Thursday, November 20th, 2014
Read Isaiah 55:6-11 (see below)
Jesus said, “This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.”
- John 15:12 (CEB)
Twice I dreamed that I was driving on a two-lane road and a car appeared in my lane, coming from the opposite direction. I glanced at the other lane and saw another car moving in the same direction as I was. I was driving in the wrong lane.
When I awoke, I thought about my dreams. I recalled that when I drove in Jordan for the first time, even though I knew cars drive on the right side of the road, I failed to do so. When I drove up a slope to a traffic light, I faced many cars in front of me waiting for the traffic light to change and heading in the opposite direction. I was stunned, and I quickly turned around.
Finally, I understood my dreams. Reading Isaiah 55:6-11, that day’s Bible reading in The Upper Room, I thought about my recent struggles in faith. God’s way is different from mine. I wish to follow the commandment in John 15:12, but I easily slip back into old familiar ways. Nevertheless, God helps me return to the right way. The more I struggle to get closer to God, the more I focus on the words of scripture. The word of God is holy promise: “Love each other, just as I have loved you” (John 15:12) and “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).
Kazumi Munehiro (Fukuoka, Japan)
Focusing on scripture draws us closer to God.
Loving God, thank you for your care and guidance. Keep us open to your promises and obedient to your commandments. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Isaiah 55: 6-13 King James Version (KJV)
Matthew Henry’s Commentary
Isaiah 55: 6-13
We have here a further account of that covenant of grace which is made with us in Jesus Christ, both what is required and what is promised in the covenant, and of those considerations that are sufficient abundantly to confirm our believing compliance with and reliance on that covenant. This gracious discovery of God's good-will to the children of men is not to be confined either to the Jew or to the Gentile, to the Old Testament or to the New, much less to the captives in Babylon. No, both the precepts and the promises are here given to all, toevery one that thirsts after happiness, v. 1. And who does not? Hear this, and live.
I. Here is a gracious offer made of pardon, and peace, and all happiness, to poor sinners, upon gospel terms, v. 6, 7.
1. Let them pray, and their prayers shall be heard and answered (v. 6): "Seek the Lord while he may be found. Seek him whom you have left by revolting from your allegiance to him and whom you have lost by provoking him to withdraw his favour from you. Call upon himnow while he is near, and within call." Observe here,
(1.) The duties required. [1.] "Seek the Lord. Seek to him, and enquire of him, as your oracle. Ask the law at his mouth. What wilt thou have me to do? Seek for him, and enquire after him, as your portion and happiness; seek to be reconciled to him and acquainted with him, and to be happy in his favour. Be sorry that you have lost him; be solicitous to find him; take the appointed method of finding him, making use of Christ as your way, the Spirit as your guide, and the word as your rule." [2.] "Call upon him. Pray to him, to be reconciled, and, being reconciled, pray to him for every thing else you have need of."
(2.) The motives made use of to press these duties upon us: While he may be found—while he is near. [1.] It is implied that now God is near and will be found, so that it shall not be in vain to seek him and to call upon him. Now his patience is waiting on us, his word is calling to us, and his Spirit striving with us. Let us now improve our advantages and opportunities; for now is the accepted time. But, [2.] There is a day coming when he will be afar off, and will not be found, when the day of his patience is over, and his Spirit will strive no more. There may come such a time in this life, when the heart is incurably hardened; it is certain that at death and judgment the door will be shut, Luke xvi. 26; xiii. 25, 26. Mercy is now offered, but then judgment without mercy will take place.
2. Let them repent and reform, and their sins shall be pardoned, v. 7. Here is a call to the unconverted, to the wicked and the unrighteous—to the wicked, who live in known gross sins, to the unrighteous, who live in the neglect of plain duties: to them is the word of this salvation sent, and all possible assurance given that penitent sinners shall find God a pardoning God. Observe here,
(1.) What it is to repent. There are two things involved in repentance:—[1.] It is to turn from sin; it is to forsake it. It is to leave it, and to leave it with loathing and abhorrence, never to return to it again. The wicked must forsake his way, his evil way, as we would forsake a false way that will never bring us to the happiness we aim at, and a dangerous way, that leads to destruction. Let him not take one step more in that way. Nay, there must be not only a change of the way, but a change of the mind; the unrighteous must forsake his thoughts.Repentance, if it be true, strikes at the root, and washes the heart from wickedness. We must alter our judgments concerning persons and things, dislodge the corrupt imaginations and quit the vain pretences under which an unsanctified heart shelters itself. Note, It is not enough to break off from evil practices, but we must enter a caveat against evil thoughts. Yet this is not all: [2.] To repent is to return to the Lord; to return to him as our God, our sovereign Lord, against whom we have rebelled, and to whom we are concerned to reconcile ourselves; it is to return to the Lord as the fountain of life and living waters, which we had forsaken for broken cisterns.
