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Monthly Archives: March 2011

No head, palm branch, tail, or reed!

Hello again!

This is what God gave me in his word today:

The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still. The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the LORD of hosts. So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day– (Isa 9:12-14)

Let me give you two more verses here please; they explains what the latter verse means to the Israelites:

the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail; for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up. (Isa 9:15-16)

OK, get it now? Good, now let’s get to what these verses mean to us; when Satan attacks us, it can seem as if we all of sudden lost everything,  – just look at Job! – When we don’t have Jesus, we don’t have our head, we don’t have our tail, and we don’t have anyone to spiritually guide us… Let me put this in terms of today:

Bam!!! Your boss just fired you, the bank just called to tell you that your two months due on your payment, the credit company then calls to tell you that you’re a month due on your car… Not only that, but your psychologist decided to take a vacation on all the money he made off of you! And, is if all that wasn’t enough, it starts to rain and your self-help books aren’t doing a thing for you.

Make more sense now? Yeah, thought it might… It doesn’t really matter who you are, where you’re from, why your here, or why you’re reading this now; the Devil can attack you. It is a unchangeable fact that “just is”. However, the same  thing – i.e. – (It doesn’t really matter who you are, where you’re from, why your here, or why you’re reading this now) – Jesus can save you! Just accept Jesus now and he’ll swoop in and make everything better… Right? (Un)Fortunately, that’s just not the case.

Jesus won’t just swoop in and save the day, he want’s you to go through this… If someone where to almost get run over, do you think they would continue their habit of not looking both ways before crossing a busy street? The same basic thing applies, it’s not like Jesus is saying; “you made your bed now lie in it”, but he does want hardship to come into our life for the simple reason that he loves us.

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. (Pro 23:13)

I think that verse has two meanings for our situation; 1) if Jesus disciplines us, we won’t die! and 2) If Jesus disciplines us, it’s either so that we won’t make bad choices or because we made bad choices and he doesn’t want us to end up spiritually dead because of them.

In summary; Jesus loves us, and it’s because he loves us that he’s willing to discipline us…

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isa 9:5-6)

 

 

How can there not be any more war? … What about what’s going on in Iraq, what about the 9/11 bombing? Somehow I think that justifies as war! … Right? Correct. You see, he’s not talking about that sort of “war”. At least, he’s not talking about that sort of war, for us. In their time, he might have been, but now I believe it refers to “spiritual” war.

What we are going through now is not exactly “war”, Jesus won the war when he died on the cross. Can I ask you a question? After a war is won, does the winning side immediately leave the other side to its own devices, and does the losing side not have any “rebels” who refuse to give up? … What we now fight is the “back-drop”… I’ll put it this way; the Devil is like a chicken with its head cut off… It runs around like it’s still alive for a little, but lays down dead soon after.

I’ll put it this way:

The war is won, the fighting done

For the prince of peace, has given us life at the cost of his own

and now the prince of peace and the lord of Lords has taken the throne

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The New and Improved “Light-Box”

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. (Isa 9:2-4)

Light BoxWho exactly are the people in “darkness”? … People in sin. People in sin are spiritually blind, always stumbling because they can’t see their own hand much less the ground! The people in “darkness” are people spiritually dead and without hope… Beginning to sound like someone? Well, it should sound like, because spiritually dead, without hope and blind is a near perfect description of me before Jesus.

The people who used to “walk in darkness”, have seen the light! I find that rather ironic, because you always hear about people “seeing the light” before death… Where as in this case, you see the light and you live!

It doesn’t matter who are; I think that’s what these verses are telling us… It doesn’t matter if you’ve been the worst criminal imaginable, Jesus will forgive you! Sometimes… OK, all the time; sin is a burden, weighing us down, forcing us to its will…

“For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Mat 11:30)

To put it in other words; Jesus’ burden is light, our’s is heavy, Jesus gives us his “burden”… And he even helps us “carry” that! And it doesn’t matter if you’re the “worst of sinners”, Jesus can save you as he has me!

