Friday, November 17, 2006

Sermon note for Deuteronomy 20

Sermon Title: “Soldiers with a difference”
Text: Deuteronomy chapter 20

Introduction:
A Christian with a difference---Francis of Assisi (1182-1226 A.D.), son of a wealthy merchant. He served as a soldier, renowned for both bravery and high living.
  • After his conversion the age of 23, he embraced total poverty, in imitation of Jesus.
  • At first, he devoted to repairing a ruined church in his native town of Assisi. Then in 1208 he set out on foot, to preach the Gospel…soon joined by others, who were inspired by his gentle love and radiant joy---Franciscan spirit!

Listen to one of his prayer: “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”
"Most high, omnipotent, righteous Lord, to You be all praise, glory, honor and blessing. To You alone are they due, and no man is worthy to mention You. Praise be to You, my Lord, for all Your creatures, above all Brother Sun, who gives us the light of day. He is beautiful and radiant with great splendor, and so is like You most high Lord. Praise be to You, my Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars. In heaven You fashioned them, clear and precious and beautiful. Praise be to You, my Lord, for Brother Wind, and for every kind of weather, cloudy or fair, stormy or serene, by which You cherish all that You have made. Praise be to You, my Lord, for Sister Water, which is useful and humble and precious and pure. Praise be to You, my Lord, for Brother Fire, by whom You lighten the night, for He is beautiful and playful and robust and strong. Praise be to You, my Lord, for our Sister Earth, who sustains and governs us, and produces varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs. Praise be to You, my Lord, for those who forgive sins in Your love, and for those who bear sickness and tribulation. Blessed are those who endure in peace, for by You, most high Lord, they shall be crowned. Praise be to You, my Lord, for our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no living person can escape. Pity those who die in mortal sin. Blessed are those who in death are found obedient to Your most holy will, for death shall do them no harm. Praise and bless my Lord, giving Him thanks and serving Him with great humility."

What is Christians’ crisis today? S.I.N.
Superficial (do not build deep),
Immoral (not serious with repentance, accountability and holy living),
Nominal (not born again, no P.E. = personal and present experiences of God)

Lord Jesus says (Matthew 7:21): “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven!”

Apostle Paul says (II Corinthians 3:18): “We…all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord...”

In today’s very corrupted world, God wants Christians to be different from the world, to be the light and salt! In Old Testament's world, God wanted Israel’s soldiers to be different from their neighbors. Soldiers with difference would magnify to nations the glory of the One, true and living God Almighty. That's the message of Deuteronomy chapter 20.

Background:

  1. Israel’s geographical location exposed its people to constant danger. The land was hemmed in on one side by the Mediterranean sea, on the other by mountainous desert. Those who journeyed from Egypt in the south to the Assyrian and Babylonian nations in the north were normally compelled to travel through Canaan. So, the promised land was a place that all great world powers wanted to conquer! Of course, we must remember that Israel’s conquest of Canaan was not for selfish expansion, but was an act of divine judgment on its inhabitants for their persistent evil.
  2. Israel had to fight for survival or would have been totally exterminated as a minority nation. So, defensive warfare was necessary. But they were not to behave as their neighbors. Israelites should have different approach to warfare / military practice.
  3. The cruelty, havoc & devastation caused by invading armies from Egypt, Assyria and Babylon were notorious. For example, the Assyrian troops always caused devastation of natural resources; men and women of their enemies were subjected to barbaric & sadistic punishment. Israel’s soldiers can’t behave like that! God’s people must be different.
  4. The regulations given in chapter 20 look beyond initial conquest to future times when, for their own safety & security, they will be compelled to go out to war against their oppressors.
  5. Israel were lacking in numerical strength, necessary equipment and military skill. As a minority force (20:1), they must march out as a confident minority (vv.1-4), dedicated minority (vv.5-9), compassionate minority (vv.10-20) Soldiers with a DIFFERENCE!

Content:

1. CONFIDENT:

  • Greatest enemy is internal not external. Fear is likely to do more damage in the ranks than any fierce onslaught! Fear is unnecessary & inappropriate (v.1,3) because of: a testimony from the past (v.1---God had delivered us from Egypt), a fact in the present (v.1,4---God goes with us), a promise for the future (v.4---God will give us victory!)
  • Application: Are you in crisis of confidence, facing “army greater than you”? Unexpected crises are a part of life. Either you got out of a crisis…or you are in a crisis right now…or you are headed into a crisis.
  • Crisis management: Determine the reason: “What is really the reason behind the crisis?” The reason is often deeper than what appears on the surface. If difficult, pray about it! Determine the result: “What can I learn from this?” Every crisis is an opportunity to change our perspective, sharpen our skills and develop our character. Determine your response: “What is the best way to respond to this?” Confront the problem, don’t ignore.Confess your part, ask forgiveness.Claim a promise, be confident.

2.

Dedicated:
  • To God, quality is more important than quantity. It is not what we are, what we have got, but whose we are that matter! God wants the nation to trust in Him and not in its superior armies. Therefore, the officers are to single out four groups of people and send them home.
  • Verse 5---Any man who has just finished building a house but has had no opportunity to live in it and dedicate it to the Lord. God wants this particular man to settle his wife and children in their new home first. If the house remained empty and the man died in the battle, someone else might take possession of his property and his family could be destitute. God is deeply concern about the preservation of family life.
  • Verse 6---A man who owns a recently established vineyard must be singled out and sent home. We all know, for the first three years there would be no fruit on the vines and in the fourth year its fruit must be offered to God. So, until the fifth year, its owner has not begun to enjoy its fruit. In other words, there are at least 5 years that a man in this kind of situation is to be exempt from warfare. Just imagine, if a man lost his life in the conflict before he can enjoy the fruit of his toil, another person might easily take his property just at the time when he and his family were likely to benefit from it. What then would happen to his wife and children who relied upon the produce for their income?
  • Verse 7---Anyone who has become pledged to a woman (which means someone firmly engaged and about to be married) must not go out with the troops. 24:5 says that this exemption was to be continued throughout the first year of marriage. This shows that our God is concerned about the establishment of good, secure relationships. He wants the husband to bring happiness to the wife he has married. God knows time is one of the languages of love.
  • Verse 8---Those who were afraid or faint-hearted were best left at home. We must remember that the Israelites were not a war-faring people by nature. All of them were poorly equipped for a fierce encounter with well-trained soldiers. So, fear was natural enough! Fear paralyzes their soldiers, damages the morale of the troops. Fear shows that they lack of faith in God.
  • Application:

(i) God wants you to find satisfaction and enjoyment in your work and labor (Deuteronomy 20:5-6, Ecclesiastes 2:24-25, 8:15; I Timothy 6:17).

I learn from Professor Dr. Leonard Yong a very biblical way of finding godly satisfaction and enjoyment, continual empowerment and renewal in work day by day: By building T.E.N.T. in my heart every three hours!
T hanksgiving attitude and memory;
E njoy our work & lives in obedience to our conscience;
N o coincidence in our lives (Romans 8:28);
T hankful to the Creator God!

