Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Isaiah’

Joy with Singing

Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.

From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.

In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain.

I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.

The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.

The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. ~~ Zephaniah 3:8-17  (KJV)

Despite man’s unfaithfulness and despite the Lord’s anger, there is yet hope. Reading these verses we see that we are told to sing and rejoice.

This is because after the Lord’s day of wrath, there is a recalling of the remnant of the faithful. Those who have been faithful will survive the day of judgment and will be found victorious.

The Lord says He will purify the lips of the peoples. that all of them may call upon His name. This reminds us of the picture of Isaiah.

And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.  ~~  Isaiah 6:4-8 (KJV)

He found himself in the throne room of God, with all the angels. The glory of the Lord was so heavy that he fell on his face saying “woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips.” And an angel took a coal from the altar and touched his lips to purify them. Then he was worthy to speak the name of the Lord as an emissary of God.

Here too, God says He will purify the lips of the people. Those of us who are faithful to God should rejoice in this passage. It means that we will speak the righteousness of God to the nation. We are to be His emissaries in this hurting world. It is our duty and our privilege to speak for the righteousness of God, the love of God, the mercy of God and the wrath of God in equal proportion.

It is only when we tell the whole truth of God that we can be rightfully called His emissaries.

Just as any parent, God grieves over His wandering children. But when we are obedient, He can rejoice over us—with singing.

Father, God,

Open our ears and hearts to learn of You. Purify our lips to tell of You. Send us wherever You wish to spread the good news to all people. Soften our hearts to love all Your children. Give us the grace to be obedient so that You can sing over us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Advertisements

Your Identity in Christ

We talk a lot today about self-realization and just exactly who we are and what we are entitled to.  But when you look at it from God’s perspective, you see something just a little different.

Read: Luke 7:24-35

Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah about Himself. That should have been the first clue for the people that He was the prophesied Messiah.

Here again, he refers to the Old Testament prophets, when he said John is the one about whom it is written:

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 3:1)

Jesus is speaking plainly about His own identity. One of Jesus’ most powerful assets is that even in human form He knew who He was. He was identified as part of the God-head. While He limited Himself to time and space like any man, He was still a part of God.

How do you identify yourself? Can you tell who you are without referring to your parents, spouse, or children? Do you label yourself by your occupation or co-workers? How do you define yourself in your own mind?

These are important questions. Most of the time we identify ourselves by our relationships to other people and our occupations.

In order to draw closer to God, we need to be identifying ourselves with relationship to Him. If you have ever heard the still, quiet, powerful voice of God, what name did He call you by?

Just exactly who are you in that context?

Father, God,

Thank You for loving us enough to send Your Son, Jesus, to be the propitiation for all our sins. Forgive us our many transgressions, and teach us how to be your obedient, compliant children.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen
First published 27 October 2009
Thank you for bearing with me.

Spiritual Warfare

Focus verses: Mark 5:1-20

In our modern and “enlightened” age, we tend not to think in terms of spirits. Anything which has to do with aberrant behavior must be some form of psychosis or chemical unbalance that we can treat with counseling or medication.

But if the Bible is true, it is all true. That includes this story about the Gerasene. The man was not psychotic or chemically unbalanced. He was demon-possessed.

There are such things as demons. There is spiritual warfare. We need to be aware that we have a spiritual enemy who seeks our eternal destruction.

If we believe in God, we must believe that the devil exists. We see him in conversation with Eve in Genesis 3. We are told of his fall in Isaiah 14. There are multiple references to Satan in the New Testament. And the entire Book of Job is a chronicle of spiritual warfare.

It is part of Satan’s first lie in the Garden of Eden, that mankind can know all things, find answers comprehensible to the finite mind for all questions, discover cures to all diseases and maladies. When we buy into this arrogance of the intellect, we fall directly into the enemy’s hands.

Not everything is part of our physical, tangible world. There is a spiritual plane of which we know far too little. But all we need to know of it is contained in the Bible. We’ll not find it in psychology texts. Nor will we find beneficial information in new age books of spirituality.

Our hope and our confidence comes from the fact that God is Lord of the spiritual realm, just as He is Creator and Lord of this world. When we serve Him, when we rely solely on Him, He will preserve us from the wiles of the enemy.

Father, God,

Stop our ears from hearing the enticements of the enemy. Shield our eyes from the lust to which he would tempt us – whatever form it may take. Fill our eyes and ears and hearts with Your Holy Spirit so that there is no room for anything else.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Teaching In Parables

Focus verses: Matthew 13:1-23

Jesus frequently taught in parables. He uses the parables as concrete illustrations of intangible principles. Those who hear the parable and can make the connection between the tangible and the intangible are the ones to whom He is actually speaking.

That sounds exclusive or elitist, like He was speaking in code simply for self-aggrandizement. That is not really the case.

God wants our hearts softened towards Him and towards the people around us. When Jesus quotes the passage from Isaiah, he is quoting from the Septuagint version (please read the footnote in this link). These are the scriptures many of Jesus’ hearers would have known.

From the beginning of His teaching ministry, Jesus quoted the Old Testament scriptures that the Jews of that day would have been familiar with. He did this, not because He needed the bolstering of that authority, but because it was the authority His hearers knew. They needed that assurance that His teaching came from the correct source.

When He taught in parables, some people “got it” the first time around. Others had to think about it before they could come to the proper conclusion. Others simply dismissed it as a cute story.

Hmmm… How many times do we come away from church, remembering the preacher’s illustration as simply a cute story, forgetting the principle contained therein?

Father, God,

Help us to tune our ears to Your words. Open our eyes to see Your instructions clearly. Soften our hearts toward You that we might turn and repent and be healed.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Self-Identification

Focus verses: Luke 7:24-35

In our readings a few days ago, Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah about Himself. That should have been the first clue for the people that He was the prophesied Messiah.

Here again, he refers to the Old Testament prophets, when he said John is the one about whom it is written:

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 3:1)

Jesus is speaking plainly about His own identity. One of Jesus’ most powerful assets is that even in human form He knew who He was. He was identified as part of the God-head. While He limited Himself to time and space like any man, He was still a part of God.

How do you identify yourself? Can you tell who you are without referring to your parents, spouse, or children? Do you label yourself by your occupation or co-workers? How do you define yourself in your own mind?

These are important questions. Most of the time we identify ourselves by our relationships to other people and our occupations.

In order to draw closer to God, we need to be identifying ourselves with relationship to Him. If you have ever heard the still, quiet, powerful voice of God, what name did He call you by?

Just exactly who are you in that context?

Father, God,

Thank You for loving us enough to send Your Son, Jesus, to be the propitiation for all our sins. Forgive us our many transgressions, and teach us how to be your obedient, compliant children.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Informing God

Focus verses: Job 40:1-14

In today’s reading, we have done with the thoughts of men and hear directly from God. Hearing directly from God is terrifying. Those who have heard God’s voice have always had one reaction. “I’m unworthy.”

That is Job’s cry here. It was Isaiah’s understanding. The centurion and John the Baptist were aware of their unworthiness.

The presence of God is awesome! In His presence we are tongue-tied and totally inadequate. His greatness makes us acutely aware of our smallness. His infinite wisdom shrivels our arrogant assumptions to nothingness.

So God asks Job if he can do all the things God has done. The obvious answer is “no.”

You see, God is omniscient. He knows all things – past, present and future. I have never taken anything to God in prayer and had Him respond “oh, really? I didn’t know that.”

More often His response is something like “at last you brought this to Me.” We cannot inform God anymore than we can replicate all of creation. When we speak to God, He simply wants us to admit to Him all that we think or want or plan. He wants us to share our hearts with Him willingly. That is our invitation for Him to take control and be truly sovereign in our lives.

You see, God limits Himself in only one area. He will not override man’s free will. If you choose to live a life without Him, He will let you. And He will let you reap the consequences of that decision. If you choose to follow Him, He will help you. And you will reap that harvest as well.

The only information we can give to God is the information of our choice (which He already knows anyway). But He asks us to inform Him directly, verbally, and preferably in public.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to be a closet Christian. If you are a Christian, your life will reflect the presence of God. Your actions are determined by His statutes. Your attitudes become like Christ’s attitudes. That is one goal of the Christian life, becoming Christ-like.

The other goal is to inform others of God – more by actions and attitudes than by oratory. We’ve all heard the platitude “actions speak louder than words.” Nowhere is that more true than in the life of the disciple of Christ.

Father, God,

Help us to remember our place in Your plans for this world. Grant that we may always be and think and do as You would have us. Teach us at all times.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Sing And Rejoice

Focus verses: Zephaniah 3:8-17

Despite man’s unfaithfulness and despite the Lord’s anger, there is yet hope. Reading these verses we see that we are told to sing and rejoice.

This is because after the Lord’s day of wrath, there is a recalling of the remnant of the faithful. Those who have been faithful will survive the day of judgment and will be found victorious.

The Lord says He will purify the lips of the peoples. that all of them may call upon His name. This reminds us of the picture of Isaiah.

Remember when he found himself in the throne room of God, with all the angels. The glory of the Lord was so heavy that he fell on his face saying “woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips.” And an angel took a coal from the altar and touched his lips to purify them. Then he was worthy to speak the name of the Lord as an emissary of God.

Here too, God says He will purify the lips of the people. Those of us who are faithful to God should rejoice in this passage. It means that we will speak the righteousness of God to the nation. We are to be His emissaries in this hurting world. It is our duty and our privilege to speak for the righteousness of God, the love of God, the mercy of God and the wrath of God in equal proportion.

It is only when we tell the whole truth of God that we can be rightfully called His emissaries.

Father, God,

Open our ears and hearts to learn of You. Purify our lips to tell of You. Send us wherever You wish to spread the good news to all people. Soften our hearts to love all Your children.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.