Him and delight Him. I have said a number of times before that I do not always succeed, but I will not give up trying.
Lord, Mighty God,
I believe I have learnt from this account of the Israelites behaviour. I ask You to continue teaching me. Let me know Your ways and let me be willing to follow them wholeheartedly wherever they might lead me, and whatever they might ask me to do. I offer myself to this end out of the deep and sweet love I have for You. Amen.
Wednesday, 16 October 2019
The way of peace they do not know;
there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
no one who walks in them will know peace. Isa 59. 8
Justice has been replaced by injustice. We have previously been told that no one calls for justice (Isa. 59.4). Empty arguments and lies are used to attempt to prove justice, but all they show is the shallowness of people’s behaviour.
That very behaviour begets trouble, arguments and, often, more threatening and dangerous situations. Ungodly actions will not benefit anyone. The Lord questions the injustice of His people: there is no justice in their paths. The people walk down crooked roads. No good comes from crookedness, and no peace will be found. God is very clear on this point, no one who walks the crooked path will know the peace of God. I grieve for the plight of such people.
We live in a world which I see as desperate for peace. Maybe the world at large does not see this. I see it, and I feel for those who need it but cannot see.
Peace is a gift from God. True peace in my view is the peace that Jesus shares with me: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” (John 14.27) The peace of Jesus is complete. Not only does it take me to a place of utmost serenity and rest, it also empowers me. I have known power in the peace of Jesus. In John’s account, Jesus stressed that His peace is not like the peace of the world. Worldly peace is fickle. It can be satisfying one day, yet completely absent the next day.
The peace of Jesus is for me. I give myself to His mercy, His justice, and His peace.
I am not perfect, but I give myself into Your keeping with a request that You lead me in ways of justice and mercy. Let me know Your peace and, please, allow me to minister out of that peace and share it wherever You lead me to do so. I cry out for this peace-needing world. Please move in power. Amen.
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
No one calls for justice;
no one pleads his case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments and speak lies;
they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. Isa 59. 4
The reference to “his case” here suggests that the description is of those who defend themselves, but it could quite well apply to those who defend others. In any case, God criticises the defence.
No one calls for justice, the process whereby the right and just solution is found to the presenting issue. Maybe many people miss out on justice. I see this being particularly the case with the poor and the helpless. Trials can be rigged; false witnesses may be called; and innocent people will suffer.
Integrity is missing where people lie and make empty arguments. Surely such constructions can be seen for what they are! People may well know, yet easily and readily overlook the administration of justice.
Human action in this regard breeds trouble, and trouble brings forth evil. It is so easy for folk to become insensitive and blinded to evil. Evil can be subtle and insidious. It spreads like a plague.
History has shown the frailties of the human behaviour. Faults seem to pass from generation to generation. Mistakes are repeated, but seldom are actions repented. Evil breeds profusely and uncontrolled. Mankind has learned nothing. It is as if humanity cannot change itself. The propensity for evil is constant.
Fortunately, God is also constant. He is unchanging from age to age. He is righteous, pure and holy. He will not tolerate evil. Eventually justice will come.
I salute You for the consistency You are. The world may involve itself in all manner of evil and offence against You, but You are pure and just. May Your justice may be seen in greater measure in the world. I pray for conviction in those who delight in evil. May they be turned around and meet Jesus in power and conversion. Amen.
Saturday, 12 October 2019
But your iniquities have separated you from
your God, your sins have hidden his face
from you, so that he will not hear.
For your hands are stained with blood,
your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken lies,
and your tongue mutters wicked things. Isa 59. 2,3
Who is the prophet addressing with these words? Obviously, in the first instance the Israelites, the chosen people of God, who had gone astray and forsaken Him. They ignored Him, choosing instead to follow foreign ways, to worship pagan idols, and to inter-marry with the heathen.
The Israelites were the first to receive God’s rebuke. Yet I feel that this does not end with them. What God says here is of the people’s sin, actions that alienate them from Him, actions that greatly disappoint Him.
What applies to the Israelites, applies to ALL people. No one is exempt from sin. Believers and non-believers alike fall prey to the wiles of evil. This alienates them from God, irrespective of whether or not they believe.
I am challenged by these words, for I am a miserable sinner. I may not have committed all the offences that are referred to in the above verses, but my own sin is there, and it is clear to both myself and to God. Yet there is a solution, a way through the sordid disobedience, a way of reconciliation with the Father. Isaiah states the entry to this way in the first verse of this chapter: Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
As I cry out to God, so He will hear me. He will rescue me from the grip and tentacles of sin and restore me into right relationship with Himself – the place where I truly belong.
You are life to me, indeed the whole of life. I ask You to forgive me my sins, for I sin every day in my fallen nature. I am truly sorry. I seek that wonderful re-connection with You and the beautiful relationship it restores me to. Help me, please. Amen.
Friday, 11 October 2019
The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs
in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail. Isa. 58.11
I presume that Isaiah speaks these words of God to the Israelites. I see them applying to the nation, but I also see their application to individuals. God’s Word is available to all those who turn to it. God’s Word is filled with His promises to us. God is faithful and, in time, every one of His promises will come to pass.
God’s promises, including those in the verse above, are for me. As a believer, I think I have a right to claim these promises and so, I do. I give myself to be guided by God. I place myself firmly in His hands. I know that He will satisfy my needs. I am fortunate that I am of an age and stage where I have no real wants, but the satisfying of my needs brings great blessing.
Whatever situation I find myself in, God will strengthen me. In doing so, He gives to me of his own strength. I need no other.
He will grow me as a well-watered garden. Water is essential to healthy living. God’s promise is that I will be like a spring whose waters never fail.
