We may live in this world but let us never forget that heaven is our home.
But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. (Psalm 5:11) Submit to God’s royal son, or He will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities–for His anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in Him! (Psalm 2:12)
The authority to name something is unique to humanity. To name is to share in God’s creative act.
So the Eternal God put him into a deep sleep, removed a rib from his side, and closed the flesh around the opening. He formed a woman from the rib taken out of the man and presented her to him.
Adam: At last, a suitable companion, a perfect partner.
Bone from my bones.
Flesh from my flesh.
I will call this one “woman” as an eternal reminder
that she was taken out of man.
Now this is the reason a man leaves his father and his mother, and is united with his wife; and the two become one flesh. In those days the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:21-25)
Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth–leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah–defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.
At first he’s amused at their presumption;
Then he gets good and angry.
Furiously, he shuts them up:
“Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet
Is spread for him on the holy summit.”
Let me tell you what God said next.
He said, “You’re my son,
And today is your birthday.
What do you want? Name it:
Nations as a present? continents as a prize?
You can command them all to dance for you,
Or throw them out with tomorrow’s trash.”
So, rebel-kings, use your heads;
Upstart-judges, learn your lesson:
Worship God in adoring embrace,
Celebrate in trembling awe. Kiss Messiah!
Your very lives are in danger, you know;
His anger is about to explode,
But if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!
In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds.
God, brilliant Lord,
Yours is a household name.
Nursing infants gurgle choruses about You;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.
The Future Glory of Zion
The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8)
Eternal One: Sing, childless woman, you who have never given birth.
Raise a joyful shout, you who have never gone through labor.
You, whose husband is dead, will bring forth much more than the fertile one who has a husband.
Enlarge your house. You are going to need a bigger place;
don’t underestimate the amount of room that you’ll need. So build, build, build.
You will increase in every direction to fill the world.
Your offspring will take over the nations;
Your people will revitalize long-abandoned towns.
Don’t be afraid, for there is no one to shame you.
Don’t fear humiliation, for there is no one to disgrace you.
The shame of your younger years and the sorrow of your widowhood are over.
You’ll forget those days as if they never happened.
Because the One who made you will be your husband;
the One called Commander of heavenly armies
Will set you right again, the Holy One of Israel.
It’s not for nothing that He is called “God of all the earth.”
For the Eternal has called you to come back home,
like a young wife, once deserted and deeply injured.
Now God is pulling you close again. Like a spouse forgives,
He will take you back and be reconciled.
The Eternal, your Redeemer, says this:
Eternal One: Yes, I was angry for a moment, and I rejected you,
but My love endures, and I want you back.
For that moment, when I was so mad,
I made it impossible for you to see Me, to find Me,
But with great tenderness, I will take you back in love.
I think this is like the time when Noah lived.
I promised that I would never again destroy the world by a flood.
So now I am promising never again to be so angry
and punishing as I was when I sent you away.
Even if the mountains heave up from their anchors,
and the hills quiver and shake, I will not desert you.
You can rely on My enduring love;
My covenant of peace will stand forever.
So says the Eternal One, whose love won’t give up on you.
This promise stands to God’s covenant people: nothing can happen to them unless God wills it and makes it so. Only if they invite it will destruction come. Throughout this time of rebellion and punishment God makes it clear that they hold their fate in their own hands. And if they haven’t understood the message, God tells them who will do the nation-building—an unworldly restoration. He says that He provides the raw materials; He creates the tools and provides the skills with which the builders build. He alone is responsible for restoring the nation. And no matter what charges the adversary may concoct, God will not be put off. Even though Israel rebelled and was unfaithful at one time, that is in the past. The future is sure: God’s faithfulness to His covenant, His enduring love for His people, will stand for all time.
So the challenge goes out from the prophet to God’s people—speaking on God’s authority—to align themselves with God, accept Him as God, and they will surely win.
Eternal One: Ah, Jerusalem, so miserable and distressed! I will rebuild you
with floors of shimmering mosaics, set sapphires in your foundations.
I will decorate your towers with rubies,
and your gates will sparkle with all manner of precious gems.
Costly jewels will adorn the entire wall that circles your precincts.
Every one of your children, the people who call you home,
will be students of the Eternal; oh, they’ll be so happy and live in peace!
This time, you will be founded and grounded
on right thought, speech, and action.
And no one will trouble you, abuse or oppress you;
you will know no fear and have no worries.
If a nation marches against you,
know that I am not behind it.
Anyone foolish enough to challenge you will fall to you.
I have created the blacksmith
who readies the fire and forges weapons for wars;
And I have created the destroyer to ravage and ruin.
But no instrument forged against you will be allowed to hurt you,
and no voice raised to condemn you will successfully prosecute you.
It’s that simple; this is how it will be for the servants of the Eternal;
I will vindicate them.
But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
For it is written:
“Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”
Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”[Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. (Galatians 4:26-31)
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then He told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Messages of Comfort
Prepare for God’s Arrival
The Creator of All You Can See or Imagine
Your Maker is Your Husband, the Lord of Hosts!
Have you not been paying attention?
Have you not been listening?
Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?
Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?
God sits high above the round ball of earth.
The people look like mere ants.
