May 23, 2015

Isaiah 7-9
During the time that Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel attacked Jerusalem, but the attack sputtered out. When the Davidic government learned that Aram had joined forces with Ephraim (that is, Israel), Ahaz and his people were badly shaken. They shook like trees in the wind.

Then God told Isaiah, “Go and meet Ahaz. Take your son Shear-jashub (A-Remnant-Will-Return) with you. Meet him south of the city at the end of the aqueduct where it empties into the upper pool on the road to the public laundry. Tell him, Listen, calm down. Don’t be afraid. And don’t panic over these two burnt-out cases, Rezin of Aram and the son of Remaliah. They talk big but there’s nothing to them.... 

So Isaiah told him, “Then listen to this, government of David! It’s bad enough that you make people tired with your pious, timid hypocrisies, but now you’re making God tired. So the Master is going to give you a sign anyway. Watch for this:

A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant. She’ll bear a son and name him Immanuel (God-With-Us). By the time the child is twelve years old, able to make moral decisions, the threat of war will be over. Relax, those two kings that have you so worried will be out of the picture. But also be warned: God will bring on you and your people and your government a judgment worse than anything since the time the kingdom split, when Ephraim left Judah. The king of Assyria is coming!”....

It will be a time when survivors will count themselves lucky to have a cow and a couple of sheep. At least they’ll have plenty of milk! Whoever’s left in the land will learn to make do with the simplest foods—curds, whey, and honey.  But that’s not the end of it. This country that used to be covered with fine vineyards—thousands of them, worth millions!—will revert to a weed patch.... 

God spoke to me again, saying: “Because this people has turned its back on the gently flowing stream of Shiloah And gotten all excited over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, I’m stepping in and facing them with the wild floodwaters of the Euphrates,... But face the facts, all you oppressors, and then wring your hands....Plan and plot all you want—nothing will come of it.  All your talk is mere talk, empty words, Because when all is said and done,  the last word is Immanuel—God-With-Us.

God spoke strongly to me, grabbed me with both hands and warned me not to go along with this people. He said:
“Don’t be like this people, always afraid somebody is plotting against them. Don’t fear what they fear. Don’t take on their worries. If you’re going to worry, worry about The Holy. Fear God-of-the-Angel-Armies.  The Holy can be either a Hiding Place or a Boulder blocking your way, the Rock standing in the willful way of both houses of Israel,...Many of them are going to run into that Rock and get their bones broken,...

Gather up the testimony, preserve the teaching for my followers, while I wait for God as long as he remains in hiding, while I wait and hope for him. I stand my ground and hope, I and the children God gave me as signs to Israel,...

When people tell you, “Try out the fortunetellers.  Consult the spiritualists.  Why not tap into the spirit-world, get in touch with the dead?” Tell them, “No, we’re going to study the Scriptures.”

But there’ll be no darkness for those who were in trouble.... The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows— light! sunbursts of light!....For a child has been born—for us! the gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world.  His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.  He’ll rule from the historic David throne over that promised kingdom.  He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going with fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always...

The Master sent a message against Jacob. It landed right on Israel’s doorstep.  All the people soon heard the message, Ephraim and the citizens of Samaria.  But they were a proud and arrogant bunch.  They dismissed the message, saying, “Things aren’t that bad. We can handle anything that comes.... So God incited their adversaries against them, stirred up their enemies to attack:...But the people paid no mind to him who hit them, didn’t seek God-of-the-Angel-Armies. So God hacked off Israel’s head and tail,...Their wicked lives raged like an out-of-control fire, the kind that burns everything in its path—And after that, he was still angry, his fist still raised, ready to hit them again.

Luke 6:27-6:49 -

To you who are ready for the truth...Love your enemies.  Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.  When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.  If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it.  If someone grabs your shirt, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it.  If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life.  No more tit-for-tat stuff.  Live generously.  Here is the simple rule of thumb for behavior:  Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!

I tell you, love your enemies.  Help and give without expecting in return.  You’ll never-- I promise--regret it.  Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worse.  Our Father is kind, you be kind.  Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults--unless of course, you want the same treatment.  Don’t condemn those are down, that hardness can boomerang.   Be easy on people, you’ll find life a lot easier.  Give away your life, you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back--given back with bonus and blessing.  Giving, not getting, is the way.  Generosity begets generosity....

The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher....It is the I-know-better-than you mentality again playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part.

You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree nor good apples off a diseased tree.  The health of the apple tells the health of the tree.  You must begin with your own life-giving lives.  It’s who you are , not what you say and do that counts.  Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.

Why are you so polite with me, always saying “Yes, sir’ and ‘That’s right, sir’ but never doing a thing I tell you?  These words I speak to you are note mere additions to your life...the are foundation words, words to live a life on.  “If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock.....but if you just use my words in Bible Studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation...