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Lowell Brueckner

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God Creator or Gods Formed

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41. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 44

Chosen

Have you considered the many things in your life over which you have had no control? The family into which you were born, the time and place of your birth, your name, and your physical features are all things, which were decided for you. You had no choice in the matter. In the earliest stage of your life, you were totally dependent on others for care and sustenance. You were left in their hands to be moved, fed and put to sleep. They did your thinking for you.

As children, we yearned for freedom and independence, for the day that we could leave our parents’ house and be on our own. So we got a job and lived in our own place. Soon we found that we were not as free, as we thought we should be. There were bills to pay and our employer thought that we ought to obey his wishes. Then we married and found that our area of freedom was smaller, because now we had to share our existence with another. Then children came and chipped away even more at our little independent world.

Israel's Only Salvation

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40. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 43

What the Spirit says now

We see in the book of Revelation that Jesus gave different messages to each of the seven churches. He concluded each message with the words, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev.2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). Although every Christian should be occupied with a systematic study of the entire scope of revelation, there is a more specific word, which the Spirit of God applies in different places and in different times. We must be attentive to that which the Spirit says to the church now.

I want to keep reminding you to have your Bible open to read along, as we go through the chapters. I assume that you will do that, as I make comments. You will notice that verse 1 begins with the words “but now”. The preacher of Ecclesiastes claims that there is a time for everything (Ecc.3:1-7) and the preacher of the gospel must be sensitive to the Spirit in order to know specifically what He wants the people to hear at any given time. There is a time for rebuke and there is a time for comfort. The prophet Isaiah knows how and when to do both.

“But now”, after the warning of judgment delivered at the end of chapter 42, it is time for God to comfort Israel. There is no comforter like the Holy Spirit. He inspires Isaiah to begin with Israel’s creation. The Lord continues to create; He creates individuals in the wombs of their mothers and He creates whole nations. Comfort begins with the knowledge that we are created beings and therefore we have purpose and care from our Creator.

Spurgeon, Ryle and the Jews

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I want to present to you an important study for our times, according to two of the most important figures of the 19th Century, C. H. Spurgeon, a Baptist preacher, and J. C. Ryle, a bishop in the Church of England. I have gotten my material from two sources: One on Spurgeon from Dennis M. Swanson of The Master’s Seminary and the other on J. C. Ryle from the Middletown Bible Church. My purpose is to use the direct quotes from these two men and not to refer to personal comments, which the sources may have added.

The object, which we will pursue, will be to see the viewpoint that each of these men had, concerning the return of the Jews to their Promised Land. This is an extremely important issue in our day, because Israel was reestablished as a sovereign nation in 1948, fulfilling prophecies which are 2,500 to 2,700 years old. Yours and my viewpoint on the subject will determine, whether or not we have concrete evidence to point to the soon return of Christ to reign upon the earth.

Spurgeon and Ryle were contemporaries, both English, and died just before the beginning of what is known as the Zionist Movement… the return of the Jews to Palestine from all points of the globe. Without further ado, let us first allow Charles Spurgeon to relate to us his view on a pre-millennial rapture of the church. He will also show that there will be two resurrections, that of the just, separate from that of the unjust. Later, of necessity, both Spurgeon and Ryle will tell us about the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy:

The Servant Christ

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39. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 42

A Messianic prophecy

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights” (v.1). Having shown us that He is able to raise up a servant, who will restore the Jew to his homeland, God is now saying that He can and will do more for His people. Here is One, who will carry out the purposes of God incomparably beyond what Cyrus can do. He comes to this earth, as a Servant, meek and lowly of heart. “Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil.2:6-8). The apostle Paul, of course, speaks of Jesus Christ.

This Servant will bring to pass the eternal will of God, conceived before the foundation of the world and designed to extend into the countless and measureless eons, after time will be no more. He is chosen and upheld in the heart of a delighted God: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt.3:17). It was proclaimed by the Father at His baptism, when the Holy Spirit came upon Him. His ministry began and continues as a work of the trinity and just so, it is prophesied in our first verse. “I (the Father) have put my Spirit (the Holy Spirit) upon him (the Son).” It is our pleasure to consider a chapter, which begins with an unmistakable reference to the Messiah. The Jew today joins us in the conviction that this passage refers to the Messiah, although, of course, he is still awaiting His coming.

