Isaiah 30:12-33:9 ~ Galatians 5:1-12 ~ Psalm 63:1-11 ~ Proverbs 23:22
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Old Testament - Today in Isaiah chapter 30 we read about blessings for God's people! You'll notice in verses 12 and 15 the term "Holy One of Israel" is used for God. An interesting thing to note about this term "Holy One of Israel" is that it occurs a total of 26 times in the book of the prophet Isaiah - and only 6 times elsewhere in the rest of the Old Testament! (I think it is such a beautiful term - maybe in part because my church sings a wonderful song occasionally w/ these lyrics: "For I am the Lord your God. The Holy One of Israel. Your Savior. I am the Lord - do not fear - I am the Lord". Anyone else's church sing this song?) Some scholars over history have challenged whether the entire 66 chapters of the book of Isaiah were really all written by the same person, Isaiah. Well, the continuity of the use of the term "Holy One of Israel" throughout the book has been the strongest argument for the unity of the book of Isaiah.
New Testament - Galatians chapter 5 is a great teaching on our freedom in Christ! Verse 1 is so very powerful: "So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law." Has Jesus set you free? Has He set you free from the slavery of sin? Has He set you free from the slavery of the law? If you are not yet free, today will you hand over the controls of your life to Jesus and let Him once and for all set you free!
I also love verses 5 & 6 - "But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive everything promised to us who are right with God through faith. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, it makes no difference to God whether we are circumcised or not circumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love." I like that thought of eagerly waiting to receive everything promised to us who are right with God through faith. Are you eagerly waiting for everything promised? Do you have the hope of glory? And then the last sentence of what is important is powerful - faith expressing itself in love! Not faith expressing itself in hate.... Faith expressing itself in love. Is your faith expressing itself in love? This reminds me of the old song - "They will know we are Christians by our love. By our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love." Amen!
Bible.org's fantastic commentary on today's readings in Galatians titled "The Goal of the Gospel" is at this link. Below is a great image for Galatians 5:6 from today's readings:
Psalms - Psalm 63 is beautiful! So many amazing verses... The imagery in verse 1 is fantastic - "O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water." Do you earnestly search for God in your life? Each and every day? Does your soul literally thirst for God? Does your whole body long for God in this dry and weary land....
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 23 verse 22 reminds me of the Ten Commandment to honor your father and mother! "Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don't despise your mother's experience when she is old." I do think that listening to our parents and not despising their experience when they are old is very honoring. Are you listening to your parents these days? Are you not despising their experience?
Worship God: Based on my Galatians 5 verse 6 reflection above, you knew I'd find "They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love" on YouTube right? :) Here's the song performed by Jars of Clay set to a powerful video with U.S. and worldwide poverty statistics and some related Scripture verses. Please watch this video and see if God speaks to you in any new ways about loving others who are living in poverty:
Is God's precious love flowing through you to others? Click here if you haven't yet received God's saving love!
Do Something: If the video today moved you to love others in a more active way, I encourage you to look for volunteer needs within your local church. Perhaps it's serving with an internal ministry or an external ministry. Secondly, I encourage you to find a way to love others outside of the church walls by volunteering with a local nonprofit in your community. A great way to find volunteer opportunities in communities throughout the United States is through VolunteerMatch.org. All you have to do is type in your zip code at this website link and they will show you volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood! Will you please take just 5 minutes to explore VolunteerMatch.org at: http://www.volunteermatch.org/
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you have been set free from the slavery of sin through a saving faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior! Pray that you know that you are truly free indeed, and that you will never go back to the yoke of slavery to sin. Pray that you will stand firm in your faith in Jesus!
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!