This has helped me to reveal my heart to God, to receive joy and peace, wisdom and endurance from God, meantime to remove self-pitying, stress, depression and all sort of negative thoughts and emotions from my spirit, soul and body!

J.I. Packer in his book---"Knowing God ’s Purpose for Your Life" says that: "Wisdom instructs me to enjoy the pleasures God gives without going pleasure mad!"

(ii) God wants you to take good care of your marriage & family (v.7) I learn to practise biblical Covenant Actions in my daily family life:
• To love and be loved;
• To forgive and be forgiven;
• To empower and be empowered;
• To understand and be understood.

(iii) God wants you to fear nothing but God and be dedicated to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep your faith (v.8). God’s will is not constant comfort & worldly success (Hebrews 12:7,11). God wills us to grow in grace & joy (1 Peter 1:1-2). God wills to live eternally with us! (Colossians 1:3-5)

Devotional note for Jeremiah 21-33

Devotional Note for Jeremiah 21-33

Jeremiah 21-33 profoundly enlighten me of God’s heart and passion for ungodly and sinful generation.

Chapter 21-24: God condemns the unrighteous and evil kings who do not obey God (21:1-23:8), the deceitful prophets who distort the word of the living God (23:9-40) and the ‘poor figs’---depraved people who do not repent (24:1-10). They had forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and had worshiped and served other gods (22:8-9). Judgment will come (22:25), but great restoration will also take place, particularly through a Davidic King, a ‘righteous Branch’, who would be a good Shepherd of the remnant (23:3-6), blessing the remnant to be fruitful and increase in number!

Chapter 25-29: God conveys His grief over rebellious people and His wrath over unrighteous generation that always follows lies from the false prophets like Hananiah and Shemaiah, but persecutes the true prophets like Jeremiah and Uriah. Seventy years of captivity to Babylon is the punishment from God (25:8-11; 27:6-7,20,22). But Babylon itself will also be punished for their wicked deeds (25:12-14). Israel’s remnant will return (29:10-14).

Chapter 30-33: God consoles the northern kingdom of Israel and southern kingdom of Judah that there is divine purpose for exile (30:24), there is hope for return in the future (30:3; 31:8,17,21-22; 33:7); ungodly people are to undergo radical restoration (31:27-28; 32:42-44), individual repentance (31:29-30) and decisive renewal of covenant (31:31-34; 32:40-41; 33:19-22,25-26), particularly in the Messianic era (33:14-16). People will have singleness of heart and action thereafter (32:39)! Nothing is too hard for God; great are His purposes and mighty are His deeds (32:17,19,27)!

Meditation 1: God will not allow any problem to come to you that cannot be a learning, a turning, or an earning experience."

Meditation 2: Justice is the activity of God's holiness.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Devotional Note for Jeremiah 11-20

DAILY DEVOTION
Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Text: Jeremiah 11-20

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)

Adoration-for who God is

Jeremiah chapter 11-20 are very inspiring and stimulating! These 10 chapters highlight God as a righteous and compassionate Covenant-Keeper, a just and jealous Judge who doesn’t tolerate prolonged wickedness and many backslidings, a good listener to prophet Jeremiah’s bare confessions, and a sovereign Potter to the His people.

It would be very enlightening to note the unique pattern of the message from chapter 11-17: Bad news of destruction...Bare confession of Jeremiah before God...Bad news of destruction again.

1st round (Chapter 11-13):
Covenant with God was broken by house of Israel and house of Judah because of idolatry (11:1-17)...Confession of Jeremiah (11:18-12:4)...Captivity surely comes, God would forsake His house and abandon His inheritance (12:5-13:27).

2nd round (Chapter 14-16):
Calamity (drought, famine and sword) would be poured out on people and four destroyers (sword to kill, dogs to drag, birds of the air to devour, and beasts of the earth to destroy) may come against the people of Judah (14:1-15:9)...Confession of Jeremiah (15:10-21)...Day of great disaster are coming, Jeremiah must not get married; God had withdrawn His blessing, love and pity from His people who had followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts (16:1-21).

3rd round (Chapter 17):
Cursed is Judah who trusted in man and depended on flesh, whose deceitful hearts were beyond cure; God would give all their wealth away as plunder (17:1-11)...Confession of Jeremiah (17:12-18)...Unquenchable fire would be kindled in the gates of Jerusalem if the people still did not keep Sabbath holy (17:19-27).

4th round (Chapter 18-20):
God would mar the pot (Judah) they He shaped from clay and formed it into ‘another pot’ as seemed best to Him, because of Virgin Israel had forgotten God (18:1-17)...Confession of Jeremiah (18:18-23)...God would devastate the city of Jerusalem, smash the nation, and hand all Judah over to the king of Babylon who would carry them away to Babylon, because the stiff-necked people worshipped Baal and the starry hosts, they even persecuted the true prophet Jeremiah by beating him and put him in the stocks (19:1-20:6)...Jeremiah’s confession (20:7-18)

Confession-for what I sin

15:6-7: Forgive me, O Lord, for rejecting You, keep on backsliding, and not changing my ways.

Thanksgiving-for what God does

15:19-21: If I repent, God will restore me that I may serve Him. God will make me a wall to His people, God will be with me to rescue and to save me, to redeem me from the grasp of the cruel.

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives

17:7: Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders

18:1-10: I must let God shapes me as seem best to Him, even allow God to mar me and form me into ‘another’ pot.

Now-action-for what I must do

I must imitate Jeremiah to lay bare the struggles of my inmost being before God, pray to God, seek His forgiveness and listen to His response.

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do

15:15: “You understand O Lord; remember me and care for me…You are long-suffering…When Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear Your name, O Lord God Almighty. I never sat in the company of the revelers, never made merry with them.”

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Devotional Note for Jeremiah 6-10

DAILY DEVOTION
Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Text: Jeremiah 6-10

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)


Adoration-for who God is

Jeremiah chapter 6-10 highlight God as being filled with wrath because of His people’s idolatry and stubbornness. Idols cannot compare with God of Israel who is great, mighty in power, the King of nations, true, living and eternal. He is the Portion of Jacob, Maker of all things, Lord Almighty (vv.6-7,10,12-13,16). He alone is worthy of Israel’s worship and loyalty!

Chapter 6 is the last chapter that records the earliest discourses of Jeremiah after he was appointed by God as a prophet in his young age (1:6-7). It highlights three ‘S’s:

Sins: The city of Jerusalem was filled with oppression (v.6), wickedness, violence, sickness and wounds (v.7), nobody listened to God, the word of God was offensive to the people (v.10), people were greedy for gain (v.13), prophets and priest practiced deceit (v.13), preaching was superficial (v.14), leaders were not ashamed of their loathsome conduct (v.15), people rejected God’s law (v.19). As a result, people’s burnt offerings were not acceptable (v.20), the refining goes on in vain (v.29).

Storm: God rejected and turned away from Jerusalem, making the land desolate (v.8,30), children, young men, husband and wife, the old would all be under God’s wrath (v.11), they would lose their houses and fields (v.12), all perished (v.21), great and cruel army from the north would attack and bring tremendous anguish (v.22-25).

Solemn Calling of God: God had called His people to ask where the good way was and walked in it (the tried and true ways of Judah’s godly ancestors, Dt.32:7), in order to find rest for their souls (v.16), but rejected by the stubborn people. God also appointed watchmen (prophets) over them to warm them of the approaching danger, but was not noted (v.17).

After the record of these saddening 3 ‘S’s, the book continues with the message of prophet Jeremiah preached at the gate of the Lord’s house (7:1): chapter 7-10---‘Temple Message’. These four chapters can be summarized by the word G.A.T.E.:

G: In chapter 7, God said that people had gone backward and not forward (v.24). God wanted them to reform their ways and actions (vv.3,5), so that they may continue to live in the promised land (v.3,7), but they did not listen, nor pay attention (vv.13,24,26). They had made God’s house a den of robbers (v.11). They worshipped idols (v.18,30). Truth had perished (v.28).

A: In chapter 8, God rebuked His people for ascribing homage and adoration to the heavenly bodies which were actually powerless to help (vv.1-2). People clung to deceit, refused to return (v.5), no one repented (v.6). People did not know the requirements of God (v.7), mistreated the written Law (v.8), rejected true wisdom (v.9), had no shame of their loathsome conduct (v.12). Judah in Babylonian exile was still perplexed at their fate, wondering how God could have permitted the destruction of His land and temple (vv.13-22).

T: In chapter 9, prophet Jeremiah’s eyes were depicted as a fountain of tears (v.1), he wept day and night for his nation (vv.2,10,18). There were adulterers and unfaithful people, deceiver and slanderer (v.4). They refused to acknowledge God (v.6), were not obedient (v.13-14), were uncircumcised in heart (vv.25-26). God would scatter them among nations (v.16), so that people would boast of nothing but understanding and knowing God as the Lord who exercised kindness, justice and righteous on earth (v.24).

E: In chapter 10, Jeremiah elaborated the vast difference between idols and the Lord (vv.2-16). Jeremiah condemned idols and their worshippers (vv.2-5,8-9,11,14-15), while praised God (vv.6-7,10,12-13,16). Destruction was approaching, senseless shepherds and ungodly people would be scattered as the result of a great commotion caused by the invaders from the north ---Babylonia (vv.17-22). Jeremiah prayed that God’s justice would be done in the world (vv.23-25).

Confession-for what I sin

6:14; 8:11: Spiritual leaders preached superficial sermon: “They dressed the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

Thanksgiving-for what God does:

9:24: Thank You God for Your kindness and mercy on me everyday: “I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth.”

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives

9:1: “My eyes a fountain of tears. I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.”

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders

10:23-25: Pray for divine justice on the earth among the nations.

Now-action-for what I must do

Pray with deep compassion for God’s mercy upon me and nations, like Jeremiah (9:1,10,18).

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do

Monday, November 06, 2006

Devotional Note for Jeremiah 4-5

DAILY DEVOTION
Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Text: Jeremiah 4-5

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)

Adoration-for who God is

Jeremiah chapter 4-5 highlight God as a jealous God who would punish sin justly but still show mercy.

The message of these two chapters can be summarized by three ‘R’s:
God reproached Israelites: they were fool, didn’t know God, senseless, had no understanding, skilled in doing evil and knew not how to do good (4:22; 5:21), refused correction and repentance (5:3), didn’t know God’s way (5:4), broke off the yoke (5:5), their rebellion was great and backslidings many (5:6b), their children forsook God (5:7), they committed adultery (5:7), were lusty stallions and each neighing another man’s wife (5:8), utterly unfaithful (5:11), lied about God (5:12), served foreign gods (5:19), stubborn (5:23), full of deceit (5:27), evil desires had no limit (5:28), injustice (5:28b), prophets prophesy lies and people loved it that way (5:31).

Retribution would come: A distant nation from the north (Babylon) would attack and destroy Judah (4:6,7,12,16,18,20,22,27,29b,31; 5:3,9,15-17). But God would not completely destroy His chosen people (4:27; 5:10,18).

God called His people to return to Him: to put idols away (4:1b), be truthful, just and righteous (4:2), circumcise your hearts (4:4), wash the evil from your heart (4:14), not harbor wicked thoughts (4:14), deal honestly and seek the truth (5:1), fear God and tremble in His presence (5:22).

Confession-for what I sin

5:25b: “Your sins have deprived you of good!” For the sin of self-pity and hidden pride that always make myself stressful and easily get upset, forgive me, O Lord. Set me free by the power of the Holy Spirit! Make me joyful, determined and humble like Jesus my Savior!

Thanksgiving-for what God does

5:1: “If you can find but a person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city!” God is merciful and forgiving, He is seeking for godly person(s) to be His instrument for noble purposes, to make an impact, drawing sinners back to the path of holiness and righteousness and eternal life.

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives

5:14: “I will make my words in your mouth a fire and these people the wood it consumes.” God, bless me to preach your word with the fresh fire of the Holy Spirit that refine people’s hearts and souls!

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders
4:4: “Circumcise your hearts…or my wrath will beak out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done.” O Holy God, circumcise and purify my heart, so that in deep covenant relationship with You and Christians, I myself and the people called Methodist nowadays would be revived to shine brighter!

Now-action-for what I must do

By the grace of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, I will learn and strive to be that “person who deal honestly and seek the truth” (5:1), so that God’s Gospel of forgiveness would come upon many people around me.

The great evangelist D..L.Moody one day heard this challenging words which marked the beginning of a new era in his life:
“The world has yet to see what God will do with, and for, and through, and in, and by, the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”

“He said, ‘a man’,” thought Moody. “He did not say a great man, nor a learned man, nor a rich man, nor a wise man, nor an eloquent man, nor a ‘smart’ man, but simply ‘a man’. I am a man, and it lies with the man himself whether he will, or will not, make that entire and full consecration. I will try my utmost to be that man.

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Devotional Note for Jeremiah 1-3

DAILY DEVOTION

Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Text: Jeremiah 1-3

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)

Adoration-for who God is

Jeremiah chapter 1-3 highlights God as the Sovereign Lord (1:6), all-seeing God who is watching the world to see that His word is fulfilled (1:11-12), righteous Judge (1:16), Immanuel (1:8,19), Glorious One and True God (2:11), merciful God (3:12), our Husband (3:14), and Father God (3:19b).

The message and point of these three chapters can be summarized by two ‘C’s:

Chapter 1: The Sovereign Lord (v.6) called Jeremiah to be the prophet of Judah (v.4) during the reign of king Josiah, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah (639-587 B.C.). God commissioned Jeremiah to preach His command and message of destruction and revival to His people (vv.7,10,16-18). Leaders and people would be stubborn (vv.18-19a), but God of Immanuel would make Jeremiah firm, steadfast and bold in his prophetic ministry (vv.8,19).

Chapter 2: Spiritual crisis (that was spiritual ‘prostitution’: 2:20; 3:1,2,6-10,20,23) ruined Judah---loss of first love and devotion to God (2:2-3), idolatry and rebel (2:5-8,11,20,25b,27-28; 3:13,24), they forsook God and dug their own cisterns that couldn’t hold water (2:13,17), wickedness and backsliding (2:19a; 3:22), no awe of God (2:19b; 3:4-5), did not serve God (2:20), did not respond to correction (2:30-35), forgot God (2:32; 3:21), and injustice (2:34). After the exile, God would give His people ‘shepherds’ after His own heart to lead the remnant back to Zion (3:14-15). Man-made tabernacle was no longer significant (3:16), for the true TABERNACLE (Christ/Messiah) would come, bringing spiritual revival and repentance in Jerusalem (3:17) and reconciliation (3:18).

Confession-for what I sin

1:8,19: For often being fearful and giving excuses to not do God’s ministry, forgive me, O Lord! You are with me, will rescue me! You appoint me, you would anoint me!

Thanksgiving-for what God does

1:4: God knows me before He formed me in the womb, set me apart for a definite purpose before I were born, God loves me!

1:18: God would make me strong, firm and steadfast as He sends me to minister to the corrupted world which tends to reject God’s voice: God make me “a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall”.

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives

1:19: “They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.”

3:15: “I will give you shepherds after my own heart who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders

1:10: Here am I, O Lord, send me to preach Your messages of destruction and revival---“to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant”.

Now-action-for what I must do

1. Persevere to fight the good fight and finish the race like Jeremiah who served God for more than 40 years in a country with spiritual crisis and corrupted leadership that did not appreciate his ministry (1:1-19).

2. Preach the message of judgment and revival to God’s people (1:10), that Christians may rekindle our devotion, first love to God, faithfulness and holiness (2:2-3).

3. Purge spiritual backsliding within me (2:19; 3:22). Stand up for Jesus!

4. Pastor more shepherds (spiritual leaders) to take care of God’s flock in today’s world! (3:15) People (the non-Christians) need the Lord; but people of God (Christians) need good shepherds / leaders after God’s heart for discipleship and mentoring, so that they may be 'C.U.T.E.M.' (changed by God, used by God, taught by God, empowered by God, and multiply!).

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do

Friday, November 03, 2006

Devotional Note for Isaiah 61-66

DAILY DEVOTION
Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Text: Isaiah 61-66

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)

Adoration-for who God is

Isaiah 61-66 highlight God as the Sovereign Lord (61:11), Savior (62:11), righteous and mighty Judge (63:1; 66:15-16), loving and merciful Shepherd (63:9), our Father (63:16; 64:8a), the Potter (64:8b), the transcendent and holy Creator (65:17,25; 66:1-2).

The message or point of the final six chapters of the book of Isaiah can be summarized by the word A.N.O.I.N.T.

61: The sovereign Lord (v.11) through His Spirit would anoint His Messianic Servant to bring the years of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of God (v.1-2). The ministry of this anointed Servant results in deliverance, restoration, reconciliation, riches, joy, and righteous world order.

62: The Savior God (v.11) would name Jerusalem and Zion a new name (v.2), they will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord, the Sought After, the City of No Longer Deserted (v.12); all nations and kings will see its glory and righteousness (vv.1-2,6,10-11).

63:1-6: The Onmipotent God (v.1) would bring the day of vengeance and the year of redemption.

63:7-64:12: God in His love and mercy (v.9) would redeem His people, lift them up and carry them all the days of old, even though they rebelled and grieved the Holy Spirit (v.10), God is still their Father who cares for them (63:16; 64:8), their Redeemer (63:16), their Help (64:5), and their Potter (64:8) who would like to forgive them (64:9) and will make His own name known to all nations (64:2).

65: God notes those who did not ask for Him, did not seek Him and did not call on Him (v.1). God would reveal Himself to them, reward those who response and faithfully serve Him (vv.1,13-15); meantime punish those who commit idolatry (v.2-8). New heavens and new earth will come, there will be great joy, peace and harmony (vv.17-25).

66: Transcendent God (v.1-2) esteems those who are humble and contrite in spirit (v.2b) and judges the hypocrites (vv.3-6). He would send His ‘son’ (Christ Jesus) through the Israelites before the great tribulation to establish His Kingdom (vv.7-14). He would execute judgment upon all men (vv.15-17). He would gather all nations, tongues and mankind to see His glory (vv.18-21), to worship Him (vv.22-23), and to see the ending of the rebel in hell where worm will not die, nor will the fire be quenched (v.24).

Confession-for what I sin

64:7: “No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of You.” For not praying earnestly and seeking Your face, forgive me, O Lord.

66:3: For hypocrisy and abominations of any kind in my deeds, forgive me, O Lord.

Thanksgiving-for what God does

65:1: God actively seek and save the lost: “I reveal Myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, Here am I, here am I.”

65:13-16: God will reward the faithful and obedient servant: they will eat, drink, rejoice, sing, be given special name, and their troubles end.

65:17-25: God will bring new heavens and new earth where weeping and crying will end, perfect harmony being established.

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives

66:2: “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders

66:18-21: Send me and the people called Methodists to magnify God’s glory among all the nations and tongues.

Now-action-for what I must do

1. Praise the gracious God that seeks and saves sinners (65:1), bow down and worship Him always (66:23), bow down to pray for all mankind to worship Him too (pray for a particular non-believer).
2. Pray for islands or nations in the world that have not heard of God’s fame and seen God’s glory (v.19).
3. Preach the bad news of hell and good news of heaven (65:17; 66:24) to at least a person a day, actively, intentionally by giving them a gospel tract or share verbally or inviting them to church or cell meeting or outing.
4. Purge hypocrisy within me, and remain humble and contrite in spirit before God (66:2-3).

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Devotional Note for Isaiah 48-60

DAILY DEVOTION
Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Text: Isaiah 48-60

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)

Adoration-for who God is

Isaiah 48-60 highlights the One, True and Living God as Sovereign Lord, righteous Judge, gracious Savior, mighty Redeemer, faithful Covenant-keeper, and glorious eternal Light.

In the light of chapter 40 (the turning point of the book of Isaiah which highlights the renewal of strength by hoping in the Lord), chapter 41-47 reveal the great H.A.R.V.E.S.T. in the future. Now, chapter 48-52 reveal the great T.R.I.U.M.P.H. in God, chapter 53-55 reveal God’s great L.O.V.E. in Messiah’s sacrificial death for mankind’s sins, and chapter 56-60 reveal God’s great B.L.E.S.S.ing!


The brief outline of chapter 48:1-52:12: T.R.I.U.M.P.H.

Chapter 48: God would tell (v.6b) and teach (v.17) the stubborn and treacherous Israelites of new things (or hidden things) unknown to them (that is return after exile, vv.14-15,20), materialized later through God’s “chosen ally” (Cyrus king of Persia, v.14).

