Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Faithful and True

Isaiah 25
Enough bad news.  
At the start of a very full day when a bunch of things seem to have gone “wrong”...
(Like losing my wallet, or my abducted homework, or dealing with deadlines while packing for a 12 day trek to Chicago) ...I found the word of the day. :) 
Actually, I found “strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow...”

The word is “Faithful and True.”

Let that one go around the world a couple of times!
Isaiah 25 tells me that everything He has ever done has been faithfulness and truth...
And I can see it. I still don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know each day spent with Him is brighter than the last...
I’m thankful. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Terrible, or Glorious?

Isaiah 24

It all depends. 

It is called a “terrible day” for a very good reason. But just wait for the dust to settle... The earth may be reeling and shaking, but a few hearts are yet firm. For them, this day is glorious... 
They have no cause for fear. After all, the Power that splits the earth in two around them (v.19) and burns the very firmament is no stranger to them... It’s the same power that keeps them from falling.
And the Light that blinds and burns everything that is unholy and untrue, (even now, under their feet) is no stranger either. It’s the very same light that has illuminated the path of the just since... forever.
Yes, it is only the strangers that fear. The firm hearts are ready to rejoice in the purity of Heaven, because Heaven in all it’s purity is in their hearts. 
Sweet Jesus-- Would the song of my life be in harmony with Heaven’s anthem if I were there today? 
Or would I be a discordant note?   
“Tune my heart to sing Your praise...”

Monday, June 28, 2010


Isaiah 23

You can find it on the list of things He hates. In fact, He calls it an abomination. And he’s promised to bring it low (Job 40:12), and cut it off (Ps. 12:3). He’s also promised rebuke & curses (Ps. 119:21), shame (Ps 119:78), judgement (Isaiah 2:12)...
...and now, dishonor. (Isaiah 23:9)
I think you’ll agree we would best be rid of it.
“for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Open Doors

Isaiah 22

No one knows the real power of an open door, until they've known the pain of captivity.
You and I have a great deal to be thankful for...

This morning as I ponder the power of the One with the key to David's house, I can't help but think about some of the greatest open doors in history--

Like the door to Peter's prison, opened at midnight.
Or the doors an earthquake opened, the night a jailor's family was saved in Philippi.
Or the door to Bedford Jail that opened only after the world had been given the gift of Pilgrims Progress.
Or the doors of Dachau, with its nearly 40,000 prisoners.
Or the famous gates of Auschwitz, opened 65 years and 5 months ago, this very day...

But as ignominious those prisons, as weighty those doors, and as laureled the liberators that finally moved them off into history, there remain strongholds yet greater...
Prison camps no less destructive, gates no less formidable.

They are otherwise known as selfish hearts...

But glory be to the Father... If we recognize our captivity, we can also know the power of the open door.

"So He shall open, and no one shall shut..." Isaiah 22:22

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vanquished Empire

Isaiah 21

Their defenses were impregnable... Or at least, they thought so.
After all, no army, no siege, and no machine of war had yet brought the empire to it's knees. Tonight they set a watchman to satisfy protocol, and then the party started.
But that very night their souls were required of them...
And it is not because the watchman was asleep. It is because he was facing the wrong direction.
It was not the unnumbered force without that vanquished them, it was a little glass of champagne within.
A goblet destroyed the empire.

Then Lord Jesus, let the watchman on the wall of my heart watch first for what weakens from within, and then for what threatens from without.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Human Solutions...

Isaiah 20

This life is full of mountains to climb... Mountains which are supposed to make you braver, taller, stronger.

Now the path of the Just goes straight up and over. And if you climb that way very long you will certainly encounter other pilgrims with bleeding feet and throbbing hearts... But they are making progress.

Alternatively, you can follow the nicely laminated road map published by your enemies... Or sell your liberty for a gondola or subway ticket.

But before you do that, read Isaiah 20.
I read it this morning, and found out that the best of human solutions always come to the same end--

Uttermost Shame

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too many gods...

