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Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor
A while ago a comment was made about christians who love to rant,sadly there are times this is so true.A preacher once said "preach the gospel at all times,if necessary,use words".I think as we read the bible daily we should also allow the words to cleanse us and transform us.There are christians I know that just have a "something"about them.That "something"must have come from spending time in with God(word,prayer,fellowship with saints) and applying it.God gave them the splendor to draw even people they don't know to them.Rather than having to rant about the dos and don'ts of christianity,these people show the way by being light.As I read,daily I pray that I let go and let God do His work in my life.I pray that we all let go of our personal opinions and let God whose thoughts are way higher than ours take over...and transform us into the salt of the earth.
God bless you all

Ephesians chapter 6 verse 7 stood out to me today also- "Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people"
We have been having a lot of problems in our job place, and I hear so many say such negative things. This verse really struck home, because if we would remember who has given us the gift to do our job, and who we are really working for, we would have a changed attituide. I have found that even when things are tough, if I put on a smile, others will too. Thank you for the message today. Have a blessed day! Peggy Williams

I think the reminder about work is so appropriate. If we remember that even the littlest thing we do is a reflection of our love for Jesus, then we will do it with all of our energy. I am trying to view those tasks that I tend to let slide as opportunities to serve God and to humble myself, instead of as menial things that probably don't count anyway. It is not only when we are doing "spiritual" things or big jobs that we are supposed to give it all we have, but all the time. When we do the most overlooked task that is ignored by the world it is then that our motives are really being changed, I think. And God notices everything.

Isaiah 54 (NKKV)
1
“Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.
2
“ Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.
3
For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.
4
“ Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.

NOTE:
What an excellent passage from God’s Word! May we cultivate the vision to: “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.”

Note the comment of the Holy Spirit on Isaiah 54 from Galatians:

Galatians 4 (NKJV)
21
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
22
For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.
23
But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,
24
which things are symbolic. For these are the [] two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—
25
for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—
26
but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27
For it is written: “ Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.” [Isaiah 54:1]

In particular, I note that “the Jersusalem above” seems to be another way of saying “the Kingdom of Christ” which “is free”, and “is the mother of us all” who have been spiritually reborn.

I like these excellent verses, which provide wonderful comment from the Amplified Bible:
Galatians 4 (Amplified)
28
But we, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise.
29
Yet [just] as at that time the child [of ordinary birth] born according to the flesh despised and persecuted him [who was born remarkably] according to [the promise and the working of] the [Holy] Spirit, so it is now also. [Genesis 21:9]

31
So, brethren, we [who are born again] are not children of a slave woman [the natural], but of the free [the supernatural].

I am reminded of this verse:
Psalm 103 (NKJV):
19
The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.

I thank God for the free gift of salvation. I thank God that Jesus was willing to pay the unimaginable horrible price to carry my sins and your sins so we could be forgiven, receive the Lord Christ into our lives, and no longer live for ourselves but for God.

Isaiah 54 (NKJV)
8
With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9
“ For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
10
For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.

NOTE:
I like this comment by Andrew Murray in his book, “

“Let us listen to the words in which God's Word calls us to know, and worship, and trust our Covenant-keeping God it may be we shall find what we have been looking for: the deeper, the full experience of all God's grace can do in us. In our text Moses says: "Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant with them that love Him."

“Hear what God says in Isaiah: "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall My covenant of peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." More sure than any mountain is the fulfillment of every Covenant promise.”

“Of the New Covenant, in Jeremiah, God speaks: "I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me." The Covenant secures alike that God will not turn from us, nor we depart from Him: He undertakes both for Himself and us.”

Isaiah 54 (NKJV)
13
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.
14
In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.

17
No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.

NOTE:
May we teach our children and all children that God brings to us to be established in the Lord and to know Him!

I like the excellent rendering of verses 13 and 14 in the Amplified Bible:
13
And all your [spiritual] children shall be disciples [taught by the Lord and obedient to His will], and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children.
14
You shall establish yourself in righteousness (rightness, in conformity with God's will and order): you shall be far from even the thought of oppression or destruction, for you shall not fear, and from terror, for it shall not come near you.

And I really like verse 17 in the Amplified Bible:
17
But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.

May we take it to heart that we be people “in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced” so we can know the fullest measure of God’s will, Love, and Protection.

The most dangerous place in the world is the absolutely safest place to be if we are where God is leading us in His will.

Finally, may we take this promise of God to heart by fully surrendering ourselves to the Lord:

Isaiah 54 (NKJV)
14
In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15
Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.

It is not because of our righteousness—no never. No one is righteous in the eyes of God because of works or what we do. Not ever.

May we be deeply rooted in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus—that is “be established” in that—as our roots go deeply down into the Holiness and the Love of God.

As we totally surrender ourselves to the Lord, this allows Him to totally and fully be in control of our lives and be our protection!

Vance

Finally, let us pray for Muslims during Ramadan:

Written by a Christian in Kazakhstan

My Kazakh friend invited me recently to visit our town's newest congregation, a gathering of several people at another friend's home.

