Isaiah 43:14-45:10 ~ Ephesians 3:1-21 ~ Psalm 68:1-18 ~ Proverbs 24:1-2
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Old Testament - Isaiah's word's in chapter 44 verses 18 & 19 today are classic Old Testament very direct words! "Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, "Why, it's just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a chunk of wood?" I wonder about us in our lives today - do we create idols of our own today? Maybe our idols are not made out of chunks of wood these days. But do we create idols perhaps out of other people? Do we create idols out of material goods? Do we create idols out of our careers? Do we create idols out of how we spend our time? Are you bowing down and worshiping any "chunks of wood" in your life today? Please turn any idols you might have over to Jesus and allow him to heal you from worshiping those idols in your life!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Isaiah titled "Dead Idols or the Living God" is at this link and "The Knowledge of the Lord" is at this link. Below is a great image from Isaiah 44:3 from today's readings:
New Testament - Wow, Paul's opening verse 1 in chapter 3 of Ephesians today reminded me that Paul literally wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus while he was in prison in Rome! "I, Paul, am a prisoner of Christ Jesus because of my preaching to you Gentiles." I think if we keep this fact in mind, Paul's words in this letter become all that more poignant and powerful. Could you ever imagine yourself being a prisoner of Jesus because of your preaching the Word to others? I think this is something we should really consider. Would you go to jail for Jesus? Why or why not? If you would go to jail for Jesus, then I challenge you to consider ways in your life that God may be asking to you indeed be like Paul "in chains for the Gospel" - even if you won't "literally" be going to jail any time soon. (I pray not!) Maybe those chains are that you don't spend as much time doing something that is counter-productive to the Gospel.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Ephesians titled "Paul's Imprisonment, his Prayers, and his Praise" is at this link. Below is a great image for Ephesians 3:18 from today's readings:
Psalms - I always like the idea and reminder to sing to God! Do you sing to God at places other than church? Maybe in your car? Maybe at home with the headphones on? Do you "sing" to God with the way you live your life? Here's verse 4 in Psalm 68 today which I love - "Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the LORD-- rejoice in his presence!" How do you sing your praises to the Lord each day? Is it done as passionately as this fella below? :)
Below is a great image for Psalm 68 verse 9 from today's readings:
Proverbs - Proverbs 24 verses 1 & 2 today are powerful - "Don't envy evil people; don't desire their company. For they spend their days plotting violence, and their words are always stirring up trouble." Have you ever found yourself desiring the company of evil people? Have you ever found yourself envying them? The bottom line to both of these things are these three words: waste of time. Really. Spending your time with people who do evil - those whose words stir up trouble - is simply a waste of your time. Envying evil people? Waste of your time as well. Don't waste your time! Our life is short and precious. Spend your time loving and serving God and other people. I have to share with you here that being careful who you spend your time with can be very challenging in some ways. Obviously I think all of us can see the wisdom of staying away from people who are truly evil. But what about people who are somewhere in between being holy and being evil - which, oh, includes all of us... :) There are obviously people who are in different phases of life, or on different points on a spectrum between good and evil if you will. And this gets tough to know if you're "compromising" too much by spending time with folks who perhaps don't care about God at all, don't care about the poor at all, and don't really care about much of anything besides themselves - but yet they are not "evil" people per se. I will confess that I do purposely avoid spending time with people who I spent A LOT of time with in my past. This was my past where I drank too much. Stayed out way too late. Didn't care about God. Didn't care about the poor. Only cared about myself. And you know what, praise God that I was saved from that lifestyle by Jesus - and through a godly friend who still would spend some time with me back then and eventually brought me to the point where I could give my life over to the Lord. So, I guess what I'm saying is this - we do need to spend time investing in others who don't know the Lord. That is not a waste of time. But, it gets tricky to realize when we are "going back to our old ways / old self" and when we're really loving people where they are at. I don't have this fully figured out right now, as you may guess by this long post... :) But I'm cognizant of it. Our hours each and every day are so very precious... I do pray for wisdom and discernment in this area! How are you spending your time these days? Wisely? Please don't waste your very precious time that God has given you this side of heaven...
Worship God: Psalm 68:4 took my mind to many great worship songs. It seems like "Awesome God" by Rich Mullins, and performed here by Michael W. Smith is a great one to share with you today:
Do you know our awesome God? Click here to meet God!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you emulate God's character and that you too are a father to the fatherless. Pray that you are a defender of widows. Pray for Christians to adopt the fatherless. Pray to see whether you yourself might be called to adopt the fatherless. http://www.showhope.org/
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!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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