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Monday, January 22, 2018

71 Days in Isaiah: Day 3 - Isaiah 1:21-31

Isaiah 1:21-31

See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute.  Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers.  Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine.  Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves.  All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows.  Therefore, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the Mighty One of Israel, says, “I will take revenge on my enemies and pay back my foes!  I will raise my fist against you.  I will melt you down and skim off your slag.  I will remove all your impurities.  Then I will give you good judges again and wise counselors like you used to have.  Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice and the Faithful City.”  Zion will be restored by justice; those who repent will be revived by righteousness.  But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed, and those who desert the Lord will be consumed.  You will be ashamed of your idol worship in groves of sacred oaks.  You will blush because you worshiped in gardens dedicated to idols.  You will be like a great tree with withered leaves, like a garden without water.  The strongest among you will disappear like straw; their evil deeds will be the spark that sets it on fire.  They and their evil works will burn up together, and no one will be able to put out the fire.

I am disheartened and at the same time encouraged by this passage.  I am disheartened because I am so much like the people of Israel when it comes to serving God.  Not that I want bribes or payoffs, but I want to do it when it is convenient for me.  Isn’t that the same thing as trying to bribe God, “I’ll serve you, but only if it’s easy for me” How easy it is for me to let the distractions that satan throws out there get to me!

But the good news is that God will use us if we just let Him!  He will send us wise counselors that are interested in us becoming a home of justice and a faithful city.  But if we’re not paying attention (or have too much pride), we will miss them.  Let’s not be like those who are worshiping our idols under the trees, nothing but ruin lies that way.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

71 Days in Isaiah: Day 2 - Isaiah 1:10-20

Isaiah 1:10-20 (NLT)


Listen to the Lord, you leaders of “Sodom.”  Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.”  “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?”  says the Lord.  “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle.  I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.  When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?  Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me!  As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting—they are all sinful and false.  I want no more of your pious meetings.  I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.  They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!  When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.  Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.  Wash yourselves and be clean!  Get your sins out of my sight.  Give up your evil ways.  Learn to do good.  Seek justice.  Help the oppressed.  Defend the cause of orphans.  Fight for the rights of widows.  “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.  Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.  If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat.  But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.  I, the Lord, have spoken!”



Have you ever done something because it was the thing to do?  There was no thought put into it, other than how it made you look?  I’m guilty, I have done things just because they made me look good to someone else.  I have said I was doing something for God, and the fact of the matter is that I only did it because it either made me look good or was the “thing to do”. 


All of the things that we say we do for God have no meaning, if there is not heart behind them.  In the verses above, it looks to me like God is calling out the Israelites for going through the motions.  That what they are doing is only for themselves, their hearts are not in it and that He does not want anything to do with what they are bringing before Him.


Starting in verse 16, I see a way out.  God calls us to give up our evil ways, to stop sinning.  Then He gives us a charge on how to help others in verse 17.  Do good, seek justice, help the oppressed, defend orphans and fight for widows; to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8).  All of these speak to the condition of our heart.  Do we care for others?  Do we care enough to want to step out of our comfort zone and help someone who needs help?


Our heart condition speaks to how we view two words, nice and kind.  They are not the same and I think it’s important to understand the difference.  Nice costs you nothing, everyone can be nice.  Kind, on the other hand, will cost you something.  Kind means that thing you do is going to be a challenge, because it comes from your heart.  Nice means that you will speak to that widow who is struggling and tell her how bad you feel for her.  Kind means that you are willing to do something about her condition.  That’s what I strive to be, to be kind.  To be honest, I’m not always successful, it’s so much easier to be nice.  But, Jesus was way more than nice when He hung on that cross for me.  That was a kindness beyond all kindnesses.  It had a cost!


Be kind today,


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

71 Days in Isaiah: Day 1 - Isaiah 1:1-9

Isaiah 1:1-9 (NIV)

The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.  Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me.   The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”   Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.  Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted.  From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness— only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil.  Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.  Daughter Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under siege.  Unless the LORD Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.


 How often am I just like the people of Israel?  Do I forget who my Savior is and what he has done for me?  It's a sad testimony, but yes...I do.  I forget because if I remembered I could stay out of my sin.  I forget because I don’t keep the word of God in front of me as much as I should.  I forget because sometimes I really like my sin.

But I have a way out.  God has given me His word to study, a way to stay connected and in step with Him.  I have heard that prayer is us talking to God and the bible is God talking to us, well...I’m tired of one way conversations.  I’m tired of my “whole heart being afflicted”.  Study is something I have always struggled with, from school to now, I have not liked studying.  Today, my prayer is that I would have a passion to study and share what I am studying with others.

 Would you join me today?