You are loved!
Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Distressed and Hungry

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. (Isa 8:20-21)

 

First of all, what does this mean:

If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

If people refuse to preach the Gospel of Jesus when they have the opportunity, then they might as well be dead (not have a “dawn”) as for all the good they’re doing. If it seems like that statement a bit harsh… Then, so be it:

And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isa 8:14)

OK, with that question answered; people are “hungry” without God, they have a void that requires Jesus/God/The Holy Spirit to fill. I’ll put it another way; when you reject God, you long for something else to fill its place. People tend to want to fill that void with things such as drugs or getting drunk, which is only a temporary “fix”. The thing is though, that when they get drunk or what ever it is they do, it just fuels their hate for God, it doesn’t replace the need for God.

I’m going to be blunt here; when you reject God, you reject life, when you reject life, you die. But when you accept God, you accept life, you live… Not only will you live, but you won’t have any “hungering” for anything except for Jesus… Hallelujah!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Wait and Hope

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. (Isa 8:17)

 

This verse stuck out to me because of situation my family and I are currently going through… My sister, Charity, is currently in a bit of a bad position and we’re hoping and praying for her.

Aside from that though… Even when it looks like God is hiding his face from us, even when things look like they’re as bad as they can get, we should trust in God. But how can God possibly expect something like that from anyone?! … I’ll put it this way:

How could we expect God to send his only son to die and be raised back to life? We can trust in God, because Jesus was forsaken by him! Apart from Jesus it’s impossible to trust in God… Which makes sense in more way then one – i.e. – God and Jesus are one! And, nothing is spiritually possible without Jesus.

Trust in God and all will be well with your soul.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Both a sanctuary and offensive

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isa 8:12-14)

I’m going to be blunt here; The Gospel of Jesus is offensive. Let me clarify that sentence though please; It’s usually only offensive to those who don’t already believe it…

Now, what does it mean when it says “a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” ? Well, I’ll put it this way; God has an uncanny ability to “grab you out of your little pit”, and put on the straight in the narrow (road)… The Gospel of Jesus is captivating, no matter how hard our flesh may cry out and try to get away, your stuck fast in Jesus… Your flesh is locked up – i.e. – entrapped. And though sometimes it looks like the flesh is about to break out, it always ends up being conquered.

Now then, what this mean:

do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” ?

You almost undoubtedly by this point know about the earthquake that caused a tsunami in Japan. Well, some people call that a “fearful” occasion. I think that this song puts it best:

the earth can shake the sky come down
the mountains all fall to the ground
but i will fear none of these things
shelter me lord underneath your wings

dark waters rise and thunders pound
the wheels of war are going round
and all the walls are crumbling
shelter me lord underneath your wings

(shelter me lord)
hide me underneath you wings
hide me deep inside your heart
in your refuge – cover me
the world can shake
but lord i’m making you my hiding place

“Shelter Me”, by Buddy and Julie Miller

Yep, I’d say that pretty much covers it… We should be making God our hiding place! It doesn’t matter if it’s a 9.0 on the Richter scale or if it’s a tsunami! … We’ve got our little hidey-hole (Jesus)!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Don’t fear, God is here

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today:

For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. (Isa 8:11-12)

 

OK, you’ve got to admit… That seems a little foolish, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, plenty of people are afraid of heights, should I not be afraid of heights? People are afraid of venomous snakes, should I not be afraid of them? … That seems like a plain that will get you hospitalized pretty quickly. So, what is Isiah trying to say here, well let’s look at it in context (the verses behind, in this case):

Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered; give ear, all you far countries; strap on your armor and be shattered; strap on your armor and be shattered. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us. (Isa 8:9-10)

 

Make more sense now? … We shouldn’t fear what the world fears, not in the sense of not being afraid of stuff like the tsunami in Japan, but don’t be afraid in the sense of God will crush you like an ant… Where as that’s a very real possibility for a large portion of people, (also known as; America), we don’t have to be afraid of God getting angry at us…

I think that I put that wrong, let me rephrase it a little more simply:

We should fear God with a holy fear, we should not fear what the world fears, and is in fact happening to them, iow (in other words), Muslims killing us because we’re Christians, the only way that could happen is if God wanted it to… And since you’re reading this, he apparently, currently doesn’t want that to happen.

