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This was a great blog today. One of the best and, what I feel is, one of the most heartfelt you have done in the several years I have been reading with you.

Thanks for the inspiration!

On this 6th anniversary of the darkness of September 11, 2001, I am grateful for Isaiah's words:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

May the light of God guide all the people of God to live out the radical love of God in a dark and confusing world.

I just discovered your blog this year, after reading the One Year Bible for several years now. Just wanted to let you know what a ministry this is in my life. Thanks for your daily posts, Mike. It is so neat to have fellowship in these readings, and the insights from others have also been a blessing.

I do have a thorn in my flesh -- it is called multiple sclerosis. It has been with me since 1988. At first, I struggled and asked, "why me?. After a couple of years, I found myself coming back closer to God. Several years later, when I lost the use of my hands and needed it, he gave me the gift of drawing with my mouth using pastel pencils. I can SEE that his strength is great in my weakness, and other people seem to see that too. I just ordered a CD copy of The Ragamuffin Gospel. I'm sure that it will help me even more come to terms with my MS. Thanks.

can't pass up a chance to comment on Mikes comment about Brennan Mannings book, "The Ragmuffin Gospel"...

Folks if you have not read the Ragmuffin Gospel you owe it to yourself to get a copy... This is one of the 5 greatest books ever written in my book, and another book by manning Ruthless Trust" has to be considered on anyones top 5 or 10 list...

The book really brings grace alive for you... It really helps you to get set free from thinking you have to earn your salvation... It frees you to love GOD more... Please take mine and Mikes advice and check it out!

The ragmuffin gospel will CHANGE you! I guarantee it!


I will do my hit and run into the New Testament today.

Mike, I know that most all commentators believe that Paul’s Thorn in the Side was an illness; however, something that has been part of language since speech, Idiomatic Expressions, has been overlooked they are apart of every language known to man.

In the book of Numbers we read:

But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. (Numbers 33:55 KJV) Obviously, the people God was speaking of were not going to be magically changed into pricks or thorns. Though God does have the ability to change rocks into the children of Abraham, I don’t believe that He was speaking of changing human flesh into plant life.

We, in the United States, use the term, “Pain in the Neck,” for someone who is very annoying, and they may give us a headache but they are not really sticking out of our necks like a needle.

Everywhere Paul went to preach the gospel, he had people who opposed him, many opposing him did so very violently.

Are they ministers of Christ? I (speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
(2 Corinthians 11:23-30 KJVR)

How often hopefully this was done before our salvation (b. s. days) have we told people, “You make me sick?’ Did we mean that they have us some kind of virus or germ, maybe they did, but the usually context of that particular idiomatic expression is to convey irritation, annoyance, etc.

For me Paul’s thorn in the flesh is the folks that opposed him. Besides that word messenger in messenger of Satan (KJV), sits on the Hebrew word that is translated angel.

Isaiah 8 (NKJV)
therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River [That is, the Euphrates]—the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks
and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel [Immanuel means God with us]!"
Raise the war cry, [Or Do your worst] you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us. [Hebrew Immanuel]

The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread,
and He will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
a trap and a snare.
Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured."

Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.
I will wait for the LORD, Who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.
Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

There is so much richness right here before even getting the excellent brightness of the Glory of the appearance of the Messiah!

Immanuel – “God is with us”. God so identified Himself with His people that they,too, are called "Immanuel". God's grace, totally undeserved, unearned and unrepayable is AMAZING!

People all over the world who believe in God like to claim that God is with them regardless of their belief, unbelief or lifestyle. Yet we cannot simply claim that “God is with us” because that is our wish.

“The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy”. God has seen our persistent sins and our sins keep us from God.

Immanuel: “God is with us” – Even though not all of God’s people are faithful to God, God is always faithful to His people.

Those who trust Him, even when He appears to have turned away, will always find Him faithful!

We are called to be “signs and symbols. . .from the LORD Almighty”. May our lives truly be living letters of God’s Goodness, Holiness and Love.

God’s Word is His bond, and His Word will never, ever fail. We can and we need to trust it so His Word can bear fruit in our lives. Only through the fruit of God’s Word in our lives can we be “signs and symbols. . .from the LORD Almighty”.

Isaiah 9 (NKJV)
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death [Or land of darkness] a light has dawned.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, [Or Wonderful, Counselor] Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, yet He was raised in the northern part of Israel called Nazareth!

Not only those in Nazareth, but we all are “living in the land of darkness” because we are “the shadow of death” caused by our rebellion against the most Loving God.

verses 6 and 7
Jesus is God. The zeal of God to accomplish His purposes is so intense that we cannot comprehend it. May we spend time with this loving Lord in praise and worship so we can be infused with His zeal and His will!

People see the reality of terrorism and people of the same mindset, and we see their total and complete dedication and zeal to their false god and their cause. The terrorists want us to be afraid of them.

Yet, the zeal of the Lord-- the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--is a million times greater and more intense!

May we truly taste of the character His zeal! We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us!

2 Corinthians 12 (NKJV)
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

I like the comment below that I read on these verses.

"Paul's thorn was an evil power that brought continuous physical buffetings to discourage and hinder him: weakness, persecutions, tight spots, shipwrecks, betrayals of friendship, and a long list of other opposing powers."

