Isaiah 66:1-24 + Philippians 3:4-21 + Psalm 74:1-23 + Proverbs 24:15-16
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Old Testament - Today we finish up the book of the prophet Isaiah! What a great read this book has been for me this year! I hope it has been a blessing for you as well. Tomorrow we begin the book of the prophet Jeremiah! We read powerful words from God in Isaiah chapter 66 verses 2 & 3 today: "I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. But those who choose their own ways, delighting in their sins, are cursed. Their offerings will not be accepted." Have you ever literally trembled at God's Word, the Bible? I am not 100% sure if I have. I hope so. I have certainly read portions of God's Word where I have felt very convicted. Where I have realized I must change my ways. So, I suppose in this regard I have trembled at God's Word. Do you have a humble and contrite heart? Again, I hope I do. I know I do sometimes... But do we have a humble and contrite heart all of the time? I pray that we learn to. Let us not choose our own ways. Let us not delight in our sins. Let us instead tremble at God's Word.
God's words in the last 3 verses of the book of Isaiah are apocalyptic (which is not a bad thing - just the Truth of what is to come) and seems to be a precursor to John's Book of Revelation that we will read later this year: ""As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear," says the LORD. "All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.""
New Testament - Great teachings from Paul today in Philippians chapter 3! Verses 7 through 9 are so very true - "I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him." How do these words of Paul's speak to you? Have you ever valued & loved "things" in your life more than your relationship with Jesus? Can you now look back and realize that those things - love of power, money, prestige, or material goods, etc. - are worthless because of what Jesus Christ has done for you on the cross? Can you now see that love of those things is garbage - garbage that can prevent you from growing closer to Jesus if you do not throw it out? Is there any garbage in your life today that you should be throwing out...?
Today we also read Paul's amazing teachings in verses 12 through 14 - "I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven." How about you? Are you all that you should be? Are you focusing all of your energies on reaching the end of the race and receiving the prize for which God is calling you? Are you forgetting the past? Are you looking forward to what lies ahead? Are you looking forward to heaven? In this race called life, is your focus on heaven as your prize?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Philippians titled "Paul's Perspective on Perfectionism" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 74 dates from the time of the exile when the Promised Land was in shambles and the temple destroyed by neighboring nations. This is very evident by the verses we read in this Psalm. In light of this, I absolutely love the plea in verse 22 - "Arise, O God, and defend your cause. Remember how these fools insult you all day long." And as we will read later in the Bible this year, God indeed will arise to defend his cause... Below is an image for verses 13 & 14 of this Psalm: "You split the sea by your strength and smashed the sea monster's heads. You crushed the heads of Leviathan and let the desert animals eat him."
Proverbs - Proverbs 24 verses 15 & 16 I think is an interesting look at God's grace and judgment all at once - "Do not lie in wait like an outlaw at the home of the godly. And don't raid the house where the godly live. They may trip seven times, but each time they will rise again. But one calamity is enough to lay the wicked low." This Proverb says that the godly may trip 7 times - but each time they will rise again. This is a great example I think of God's grace. He will pick us back up over and over and over again. However.... this Proverb tells us that one calamity is enough to lay the wicked low. Here I think we see God's judgment. God indeed will lay the wicked low. Now, don't get me wrong. I do think God offers his grace to all - in hopes of winning all into his Kingdom. But unfortunately in this fallen world, some will reject God's grace over and over and over again. And eventually comes judgment. Let us pray for God's continuing grace in our lives and in the lives of those around us. And let us also realize that God's judgment is just as real as God's grace.
Worship Video - Today's readings in Philippians remind me of the Chris Tomlin song "Jesus Messiah:"
Is Jesus your Messiah? Click here to meet your Messiah!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you consider everything in your life a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
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.
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