House Of Prayer 

Isaiah 56:7
“For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

Isaiah foresaw a day when people from all nations would be adopted into the family of God. He saw salvation reaching beyond the borders of Israel to the uttermost parts of the earth. Seven hundred years later Jesus entered into the temple and saw the outer courts turned into a marketplace. Instead of people being encouraged to to come to God they were being hindered. The religious leaders for the sake of financial gain and status among the people were actually keeping people from the Lord. At some point a sign was placed on the entrance of the temple warning Gentiles not to enter under the threat of death. When Jesus saw the actions of the leaders He was outraged. He began to overturn the tables and drive out those who were buying and selling. It was at that point that He quoted from this passage,

“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

It is worth noting that Jesus was enraged when people stood in the way of others coming to God. We know it is the desire of God for all men everywhere to be saved. We know that a person is saved when they put trust in Christ as their savior and we know that people come to trust Christ through the witness of others. We should be seeking to live lives that properly represent Christ so that others will be drawn to Him rather than repelled from Him.

Jim

 

The Better Way

Jim Gallagher

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

If you read your Bible regularly, you have come to realize, God thinks differently than we do, on just about every subject. The values God esteems are different than the values of the world we live in. Jesus spoke of life being found in meekness, righteousness, purity, and suffering for doing what is right in the sight of God. Jesus explained the governing principle of life should be love for God, reflected in love for one another. The world around us might attest to these truths as being important, however, when we watch what is promoted on the TV screen, we find an entirely different set of values. Isaiah…

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Profitability 

Jim Gallagher

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Sometimes we neglect reading our Bibles because we do not see the value in it. There are times when we don’t understand what we are reading, or how it applies to the daily struggles we are facing. It is not uncommon when talking with a struggling Christian, to share a promise from the Word, only to see them stiffen up and comment on how they don’t think that will help. In this passage, Paul addresses the true value of the Word of God. He uses a word that all business men will appreciate; profitable. He is saying the Words of God are of great value for our lives and for our…

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Be Strong 

Jim Gallagher

2 Timothy 2:1

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

It seems as though men have always been fascinated with strength. We have all seen images of Greek or Roman statutes, they look like they have come off the pages of a body building magazine, making us wonder if every Roman official looked like the Incredible Hulk. We have also seen images of rockets blasting off, volcanos erupting, or a nuclear explosion. The sheer force involved in these phenomena is mesmerizing. Psychologists and business gurus encourage us to recognize our strengths in order to find happiness in life or success in business. It is not difficult to find lists of character strengths by which to measure ourselves. However, it has been my observation, the things Paul tells us to be strong in are strangely absent. While it is important to be strong in…

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Despised And Rejected

Jim Gallagher

Isaiah 53:3

“He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”

How would you treat delegates from another nation? It seems likely, we would go out of the way to make them feel as comfortable as possible. It seems, they would not even need to be a dignitary to receive that treatment. I recently sat on a plane with a young man who had never traveled. His every experience, throughout the airport and on the plane, was a new one. I attempted to do my best to acquaint him with what was coming. To me, it was just courtesy to show him kindness and respect.

I find it both saddening and troubling that when the King of Kings arrived, he received treatment reserved for the…

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Beautiful Feet 

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

It seems as though people have always had “bucket lists.” In ancient times a man put together a list of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was like a travel guide for the wealthy, of things needed to be seen before they died. Things have not changed much. People still have their wish lists of the sites they hope to see before they are too old to enjoy them. Of all the beautiful things we could see I don’t imagine anything more amazing than seeing a person who has come to our rescue. Imagine being abandoned on a remote island and seeing a Helicopter, or being held captive by an assailant and seeing the prison doors burst open and police have come or being under siege by an enemy and the cavalry has appeared. Of all the beautiful sites their are to see none can compare to seeing the one who has come to set us free.

Isaiah speaks of the beauty of one who will go forth with the message of hope for a lost world. The person who will risk their own comfort in order to bring the message of salvation to others. Think back to the one who shared Christ with you. How thankful are you that they were willing to risk relationship to bring you the message of Christ. Paul spoke of being in debt to the whole world because of what Christ had done for him. He felt the only way to pay the debt was to tell everyone he could about the salvation that was found in Jesus.

I think it is time we saw ourselves as those who have been given the key to rescue men and women from captivity. We need to be willing to take risks and bring the message of Christ to others. Once a person receives Christ they will see the beauty in the message we declare.

Jim

 

Filters 

Isaiah 51:6
“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not be abolished.”

We use filters every day to keep things pure. A coffee filter keeps the grinds out of the cup, an air filter helps to eliminate dirt and pollens from the air and a water filter keeps harmful impurities out of our drinking water. Isaiah suggests that it is a good idea for us to have a filter for our eyes. He declares that we should look up at the heavens and down upon the earth. The purpose of his “eye filter” is to help us see the difference between the temporal and the eternal. Too often we get fixated upon things that will not last while ignoring the eternal. Jesus echoed the words of Isaiah when He said; “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will by no means pass away.” Peter wrote that the heavens will melt with a fervent heat and John spoke of a new heaven and earth replacing the one we live in.

I wonder how are decision making might change if we kept in mind that much of what we are living for will not last. So much energy is spent trying to gain things that are passing while we neglect the things that are eternal. Jesus exhorted us not to waste our lives storing up treasures on earth but to live for His kingdom and store up treasures in heaven. The Bible explains that when we use our time, talents and treasures to invest in the spreading of the gospel or assisting others in growing in Christ, we are in fact investing in the eternal.

As you go about your day look for ways to invest in the kingdom of God.

Jim