January 9, 2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 47

“I am, and there is none besides me.” Isaiah 47:8 and 10

We live in a world where people feel they are untouchable. Even we, sometimes, when things are going our way, feel like we can’t be stopped. One of the many messages the world tries to tell us is that we need to be self-reliant, a self-motivated person. You need to be able to do it on your own or use people to get where you want and what you want. When we buy into this line of reason the end result is a belief in the statement above. We believe we are it, we are all that we need. We may say differently but our lives show it to be true.

Babylon was a place built on this premise. Babylon “drank its own kool-aid” (for slang reference go to ). They truly believed they would last forever and that no other nation would ever be able to take them down. Well, as we see in today’s reading and in history, God had other plans.

When Moses met God and asked him what he should call him God replied, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14). Apparently Babylon missed that message. Sadly, we tend to miss it, too. As you live your life and walk with God please remember this:

There is only one “I am” and that is God!

Posted by:Robbie Byrd

January 8, 2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 46

The summary of this chapter goes something like this: God is far superior to any idol or false god. Fairly simple, eh?

Let’s look at chapter 46 and compare and contrast the God of the universe with false gods of Babylon.

Vs. 1 The images of false gods had to be carried around by beasts and cattle. God does not need to be carried around by anything. He is self-sustaining. I mean, He made the cattle that were needed to haul around these crafted idols.

Vs. 2-5 The false idols provide no security. They went to captivity along with those who worship them. God saves and rescues His people. God is the deliverer and protector of His people, from birth to old age.

Vs. 5-7 The false idol just sits in one spot, unable to move, hear, speak, etc. God is real, alive, and very much able to answer those who cry out to Him.

Vs. 8-11 The false idol has no mind to have a plan or purpose. God has declared a purpose and plan and will bring it to pass.

Vs. 12-13 The false idol cannot provide eternal salvation. God provides salvation through Christ.

OK, I can hear you now. “Duh! I already know all this. Obviously, God is superior to false gods.” In that case, if this is so obvious, I challenge you to consider the false gods you choose to worship in place of the superior God of the universe. Make the comparison between your idols and the God of the universe and determine why you continually choose to bow down to them if God is truly superior.

“Rich, you’re getting a little feisty today,” you say. Well, rest assured, I’m speaking to myself as well as I write this. May false idols be eradicated from my life and yours as well, so that we will have pure, undefiled fellowship with our one true God of the universe.

Posted by:Rich Duffield

January 7, 2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 45

Who is Cyrus?
Cyrus is a king mentioned more than 30 times in the Bible. He reigned over Persia between 539—530 BC. This pagan king is important in Jewish history because it was under his rule that Jews were first allowed to return to Israel after 70 years of captivity. In the first year of his reign he was prompted by God to make a decree that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and that such Jews as cared to might return to their land for this purpose.

Why did God choose to use a pagan king? Why does He even choose to use us? There a couple of principles from today’s reading that we must remember.

1. GOD chooses who He uses (v.1)
No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. Psalm 75:6-7

If God has chosen to use you, you should give Him praise. It’s such and honor to be chosen by God and used by Him.

2. GOD empowers who He uses (v.2) [v.5-6]
“I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains…”

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Don’t try and do things on your own – rest in the empowerment of God through the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8)

3. The PURPOSE is ALWAYS to bring Him glory (v.3)
“I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel”

Don’t attempt to steal His glory – Nebuchadnezzar tried that in Daniel 4 and lived like a wild animal ‘till he remembered that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.

The remainder of this precious chapter – verses 14-25 – tell us of the coming conversion of the Gentiles. It’s wonderful because people like us – non-Jews – can come to faith in Christ and have forgiveness of our sins. Praise God for the Cross and praise Him for His graciousness to us!

Posted by: Tim Parsons

January 6, 2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 44

“It’s time to put on the rally cap.” A rally cap is when you turn your baseball cap inside out and wear it to give you good luck for a comeback. I remember being in tournaments and all of my teammates and I sitting in the dugout with our rally caps on as our team was up to bat, hoping that we would mount a comeback. The only time during that inning that you didn’t wear the rally cap is when you were on deck or at bat. Sometimes it worked and other times it didn’t. I believe that we would have rallied the same amount of times regardless of the rally cap, but we were superstitious like that.

I know that the rally cap concept seems silly and that is because it was silly. Who would place their hopes in the luck of a rally cap, or a rabbit’s foot, or a four leaf clover? Superstition is just another way to describe idols. Idols are nouns (people, places or things) that we worship in order to profit. Today’s passage speaks to this idea of idolatry and just how silly it really is.

In the time that this passage was written, people would make idols out of wood. They would cut down a tree and carve images of the gods into the wood and worship them. The thing that the author is pointing out is that man cut down the tree, created the image and worshipped the image that was made from the same wood that they used for fires to warm themselves and to cook with (v.9-20). The whole thing from start to finish was manmade. It is easy to see how this practice of carved images can be viewed as ignorant or barbaric, and intellectual people would never do such a thing. However, idolatry is all around us and it is helpful to recognize the heart of idolatry and how we make good things idols.

Idolatry is when we take something or someone and become consumed with it for our own benefit. The carved images were made because they represented gods that provided things like fertility or rain for the crops. If a relationship or success or objects provide a feeling of satisfaction, security, approval, comfort, power, control, etc. then we will worship that thing. Worship is what we trust, seek, serve, sacrifice, spend money on or talk about most. In other words, idol worship is just self worship.

Do you struggle with idols in your life? Maybe ask yourself, what do I sin in order to get or what causes me to sin if I don’t get it?

Our hearts can only worship one thing at a time. They can either worship God or self through idols. Which will you choose?

“I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god” (v.6b)

Posted by: Chad Wiles