Isaiah 6:1-7:25 We are entering the High Holy Days for our Jewish brothers and sisters. This is the season of their New Year and their ten days of awe, which end with the Day of Atonement. The timing varies according to their calendar, but this season usually occurs during September. We will be speaking more of these days of awe, which is a time set aside for the Jewish people to examine their hearts in preparation for the Day of Atonement. They review the last year and confess anything they did or said that they feel did not please God. They cry out for God's mercy for another year of life so they might be written in the book of the righteous. The Jewish people believe there is a book of the righteous, a book for those who have not been too sinful and a book for the wicked. Join me the rest of this month as I too join our Jewish brothers in examining my own life. Also, this would be a meaningful time to lift our Jewish brothers and sisters before the Lord by praying for the veil that is over their eyes to drop so they may see Jesus as their Messiah. He is their hope of glory.
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Psalm 53:1-6 Throughout our lives we may do things that seem foolish to others. Paul said, "We are fools for Christ." I'll never forget hosting a dentist and his wife who were full time in the ministry of the Lord. They traveled wherever the Lord told them to go. The dentist had a successful dental practice and gave up the security of this business to obey the Lord's call on his life.
Isaiah 1:1-2:22 Yesterday's devotion shared how complete God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ is. Jesus not only forgives us, but He also cleanses us, restores us and empowers us when we confess our sins to Him. The Book of Isaiah that we begin today reveals the heart of the Father so beautifully. Throughout your readings in Isaiah you will see the longing of God's heart to gather His little ones to Himself and to once again be in fellowship with them. He thirsted for fellowship with Israel, but their stiff-necked pride and rebellion separated them from the very One who always sought to do them good.
Psalm 51:1-19 David was called a man after God's own heart. Yet, he was also a man who committed adultery. He was a man after God's own heart because he realized he sinned against God and confessed his sin before God and repented of it. God heard David's cry, and when the life of David was mentioned in Chronicles, his sin of adultery was not mentioned. God not only forgives, but He also forgets. He not only blots out our transgressions, but He also cleanses us. John writes about God's complete act of forgiveness in 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Psalm 50:1-23 With the introduction of TV and the computer, we have become a generation of listeners and receivers, not speakers and givers. In the advancement of technology we have lost one of the greatest arts—the art of conversation. I heard recently that a father spends on the average one-half an hour weekly speaking to his children.
Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14 Ecclesiastes is a rather negative book written by one of the wisest men who ever lived. Solomon, however, saves his wisest words for the conclusion of Ecclesiastes. After sharing that all of life is vanity, Solomon does give the major priority of life. If we lived our lives on earth with what he shares as our first priority, the conclusion of our lives would not be vanity. The conclusion of our lives would be lives lived to the glory, honor and praise of God.
2 Corinthians 7:8-16 Repentance is a necessary step to salvation. Salvation, however, is a free gift that requires nothing but faith to receive it. The Bible tells us, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).
Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12 When Ron, our middle son, was about eight years old, he asked us this question: "When we meet Jesus in the air, will we have on any clothes?" My husband thought for a moment, and then said with an official scholarly voice, "Son, the Bible says naked we come into the world and naked we leave the world." Our son surprised us with his response when he said, "Streakers in the sky." The whole family laughed uncontrollably. The thought expressed, however, is true. We cannot take it with us. As some have said, "I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul."
Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22 Solomon says, "He has made everything beautiful in its time" (Eccles. 3:11). God's timing is not our timing. We go through so much in this life, and often what we go through is not pleasant. We wonder at those times what good will come from such trying experiences. Over my fifty years as a Christian I have experienced many trials and tribulations. I can honestly say now, however, that all these difficult times have worked for the good in my life.
When the World Trade Center was attacked eight years ago, a young Indian-American escaped the collapsing concrete and steel. The words he prayed that day changed his life forever.
Trusting God isnt easy when tragedy strikes. How do you respond when you face death, suffering or a life-crippling crisis?
2 Corinthians 5:12-21 My middle son, Ron, was in Bogota, Colombia on a mission journey. He went with a team into a drug dealing area called the Cartuge. His team visited a drug rehabilitation center there where criminals were learning about Jesus and being born again. When Ron entered the center he felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to offer to wash the feet of these men. Many of them did not know the story of Jesus' washing the feet of His disciples, so Ron read it to them. After the reading of the Scripture, the foot washing began.
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:11 The spirit of faith always causes us to speak. Faith is active, and faith is never silent. When faith is operative in our lives, we will speak about our faith to others. Paul says the following about the spirit of faith: "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak, knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you" (2 Cor. 4:13-14, KJV).
2 Corinthians 4:1-12 When our middle son was in China as a teacher of English for two years, one of his students asked Ron what made him shine. This student recognized the light of the Lord's countenance upon Ron. Paul tells us in this letter to the Corinthians that Jesus is the light who has shone into the darkness of our hearts. He says, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" (vv. 6-7, KJV).
2 Corinthians 3:1-18 When I look in the mirror daily I notice I am aging. Each day there seem to be more wrinkles and brown spots. There is nothing I can do to stop the aging process. I cannot stop the clock from ticking. There is a mirror, however, I can look into, and I can be changed. I will not become more beautiful on the outside, but I will be more beautiful on the inside. This mirror is God's Word. As I look into this mirror I behold the glory of God, and that glory is contagious.
2 Corinthians 2:9-17 One of my favorite things to do when I was a child was to lick the bowl after my mother made homemade fudge or lace cookies. I savored the flavor as I first used a spoon to scoop the leftover batter, and then I would use my tongue to make sure I had not missed one morsel. I savored the flavor.
Job 23:1-27:23 As a mother of three growing boys and a husband who all love to eat, I spent most of my time in the kitchen cooking for this hungry brood. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is found in Psalm 86, where a verse reads, "He delivered my hands from the pots." I have been standing on this promise for years, but I find myself still cooking.
Proverbs 22:2-4 Yesterday we shared how the major thing that stands in the way of our doing all things with love is pride. Today we look at the benefits of humility. Jesus was the perfect example of humility. We are told in the Scriptures that He humbled Himself and became a servant. He emptied Himself of everything but love. God is love. He issues the invitation to every one to come to Him and learn meekness and lowliness of heart. Truly I believe Jesus is the only one who can help us learn all about humility. There have been many wonderful books written on humility. But none of those books will change us unless we are willing to sit at the feet of the Great Teacher who can instruct us perfectly in meekness and lowliness of heart.
1 Corinthians 16:1-24 Paul exhorts in his letter to the Corinthians that everything we do be done in love. What a great idea! Actually this is not an idea at all. It is a commandment. Jesus summed up the whole law in two commandments—love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. If love were our motivation in everything we did, our lives would be blessed.
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