~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Isaiah 57:15-59:21 ~ Philippians 1:1-26
Psalm 71:1-24 ~ Proverbs 24:9-10
Old Testament - Today in Isaiah chapter 57 verses 20 & 21 we have a chance to think about that sometimes elusive word "peace" - ""But those who still reject me are like the restless sea. It is never still but continually churns up mire and dirt. There is no peace for the wicked," says my God." I don't know about you, but I know I have gone through many days of my life without true peace - and many days with true peace. And I do honestly believe that there is no peace in our lives apart from God. When we live our lives solely for our own selfish motives, we live a very chaotic un-restful un-peaceful life I believe. But, when we turn our lives over to God, when we embrace God, when we love God, and when we are obedient to God's will for our lives, we come to know true peace! And it is indeed a peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray that each of us is walking in the light of God's peace this very day. And tomorrow. And the next day. Please, don't ever step out of the peace of God and back into the chaos of living for yourself. I know this can seem to be a glib saying at first glance, but there's a whole lot of truth to this one:
Today in Isaiah chapter 59 we read about warnings against sin - which were written for Israel in 8th century B.C. Do you think we should heed these warnings today as well? Any of these warnings in chapter 59 sound like they could have been written for our modern day? In verses 9 & 10 today we read - "It is because of all this evil that deliverance is far from us. That is why God doesn't punish those who injure us. No wonder we are in darkness when we expected light. No wonder we are walking in the gloom. No wonder we grope like blind people and stumble along. Even at brightest noontime, we fall down as though it were dark. No wonder we are like corpses when compared to vigorous young men!" When I read these verses above and look at this image below, I for some reason think of people in our world today who are addicted to pornography. Pornography is a horrific sin that indeed turns vigorous young men into "corpses" of themselves. Pornography sells you "vigor", but it delivers just the opposite - death. I pray that if anyone reading this is addicted to pornography that you'll run for your very life to counseling. Seriously. Your life is too short and precious to walk around like a corpse any more! Go for God! You likely can't pull out of the addiction on your own. You'll need help - immediately. Find an addiction counselor in your town ASAP. Please don't walk in the darkness of this deadly addiction anymore...
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Isaiah chapter 57 titled "God's Condemnation or God's Comfort" is at this link.
New Testament - Today we begin Paul's letter to the church in Philippi! See # 5 on the map below -
~ Philippians ~
Author: Paul the apostle
Date: A.D. 61
Content: Paul wrote this letter from prison in Rome to some very dear friends in Philippi as a response to their sending some money to him in order to meet his needs. He begins by expressing his confidence in them and then describes dome of the problems he faces in Rome. Whether he will die or not he does not know, but if death does come, he will rejoice in the presence of Christ. If he remains, he will continue to serve God by serving the churches. The example of Christ’s humility is set before the Philippians as an example to follow. False teachings are to be vigorously rejected. Two quarreling sisters are admonished to make up and all believers are admonished to set high ideals for themselves because God will supply all that one needs in life.
Theme: In this very personal letter of Paul the theme of rejoicing may be seen throughout. If one lives, he may rejoice because God loves him. Christ died for him, and all things are given to him by God for his life. If one dies, then he may rejoice by being in Christ’s presence forevermore. This does not mean that Christians will have no problems, however. Even as Jesus had to endure the cross, so we must be ready to follow that example of submission to God, if it must be. But we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:2) and should live with that thought constantly before us. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 27)
More great commentary on Philippians is at this link:
Today in Philippians chapter 1 verse 21 we read this powerful statement of Paul's:
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Philippians titled "Paul's Perspective on Life and Death" is at this link.
Psalms - Today in Psalm 71 verses 6 through 8 we will read - "Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother's womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long." This is so true that God has cared for each of us since we were in our mother's womb! This is a beautiful thing to realize. There is an interesting thought in these verses - if our live is an example to many - and well, yes, it really is no matter what we actually do. Hopefully our life is a good example - but there could be seasons of bad example too... If our lives are good examples to many, why is this so? I agree with the Psalmist - it is simply because of God in our lives. Is God literally your strength and protection? Do you praise God unceasingly? Do you declare God's glory all day long? How do you do so?
Proverbs - Interesting Proverb chapter 24 verse 10 - "If you fail under pressure, your strength is not very great." I think sometimes we forget that pressure is where we grow. God will not give us more than we can handle. Our key is to not fail under pressure. Stay with the healing / fine tuning / pruning that God is placing you under - even if it comes with pressure. For at the end of the pressure is transformation. Let us not fail under the high pressure systems of life that will periodically come our way...
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!