Chapter 49:1-7: God would restore the Israelites through His servant (Isaiah himself and particularly Messiah in the future) who acts as God’s spokesman (v.2); he displays God’s splendor (v.3) by bringing God’s salvation to the ends of the earth (v.6).

Chapter 49:8-26: God would in His time of His favor (v.8a) gather all the scattered Israelites (vv.12,18,22) back to Jerusalem (vv.16-17), massive number will return (vv.18-20), they are protected (vv.22-23).

Chapter 50:1-11 God wanted to use obedient servant (vv.1b,4-7,9-10)

Chapter 51:1-16: God would make Israelites joyous and glad (vv.3,11) with His everlasting salvation and righteousness (vv.5,6,8).

Chapter 51:17-23: God would punish the Israelites in His wrath (vv.17-20) and the tormentors as well (v.23).

Chapter 52:1-12: God would head the exiles who shall victoriously return (v.23) to Zion from Babylon, through which God would humble all the nations to see His holy arm and mighty salvation (v.10).


The brief outline of chapter 52:13-55:13: L.O.V.E.

Chapter 52:13-15: God would lift up (v.13) His suffering servant (v.14) and through Him miraculously cleanse many nations (v.15).

Chapter 53: God’s servant / Messiah would obey the Lord’s will (v.10b), bear the sin of mankind (vv.5,8,11,12), suffer and die as a guilt offering (vv.1-10,12), justify many (v.11b) and intercede for transgressors (v.12b).

Chapter 54: God in His vast compassion, kindness, and love (vv.7,8,10) would bring the exiles back to the promised land (vv.5b,7b); Israel’s shame and God’s wrath would end; righteousness and peace, victory and glory would take place (vv.13-17).

Chapter 55: God in His everlasting covenant with His people (New Covenant, v.3) would pour out unconditional grace(v.1), mercy and pardon (v.7), joy and peace (v.12) on whoever comes to Him (v.1); God’s thoughts and ways, word and purpose shall prevail (vv.8-9,11).


The brief outline of chapter 56-60: B.L.E.S.S.

Chapter 56: God will bless all who will bind themselves to God (Israelites, foreigners, eunuchs: vv.2,3,6) with everlasting name that will not be cut off (v.5); God’s house will be called a house of prayer for all nations (v.7).

Chapter 57: God laments over the sorcery, adultery, prostitution, rebellion, lies, lust, idolatry, pagan symbols, and sinful greed (vv.3-7,9,13,16) found among His people, but for those who are contrite and lowly in spirit, God would revive (v.15), heal, guide and restore comfort to them (v.18), no matter they are far (the Gentiles) or near (the Israelites) (v.19).

Chapter 58: God wants His people to exercise true fasting which involves life transformation and holy living, deliverance and healing, social justice and concern, more fervent intercession and answered prayer, Sabbath-keeping and joy in God.

Chapter 59: God will save sinners who repent of their sins; His arm is not too short to save, His ear is not too dull to hear (vv.1,20); God wants more intercessors to arise (v.16).

Chapter 60: God shines in His glory upon Jerusalem and draws all nations, all kings to Himself (vv.1-3).


Confession-for what I sin

56:7: For not going to the sanctuary to pray for nations, forgive me O Lord!
58:6-11: For not wholeheartedly practicing the true fasting, forgive me O Lord.

Thanksgiving-for what God does

52:13-53:12: Thank God for sending His SERVANT to suffer for my sins and die to save me! “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities: the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives

54:10: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

56:7: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

58:10-11: “…(the kind of fasting I have chosen)…then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always…”

60”1: “Arise. Shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you!”

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders

59:16: “God saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene.” I should join Jesus’ interceding ministry at the right hand of my Father God! (Romans 8:34)

Now-action-for what I must do
Truly fast
to please God and to purge evil (58:6-11).
Obey God’s Spirit on me and Word in me (59:21).
Persist in shining for God is my everlasting Light, rid my emotion of self-pity, sorrow and bitterness (60:1-3,19-20)

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Devotional Note for Isaiah 41-47

DAILY DEVOTION
Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Date: 27th November 2006 (Friday)
Text: Isaiah 41-47

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)

Adoration-for who God is

Isaiah chapter 41-47 highlight to us that God of Israel is the Lord of history and the Only God. Chapter 40 is the turning point of the entire book, which highlights the coming of the victorious God (vv.1-26) and the unfailing strength God wants to give to the weary exiles (vv.27-31). Chapter 41-47 therefore highlight the great H.A.R.V.E.S.T. thereafter!

Chapter 41: God would help (v.10,13,14) His servant (the Israelites) through Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, who acted as a deliverer from Babylon (conquered Babylon in 539 B.C.) and issued the decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple (Ezra 1:1-4; 6:3-5)

Chapter 42: God would anoint His servant (the coming Messiah or Christ) through the Spirit (v.1), so that the Anointed One may deliver the whole world from the prison of sin (v.7), bringing healing, deliverance, transformation and righteous world order.

Chapter 43: God would revive the Israelites who were spiritually blind and deaf, forgiving their sin and regathering them to be His witnesses (v.10,12).

Chapter 44: God valued Israel as His chosen servant (v.1,21) and would rid them of idolatry.

Chapter 45: God engaged Cyrus, the foreign emperor, king of Persia in the salvation of Israelites---anointing him, summoning him by name, making things right through him (v.1,3,4,8). God will deliver His people. Peace and justice will prevail!

Chapter 46: God would sustain (vv.3-4) the Israelites during their exile and would fulfill His purposes and plans regarding Babylon and Israel (vv.10-11).

Chapter 47: God would take vengeance on wicked Babylon which practiced many sorceries and magic spells (v.3,9,12,13).

41:2-4: God is the sovereign King of kings.

41:8,16; 46:9: God is the source of all joy and glory! He is the Only, One, True and Living God.

42:11,15: I am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I am the Lord, Your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.

42:25; 43:28: God does punish sins and discipline His people.

44:6: This is what the Lord says---Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: “I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”

44:26-45:7; 46:10-11: God is the Lord of history. He formed Israel “in the womb”, foils the signs of false prophets, carries out the words of the true prophets, restores His people, and even used a pagan emperor (Cyrus 559-530 B.C.) to fulfill His sovereign plans, even though this king of Persia did not acknowledge God.

45:15: “Truly You are a God who hides Himself, O God and Savior of Israel.” God’s plans and actions are a mystery to man. But He had revealed His sovereign plans and will through Jesus Christ His Only Son (John 17:13-15, John 1:18, Ephesians 3:2-20---the MYSTERY OF CHRIST). Therefore, we can pray the Lord’s Prayer with deep conviction: “Your will be done!”

45:19: God speaks the truth and declare what is right.

45:21-22: God is righteous God and the only Savior. “Before me every knee shall bow, by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.’”

Confession-for what I sin

41:21-24,29; 42:17; 44:9,10,17,18; 45:16: For idolatry committed by myself and nations around me, forgive me, O Lord (Colossians 3:5---Put to death therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry)
42:18-20: For spiritually be blind and deaf to God, seeing many things but do not pay attention, ears are open but hear nothing, forgive me, O Lord.
42:25: For do not taking God’s discipline to heart and not living a renewed life, forgive me, o Lord!

