Isaiah 48:12-50:11 ~ Ephesians 4:17-32 ~ Psalm 69:1-18 ~ Proverbs 24:5-6
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Old Testament - Isaiah chapter 49 verse 6 is sometimes referred to as "the great commission of the Old Testament"! Here it is: "You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." Paul and Barnabas quote this verse in part in Acts 13:47. The preceding 5 verses (1-5) in chapter 49 are considered the second servant song in Isaiah and are thought to refer to Jesus, the coming Messiah. Isaiah chapter 50 verses 4 through 9 in today's readings are considered the third servant song (out of a total of four) in Isaiah. It's interesting, when I initially read these verses in chapter 50 I really thought they were solely about the prophet Isaiah. But, as we all know by now from our readings in Isaiah - and we'll see this again in big ways in our coming day's readings - Isaiah often had the coming Savior of the world, Jesus, on his mind when he was writing this incredible book of the Old Testament in the eighth century B.C.! I love this painting below of Isaiah writing about Jesus...
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Isaiah chapter 50 titled "The Lord Can and Will Help Those Who Trust Him" is at this link. Below is a nice image for Isaiah chapter 48 verse 17 from today's readings:
New Testament - Wow. It is rare that I will copy & paste 8 verses in a row here on this blog - because you can simply read the verses by clicking on the link above. However - I think these 8 verses of Paul's in Ephesians chapter 4 verses 17 through 24 bear repeating here and warrant our re-reading and really meditating on these verses. Please take a few minutes to really reflect and pray on these verses - "With the Lord's authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They don't care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed. But that isn't what you were taught when you learned about Christ. Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness--righteous, holy, and true."
Powerful verses above, eh? I love this teaching - there must be a spiritual renewal of our thoughts and attitudes! Has there been a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes? Is there currently a daily spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes? Or are you maybe on "cruise control" these days? A great teaching I heard once is that "you are either moving forward or you are sliding backwards. There is no stable middle ground." I believe this to be true in our spiritual life. We are either moving forward - continually renewing our thoughts and attitudes and displaying our new nature - or we are sliding backwards. Backsliding as some may say. I pray that each of us today will really take to heart these teachings of Paul's in Ephesians. Let us throw off our old evil nature and our former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception! Let us each and every day spiritually renew our thoughts and attitudes through Christ Jesus our Lord!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Ephesians titled "Leaving Our Old Ways Behind" is at this link. Below is a great image for Ephesians 4:25 from today's readings -
Psalms - Psalm 69 verse 16 today is such a true statement that maybe we need to be reminded of today - "Answer my prayers, O LORD, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Turn and take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful." God does answer our prayers - perhaps not in the way we "want" Him to, but always in the way that is ultimately best for us and the Kingdom. His unfailing love is wonderful. His mercy is so plentiful. But, yet, somehow I think I sometimes forget all of this. Why? I think I forget about God's love & mercy when I am not praying to him. How about you? Are you needing a reminder today about God's unfailing love and his mercy? Are you praying to God for these very things? Will you allow God to demonstrate both his love and mercy to you today? Will you offer up prayers and allow God to answer in his perfect way?
Proverbs - Proverbs 24 verse 5 seems to go against some of our modern world's teachings about strength being the key to success - "A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge is more powerful than a strong man." Which do you believe to be true? The world that says strength is mightier? Or the Bible that says wisdom is mightier? Let us seek ever-increasing godly wisdom in our lives each day!
Worship God: Today's readings in Ephesians reminded me of Tenth Avenue North's song "Healing Begins:"
Has your soul been healed by God? Click here for Healing!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that no unwholesome talk comes out of your mouth or out of your heart. Pray that the words you speak and think are helpful for others, according to their knees. Pray that you encourage and love others through your words.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you from today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Grace, love, peace, and joy!