the devotional blog of Center Point Church

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December 18, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 28

Isaiah 28:5 is just great.

In that day the LORD of hosts will become a beautiful crown
And a glorious diadem to the remnant of His people;–Isaiah 28:5 (NASB)

In what day? The day where God replaces the drunkenness of Ephraim (another name for the northern nation of Israel) with His beauty. God was going to judge Ephraim for her pride and drunkenness and the fact that they had faded from Him. Through His judgment, He would remove their ugliness and replace it with His beauty. What a great picture of the gospel! The gospel is cleansing and replaces our ugliness with His beauty. He takes our old life and makes it new.

I have a question for you today. Do your old sinful ways or old habits ever try to creep back in your life? Ever find yourself giving in to sinful temptations? Ever feel dirty, ugly, and gross? Well, here’s some great news: The beauty of the Lord replaced the faded beauty of Ephraim, and the beauty of the Lord replaces your faded beauty as well.

Also, look also at the foreshadowing of the Messiah in Isaiah 28:16.

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.—Isaiah 28:16

Peter actually quoted this verse in 1 Peter 2:6 to describe Jesus and the results of believing in Him. Jesus is the Messiah, the cornerstone laid in Zion. Those who believe in Him will not be disturbed, or put to shame. The phrase “will not be disturbed” or “will not be put to shame” literally means “will not flee.” In other words, those who believe in and rely on Jesus, the stone of Zion, will not need to flee when tribulation comes.

I have another question for you today. Are you disturbed by difficulty in your life today? Do you worry about being put to shame because of some trial in your life? Do you want to flee from your problem instead of facing it? Let me encourage you today: Jesus is your stone of Zion. He is your cornerstone. He is the sure foundation. Run to Him. Turn to Him. As you believe in Him, you need to be disturbed.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

December 17, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 27

Evil Will Be Defeated…

Spoiler Alert! God wins.

In chapter 27 of the book of Isaiah, we see that God will defeat evil for good. All people will know He is king, and all of His people will bear eternal fruit. There’s really no other way to put it…. God will win the war. And because of that, all of His people win too.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

In verse 9 of our passage we see that God will cleanse His people from their sin and from their idolatry. Scattered throughout this passage we are told that God’s people will bear fruit in His pure vineyard. At the end of our passage we see that all of God’s people will worship Him.

The truths of God’s people one day bearing eternal fruit and worshiping Him purely for eternity are wonderful. They are hope-filled thoughts. But we must again remember one thing; this is all possible because God wins. He wins the war. He defeats evil and draws all of His people to Himself. If God doesn’t win, we don’t win. But we can rejoice, because He does. It’s all about Him and His victory over sin, destruction, darkness, and idolatry. Ultimately it is all about the cross of Christ who has secured the victory.

Today, let’s try to apply this by taking the focus off of ourselves. Let’s try to refrain from applying things just so we can “be better.” Let’s put the focus back on Him and recognize that the only reason we have a heart and mind to worship Him, the only reason we will be with Him one day in His “eternal vineyard,” and the only reason we can and will bear eternal fruit is because He has won the battle over Satan by His own work on the cross.

He wins. And that changes everything. Praise God.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

December 16, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 26

Peace is on everyone’s wish list. If you watch any sort of pageant then you know that if any of those ladies had it their way we would have world peace. With all the war and turmoil who doesn’t want peace. Some of you might be saying, “world peace is nice and all but how about a little peace in my home?” Most of us dream of that perfect family with the 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. I am not sure how anyone can have a .5 child but that is another conversation. Yet, there are a growing number of homes riddled with divorce, abuse, arguing and dysfunction. The idea of peace is a good one but it remains just an idea for most of us.
So, is true peace possible? The answer is a definite yes and our passage today gives direction on how we find that.

1. Peace comes from focus not circumstances
Verse 3 says: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
We are all going to be hit with trials from time to time and they are hard no matter who you are. If you look to circumstantial relief from the trial in order to find peace then you might be disappointed. Many of us face trials that last a long time. However, when we focus on our trust in God and His sovereign hand in our situation, then we can find peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

2. Peace comes from a true belief in God’s coming
To be blunt you must genuinely trust in God and His word to find peace. I am talking about a relationship and not just a religion. Religion fails in the midst of trial if that religion is based on works. When your good works are not “rewarded,” what good is your religion? However, when you understand v. 19, that one day we will die and go to be with God and you believe that with all your heart, then trial becomes temporary and hope is real.
Peace is just a deep calm knowing that all the trouble will pass and everything will be made right in the end.

