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Isaiah 41:17-43:13

The oppressed and the poor look for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched from thirst. I, the Lord, will respond to their prayers; I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them. I will make streams flow down the slopes and produce springs in the middle of the valleys. I will turn the desert into a pool of water and the arid land into springs. (Isaiah 41:17-18 NET.)

Reading these two verses brought these Words of Jesus to my remembrance,

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6 NET.)

Everything that is written in the Prophets is found in Jesus. I believe it is not until we get to the place where we are like the dear, with his tongue hanging out from thirst panting for water (Psalm 42:1), that God will quench our thirst and satiate our hunger. When we stop filling ourselves up with things that will never satisfy our thirst then God will come in and give us Streams of Living Water.

I have always loved the first four verses of Isaiah 42 from the very first time I read it.

"Here is my servant whom I support, my chosen one in whom I take pleasure. I have placed my spirit on him; he will make just decrees for the nations. He will not cry out or shout; he will not publicize himself in the streets. A crushed reed he will not break a dim wick he will not extinguish; he will faithfully make just decrees. He will not grow dim or be crushed before establishing justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait in anticipation for his decrees." (Isaiah 42:1-4 NET.)

I’m not sure what specifically in and about these four verse bring me such joy and comfort but I think for me it gives me guidelines in determining or discerning who, is ministering the Gospel. Are they, am I really being led by the Holy Spirit? Or am I being led by my own flesh? When I see or hear people preaching in the street or subway. I ask, “Are they following these guidelines?” Are they witnessing or are they being a witness by their comportment. Can people see in them, can they see in me the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

God also gives Isaiah a scathing indictment in chapter 42 against God’s people then, and now.
18 "Oh, how deaf and blind you are toward me! Why won't you listen? Why do you refuse to see? 19 Who in all the world is as blind as my own people, my servant? Who is as deaf as my messengers? Who is as blind as my chosen people, the servant of the LORD? 20 You see and understand what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear, but you don't really listen."

Yet, despite all of these charges, we are still God’s people because He loves us unconditionally.

Ephesians 2:1-22
But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. (Ephesians 2:13-16 NET.)

These are awesome verses. The Law that kept God Chosen People, the Jews, separated from the Gentiles, that’s me, was done away with. He made two different people, the ones who were given the Law and the ones who were not, into one people group. Even if we refuse to accept that Jews are God’s Original Chosen People God still sees us as One. Even if the Jews fail to accept the Gentiles as part of their family, God still sees us as One Family. We are family not because we accept and are endeared to everyone; we are family by way of Blood, the shed Blood of Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 23:29-35

For a while, I have seen alcoholic beverages as bottled “spirits.” In fact there are still stores in Manhattan that use the phrase, “Wines and Spirits” in the title that identifies their business. I live in the Borough of Brooklyn or Kings County, part of New York City, and my borough is also known as the Borough of Churches. A church building should be a place where folks get together who are filled with the Holy Spirit. However, we know that there are churches all around the world where there is no Spirit: they have a counterfeit spirit. Coupled with the “bottled” spirits we find in liquor stores and those places that operate under a counterfeit sprit these verses, at least to me, do not deal exclusively with the imbibing of many alcoholic beverages.

Whatever the choice, fake sprit or one from a bottle, the consequences are the sam, you will find yourself shipwrecked, so beware.

Grace and peace,

Ephesians 2:1-10 was the passage that stood out to me the most. It says that before we were saved, we were sinful, disobedient, and satisfying our fleshly desires. We deserved horrible punishment. Verse 4-6 then lifts the mood, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus-" It's amazing how God can be so gracious and merciful to such sinners like us. He has brought us up from our sinful, undeserving selves to salvation through Jesus Christ. These verses made me realize how much God really deserves praise and glory, yet sometimes we still don't glorify him.

Yesterday I was introduced to this ministry https://www.treeoflifeisrael.org/about-us whose goal is to evangelize the Jews in Israel. Watching a couple of the videos and hearing Isaiah 53 read in Hebrew by the very chosen people was both moving and sad. Because it is so evident in today's reading that God is both just and loving toward His people (and all of His creation for that matter). He warned and judged them of their worship of idols but He also tirelessly reminded them of His protection and blessing. Thus, seeing the Israelites today who are completely blinded to the Messiah found in Jesus is disheartening. But having ministry sprung up like the one mentioned before gives me hope that the Lord is not done. While I do not know many Jews but lately I am reminded of many non believing friends from the past that perhaps I can start praying for since both Jews and Gentiles need the same salvation through Jesus.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" This verse really stood out to me. Even though we see this verse very often, it still has special meaning. God sent his son to die for us. He sacrificed his life to save us from eternal death and suffered so much so that we may live forever. And this is not our works, not our doing, but it is the grace and gift of God. Now that's the amazing love God gives to us, that we don't have to die for our own selfish sins.

Verse 1-3 of Ephesians chapter 2 describes the sins of humans, whereas verses 4-10 shows the power, love and mercy of God. By contrasting humans with God it really shows the kindness he offers to us despite our sins and why we should truly glorify his name.

Ephesians 2:1-10 is a very humbling passage to me. It reminds me that everything is a gift from God. My salvation comes from God. Even the "good" things that I do were planned by God ahead of time for me to do. There is nothing I can give to God that He hasn't already given me. But the one thing I can give is my faith through which grace saves me. So God has given me everything: grace, hope, peace, unity, the Holy Spirit and lots more that I can never earn by myself. I am thankful that He is a loving God.

Even though we are so undeserving, God still saved us and brought us to him. God doesn't only allow Jews, he accepts all people because of his son, Jesus.

Ephesians 2:1-10 really shows us how great God's love is for us and how much we don't deserve His love. "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10). God has a plan and purpose for all of us; we should faithfully follow God and trust in the plans that He has for us.

"May the people's praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you." I am often guilty of not thanking Him and not praising enough. Yesterday's passages are still lingering on: "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.". Yes, it is so true as I'm growing older. Every day is a gift from above.
O my God, I shall praise you in the morning and praise you in the night and thank you for loving me.

Praise God for His Great love.
Praise God for His rich in mercy.
Praise God for His grace and Kindness. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

This is the gospel message. We were created to be children of God but we are all sinners. So Jesus (God's Son) had to die on the cross and be raised on the third day so we can confess our sins and be seen as pure in Gods Eyes.

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