43:22-24: For not calling upon God, not wearying myself for God, not bringing offerings to God, not honoring God with my sacrifices, but burdening God with my sins, wearying God with my offenses, forgive me, O Lord!

Thanksgiving-for what God does

41:8-10: God is Abraham’s friend, my friend too! God is near, I should not fear or be dismayed, for I know who is my God. He will strength and help me, uphold me with His righteous right hand. John 17:13-15: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friend if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

41:13-14: God takes hold of my right hand and says to me, “Do not fear, I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Thomas, O little Thomas, for I myself will help you, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”

41:15: God is the Maker and the Potter of my life. I follow Jesus, He makes me fisher of men. “I will make you into a threshing sledge…”

41:17-18,20: God of Israel will not forsake the poor and needy. God answers their prayer. God’s hand would help them.

42:1-12,16: The coming Messiah (The Anointed One of God/CHRIST shall act as the greatest High Priest that dies for mankind’s sin Hebrews 4:14-16,9:28, as the greatest prophet that makes known the Father God to mankind John 1:18, as the greatest King of kings that shall conquer death and sin Matthew 28:18; Revelation 1:4-8) shall be anointed by the mighty Spirit of God to bring justice, to bring light to the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. He is a “mighty man”, triumphing over the enemies (v.13).

43:25; 44:21-22: God blots out my transgressions for His own sake, and remembers my sins no more. God sweeps away my offenses like a cloud, my sins like a morning mist! God calls me to return.

44:3: God will pour out His Spirit on Israel’s offspring (all who are justified by faith in the name of Jesus the Messiah), and His blessings on our descendants.

46:3-4: God will take care of us through every day, over all the ways.

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives

43:2-3a: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flame will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

42:14; 43:5: “Do not fear, I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Thomas, O little Thomas, for I myself will help you, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”

43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!...I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders

41:2: God calls me in righteousness to His service.
41:27: Be a messenger of good tidings.
42:21: Please God by making His Law great and glorious.
42:10-12; 44:8: I am God’s witness.
46:3-4: All the days of my life, walk closely with God.

Now-action-for what I must do

1. Seek help from God and don’t be afraid.

2. Seek anointing from the Holy Spirit that I may minister to people and fulfill God’s plans for my life as Jesus did (Luke 4:16-19; Isaiah 42:2-7,16)

3. Seek and save the lost---the idols’ worshippers who have not known the two bad news (Romans 3:23,6:23) and two good news (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9). Share Christ’s Gospel with them. Spur Christians to overcome idolatry within our spirits, minds and bodies---the earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, so that Christians may be strong witnesses for the One, True, Living & Holy God.

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do

Friday, October 27, 2006

Devotional Note for Isaiah 38-40

DAILY DEVOTION
Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Date: 25th October 2006 (Wednesday)

Text: Isaiah 38-40

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)

Adoration-for who God is

Chapter 38-40 are the turning point of the book of Isaiah. All the three chapters highlight to us that God is living, faithful, Almighty, Sovereign, and Eternal Savior, Creator, and God of gods! There is none like Him!! The message and point of these three chapters can be summarized as below:
38: Prayer answered! (God answered king Hezekiah’s request for healing grace, God added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life)

39: Pride punished! (King Hezekiah with pride showed the Babylonian envoys what was in his storehouses. He exalted wealth, not God! God sent Isaiah to foretell the exile to Babylon. The wickedness of Hezekiah’s son Manasseh was a major cause of the captivity, II Kings 21:1-16)

40: Power renewed! (Isaiah preached about three ‘voices’ and asked rhetorical questions to awaken and assure the Israelites of the Sovereignty and the Might of God; His grace never fails, He holds the future!)

38:19: God is faithful!
39:5: God is Almighty!
40:8: The Word of our God stands forever.
40:10: The Sovereign Lord comes with power and His arm rules for Him!
40:17: God is the Lord of lords.
40:22: God is the great Creator of heaven and earth.
40:26: God is wise, powerful, and mighty! He calls each of the starry host by name!
40:28: God is everlasting, will not grow tired or weary, no one can fathom His understanding.

Confession-for what I sin

39:2: For pride within me, exalting my own wealth or ability more than God and His goodness, forgive me O Lord.

39:8: For selfishness within me, only think of my own security and peace, forgive me, O Lord. Change my heart and guard my morality and conduct, that I may always live in your providence, my descendant as well.

40:19-20: For idolatry caused by our hands and within our hearts, forgive us, O Lord.

Thanksgiving-for what God does

38:5-7: God hears our prayer and sees our tears. God is mighty Deliverer. God performs miracle, all fear is gone!

38:16: God can restore us to health and let us live.

40:1: God always comforts His people and speaks tenderly to them, ends punishment upon them and forgives all their sin.

40:3,6,9: God spurred the remnant of Israelites through three ‘voices’:
v.3-5: “A VOICE of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the wilderness, a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it!”

v.6-8: “A VOICE says, Cry out. And I said, What shall I cry? All men are like grass…Surely the people are grass…The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever!”

v.9-11: “You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your VOICE with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, Here is your God! See, the Sovereign God comes with power, and His arm rules for Him...He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms, and carries them close to His heart: He gently leads those that have young.”

40:11: God is good shepherd, characterized by both strength and gentleness.

40:29: God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. God would renew the strength of those who hope in Him.

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives

38:17: “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In Your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; You have put all my sins behind Your back!”

40:29: God gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.

40:31: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders

38:2: Imitate the wholehearted devotion and faithfulness of Hezekiah, do what is right in God’s eyes.

38:19-20: I as father should tell my children of God’s faithfulness and salvation, that they may sing of God’s goodness all the days of their lives in the temple of God.

40:1-31: I should learn to hear God’s voice day by day, and put my hope in God.

Now-action-for what I must do
1. Share with my children / family today of God’s faithfulness, saving grace and goodness, and sing song of praise together (38:19-20)

2. Pray for the sick that they may experience God’s mighty healing grace in the name of Jesus (38:2). Call a or visit a sick person today, pray aloud a short prayer for them: “God, restore him/her to health and let him/her live…In Your love, keep him/her from the pit of destruction, put his/her sins behind his/her back! Save him/her that he/she may sing all the days of his/her life in the temple of the Lord!” (38:16-17,20)

3. Practice two ‘H’ every day: Hear God’s voices (40:3,6,9), and Hope in God for power renewal (40:31).

4. Be a messanger of comfort (40:1, II Corinthians 1:3)

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do

38:2: “Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before You faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in Your eyes.”

