A New World

Isaiah 64-66

As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.

God called Jacob and He made the descendants of Jacob his Holy people. These are the ones who call on the name of the Lord. Yet today, there are those in Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Morocco, Malawi, Russia, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, France, America, Canada, Samoa, the Philippines and all over the world who know the name of the same God who called chose Jacob so many years ago. Even though they were his chosen people, God said, “Here I am, here I am” to a nation that was not called by his name (65:1). God has called Christians to the same promise that he called the Israelites. Indeed, He says “I have come to gather all nations and languages; they will come and see My glory…I will establish a sign among them, and I will send survivors from them to the nations…and the islands far away—who have not heard of My fame or seen My glory” (66:19).

Eight hundred years later, God sent a sign by the name of Jesus. Jesus himself performed sign after sign, from healing the blind (John 9) to raising the dead (John 11). The final sign was being raised from the dead himself, but this was different from the sign that he performed by raising Lazarus, for Lazarus returned to the grave. Jesus never returned to the grave; to make sure there could be no confusion, Jesus was taken up into the sky in the presence of his followers (Luke 24). The fact that Jesus was taken up is key here because it signifies his resurrection to something new, just as Isaiah prophesied that the world will be transformed into something new.

The closing words of Isaiah state that just as the new earth will endure, so will we. We will endure from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath. That is, we will continue living indefinitely. But the final verse takes a turn from the uplifting words that precede it; it promises destruction to God’s enemies, those who rebelled against him. It does leave you with a few questions though, what does it mean for their fire to never go out? It might point to an eternal suffering of those rebels as is believed by many Christians. I am not entirely sure, but asking questions that make you examine your own beliefs is important for growth. We must always be humble and accept that these prophecies are complex, and we may never fully understand them until the end has come.

Nathaniel Johnson

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+64-66&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be 2 Kings 20-21 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Better Things are Coming

Isaiah 59-63

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Isaiah 59 describes what it is like to be separated from God as we are now. Our sins are responsible for the barrier between us and God. Because of this barrier, there is sadness, there is depravity and there is a hope for something that cannot be attained. Everything in this world is touched by this separation. Our attempts at justice are a pale reflection of the true justice that God promises. In the American courts for example, there are instances where innocent men are punished, and guilty men go free. This is not justice, but it is the closest that we are able to get to it because of our human nature. We try to imitate true justice as well as we can, but we will always fall short. We even fall short in our pursuit of truth. Even when truth is proclaimed, there will be some who accept it and some who won’t. Truth is meant to have the power to convince anyone.

The following chapter speaks of what it will be like when that barrier is broken down, when God establishes His perfect kingdom. Everything that we love now, that brings us joy, will be replaced with something better. It says, “I will bring gold instead of bronze and silver instead of iron, bronze instead of wood and iron instead of stones.” If you had no possessions and someone asked you if you’d like $20, you would be excited and would gladly accept it. But if you knew that later someone was going to give you $1000, you would be grateful, but not nearly as excited. This is the way it is in God’s perfect kingdom. When thinking about the coming kingdom, we often lament the things that we will miss doing in our current lives if Jesus were to return today. “I can’t wait for the kingdom, but I’d like to finish college first.” Or, “I’d like to have children first.” There are so many things that we look forward to in this life, but here it says that the good things will be replaced with something better, and more than that, we will still have some of the good things that we already enjoy! It says that iron is replaced with silver, but also that stone is replaced with iron. When we think about our future in God’s kingdom, it can be hard to imagine, but we have to remember that God’s ways are not our ways and that he will give us something so much better than all of the good things we have now.

Nathaniel Johnson

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+59-63&version=NIV

Tomorrow we finish the book of Isaiah with chapters 64-66 as we continue working through the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Let the Rains Fall

Isaiah 54-58

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There is an endless cycle of the outpouring of God’s word followed by Man’s obedience and satisfaction before Man disobeys and becomes dissatisfied. This can manifest itself over the course of generations, as is the case in the story of Noah. God is with Man in the Garden and Man knows God. Man is obedient but his obedience quickly turns to disobedience. Once God decides it is time to pour out His Word, He speaks to Noah and Noah listens. Then the cycle repeats. We see an obedient generation in the early kingdom of Israel under David which becomes disobedient in a matter of generations. The cycle can also be seen in the life of individuals. I was fed the Word from the time I was an infant; I grew up with it and accepted it. Then I became disobedient as I became a teen only to see God’s word in a whole new light and to be brought back to obedience and satisfaction in God. In fact, I have seen this cycle no less than three times in my own life. The cycle can be a minor affair, not having to represent a complete falling out with God but instead moments of spiritual hunger and moments of spiritual contentment.

Isaiah 55:8-11 is a wonderful metaphor for this cycle. We see that God’s word is like the rain, for it exists for a purpose; it exists to nurture the earth and to bear fruit. At times the rain can come as a veritable monsoon, as in the days of the early church when men were prophesying and speaking in tongues and the church was spreading like wildfire. It can come and it can go without warning, bringing with it the full force of a thunderstorm, forcing everyone to watch in awe. It can also come gently in the night and no one will hear it.

Droughts can stretch on seemingly endlessly, but survival is still made possible by the preparations that we make during the rainy season. We store up food for ourselves so that we won’t go hungry. Droughts are tough. Some people don’t survive. Some are victims of their own inaction, unable to survive because they didn’t reap a harvest while it was available to them. Yet still others seem to be innocent, faithful in the harvest and responsible in the draught, but they fall victim to it nevertheless. It is possible that there was water nearby and all they had to do was search for it. Sometimes it requires the wisdom to move on from a place to survive a draught. After all, there is a reason that not many people live in the desert.  The draught is difficult to overcome but one thing is certain: the rain will come again.

Nathaniel Johnson

 

Today’s Bible reading passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+54-58&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Isaiah 59-63 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

I am He who says: Here I am.

Isaiah 49-53

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I feel as though it would be a great disservice to pass over this portion of scripture and not comment on the incredible prophecies of and allusions to the Christ. So here is a comment: it is incredible. Please study this passage with a focus on the light it sheds on the history contained in the New Testament. Though I feel as though I should spend more time on this topic than those two sentences, my thoughts can’t help but be drawn to a seemingly simple, yet complex and culturally pervasive game known as “Peekaboo.”

Everyone has seen a parent play peekaboo with their infant child. They will hide behind their hands to the dismay of the child only to pop out with an exclamation of great joy from the same child. This game is not often given much thought, but it illustrates an important concept in developmental psychology known as object permanence. When an infant has yet to develop object permanence, they don’t know that an object still exists when it leaves their sight. Once they have grown and developed, they are able to understand the idea of “hiding,” and can tell that their mom or dad is still there hiding behind their hands even though they are out of the child’s sight.

Object permanence has parallel applications in all aspects of life. If you have never seen the ocean, you still know that it exists albeit with a lesser degree of knowledge than one who has been to the ocean, has seen the ocean, has been in the ocean and experienced the ocean personally. The act of knowing an object exists doesn’t extend just to objects that we can personally experience but also to those which we have no possible way of ever experiencing. We may know that the inner core of the earth is molten metal and that it is close to 10,000 °F even though we can’t see it, we can’t touch it and we may never be able to experience it in any direct way.

Of all the things that we cannot see and yet believe in, God is the one of whom we have the hardest time convincing ourselves. From the age of one, we begin to believe in things which we cannot see, which we cannot touch, which we have yet to experience. As we age and grow “wiser,” we begin to doubt that we cannot truly believe in something that we cannot experience. How foolish that is. If you have never been to the ocean, yet someone told you that it exists, would you not believe them? If a scientist told you that the inner core of the earth is 10,000 °F based on seismic and magnetic readings, would you not at least consider his claim plausible? Yet for some reason, when you tell yourself that God exists, there is a voice in the back of your head that says: “How can you believe in something you cannot see?” Again, I say: How foolish that is.

