Monthly Archives: August 2021

Isaiah 30-32 and I Corinthians 5

And now go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever. For they are rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.'” (Isaiah 30:8-11 ESV)

Wow! God’s chosen people are being super rebellious here. They do not do what God says and they do not even want to hear anymore about Him. Does that sound like the world today? Our world has turned a deaf ear to God’s voice. They want to do things their own way.

But God in His love and mercy is waiting for them to turn back to Him so He can bless them.

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for Him.” (Isaiah 30:18 ESV)

Later to the Corinthians, Paul writes to them about corruption in the churches there.

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler- not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? It is not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.’ (I Corinthians 5:11-13 ESV)

And gives them a charge of how to proceed once the “old leaven” has been cleansed.

Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (I Corinthians 5:8 ESV)

Lord help us have eyes to see and ears to hear Your truth. Help us keep our hearts and minds pure.



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Isaiah 26-29; Psalm 65; 1 Corinthians 4

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
    and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
    to you shall all flesh come.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
    to dwell in your courts!
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
    O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
who stills the roaring of the seas,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;
    you greatly enrich it;
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.

From Psalm 65 ESV

God is sovereign. For every blessing we witness, to Him the glory is due. The entire earth, all of nature responds to His command. To this sovereign God, we pray, shout for joy along with nature, and bow down.

In His sovereignty, God calls and places leaders in churches, communities, and families. Most of us will find ourselves as a leader of something, big or small, over the course of our lives. The bible has much to say to those that bear that responsibility, and those that report to others as well. Any position of authority rests under God’s ultimate authority over our lives and our world.

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

I Corinthians 4:2 ESV

Who judges the faithfulness of a steward accurately? Only the true owner knows if the steward followed His wishes as fully and faithfully as he could have. Even his self-assessment might over-inflate his accomplishments or consistency.

What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

I Corinthians 4:7b ESV

Perhaps the most critical trait in a leader is humility. We have not arrived. We do not deserve this station in life more than many others. And, any skill or gifting that we have that enables us to lead well is not something to boast about. All of that, we received from our gracious God.

You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV

These verses often come to me when the role or situation that God is walking me through seems a bit much.

Perfect peace. What a beautiful, calming promise. I see the progression when you flip the verse around. We trust in God, and our mind is “stayed” on Him. This means to lean, lay, or rest as a support or brace. If we trust God, our mind will be supported as we rest in Him which will bring us that perfect peace.

This sovereign God who entrusts to us varying levels of responsibility does not expect us to go it alone. He provides all we need to make the decisions, motivate our peers or those we influence, lead with wisdom and somehow find peace in the midst of all that.

This also comes from the Lord of hosts;
    he is wonderful in counsel
    and excellent in wisdom.

Isaiah 28:29 ESV

Lord God, Thank you for your wisdom. So many decisions are beyond my human level of understanding and perspective. Give me fuller love for those that are impacted by decisions I make and sound judgement as these plans have broad implications for many. I do not even know all the ripple effects of my choices at times. Draw me always back to rest in your sovereignty and peace. Keep my mind saturated in you as I trust you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Isaiah 23-25; 1 Corinthians 3

It is obvious that there were divisions in the church in Corinth. People were comparing themselves to one another. They were following different individuals who had help plant the church. The Apostle Paul wrote to these people and told them that wasn’t what they needed to focus on. Their focus was building together on what the found fathers had built as a foundation for the church. Paul writes:

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:1–15 [ESV]).

Later in this letter — specifically chapter 12 — the Apostle Paul lays out the whole concept of spiritual gifts. Here he challenges his readers to build faithfully on that foundation he helped lay. If we work where the Holy Spirit has placed us in His kingdom — whether in the most obvious “important” place or the most “insignificant” one — there will be a precious rewards waiting for us when we reach heaven.

Whether you teach God’s Word from the pulpit on a Sunday morning or greet people as they enter your building if you are being deployed by the Holy Spirit according to your gifting and grace you are doing a great work for God. A recent study shows that a visitor to your church decides whether to come back to your fellowship within 10 minutes of setting foot on your property. What does that tell us… It tells us that the following are the most important people in your church:

— Those who mow your lawns and care for the flower beds around your church.

— Those who greet on Sunday mornings.

— Those who brew the coffee.

— Those that greet parents dropping their children off at classes.

Yup, it’s not the worship team or the pastor, it’s those above that welcome those to your ministry. Whatever we do for the kingdom, God will bless now and for eternity. So the next time you wonder if you are making a difference — YOU ARE! Stay the course and there will be a prize waiting you when you step into heaven. Looking forward to celebrating with you.

God bless!

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Isaiah 20-22; 1 Corinthians 2

One of my kids is caring for animals at a nearby farm this week. She loves animals and has always had a dreamer’s impression of what farm life would be like–harmonious, lovely, routine. But this week with hot and humid summer temperatures, buzzing flies, and work that leaves her sweaty, tired and achy has shown her a different perspective. She comes to my car dirty, disheveled, smelly, exhausted. The next day, she awakens with aches as her body remembers. Anne of Green Gables meets The Hunger Games, and the arena doesn’t seem anything like you imagined when you’re finally in it.