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Devotional Note for Isaiah 30-37

DAILY DEVOTION
Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”


Date: 24th October 2006 (Tuesday)
Text: Isaiah 30-37

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)

Adoration-for who God is
Chapter 30-37
highlight to us that God is just and merciful. Because He is just, punishment upon sins would come in His time. Because He is merciful, restoration and full redemption would also come in His time upon His people! The message or point of Chapter 30-37 can be summarized as below:

30: Obstinate Judah sought help, protection, consultation and instruction from the pagan (Egypt) rather than from God (vv.1-11), but God’s Overflowing mercy would give rest, salvation and strength to those who truly repented of their sins; God will also guide, provide and heal the people of Zion in His grace and compassion (v.15,18-26).

31: Obstinateness results in judgment (vv.1-3), but Overflowing mercy of God would not leave Jerusalem; God would shield Jerusalem, deliver and rescue it from Assyria (v.4-9).

32: Outright spiritual revival will be brought by a king of righteousness---the Messiah (vv.1-8); Outright transformation will be brought by the Spirit of God that would be poured upon God’s people from above, bringing healing, justice, righteousness, peace, quietness, confidence, security and blessed life (v.15-20).

33: Outright punishment of God would come upon the destroyer and traitor---probably Assyria (v.1,19), but Outright salvation, wisdom, forgiveness and peace of the Mighty One would come upon God’s people (v.2, 5-6, 20-22, 24); the fear of the Lord is the Outright key to the treasure of God! (v.6)

34: Outright retribution to all nations in God’s wrath!

35: Overflowing gladness and joy (v.10b) fill God’s people hearts when they see the glory and the splendor of God; feeble hands are strengthened, knees are steadied (v.3), fearful hearts become strong (v.4), healing takes place (v.5-7), Highway of Holiness is made (v.8-9), the ransomed of the Lord will return to Zion with singing (v.10).

36: Threat of Assyrian king Sennacherib frightened and puzzled Judah.

37: Temple prayer (v.1, 14) of king Hezekiah (Judah) freed himself & nation from fear and protected the city (v.35).

Specifically:
33:5: The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.

33:22: The Lord is our judge, lawgiver, king, and savior.

37:16-20: God is the God of gods, King of kings, Lord of lords! He rules over the angelic beings, the earthly kingdoms, and the universe. He hears everything we say and insults that mankind makes.

Confession-for what I sin
30:1,9: For being obstinate, carrying out plans that are not God’s, being deceitful and rebellious, forgive me O Lord.

30:10: For not desiring truth of God, but pleasant things and prophesy illusions, forgive me O Lord!

33:19, 37:29: For arrogance and insolence within me and people, forgive us O Lord!

34:2: For evil nations that cause the wrath of God, forgive us O Lord.

36:18-20, 37:12-13: For pride and blasphemy against the Creator God, forgive the unbelieving world!

Thanksgiving-for what God does
30:18: The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice, blessed are all who wait for Him.

30:30: The Lord will cause men to hear His majestic voice and will make them see His arm coming down.

32:1: A king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice!

33:2: God is gracious to those who long for Him and will be their strength every morning, their salvation in time of distress.

32:15-18: The Holy Spirit poured upon God’s people from on high will turn desert into fertile field and forest, where justice and righteousness will dwell; peace, quietness and confidence will take place; God’s people won’t be disturbed anymore.

33:24: God forgives all who dwell in Zion (means to be in His presence), all “illness” are healed.

34:8, 35:4: God will have a day of vengeance, a year of retribution. Therefore “do not take revenge, leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, It is mine to avenge, I will repay.” (Romans 12:19)

35:10: God grants gladness and joy for those who return to Zion, sorrow and sighing will flee away!

37:1-8: When king Judah was assailed by the blasphemy of the pagan, he went to the temple to seek God, meantime he went to the prophet (Isaiah) for prayer, instruction and direction. God comforted him: “Do not be afraid of what you have heard…” God also caused the emperor to hear a rumor that made him go back to his own country and had him killed there!

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives
30:15: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.

30:19-21: How gracious God will be when you cry for help! As soon as God hears, He will answer you! Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”

33:6: God will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

37:31: …take root below and bear fruit above.

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders
31:6: Return to God!

32:8: The noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.

33:5: God is a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge, the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

33:15: Walk righteously, speak what is right, reject gain from extortion, keep hands from accepting bribe, stop ears against plots of murder, shut eyes against contemplation evil.

35:4,8: God wants me to be strong and do not fear, to walk in the way of Holiness. “The unclean will not journey on it.”

37:1-4,14: Seek God and His prophet first when I am in day of distress and rebuke and disgrace (v.3).

Now-action-for what I must do
1. In everything, seek God Almighty and His protection (37:1,14); in adversity and affliction, hear His voice (30:19-21); take root below (in God), bear fruit above! (37:1,14,31,35)

2. Do not be afraid in a day of distress, rebuke and disgrace! (37:3,6)

3. Ask God for the treasure of salvation, wisdom and knowledge (33:6)

4. Minister to those who are in fear, or facing days of distress or rebuke or disgrace because of their enemies.

5. Pray for nations and people that do not know the one, true and living God, living in complacency, arrogance.

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do
33:2: O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.

37:20: Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his (enemy’s) hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that You alone, are God!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Devotional Note for Isaiah 28-29

DAILY DEVOTION
Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”


Date: 21st October 2006 (Saturday)
Text: Isaiah 28-29 (Analyse only 28:1-13, read the rest)

Discovery through A.C.T.I.O.N.S. (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law)

Adoration-for who God is
28:2-4: The Lord is sovereign and just, He would use pagan country like Assyria to punish the evil deeds and indulgence of His people (in the Northern Kingdom Israel). The king of Assyria was depicted as “the one who is powerful and strong”, sent by God “like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, driving rain and flooding downpour” to trample underfoot the pride of Ephraim.

28:5-6: The Lord Almighty at the Day of Judgment will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of His people (those who have been faithful in all circumstances). God will be a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment (means that God will give a sense of justice to those who serve as judges), a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate, which is the most vulnerable part of the city (means God gives courage to those who defend the city gates from attack).

Confession-for what I sin
28:1: For pride and ‘drunkenness’, forgive me and my nation, O Lord. The wreath refers to the capital city of the Northern Kingdom---Samaria, which was a beautiful city on a prominent hill. It was a city of luxury and indulgence in the 8 B.C.

28:7-8: For spiritual leaders that are filled with wine and beer, not be filled by the Holy Spirit’s fruit and gifts, thus showing perverted conduct and filthy lifestyle, no teaching, no modeling, no direction, forgive us O Lord. Leviticus 10:9: “You (Aaron) and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.” Numbers 11:29: “Moses replied…I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them!” Ephesians

5:18: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

28:9-10: For hypocrite’s mocking response to and complaint about faithful preaching of God’s Word by a true prophet, forgive us, O Lord! The hypocritical religious leaders in Isaiah time complained about Isaiah’s serious teaching of God’s judgment and said that Isaiah’s teaching was only good for babies that have just stopped nursing! In other words, they said that the prophet was speaking nonsense. What a mock! They said that Isaiah was trying to teach them letter by letter, line by line, lesson by lesson.

28:12b: For not listening to God’s voice and appreciating God’s invitation for rest, restoration and renewal, forgive me O Lord!