In his Gospel, Matthew quotes directly the first four verses of this chapter, showing that the inspired writer is satisfied that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled them. The message and demeanor of the Christ will not be aggressive (v.2), something which we should take into account, concerning our evangelistic and missionary efforts. We can take personal comfort in the fact that Jesus will not break the bent reed nor put out the lowest flame, but in compassion will straighten and strengthen them both. He was not a revolutionary, mustering the strong to fight, but a Savior, calling the weak and wounded to His side (v.3). 

Only God Foretells the Future

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38. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 41

We have read of Assyria and its king recently in the book of Isaiah. Not only is there prophecy concerning this empire, but we have learned some of its history, particularly that which relates to its invasion of Judah. Isaiah foresaw the Babylonian Empire and he spoke of the satanic influence upon it.

A message to the nations

In this chapter, Isaiah begins to prophesy concerning Cyrus of Persia and we will learn much of him in the following chapters. He becomes a prominent figure, who is even named by Isaiah in 44:28 and 45:1, long before his birth (see also 41:2, 25; 45:13; 46:11). In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, he has much to do with the return of the Jews to their land and the rebuilding of their temple.  

Divine Attributes and Power

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37. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 40

Comfort, comfort my people

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (v.1). This chapter is one of the great treasures of Isaiah and ranks among the highest portions of Scripture. It is a wonderful word from God for His flock. His intentions are always good towards them and His longing is for them to feel comfort and security under His care. He instructs His messengers to give comfort.

He chastens, as a good father always must, and He said in his covenant with David, concerning his offspring, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul…” (2 S.7:14-15). The destiny of Saul should never be used to frighten the Lord’s sheep into obedience and subjection. The end of David’s line was not to be compared with Saul’s. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem…” Conflict was one of the ways, in which God frequently disciplined, but now Jerusalem is assured that the war had ended and the punishment was more than sufficient (v.2).

Hezekiah’s Illness and Error

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36. An expository study of Isaiah, chapters 38 and 39

Chapter 38

Please open your Bible to Isaiah 38, so that you can follow the text, as I try to comment on it. We run into a difficulty in this chapter, but it only serves to teach us the ways of God. It is our purpose in the study of Scriptures, not to look for support for pet doctrines, but to open our hearts to learn the character of God and His dealings with mankind.

When we contemplate the sovereignty of God, we must take the relationship between God and man into account. Abraham was His friend and He spoke and communed with him.  This is a most wonderful thing in God’s personality: “The Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do’” (Ge.18:17). God was also very intimate with Moses and spoke with him, “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex.33:11). I have always been amazed at the following passage, when God intended to destroy the Israelites, after they made a golden calf to worship. He exclaimed to Moses, Let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against your people” (Ex.32:10). Moses actually detained the hand of the Almighty.

There are multiple times in the Bible, when we see the Lord withholding judgment, which He had declared upon people. The case of Jonah, prophesying destruction to the people of Nineveh, is a classic example, when the grace and mercy of God entered into the picture. Here is another interesting prophecy from the life of Paul, in which the disciples in Tyre prophesied: “Through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem” (Ac.21:4). Agabus also prophesied concerning this in Caesaria, and all the Christians tried to persuade him not to go on, but finally resigned to “let the will of the Lord be done” (21:14). We must conclude that, in the end in every case, the sovereign, unchangeable will of God is done.

A Mighty Move of God

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34. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 37

Judah humbles itself before God

Judah alone remains unconquered in the Assyrian Empire...
"She despises you, she scorns you - the
virgin daughter of Zion."
The attitude of the people that we will see in this chapter is sweet in God’s mouth and precious in His eyes. It was partly because there were mani-festations of humility like this in the temple of the Old Testament that Christ was incited against the practices that took place there in His day. It came to a point, when with divine authority and anger, He twisted reeds together and stormed into the temple, declaring that His Father’s house was to be known as a house of prayer (Jn.2:14-16; Mk.11:17).

The situation demanded drastic action. I certainly understand the leaders, who are giving examples of dramatic conversions and motivating us to focus on the present need and put our time and exert our efforts in bringing individuals in from the paths of sin. However, I cannot concur with them, if they emphasize that point to the exclusion of interest in classical revival. They tend to classify the people who are looking and praying for revival as impractical and unrealistic dreamers. Would they, please, reassess that position? I assure you that right now individual results are not enough and that revival is the only cure for the Western world, especially America.  

