August 17, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO DO WONDERFUL THINGS (part 2)

Isaiah 25:4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

We serve a wonderful God. He has been a faithful Father and friend. We serve a God that gives strength to those who cannot give strength to themselves. Our God is a “strength to the poor”, and “strength to the needy”. That means that God does not just help those that have something to offer back. God does not just help those that have resources. God helps those who have nothing, who have no resources, and who have nothing to give back. After all, God really does not need what we have, we need what God has, so our God gives STRENGTH.

Our God also gives SHELTER. He is “a refuge from the storm”. Life brings plenty of storms. There are storms of disappointment, storms of disease, and storms of distress. We could talk all day about storms that we face. God never said that we would not have storms, God just promised that He would give us shelter when they come.

We are also told that God would be a SHADE from the heat. Now storms pop up suddenly in our life, and normally last for a season and then move on. The heat that is spoken of here implies a constant, constraining type of issue. Something that gradually wears you down. This is what this “shadow” is. It is a shade from the heat. It is relief from the baking sun.

As I am sharing each of these, I hope the Holy Spirit is helping you see areas of your life where you can apply these, where you can see through these descriptions what God does for us, which brings us to the last part of this verse. “When the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” These “blasts” are sudden explosions. We have all had those haven’t we? What does the phrase mean, “as a storm against the wall? If you think about it, what happens to a wall when a fierce, exploding storm comes against it? It falls over. You see, God is our STABILITY. If you and I are not careful, the storms that show up in our life can knock us over. It can rattle the very foundation of our lives. God can be our stability. If you’re facing a storm today, or severe heat, or distress of any kind, God can keep your wall standing! I am persuaded that He is able.

August 16, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO DO WONDERFUL THINGS

Isaiah 25:1 O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

God the Father is the Lord Jehovah. He is “LORD” which means He was, is, and always will be. He is the self-existent or Eternal one. “Jehovah” is the Jewish national name of God. You see, God is LORD whether we make Him that or not. He is LORD whether we believe that He is or not. He is LORD whether we treat Him like He is or not. However, you and I choose whether or not He will be “my God”. That is a personal decision. God is the great God, Jehovah, Elohim, etc., but is He your God? Let me put it this way; He is God, but you must make Him your God?

I WILL EXALT THEE
This expression is describing the process of glorifying God with our life, or with our actions. This is not so much by what we say with our mouths, but by how we conduct ourselves. How we treat people, and how we act, should exalt the Lord and His kingdom.

I WILL PRAISE THY NAME
This is a verbal praise. This is speaking praise about “thy name”, or the name of God. This means inserting God in every conversation, bringing attention to Him in every situation, and giving glory to His name at every opportunity.

There is a reason to do this by the way. “For Thou hast done wonderful things.” And God sure has, hasn’t He? I don’t know about you, but I have good reasons to exalt the Lord, and ten thousand reasons to praise His Name. We all should take some time today to remember, recall, and reflect on some “wonderful things” that God has done in our life.

Finally, we are reminded that all the counsel and advice and instruction that God has given to us is always faithful and always true. We know God will always be there, and that God will always be able to be trusted. They are “counsels of old”. God has proven Himself, proven His ability, and proven His love.

If God is “thy God” today, exalt Him with your actions, and praise Him with your words. After all, God has done “wonderful things”.

August 15, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

MAKE IT HAPPEN

Isaiah 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:

We have two words that we need to consider in order to understand the message of this verse. The first is the word “thought”. The Hebrew meaning of this word is “to devise, to consider, to plan”. God says, ‘what I have planned is going to come to pass’. Let me just say that God has plans and you and I have plans. Sometimes our plans are different than God’s plans. Sometimes we think our plans are better than God’s plans. So, then we have a decision to make. Whose plans are we going to go with?

Samson had his own plans, and he ended up blind and grinding grain in the prison. David had his own plans and he ended up repenting with bitter tears having become a murderer. Jacob had his own plans and ended up running for his life. Abraham had his own plans and ended up producing eternal unrest in the Middle East. What is interesting is that in all of these instances, God eventually did what He had planned anyway. You see, if God has planned, He is going to do it.

This brings us to the second word which is “purposed”. This Hebrew word means, “to determine, to deliberate, to resolve”. This means that if God has planned it, then God will do what it takes to do it, and God will do what it takes to make it last. That is why God says, “so shall it stand”. You and I may choose to go with our plans, but do not be surprised when those plans do not end up right. Do not be surprised when those plans do not last long. God says that what He plans, He does. And what God does, remains strong. You can count on it. It is stable and strong.

