VIDEO No Outcasts

Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord speak, saying, “The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”; nor let the eunuch say, “Here I am, a dry tree.” For thus says the Lord. Isaiah 56:3-4


Isaiah 56 is an unusual passage, written to two groups of outcasts. The first were foreigners. The others were Jewish males who had been mutilated by the Babylonian invaders. They were eunuchs. Sometimes we, too, feel like outcasts or suffer the loss of something the world has taken from us.

In Isaiah 56, the Lord invited foreigners and eunuchs to join themselves to Him, to serve Him, and to love His Name (verse 6). He promised, “Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer” (verse 7).

In Christ, there are no castaways; in heaven there are no outcasts. We’re included in the grace of Christ. Rejoice today knowing that we are no longer outcasts!

The gospel brings me explosive news: my search for approval is over. In Christ I already have all the approval I need. Dave Harvey

What The Future Holds For The World | Isaiah 54:1-17

Fighting “Flashy” Things

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

In the 1960s-era TV series The Andy Griffith Show, a man tells Andy he should let his son Opie decide how he wants to live. Andy disagrees: “You can’t let a young’un decide for himself. He’ll grab at the first flashy thing with shiny ribbons on it. Then, when he finds out there’s a hook in it, it’s too late. Wrong ideas come packaged with so much glitter that it’s hard to convince them that other things might be better in the long run.” He concludes that it’s important for parents to model right behavior and help “keep temptation away.”

Andy’s words are related to the wisdom found in Proverbs: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (22:6). Although many may read these words as a promise, they’re really a guide. All of us are called to make our own decision to believe in Jesus. But we can help lay a biblical foundation through our love for God and Scripture. And we can pray that as the little ones under our care mature, they choose to receive Christ as Savior and walk in His ways and not “in the paths of the wicked” (v. 5). 

Our own victory over “flashy things” through the Holy Spirit’s enabling is also powerful testimony. Jesus’ Spirit helps us to withstand temptation and molds our lives into examples worth imitating.

By:  Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

Why is it helpful to remember that Proverbs 22:6 isn’t a promise but a wise principle? Who can you help to “train up”?

Dear Father, help me to instill Your values into the hearts of the children You’ve placed in my life.

Spiritual Discouragement

Though we may not always understand God and His ways, we can find encouragement in His goodness to us Psalm 34:1-8

For the believer, discouragement can come in many forms, but Satan is usually the instigator. He wants to keep our focus on negative things instead of on God. 

One form of spiritual discouragement is subtle—the idea that we cannot please the Lord. If you were to write down everything you thought you must do to please God, how long would the list be before it was complete? You might assume you should read the Bible more, pray more, give more, witness more. All of us could probably fill both sides of our paper. But then we’d realize it’s impossible to consistently accomplish every task on the list. That’s the trap. What pleases the Lord is our obedience, not our adherence to a long checklist of duties. 

Another source is unanswered prayer. God does not necessarily answer in the manner we want or with the timing we would prefer. When that happens, we might want to give up on prayer or even on the Lord Himself. 

Next time you’re feeling disheartened, turn your focus to God and pray three things aloud: Thank Him for being with you through the discouragement, admit He’s in control of your life, and acknowledge that He loves you and is working circumstances for good.

Power Over Troubled Circumstances

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear.” (Psalm 46:1-2)

Psalm 46 may have been written after Yahweh’s great military victory over Sennacherib in his failed attempt to besiege Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:21-37). Trusting God resonates throughout this psalm, encompassing the physical (Psalm 46:2-3), the political (vv. 4-7), and the international (vv. 8-11).

Verse 1 captures Yahweh’s protective care, harnessing the words refuge, strength, and presence.

Our refuge—a refuge paints imagery of an impenetrable fortress surrounded by fortified walls (vv. 7, 11). “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). When our world goes topsy-turvy, we must trust in His providence (Psalm 62:7).

Our strength—our ever-present weakness is swapped with Yahweh’s power. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). God is exchanging our feeble weakness for His superior strength.

Our presence—Yahweh is always present (Psalm 73:23-24). Yahweh takes us by the right hand and leads us with His precious Word, especially when we find ourselves in places of trouble. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4).

Finally, look at Job when he was faced with hardships. He cried, “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). When your world is turned upside-down, God is your refuge, strength, and ever-present help. While immersed in a troubling trial, my dear friend boldly claimed, “My adventure buddy, please be still and know that He is still God!” CM

An Enemy Hath Done This

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

THE parable of the tares throws clear light on a number of issues. Interpreted by our Lord Himself, it plainly declares that the world will not be converted in this age: good and evil shall exist together until the end. Thus it destroys that dream of men who imagine a world brotherhood to be created by the preaching of the gospel which shall set up in this age the reign of universal righteousness. This parable declares the distinct personality of the devil. Sin is not imperfect goodness, biological growing pains; “An enemy hath done this.” Moreover, there is to be a fixed and final separation of good from evil, the wicked being gathered for burning, the righteous to shine as the sun in the Father’s kingdom—as Daniel long before had seen (Dan. 12:3). The seed here is not the Word, as in the parable of the sower, but rather what the Word produces, the children of the kingdom; and the tares are the children of evil. They may get into the churches and look like Christians, but they have another nature.