Eight Tactics of the Enemy

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33. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 36

The Assyrian Empire

The prism of Sennacherib
I have been looking forward to this chapter and the three that follow, in which Isaiah relates some current events of his time. He has been prophesying of the Assyrian invasion into various countries in the Middle East and has shown that cities in Judah itself would not be spared, He has said that the citizens of Jerusalem would be greatly shaken and ambassadors would fail in their negotiations with the Assyrian authorities.

Assyrian inscriptions, which are found in museums around the world, tell of Sennacherib and his conquests, stating that he lived some 20 years after this invasion. Many inscriptions have been translated and published in various books during the latter part of the 20th Century. Assyria is an ancient nation, but the Assyrian Empire, so entwined with Israel’s history, rose and expanded somewhere near 900 B.C. and fell near 600 B.C. The siege of Jerusalem, of which we now read, occurred very close to 700 B.C.

Under the reign of good King Hezekiah there are signs of repentance and spiritual revival in Jerusalem. In 33:2 we see the people looking to their God and waiting upon Him for deliverance. As we approach the end of Old Testament history and observe the national decay, first of Israel and then of Judah, we have before us a reprieve, a time for encouragement. However, it is also a time of crisis and great trouble, through which the people turn to the Lord. This has been the case in church history and proves that the people of God have been at their best when under attack.

Blessing Follows the Curse

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32. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 34 and 35

Chapter 34

Isaiah is eloquent on the subject of divine retribution and judgment and in this chapter, as we have already seen in chapter 24, he proclaims universal judgment against all the nations. This is not only a message from the Old Testament, but it is a prophecy that passes through the New Testament and reaches to the end of our age.

“Draw near, O nations, to hear, and give attention, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that fills it; the world, and all that comes from it” (verse 1). Much of the church in our day has tried to eliminate or at least to soften and minimize the anger and vengeance of God. Rob Bell, a 21st Century false prophet, has declared that the preaching of eternal punishment in hell is “toxic”. A popular Spanish singer/preacher, Marcos Vidal, has said that the presentation of a God of wrath is anti-biblical and diabolical. They are totally wrong and will answer to God on judgment day for teaching error.  Francis Chan thinks that we will need to repent and confess being ashamed of an attribute of our Lord, as well as our negligence and timidity in declaring His wrath.

The Syndrome of Hubris...

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... the sickness of those who believe that they know everything.


The illustration for John Milton's Paradise
Lost  by Gustave Doré(1866).The spiritual
descent of Lucifer into Satan is one of
the most  famous examples of hubris...
This is a personality trait that we find sometimes among believers and always among cultists. The word "hubris" came to my attention a few years ago, through reading a critique of Rob Bell's book called LOVE WINS. Bell challenged teaching on eternal punishment as something "toxic", thereby defying all the carefully analyzed and accepted beliefs of church history. What kind of mentality can make such assertions? This short article gives us the answer to that question. 

I copy for you the Wikipedia definition of "hubris":
"Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις) describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous over-confidence. In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, and which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris."

Zion’s Sinners and Righteous Ones

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31. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 33

God’s cup for measuring evil
 
Throughout the book of Isaiah, we find the prophet taken up with the development and the advance of the Assyrian Empire and army. It was establishing its dominance on the world scene of that day. God informs His people concerning it and encourages them by referring to its ultimate destruction. His word reaches out to the Assyrian himself to warn him of the coming judgment. As I have mentioned previously, these prophecies stretch beyond the immediate situation to the rising Babylonian Empire and to other world powers, which will take their place in the future, and sometimes they reach to the end of the age.

Therefore in verse 1, the subject addressed is primarily Assyria, but takes in any oppressive human system that exerts its power over weaker nations. They are characterized as destructive and treacherous and they attack without provocation. They are not seeking to recover, what has been taken from them, or to take revenge on harm done to them. Those under their attack have not betrayed or hurt them in the past. That is not necessary to an army made up of fallen human beings. They are inherently evil.

God allows them to progress up to a certain point and carefully measures the level of their evil deeds. He makes a curious statement in the book of Genesis, stating that “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Gen.15:16), giving this as a reason why He would delay the beginning of His plan to use Abraham’s descendants to conquer the Amorites and Canaan, for four generations. On the other hand, Christ stated that the generation had come and the time was ripe for rebellious Jews to “fill up, then, the measure of your fathers” (Mt.23:32). The prophecy before us declares that the time will come, when all evildoers will be visited with the same treachery and destruction that they have dealt to others.