The Lord has displayed His holy arm in the sight of all the nations; all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God. The oral history of our God, the written history of our God and finally the life and works of Jesus Christ and those who witnessed him are an incredible power, foreseen centuries beforehand and proclaimed in the ear of a man, Isaiah, and then to the world, should be enough to convince anyone of the things unseen if only they are mature enough to see it. If you cannot see it, do not take that as a sign of your lack of faith. Instead, pray that you would develop and grow and develop the ability to believe in the things that you can’t see. It is self-evident in our experience as humans that it is indeed an ability that needs to be developed, to believe in that which we cannot see. When you cannot see God, wait and watch, for he is the one who says: Here I am.

Nathaniel Johnson

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+49-53&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Isaiah 54-58 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

The Maker of All Things – including Science

Isaiah 44-48

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In this short passage, there are three profound thoughts. Indeed, they are incredibly profound considering this text was written by a man who lived around 2500 years ago. The first is that God is uncreated, he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last. How can something be uncreated? Everything seems to be created. You yourself were formed in the womb against your own will, even before you had a conscious will. We create things every day by taking something with potential and turning it into something with value. We turn raw meat into an edible meal, turn wood into heat, turn metals into computers. But even those raw ingredients came from somewhere; the meat came from another animal, the wood came from another tree and the metal came from minerals in the Earth. The fact that something can be uncreated is completely antagonistic to our entire human experience. It may appear there is no reason to believe that there is such a thing as “uncreated,” yet Isaiah believes there is a reason. (It may help that he heard God say it Himself.) God mocks the gods of Babylon, Bel and Nebo who were also known as Marduk and Nabu, for being crafted by human hands. Even those who worshipped these gods knew that they were created since both Nabu and Marduk had parents. How can one who is created be anything close to a god? One who has a beginning cannot begin to come close to the power of one who is uncreated, one who IS the beginning. It is also interesting to realize that shortly after Isaiah’s time (relatively speaking, as it is nearly two centuries after the fact) Greek philosophers began to ponder questions of metaphysics and the meaning and even the existence of time. There were some who concluded that time does exist. More than that, they concluded past and future do not exist, but only the present. Two and a half millennia ago, God said, “I am the beginning and the end.” He is the past and the present. He always has been and always will be. In this day, quantum physics affirms the existence of a beginning. The expansion of the universe can be traced backward to a single point in time where it began. The beginning exists, therefore God exists.

 

Second, God can provide things which cannot be created. While we marvel at our creations, modern technology, architecture and art, though impressive and beneficial to be sure, God creates things that we can only begin to understand. God creates light and darkness. He says he will give us treasures of darkness and riches from secret places. This probably makes me a little odd, but it makes me think about gravity and magnetism. Everyone knows about gravity and magnetism. We know that if you drop something, it will fall. If you place metal near a magnet, they will be attracted. Everyone knows this, yet it is still an incredible mystery. Why do things fall? Why are magnets magnetic? Now you can apply equations all day long and understand exactly how objects will move in certain environments, but no one can explain why matter has a gravitational field or why a magnet has a magnetic field. Wouldn’t it be quite inconvenient if the universe were set up such that gravity actually repelled all matter away from each other? Why do the equations even work? Why are the laws of physics constant? It would be rather chaotic if you were suddenly 100 pounds heavier or lighter from one day to the next based on a non-fixed gravitational constant. Yet someone decided to set up the universe in a way that would be useful for us. That’s a little bit too convenient to call it chance, if you ask me. That was a bit of a tangent, but it is related to God’s creation of light, which is an electro-magnetic wave. The interesting thing about light is that it is affected by gravity. Some guy called Einstein figured that out. Light can be bent through space if the gravitational forces are strong enough. There is a phrase from the Psalms (104:2) that says that God wraps himself in light. How could David have known that this is a physical possibility? Only that God created light, knows everything about it and revealed Himself to David. God promises in this portion of Isaiah to give us these treasures of darkness so that we may know that He is God, and that he calls our name. Knowing that we know hardly anything about light and gravity, even with all our technology and many years of study, convinces me of the intricacy of the universe and the necessity of a Master to tame it.

