Suggested Reading: Isaiah 34-36
Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).
Key Verses: Isaiah 34:16a, 35:10
Search from the book of the Lord, and read:
Not one of these shall fail;
Not one shall lack her mate.
…And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Chapter 34 points out the desolation that will come upon Zion (Jerusalem) but the birds and animals will continue as usual. In Genesis chapter one, God created living creatures before He created man. To this day they find a mate and produce after their own kind. When we search the Book of the Lord, we find this to be a fact!
Chapter 35 is a beautiful promise of restoration. The words of our second key verse form a joyous song that we may have sung in the past (I unsuccessfully looked for a Youtube video of the song for us to link to).
Chapter 36 follows this promise with the terrifying threat against Jerusalem by Sennacherib’s mighty army. Sennacherib made two big mistakes. His messengers offended God by their over confidence in their own ability to conquer Jerusalem in spite of any intervention God might make. The Assyrian also overlooked a humble praying man, King Hezekiah. Sennacherib returned home leaving his dead army in the fields outside Jerusalem. In the temple of his god, his own sons murdered him as he worshipped. Click here for a poem by Lord Byron from 1815 that tells the Bible story.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, as I meditate on this story, I’m reminded that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10a). You are an awesome God! I rejoice in You with singing, and I am silent before Your all-powerful and eternally-wise judgments! Teach me more and more of Your ways, O Lord I pray! In the Name of the greatest Teacher ever, the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask these mercies. Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Due to the misinformation that’s out there on the internet about Rick Warren (this month’s book offer from the 100 Huntley Street telecast is Rick’s book, The Daniel Plan), I’ve asked my son Ron, Spiritual Director for the Crossroads Ministry, to put at the bottom of this blog posting his answer to a person who wrote a message of concern about us associating with Rick Warren. Thank you Ron! True soul winners understand exactly why Rick does what he does.
Yours for the truth instead of the lies often found on the internet,
Ron’s Response to a Person’s Comment about Rick Warren:
Thank you for sharing your concerns about Pastor Rick Warren. Unfortunately, there is a lot of mis-information out there about Rick and his church. Having personally spent time with Rick and having conducted a series of interviews with him, I know him to be a man God is using to dynamically share the Gospel of Christ. Within the pages of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, there is a pure, direct and simple salvation message that has led many to make a decision for Christ. Just over the recent Christmas season, Rick gave the following praise report on his church website: “In just the first three days of our Christmas services 1,966 people have given their lives to Christ for the first time…WOW!”
It is sad to see some Christian leaders attack this brother in Christ without knowing all the facts and without going directly to Rick for clarification. Such people have taken certain statements by Rick out of context and accused him of taking a theological stance that is completely opposite to what he actually believes. One example of this is how some have accused him of promoting “Chrislam,” which is the uniting of Christianity and Islam, saying that we serve the same God. Regarding this, Rick wrote the following public statement:
“The so-called ‘Chrislam’ rumor is 100% false. If the guy who started this libelous myth, or anyone else who passed it on, had obeyed our Lord’s command (Matt. 18:18-20) to come directly to me, and then asked what I actually believed they would have been embarrassed to learn that I believe the exact opposite. As a 4th generation Christian pastor, my life & ministry is built on the truth that Jesus is the only way, and our inerrant Bible is our only true authority.
As an evangelist, I spend much of my time speaking to non-Christian groups. You cannot win your enemies to Christ; only your friends, so we must build bridges of friendship and love to those who believe differently so Jesus can walk across that bridge into their hearts. Besides, it is not a sin, but rather COMMANDED by Jesus that we love our enemies. In the past 10 years, Saddleback Church has baptized over 22,000 new adult believers…simply because we express love to those who don’t know Christ yet.
It is nonsense to believe that you must compromise your beliefs, or water down your convictions in order to love someone, or even just treat them with dignity.
Jesus was called “the friend of sinners” by the legalistic Pharisees because He hung out with (and clearly loved) unbelievers. I HOPE YOU will 1) Always believe that EVERYONE needs Jesus as their Lord & Savior. 2) Have the courage to associate with nonbelievers in order to love them and bring them to the Savior. 3) Consider being called “a friend of sinners” a Christ-like compliment. 4) Refuse to pass on rumors until you’ve checked for the truth with the person accused.
God bless you,
Also, here is a recent statement from our Crossroads Founder, David Mainse, that he posted online in his 100words.ca blog:
“Some have misunderstood Rick and said unkind and untrue things about him. There is much misinformation about him on the web. I’ve personally investigated Rick’s life and ministry and am convinced that he is a true Pastor-Teacher and Evangelist! God is using him to penetrate the culture with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God!!! Rick’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, has sold over 30 million copies and has brought large numbers of people to a saving knowledge of Christ.”
I trust that this has helped to answer your concern. May God bless you, and thank you again for taking the time to share your comments.
Rev. Ron Mainse
Spiritual Director, Crossroads
Host of 100 Huntley Street