New Serbian Blog!

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Belgrade, Serbia
Some friends of mine are working together in order to present a new Serbian blogspot. If you understand Serbian and know people who understand it, you will want to take advantage of something that will truly be beneficial in feeding the Lord´s sheep. I am sure that you will enjoy it! How pleased I am to see good literature available to serious Christians, who love truth and are hungry to receive something, with which to be spiritually enriched!

We are going to be cooperating with this effort and the following link will take you to the blog:

http://www.potragazabogom.com


God and His People

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30. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 31-32

Chapter 31
The Egyptians have always been known for their horses.

Earlier in this book we learned much about God dealing with the enemies of Judah and now we are learning about their ally. We do not need much discernment to beware of our enemies, but the Lord wants to help us to see a greater danger in our would-be allies. Above all, we need to be aware of ourselves; the truth is that we are our own worst enemies.

Great precautions have to be taken against the one, who we see when we look in a mirror. An old preacher used to say, “My greatest enemy is the man, who married my wife!” In these days of common divorce and remarriage, he may have been misunderstood, so just in case something else comes to mind, I will clarify that he was referring to himself.

God Waits to be Gracious

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29. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 30

Please be sure to have your Bible open, as we begin, so that you can directly refer to the Scripture throughout our study.

Symptoms of rebellion

This chapter begins with a woe, pronounced against stubborn and rebellious children: “Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord” (v.1). I notice it is translated in my Spanish version, “children who separate themselves” and the Hebrew word can be defined in that way. Here are the definitions: to turn away, be refractory, backsliding, rebellious, revolter, stubborn, to withdraw.

I think, then, that we can judge a separation from God as an important and sure sign that someone has turned rebellious. Therefore, the first error of rebellion is a refusal to walk with God and consists in making a decision to take an independent pathway. Independence sings a sweet song and many are attracted by it, follow it and leave the heavenly highway.

You Turn Things Upside Down!

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28. An Expository Study of Isaiah, Chapter 29

Let me summarize five general characteristics that we have come to recognize in studying the book of Isaiah:
1. It is a book of repetition. God knows who He is dealing with… that is, forgetful human beings… and therefore, He goes over the same principles of truth again and again.
2. It is a poetical book, full of symbols, analogies, axioms and even song, appealing to the inner man, as well as the intellect, in order that the truth should penetrate deeper.
3. As in all Scripture, it is a book that reveals the person and character of God. This book has a central theme, which concentrates on the holiness of God. Therefore it promises judgment and retribution to the nations for their sin, and punishment to Israel for its rebellion against Him.
4, It is a book about God’s salvation. In it, God clearly demonstrates his unwavering and undying care for His people. He will defend them against their enemies and bring about their deliverance. Again and again, we also see Him reaching out to His enemies and offering them the opportunity of a future with Him and His people. Ultimately, He promises eternal salvation.
5. It is a book of prophecy. Some of the prophecy will shortly come to pass, especially that regarding Assyria. Others reach forward to the rise and fall of Babylon. There is a wealth of Messianic prophecy pointing to the advent, the birth, the ministry, the purpose, the death and the reign of the Messiah. It prophecies of the mercy of God to the Gentile nations. It points to the Tribulation and often to the Millennium, which follows. And then it takes us on into eternity, telling of the total destruction of the present world and the new heaven and earth.

Falsehood and Farming

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27. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 28

We study together the inspired word of Isaiah, trusting that the Holy Spirit will open our understanding to be able to see the revelation of God Himself. That is our main purpose, as we contemplate these chapters and verses. In the last chapter, I personally rejoiced to read of his double invitation to His enemies to make peace with Him. What does it tell us about His character? He is a God, who passionately loves and reaches out to those who are farthest from Him.

I also was enchanted by a statement that showed His individual attention to each one of His people. It tells me that He is the God of the individual and not simply One, who has a mass project in mind. We also must recognize and accept the truth about this one God being a God of warfare, who brings every enemy into subjection through the sword of His word. There is only one true and living God, He is revealed in His word, and we must completely form our concept of Him by that word. Not only should we accept this revelation, but we ought to rejoice in it, knowing that there is nothing in Him that is not righteous and good.