He stretches out the skies like a canvas—
yes, like a tent canvas to live under.
He ignores what all the princes say and do.
The rulers of the earth count for nothing.
Princes and rulers don’t amount to much.
Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted,
They shrivel when God blows on them.
Like flecks of chaff, they’re gone with the wind.
“So—who is like Me?
Who holds a candle to Me?” says The Holy.
Look at the night skies:
Who do you think made all this?
Who marches this army of stars out each night,
counts them off, calls each by name
—so magnificent! so powerful!—
and never overlooks a single one?
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me.
He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And He knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.
Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:
“No longer will Jacob be ashamed;
no longer will their faces grow pale.
When they see among them their children,
the work of My hands,
they will keep My name holy;
they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob,
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding;
those who complain will accept instruction.”
All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad. Daughters of kings are among your honored women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir. 1
The king is glad because You, O Eternal, are strong.
In light of Your salvation, he is singing Your name.
You have given him all he could wish for.
After hearing his prayer, You withheld nothing.
True blessings You lavished upon the king;
a crown of precious gold You placed upon his head.
His prayer was to live fully. You responded with even more—
a never-ending life to enjoy.
With Your help, his fame and glory have grown;
You raise him high and cover him in majesty.
You shower him with blessings that last forever;
he finds joy in knowing Your presence and loving You.
For the king puts his trust in the Eternal,
so he will not be shaken
because of the persistent love of the Most High God.
King, your hand will reach for all your enemies;
your right hand will seize all who hate you.
When you arrive at the battle’s edge,
you will seem to them a furnace.
For the fire of the Eternal’s anger, the heat of His wrath
will burn and consume them.
You will cut off their children,
lop off the branches of their family tree.
The earth will never know them,
nor will they ever be numbered among Adam’s kin.
When they scheme against you,
when they conspire their mischief, such efforts will be in vain.
At the sight of you, they will sound the retreat;
your bows, drawn back, will aim directly at their faces.
Put Your strength, Eternal One, on display for all to see;
we will sing and make music of Your mighty power.
When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! (Job 42:10)
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. (James 1:14-16)
“…but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17)
The Wages of Sin = Death
They conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their womb fashions deceit.”
Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
Truly the righteous attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death.
You conceive chaff, you give birth to straw; your breath is a fire that consumes you.
Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with Me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on His throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation:14-22)
Sin is ALWAYS the CAUSE of distress, because God brings distress in order to teach the CONSEQUENCES of sin.
—To open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me. (Acts 26:18)
We are no longer in the Garden as immature believers who think they can simply pass the blame to another, we are to walk with the Lord Himself through the wilderness growing up along the way as the Spirit leads and guides us into all truth on the way home heavenward in Christ.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a person is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give Him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child He loves that God corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this.
God has made us FRUITFUL in the land of our AFFLICTION.
The child that God loves, He corrects with discipline that they might be trained
to walk with Him in spirit and in truth. That even in periods of distress, we are
His success stories on earth as it is in heaven.
For it is You who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness!
The light shines in the darkness and it is not overcome!
The time of distress ends with great joy and the promise of God fulfilled in the end.
Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is the One who is Faithful and True and with us to the very end of this earth age.
Praise from the Great Multitude
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.
–To the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?
If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing Himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is there anything else He wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate You.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8:31-39)
God’s PRO-VISION SPEAKS—of the blessing at the end!
Lord, may I not limit Your power by refusing to open my heart of Your influence,
and that I may keep my heart open to others. Amen.
In the midst of the wilderness journey of life during all the distress brought on
by our own sin, God provides a covering. His love covers us as we call on His name.
Speaking prophetically, the world’s time of distress and tribulation ENDS with the
Day Christ meets His Bride.
Future Glory for Zion
Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you. “Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:1-3)
For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves,who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
Our Jesus isn’t just a human being struggling in a corrupt human body up there in heaven. He is the One God has highly exalted! That is who our Intercessor in heaven is today!
Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring; The early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion. O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.…(Psalm 84:6-8)
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. (Proverbs 4:18)
Have the Attitude of Christ
Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
Shine Brightly for Christ
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love?
Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though He was God
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, He gave up His divine privileges
He took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When He appeared in human form,
He humbled Himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor
and gave Him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8)
But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (while were yet DEAD IN SIN). Romans 5:8
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:14)
God’s grace covers our sin and strengthens us to grow up spiritually in Christ.
“There is hope for your future,” declares the LORD, “And your children will return to their own territory.” Jeremiah 31:17
“And as for the outsiders who now follow Me,
working for Me, loving My name,
and wanting to be My servants—
All who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it,
holding fast to My covenant—
I’ll bring them to My holy mountain
and give them joy in My house of prayer.
They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the ‘insiders,’
to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to My altar.
Oh yes, My house of worship
will be known as a house of prayer for all people.”
The Decree of the Master, God Himself,
who gathers in the exiles of Israel:
“I will gather others also,
gather them in with those already gathered.”
A Pilgrim Song
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
“God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.
And now, God, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners,
even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase;
but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
so that, as sin reigned in death,
even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:19-21)
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (John 1:16-18)
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:10-11)