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Daily Devotionals

December 31, 2018: The Beautiful Ugliness

 

Isaiah 53:2 (NIV)
2  He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

 

I wonder how much time we spend in front of the mirror trying to look our best.  I am not against making sure we look presentable to the world but it seems we are so consumed in our day to look like presentable to the world.

We judge a person’s worth by what they look like.  A focus on the outward appearance too much has brought many lives into a poverty of spirit.  Take a good look at what was said about the Messiah when he was on the earth.

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire  him.” If you were to look for Jesus when he was here on earth you would not find him looking like some Hollywood actor.  He would not be dressed in the finest of clothes or be among the ten best looking of the year. He was probably average to look at or possibly even less than average.  There was nothing about his outward appearance that you would be attracted by.

Yet the crowds found him mesmerizing.   Everywhere he went he was the talk of the town.  People clamored over others just to touch the hem of his robe.  There was something about him that was magnetic, but it was not what most in our day focus on.  It had nothing to do with outer appearance but his inner attitude of the heart.

Why not let this be something that guides you in the next year.  Instead of spending all your effort in dressing up the outer appearance why not invest far more in getting the inner heart and spirit in a right standing before God.  You might be surprised at what happens.

Stop looking in the mirror and look instead in God’s Word the mirror for your soul.

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Weekly Messages

2 Kings 22 & 23

2 Kings 22 & 23

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Daily Devotionals

December 30, 2018: Gods Way of Financing His Plans

 

Isaiah 45:13 (NIV)
13  I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the LORD Almighty.”

Proverbs 13:22 (NIV)
22  A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

 

Ever been jealous of the rich?  Ever wondered why God allows some to prosper so?  Consider this, God used the wealth of King Cyrus to finance the return of the Jews to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.  The entire project was financed by a pagan king.  God called his people to return and rebuild and he then opened the treasure houses of Cyrus so the project could be paid for.

 

Is God calling you to do something in this next year for his kingdom?  Go ahead and tell him you are on board.  Perhaps the reason so many in the church do not have what they really need is because they are not engaged in his kingdom.

 

Why would God finance something that he is not interested in?  Why not ask him how he wants you to be involved in his kingdom work this coming year and take the necessary steps to align your life with his purposes and see if he won’t open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing you cannot possibly receive.

 

 

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Daily Devotionals

December 29, 2018: A Most Glorious Way

 

Isaiah 45:1 (NIV)
1  “This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:

 

Proverbs 21:1 (NIV)
1  The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

 

Whenever God calls a man or a group of people to do something for Him he always provides the means to accomplish it. Every call of God comes with the resources needed to accomplish it as well as the joy to see the project through to its completion.

Is God calling you to do something for Him this next year?  Go ahead and say yes and watch him open up the windows of heaven.

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Daily Devotionals

December 28, 2018: A Way When There was No Way.

 

Isaiah 44:26-27 (NIV)
26  who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be built,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ 27  who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams.”

 

You have been in captivity for seventy years.  No finances to afford the return trip to Judah and no finances to be able to rebuild the temple.  For most, they had never been back to Jerusalem, they had lived their entire lives in captivity, and they did not know the first thing about building a temple or about protecting themselves as they returned to Jerusalem.

 

All the evidence was in, this adventure back to Jerusalem was fraught with a long list of impossibilities. To undertake this journey was to be considered a complete fool.

 

The invitation was given to many to return.  All who wanted to could.  I am sure there were many that thought this proposal was crazy, fool hardy and something only for the fanatic.  God began to place it on the hearts of many to return, as they gathered their ragtag fleet of returning refugees at the last moment they heard that King Cyrus was not only offering them protection, he was also footing the bill for the journey and for the rebuilding the temple.

 

I guess he does make a way in the wilderness!

 

See you tomorrow.

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Daily Devotionals

December 27, 2018: A Way, When There is No Way.

 

Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
19  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

 

God is always doing something new.  He is eternally creative.  His ways are always new and filled with more joy than yesterday. You cannot begin to imagine what he is going to do in the years in front of you. I know you may see only barren wilderness and your ever approaching death. These are our God’s specialties where he takes hopeless despair and brings life and celebration.  He makes a way in the wilderness.

Are you having a hard time believing that tomorrow will be different?  Exercise your faith in God just a little and watch him open up streams of life were only death and despair reigned. Examine the dry deserts of your soul and see him cause hope and joy to spring up where only sorrow and mourning were.

Trust in the one who turns deserts into flowing life giving rivers.

See you tomorrow

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Daily Devotionals

December 26, 2018:  The comfort of the Gospel

Isaiah 40:1 (NIV) 

1  Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

Isaiah wrote these words long before the nation of Judah would go into captivity because of her rebellious ways. These next twenty seven chapters are filled with hope and resurrection. Consider when these words of hope and comfort were written to the nation of Judah.  Years before when they were still in rebellion and running from God.

 

It would not be too long now before they would experience the swift discipline of God.  They would be carried away into captivity and forced to live a pagan land and learn pagan practices and find themselves being acclimated to a nation that had no regard for the things of God.

 

It would be almost seventy years after they were taken captive that the king of this foreign land would decree that all those who wanted to return to Judah could. He would pay their way so they could return and rebuild their temple of worship and live in the Promised Land once again.

 

The first thirty nine chapters of Isaiah were written to describe the ongoing judgment and discipline of the nations who had rejected God including Judah.  Then there would be a period of seventy years where they would be in captivity.

 

There must have been some who were alive at the end of the captivity that thought they would never make it back to Jerusalem and the temple of God would never be rebuilt because they simply had sinned far too much for God to ever take them back.

 

When someone stumbled upon these words penned by Isaiah more than 100 years ago it must have felt unreal to believe such words as chapter forty contains.  How long does God stay mad at his people?  Will he ever receive them back again?  Great questions that find their answer in what Isaiah wrote down years before the captivity was ever on the horizon.  Now Isaiah has been dead over one hundred years and the promise of God becomes a reality for the nation of Judah.

 

God promised he would forgive them and take them back and now they are living in the days of God financing their return to Judah. Their sin has been paid for and their years of hard service are now over.  What must of that been like? How do these words feel to you?

 

“Comfort. Comfort my people!  Tell her, her hard service is over.  Tell her, her sin is fully paid for.” These words are just as true for us as they were for Judah.  Our sin has been paid for and the years of our hard service are now over.  We no longer need to fear facing judgment for our sins because of what Christ has done for us.  No more hard service, no more fear, no more guilt.

 

O what a day that will be.

 

See you tomorrow

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Daily Devotionals

December 25, 2018: A Look Ahead.

Isaiah 26:1 (NIV)
1  In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts.

 

The phrase, “In that day” appears 43 times in Isaiah.  God gave to Isaiah the ability to see far off into the future and write of the days that are coming for God’s people who have trusted him when it was not convenient to do so.

 

It was not convenient for Mary to trust God to be the mother of the Messiah.  She had to put up with ridicule from outside and inside her own family.  She had the stigma of being an unrighteous woman and she was from the poor class on the wrong side of the tracks.

 

You can almost hear the comments as Mary would walk to town to buy food or to purchase needed essentials for her family.

 

I can hear the talk of the town right now.  Let’s listen in.

 

“Do you see that young woman over there, she got pregnant before Joseph married her and then she claims that she was a virgin. Right, like that has ever happened before.”

 

“I heard when she and her husband arrived in town no one even let them have a place to stay.  Someone finally offered them a cave behind their home.  I suppose she deserves no better than to sleep with the common farm animals, after all she could not even wait to get married to get pregnant.  She and her husband smell like they belong in the farm yard with the animals.”

 

“I heard that even welcomed some stinking shepherds to their humble farm yard.  I’m not sure that even God would welcome shepherds.  I guess if you are low life you just hang around those who are low life as well.”

 

Well guess what church?  God desires to hang out with those whom others have written off long ago.  This is good news for the likes of us, is it not?

 

I wonder what Mary thought when she read Isaiah 11, or Isaiah 35, or Isaiah 26, or Isaiah 54, 61, 62, 65.  I wonder what she thought when the angel disappeared after she heard she was to be with child.

 

Somehow Mary could see ahead and what she saw gave her incredible hope.  So shall it be for all those who look ahead in the promises of God and find that there is coming a day when things will not be the way they are now.  They will be as Isaiah wrote in Isaiah Chapters 11, 35, and 65.  And as John wrote in Revelation Chapters 21-22.

 

Go ahead and read about your future that is soon to be your reality.

 

See you tomorrow

 

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Daily Devotionals

December 24, 2018: In That Day!

 

Isaiah 12:1 (NIV)
1  In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.

 

Isaiah 12:4 (NIV)
4  In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.

 

A great Christian philosopher once said, “The best is always yet to be for the believer in Jesus.”  We look forward to a city whose foundations and designer and builder is God. We look forward to seeing the promises of God become a reality, no longer just something way out in the future.

 

Isaiah has eyes to see the future and he reminds us in these four words, “In that day!”

What is it that will take place in “That Day” that will make anything different?  We have heard far too many infomercials and come to understand that all their promises are only chasing the wind.  The guarantee never lives up to its claim and no product ever delivers fully on what it promises.  Many of us read of these future promises from God’s Word only to tell ourselves that these too will only be empty promises that will be unable to produce what they promise.

 

Have you been taken in by the “But wait there is more!’ promises of the infomercial marketers? I have great news for you.  The angel that appeared to the shepherds to tell them something to counteract all the promises of the world.

 

Read these words carefully and consider what they meant to the shepherds. “I bring you good news of great joy that shall be for all the people.  Unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior who is Christ the Lord.”

 

If you were a shepherd those words would have been hard to believe.  I wonder if they are just as hard to believe in your life today. What can you do to believe these words?  Exactly what the shepherds did, they went to see the Messiah in person.  Have you met the Messiah yet?  I am not talking about hearing from someone else about him, but have you personally made the trek to meet with Jesus?

 

No better time than the present.  Why not take a moment and ask Jesus to meet with you.  Go ahead and cry out to him right where you are.  He already knows what you need just tell him, ask him change you, tell him you want to know him and watch what happens.

 

This meeting with Jesus changed the shepherds, the wise men and anyone else who saw Jesus as their messiah.

 

Time for a meeting with the Messiah.

 

 

See you tomorrow

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Weekly Messages

Book of Isaiah pt. 2

Book of Isaiah pt. 2