God’s accurate assessment of man’s condition

Now we turn our attention to the northern kingdom of Israel and its capital city of Samaria. A “woe”, that is, a curse, has been pronounced against it. The fall of the kingdom was an actual event within the period of Isaiah’s ministry, so this prophecy is very near completion. Ephraim is the dominant tribe of the north and we are to understand that it represents the ten tribes that make up this nation. “The proud crown” in verse 1 is the capital city of Samaria. By now we should be familiar with the fact that a city is a representation of the pride of its people.

That Great Harvest Day

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26. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 27

We gather close around the prophet, when he speaks of the people of the Lord. We learn of the relationship with those that He has chosen to be a light to the entire world. Here He comes out of hiding and best reveals Himself. That is what we consider in this chapter.

The time is always important to observe, so that we can have understanding as to the application of the Scripture that we are studying. It is especially evident in this chapter, where “in that day” is mentioned from the first verse, repeated in verse 2, then “in days to come” in verse 6, and again “in that day” in verses 12 and 13.  

We have to look back to see what is meant by that day. It was expressed in a song from the beginning of chapter 26, a future song reserved for that day. This chapter is a continuation of 24, 25 and 26. It describes a time when Jerusalem is at peace and a righteous nation inhabits it. It is a day of growth for that nation, its borders stretching out to embark more territory, and the Lord will be glorified in it. It is a time of national resurrection and it can certainly be concluded that this day takes place in the end of time.

Who Planned This?

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Nothing has to go as planned... Camp director, Ionut Lerca, at Teen Ranch in Lepsa, Romania, has been trying to put a camp together for families who meet annually. He started with plans to get families together in July, then saw that more people would be free in August. Again, it seemed that July would be best after all. 




A Last-day Song

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25. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 26

We have been contemplating from time to time the poetic language of the Lord. The Holy Spirit, Author of Scripture, presents to us eternal, unchanging truth and He does so in a form that will penetrate deeply into our being and remain there. The inspired prophet speaks to us of a song, so what we have before us now is timeless truth, done in poetic form, set to melody and rhythm. It is a side benefit, when studying the Word of God, that we can enjoy the finest of literature.

Remember that the original document of Isaiah, true of all Scripture, had no chapter or verse divisions. They have been added to facilitate reading, but often there are thoughts in a particular chapter that are joined to the ones before and after. At the beginning of chapter 25, we were reading of cities as the highest work of men’s pride and ambition. We took the classic example of Nebuchadnezzar, boasting from the rooftop of his palace, overlooking Babylon. The last verse of the chapter spoke of the walls of Moab, symbol of its pride and skill.

The Millennial City

There is a future song to be sung in the land of Judah, concerning its capital city, which is, in fact, the capital of the millennial world. “That day”, often refers to the millennial Day of the Lord. What follows are the lyrics of the song and it is about a very special city. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could not settle down in their earthly inheritance of Canaan, because, as Isaiah, God had given Abraham a vision of a finer city. He taught his offspring the superiority of the coming world, to the degree that they lived in their promised land in tents, as strangers and pilgrims (Heb.11:13). They set the example for us of the proper mindset of God’s people.     

Tne End of Death and Tears

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24. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 25

Isaiah praises his God

Isaiah joins the praise of the remnant, the only positive movement in chapter 24 (v.14). I am certain that I cannot be mistaken in saying that every true ministry begins with and springs from a relationship with God. This is true in the Old Testament, as well as in the New. Isaiah says, “You are my God” (v.1). Personal knowledge is required, if he is to be a representative on earth of His person, having experienced firsthand, who He is and what He can do.

His deeds are wonderful and the hand of the Lord is recognized because of the supernatural character of His works. Because they are so great, Isaiah exalts and praises Him. Praise can explode on a horizontal level to declare His wonders to human beings, as well as towards God vertically.

This first verse also shows that the marvelous works are according to plans formed in an ageless eternity. For this reason also, Isaiah must have a personal relationship with Him, in order to hear directly from God, as to His purposes. Those are the plans that must be carried out in time and men have no part in the blueprint or in the manner, in which they are done.

Dishonest Truth!

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"You have had five husbands, and the one you now have
is not your husband. What you have said is true."
Did you know that there is a danger in spiritual hunger? I suppose several reasons could be given in favor of that warning, but that is not exactly my purpose in this space. Those who begin to sense their spiritual need are not necessarily ready to face the truth concerning that need. 

