This is what the LORD says:
“As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and people say,
‘Don’t destroy it, there is still a blessing in it,’
So will I do in behalf of My servants; I will not destroy them all.
For My own name’s sake I delay My wrath; for the sake of My PRAISE I hold it back from you, So as not to destroy you completely. “
(Isaiah 65:8; 48:9)
turn over a new leaf
— to begin again, fresh; to reform and begin again.
(on turning to a fresh page. The leaf is a page—a fresh, clean page.)
I have made a mess of my life. I’ll turn over a new leaf and hope to do better.
Why don’t you turn over a new leaf and surprise everyone with your good characteristics?
– to start behaving in a better way Apparently he’s turned over a new leaf and he’s not drinking any more.
– a new course of action: let the record be based on the FRUIT in your lives which STEMS from the promised effects of the new covenant—transformed hearts through the Spirit—as prophesied by Jeremiah (31) and Ezekiel (36–37). If you agree the Spirit is working in you BOTH to will and to do God’s work, then they have to agree that His ministry to you is PRODUCTIVE.
How do we stand up to the same test? If our lives were judged based on the FRUIT of the SEEDS we have planted and nurtured in the lives of others, would we be proud or mortified?
Now consider this: if the ministry of death, which was chiseled in stone, came with so much glory that the Israelites could not bear to look at Moses’ face even as that glory was fading, imagine the kind of greater glory that will accompany the ministry of the Spirit.
If glory ushered in the ministry that offers condemnation, how much more glory will attend the ministry that promises to restore and set the world right?
In fact, what seemed to have great glory will appear entirely inglorious in the light of the greater glory of the new covenant. If something that fades away possesses glory, how much more intense is the glory of what remains?
In light of this hope that we have, we act with great confidence and speak with great courage.
We do not act like Moses who covered his face with a veil so the children of Israel would not stare as the glory of God faded from his face. Their minds became as hard as stones; for up to this day when they read the old covenant, the same veil continues to hide that glory; this veil is lifted only through the Anointed One. Even today a veil covers their hearts when the words of Moses are read; but in the moment when one TURNS toward the Lord, the veil is removed.
By “the Lord” what I mean is the Spirit, and in any heart where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is liberty.
Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it.
(2 Corinthians 3:7-18)
Thank You Lord for Your grace which chose us in You before the foundation of the world that we should walk in Your good works. Remind us as we walk with our brothers and sisters, that we are mingling with Your glory. Keep us faithful in carrying out Your Eternal plan until You return, Amen.
Even if the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vines,
If the olive trees fail to give fruit and the fields produce no food,
If the flocks die far from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls;
Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me!
The Eternal Lord is my strength! He has made my feet like the feet of a deer;
He allows me to walk on high places.
Joseph had two sons born to him before the years of FAMINE came.
Asenath, daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, was their mother.
Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying,
“God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.”
He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying,
“God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow.” (Genesis 41:50-52)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself,
but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
The only help is remembering You wherever I may be (Psalm 42:6)
The Vine and the Branches
“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing He prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already PRUNED BACK by the message I have spoken.
“Live in Me. Make your home in Me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear FRUIT unless you are joined with Me.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with Me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the HARVEST is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from Me is DEADWOOD, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with Me and My words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how My Father shows who He is—when you PRODUCE grapes, when you mature as My disciples.
“I’ve loved you the way My Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in My love. If you keep My commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in My love. That’s what I’ve done—kept My Father’s commands and made Myself at home in His love.
“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that My joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is My command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are My friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
“You didn’t choose Me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to BEAR FRUIT,
FRUIT that won’t spoil. As FRUIT BEARERS, whatever you ask the Father in relation to Me, He gives you.
Job answered God:
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
Nothing and no one can upset Your plans.
‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing My purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.
You told me,
‘Listen, and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumors of You;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
God Restores Job I Will Accept His Prayer
After God had finished addressing Job, He turned to Eliphaz the Temanite and said,
“I’ve had it with you and your two friends. I’m fed up!
You haven’t been honest either with Me or about Me—not the way My friend Job has. So here’s what you must do.
Take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My friend Job. Sacrifice a burnt offering on your own behalf.
My friend Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer.
He will ask Me not to treat you as you deserve for talking nonsense about Me, and for not being honest with Me, as he has.”
They did it.
Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did what God commanded.
And God accepted Job’s prayer.
After Job had interceded for his friends, God restored his fortune—and then doubled it!
All his brothers and sisters and friends came to his house and celebrated.
They told him how sorry they were, and consoled him for all the trouble God had brought him.
Each of them brought generous housewarming gifts.
God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life.
He ended up with fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand teams of oxen, and one thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters.
He named the first daughter Dove, the second, Cinnamon, and the third, Darkeyes.
There was not a woman in that country as beautiful as Job’s daughters.
Their father treated them as equals with their brothers, providing the same inheritance.
Job lived on another 140 years, living to see his children and grandchildren—four generations of them! Then he died—an old man, a full life. (Job 42)
“But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen your brothers.” (Jesus speaking in Luke 22:32)
Lord, I know that with You nothing is impossible and that I am more than an overcomer in You.
Help me to be strong enough to forgive like Joseph towards his brothers; as Job towards his friends,
and as Peter towards the brethren; in order that they may be strengthened with the comfort that You give me in Christ Jesus Amen.
When God changes us, a cold piercing glance turns into a warm tender look;
A sharp tongue utters a soft answer; An aloof stance melts into a loving embrace;
A clenched fist transformed into a squeezing hand.