(2.) What encouragement we have thus to repent. If we do so, [1.] God will have mercy. He will not deal with us as our sins have deserved, but will have compassion on us. Misery is the object of mercy. Now both the consequences of sin, by which we have become truly miserable (Ezek. xvi. 5, 6), and the nature of repentance, by which we are made sensible of our misery and are brought to bemoan ourselves (Jer. xxxi. 18), both these make us objects of pity, and with God there are tender mercies. [2.] He will abundantly pardon. He will multiply to pardon (so the word is), as we have multiplied to offend. Though our sins have been very great and very many, and though we have often backslidden and are still prone to offend, yet God will repeat his pardon, and welcome even backsliding children that return to him in sincerity.
II. Here are encouragements given us to accept this offer and to venture our souls upon it. For, look which way we will, we find enough to confirm us in our belief of its validity and value.
1. If we look up to heaven, we find God's counsels there high and transcendent, his thoughts and ways infinitely above ours, v. 8, 9. The wicked are urged to forsake their evil ways and thoughts (v. 7) and to return to God, that is, to bring their ways and thoughts to concur and comply with his; "for" (says he) "my thoughts and ways are not as yours. Yours are conversant only about things beneath; they are of the earth earthy: but mine are above, as the heaven is high above the earth; and, if you would approve yourselves true penitents, yours must be so too, and your affections must be set on things above." Or, rather, it is to be understood as an encouragement to us to depend upon God's promise to pardon sin, upon repentance. Sinners may be ready to fear that God will not be reconciled to them, because they could not find in their hearts to be reconciled to one who should have so basely and so frequently offended them. "But" (says God) "my thoughts in this matter are not as yours, but as far above them as the heaven is above the earth." They are so in other things. Men's sentiments concerning sin, and Christ, and holiness, concerning this world and the other, are vastly different from God's; but in nothing more than in the matter of reconciliation. We think God apt to take offence and backward to forgive—that, if he forgives once, he will not forgive a second time. Peter thought it a great deal to forgive seven times (Matt. xviii. 21), and a hundred pence go far with us; but God meets returning sinners with pardoning mercy; he forgives freely, and as he gives: it is without upbraiding. We forgive and cannot forget; but, when God forgives sin, he remembers it no more. Thus God invites sinners to return to him, by possessing them with good thoughts of him, as Jer. xxxi. 20.
2. If we look down to this earth, we find God's word there powerful and effectual, and answering all its great intentions, v. 10, 11. Observe here, (1.) The efficacy of God's word in the kingdom of nature. He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; he appoints when it shall come, to what degree, and how long it shall lie there; he saith so to the small rain and the great rain of his strength, Job xxxvii. 6. And according to his order they come down from heaven, and do whatsoever he commands them upon the face of the world, whether it be for correction, or for his land, or for mercy, v. 12, 13. It returns not re infectâ—without having accomplished its end, but waters the earth, which he is therefore said to do from his chambers, Ps. civ. 13. And the watering of the earth is in order to its fruitfulness. Thus he makes it tobring forth and bud, for the products of the earth depend upon the dews of heaven; and thus it gives not only bread to the eater, present maintenance to the owner and his family, but seed likewise to the sower, that he may have food for another year. The husbandman must be a sower as well as an eater, else he will soon see the end of what he has. (2.) The efficacy of his word in the kingdom of providence and grace, which is as certain as the former: "So shall my word be, as powerful in the mouth of prophets as it is in the hand of providence; it shall not return unto me void, as unable to effect what it was sent for, or meeting with an insuperable opposition; no, it shall accomplish that which I please" (for it is the declaration of his will, according to the counsel of which he works all things) "and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." This assures us, [1.] That the promises of God shall all have their full accomplishment in due time, and not one iota or tittle of them shall fail, 1 Kings viii. 56. These promises of mercy and grace shall have as real an effect upon the souls of believers, for their sanctification and comfort, as ever the rain had upon the earth, to make it fruitful. [2.] That according to the different errands on which the word is sent it will have its different effects. If it be not a savour of life unto life, it will be a savour of death unto death; if it do not convince the conscience and soften the heart, it will sear the conscience and harden the heart; if it do not ripen for heaven, it will ripen for hell. Seech. vi. 9. One way or other, it will take effect. [3.] That Christ's coming into the world, as the dew from heaven (Hos. xiv. 5), will not be in vain. For, if Israel be not gathered, he will be glorious in the conversion of the Gentiles; to them therefore the tenders of grace must be made when the Jews refuse them, that the wedding may be furnished with guests and the gospel not return void.