My friend, Gary Zabel, recently sent me a link, which I am now making available to you. It is John Piper, referring to the story about Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. Gary felt that some of the things that Piper had to say accurately depicted someone who is a mutual acquaintance. He advised me to listen, beginning at minute 33, at least, . After listening, I agreed with his assessment. 

Paramount Paradoxes

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Are there mysteries in the Bible and in the Christian life? Some try to say 'no', but I have a lot of trouble understanding that position. Perhaps I am not comprehending exactly what they are saying. I am certainly willing to concede to a good explanation. Paul said, "Great is the mystery of godliness", and it continues to be a great mystery that God should be manifested in the flesh of a human being. Paul also wrote that the natural man cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit of God, but they all must be discerned spiritually. Charles Wesley wrote, "Tis mystery all, the immortal dies." 

Wesley not only expressed a mystery, but as well a wonderful paradox... a seeming contradiction that is an exceedingly great truth of the Kingdom. Paradoxes are things we revel in, while having a terribly difficult time explaining them. They are blessed mysteries that are simply bigger than we are, but we rejoice in them and in the God, who has given them to us, understanding perfectly their significance and importance in our spiritual development. 

Please take to heart these great statements straight from the Valley of Vision. (And while we digest them, may I recommend chapter 22 from Isaiah, where I try to expound on this place, where prophets lived, saw and wrote their revelations from God:
http://calltocommitment.blogspot.com.es/2016/05/the-valley-of-vision.html)


Universal Judgment

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23. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 24

Isaiah is the spokesman for the Lord in local judgment against Jerusalem, first of all, and Judah, the southern kingdom, and then against the ten isolated tribes to the north, called Israel. He has sent the word of the Lord to Moab. Ethiopia, Egypt and Tyre. He showed the world powers of that day, Assyria and Babylon, of their coming humiliation. In effect at the same time, he was pointing toward the future empires of Greece and Rome.

A Message to all the world

This chapter calls the attention of the entire world to its coming destruction. This is a prophecy of doom that leaves no one out. It stretches beyond the nations of the Middle East and touches every continent on planet Earth. The translation of the Bible into hundreds of major languages and tribal tongues makes it possible for this message to go forth in our day to every corner of creation. Universal judgment is in the future; let every human pay attention!

Seven seals will mark man’s self-destruction, effecting one quarter of the global population (Rev.6:8). Then seven trumpets will arouse the creation to the reality of the spiritual world by the worst outpouring of demonic wrath ever experienced in world history. It will destroy one-third of the planet (Rev.8:7-12). Finally, the bowls of the wrath of God will be poured out in their fury, causing the total devastation portrayed in this chapter (Rev.chap.15-16). “The Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants” (v.1).

Judgment upon Phoenicia

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I don’t know how you feel now that we have gone through a third part of the book of Isaiah, but I can truthfully affirm that I have been enriched. God’s people need to have expository teaching from the Bible. Please have your Bible at hand and open to Isaiah 23, so that you can survey the text, as I cannot take the space to put it all within the article. Be sure to follow this story through to the end. One of the great discoveries that you will make, as you reap the benefits of the Word of God, is that God’s stories have happy endings!


22. An expository study in Isaiah, chapter 23

History of Tyre

Last year we studied the prophecies of Zechariah, which were written about 200 years after those of Isaiah. I wrote that two hundred years after Zechariah’s prophecy, Alexander the Great “invaded the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon, which received much diabolical influence, according to Ezekiel 28. Tyre considered itself invincible, because it was situated on an island and, even though Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian, was able to destroy the city on the mainland, he couldn’t arrive at the island, even though he tried for 13 years. No other enemy was able to reach it, but Alexander did, because he had a mandate from God, which was the prophecy that we are studying. He utilized the ruins that Nebuchadnezzar had left to build a causeway in the sea, which reached the island (334-332 B.C.).”

Before we look at Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Tyre, let us fill in some more details on this city’s history, quoting from a number of different sources: “Tyrian merchants were the first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighboring islands of the Aegean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corisca, in Spain at Tartessus (the biblical Tarshish)”… 

Pepper and Salt 6

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Friday, I received the following message on Skype: “We were invited to a round-table meeting, in which, we were told, there would be a study. We went to receive something from God. We went with our Bibles, but what we discovered was a discussion about marketing and planting churches. It was sad, cold, professional and intelectual. They put everything in today’s context, assuming that everything has changed since Bible times.