I apologize if I was a little hard to follow; if you didn’t get what I was saying, please tell me about it… Preferably through a comment.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Absolutely Shattering

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered; give ear, all you far countries; strap on your armor and be shattered; strap on your armor and be shattered. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us. (Isa 8:9-10)

 

As you most likely know, a tsunami has very recently hit Japan… The Gospel is spreading there.

As you most likely know, an earthquake hit Hati, and Hati is now in ruins… The Gospel is spreading there.

in 9/11 the World Trade Center was destroyed… People began to flood into churches.

I don’t know about you, but I seem to see a bit of a pattern here… I think that God is using the terrorists to attack the USA and “shake” them… It always happens, name any major disaster, the great depression, the earthquake, the tsunami in Japan… The gospel has spread in every one of those situations! …

No matter how much people may “resent” it, I believe the Gospel will begin to spread in America:

“Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us.”

No matter how many people may try to stop God from shaking the USA, no matter how many people “take counsel” and try to stop it, it will happen… But God is with us, so there really isn’t anything to be afraid of :-):

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

I’m not sure about you, but at the moment, I am glad I’m a Christian :-)… Please remember, God loves you too! Sometimes, like in the war that going on now, it seems like he’s gone… And that’s true, he’s gone from America as far as I can see, but he’s still with you, in you, and with you.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Briers and Thorns

Hello again!

I feel a little like I’m about to be “over-spiritualizing” things… So if you notice me doing that, please comment about it! Anyway, here’s the passage:

And as for all the hills that used to be hoed with a hoe, you will not come there for fear of briers and thorns, but they will become a place where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread. (Isa 7:25)

 

This may not be exactly how this verse was intended; but I think it could mean that Christians aren’t ministering where they should because of fear… Reread the verse, and see if you come up with the same thought.

Christians should be ministering, we (you and me) should be helping those whom God has chosen to put in other countries, and we can help them by giving them the Gospel! … Sometimes places, such as Iraq… Can seem a little quote “scary”; because of the large Muslim population there. Let’s remember a key part of that verse again:

“you will not come there for fear of briers and thorns”

Now maybe you see my point of view… If you look at like this; the briers and thorns are the Muslim fundamentalists (who happen to want to you kill all Christians), and we are the quote “hoer”, then you can see how it could apply…

It’s interesting, because earlier this morning (at lunch), my family and me were reading our study in John, and lo and behold, we came across how the former magicians were burning all of their “magic scrolls”, and immediately after that, it says; “and the Gospel spread greatly in that area”, or something to that effect… My point is this; If we get rid of all of  our personal little briers and thorns, then we can, though the power of Christ, serve – i.e. – give them those who live in briers and thorns, the gospel!

I’m interested to know what you think on the subject, please feel free to post a comment on it… Thank you.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The fulfillment

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, (Isa 6:8-11)

 

So, what’s happening here I wonder… Do you remember a little while back, we were studying this or a verse close to it:

What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. (Isa 5:4-6)

 

Well surprise, surprise, God keeps his promises! For them, that was bad, for us, this news quite literally, couldn’t be better; Num 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

God promised he would give us a redeemer;

But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isa 7:12-14) {Immanuel means “God with us”}

To put it more simply; God promised he would send us a redeemer, therefore, a redeemer, named Immanuel – i.e. – God with us, will come and ‘redeem us’. How would he redeem us? By dying on the cross for us! So, to wrap up; God will fulfill his promises, no matter what!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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