Until His opinion is all that matters, we’re in danger of self-destruction...

Read Isaiah 19. God didn’t have to do anything! He just showed up on the scene riding a chariot of clouds, and things started happening. Most notably, the multitudinous idols started rattling off of their foundations. 
The next verse says it all... (v.2) With their gods losing their footing, the men start losing their minds. Now they’re literally at each other’s throats, no more decency, no more familyness, no more patriotism.
When gods move, men move. 
That’s not so scary for a professing follower of Christ, like myself, until I remember little things like my opinion. I need not even make a case for how easy it is to idolize it... (Especially when it is right!) Just let somebody rattle it to it’s foundation and see what happens. Oh, and I can be totally civil, and pleasant throughout without much effort... But inside...later...
I fear even serious Christians act like desperate Egyptians sometimes...
But there is in this story a beautiful Ray of Glory... And a simple lesson for those who want to live an unrattled life...
Choose one God. And choose One that can’t be rattled...
I’ll say it again. 
Until His opinion is all that matters, we’re in danger of self-destruction...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don't be Distracted.

Isaiah 18
The gardens and vineyards of the kingdom we're passing through may look promising indeed...
But let us never be distracted or delayed from our journey by the bounty supposedly coming tomorrow.
Another Greater has promised that these vines will never yield. He will personally see to it they don't. (v.5-6)
And just as surely, the promised pleasures of sin and sinners will never really be. Oh, they will throw all sorts of parties, but they are all empty...
After all, how can the masters of darkness render any joy to anyone when they are strangers to happiness themselves?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Whatever it Takes...

Isaiah 17

Thank God for the days when a man’s eyes “look to his Maker”... Even though they be driven there by leanness of flesh and loss of glory, (v.4) and famine, and dearth, and struggle... (v.5-6)
Yes, thank God... If that’s what it takes to keep our eyes on Him, so be it.
I personally can’t grow while living an easy life. I don’t know anyone who can.
That’s why I crave the fire’s embrace...
Not in freedom from trial, but in the midst of it, is Christian character developed... 
It is the triumph of the Christian faith that it enables its followers to suffer and be strong; to submit, and thus to conquer; to be killed all the day long, and yet to live; to bear the cross, and thus to win the crown of glory.
--AA 467, Quoted

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mystery of Mercy...

Isaiah 16

Ahh, angels marvel at it too...

"This is the mystery of mercy into which the angels desire to look-- that God can be just while he justifies the repenting sinner and renews His intercourse with the fallen race; that Christ could stoop to raise unnumbered multitudes from the abyss of ruin and clothe them with the spotless garments of His own righteousness to unite with angels who have never fallen and to dwell forever in the presence of God..." GC 145

"In mercy the throne will be established." Is. 16:5

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Isaiah 14/15
I have been silent, but not still... Yesterday was the climax of the Texico Conference Campmeeting, and my viola was out of its case more than in it, precluding a post.
And then, there were other reasons too... 
I’m the kind of guy that expends a great deal of energy on invisible conquest. In fact, most of the people I fight for don’t even know it. (Maybe never will). But that’s ok...  
Anyway, all day, and all this morning, verse 1 of chapter 14 kept tapping at my consciousness, waiting for quiet... And finally, I got it.
“For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel...”
Even though they had stumbled and fallen. Even though He had picked them up and brushed the dirt off of them countless times before. Even though their mistakes were not always innocent ones... Still...
I cannot tell you what that means to me. Even though He’s picked me up out of the dirt ten thousand times, yet He has mercy. Yet He chooses me. Does that even make sense?
It reminds me of my favorite word. “Nevertheless.”
Actually, it’s the reason behind my favorite word. Because His unwavering commitment to my salvation (nevertheless) calls forth the best I can give in return... 
If His “faith” in me is strong enough to make Him pick me up again when I fall, risking His name over and over again by claiming me as His child, then I am worse than a fool not to honor Him with my trust in return. 
And so, am I a man committed. 
And though I admit that for the Christian in this world, pain and hardship, toil, sacrifice, grief and loss and suffering are very real, very often... (here comes that word--)  

Friday, June 18, 2010

No more fretting.