At the end, the chairman said that we should think about something we would do from now on and what we shouldn’t do. A young man, who came with us, raised his hand and said, ‘What I am going to do is to seek the old paths and pray for God’s guidance.’ He was immediately cut off. I wanted to say, ‘I think what we need is revival.’ What a shame! I wish I would have said it! What would Jesus have said, if He were there?”

I wrote back: “Welcome to 21st Century evangelicalism! What you experienced is the work of man that does not permit anything from God’s part to enter in. I’m going to post you an article on revival, in which God does not permit anything from man to enter in!”

That will serve as an introduction to our sixth document of the writings of a man of God, contradicting what he found in the church before he died in 1986. Has the spiritual life of the church improved since then? I also suggest you listen to this man's voice as he delivers a sermon, Getting Used to the Dark...


http://ia600708.us.archive.org/17/items/SERMONINDEX_SID0205/SID0205.mp3

Golden Anniversary

50 Years of Marriage



May 29, 1966 – May 29, 2016




About Mukti Revival...

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Friends:

I want to inform you of the revamping of an article written in 2010 about a revival in Kedgaon, India. This account has so much to teach us about the ways of God that I felt compelled to call your attention to it again. Please read it carefully and let the Holy Spirit cause your heart to burn... burn for spiritual reality, for a moving of God that is rarely seen these days!

Kedgaon, 55 kilometers east of Pune is a village difficult to find on a map of India. It is another place like Nazareth, without importance, but chosen by God as the place where He would pour out of His Spirit and revive the church. Those who know the ways of the Lord, will understand that that is a characteristic of His work.


I will attach some photos from that trip to India, when I was privileged to discover the Mukti mission. Paul Șerban is a Romanian friend. Years ago, when I was invited to be speaker of a camp in Albești, Paul found the Lord and thereafter was called to India as a missionary. Since then, he has married  Daniela and I was privileged to speak at their wedding. How satisfying it is to see two Christian young people come together to serve the Lord! Paul has been my host three times now in India and he is the one that introduced me to the Pandita Ramabai mission in western India. Here then is the link to the article that tells the exciting story of true and classical revival: 

http://calltocommitment.blogspot.com.es/2010/06/account-of-mukti-revival.html


The Valley of Vision

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The Western Wall in the valley of vision
Please let me remind you to have your Bible open, so that you can follow this study verse-by-verse. Thank you and may you be blessed, as you contemplate this chapter.
  
21. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 22

The valley of vision

“(I) will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell” (Neh.1:9). This is one example of the multiplied times, in which God tells of His selection of Jerusalem, as His special possession, over all the cities of the world. We have already learned of His descriptive language, in speaking of cities and lands. A few chapters back, He called Ethiopia, “the land of whirring wings” and just in the last chapter, He labeled Babylon, “the wilderness of the sea”. However, no other place on earth, besides Jerusalem, could be called “the valley of vision”. It is His own poetic title for this city of prophets.  It holds a bittersweet charm, because it introduces a portion, which is anything but charming.

“The valley of vision” brings to mind Psalm 125:2, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.” (We have a Jewish boys’ choir singing this verse  on our Spanish blog… http://alaentrega.blogspot.com.es/search/label/el%20v%C3%ADdeo#.V0Cap_mLSUl)
Because it is surrounded by mountains, Jerusalem appears to be a valley.

Pepper and Salt 5

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Like a prophet, Vance Havner continues to give us the word of the Lord, disregarding the trends of the day. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings..."(Hebrews 13:8, 9). Truth is as old as the eternal Son of God; He is the truth and He is not moved an iota by the experts of our day. They will never persuade Him to fall in line with the shifting mentality of the times. They couldn't do it in the past and they won't do it today. "Who has been His counselor?"

A worldly Christian?... a heavenly devil?

We cannot be part-time Christians. We are all in full-time Christian service, or we should be. A man who is faithful to his wife most of the time is not faithful at all. A man who is a Christian and something else is not a Christian. The friend of the world is the enemy of God. Billy Sunday used to say, “This is no such thing as a worldly Christian. You might as well talk about a heavenly devil.”

Million-dollar launching pads

We build expensive churches and sometimes it is like erecting million-dollar launching pads to send up firecrackers.

Repentance and Permanence

On his second evangelistic mission to Great Britain, D. L. Moody preached repentance. It was said: “He had come to know that unless there was a genuine turning from known sin in life and thought, there was little permanency of change.”