3. If we take a special view of the church, we shall find what great things God has done, and will do, for it (v. 12, 13): You shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace. This refers, (1.) To the deliverance and return of the Jews out of Babylon. They shall go out of their captivity, and be led forth towards their own land again. God will go before them as surely, though not as sensibly, as before their fathers in the pillar of cloud and fire. They shall go out, not with trembling, but with triumph, not with any regret to part with Babylon, or any fear of being fetched back, but with joy and peace. Their journey home over the mountains shall be pleasant, and they shall have the good-will and good wishes of all the countries they pass through. The hills and their inhabitants shall, as in a transport of joy, break forth into singing; and, if the people should altogether hold their peace, even the trees of the field would attend them with their applauses and acclamations. And, when they come to their own land, it shall be ready to bid them welcome; for, whereas they expected to find it all overgrown with briers and thorns, it shall be set with fir-trees and myrtle-trees: for, though it lay desolate, yet it enjoyed its sabbaths (Lev. xxvi. 34), which, when they were over, like the land after the sabbatical year, it was the better for. And this shall redound much to the honour of God and be to him for a name. But, (2.) Without doubt it looks further. This shall be for an everlasting sign, that it, [1.] The redemption of the Jews out of Babylon shall be a ratification of those promises that relate to gospel times. The accomplishment of the predictions relating to that great deliverance would be a pledge and earnest of the performance of all the other promises; for thereby it shall appear that he is faithful who has promised.[2.] It shall be a representation of the blessings promised and a type and figure of them. First, Gospel grace will set those at liberty that were in bondage to sin and Satan. They shall go out and be led forth. Christ shall make them free, and then they shall be free indeed.Secondly, It will fill those with joy that were melancholy. Ps. xiv. 7, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. The earth and the inferior part of the creation shall share in the joy of this salvation, Ps. xciv. 11, 12. Thirdly, It will make a great change in men's characters. Those that were as thorns and briers, good for nothing but the fire, nay, hurtful and vexatious, shall become graceful and useful as the fir-tree and the myrtle-tree. Thorns and briers came in with sin and were the fruits of the curse, Gen. iii. 18. The raising of pleasant trees in the room of them signifies the removal of the curse of the law and the introduction of gospel blessings. The church's enemies were as thorns and briers; but, instead of them, God will raise up friends to be her protection and ornament. Or it may denote the world's growing better; instead of a generation of thorns and briers, there shall come up a generation of fir-trees and myrtles; the children shall be wiser and better than the parents. And, fourthly, in all this God shall be glorified. It shall be to him for a name, by which he will be made known and praised, and by it the people of God shall be encouraged. It shall be for an everlasting sign of God's favour to them, assuring them that, though it may for a time be clouded, it shall never be cut off. The covenant of grace is an everlasting covenant; for the present blessings of it are signs of everlasting ones.
The Bible online
Matthew Henry’s Commentary online
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Joyce Meyer Ministries
(Some of the best every day, every person, and down to earth Bible teaching you will hear!)
Enjoying Everyday Life
The American Patriot’s Bible
The Upper Room
Daily Devotional Guide
Bremen Church of the Brethren
As a dynamic church proclaiming the Word of God,
it is our purpose to make disciples of Jesus Christ by:
· Attracting and leading the unsaved to Jesus;
· Encouraging Christians to consecrate themselves to God’s purposes in their lives;
· Providing a climate in which personal and spiritual growth and worship occur;
· Equipping believers for effective ministry to reach the
Bremen area and beyond.