Isaiah 13
Victory is promised...
In fact, the more haughty and seemingly invincible the enemy, the more thorough it's destruction in the end.
Every power under heaven is ultimately subordinate to His master plan...
Uuuhh, why was I fretting??

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Isaiah 12
Praise is peace, and joy, and freedom. And one of the ultimate defenses against temptation.
And it's the least we can do...
Even if it is a "sacrifice of praise"... After all, His was the sacrifice of suffering.
I personally don't think that a life of perpetual gratitude is too high a price to pay.
"Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth." Isaiah 12:5

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


"And a little child shall lead them..."
A simple phrase, but a beautiful one. Because in Heaven's economy, innocence and simplicity are qualities of leadership.
Less is sometimes much, much more.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Safe, and Free...

Isaiah 10
My God is a tender Father to the faithful...
But no less a Man of War. 
And what a beautiful combination! It means that while He loves me like a daddy loves his little boy, and while He deals with the utmost tenderness and compassion, that’s only half of the story...
Because my Father is also a fighter. 
And that means that even as He holds me tenderly, He fights my chains ferociously. He is all business when He deals with our Archenemy, and He’s the ultimate Winner... 
While I am in His hands, I’m safe, and free. 
Isaiah 10:33-34

Monday, June 14, 2010

Power to do Good...

Isaiah 9
Call it affability, appeal, popularity, or “social power”... God calls it our responsibility.
It goes by the common name-- “Influence” --and it’s yours. 
I feel really badly for the elders and prophets who misused it. (v.14-17) Abuse of this gift always comes with a high price...
But here’s some good news: 
“If by our example we aid others in the development of good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn, they exert the same influence upon others, and they upon still others. Thus by our unconscious influence thousands may be blessed.” (COL 339) 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Shadow...

Just think:
It's the most beautiful place in all the world...
A palace without boundaries, a treasury inexhaustible, a fortress impregnable... The place where the both the strongest and tenderest of God's treasures are perfectly safe.
But this is not like the vaults or bunkers of the world. It is the place where ultimate freedom, and top security become one. Where the most profound protection expresses itself, not with bolts and locks, but with perfect liberty.
This is the sanctuary of the Most High. The shadow of His wings... His pavilion.
And the fear of the Lord is the key to the door.
"Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear... And He shall be for [you] a sanctuary..." Isaiah 8:13-14

Then, Lord Jesus, teach us to fear... That we might abide under the shadow of Your wings.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Who's Talking?

Isaiah 7
The promises in the Word are oft contradicted by apparent reality; oft challenged by the words and works of earthly men and mandates. 
And sometimes our doom seems so certain, our hearts quake like trees in the wind... After all, these threats of our enemies are certainly substantiated by their successes in times past...
But wait a minute. Look who’s talking.
These foes so formidable-- are they not but dust before our Maker? 
And the Author of the Word-- is He not Authority Supreme? And is it not He Himself Who says: (v.7) “It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.”?? 
Ahhh, it is. 
So don’t be afraid. Ever. 

“Look Who’s talking!”

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mine Eyes Have Seen...

Isaiah 6
“Mine eyes have seen the King...”
Dreadful, exultant, awesome phrase. 
But the young prince is afraid. It is after all, a dreadful, exultant, and awesome scene that has opened before him. 
Pictures this: (seriously, try.)
The Almighty God seated high on His throne; the Seraphs (literally: “Burning things”) hovering over Him while they shield their own faces; the entire temple, the massive, glorious palace of the Infinite God, trembling to its foundations at the voice of His announcer; the whole glorious place filled with white smoke because the very air must praise Him... And the entire scene wrapped, and filled, and bursting with a soundtrack like you’ve never heard...
But Isaiah didn’t die. Even though he thought he would...
Because those who submit to the work of grace in their lives have another option. 

That’s the one I want...

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Isaiah 5
“Therefore have my people gone into captivity...”

