Daily Decision

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

This is what the Lord says: “The heavens are my throne and the earth is my footstool. Where then is the house you will build for me? Where is the place where I will rest? My hand made them; that is how they came to be,” says the Lord. I show special favor to the humble and contrite, who respect what I have to say. Isaiah 66.1-2

God is amazing! He is the creator of everything in this universe. He saved the best for last, humans.

God wanted a relationship with his creation. He would walk in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. He gave only one rule to be obeyed: do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He placed the tree in the middle of the garden, not in some obscure corner where it would be hard to find. Every day, man would have to look at the tree and make a decision, to obey or not to obey.

That decision continues today: to obey or not to obey. In essence, to respect what God has to say through his son, Jesus. He calls upon us to deny ourselves daily, and take up our cross and follow him, Luke 9.23. It is our choice to die to our own selfish desires and follow him or not.

What will your choice be? Will you show respect for God?

#risingjoy #Isaiah #decision

Assurance

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Now, this is what the Lord says, the one who created you, O Jacob, and formed you, O Israel: “Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you. I call you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you. … Isaiah 43.1-2

The assurance, that the prophet passed on to the remnant of Israel, was given to those who had remained faithful to God, who was, and continues to be faithful.

In John 8, Jesus made the comparison of children and slaves. The Jews were taking pride in their physical heritage, but were no longer obeying God due to their rejection of Jesus. They had become slaves to sin. Jesus put their place in perspective by stating that they were not the children of Abraham for he acted differently, verso 40. Those who obey God are the spiritual sons of Abraham.

The prophet stated that God would protect those whom he called by name, those that belonged to him. No matter what came upon them, he was with them and would bring them through it. In Matthew 16.18, Jesus stated that not even death would be able to overpower his church. The faithful Christian has the assurance that nothing can separate him or her from God’s love, Romans 8.38-39.

#risingjoy #Isaiah #assurance

Do Not Fear

For I am the Lord your God, the one who takes hold of your right hand, who says to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am helping you.’ Isaiah 41.13

The Israelites had disobeyed God. As a result, they were overthrown and taken into captivity. God was about to bring them back together from where they had been taken. Israel did not feel up to the task.

In Isaiah 41.10, the Lord told them not to be afraid because he was with them. He would give them strength and uphold them in his right hand. The right hand was a symbol of the Lord’s power to save and protect. Exodus 15.6 told of the majestic power of his right hand that shattered the enemy.

The Lord continues to be with his disciples today. God knows the number of hairs that each one has on his head, Luke 12.7. Jesus gives us his peace telling us not to be distressed or lacking courage, John 14.27. The Hebrew author writes to remind us that God will not abandon us, Hebrews 13.5.

Truly, we are privileged to know who God is and how we may serve him. There is no need to be afraid, for he is helping us.

#risingjoy #Isaiah #fear

Soar Like the Eagle

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired. Isaiah 40.31

Do you ever get tired? If you are like the common person, you do. How do you recharge or realign yourself? Some might take a vacation. If you cannot get away, you might read a book, watch a movie, or soak in a warm tub. These things might provide temporary relief, but for the one who is mentally tired, they are like bandaids.

When you have the Lord as your lifeline, you can be renewed daily. The daily practice of communing with him through his word has the power to renew your spirit and recharge your batteries, 2 Corinthians 4.16. You can cast all of your anxieties on him in prayer because he cares about you, 1 Peter 5.7.

Find your strength in him. Soar like the eagle!

#risingjoy #Isaiah #strength

Answer to Jesus

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“… Turn to me so you can be delivered, all you who live in the earth’s remote regions! For I am God, and I have no peer. I solemnly make this oath – what I say is true and reliable: ‘Surely every knee will bow to me, every tongue will solemnly affirm; they will say about me, “Yes, the Lord is a powerful deliverer.’ All who are angry at him will cower before him. Isaiah 45.22-24

This passage is a prophecy of Jesus. Paul, in Philippians 2.10-11, cites these verses while talking about Jesus.

The old covenant, established between God and the Jews through Moses, was made with just one nation. The covenant that Jesus established and that is still in effect today is one that calls all nations to come to him.

The way to come to Jesus is by hearing his words and obeying them. In John 12.44-50, Jesus stated that he did not come to judge the world. The words that he had spoken would judge the world and those words came from God the Father. God told Jesus what to say. By obeying what Jesus taught, we are obeying God.

