2019-08-12 – Isaiah 6:8
Verse of the Day Devotion: Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
In the year King Uzziah died, around 754 B.C., Isaiah is outside near the alter and he had a vision, one of the more well-known visions in the old testament. “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah 6:1-3. What an incredible vision. Very explicit vision of the Lord God on His throne, the seraphim above Him crying out ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’. Further, “And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.” Isaiah 6:4.
Isaiah upon seeing this vision called out saying, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5. He had seen the God of all creation, the eternal one, and was filled with immense conviction of his sin and cried out of his unworthiness. Then one of the seraphim came to him with a burning coal (also could be translated stone), touched his lips and declared his iniquity gone and his sin forgiven.
Then, as we reach our focus verse, God is asking the question, “whom shall we send?”. This is not to say that God did not know, for He knows everything. I tend to see this as an invitation shrouded in a question. Then Isaiah calls out, with hardly any delay based on how this scripture is worded, “Here I am, send me.”
If we look in Matthew, we see we are called to go out and deliver God’s message to our world, in the same way Isaiah was to the Jews in his time. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. This is of course known as the Great Commission where Jesus called His disciples to go out and spread the news. Who will tell Jesus, “Here I am, send me.”
This is why we are here. Jesus told His discipled to go out and share the gospel, help them understand what it is, give them the opportunity to accept Christ as Savior, and then train them to live this Christian life as it should be lived. And, we who are Christians are a part of ‘the called’ who are to go out. There are many people who have never heard the gospel, or have not understood it, or have been told a false gospel. It is our job to go out there and let everyone know of the love of God, how Jesus, the Son of God, came and died who never sinned, to make a way for us who have to be forgiven and declared righteous.
God has already answered the question of “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” to this present generation. It is now up to us to say, with the full intention of , “Here am I. Send me!”
2019-08-13 – Psalm 55:22
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
I am sure everyone who reads this has been through times of extreme difficulty. For myself, I can definitely remember multiple times I have been in situations where I was not sure what I was going to do. But these times have showed me that I do not have to go through it alone. God wants to be there for us, and He always is.
In today’s verse, God is speaking to David and encouraging him. David has cried out to him. Note these words of David. “Because of the voice of the enemy, Because of the pressure of the wicked; For they bring down trouble upon me and in anger they bear a grudge against me. My heart is in anguish within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.” Psalm 55:3-5. He was going through a great deal of fear and anguish. He cried out with the above words, then David declared in our focus verse, “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
As David learned that God would bring him through his trials and bear his burdens, Paul shows us this truth is for us as well. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. If we find ourselves burdened down and anxious because of our situation, lift it to God in prayer. He will gladly walk with us and lighten our load.
However, the greatest burden we have carried in our lives is our sin. “There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.“ Psalm 38:3-4. God knew we would be unable to bear this burden of sin, nor would we be able to rid ourselves of it. Christ bore our sins in His own body on the cross to bring forgiveness to all who believe. He bore this burden so that we would not have to. And if this burden has been removed because of His great love for us, we can trust Him to bear any other burden we carry.
2019-08-14 – Daniel 3:18
Verse of the Day Devotion: Daniel 3:18 “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
This particular verse was spoken by Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. These were the three Hebrew young men taken into Babylon to serve in the same place as Daniel. At that time, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon made an image of gold that he was requiring all in Babylon to worship. The order was, “that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up.” Daniel 3:5. He also set up the rule, “But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.” Daniel 3:6. There was a death penalty in affect and the method of death was cruel, being burned alive in a furnace.
So, at the time that the music calling for golden image worship was to occur, all the people in Babylon, of all nations and languages fell down and worshipped the image except three; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Note, Daniel was not in Babylon at this time. Some Chaldeans observed the three not worshipping the statue, and let Nebuchadnezzar know. I am sure they did this to hopefully earn favor from the king. They told the king, by name, the three who did not worship it. They knew the names because these three were over the administration of Babylon.
Well, this infuriated the king and he demanded that they be brought before him. He questioned them by saying, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?” Daniel 3:14b Then he gives them another chance. “Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” Daniel 3:15. This is a very arrogant statement. However, he will soon learn about that God who can.
Instead of answering the king’s question, they told him that if we end up in the fiery furnace, our God is able to deliver you out of your hand and out of the furnace. However, even if He chooses not to deliver us from you, let us make it clear that we will not serve you gods or worship your golden image.
Well, the end of the story is that they were thrown into the furnace, and God delivered them. However, what I want to focus on here is their answer to the king. Whatever happens, we will never worship any god but the true God. No matter how awful or painful the punishment, no matter what it is, we will not give our worship to any of your gods.