The sowing of tares was done “while men slept.” The devil gets his works done today while ministers are asleep; he sows evil in the churches while they are taken up with their own ease. He sows in homes while parents sleep, careless of their children’s welfare. He sows abroad in the land while rulers, who should have an eye to the public welfare, look to their own comfort. Then, we read, the evil sower “went his way.” So goes the devil stealthily about, gliding in and out and on his way.

Mind you, this is not a description of the world in general but of Satan’s work in the professing church. The field indeed is the world, but the sphere of action here is the professing kingdom. We cannot separate the false and true for we cannot read men’s hearts. Some who appear righteous are but hypocrites, and some who appear wicked are truly saved but not walking in the Spirit. God will attend to the final dividing; vengeance is His.

It is possible in church discipline to overstep our boundaries and attempt a separation beyond our right. However, there is little danger of that today, for few churches exert as much authority as is their right. But we must be careful lest, in ridding ourselves of offenders, we root up the good also.

The old emphasis upon a final gathering has disappeared from much of our preaching. But our Lord will gather His wheat (Matt. 3:12) when He takes up His Church (1 Thess. 4:13-18). His reapers, the angels, shall also gather out all that offend and the wicked. Mind you, it is our Lord Himself who declares the judgment of the wicked to be a furnace of fire (Matt. 13:42) with wailing and gnashing of teeth. He said more about hell than anyone else in the Bible.

“Thou God seest me.”

Genesis 16

Genesis 16:1

Sarai therefore proposed to Abram that Hagar should become his secondary wife. This was a very usual custom in those days, but it was not a commendable one, and it was an unbelieving act on Sarai’s part to propose it. It is not always easy to patiently wait the Lord’s time. We are all too apt to run to expedients of our own; as if the Lord needed our help to fulfil his promises.

Genesis 16:2

Thus those we love best may be the means of leading us astray. The father of mankind sinned by hearkening to his wife, and now the father of the faithful follows his example.

Genesis 16:5

It was Sarai who proposed the arrangement, and now she upbraids her husband for. it. It is of no use to lay the blame of our faults upon others, for if we step out of the straight path we shall be sure personally to smart for it.

Genesis 16:6

Thus Sarai was first unbelieving to God, next unkind to her husband, and then cruel to her servant; so one wrong step leads to others. Unbelief sins, and produces other sins. Even this holy woman was not without infirmity. “There is none good, save one, that is God.”

Genesis 16:8

She did not say where she was going, for she did not know. Let each of us ask himself. “Whither am, I going?”

Genesis 16:10

No one could use such language as this but the Angel of the Covenant. Here is a proof of the inspired declaration, “My delights were with the sons of men.”

Genesis 16:13

First, God sees us; and then, by his gracious visitations, he leads us to look after himself.

Genesis 16:14

The well of the living One, my Seer;

Genesis 16:15

But this was not, as he had hoped, the promised heir; on the contrary, he became the occasion of much trial to the family. When we call in legality to help grace, or sight to assist faith, we miss our object, and ensure for ourselves no little sorrow. The whole scene is a painful one, and should warn us that even in a gracious household sin may sow dissension, and cause heartburnings and distress.

Quick as the apple of an eye,

O God, my conscience make!

Awake my soul, when sin is nigh,

And keep it still awake.

Oh may the least omission pain

My well-instructed soul;

And drive me to the blood again,

Which makes the wounded whole!


Old Things Pass and All Things Become New

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

The Christian who has dedicated his life to God and has shouldered his cross need not be surprised at the conflict in which he at once finds himself engaged. Such conflict is logical; it results from the nature of God and of man and of Christianity!

He will, for instance, discover that the ways of God and the ways of men are not equal. He will find that the skills he learned in Adam’s world are of very little use to him in the spiritual realm. His tried and proven methods for getting things done will fail him when he attempts to apply them to the work of the Spirit. The new Adam will not surrender to the old Adam nor gear His new creation to the methods of the world. God will not share His glory with another!

The true Church of God, the company of the forgiven and regenerated, is a marvel and an astonishment in the eyes of the old creation, a perpetual sign of the supernatural in the midst of natural things.

The Church is a sheet let down from heaven, an interposition of something unlike and dissimilar, a wonder and a perplexity which cannot be understood nor explained nor gotten rid of. That about her which yields itself to analysis by the historian or the psychologist is the very thing that does not signify, the earthen vessel in which the precious treasure is contained.

The treasure itself transcends the art of man to comprehend! Those who follow on to know the Lord discover that old things will pass away and all things will become new!.