When I read through Isaiah 20-22, instead of consuming words while I drink my coffee, I step into the horror. In my NLT, each section begins with a subtitle “A message about …” and a city is listed. In A message about Egypt and Ethiopia:

Then the Lord said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. This is a sign—a symbol of the terrible troubles I will bring upon Egypt and Ethiopia. For the king of Assyria will take away the Egyptians and Ethiopians as prisoners. He will make them walk naked and barefoot, both young and old, their buttocks bared, to the shame of Egypt. Then the Philistines will be thrown into panic, for they counted on the power of Ethiopia and boasted of their allies in Egypt! They will say, ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have? We were counting on Egypt to protect us from the king of Assyria.’” (Isaiah 20:3-6, NLT)

Or in A message about Babylon:

My stomach aches and burns with pain. Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me, like those of a woman in labor. I grow faint when I hear what God is planning; I am too afraid to look. My mind reels and my heart races. I longed for evening to come, but now I am terrified of the dark.

Look! They are preparing a great feast. They are spreading rugs for people to sit on. Everyone is eating and drinking.
But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle. You are being attacked! (Isaiah 21:3-5, NLT)

In A Message about Jerusalem:

You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem.
    You store up water in the lower pool.
10 You survey the houses and tear some down
    for stone to strengthen the walls.
11 Between the city walls, you build a reservoir
    for water from the old pool.
But you never ask for help from the One who did all this.
    You never considered the One who planned this long ago

12 At that time the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    called you to weep and mourn.
He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins
    and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse.
13 But instead, you dance and play;
    you slaughter cattle and kill sheep.
    You feast on meat and drink wine.
You say, “Let’s feast and drink,
    for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:9-13, NLT, emphasis added)

In the New Testament, Paul’s words begin with the subheading Paul’s Message of Wisdom. These readings, all messages to the reader.

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. (1 Corinthians 2:6-8, NLT, emphasis added)

I reflect on these readings and the underscoring of God’s sovereignty and plan. And like farm life, it’s more comfortable to read about war, choices, nations from the ease of my couch than it is to personalize a message. What if I stood before God’s judgment? What if I didn’t ask for help from the One who planned all this long ago? What if I didn’t understand?

13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. 14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For,

“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to teach him?”

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:13-16, NLT)

Lord, I don’t want to do life apart from you. I’m thankful for reminders that you are sovereign and you desire true relationship with me. Your word puts it out there for me–warning, wisdom, guidance, truth. You make known what you want. Help me to understand.

Courtney (66books365)

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Isaiah 17-19; Psalm 62; 1Corinthians 1

Isaiah 17-19

God is a God of vengeance when it comes to the enemies of His children. God calls His children the apple of His eyes, so anyone who messes with them will be accountable to God. In Isaiah 17-19 we see God venting His anger and spelling out how He was going to punish three heathen nations that had troubled Israel.  God is declaring what He would do to Damascus, Cush and Egypt. This is why as Children of God the same principle remains today God expects us to leave vengeance to Him as He says in Deuteronomy 32:35(NKJV) – “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time ;For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them” This is because as the scriptures also says in 2Thessalonians1:6(NIV) “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you” This gives me assurance that God has my back, I can wade through life knowing with assurance that God will protect me from evil as He fights and wins battles against the enemy on my behalf that I may never even be aware of.

Psalm 62

I love this scripture as it gives hope to them who seem hopeless. It starts off in Psalm 62:1(NIV) “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” “Rest” is a place where turmoil ceases, a place of calmness and serenity and the reason why rest comes is because God is the source of our salvation, our very help in the time of trouble, we can rest in His arms of safety were He protects and shields us from calamity and danger. God to the Psalmist and also to us is a fortress, a rock of safety were the enemy can’t reach us. We must let this scripture bring assurance and hope when the stresses of life seem to want to overwhelm us…let it bring calmness to our souls.

1Corinthians 1

I love the assurance God gives us in 1 Corinthians 1:8 (NIV)”He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This paints the picture of a God who wills us to win..who passionately watches over us and because of His love for us would do what He can within His mighty power to present us as a winner, blameless on the day of judgement…this brings joy to my heart and confidence that “….If God is for us,who can be against us?” Romans 8:31(NIV). 1 Corinthians 1 also brings our focus back to God who chose the foolish things to bring forth His glory taking the focus off those things and putting the focus on His wisdom, His strength and His splendour. This is why the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:27‭-‬28 (NIV) “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,”
So in 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NIV) “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” Hence God chose the Cross as a place of salvation, a place of deliverance, the beginning of a new relationship with God and a transformation of our lives…this the world sees as “foolish” but God’s “foolishness” is wiser than man’s “wisdom”. The reason for this is “so that no one may boast before him.” -1 Corinthians 1:29 (NIV) and also that “Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31 (NIV)

In Christ


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