April 26, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 59

You are more sinful than you think.

Our passage today makes it clear that it is our sin that cuts us off from God. Not only does it separate us, but we are worse sinners than we think!

“Your hands are the hands of murderers,

   and your fingers are filthy with sin.

Your lips are full of lies,

   and your mouth spews corruption.” – Isaiah 59:3

Ephesians 2 calls us “children of wrath.” We are sick with sin and our condition is much worse than we think. A quick read of the rest of Israel’s sin in this chapter exposes the human heart for what it is: dark and broken.

However, you are more loved than you could ever hope or imagine.

Even though we are sinners, God loved us enough to send Jesus to die for our sins and gives us the opportunity to enter back into a relationship with Him.

“Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you,

   nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.” – Isaiah 59:1

God wants us to come back into a relationship with Him. He loves us despite our sin. He wants us to grow more and more in love with Him. He cares for us. The Lord is able to save and is able to hear us when we call.

We must daily remind ourselves that we are a sinner yet loved by God.

Take some extra time to read Ephesians 2 today and think about what Jesus has done for you.

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

April 25, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 58

In this chapter, we see Isaiah addressing the hypocrisy of the people. As the ESV Study Bible says, “Isaiah is commanded to confront the hypocrisy of God’s people with boldness and to clarify the true path to God’s blessing.” God wants the people to understand that they are living in hypocrisy. Look at the complaint of Israel and the response of God:

‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
    Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
    and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
    will not make your voice to be heard on high. (3-4)

God is saying that even though the people are outwardly performing some of the disciplines, they’re not being produced from a pure heart that loves God.

This is such a crucial warning for us. How often have you sought God in prayer or Bible reading without pure motives? Maybe you were doing these things just to say you did it or because you thought that by doing it God might love you more. Another way to check your motives is how you respond to how God answers prayer. When God doesn’t answer your prayer the way you want, do you respond in anger or trust? When God does answer prayer, does it cause you to love God more, or the response more?

The goal for all of us is to allow our godly actions flow from a pure heart that loves and worships God. Pray for God to make you aware of when you fall short of this, and ask God to help you change.

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate

April 24, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 57

Thanks for faithfully reading God’s Word through JumpStart. The Bible changes us – our families – our minds – all of us! It’s a powerful force in our lives.

Let me ask you a question today – What are idols? Are they just statues made of gold or stone? Are they only things we physically bow down to in our homes? No! Idols are anything we put ahead of God or love and think about more than we do Him. Do you have any idols in your life? Any in your home? These can be material things, people (even husbands, wife, or kids), entertainment, anything we value higher than we do God.

You have put pagan symbols on your doorposts and behind your doors. You have left me and climbed into bed with these detestable gods. You have committed yourselves to them. You love to look at their naked bodies. (v. 8)

How convicting! What have you “climbed into bed with?” What idea or philosophy that goes against what God in His Word teaches us? What musical symbols are in your home? What pagan things are on your TV? What are you exposing your mind and the minds of your family to?

Ever wonder why good people sometimes die young?

Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die. (v.1-2)

Often this is God’s grace and protection of them. This life is just the bad part that gets us to the good part (heaven). Sometimes God takes His godly ones home early to care for them better. He did this with Enoch – remember?

Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him. Genesis 5:23-24

I know the loss of a friend or loved one who knows Jesus hurts us – but I assure you it doesn’t hurt them! They just received a promotion. Be encouraged today by God’s holiness – His sovereignty – and His love for you!

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

April 23, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 56

There are great rewards for obeying the Lord.  We read this all throughout the Bible.

God’s Blessings

In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. Genesis 22:18

God’s Healing and Protection

If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.  Exodus 15:26

Family Blessings

So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.  Deuteronomy 4:40

Your Prayers Answered

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  John 15:7

Joy

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  John 15:10-11

In today’s reading we see God’s promise of blessings for obedience. (v.2)  Blessings for anyone who chooses to obey (v.3-7).

God’s commands are for our good!  Things are better when we do them God’s way.  So why is it so hard for us to obey?

We want our own way (v.11) – we’re never satisfied (v.11) and we keep seeking pleasures that leave us empty (v.12).

Oh dear child of God, real fulfillment only comes from knowing and following Jesus.  So why are you chasing lesser things? Turn your heart to God today and obey Him. You’ll be forever glad you did!

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor