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Isaiah 43:14-45:10

Mike you ask, “do we create idols of our own today?” I think as long as there are men and women walking the earth only when Jesus comes again will we stop creating our idols.

I’ve pondered for years why we love to create idols. My definition being anything submitted to and looked upon for deliverance and as a source of life and sustenance. We create our idols so we, by substitution, control the universe or in a smaller sphere, we control our own little universe. With an idol, we make up the rules of conduct and engagement. The problem comes in when everyone has their own little idol and they try to force others to bow down to what they have created. When that happens the strongest, manipulative, the one with the most human power, wins out.

Just when we think we have the answers given to us by a rock (crystals), mood rings, the government, along comes God and says, “Not so!”

24 The LORD, your Redeemer and Creator, says: "I am the LORD, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. By myself I made the earth and everything in it. 25 I am the one who exposes the false prophets as liars by causing events to happen that are contrary to their predictions. I cause wise people to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools. 26 But I carry out the predictions of my prophets! When they say Jerusalem will be saved and the towns of Judah will be lived in once again, it will be done! 27 When I speak to the rivers and say, `Be dry!' they will be dry. 28 When I say of Cyrus, `He is my shepherd,' he will certainly do as I say. He will command that Jerusalem be rebuilt and that the Temple be restored."

Just my thoughts.

Ephesians 3:1-21

Paul seems to be one of those “Get-up-and-go” kind of guys. He appears to want to take care of business in person whether to confront or to encourage. Paul was a hands-on kind of guy. So I am glad that Paul was constrained by the Holy Spirit by way of travel plans and yes, even prison. If Paul was not confined by these things how much of the New Testament would have been written and codified?

Some of us are going through trials, bad trials. Some of us desire to do things “For God,” yet find ourselves blocked in and seemingly shut out. But God may have other plans for us that will only be accomplished when our escape routes are blocked or destroyed.

Paul was able to write this wonderful explosive prayer in chains,

14 When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. 17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. 21 May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.

Psalm 68:1-18

Ever wonder how loud it will be in heaven? I think the decibel level will be tremendous and we will have glorified ears so as not to destroy our eardrums. I get my clues from verses like this:

Sing praises to God and to his name!
Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.
His name is the LORD--
rejoice in his presence!

Ever forget where you are and start singing to God, loudly? I know I have and then looked sheepishly around me with embarrassment as folks look at my as if I’m crazy. Maybe I am crazy, crazy for God. I think it’s time I stop being embarrassed for singing out loud to God. I shouldn’t be any more embarrassed then those who argue or speak loudly on their cell phones so that everyone on the train can here them.

Proverbs 24:1-2

Truth be told we envy evil people because we want what they have. We want the things, the brashness, the boldness and the audacity to do what they do. Yet God provides boldness in Him and besides, God owns everything in the universe. For the Believer, God is our Dad,”… who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3 NET.)

(Proverbs 28:1 KJVR) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Grace and peace,

After reading Paul's letter in jail, I pray that in the future when I am going through trials and tribulations, I can still boldly proclaim the goodness and graciousness of God just like Paul does.

In Isaiah today, the Lord went at length to make us know how much He despise idolatry. Perhaps as believers, our idols come in a more deceptive forms. It is often something that seems to be good but yearning to much of it will make us fall. I ask the Lord to help me recognize these subtle hidden idols in my life. May my heart attitude never comes to be like the pot..."9 “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?" who completely usurps the throne of God in our lives.

"Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the LORD-- rejoice in his presence!" (Psalm 68:4). Keeping God in mind throughout my daily life and “singing” to Him passionately and loudly is something I need to continue working towards.

In Isaiah 44:6-20 is basically describing how wonderful, powerful, and almighty God is, and how he is the ONLY God. But then people make idols for themselves with things like wood, or in today's world, money. Isn't God enough? He is actually a living, all-powerful, gracious God, unlike a block of wood! As verse 17-18 says, "He prays to it and says,“Save me! You are my god!” They know nothing, they understand nothing, their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand." When I read this verse, I was seriously astonished because as foolish as it is, people do that. Although I don't think most people in our community bow down to wood anymore, MONEY can still be an idol- when we want it too much and desire it more than God. Same goes with other earthly possessions or desires.

In this chapter,talks about the mystery of scripture and Christ. What is the mystery? The mystery is as Paul says in verse 6, Gentiles are heirs and of the same body who follow Christ. Paul says that he feels blessed to preach to the Gentiles about the riches of Christ and the creator of the world, God. He tells them not to lose heart about his sufferings them. Then he starts talking about how prayer gives strength and power to all.

Paul, who was converted by Christ, encourages the Gentiles by telling them they are part of God's people. He also tells them that because of this, they can talk with God like to a friend.

My prayer for LITs: (Ephesians 3:16-21)
I ask the Father to give you the power and strength to be strong in spirit.
I pray that Christ will live in your hearts.
I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on Christ love.
I pray that you can understand how great, how wide and how long and how high and how deep that Christ love is.
I pray that you can be filled with the fullness of God and with God’s power...in Jesus Christ name. Amen.

The passages in Isaiah reminded me yesteryears wood is today's money which provides food, shelter, warmth and much more. It could easily become our idol. The scripture has repeatedly warned us the danger of loving money.
In Ephesians, I'm much encouraged by Paul's prayer for us to root in love because of Christ's love for us. May Christ dwell in all our hearts through faith. Amen

Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me...and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. Is my favorite verse today

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