I went, my heart full of anticipation. I arrived on time, but the meeting could not yet begin; hardly anyone else had arrived. Soon older and younger Kazakhs arrived one by one. There were many friendly faces, some serious. They were mostly women; all spoke Kazakh, a Turkic language.

The Way

We were sitting in the living room, mostly on the floor. I was surprised that so many had come, perhaps 30 people. Orinbek says a short prayer and then plays his guitar, which needs tuning, but this does not disturb the singing of one song after another. Orinbek explains that there has been a spiritual breakthrough recently; eight people have found “the Way”. After everyone is introduced, we read a passage from the Holy Book.

The sermon is like a conversation. Orinbek and Gulnara do not seem to be specially gifted teachers or leaders. They are more like spiritual parents who take care of their “new-born children” and love them with all their heart. It was a pleasure to watch them.

People Changed

Afterwards, several people shared recent experiences with the Lord. An old Kazakh woman shouted, “Do you remember how I was a month ago? I was so nervous and agitated. Have you noticed the change in me?” Others confirmed that there had been a great change in her during the last month and praised God for this.

This group doesn't seem to need a “proper church building”. A lesson in tuning guitars would do nothing to improve the fellowship they have.

It is my prayer that there would be such a church on every street of our town. It is a real “house of God”.

Church Growth
Kazakhstan is the size of most of Western Europe, with 16 million inhabitants. Of those, 9 million traditionally share the religion of folk Islam.

Whereas there were hardly any Kazak believers in 1990, they are estimated to number over 10,000 today! The church of God is continually growing.
Prayer guide for Kazakhstan:

- Differences in culture and language are a great challenge for the emerging Kazakh churches. Pray for unity.
- The Gospel has not yet reached most of the villages and rural areas. Pray that the Kazakh churches have the courage and the wisdom to meet this challenge.
- Pray for healthy families and courage to be a witness for Jesus.
- Corruption, prostitution and crime are everywhere present. Pray for the country and the president (1 Tim. 2:1-4).
- The New Testament and half of the Old Testament have been translated into the Kazakh language. Pray for the work of the Bible translators that the Kazakhs would soon have the whole Bible in their native language.

Vance

Thanks for putting up that info Vance - truly inspirational to hear how our persecuted family cope in these dangerous days. One sentence stood out of that for me:

"This group doesn't seem to need a “proper church building”. A lesson in tuning guitars would do nothing to improve the fellowship they have."

I was just praying tonight about freedom of worship, and how I am so grateful to live in a Western free society where I never have to consider such concerns as those in many other countries do, yet even in my free society with my wonderful free church (Methodist), I was thinking how man has changed what God ordained, and how I (in reality) don't have the full freedom I would desire in church to worship God in the way I want e.g. with hands raised. Our various Protestant doctrines/theologies and other man made rituals etc have many times prevented us from truly exercising the awesome freedom we have here in the West. Sadly we swing between churches that are extreme in both respects - those that practically allow you to do nothing other than sit there and not really participate (yet which would have very solid scriptural teaching), to those where anything goes (including totally leaving scriptural teaching and using their own wisdom!). Sometimes I feel that the Persecuted Church are the ones who God truly blesses, as they truly do connect with Him through their utter need to do so for their very survival regardless of anything else they may desire. So pass on my prayers and good wishes to your friend and his 'family' there :)).

Off topic a bit, but just again thinking about the Protestant Evangelical faith - I have a wonderful new 'converted' Catholic friend who hit me with something I'd never really thought about before - that the Protestant faith currently is more a doctrine of works than Catholicism could ever be. We have added on so many 'do's' on top of scripture with each doctrine it's crazy. Even the very act of receiving God's awesome gift of salvation has in certain churches been made into a 10-point plan of say this, do that, think this etc - yet nowhere does scripture demand the half of what we do in respect of someone becoming a Christian - Paul said simply "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptised" and that was IT - something I think we need to consider perhaps when helping others to find Him and discover the joy in this incredible relationship. It's God's gift to give - not ours, and we should listen more to how HE says He wants us to tell others about it, than our churches, seminaries or whatever :). My friend has discovered the real truth and exhorts it continually - God is a God of grace, and that is ALL we need to seek in our lives if we are firmly rooted in Jesus and the Living Word as He confirms it to us. An awesome concept and so true!

On the scriptures today - I had one of those 'God' moments when He hit me with the fact that Isaiah and Ephesians have more in common than obvious at first glance - somehow I'd totally missed God speaking about spiritual armour in Isaiah - only ever really connecting with it in Ephesians, yet through the entire reading tonight (I listen to it rather than read at first), I kept thinking I was listening to the NT reading and that it was Paul speaking as the content was so incredibly similar. And it just reminded me once more of that age-old saying about how the New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed. Just a further confirmation about the validity and truth of scripture.

Blessings to all
Romayne (UK)

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