March 30 – His Strong Righteous Hands

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)

Our promise today is one that can make us glad in heart. Fear is too commonly what we choose when we face turmoil from the world. Critics and hateful words from skeptics should not weaken our stand or our grip on God’s truth. God says, “Do Not Fear.” Why? How? By trusting that God’s promise is true – He is with us. When we are fearful, we get anxious and that means worry. Worry keeps us from seeing, understanding, and remembering God. So, don’t look around for help from any other source but God. He promises us strength. He promises us help. He promises to hold us up with His righteous right hand. That is like his hand is under us so that we will not fall and if we stumble, He catches us.  God knows very well that we are weak and unable to stand on our own. When we try on our own we’re sure to topple over. But with the strength and help of His right hand, we are kept secure. We need not be afraid of frightful things. We do not need to worry because God’s promises are sure and true.

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March 23 –– Perfect Peace

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

“Perfect peace.” Now isn’t that something we would truly enjoy? So much chaos in our lives and. Whether we turn this way or that, we things exist that rob us of even imperfect peace. We find a marvelous promise in our verse today. It’s a promise that proves itself over and over.  Our God is the only one who never changes. He keeps His promises and we can depend on Him to meet our needs every day, in every situation.  Although our situations change from pleasant to challenging God never changes. The secret of true peace in our hearts and minds is to fix our thoughts and our aspirations on our unchanging God – not on our own understanding. Trusting in God is like building on an unshakable foundation and keeping our mind anchored in the truth we learn from God and His Word. So, let’s base our thoughts on God’s faithfulness. Our verse says that this will give us perfect peace. Who can improve on that?  Of course, nobody can. Trust in God – He will keep you in perfect peace no matter what you might face today, or tomorrow or ever in your future.  

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March 6 – He Will Help Us

“Like a swallow, like a crane, so I twitter; I moan like a dove; My eyes look wistfully to the heights; O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security.”  Isaiah 38:14 (NASB)

There are times in our lives that our hearts ache for many reasons. The words in this verse were recorded by the prophet Isaiah but were the words of the King of Judah, King Hezekiah. The King Hezekiah had been told to set his house in order because he was about to die. But he knew he could appeal to God. God heard and added fifteen years after he recovered from a very serious illness. There are times in our lives when our hearts are troubled by our circumstances. Our problems may not be as serious as King Hezekiah who had expected to die from his illness but sometimes they actually are that heavy on our hearts. However that might be we can turn to God. We can say and cry out as the King did, “I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid.” Yes, friends, whatever it is that might cause turmoil of our minds and our hearts, we can turn to God for help. And as He helped the King of Judah, he will help us too according to His will as we rely on Him.

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February 22 – Forgive, Forget or Both?

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” – Isaiah 43:25 (NASB)

“I can forgive but I’ll never forget.” Have we ever heard someone say this? Maybe, we say it as well thinking that it is close to impossible to truly forget. It’s possible but we have to want to. Forgiveness, we can do, but if we can’t forget, the offense remains a thing and threatens to negates our forgiveness. Our Lord God declares in our verse today that He wipes out our sins and purposely removes them from His memory.  This verse is probably the high point of grace in the Old Testament. In spite of our utter unworthiness, the Lord in His grace has created a way that He can forgive our sins and grant righteousness without compromising His holiness. When as a sinner we recognize we can’t achieve our own righteousness by works, and in repentance call on the mercy of God, the Lord covers us with His own divine righteousness by grace. Through the faith he gifts to us, we stand forgiven. It is that righteousness that God sees when He looks upon us. We can forgive and by the same grace we can choose to forget by refusing to dwell on the memories.

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January 4 –Trembling for God

“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?” – Acts 7:49-50 (ESV)

These words, spoken by Stephen to the Jewish Sanhedrin in defense of his faith. Stephen was a deacon in the truly first church in Jerusalem and became the first Christian martyr. Stephen quoted Isaiah 66:1-2. It is a reminder for us to remember church is not a building, in grand or simple architecture and the size and does not make a place a church. When emphasis is on the structure, we tend to limit God to that building. Because of His majesty no one can build a house for Him to dwell in (1 Kings 8:27); God is the Creator of all things – especially all things used to build the grand and beautiful church buildings. What He values above His inanimate Creation are people who are humble and contrite (Isaiah. 57:15) and who follow His word. God desires to dwell in the hearts of persons who takes His Word so seriously that it produces humility, broken spirit, and trembling in the presence of His Word. ““But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:2b

