Psalm 63:1-11 We talked earlier about giving thanks for trials because ultimately they work for our good; also, proven character is developed in us. This thought does not appeal to our natural mind, especially when we are in the midst of a heavy-duty trial. David sometimes buckled under his trials, but even at those times he spoke to his soul and told his soul to hope in God. Focus is the main issue in trials, and as we see in our psalm reading today, David had his focus exactly where it should be. We all can learn how to focus on the Lord in troubled times. Thank God for a psalmist like David who writes beautiful, but also very practical psalms.
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Galatians 3:23-4:31 Didn't you just love to have substitute teachers when you were in school? When you walked into the classroom and you saw another teacher, you breathed a sigh of relief and probably thought to yourself, Oh boy, this means no pop quiz, and we'll probably have a free study period! Often some of the rascals in my class would give the substitute teacher a hard time. Substitute teachers earn every penny of their pay.
Isaiah 25:1-28:13 I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things," Isaiah writes. Praise and worship always exalt the Lord. When we praise the Lord, we exalt Him as we speak of the wonderful things He has done. Such praise will naturally lead us into worship, where our focus shifts from what God has done to who God is. This reading in Isaiah is a beautiful blend of worship and praise. Listen as Isaiah declares the many wondrous works the Lord has done. Listen to a few of them:
Isaiah 22:1-24:23 Summer is my least favorite season, so I always search for reasons I can be thankful for this time. I hate to sweat, and Georgia in the summer is no place someone who hates to sweat.
Proverbs 23:12 We leave our study of Isaiah and prophetic scriptures about the Messiah and look briefly into Proverbs. This proverb gives the secret to effective Bible study: Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to the words of knowledge.
Isaiah 12:1-14:32 We are still in the days of awe. I hope you are praying for your Jewish friends during this holy season for them. Pray for that veil to be dropped over their eyes and for the eyes of their understanding to be opened. This passage in Isaiah speaks about a special day that will happen in Israel. That day will be filled with praise because God's chosen people will at last know Jesus as their Messiah. They will know the God of their salvation, and with joy they will draw water from the wells of salvation. They will see all the excellent things God has done, and God will be their strength and song.
Isaiah 10:1-11:16 We continue to think of the Jewish people during their High Holy Days. In Isaiah we see another prophetic scripture about their Messiah: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (Isa. 11:1-2, KJV).
Isaiah 8:1-9:21 As we continue to think of our Jewish brethren during these High Holy Days, we only have to wonder how they have missed seeing the Messiah clearly presented in their prophets, the psalms and even the Pentateuch. The only explanation is what Paul speaks clearly about in Romans. The Jewish people have a veil over their eyes that has been placed there by God. Should we pray for this veil to be dropped if this is God's will? The answer to this is a resounding yes. We have the hope and promise of God that this veil will be dropped, and the day will come when the Jewish people will recognize Jesus as their Messiah. Until that day we can be diligent in prayer for the Jewish people. Today many Jewish people are accepting Jesus as their Messiah. Our recent trip to Israel revealed much more openness on the part of secular Jews to discuss faith with others. I believe this is a direct result of the prayers of many Christians for Israel and the Jewish people.
Isaiah 6:1-7:25 We are entering the High Holy Days for our Jewish brothers and sisters. This is the season of their New Year and their ten days of awe, which end with the Day of Atonement. The timing varies according to their calendar, but this season usually occurs during September. We will be speaking more of these days of awe, which is a time set aside for the Jewish people to examine their hearts in preparation for the Day of Atonement. They review the last year and confess anything they did or said that they feel did not please God. They cry out for God's mercy for another year of life so they might be written in the book of the righteous. The Jewish people believe there is a book of the righteous, a book for those who have not been too sinful and a book for the wicked. Join me the rest of this month as I too join our Jewish brothers in examining my own life. Also, this would be a meaningful time to lift our Jewish brothers and sisters before the Lord by praying for the veil that is over their eyes to drop so they may see Jesus as their Messiah. He is their hope of glory.
Psalm 53:1-6 Throughout our lives we may do things that seem foolish to others. Paul said, "We are fools for Christ." I'll never forget hosting a dentist and his wife who were full time in the ministry of the Lord. They traveled wherever the Lord told them to go. The dentist had a successful dental practice and gave up the security of this business to obey the Lord's call on his life.
Isaiah 1:1-2:22 Yesterday's devotion shared how complete God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ is. Jesus not only forgives us, but He also cleanses us, restores us and empowers us when we confess our sins to Him. The Book of Isaiah that we begin today reveals the heart of the Father so beautifully. Throughout your readings in Isaiah you will see the longing of God's heart to gather His little ones to Himself and to once again be in fellowship with them. He thirsted for fellowship with Israel, but their stiff-necked pride and rebellion separated them from the very One who always sought to do them good.
Psalm 51:1-19 David was called a man after God's own heart. Yet, he was also a man who committed adultery. He was a man after God's own heart because he realized he sinned against God and confessed his sin before God and repented of it. God heard David's cry, and when the life of David was mentioned in Chronicles, his sin of adultery was not mentioned. God not only forgives, but He also forgets. He not only blots out our transgressions, but He also cleanses us. John writes about God's complete act of forgiveness in 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Psalm 50:1-23 With the introduction of TV and the computer, we have become a generation of listeners and receivers, not speakers and givers. In the advancement of technology we have lost one of the greatest arts—the art of conversation. I heard recently that a father spends on the average one-half an hour weekly speaking to his children.
Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14 Ecclesiastes is a rather negative book written by one of the wisest men who ever lived. Solomon, however, saves his wisest words for the conclusion of Ecclesiastes. After sharing that all of life is vanity, Solomon does give the major priority of life. If we lived our lives on earth with what he shares as our first priority, the conclusion of our lives would not be vanity. The conclusion of our lives would be lives lived to the glory, honor and praise of God.
2 Corinthians 7:8-16 Repentance is a necessary step to salvation. Salvation, however, is a free gift that requires nothing but faith to receive it. The Bible tells us, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).
Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12 When Ron, our middle son, was about eight years old, he asked us this question: "When we meet Jesus in the air, will we have on any clothes?" My husband thought for a moment, and then said with an official scholarly voice, "Son, the Bible says naked we come into the world and naked we leave the world." Our son surprised us with his response when he said, "Streakers in the sky." The whole family laughed uncontrollably. The thought expressed, however, is true. We cannot take it with us. As some have said, "I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul."
Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22 Solomon says, "He has made everything beautiful in its time" (Eccles. 3:11). God's timing is not our timing. We go through so much in this life, and often what we go through is not pleasant. We wonder at those times what good will come from such trying experiences. Over my fifty years as a Christian I have experienced many trials and tribulations. I can honestly say now, however, that all these difficult times have worked for the good in my life.
When the World Trade Center was attacked eight years ago, a young Indian-American escaped the collapsing concrete and steel. The words he prayed that day changed his life forever.
Trusting God isnt easy when tragedy strikes. How do you respond when you face death, suffering or a life-crippling crisis?
2 Corinthians 5:12-21 My middle son, Ron, was in Bogota, Colombia on a mission journey. He went with a team into a drug dealing area called the Cartuge. His team visited a drug rehabilitation center there where criminals were learning about Jesus and being born again. When Ron entered the center he felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to offer to wash the feet of these men. Many of them did not know the story of Jesus' washing the feet of His disciples, so Ron read it to them. After the reading of the Scripture, the foot washing began.
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