April 20, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 54

Isaiah 54 is a prophecy of hope. If you recall, the Lord has told the people of Israel that they will be taken captive by the Babylonians, but in this passage, there is a return from that captivity and a blessing to go with it.

God is going to have compassion on the people who have once turned their backs on Him. God promises to multiply their nation (v. 1-3), be with them (v. 4-10), and protect them (v. 11-17).

Our takeaway from this passage should come from verses 7-8, “For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord, your Redeemer.”

Our takeaway comes from the fact that God had every right to punish each and every one of us. He should have deserted us and hid His face because we have been unfaithful, unjust, wicked, deceitful, etc. But because of His love and compassion, He sent His Son to die for us. Jesus took our place on the Cross so that we may be reconciled to God. Please, do not forget that each day.

Who is someone you know that is far from God? How will you tell them about His love, grace, and mercy? Will you take time to invite them to church or maybe even our Easter Service?

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

April 19, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 53

Today is Good Friday. It is the day that we remember what our Lord did for us—the suffering that our sin demanded. The day that the cup of wrath, which had stored up for centuries, was poured out on the only truly innocent person to ever live. The One whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood (Romans 3:25). This is the day that Jesus was brutally beaten and nailed to a Cross—in what was probably the most painful, shameful, and public form of execution in human history.

Jesus was not the only person to suffer a Roman crucifixion. However, he was the only one who fulfilled the myriad of Old Testament prophecies, including Isaiah 53, which predicted the suffering of God’s Messiah.

Simply read this passage to an average person who knows the story of Jesus, and they’ll pinpoint him as the one being discussed. What many of these people do not realize is that this was written hundreds of years before his birth.

If you have time, watch this 10-minute video. It is a great example of how this passage is used in evangelism to the Jewish people.

As we consider today, Good Friday, and the suffering the Christ endured, take a few moments and pray. Thank God for sending His Son. Thank Him for the Cross that paid the price for sin that we would never achieve on our own. When you’re done, re-read this passage, stopping at each verse, reflecting on the price of your sin. Finally, take a few minutes and watch the famous speech that reminds us as bad a Friday was, Sunday’s Comin’.

We look forward to seeing you tonight at one of our two Cross services at East Campus, 5:30 or 7:00!

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

April 18, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 52

There is hope! After much of our reading through Isaiah has been about the coming judgment for Israel and Judah through destruction and exile, the Lord now promises that he will redeem his people and free them from slavery!

Jerusalem had been overtaken by the Babylonians, and their people driven into exile. They were away from home and slaves in a foreign nation when God rescued them from their captivity, allowing them to return home.

Even in their rescue, God reminds them that he was the Sovereign One who sent them into exile and redeemed them from it (v. 3-4). God not only brought the people back to Jerusalem, but His presence returned with them as well (v.8). The Lord also lets the people know that He will be present with them by going ahead of them and protecting them from behind (v.12).

Isaiah then prophesies about the coming Suffering Servant we read about in Isaiah 52 and 53, and this is where we apply this passage to us! How can we be redeemed from our slavery to sin? Only by the Suffering Servant who took our place on the Cross, suffering in our place for our rebellion against God.

What a week to read about the Suffering Servant who took our place – tomorrow we remember what Jesus has done for us on the Cross – be sure to stop by one of our Good Friday services at East Campus tomorrow at 5:30 and 7:00!

Take some time to read ahead this morning – read Isaiah 53 and meditate on what Christ has done for you.

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

April 17, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 51

God is both a God that is to be feared and to find ultimate comfort in. God is making his case for why He should be followed with trusting obedience. Although the people of Israel are discouraged because of God’s apparent absence, he is to be sought as the ultimate giver of peace. How can God claim to be a God who must be feared while simultaneously being a God who can be drawn near to in comfort?

It is only through the cross of Christ that these two can be reconciled. Jesus has paid the price for sin and brings us into the comforting relationship with God that we all crave. The reality is that many of us seek comfort in anything other than God. Where does that land for you? In relationships, food, working out, Netflix, video games, or even drugs or alcohol? God has given us many good things that do bring us comfort and are not inherently sinful. But humans are amazing at turning created things into idols that are to be worshipped more than their creator. Where do you turn for comfort in moments of stress?

Allow this passage to serve as a reminder to you today of where you should put your focus and attention in times of seeking.

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate