Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Big Fish Story

I can't recall how many times I have actually gone bass fishing in December. But I mentioned to my good friend, Steve Renfroe, that I was NEEDING to get away and throw a line... and he provided the opportunity.

We left after exams on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Steve had a large group up at the baseball cage watching MLB player Wes Helms crushing the baseball. We jumped in the truck and headed about an hour southeast to an undisclosed part of Coosa County.

The lake was beautiful- the clear blue sky and bright sun had warmed us up to just over 50F and I knew it would be a pleasant day whether I caught anything or not.

It is always so quiet during the winter- but it only added to the peace of the afternoon. After only 5 minutes of just standing and staring, I was feeling the health that God's pristine creation always provides.

We launched the boat and drifted through all kinds of good fish cover- past the faithful feeders that feed the fish that end up being the delicacies of the trophies we hoped to land. This particular lake is managed by Southeastern Pond Management Company and from all external evidence was healthy and excellent.

I always start with plastic- it is just my comfortable base. It helps me feel out the lake- depth, cover, and I feel the temp of the lure to get a sense of how slow I need to go. The water was cold. And there wasn't any activity visible to my eye.

But even then, I loved throwing and working my red ribbon- tailed Texas rig on the end of a faithful old Ambassador reel and sturdy rod.

About 45 minutes in I finally got a tap, likely a bream, but was a thrill to finally have some life on the other end of the line. Two casts later, I finally pulled one in. Very cold and very small 1 lb bass, who was never going to return because of the harvest rules of the management.

It was almost 20 minutes later that I began to experiment with some other presentations. I tried a lizard, but didn't like the dark blue color for those conditions (no clue if the bass care about the color- it has always been what I feel good about). I like the chartreuse firetail on the end of Steve's lizard and he had gotten some action on it.

So I pulled out a light green fluke and put it on my Texas rig.... but it was too heavy.

I wanted something to hang in a slow suspended area near cover.

 I then rigged it totally weightless, but it was too light and really never got out of eyesight. I then put a small slip shot weight about 4-6 inches up the line from the hook and liked what I got from that. Enough to work it with different tugs and twitches, and let it fall and drift.

I wacky hooked it for a few throws, but thought the action was too fast for the temp. I then regular hooked it and let it swim and drop. My first cast like that got a strike. It was like the others we were getting... just a small tap, and not much after that..... I set the hook, but missed.

I have to credit my friend Jody Rogers for a lifelong habit I have done after a miss. I don't cast right back at it. I will go away for 1 cast and then come back. So I turned form the close bank and cast just past a stickup about 10 yards behind me. I twitched the fluke with a little flip right at the stick up and watched it drift down.... and that is where she picked it up. It was a good tug and felt heavy on my hook set. It was a big fish and I began to work it in.

Steve got real excited... "Big fish" and I said "I don't think it is that big" but then I saw her turn sideways and OH BOY... it was no ordinary big fish.

We pulled out the net and for a second I had net and rod. I almost lost her as she took one more dive and tried to get under the boat, but I eased her back to the top and we netted her in.

I have had a 10 lb dumb bell in my hands before... but this felt heavier.

The stats revealed what a whopper catch this was...... 12.5 lbs/ 29"long/ and a girth of 19"- fat full of shad.

In the monster's mouth was the fin of a fish that looked as big as the earlier bass I caught. This fish was stuffed to the gill and still eating!

Steve caught a few more on a crankbait in the same area- all of his fish that day were nice.

But I had done the fishing version of a hole in one..... that lucky shot that rolls in for a rank amateur  that makes him smile for a while and tell everyone about what he has done- but on the inside you know that it will likely never happen again. It was also a huge make-up for all the times the big one has snapped my line or slung the hook back at me- all the former anguish was now joy!

We ended the day filling up the feeders and I got to shoot his pistol for a few rounds.

It was a great Christmas present and I am thankful to the Lord for His creation and to Steve and the gracious lake owner for the opportunity. I will be back...........

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Grace in the Shadow of Judgment: Isaiah CH 6

Continuing my study of Isaiah

 In the year that King Uzziah died,

This is 740 BC and we read about King Uzziah in II Chronicles 26. He was a good king. He ascended the throne at 16 and reigned 52 years. He led in such manner as the Lord prospered him. Under his rule, Jerusalem became rich and powerful. But just as Judah had done in Ch 1-5- Uzziah becomes a tragic, real life symbol of a fall. Uzziah, in haughtiness, entered into the temple and tried to burn incense. He was confronted by the high priest and 80 other priests. Uzziah, full of pride and now anger at the confrontation stretched out his hand in defiance and was struck in leprosy. He had to be exiled and lived the rest of his life as an outcast.

Many scholars agree that Isaiah and Uzziah were related. I tend to see this chapter ( and some of it is speculation) as Isaiah grieving over the fall of this great King and kinsman. Possibly compounding his despair over the decay of culture as well.

But in this time of darkness (remember the end of CH 5:30b "behold, darkness and distress; and the light is darkened by its clouds.") Isaiah is given a bright light to say the least.

 I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne;

The Lord (Adonai- ruler/ in authority) is on the throne. It is like The Lord shows Isaiah....yes, the earthly throne is in chaos- but I am still in control.

How could Isaiah 'see' the Lord? The Bible indicates that no man can see God and live. This is a Theophany or more precisely, a Christophany- see the vision of Christ in Rev 1 and the description of the heavenly throne room in Rev 3/4 for parallel comparisons.

The best argument that this 'Adonai' is the transfigured Christ is found in John 12: 37-41. After quoting Isaiah, John writes, "Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him ." I believe the pronoun refers to Christ.

God reveals Himself in ways to us to grasp the ungraspable and perceive the unperceivable. For example, the TRINITY is mysterious, but gives us some handles understanding the transcendent. This is likely a 'vision'- but it is real and represents and even greater reality.

 and the train of his robe filled the (temple).  

The longer the train... the greater the King. This train fills and is ever filling the temple/palace.

Is this a temple or a palace? The Hebrew word can be either one. A throne would indicate a palace- but the altar in vs. 6 would indicate a temple.

The Bible clearly divided the King from the priest in man's government.... this is what Uzziah's act violated. BUT IN CHRIST- He unifies the office of Prophet, Priest, and King.

Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 

Seraphim are 'burning ones'- blazing heavenly creatures- but notice that the HOLINESS and BURNING of Adonai even affects the seraphim. They cover their faces......even they cannot look at such. They cover their feet (Moses, take off your sandals, in front of the burning bush) and they fly (hovering...but not touching). We treat holy things with way too trifle a manner.

 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

We know this- THIS IS THE ONLY THRICE USED ADJECTIVE phrase in the Bible. There is pit/pit in Genesis, gold/gold in Solomon's temple, peace/peace in Isaiah 26, truly/truly in New Testament... but only GOD"S HOLINESS is 3 fold. 

There are two aspects to holiness. "Alien" or nor like us or TRANSCENDENT. God is not like us and the more we get a picture of how big and awesome He is- the better it is for us. This is the Creature/Creator distinction that Dr. Van Til so often referred to.

A second aspect of holiness is purity. But we cannot even contemplate how pure is this purity. We can only think of it in a negative sense... without sin- but this does the idea no real justice.

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

Earthquakes, fire, smoke are frequently linked to the presence of God among men. Oh that the Lord would us shake and be on fire for Him!

 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

The very first recorded words of the prophet... "WOE" is me. The word woe has already been used multiple times in the first 5 chapters. We often see it in relation to the sin of others... but it is most applicable to the sin in our lives. This is the 'best' that creates true contrition and humility.

This is a natural response when men encounter the living God. They fall to the ground. Think of all the great Biblical heroes who were 'knocked down' in humility to be picked up by the Lord for great ministry. Jacob walked with a limp after losing his fight with the Lord. Moses was resigned to 40 years in the wilderness and had a lowly estate when the bush began to burn. Peter fell to the ground and exclaimed "Depart from me, Lord, I am a sinful man.". Paul was struck down and blinded.  

In this world of lifting self esteem and avoiding hard truth- the Bible is very counter-intuitive. An exalted man sins... a humble man serves the Lord for much good.

 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.

On this declaration of contrition- the burning one 'flies' to Isaiah. God is quick to apply mercy and He rushes to the truly repentant. But notice.. GOD initiates the process. He revealed Himself and He applies the grace. All Isaiah added to justification was sin.

This is why I titled this post: GRACE in the SHADOW of Judgment. God's grace is most fully applicable when His transcendence/majesty/holiness most manifest. The greatest love verse in the Bible is in context of eternal judgment- For God so loved the world that He gave His Son that whoever believes in Him WILL NOT PERISH but have eternal life.

Of course it is also noteworthy how thorough the cleansing is- Your guilt is taken away and your sin is covered (atoned for). WOW- what a gracious Savior!


God's mercy is applied by the initiation and act of God. Isaiah responds to grace by a willingness to now cooperate/serve God.

 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

We do not believe in faith plus works to merit salvation... we believe in a grace THAT works.
James and Paul were not opposites... they were unified. Look at Ephesians 2:8-10
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Do I say to God- Here I am, send me? If not, I need more grace, I need to see God and His holiness more, OI need to pay much closer attention to my salvation....

Then we see this strange ministry that Isaiah is called to:

He said, “Go and tell this people:

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
 Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

WHAT? G.K. Beale has long helped us to understand this language. In the Bible, sensory organ malfunction (that is figurative) is always in context of idolatry. It is the natural result of idolatry to become blind and deaf, hardened and more lost.

We see this very clearly in Isaiah 42 and 44- Psalm 135 says that we become like the idols we worship. Beale states it this way: What we revere, we resemble, either to ruin or to restoration.

The people of God have forsaken God and now have become like their idols- deaf, mute, blind- of no use at all.

And now, the judgement that God promised in Genesis, in Deuteronomy, all throughout the institutions of the covenant is now going to be certain in the course of Isaiah's 50 years of 'ministry'. He is going to preach and have a 90% failure rate.....

 Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”
And he answered:
“Until the cities lie ruined
    and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
    and the fields ruined and ravaged,
 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
    and the land is utterly forsaken.
 And though a tenth remains in the land,
    it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
    leave stumps when they are cut down,
    so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

Dr. Ortlund speaks of how this hardness takes root:

Every time you hear the word of God preached- you come away from that exposure either a little closer to God or a little hardened- but you are not the same.
The same message that is enliving you to Christ is hardening someone else. James 1:21 “Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your soul”

His application to this passage goes like this:

If your heart does not leap at God’s grace in Christ- what you need is more grace. Nothing can save us from our own deadness. We should fear the hardness of our heart more than anything else. Beware of rigidity, beware of a demanding spirit- beware of an unmelted heart that is NEVER satisfied- beware of a mind that that looks for excuses to not believe- beware of the impulse that always finds a reason to delay a response- beware of thinking how a sermon applies to someone else-

Is 66:2 But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

I can't imagine what it would be like to be Isaiah. For 50 years, you were going to pronounce judgment over a proud and prosperous nation who were blind to the truth. Extra-biblical accounts say that he was sawn in two as a result of this 'preaching'.

Even though King Uzziah died in 740 BC- the actual destruction and exile did not happen until 606 B.C. Like the days of Noah, the people would not listen. Just as the parable of Jesus, they will not believe even if someone were to rise from the dead.

Where are we today?

Remember WHY God said the land was going to be laid waste?

Isaiah 5:24(b) "for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts and they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel".

Oh Father, please apply your mercy. May we see you and humble ourselves. May we find more grace to soften our dead hearts and our idolatrous ways. May your word be accepted and not rejected. May we love and not despise your truth! Please shower more grace because we see the clouds of judgment gathering!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A Powerful Prologue- Isaiah 1-5

I have admired the Book of Isaiah for so many years. Though not always pleasant to read, it seems like every section has solid, deep, concrete content written in stylistic and literary excellence.

The more I study the Book, the more convinced I am that the first 5 chapters of Isaiah represent a type of prologue, introducing the main themes of Isaiah's 50 years of prophetic and faithful ministry.

After the prologue, in CH. 6 we meet the man Isaiah and his powerful vision of Christ that marks his call and commission as a prophet.

If you have ever been to a musical, you know the importance of a prologue. It is that part, before the curtain opens, where all of the music that will come later is introduced to the audience. It brings memories to those who know the musical, and it tunes the ears of those who are new.

I attended a high school presentation of Roger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella last year. It is quite different from the Disney version. I had not heard those songs for a number of years, but when my daughters were young, we watched the video quite often.

Sitting in the audience that night, our excellent orchestra hit a few bars of each of those familiar songs... and though I had not heard them in years, I immediately remembered the lyrics and tunes and was looking forward to hearing them in a fuller sense later.

This is what you get in the first 5 chapters of Isaiah- a prelude to the great Book:

A Broken hearted God, Resolute in Judging Sin

The word translated "Ah" in 1:4 communicates both a warning and a lament. Over and over, you have this promise from God to judge sin, but it is not capricious, careless, or without feeling. In fact, God presents Himself as a father who has to give grievous consequences to a loved, but wayward son.

A Foolish and Rebellious Nation

Judah and Jerusalem is thoroughly convicted of forsaking God and breaking His covenant promises.
And the worst part of it is that they suffer the results of their own choosing.  5:4 'for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel." And the result?
Rebellion- Laden with iniquity- Sickness - Desolate and burned out- over thrown- ritualistic religion that is of no value- violence- oppression- sexual immorality- crime- loss of leaders- back room bribes- mysticism- syncretism with foreign gods- greed- pride- injustice- famine- depression- lack of discretion- decay- addiction- substance abuse- false witness- calling evil good and good evil- and a coming army of invaders.

The Sin of Pride

Pride/Arrogance/ and Haughtiness seems to rise in the ashes of sin and rebellion like an especially wicked attribute with an equally strong response from the Lord.

Several times the Lord has Isaiah write: "Man is humbled and each one is brought low."

The Sin of Idolatry

Idolatry is when anything other than God is elevated to an ultimate thing. You get introduced to forms of idolatry in the first 5 chapters (fortune telling, alcoholism, consumerism) but this theme isn't as clear until later on. In Ch. 6, you get the eventual impact of idolatry- sensory organ malfunction- blind eyes, deaf ears- as part of Isaiah's calling. But the sin of idolatry ranks up there with pride and will be expounded on later in the 66 chapters of the Book.

The Woes of Life When God is Forsaken

This one is clearly spelled out in Ch. 1-5. The word woe is used 9 times and outlines how difficult life in when one is weighed down in sin. Isaiah 5 has a particularly poignant verse 18:

Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,
The prophet himself will utter "WOE" when he sees the high and lifted LORD.

The Coming Judgement

It is scary when God closes the door of mercy and says, "No more delay".  Though it may not be as suddenly as we suspect- he pronounces it at it WILL come.
 And the process is something like this:

JUDGEMENT- all warnings are over. He will now keep His word.
ABANDONMENT- a withdrawal of His divine protection and provision
FAMISHED…..FAMINE- the decay is gradual, but evident. Signs of cursing grow exponentially.
WEAKNESS- No leaders, no fertile land, no productivity
OVERTHROW- In comes the invading army- hungry, disciplined, and destructive.

The Promise of Salvation

But the promise of salvation- even if to a remnant remains......

There are beautiful passages of the future kingdom to those who remain.

CH 1
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”    says the Lord.“Though your sins are like scarlet,    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,    they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient,    you will eat the good things of the land.

CH 2
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,    to the temple of the God of Jacob.He will teach us his ways,    so that we may walk in his paths.”The law will go out from Zion,    the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations    and will settle disputes for many peoples.They will beat their swords into plowshares    and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,    nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob,    let us walk in the light of the Lord.

CH 4
 In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.  Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem.  The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.  Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy.  It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.

If you like a few bars of this prologue...wait until the curtain comes up!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 38,414

Words cannot capture how different this has all been and no earthly experience captures the sights, sounds, smells, excitement, peace, and boundless bliss.

Indeed- how dark a shadow it was.

So how can I communicate the continuous upward climb of the inexpressible fulfillment? Love, relationships, adventure, and freshness without an end or even a faint hint of diminishing return.

I still am baffled that I can count the days- that it is tangible- that I experience it in body and concrete memories- who would have imagined?

So today was still a shock. I heard my new name... the one that only He had for me. I quickly turned and the transcendent presence was now immanent.

I smiled with excitement, "RABBONI"!

"Come, it is time to show you something."

And we flew. Dodging and dancing with speed and elegance. It was like children in a game of chase.

It was work, but not tiring. It was supersonic, yet balanced. And we screeched to a blistering stop.

He pointed to a dusty cluster in the distance.

"There is another time and place. That will be the next time we see one another like this. And there are some I am excited for you to see." His voice flooded my heart and I smiled so hard it almost hurt.

"But here is what I planned for today."

At that moment, he held a small globe in his hand and playfully tossed it to me.

It didn't take long for me to realize what it appeared to me.

"The earth?" I asked.

"No.... an earth. The old has passed away- this is brand new and it is all yours."

"No my Lord, please, this is not mine- I....."

"No, my son, all I was given is now for my children."

I bowed low, so adoring of the Lord of the Universe.

He never prevented my worship and I felt His pleasure.

He voiced my private name again- it was good to hear it straight from His lips.

"Let me show you how it works!"

I am not going to be able to explain this in my reality. But basically, it was a world- the same size as my home planet in the Old World. I could hold it small, but with just a thought I could zoom it to full size.

"My Lord and My God- what am I to do?"

"Enjoy it... he laughed out loud."

"It is a present forever- invite loved ones, explore, stay 1,000 years or leave it for 10,000 years- whether you come or go- it is all yours and part of My inheritance. This is how it should be. No more curse."

"What Lord is THAT?"I was mow pointing at a beautiful body of amazing water along the northern hemisphere of the Americas."

He got strangely sober and quiet. "It used to be called Hudson Bay.... But you may name it anything you like. Go to it."

"I never noticed it in my old life."

"You knew about it, but it was never a part of your experience. Now you have time to experience it all in its purest form."

"I will send a messenger for you to herald invitations- you will soon have many dear friends to join you."

I began to weep. He wiped away the tears.

"Thank-you, Rabboni."

He hugged me and was suddenly a transcendent presence once again.

I dove hard down toward the Atlantic and sent a cannon ball splash almost a quarter mile high!

The water was not salty... it was perfectly fresh, cold, and full of flavor.

It was teeming with life and wind and natural music.

I prayed a quiet prayer to Him.

Thank you, Oh Lamb of God.

I was on my way to the Hudson Bay.......

Monday, September 02, 2013

The Downward Spiral of Human History- Isaiah 3 and 4

Ultimate fruit of sin is that God removes from the land the things in which we trust:
Invading armies capture the leaders- supply and support



For behold, the Lord God of hosts
is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and supply,
all support of bread,
and all support of water;
the mighty man and the soldier,                SIN LEADS TO AN ABSENCE
the judge and the prophet,                        OF LEADERSHIP
the diviner and the elder,
the captain of fifty
and the man of rank,
the counselor and the skillful magician
and the expert in charms.

And I will make boys their princes,          YOUTH TAKE OVER WHO
and infants shall rule over them.          HAVE NO EXPERIENCE/ NO REGARD

And the people will oppress one another,
every one his fellow                                       NO LEADERSHIP LEADS TO
and every one his neighbor;                            ANARCHY
the youth will be insolent to the elder,
and the despised to the honorable.

 For a man will take hold of his brother
in the house of his father, saying:
You have a cloak;
you shall be our leader,
and this heap of ruins            SUCH A CHILLING LINE-    WASTELAND
shall be under your rule”;
 in that day he will speak out, saying:
“I will not be a healer;
in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
you shall not make me
leader of the people.

For Jerusalem has stumbled,
and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
defying his glorious presence.

 For the look on their faces bears witness against them;
they proclaim their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it.


Woe to them!

For they have brought evil on themselves.

Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them,
for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.

 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.

My people—infants are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.

O my people, your guides mislead you
and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.

The Lord has taken his place to contend;
he stands to judge peoples.

The Lord will enter into judgment
with the elders and princes of his people:

God enters into judgement against the elders/princes “It is you who have devoured the vineyard”

“It is you who have devoured the vineyard,
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.

 What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord God of hosts.

The Lord said:

Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
and walk with outstretched necks,
glancing wantonly with their eyes,

mincing along as they go,
tinkling with their feet,

therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
the heads of the daughters of Zion,
and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents;  the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves;  the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets;  the signet rings and nose rings;  the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags;  the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty.

 Your men shall fall by the sword
and your mighty men in battle.

 And her gates shall lament and mourn;

empty, she shall sit on the ground.

And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”

CHAPTER 4 - Oh how we cry out for this beautiful promise! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem,  when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.


If you sit down and read Isaiah 1-4 in one sitting- you see the pattern.

Sin and Rebellion- even when we should know better
Pain and Suffering- as a blessing to capture our need to repent
Repentance and Restoration- and a promise one day to be permanent

Remember Jim Elliot:
"He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

We need to join Him today while the offer of free mercy is available- the winning team should be obvious- we have all of human history to teach us these things are still true even 3,000 years later!

What keeps you from Jesus? Is it really worth it?