There is coming a day, and in some ways is here now, when today’s Christians will need to make a similar decision. In African nations like Nigeria, Boko Haram kidnaps Christians and if they do not convert to Islam, they are killed. In North Korea and China, if they determine someone is a Christian, they will be sent to Concentration Work camps, known in China as re-education camps to be forced by torture, starvation and slavery work until they either convert or die. Here in the United States, Christians are persecuted in our public schools and colleges. Christian monuments are under threat of being destroyed and businesses are being attacked for upholding Christian beliefs. It is only a matter of time, if things continue to get worse, until it will be illegal to be a Christian and live those beliefs in public.
I have one question, do we have the courage of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego to stand strong and not compromise, or will we be like the other Jews taken into Babylon who bowed and worshipped the golden image? It is time for us to prepare for extremely difficult times. We must draw closer to God and yield entirely to Him. We must decide that no matter what, we will not deny the living God by worshipping idols and other false gods. If we truly believe that Christ is our savior and that there is no other God but ours, then we must stand strong and unwavering. We must start preparing now, for who knows when we will have to make “that” decision.
2019-08-15 – 2 Timothy 2:24-26
Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Timothy 2:24-26 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
When we are saved, we become a servant of Christ. Paul refers to himself as a “doulos” which is the Greek word for bondservant, and we should see ourselves the same. In our focus verses, Paul lets us know how we are to carry ourselves. Let’s look at these points and, where we see ourselves falling short, like I have, we can make the changes to how we ought to be.
We are not to be quarrelsome. We must be kind to all. If there is a point of disagreement, we must not raise our voices or use insults in order to get our way. Also, we must teach them where they are in error, or where they have a desire to learn. When anyone wrongs us, we must not lose our temper, but with patience and love, work toward reconciliation.
We must be gentle with all. When correcting those who are wrong, we must do it in love. If they are in sin, then we must admonish them, in love, with our goal being leading them to repentance whereby they acknowledge the sin and turn from it. John puts it clearly when he says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 Unfortunately, we all commit sins even if we do not know or want to admit it. Remember the Golden Rule, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 Approach them as we would want them to approach us. If we come at them in anger or arrogance, we may not have the opportunity to speak into their lives. We may actually drive them away. This is not what our goal should be.
We do not know all that is going on in a brother or sister’s life. Many times, we may find embedded hurts, anguish, worry, sorrow, or broken heartedness. We cannot add to their issues by not showing love to them Sometimes a compassionate discussion may be all that is needed, and they will find healing; and return to a solid Christian walk. Other times, we may have to get help for them when their situation is beyond our ability to deal with. However, we must stay in contact so we can be there for them if needed in the future.
One last thing, though not in our focus verses, keep them in your prayers. This is a very powerful way to show our compassion. Can can let them know or not; that depends on each individual situation. However, either way, we are loving them. And that is the most important thing we can do. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34.
2019-08-16 – Matthew 6:5
Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 6:5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
It is very important that when we pray, we do it because we wish to truly communicate with God, not to impress those around us. Notice the word used to describe the people who pray to be seen; hypocrites. The idea is that we would be acting like we are praying, putting on a show, so that others around us will be impressed. This is what many of the Jewish leadership would do, going out where the people were so that they would be seen by many in the streets. They are speaking to no-one except to the ears of the watchers. And the only reward they will receive will be from those who are listening, not God.
“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 Back in the time of Christ, practically every home had a place for secret devotion. It could be on the roof, a small room on one of the roof corners, or a place somewhere inside. The idea was to spend quiet time with God, in a secret place where no one could see and interrupt the one praying. Thus, because they are not pretending to pray, the Father who sees and hears them will reward them.
Prayer is a very intimate time we can spend with God. We can go to a quiet place, bow ourselves before Him and spend time with Him. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6. It is a time where we can go to Him, baring our heart and soul, and receiving the comfort and peace we often need from Him.
Lastly, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians the following, “pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18. Prayer is a two-way conversation. It is not just us talking, but us listening as well. We must be open to hear when He speaks to us. God loves us, He wants to spend quality time with us. When we speak to a friend or family member, one person speaks, then the other. However, it is also one person listening, then the other. Prayer is the same way.
So, make time every day to spend quiet time alone, in a secret place, with God. Tell Him everything you need, He wants to listen to you, but also, listen to Him because He wants to speak to you as well. Don’t just go through the motions, make it an intimate and loving time with Him. You will find it to be one of the most important and enjoyable times of your day.