God has provided a way through Jesus for man to be delivered from sin. Sin is what separates us from God. God took the initiative to make it possible to return to him. For those who are not interested in God’s grace and salvation, Hebrews 10.12-13 tells us that Jesus is now seated at God’s right hand where he is waiting until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet. His enemies will cower before him in the judgment.

Whether by obedience or judgment, we will have to answer to Jesus. We make the choice for ourselves here in this life. What will your choice be?

#risingjoy #Isaiah #Jesus

The Lord furious with his people

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The Lord who commands armies will be exalted when he punishes, the sovereign God’s authority will be recognized when he judges. Isaiah 5.16

When the Israelites were leaving Egypt, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he went after them with his armies and chariots to bring them back to serve him as slaves. The Israelites were going out defiantly, Exodus 14.8. When they looked up and saw the Egyptians coming, they were terrified and cried out to Moses, fearing they were about to die in the desert.

Moses told them not to fear. The Lord would fight for them. So they marched across the Red Sea on dry land. Pharaoh and his army were destroyed by God. Exodus 14.18 reads that the Egyptians would know that God is Lord when he had gained honor because of Pharaoh. Indeed, when it came time to take the Promised Land, the people there were afraid because of all that they had heard regarding God and his people.

It is sad that in Isaiah, it was the Israelites that God was about to bring judgment upon because of their sin. Isaiah 5.24-25 states that they had rejected the law of the Lord who commands armies and spurned his commands. The Lord was furious with his people.

Another time of judgment is coming when Jesus shall return. He warned against rejecting his words for those very words came from God and would judge at the last day, John 12.44-50.

We have the opportunity to know what shall judge us. We know that the words that Jesus spoke will be used. We will not be excused because of ignorance, Acts 17.30. Let us be prepared to give answers for our hope, 1 Peter 3.15.

#risingjoy #Isaiah #judgment

Is Jesus the Messiah?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has chosen me. He has commissioned me to encourage the poor, to help the brokenhearted, to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners, … Isaiah 61.1

This is a passage that speaks of the Messiah, God’s chosen one. Since we know that Jesus is the Messiah, we understand that this passage is referring to Jesus.

In Luke 4.16-21, Jesus was in Nazareth, his hometown. It was the Sabbath Day and he went to the synagogue as he usually did. He stood up to read and he was given a scroll of the book of Isaiah. He read Isaiah 61.1-2a. He began to tell them, in verse 21, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read.” Jesus was proclaiming to be God’s Messiah.

In Matthew 11.2-6, John the Baptist was in prison. He sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask him if he was the Messiah? In response to their question, Jesus made reference to Isaiah 61.1. He told them to tell John of all they had seen and heard.

Jesus is the only one who has the power and ability to set men free from their spiritual bondage to sin. It is through his sacrifice and death that we have forgiveness of our sins. Jesus said in John 8.31-32 that if we follow his teaching, we will know the truth. And the truth will set us free!

#risingjoy #Isaiah #Messiah

God’s instrument today

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Shout for joy, O sky! Rejoice, O earth! Let the mountains give a joyful shout! For the Lord consoles his people and shows compassion to the oppressed. Isaiah 49.13

Many books in the Bible talk about the oppression of God’s people. Many times their oppression occurred because of their disobedience to God. We read of the Israelites in Egypt and Moses who led them out in Exodus.

We read of the story of Gideon in Judges 6-8. The Israelites had once again disobeyed God. They were overthrown by the Midianites for seven years. God used Gideon to deliver the Israelites.

Revelation was written to encourage Christians who were being persecuted. It affirms the victory that Christ and his faithful disciples will enjoy at the end of time.

The Lord uses people to console and encourage those who are oppressed and discouraged. It is through his people that he shows compassion. The church is his instrument today to bring hope to those who are oppressed by sin that the gospel might set them free!