 

The last thought is the most important for us as Christians. At the beginning of chapter 44, God promises to pour out his spirit on the descendants of Jacob. We see this come to fruition some seven centuries later during Pentecost. God also promises to give us the choice to be heirs to this promise. He says that those who declare themselves as belonging to the Lord are included in this promise. This is our story as Christians. This is reiterated in Galatians 3, when it says that we get to share in the inheritance of Abraham through Christ and thereby receive the spirit of God.

 

Nathaniel Johnson

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+44-48&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be 2 Kings 18:9-19:37 and Psalm 46 80,135 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

God Has Answers

Isaiah 5-8

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Today’s reading contained some pretty grim and possibly confusing stuff. In some sections it seems the people of Judah are completely doomed for destruction, while other parts tell of a coming protection. If you have come here today looking for an explanation and clarification on all that took place in these chapters – I’m sorry to say, I haven’t got one. Mainly because one perfect answer doesn’t exist. Scholars, theologians, historians, have all made attempts at understanding biblical prophecy. There has yet to be one universal agreed upon interpretation. The language barrier is one reason, as is the lack of context and historical gaps. If you want to know more about today’s reading and other prophecy, I encourage you to do two things. One, reach out to your local pastor with your specific questions. He or she would love to help you digest the Old Testament. Many have a wealth of biblical knowledge and bookcases stocked with resources. Plus, during this Covid time, many pastors are feeling a disconnect with their congregation, unable to meet under normal circumstances. They would welcome your questions and this opportunity to serve.

My second bit of advice is to follow that in Isaiah 8:20, “Look to God’s instruction and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.” (NLT) Isaiah goes on to describe the type of darkness these people experience as a sort of wandering aimless search for answers. He paints a picture of people looking at the sky and shaking their fists at God. These people sought psychics and other mediums for answers, instead of seeking the LORD’s instruction. Whenever you are reading scripture and stumble upon a passage that confuses you, look to what you know to be true about God. Some of these Old Testament passages can be tricky and may produce the picture of God as being only angry and vengeful. Be sure to look to ALL of God’s instructions and teachings. Personally, when reading doom and gloom in the Old Testament, I try to keep in mind what God says about Himself as being “the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished;” (Exodus 34:6-7 NIV). I love this verse in Isaiah, because right in the midst of confusing prophecy, he gives us an answer, encouraging us to seek “God’s instructions” known to us through scripture.

This advice from Isaiah can also be applied to other aspects of our lives when searching for answers. I would say all aspects, except I’ve not yet found the part in scripture that explains calculus. Math aside, when we face difficult or confusing challenges, wandering in unknown darkness, we as believers are encouraged to seek God for the answers. We can approach God through our wonderful redeemer, Jesus Christ. Whether these answers are revealed to us by understanding scripture, receiving peace, or prayer, answers exist. I am experiencing some personal challenges in my life right now. A couple weeks ago, one of my best friends sent me a text reminding me to seek answers from God during this trial. Her encouragement applies also to you, and whatever your current struggles may be. The last part of Isaiah 8 reminded me of her words. I want to share some of them with you as a closing thought.

“It may seem like the pain, loss, confusion, and hole in your heart, are the only things you will ever know, but please remember, the Lord has a plan for you and He is there to listen to you, He is there to listen to your cries of anguish and despair. And He will console you, but you have to ask Him for His help. Please don’t shut yourself out of His sweet  and divine presence, my dear friend. Ask Him to give you guidance for what you should do next. How you should proceed with your life. Ask Him for His wisdom so that you can understand what lesson He wants to teach you, how He is trying to mold your character. And also maybe think of what He wants you to ask Him. What is HIS will?”

Emilee Ross

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+5-8&version=NIV

Tomorrow we begin another prophet writing at a similar time – Amos, chapters 1-5 – as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

 

God’s Jealous Love

Isaiah 1-4

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Today, we begin the book of Isaiah. This book is full of poetry, prophecy, but also includes some narrative sections, as we will see tomorrow. Isaiah speaks of the coming judgment and future restoration upon the nation of Judah. The book contains lament over the nation’s sin, warning against God’s wrath, and the promises of a wonderful future for the faithful. As I read through the first four chapters, a single theme stood out to me. These passages reminded me of God’s passionate love and desire for our hearts. Like in the song “How He Loves” God is jealous for us.

The verses in Isaiah 1:10-15 express God’s disgust at the people’s empty rituals and sacrifices. While they may be executing all the correct religious actions, they are done without sincerity. Simply going through the motions. This is something we can fall privy too, as well. Routine worship. While Covid may have interrupted our usual routines, it is important to keep our worship sincere, in whatever form it may take.

While a rather grim verse, the verbiage in Isaiah 1:28 hints at a key factor regarding God’s love. Isaiah claims, “But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed, and those who desert the LORD will be consumed.” Those who desert the LORD. It does not say those the LORD has deserted. God does not walk away and leave us. He is always ready to accept a repentant heart. At a time when you may be feeling particularly lonely, remember, God is always ready to receive you.

Finally, Isaiah 1:22 struck me as bittersweet, but very true: “Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are frail as breath. What good are they?” Don’t misunderstand, Isaiah and I are not advocating for hermit life. There are plenty of verses in the New Testament, whole chapters written by Paul, that explain the need for church community. Our faith is not something we are meant to go about alone. However, this verse tells of one of the most important life lessons: people will fail you. The only ones we can truly depend upon is the LORD and His son, our redeemer. In fact, it is when we live from a place of securely trusting in God, we can have better human relationships. When our trust and hope is put in God alone, we become more ready to accept and forgive the failures of those around us.

The themes of God’s overwhelming jealous love for us are evident throughout the first four chapters of Isaiah. God’s anger over the people’s worship of idols, promises of a bright future, and redemption for the faithful exemplify God’s desire to be our number one priority. God knows the worship of idols and sin led lives will not fulfill us. That is why his anger burns so strong against His people in scripture like today’s. For He knows what is best, and they are not listening. He is not a narcissistic God who is angry and pours His wrath out in a desire to be right. He is a God of mercy who longs to bring His people to Him so they may experience true and abundant life.

Emilee Ross

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+1-4&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s passage will be Isaiah 5-8 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

 

Rejoice!

Isaiah 64-66

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Saturday, February, 25

These 3 chapters follow a similar theme to the rest of the week. We are not perfect, and we all mess up, that is just in our nature, but there is so much hope for us. 64: 4-5 says, “For from of old men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides You, what God has prepared for him who waits for him. 5 You meet him who rejoices and works righteousness, those who remember You in Your ways…” God will meet us who rejoice! He will be with us. That is amazing.

Chapter 65 talks about creating new heavens and a new earth. Not only does this apply to the world, but it applies to us as well- he is making us new, when we ask to be his again. 65:17 says, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” God also calls us to rejoice! Verse 18 says, “But be you glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.”

Again, chapter 66 talks about rejoicing with Jerusalem, that is such a simple command. Rejoice! God says. We can find something to rejoice about in almost any circumstance, because God is our God, who has not forsaken us, and he loves us. I challenge you to Rejoice!  In all things Rejoice!

-Jana Swanson

Some songs for today:

Your Name by: Paul Baloche https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7CFr8w9z38

!0,000 Reasons by: Matt Redman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM

Blessed Be Your Name by: Matt Redman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTpTQ4kBLxA

 

(Photo Credit: https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/1017-isaiah-64/)

Free the Captives

Isaiah 61-63

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Friday, February 24

Again there’s kind of lots that goes on in these three chapters, so I am going to talk about them separately.

Isaiah 61 is talking about God’s grace. Not only does it talk about God’s grace, but it talks about our part in sharing that grace. The author talks about it being his job, or his duty to bind up the broken hearted, and to free the captives, to proclaim of Yahweh’s great grace. Even though this is Isaiah’s call, I feel like that is our job too, as Christians and followers of Christ. We should be binding up the broken hearted, and freeing the captives, we should share all about God’s great love and his grace. This is something God has given to us too!