Question to Ponder:
Do you have peace? Where is your focus?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

December 15, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 25

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8 ESV)

Is there a cooler verse in the Bible?! I am sure you could come up with some, but this one is definitely in my top 10. What a breathtaking, awe-inspiring, hope-filling promise. And the cool thing is that that part of this verse has already been fulfilled. See, Jesus showed us that God was serious about this when He went to the cross for our sins. Some have called this the “death of death” because Jesus’ death would ensure that many of us would not face eternal death.  I know it is lengthy, but I want to remind you of Paul’s exhortation along the same lines of Isaiah 25 that is found in Romans 5:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. (Romans 5:12-18 ESV)

Paul loves this theme. He continues to hammer it home in his first Corinthian letter:

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57 ESV)

What did God teach you today? Did you find hope in today’s reading? May Isaiah continue to draw us near to God, and as it does, let’s believe in God’s promise to draw near to us.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

December 13, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 24

Today’s chapter and the next three after it is often referred to as the “Apocalyptic Chapters” of Isaiah. We saw in chapters 13-23, God’s judgment and salvation to particular nations and now we get a glimpse of that judgment and salvation for the entire world at the end of history. Notice that before this judgment, you will see a lot of partying and celebration of sin and wickedness. I don’t know how different it will look then what we hear about and see today but I do know one thing. That judgment is still the same. One of satan’s greatest tricks is deceiving people into thinking that sin is fun and comes without consequences. You’d think that would be a lesson learned after high school and college but people keep on sinning and justifying or blaming others for the consequences. Sadly, as we read in today’s chapter there will be a day where the wine becomes bitter and the singing/dancing becomes mourning. Sin will catch up with us and there is an ultimate penalty for that sin. We may be able to suppress it or ignore it on earth but we won’t in front of God. Unless of course that sin of ours has already been paid for by the blood of Christ as we embrace the Gospel by grace through faith. We can have great hope that while the world experiences v. 1-13 and v. 17-23, we will be living out v. 14-16a

14 They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west.
15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;
in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.

But until then let’s share with as many people as possible that sin is not fun and certainly not something to be celebrated. Let’s warn them of that judgment while recognizing that it’s satan who is deceiving them and have compassion on them for their blindness. Let the Gospel open up their eyes as they realize that consequences will catch up but God’s grace is even greater.

Posted by: Erik Koliser/strong>

December 12, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 23

It seems like a whole lot of kingdoms and cities are getting taken down in this book. Isaiah is constantly pronouncing judgment on nations and peoples throughout the book. As I was reading this passage two verses stuck out to me and brought to mind a truth from God’s word in another place we can think on together today. In verses 8-9 Isaiah says this,

“Who has brought this disaster on Tyre, that great creator of kingdoms?… The Lord of Heaven’s armies has done it to destroy your pride and bring low all earth’s nobility. Isaiah 23:8-9

This passage brings to mind a couple of others:

“ He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.” Daniel 2:21

And again here,

“It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall. ”Psalm 75:7

God is in control of the world and all that happens in it and all who are in it. Throughout history great and powerful nations have risen to power and dominated the world then, all of a sudden, another more powerful nation rises up and takes them over and the cycle goes on and on. We have to remember that America is no different. Although we are a great and powerful nation and we, for the most part, feel safe and secure we have to remember that we are only as safe and secure as God allows us to be. What we also see is that nearly all of the nations in history that rose and fell were not following God and were not living rightly. God will only allow so much sin in a nation before He decides it is time to humble them. If this can happen to Persia, Assyria, and Rome, America is certainly not immune. So what can we do?

  1. Pray for our country and it’s leaders
  2. Let your light shine in your actions and words so that others will see and worship God
  3. Get the gospel out to everyone

If we do these things and if we repent as a person, a church, and a nation then God will hear us and heal our land. If we do not, we may find America among the rubble of nations and cities like Tyre.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd


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