#risingjoy #Isaiah #compassion

I need to change

Rising Joy, by Vick Matheny

Justice will settle down in the desert and fairness will live in the orchard. Isaiah 32.16

In the verses prior to this one, the outlook is dim. In verse 13, the prophet calls for mourning over the land and the once-happy houses in the city. In verse 15, there is a time frame given for this desolation. It will continue until new life is poured down from heaven. At that time, everything will change. Justice and fairness will bring about peace and security. God is the one who is just. He is the only one who can give us true peace in adversity. When we put our faith and our trust in him, obeying him, and putting his kingdom first, he has promised that we will have what we need in terms of the basics. He has promised clothes and food will be provided, Matthew 6.25-34. The problem comes when we do not put him first. We try to do it all ourselves. Our strength is small. God is the one that gives us strength. He is the source of all that is good. Do I acknowledge this in my own life? Do others see that I live by faith in God? Or do they even know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ? If not, I need to change. I need to let my life reflect God’s glory. I need to let it reflect the peace and security that only he gives so that others are drawn to his saving grace.

#risingjoy #Isaiah #justice

Don’t dwell on the past

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Don’t remember these earlier events; don’t recall these former events. Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it? Yes, I will make a road in the desert and paths in the wilderness. Isaiah 43.18,19

Don’t recall these former events. The NIV says do not dwell on the past. Jesus said something similar in Luke 9.62. We are to continue looking forward and not look back. A few verses before, Isaiah makes reference to the destruction of the Egyptian army that had pursued the Israelites as they were leaving Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Then he writes what the Lord has said. I am about to do something new. When we become a Christian, we should not dwell on the past, our past. God is about to change my life if I will only cooperate and receive what he wants to give. God can change my life in such a way that it is not even recognizable when compared to my past. He gives me a new direction! He puts me on the path that leads to eternal life and heaven! Don’t look back!

#risingjoy #Isaiah #past

Cities in ruin

Meditate on this verse:

I replied, “How long, sovereign master?” He said, “Until cities are in ruins and unpopulated, and houses are uninhabited, and the land is ruined and devastated, and the Lord has sent the people off to a distant place, and the very heart of the land is completely abandoned, Isaiah 6.11-12.

Offer this prayer:

Sovereign God, what ruin sin brings about! Keep sin away from us that many lives may be spared!

Savor this thought:

God is just. He throws down sin. Even his special people are not spared. He carries forward his plan.

Take this action:

Give yourself to God that he may cleanse you. Speak his word to others as he commands you to do.

#most #Bible #Isaiah

No one can compare to me! Isaiah 47.10

“You were complacent in your evil deeds; you thought, ‘No one sees me.’ Your self-professed wisdom and knowledge lead you astray, when you say, ‘I am unique! No one can compare to me!’”

Isaiah 47.10

The prophet denounced the arrogance of Babylon. The Lord used Babylon to punish Israel, v. 6, but they showed them no mercy. Now, destruction would fall on them, v. 11.

Do I remember that God sees all? Do I believe that I am so special that I can sin without being punished? Is my wisdom leading me astray?

#votd #Isaiah #self-deceit

The sun’s oppressive heat, Isaiah 49.10

“They will not be hungry or thirsty; the sun’s oppressive heat will not beat down on them, for one who has compassion on them will guide them; he will lead them to springs of water.”

Isaiah 49.10

Through his prophets, the Lord provided many vivid pictures of how he would bless the people of Israel after their restoration to the Land. These are suggestive of spiritual blessing, also.

Christians do not have the physical promises given to Israel. They look forward to greater things. What pictures of eternal life does my mind cherish?

#votd #Isaiah #blessing

You trust in your ability: Isaiah 30.12

“For this reason this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “You have rejected this message; you trust instead in your ability to oppress and trick, and rely on that kind of behavior.”

Isaiah 30.12

Israel ran to Egypt for help, but they would discover it to be a failure, vv. 1-7. They refused to listen to the prophets who directed them to seek God, vv. 8-11.

Isaiah summed up the choice: Trust in what God says, or attempt to do it ourselves. Doing the latter, we consider ourselves smart. God sees it for the foolishness it is.

#votd #Isaiah #trust

A tree whose leaves wither: Isaiah 1.30

“For you will be like a tree whose leaves wither, like an orchard that is unwatered.”

Isaiah 1.30

Isaiah’s imagery sees the wicked as trees who fail. This after mentioning the “sacred orchards” of idol worship. When the Lord judges, the unfaithful will not remain.

Contraste this image with Psa 1.3. In the present, and at the end, the righteous flourish. Which will you be?

#votd #Isaiah #trees