I am mindful of those times when I am tempted to allow circumstances to affect me. This, even though God tells me not to fear, and to be anxious for nothing. I am taking hold of this. I am giving myself to live this way. I don’t always succeed, but He is ever there to help me. I appreciate my God, and I know He appreciates me.
Dear Father,I thank You for the many promises You make to me. I claim all that You have, and I ask You to please make a way for me to share Your promises. May I know the health, the wonderful health and vitality of a true child of God. Please use me to share these wonders with others. Thank You. Amen.
Wednesday, 9 October 2019
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.” Isa.58.9b,10
The first part of verse 9 (previously considered) sees me crying out to God and seeking His help. He answers me with the affirmative “Here am I.” He encourages me to be rid of negativity and criticism. Verse 9 continues with God’s further encouragement to positive action, to do away with what is not good nor helpful, and to replace these things with positive action that helps people, that brings a measure of satisfaction through provision in their lives. God tells me, as I do this my light will rise in the darkness, and that very darkness will become as light and bright as the noonday sun.
I see all of this as part of the Christian life. These words, delivered centuries before Christ arrived on earth, foretell and endorse this witness to the world. They further set an example for all Christians to follow. And they speak clearly and deeply to me today.
God, through Isaiah, tells me that my light will rise in the darkness. I am immediately drawn to the words of Jesus: “…let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”(Matt. 5.16) I have always thought of this verse as allowing the light of Jesus to shine out through me. I hope this is so. If I can shine the light of Christ I will be truly blessed.
I believe that good works alone will not get a person into God’s holy presence, but good works in Christ is a most wonderful blessing.
I thrill at the prospect of Your light shining in me and through me. I pray for the reality of this in my life. Fit me, if You will, to receive Your light and to spread it wherever I go. And, please, allow me to ask for more. Amen.
Sunday, 6 October 2019
“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say:
Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing of the finger and malicious talk…. Isa.58.9a
As I call, the Lord will help me. He will say, “Here am I.” I think I will say, “I am here also Lord, and I need Your help and guidance.” The past few days have brought news that I must seriously pay heed to, and most definitely seek God for the way forward.
There is a strong likelihood that the cancer has become active again. Recent scans would indicate this. A further scan tomorrow could bring greater clarification. An appointment has been arranged with the brain surgeon as further surgery could be an option. The alternative might be more treatment.
I am not anxious. (At least I’m being obedient in this – Phil. 4.6). I shall further follow the encouragement of Philippians and take everything to God by prayer and petition. As I thank God for the wonderful life He has given me and for all He has done for me, I will present my requests. Actually, I have only one request: to know His will for me, and to go forward in the fullness of that will.
Paul tells me that the peace of God will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. I know this. Jesus shared His peace with me a long time ago. It has not left me. I am so wonderfully blessed.
My Sweet Father,
I thank You for the guidance You give me to navigate this journey of life. I thank You that You walk with me every step of the way.
I seek Your way for me now. I lay myself fully open before You and I ask You to show me the way – Your way – in which I am to travel through this time. I trust You. I love You. Amen.
Friday, 4 October 2019
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will appear,
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Isa. 58.8
These are exciting words. God has told me that, when I do the right thing by Him, the outcome will be truly “glorious”.
I give myself to the right kind of fast, to fight injustice and loose the yoke, to do whatever I can to set the oppressed free, to share my food with the hungry and provide shelter for the wanderer, to clothe the naked and embrace my family and not turn away from them. (vv 6,7)
As always, I can only try to do all this. I know His help is with me, and this gives me strength and brings me comfort. Would I, then, do what He asks of me without seeking reward or any other kudos? I like to think that I would. I will aim to do so.
What He tells me in verse 8 might flow naturally from me as I give myself fully into His Lordship, looking only to fulfil what He would have of me. He says, my light will break forth! I see this as His light, the light of Jesus breaking through my human nature and shining with divine energy. Healing will appear. I have been involved in healing, both physical and especially emotional. It is truly “wonder-full” to see God bring release in a situation, to set the person free.
I will be guarded and protected. My God-given righteousness will go before me, and His glory will follow me, covering me and holding me in the enormous safety of His hand. This is true blessing.
Most Mighty God,
You give me so many promises. I receive each and every one. I pray that I might do my part and live in obedience to Your will and Your ways for me. I know You are with me and I look to You. My journey is with You. I am wrapped up in Your holy person. I am filled with joy and gratitude. I thank You. Amen.
Thursday, 3 October 2019
“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?
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 him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.” Isa.58.6,7
The Israelites cry out to God for help, but their cry and their attitude are not sincere, for they go their own way, doing what they want to do. God, through Isaiah, responds identifying their hypocrisy and declaring their rebellion. The Israelites remonstrate, claiming their efforts in fasting in order to gain God’s attention and action.
Their fasting is superficial and greatly flawed. As they fast, they do as they please. They exploit workers, and the fast ends in quarrelling and strife. This fast is not acceptable to God. He proceeds to outline the kind of fast He looks for, and its outcomes. These outcomes are for justice and help for those who need it: freedom from oppression; the breaking of unhealthy yokes; sharing of food, provision of shelter, and clothing of the naked. The people are further required to embrace and help their own flesh and blood.
This is what God sees as the result of a genuine fast. There is no shallowness here, but sincerity.
I have difficulty in fasting. My focus can so readily turn from prayer to food. There is much I would desire to see God do as a result of my fast. I surely need His help.
These verses clearly show me the difference between an insincere fast and one that is genuine. I would like to present myself genuinely before You.
Lord, I have difficulty fasting. I get hungry and I lose concentration. I need a greater desire to bypass food and give myself over completely to my connection with You. I ask for Your help in this, in Jesus’ powerful name. Amen.