Author Archives: flasky10

Isaiah 41-44; 1 Corinthians 12

As I read through Isaiah 41-44, I noticed a cycle of God declaring His character and then Isaiah calling the people to respond in worship; however, Isaiah does not point out the typical characteristics of God associated with worship. Often in scripture worship of God correlates to God’s holiness, but Isaiah emphasizes God’s care for His people.

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on bare heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”

Isaiah 41:17-18

God is powerful even in the situations that seem the most hopeless such as deserts and valleys. Another repeated theme in these chapters is that God does not forsake His people. This is one of the declarations made by God in these verses. In contrast, God condemns the idols of the people declaring them useless. It is easy to turn to things of this world to satisfy us or bring comfort in moments of hardship; however, when confronted with the power and care of our God, the uselessness of our idols is exposed and the worthiness of God is highlighted.

Next, the passage goes on to describe the future Messiah, Jesus, by saying,

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a fainting burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.”

Isaiah 42:3-4

How compassionate is the God that we serve? Even in our brokenness and weakness, he will not desert us. He is faithful!

In light of all of this, Isaiah calls the people to respond in praise.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.”

Isaiah 42:10

We serve a God worthy of all praise. He is above everything in heaven and on earth. His name is above every other name. Not only does Isaiah declare the truth of who God is, it also declares the truth of who we are.

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.”

Isaiah 43:1-4

Let that truth lead you to worship. Remember who God is and who He says you are. God is compassionate and gentle. We serve a God who brings redemption even in the midst of our brokenness and never forsakes us. 

Faith (Flasky10)

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Hosea 14; 2 Chronicles 26-27; Psalm 61; Matthew 20

As I read Hosea 14, I was confronted by God’s loving and merciful response to the unfaithful Israelites. We are quick to label ourselves as unworthy of grace or too far gone, yet God continues to love us and call us to repentance. God does not respond to our cries with condemnation, distance, or rejection rather he shows mercy.

“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God for you have stumbled because of your iniquity”

Hosea 14:1 English Standard Version

In our weakness, God calls us to return to Him for He is our strength! Psalm 61 is another example of the nearness of our God and His attentiveness to our prayers. 

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the ends of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge a strong tower against the enemy.”

Psalm 61:1-3

The psalmist says he cries out when his heart is faint. I am all too familiar with this prayer. The prayer of a person in need of rest in the midst of their struggling. The prayer of one aware they need someone higher than themselves. This psalmist is aware of his dependence on God and responds in prayer. 

Similarly, Matthew 20 tells of two blind men sitting on the side of the road, who cry out to God for mercy. I am so encouraged by their faith despite the opposition. 

“And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

Matthew 20:29-31

These men were aware of who Jesus was. Therefore, they called out to Him despite the crowd trying to silence them. Unlike the crowd, Jesus stopped, listened to them, and healed them. Jesus does not ignore the cries of his children and he is not ignorant of their needs. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, God’s character is displayed and He is a God who hears and responds. 

A month ago I served as a camp counselor and the pastor preached on prayer. He said when we pray we must come to God with humble hearts and honest words. I love that! Prayer is not about perfection or strength. God already knows our weaknesses and our needs. Go to Him as you are, cry out to Him with honesty and humility, and trust that He is listening. 

Faith (flasky10)

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Proverbs 14-15; Romans 14

Honoring God requires loving and living in unity with believers. I have frequently heard Christians summarize the greatest commands given by God as love God and love people. This command is presented with so much simplicity, yet the more you read the Bible the more depth is added to the command to love. As I read Romans 14, I was confronted by the motive of love and obedience presented in this passage. The author called believers not to judge since they are the Lord’s and commended them not to cause others to stumble because Christ died for them. Believers should walk in love.

“For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”

Romans 14:8 ESV

“For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”

Romans 14:15 ESV

In verse fifteen, the author commands believers not to grieve others by what they eat; however, this does not just apply to food but more broadly to every conviction that is not foundational to salvation. The church is called to unity as we read in verse 19:

“So then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding”

Sadly, when I look at the church and believers, I usually find divisions, judgement, and comparison. This is not what the church is meant to be. The church should be unified in love and believers should be pursuing to build each other up. The trinity provides a beauty example of unity and God desires his church to display that unity, which is why we find the commands in Romans 14 not to judge or cause others to stumble.

Ultimately, I was struck by the weight of verse 15 when the author said, “. . . do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” This is such a powerful statement. When I am tempted to judge my brothers and sisters in Christ, I must remember that Christ died for them too. If there is anything I have learned from this passage, it is to not forget the price that Christ paid for other believers and the weight of his love for them because that reality humbles me and reminds me to love them.

~ Faith

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Exodus 28-31; Philippians 2

As I read Exodus 28-31, I found myself struggling to find the modern-day application. All the regulations for the priests’ garments and the consecration of the priests that were necessary under the old covenant are no longer required in the life of a present-day believer.

Yet, as I read all the details, I was reminded of God’s character. Not only is he a God of intentional detail, but he is also holy. All the required ceremonies, sacrifices, and garments reminded me how unworthy I am to enter God’s presence. This is emphasized in the bells found on the garment of the priest which would alert those outside the tabernacle if the priest died in God’s presence due to uncleanness.

Exodus 30:20 speaks of the bronze basin saying,

“When they go into the tent of meeting, to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die” (English Standard Version).

Wow. So often I forgot just how filthy and unworthy my sin makes me. In light of the weight of my sin compared to the holiness of God, I was challenged to reflect on the beautiful gift of Jesus’s sacrifice that allowed me to become the temple of God. I do not need to go through a priest or ritual cleansing, rather I have Jesus as my high priest. Through Christ’s sacrifice, I became the temple of God and I have direct access to God. As I read through Exodus, I found many chapters containing instructions on every detail of the temple. So how amazing is it that through Jesus we have become the temple?

After having my eyes opened to the holiness of God through Exodus, Philippians 2:12 stood out to me so powerfully,

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” (English Standard Version).

Paul tells the Philippians to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. I can only imagine that the Old Testament prophets enter the Holy of Holy, where God’s presence dwelt, with fear and trembling. Each step the ringing of the bells on their garments was a reminder of the possibility that if they enter God’s presence unclean they would die. If this fear Paul called the Philippian to was rooted only in their knowledge of God’s holiness, that fear would be of death or destruction; however, wholesome fear of God is rooted in both a knowledge of his holiness and his grace, mercy, and love made available through Jesus. I once heard the fear of the Lord described this way. Suppose you met a famous celebrity that you have been a fan of for your whole lifetime. You would not be scared of them hurting you, but you would be worried about embarrassing yourself in front of them or messing up. In a similar way but much greater way, we must live out our salvation with a fear of displeasing God.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross to save me from my unholiness and allow me to enter your presence blamelessly. I am sorry that I can so quickly forget the seriousness of my sin and the magnitude of your holiness. Would you fill me with a greater fear of you that motivates me to live in a way that pleases you. Thank you for your grace that you generously pour out over my sin daily.

 ~ Faith


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