Thanksgiving-for what God does
28:12: God gives resting place for the weary to rest. God is the Lord of Sabbath! He wants all his people to live a life of toil and rest, work and worship.

28:9: God sent prophet Isaiah to speak and to teach the corrupted nations, God never forsook them!

28:11: God sent also ‘foreign lips and strange tongues’ (the Assyrian) to speak and to punish the rebellion Israelites. When we are stubborn, God our Father would discipline us for good, that we may share in His holiness. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives
28:5-6: “…The Lord Almighty …will be a spirit of justice,…a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.”
28:12: “…God said, this is the resting place, let the weary rest…”

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders
28:1: Renounce pride and take Jesus’ york of humility and gentleness upon me.
28:6: Be just and draw strength from God.
28:7: I must be a spiritual leader that see and understand the visions that God sends, and not be stumbled in confusion, make right decision in ministry.
28:9-10: I must continue to preach God’s Word faithfully, boldly, and accurately, not to please men, but to please God.
28:12: I must rest in God in order to experience restoration.

Now-action-for what I must do
1. REST in the remembrance of God’s goodness and greatness; rest in the presence and peace of God; rest through regular exercise, rest in devotion, rest to experience the Lord of Sabbath (28:12, refer Genesis 2:2). Rest is God’s command, I must obey. Rest to enrich my marriage and family life. Rest to stay fit for a lifetime of ministry! ENJOY RESTING to know that God is in control of all things, to listen to God. He never slumbers!

2. Spiritual leadership includes four 'S':
2.1 Spirit of justice and Strength of God fill us day by day (28:6),
2.2 See God-given vision and teach boldly the corrupted people (28:7-10),
2.3 Spur the ‘weary’ (the burn out, rust out and die out groups) to rest in God and be revived for life mission and church ministry (28:12).

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do



Bible Content of 28:1-13 written as Bible Messages (Easily remembered to be applied)

v.1: Pride and drunkenness ruin you!

vv.2-4: Punishment from God would refine you!

vv.5-6: Promises of God would revive you!

vv.7-10: Perverted leaders resist you!

vv.11-13: Pain of God reforms you!
(God feel painful because of people’s perverted lifestyle and attitude)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Devotional Note for Isaiah 24-27

DAILY DEVOTION

Psalm 73:28: “It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.”

Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Date: 20th October 2006 (Friday)

Text: Isaiah 24-27

Discovery (Psalm 119:18-Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law) A.C.T.I.O.N.S.

Adoration-for who God is

24:1—13,17-23; 27:1: God is a great and just Judge who will judge the whole earth and all cities that opposes Him. Social distinction provides no escape from the judgment (24:2). Satan and fallen angels will be punished too (24:21). God Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem gloriously! Final judgment, ultimate and complete deliverance all are in God.

24:14-16: The godly remnant who survives judgment will adore God---raise their voices, shout for joy, acclaim God’s majesty, give glory to God, exalt the name of God, and sing “Glory to the Righteous One.”

25:3: The strong peoples and ruthless nations (such as Egypt and Assyria) will honor and revere God. Nothing is impossible with God!

25:9: A short song of praise---“Surely this is our God; we trust in Him and He saved us…Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation!” “In that day” refers to the Day of the Lord, that is a time of judgment and blessing as God intervenes decisively in the affairs of the nations (2:11,17,20; 24:21) “The last days” in the Old Testament refers to the future generally, but it seems to have in view the Messianic era. The last days began with the first coming of Christ and will be fulfilled at the second coming. “I KNOW WHO HOLDS THE FUTURE AND I KNOW HE HOLDS MY HAND, WITH GOD THINGS DON’T JUST HAPPEN, EVERYTHING BY HIM IS PLANNED, SO AS I FACE TOMORROW WITH ITS PROBLEM LARGE AND SMALL, I’LL TRUST THE LORD OF MIRACLES, GIVE TO HIM MY ALL!”

26:7: God is the upright One who makes the way of the righteous smooth.

26:13: God’s name alone do we honor, no idols can compare with God!

27:12-13: Israel, in God’s judgment on the nations, has been dispersed, but will return to Jerusalem to worship God again.

Confession-for what I sin

24:5: For defiling the earth, disobeying Your Laws, violating the statutes, breaking the everlasting covenant, forgive me O Lord.

25:11: For pride within me, forgive me O Lord!

26:10-11: For not learning righteousness even though Your grace is shown & for not regarding Your majesty, forgive me O Lord. For not seeing Your hand and zeal for Your people, forgive me O Lord.

27:11: For not understanding God’s judgment and compassion, forgive me O Lord. Remind me of Romans 2:4: “Do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

27:18: For not bringing salvation to the earth and giving birth to people of the world, forgive me and the church, O Lord!

Thanksgiving-for what God does

25:1,4: God in perfect faithfulness has done marvelous things which are planned long ago. He has been the refuge for the poor and needy, a shelter from the storm, and a shade from the heat.

25:6-8: God has prepared a great and wonderful feast in the future, in which rich food given (symbolize great spiritual blessings, v.6), shroud that enfolds all peoples be destroyed (means resurrection, 25:7), death forever be swallowed up, tears wiped away from all faces (25:8a), and disgrace of His people be removed (25:8b). This is a direct reference to the final wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9) and the glorious perfect heaven prepared for all people that have remained faithful to God (Revelation 21:4).

26:1: God make salvation our walls and rampart. Fear no evil!

26:5: God humbles those who dwell on high.

26:12: God establishes peace for me, all that I have accomplished God has done for me. To God be the glory!

26:16: God disciplines us.

Inspiring verse(s)-for what help it gives

25:4: “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”

26:3-4: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”

26:9: “My soul years for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.”

Obedience-for what it teaches or orders

26:9: I should walk in the way of God’s laws; God’s name and renown are to be the desire of my heart.

27:2-6: I must renounce lukewarmness toward the Lord. This vineyard song depicts Israel as “briers and thorns” in the vineyard, confronting God, not fully trusting in the Lord, like the other ungodly nations. This is the second vineyard song in the book of Isaiah (the first one in 5:1-7). ‘Vineyard’ refers to Israel.

Now-action-for what I must do

  1. Adore and praise God today by using 26:14-16, 27:1-9 and 28:1-21.
  1. Care for the poor, the needy, and those who are in storm of life, so that they know God as a refuge, a shelter and a shade (25:4). God’s salvation takes into account the lost, the last, and the least.
  1. Have steadfast mind, trust in God and have peace in Him (26:3-4) Peace of mind depends upon the strength of mind, and strength of mind comes from the vision of who my God is---my God is so BIG! No God, no peace; know God, know peace!
  1. My VISION is to see God’s hand and God’s zeal for people in everything I strive to do; my DESIRE is God’s name and renown; my MISSION is to bring salvation to the earth and to give birth to people of the world (26:7,11,18). See God’s hand and do not worry; desire God’s renown and do not live in self-gratification, be mission-minded and impact!

Supplication-for strength and wisdom to do