Just hope in God!
Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One
who saves me and is my life. (Psalm 42:5)
Hope is an essential ingredient for abundant living.
Where there is hope, there is life!
O Lord, may my RELATIONship with You grow stronger daily; for Your joy is my strength;
and in Your presence is fullness of joy! Amen.
Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees, a man with some clout among his people.
He came to Jesus under the cloak of darkness to question Him.
Nicodemus: Teacher, some of us have been talking. You are obviously a teacher who has come from God. The signs You are doing are proof that God is with You.
At this time, Israel’s Roman occupiers have given a small group of Sadducees and Pharisees limited powers to rule, and Nicodemus is one of the Pharisees. He holds a seat on the ruling council known as the Sanhedrin, and surprisingly Nicodemus is among those who seek Jesus for His teaching. It appears that he believes more about Jesus than he wants others to know, so he comes at night.
Jesus: I tell you the truth: only someone who experiences birth for a second time can hope to see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus: I am a grown man. How can someone be born again when he is old like me? Am I to crawl back into my mother’s womb for a second birth? That’s impossible!
Jesus: I tell you the truth, if someone does not experience water and Spirit birth, there’s no chance he will make it into God’s kingdom. Like from like. Whatever is born from flesh is flesh; whatever is born from Spirit is spirit. Don’t be shocked by My words, but I tell you the truth. Even you, an educated and respected man among your people, must be reborn by the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. The wind blows all around us as if it has a will of its own; we feel and hear it, but we do not understand where it has come from or where it will end up. Life in the Spirit is as if it were the wind of God.
Nicodemus: I still do not understand how this can be.
Jesus: Your responsibility is to instruct Israel in matters of faith, but you do not comprehend the necessity of life in the Spirit? I tell you the truth: we speak about the things we know, and we give evidence about the things we have seen, and you choose to reject the truth of our witness. If you do not believe when I talk to you about ordinary, earthly realities, then heavenly realities will certainly elude you. No one has ever journeyed to heaven above except the One who has come down from heaven—the Son of Man, who is of heaven. Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. In the same way, the Son of Man must be lifted up; then all those who believe in Him will experience everlasting life.
For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.
No one who believes in Him has to fear condemnation, yet condemnation is already the reality for everyone who refuses to believe because they reject the name of the only Son of God. Why does God allow for judgment and condemnation? Because the Light, sent from God, pierced through the world’s darkness to expose ill motives, hatred, gossip, greed, violence, and the like. Still some people preferred the darkness over the light because their actions were dark. Some of humankind hated the light. They scampered hurriedly back into the darkness where vices thrive and wickedness flourishes. Those who abandon deceit and embrace what is true, they will enter into the light where it will be clear that all their deeds come from God.
Jesus makes the point clear: stay connected to Him, and have no reason to fear. Jesus doesn’t mean that at the instant someone has faith, fear simply vanishes or only good things happen in that person’s life. In fact, the blessings that come with eternal life often have nothing to do with present or future circumstances, but they have everything to do with the individual’s connections to God and others. That is John’s message to his listeners. God came to earth embodied in flesh, and then He reached His greatest acclaim through a torturous death. If this is all true, then believers will find strength and beauty in places never imagined. Abiding in Jesus the Anointed is the good life, regardless of the external circumstances.
What shines forth and reveals God in your life is not your relative consistency to an idea of what a saint should be, but your genuine, living relationship with Jesus Christ, and your unrestrained devotion to Him whether you are well or sick.
Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection. Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship with God that shows itself to be true even amid the seemingly unimportant aspects of human life.
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest)
just hope in God!
Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One
who saves me, my God. (Psalm 42:11)
I am called to live in such a perfect relationship with God that my life produces a yearning for God in the lives of others, not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God’s purpose is not to perfect me to make me a trophy in His showcase; He is getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He wants. (Oswald Chambers)
Your prayers, rather, should be simple, like this:
Our Father in heaven, let Your name remain holy.
Bring about Your kingdom. Manifest Your will here on earth, as it is manifest in heaven.
Give us each day that day’s bread—no more, no less—
And forgive us our debts as we forgive those who owe us something.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
But let Your kingdom be, and let it be powerful and glorious forever. Amen.
Jesus says to declare forgiveness of those who have wronged us. This is because forgiveness of other people emulates God’s forgiveness of us. (Matthew 6:9-13)
I must be about my Father’s business!
A Desire for God’s House
How beautiful are the places where You live, O Lord of all! My soul wants and even becomes weak from wanting to be in the house of the Lord. My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the bird has found a home. The swallow has found a nest for herself where she may lay her young at Your altars, O Lord of all, my King and my God. How happy are those who live in Your house! They are always giving thanks to You.
How happy is the man whose strength is in You and in whose heart are the roads to Zion! As they pass through the dry valley of Baca, they make it a place of good water. The early rain fills the pools with good also. They go from strength to strength. Every one of them stands before God in Zion.
O Lord God of all, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob. Look upon our safe-covering, O God. And look upon the face of Your chosen one. For a day in Your house is better than a thousand outside. I would rather be the one who opens the door of the house of my God, than to live in the tents of the sinful. For the Lord God is a sun and a safe-covering. The Lord gives favor and honor. He holds back nothing good from those who walk in the way that is right. O Lord of all, how happy is the man who trusts in You! (Psalm 84)
Praise is Fitting for the Upright
… Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You. (Psalm 33:20-22)