"Paul could not understand these hindrances, and he sought God three times to remove them. But God said, 'No, Paul, I shall not take away this thorn, but I will make My strength perfect in these experiences in which you feel so weak. I will give you sufficient grace and strength to bear them victoriously" (see II Corinthians 12:9)."

"Through God's answer, Paul realized that in his weakness, he would have to depend wholly upon God and His strength, knowledge, and power, which were abundantly given to him. Therefore, Paul said, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (II Corinthians 12:10)."

"If this explanation of Paul's thorn in the flesh doesn't satisfy you, then remember this one fundamental fact: WHATEVER IT WAS, EVEN IF WAS SICKNESS, IT DID NOT HINDER HIM FROM BEING A FULLY ACTIVE PERSON!”

“Therefore, I must gather from God extra strength. . . I, too, can say with Paul, 'His grace is sufficient for me' (see II Corinthians 12:9)."

May we truly, like Paul, depend wholly upon God and His strength, knowledge, and power, which are abundantly given to us!

May we truly be fully who God called us to be because we persevere and press into God!

Psalm 55 (NKJV)
My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant.
His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.

Verses 20 and 21 from Psalm 55 sound similar to what Jesus said in John 13 (NKJV):
“I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’[Psalm 41:9]

verse 22 – May we actively seek Him and rest in Him—not in ourselves.


Isaiah 8:1-9:21

Isaiah is in the midst of his people, God’s people, and is given a name to give to his child, a son, yet conceived, much less born. His two son’s names as well as his name, Isaiah, are prophetic reminders of what God will do. Yet despite all the destruction and despite Ahaz’s paying off of Assyria to chase away or stop Rezin, king of Syria and Pekah, king of Samaria—the Northern Kingdom, Judah and Jerusalem will be overtaken like a flood by the empire, Assyria, which she has paid handsomely to be her ally. Instead of turning to God, which Isaiah had previously told Ahaz to do and which was confirmed by a prophetic Word back in chapter seven, Ahaz turned to the Arm of Man, Assyria.

Immanuel, God with us, is something we think about as happening when Jesus was born, but Immanuel was back there when evil king Ahaz was on the throne with Rezin and Pekah breathing down his neck. Immanuel was back there when Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt hidden in the Pillar of Fire by night and the Pillar of Cloud by day.

Just like Immanuel was with Israel and Judah even when Assyria was flooding their land, he is with us today through natural disasters and manmade wars. . Are we bold enough to see Him in that Cloud and in the Fire? Are we perceptive to see him in the names of the children God has given to the prophet, as well as in the name of that prophet? We cry out, “Where is God?” when we experience pain, destruction and confusion, yet Immanuel is all around us. Open your spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear Him.

II Corinthians 12:1-10

It is usually preached that Paul’s thorn-in-the-flesh was some kind of illness and disability whether from actual sickness or from the myriad of beatings and stonings that happened to him because of his boldness in spreading the gospel but I’m not a firm believer in that line of thinking. Paul had been beat up a lot, so he probably looked like a train wreck in search of an accident. Even if Paul was funny looking and repulsed people at that time, we humans have this funny thing about us when we are around someone who is exuding love and kindness, we don’t see that “funny looking stuff.”

A pretty face and a “cut” body may first draw our eyes to look upon such a gorgeous vision, but if the person has an “ugly” personality then pretty gets ugly very quick. No, I think, this messenger of Satan was a person, or a person that had a pretty ugly spirit. Maybe it was those folks that followed behind after him trying to undo the freeing work of the Gospel. Again, I repeat, this is my opinion.

It is when I have tried everything to reason with an unreasonable person making sure and checking myself that there was not anything I did to cause animosity that I put that person, and myself, in God’s hands.

Psalm 55:1-23

Not only can we understand when our enemies come against us, well after all they are enemies, but it is our friends, or loved ones that caused the most damage and pain when they come against us. That is the time we need to call on God for our protection. An enemy does because he is our enemy; but when those who are suppose to “have our backs” turn on us that is the unkindest “cut” of all. And just like there are those who turn on us, I’m surer than sure that we have turned on those who we are suppose to be in a loving relationship with.

Proverbs 23:4-5

If we were to make a study of people who acquired wealth by working for it, we will find that the wealth, the wealth that lasts, did not come by way of get-quick-rich schemes. Most wealth earned legitimately was earned by ordinary people doing ordinary things extraordinary well. Besides there are other wisdom Proverbs that speak of wealth earned wrongly,

Proverbs 13:11 NET. Wealth gained quickly will dwindle away, but the one who gathers it little by little will become rich.

Proverbs 10:2 NET. Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from mortal danger.

7th anniversary! Thank you, Lord for your protection. Thank you for your love, for your provision, for loving a ragamuffin like me. for the hope that we have in you, for your glorious promise, you reign - Jesus you reign. Pray for the purpose God has for our country in this election year- that the voice of freedom that rings in this land would be freedom to serve and give glory to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the lover of our souls and giver of our lives - that the righteous would be raised up and wicked brought down - God's judgments are righteous.


Could you help me please, I am the Town Centre Manager in Bromley and am working with the Churches on a projections project and would like to use your 'jesus in the manger' picture' Could I do this, and have a copy in High res. Happy to pay copyright etc. Can you come bace to me ASAP and the one I wanted to use is not possible./.
0208 313 4456

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