Because they don’t know You, dear Jesus... (v.13) Neither have they known you. Because they have satisfied themselves with a form of Godliness, instead of seeking Your face. Existence is theirs, but they have no life. No power. No victory... 

I’m sorry my Father, Faithful Judge. My heart breaks too... There is nothing more You could have done... (v.4) 

But You will yet save them. 
And Jesus... oh save me too. I am, one of them, after all.

Just let us come to know You.

“When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” Eph. 4:8

Photo: © Jent Kyle, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Isaiah 4
The heart that belongs to God is purged. (v.4) It must be so.  
But herein lies its glory-- its everything... 
For when it is purged, it is “clean,” and “beautiful,” “excellent,” “appealing,” “holy,” “glorious,”...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Isaiah 3
First comes the seed, then comes the harvest. Once a seed is planted, no amount of sun, or rain, or fertilizer can change the fruit it will ultimately bear. If you want a different crop, the seed itself must be replaced...
Thus it is with our thoughts. First comes the thought, then comes the character. When fostered, no amount of pretending, and no external circumstances can change the fruit it will ultimately bear. If you want a different character, the thought must be replaced...
“Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them. For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” Isaiah 3:10 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Walk in the Light...

Isaiah 2

Most Christians recognize at least some need for separation from the world... But to the point of loneliness?? 
If you’re walking in darkness, evaluate your location and your companions... That’s what I take from Isaiah 2. Which path are you on? The very last verse warns about association with those whose “breath is in [their] nostrils.” In other words, whose strength is in themselves... But why?
Because to walk alone is far better than to walk with sin, and share it’s end...
And you cannot walk in the light, and hold hands with darkness.  
But here’s the really good news--
For those willing to walk alone “in the light of the Lord” (v.5) there’s a promise...
“If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship...”

Sunday, June 6, 2010

No Compromise.

Isaiah 1
Judah is a mess... The Lord Himself cries over His chosen ones. 
Brute beasts know their masters, but these people, a peculiar, royal generation, have lost face recognition. They were holy, now they are profane...
It wasn’t always that way though... Verse 21 says this harlot was once called faithful. This den of murder was once a throne of righteous justice. Their vaults and treasuries now filled with dross once contained real silver...
And how did it happen? 
I just have one thought this morning... A thought proven true over and over again by history, and by far too many people I love.
Compromise costs. 
If it takes nothing else, it will cost you your discernment...
And what more can you lose?

A Little Secret...

I love misty late-spring mornings.
Maybe it’s because God hides behind mist when He reveals His glory... Or maybe it’s because on such mornings, everything heavy and oppressive is driven away, and nature sings its sweetest melody. Or maybe it’s because the mist makes things grow...
Whatever the case, I’m really drawn. And never does such a morning pass without awakening in me an extra special desire to grow myself. 
Welcome “100 days of Summer.” 
Not the State Police’s vigorous seatbelt/DWI/speeding enforcement initiative, but just a tad bit like it. They set their summer goals and then get extra serious about their jobs during the busy season, and their efforts pay off in decreased accidents and crime. Now what if Christians set tangible goals for growth and service, and then got extra serious about doing their little part, and praying for the rest? Just for 100 days... Do you think it might pay off?
I’ve got a little secret. It would.
I know, because I (along with some of my nearest and dearest) did “100 days of Spring.” 

So join us if you will... Pray about what God wants you to accomplish this summer, and put it on paper. Then work. Check your progress every day. Pray like you’ve never prayed before, and then share your story with someone...
That was just the preface. I wanted to tell you what I learned this morning... :)
What is about to follow (tomorrow, and the next day, and the next) is a series of posts on my favorite Old Testament book. Since today is day 1, I read chapter 1. Tomorrow, I’ll read chapter 2. Perhaps you’ll read it too, and tell me what strikes you... Even if it is just three words. :) I’ll try to post every day, unless I’m somewhere where neither iPad nor Blackberry have access to the outside world. 
Ok, so here goes... (I love this!)
(Next Post)

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