How You Can Know God's Love
How You Can Have Forgiveness for Your Sins
The Roman Road
For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
- Romans 10:13
- Romans 10:13
"There is a God in Heaven who loves you as you are and not as you should be."
Yes... you are right... there is a God. You know that must be true. The heart of
the human being longs for God, and logic demands divine existence.
While everyone believes God is... most sense separation from God. We
know God must be holy and good. We see ourselves as unholy and not good.
We conclude that God is angry with us and we cannot know Him.
Good News! This Testament of God's love is His Word to tell us that He loves
us as we are. That love will save us from our sin and make us what we should
be as God's children.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
We hear Jesus say, "God so loved the world." God's love has no limitations.
He loves "so". More than we can imagine. He loves everyone - not just
Romans 5:8 tells us that God loved us so that "when we were in our sin
Christ Jesus came to die for us."
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
This verse tells us that all people have sinned. We have fallen short of
God's intended purpose for us. God made us to know Him.... to receive His
love and to love him in return.
For love to be love... for God to be God... and for humans to be humans....
God gave us a choice. We can choose to love ourselves and turn to our
selfish pursuits. That is sin. In our sin we cannot know God and His love.
The result of sin is that we are lost... separated from God.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord."
Wages are just payment... due reward... what one has coming because of
labor. The just payment for our sin is death.
Death here means spiritual insensitivity. When we are still in our sin, we
have no life with God. We are alive physically but dead spiritually. If we
continue in that condition, we will be separated from God for all eternity.
The wages of sin is death. but God's free gift is eternal life. While wages
are earned, a gift is offered... no strings attached. God says He will give us
eternal life - life with Him - in the place of sin's payment of death.
How can God remain true to His holiness and forgive unholy sinners?
Because Jesus, His Son, has paid the price for sin by His death on the cross.
Second Corinthians 5:21 says, "He who knew no sin became sin for us, that
we may be made the righteousness of God through Him."
Jesus arose from the grave to conquer sin and death for all who receive Him
as God's free gift.
How can you receive God's free gift of love and life?
"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart
that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a
person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he
confesses, resulting in salvation."
A person receives God's free gift of love and life by placing faith in Jesus
Christ. To believe is simply to take God at His word. With our heart
(whole believing) we believe that Jesus is God's Son who died for our sin
on the cross and arose from the grave to live in us as Savior and Lord.
To believe in Jesus will result in confessing that faith with one's mouth.
Do you acknowledge that your are a sinner?
Do you believe by faith that Jesus, God's Son, died for your sin on the cross?
Will you now confess Him as your Savior and Lord?
"for Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
This verse says that any person who will call upon the name of Jesus,
the Lord, shall be saved.
To call means simply to ask in prayer. The verse does not require one to
know more... do better... clean up one's life... or in any way try to add to
what Jesus has done for us.
Will you now call upon Jesus to save you from your sin so that you
can know God's love and forgiveness?
Pray like this: "Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner, and I am sorry. I need
a Savior. I know I cannot save myself. I believe by faith that Jesus, your
Son, died on the cross to be my Savior. I believe He arose from the grave
to live as my Lord. I turn from my sin. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive my
sin and come into my heart. I trust you as my Savior and receive you as
my Lord. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me."
When anyone calls on the Lord in this manner, that one is saved according
to God's Word. If you pray a prayer of repentance and faith, you are saved.
You have God's word on it.
If you have prayed this prayer to receive Christ as your Lord and Savoir, why
not record your decision to follow Jesus as follows. Often times, a good place
to write this would be inside the cover of your bible:
Believing by faith that God loves me and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die
for my sin and arise from the grave to live in me, I, _______, do this day,
________, repent of my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord
and Savior. According to the promise of God in Romans 10:13, I have
called upon His name and have His word for the assurance of my salvation.
Do you need to speak to someone about questions you may have? If so, contact Need Him Ministries at 1-888-NEEDHIM (1-888-633-3446). To view the Need Him Channel at YouTube visit us online.