January 8 – A Sure Thing


“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: For the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation..” Isaiah 12:2 (KJV)

Looking for a good reason to trust a sure thing? So much has be uncertain in the past. Maybe our lives have been turned upside down because of the turmoil that rolled over us and flattened us. There is one who we can trust and cling to the promises He has given to us. Yes, there is. We can trust without fear because our strength comes to us from our LORD JEHOVAH. This means the LORD our God is our strength where we have none. And it is true we have no strength of our own that will carry us through the year ahead so if we do not trust in the strength we have from God, we have no strength at all. We will end up on a heap of depression and despondency. We will be lost in the woods and sinking in the sea. Who will save us? The LORD JEHOVAH will. If we step out in faith, and put our trust in His word and guidance, we will not fear but we will stand up on a high place singing our song of salvation and praise to the LORD OUR LORD. It’s a sure thing.

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January 7 – Before Petitions

“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 (ESV)

Each of us carries burdens that drive us to seek help and answers from God. So we talk to Him in our prayers⸺both spoken and thoughts which we address to our Lord God. How then, do we perceive that God hears our prayers? We know He does because the Bible tells us that the effective prayer offered with clear conscience and relationship with God will be answered and bring about much in the way of answers. Sometimes we may talk about heaven being so far away. However, it is within speaking distance to those who belong there. The greater context of this verse is about a time yet to be. But we see a promise in this verse even for us today. We are promised that God knows our prayers before we speak them and he both hears and answers them according to His will⸺as we learn elsewhere in the Scriptures. Whatever we ask, according to God’s will, we receive to the glory of God. So it is in this promise today. God answers before we even call and hears before we even voice our requests. Yet, we continue to pray according to the will of God.

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December 30 – Remembering For Purpose


“Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, Lord, We have waited for You eagerly; Your name, and remembering You, is the desire of our souls. At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments, The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” Isaiah 26:8-9 (NASB)

As the days on the calendar of this year tick off one by one, the favorite pastime of the media is to fill their time with memories of the year. This year we may find this activity less enjoyable than it has been in past years. For those of us who have put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, we can always count of the blessing of remembering that He has been with us on this rocky path. It is wonderful to have close fellowship with our Lord. This was the prophet Isaiah experience and he writes about it in today’s verse. As we walk with the Lord we find that He satisfies the deepest desires of our heart. Those desires are those which come from Him and they are pure and good. When God created human beings He wanted to have fellowship with His creatures. And God made us so that we would desire to be close to Him. So we find true satisfactions when we are close to Him. We are able to say that our inner being yearns for God night and day. Isn’t that a comforting promise we have been given today?

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December 12 – Feeble Hands, Shaky Knees

“Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.”,” Isaiah 35: 3-4 (NASB)

We have looked in the past and considered the promise of our eternal source of encouragement and today’s verse shows us a way we are encouraged. These words are interesting because they mention exhausted and feeble knees that give way. The ‘exhausted’ are those with slack hands. The ‘feeble’ are those with tottering knees. They have become worn out and need new energy. 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 fear, 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 – Walking Close

“Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him.” Isaiah 45:24 (ESV)

Today’s verse is an example of God giving to His prophet the very words that He wanted written down and delivered to His people. This is why it is correct to call the Bible the Word of God. We know that its teachings come from our creator. Sometimes God gave his prophets the words to say in various methods. One of those methods was to instruct the prophet to copy verbatim His words and deliver them as a message in God’s words. In this instance Isaiah received the Word of God directly from God. God predicted here what people would say about Him. If we are walking close to the Lord in our Christian life we can say 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 strengths that we need to do what we’ve been given to do. Walking close to the source of the promised strength, let’s commit to doing that today.

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December 6 – Carried Close

“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” Isaiah 40:11 (NASB)

We might be familiar with the well-known painting by Warner Sallman of our Lord as a shepherd caring for his sheep? It is an image often used to show God’s relationship with His followers. It brings joy and comfort to know that He considers us a part of those who 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. Jesus once told those following Him that His sheep know his voice, and He knows know them, and they follow Him. Jesus 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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Christmas in the book of Isaiah

Doug Clevenger
New Life Church Clarkfield, Minnesota
December 20, 2017

https://dougclevenger.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/christmas-in-the-book-of-isaiah/

People have always had an vested interest in the future. A prudent farmer cares about the weather forecast more than he cares about current conditions. He has already prepared for today. His work today is about tomorrow.

A good stock broker scrutinizes market forecasts even more than a farmer anticipates weather. He earns the trust of investors by telling them what may happen in the future. Their lives and his livelihood depend on the accuracy of his projections.

The life insurance industry is built on the risk of possible future events. Agents depend on actuarial tables—a prediction of the future— to sell policies.

Futurists work with uncertain knowledge. They examine statistics of the past and patterns of the present to predict the future. High confidence does not come with a guarantee. They may be right about the future or they may be wrong.

Prophets don’t have that luxury. They deal with certainty, not projections. A true prophet is 100% right 100% of the time. And he places his life on the line by making a prophecy. That’s what lifts Isaiah to such high status as a prophet of God.

In The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John Martin listed 22 messianic prophecies in the book of Isaiah. Some of them are about Jesus’ first advent in Bethlehem. Others refer to Christ’s second coming to reign over the earth with power.

We can find the Christmas story in the book of Isaiah with startling clarity. Here’s one prophecy:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Isaiah was speaking about both the near future and the distant future. A young woman would bear a son as a sign of God’s temporal deliverance in the time of Ahaz, King of Judah. Much later a virgin would give birth to a Son as a sign of God’s ultimate deliverance. It’s Christmas in the book of Isaiah.

The sign to Ahaz was fulfilled less than three years later when his two enemies were deposed in 732 B.C. When that happened, Ahaz knew Isaiah had foretold it. Yet God intended more in Isaiah’s words than merely the deliverance of Ahaz. The prophecy also foretold the virgin birth of Jesus.

Matthew 1:22-23 verifies the fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Jesus:

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Here’s more of the Christmas story in another prophecy by Isaiah:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

This passage foretold the birth of Jesus 700 years before it happened. It’s Christmas in Isaiah. It tells us all we need to know about the future. God wins!