Trust me today, God has plans for your life. I am sure that you do also. Just realize that when it is all said and done, God is going to have His way, with or without your cooperation. I encourage you today, go with God’s plan. He will make it happen, and He will make it stand. How do we know? “The LORD of hosts hath sworn”.

August 14, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO GIVE YOU REST FROM YOUR SORROW

Isaiah 14:3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow,…..

My wife and I were able to have a conversation tonight with a precious missionary wife who serves in the country of the Philippines. Their ministry serves some of the poorest people in that country. They minister in the city trash dumps and cemeteries. Extremely poor people live in the dumps to try to find food and the cemeteries to find a safe place. It was amazing to hear of their ministry, and yet somewhat heartbreaking because this precious missionary wife just watched her husband go to Heaven just a few months ago. How sobering to see the sadness, loneliness, struggle, and heartbreak of losing your mate and fellow laborer in the ministry. And yet how encouraging to see the joy, victory, hope, and commitment to return to what God has asked her to do.

There is sorrow sometimes in this life.

* Ecclesiastes 2:23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
* Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

There are wives that have had to say goodbye to their husbands. There are family members that have had to say good bye to loved ones. There are some Christian parents in our state that just lost all three of their children in a house fire. You do not have to look far to find sorrow. But I am here to remind you today that there is a day coming where our sorrow will be no more. In the day of the Lord, we will be given rest from our sorrow. I sometimes seem to miss my loved ones at the strangest times in the most unexpected ways. There is a day approaching when Jesus will return for His Bride, and when that happens, all sorrow is drifted away. Are you struggling with some sorrow? Maybe not every minute or every day, but maybe every week, month, etc. just be encouraged, you will not have to carry that sorrow forever. God can give rest from it.

* Matthew 11: 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

August 13, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO TURN HIS ANGER AWAY (part 3)

Isaiah 12:1 ……O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.

As we close with this verse, I would like to draw this whole thing together. I want to outline this passage, as we pastors often do, so that we can process and understand the message that God is sending.

First, we see the COMMITMENT.
“I will praise thee”. That is not going to happen naturally by the way. You and I have to choose to praise God in the middle of diverse circumstances. It’s a commitment that we have to make in ourselves.

Second, we see CONVICTION.
“Thou wast angry with me”. When you and I have stepped out of God’s perfect path and allowed sin into our life, the Holy Spirit brings conviction. That conviction is what allows you and I to feel and know that God is upset with us. Our conscience should be sensitive, and our hearts should be tender. We should feel when God is mad with us. It is something we should be able to sense. The more we allow sin to go unconfessed, the harder our conscience becomes.

Third, we see God’s COMPASSION.
“Thine anger is turned away”. Only a compassionate God can put up with sinners like us. His compassion never fails.

* Lamentations 3:22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Last, we are told of God’s COMFORT.
“Thou comfordest me”. Isn’t it like our God that after He has been angry with us, after we deserve for Him to be angry with us, He not only turns His anger away and forgives, but He also comforts us. I mean this is all our fault. We are the ones that have done wrong. We’re the ones that transgressed against God, and yet He comforts us. You would think that God is the one that needs to be comforted. God is the one who had His children mistreat Him. God is the one that gave His only son to die. God is the one who is perfect. God is the creator and we are just the creation. And yet after going through situations that we cause, God loves us so much that He comforts us. If you know you have upset God, ask for forgiveness, and know in your heart that He will comfort you through trials, even if we are the ones that caused them.

August 11, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO TURN HIS ANGER AWAY (part 2)

Isaiah 12:1 ……O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.

God hates evil, and if we will admit to and repent of sin in our life, God will forgive us. Which brings us to the next phrase.

“Thine anger is turned away”
God is so pure, and we are so sinful, I would not blame Him if He stayed angry with us. God is so big, and we are so small, I see no reason why He would continue to give us more chances. God is so faithful, and we are so unfaithful, why would God keep forgiving us? There is no good answer except for the fact God’s mercy endures forever. I want you today to read this entire chapter:

* Psalm 136:
1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
4 To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
6 To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
7 To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
8 The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
9 The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:
12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.
13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:
15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.
16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.
17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:
20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:
21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:
22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.
23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:
24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.
25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.
26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.