Isaiah 62 is all about Jerusalem, and its righteousness. Isaiah 62 says that Jerusalem will shine bright, and be a light that shines, and this light is because of its salvation. Jerusalem will no longer be called forsaken, because Yahweh delights in them. My favorite verse in this chapter is verse 12: “They shall call them the holy people. The redeemed of Yahweh: and you shall be called Sought-out, a city not forsaken.” This chapter and especially this verse are applicable to not only Jerusalem, but each of us as well. As far as I know, we are not all perfect, none of us are. I know for sure, that I am absolutely not perfect, yet God seeks us out, we are not forsaken. Just like Jerusalem, we have been given salvation, and that is a light inside of each of us that shines, and we need to share it. We need to be a lamp for others, and show others how God has redeemed us, because he surely has.

Isaiah 63 First this chapter talks about one who walks in with dyed garment and delighting in their own strength. This shows vanity in the one from Edom who relied on their own strength their own wrath and their own vanity to move forward. This is a perfect example of exactly what we should not be. Relying on our own strength will get us nowhere, if we are not following in God’s plan for us. We need to listen and follow God. The latter part of chapter 63 is much more hopeful in my opinion. This part, verses 7 and on, again talk about Yahweh’s great mercy and love for us. In verse 8 it says, “For He said, surely they are My people, the children who will not deal falsely: so He was their saviour.” We are his people, and his children, and this is why he loves us, does not forsake us and has mercy on us.

-Jana Swanson

Some songs for today:

Dwelling in Beulah Land: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AxoCssVyHo

This Little Light of Mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKkbIZtqhyQ

Strong God by: Meredith Andrews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAXgKPtAiMA

 

(Photo credit: http://www.alittleperspective.com/isaiah-61-and-62/)

Who Do You Do It For?

Isaiah 58-60

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Thursday, February 23

Overall today’s chapters really focus on being genuine as a follower of Christ. This is sometimes really difficult for a lot of people to recognize and to truly understand. If you grew up in a church, or if you have been to church often, or you’re a “New Christian” you might feel like there are rules to follow, whether written or unwritten. Rules like, read your Bible every day, pray before every meal, go to church every single Sunday, go to church camp, talk to all your friends about God all the time, invite a friend to youth group, or Bible study. Some people fast, there are certain rules about when to be baptized, etc. I hope you get the gist, that sometimes it feels like in order to be a “perfect” or even a “good Christian” you have to do these things all the time. All of those things are awesome and great, if you remember to do all those things, I think you are amazing, and you inspire me, because I will be completely honest; I don’t read my Bible every day- I do most days, but sometimes I don’t. I don’t pray before every meal, again, I pray before most meals, but sometimes I am eating while I am walking to class and I forget. Sometimes I miss going to church on Sunday because I slept in, or the snow was really deep (although that would be a pretty poor excuse right now, as there is so snow in February in central Indiana) or I was sick. We are not perfect and these chapters recognize this, but especially in chapter 58. Doing “all the right things” can be important, but not if we are seeking the approval of people. Reading your Bible often is important, and praying often is important, going to church and fellowshipping with other believers is important, but it is not right if we are doing it to “fit in” or to look like a “good christian” to other believers. These chapters call us out- if we choose to fast, it needs to be to focus on our relationship with God, if we choose to read our Bible every single day, it needs to be to deepen our understanding and trust of God. I challenge you today to think about your heart and your attitude. Why are you reading your bible? Is it because you want to please people? Or because you want to please God. -If you do read your Bible every day as you might be if you are following the 2016 FUEL Bible reading plan, I hope you check your “attitude at the door” before you read and really focus on growing closer to God, because that is the point of spending time in his word. Praying is awesome, but again check your heart and do it to talk with our heavenly Father who is amazing and all powerful. Do all good things for God and only for him. Do not do them to gain favor from people, only do them to focus on God and your relationship with him, because we are blessed to be able to have an individual relationship with him. I hope you enjoyed reading today, and I hope you come back tomorrow. Thanks!

-Jana Swanson

Some songs for today:

Beautiful Things by: Gungor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is6weMrenls

Come As You Are by: Crowder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2zhf2mqEMI

 

(Photo Credit: http://www.alittleperspective.com/isaiah-59-and-60/)