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January 2 – Holiness Is What He Wants

“And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”” –  Isaiah 6:5 (ESV)

These words by the prophet Isaiah are found in the book with his name. Much can be learned from this passage and this verse expresses what happens when we encounter an exalted view of God and His holiness. We see a clear view of sin and a realistic view of ourselves. We understand that Isaiah may have been satisfied with his personal holiness until he saw this vision of the Lord God in His unspeakable glory. If we have a diminished view of God we will have a reduced concern for sin and an inflated view of self. Truly, it is impossible to worship God and remain unchanged. Isaiah’s encounter with holy God made him immediately and keenly aware of his own lack of holiness and of the sinfulness of those around him. God does not want us to be conformed to a sinful world seeking its pleasures and attracted by temptations that are traps and snares to unholy living. God desires in us a clear difference between ourselves and the world. God wants to sanctify us, to make us holy as He is holy. That is a promise made to every faith believer.  

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December 15 – It Was Because

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (NASB
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High;” – Luke 1:31-32a (NASB)
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21 (NASB)

The birth of Jesus was known before God created the earth and humans. During this season, we sing about the message which the angels told to the shepherds near Bethlehem the night Jesus was born.  But today’s verses tell us that before that, God predicted through His prophet Isaiah the birth of the “Son of God.” God had sent the angel Gabriel with the message about the birth and name of Jesus to Mary who was chosen to be His mother. Gabriel made a visit later to Joseph who was to be Mary’s husband. Gabriel revealed why God had chosen the name Jesus for the child who was to be born.  It was because He would save His people from their sins. The prophecy of Isaiah is repeated in Matthew 1:23. These messages, given to the world before the child was born, are important to us. Jesus was coming in order to be our Savior. We should rejoice today that God sent His Son to save us. It was an important message given before He came.  It is just as important today. God promised to provide a way for us to be saved and Jesus is that Way.

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December 12 – Weak Hands, Feeble Knees, Anxious Heart

“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” – Isaiah 35:3-4 (ESV)

Through His prophets, God spoke to His people and gave them instruction and encouragement. He also warned them what would happen if they did not believe and the blessings for those who did believe. We have considered the promise of God that He is our eternal source of encouragement and today’s verse shows us a way we are encouraged. An anxious heart comes from fear. Fear comes from not trusting in God’s promises. These words are interesting because they mention feeble hands and knees that give way. But it is also clear that weak hands and shaky knees are caused by fearful hearts. So, what the Lord promises us is that He will come and He will strengthen our hearts so that we do not need to fear. When we trust him to help us not be afraid, that will make our hands and our knees strong. When we have needs like this in our lives our God is aware of them and He promises to come to help us. If we know that God will respond in this way, it encourages us to depend on Him and press on, whatever is ahead in our path.

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December 11 – Righteousness and Strength

“I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.” – Isaiah 45:23-24 (NASB)

God, in today’s words is giving to His prophet the very words that He wanted written down and delivered to His people. We call the Bible the Word of God and we know that its teachings come from our creator. In this instance Isaiah received the Word of God directly from God. God predicted here what people would say about Him, God not Isaiah.  Today there are many who do not know the Lord God and reject Him as their Savior and Lord. There are even some who carry an attitude of anger toward God and those who do believe in Him. But there will be a day when every person will bow to God, some in shame. As we walk close to the Lord in our Christian life we can know what God predicted we would say.  Yes, as we walk with the Lord we find that He is the source of our ability to live right. We find His righteousness keeps us in the straight way. It is how we find the strength to do what we need to do by walking close to the source of the promised strength, let’s commit to doing that today.

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December 7 – Scattered and Re-gathered

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” –  Isaiah 40:11 (ESV)

The picture this verse draws for us is first one of God’s omnipotence. The context here is the prophecy of the Jews begin scattered over all the earth. Subsequently, God will overcome their oppressors and gather His people together and care for them. Are we familiar with the picture of our Lord as a shepherd caring for his sheep? It is an image used to show God’s relationship with His followers. We are so glad that He considers us a part of those who can depend on His care every day. As we read this verse today these words are especially impressed on our hearts: “carries them in His bosom” – meaning He carries them close to his heart. These special words remind us of God’s promise and His great love for us. He wants us to feel this and He wants us to respond to His love. Then let us remember that to be held close to the heart of the shepherd made it possible for a lamb to feel the heartbeat of the shepherd. So it is for us. When our Lord carries us close to his heart, we can sense His love for others and for ourselves.

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