Isaiah 43:14-28 – What a Relationship!

Read Isaiah 43:14-28

The same God who destroyed the Egyptians so his people could flee from their enslavement promises to cause the Babylonians to flee! This will allow a new generation to return home. It’s highly likely that even though the Israelites had been in captivity, the story of the exodus from Egypt would have been retold often. Just as likely the celebration of Passover would have continued in some fashion, probably in secret. When hearing these words then, the people would surely take note of Isaiah’s message from God!

And what does God say now? “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.” I don’t think God meant for them to truly “forget.” His point was, “you haven’t seen anything yet!” We can all think of examples of where we have seen God at work in our lives. We simply need to think of Jesus. John 3:16 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” God came to earth as one of us!

Continue reading “Isaiah 43:14-28 – What a Relationship!”

Ephesians 3:1-13 – God’s Mysterious Plan

Read Ephesians 3:1-13

We are part of God’s mysterious plan. It was kept hidden until God chose to reveal it to Paul. As followers of Jesus, we share in the same blessings God’s chosen people have been given. When we believe in the Good News, that is in Jesus’ saving grace, we are given access to God.

When you understand the history and how people feared God, we can see how this is a really big deal. Jesus has come and revealed himself to us as God. We now have great treasures available to us. Do you have a hard time believing it? Continue reading “Ephesians 3:1-13 – God’s Mysterious Plan”

Luke 12:49-59 – Division

Read Luke 12:49-59

When you think of Jesus, I’m sure many different pictures come to mind. The healer, the teacher, the Savior, the friend, to name just a few. Today’s reading may give you a different sense, but he’s calling it as it is. He is the divider.

This is probably not a passage we see too often, so we don’t quite believe that “our” Jesus could be actually saying these things. His words are not as uplifting as we are used to. But his message is very helpful.

Didn’t he come to bring peace? We call him the Prince of Peace after all. But it goes deeper than this. When we dig in to the Word, we will see that because of the very nature of Jesus – being fully God and fully human, he is going to ruffle some feathers. He is dividing families. He is angering teachers of the law stuck in their tradition. Some will want to follow him and others will not. Those that follow and trust Jesus will find peace. Those that rebel will find judgment. Continue reading “Luke 12:49-59 – Division”

Luke 9:51-62 – What Does Your To-Do List Look Like?

Read Luke 9:51-62

What is on your agenda for today? For me, I have grocery shopping, phone calls to return, dog medicines to administer, and laundry to do. What if Jesus came and said, “Follow me.” How would you respond to him?

The two people in our reading today needed to get their “to-do” list done first and say goodbye to family. But Jesus wanted followers immediately. He expected to be first priority and there was no time for excuses. I would happily leave my laundry behind, but not bidding farewell to family might be harder. For us today, it’s hard to imagine not being connected because of cell phones, the internet and even snail mail. Yet for this person, it could be goodbye forever.

But Jesus deserves to be our FIRST priority. Continue reading “Luke 9:51-62 – What Does Your To-Do List Look Like?”

Hosea 6:1-11 – Repentance

Read Hosea 6:1-11

So much to say here.  Hosea is trying to convince a hard-hearted people to return to the Lord. Enough is enough. No more idols. It’s time to know the Lord. To do that, we must press on. How do we do this? How do we get to know the Lord. Hosea’s people were probably thinking the same thing.

We need to meet God where we are. We might be completely dirty and covered with the grime of sin. That’s okay. We should not hide behind that excuse, as a naughty child hides from a parent after misbehaving, afraid for the spanking or ashamed for the act. We need to press on and meet God now, not wait until we are perfect. We cannot be perfect. We can only be “better” when we become new in Christ and learn to be more like him. We have to get to know God before we can be more like him.

Our relationship with God is the most important relationship we will ever have. Sometimes we find it hard to communicate with someone so mighty and powerful. After all, our God is the creator of the universe. How do we ever begin to get to know him?

I’m sure you’ve met people in your life that are wicked smart and you’re afraid to talk to them that you might say something dumb. I know this first hand. I married the man of my dreams who scared the living daylights out of me at first — how could anything I say be of any relevance to him. But I pressed on. God knew we needed each other. God knows we ALL need him.

So what are some action steps we can take to press on and know God more? It is dependent on us to wait, to listen, and to hear the message he has for us. Don’t allow yourself to get so busy and focused on “doing” that you forget to just “listen.” A good, healthy relationship is one where there is communication going both directions.  

The Lord clearly reveals his heart to the people through Hosea in verse 6. He wants us to show love, not give burnt offerings.  How often do we try to throw money at things rather than get in and get our hands dirty? It’s the easy way out. Giving a burnt offering to get release from sin is what the people of that day understood as the way to go. But here, at least, God is clearly done with that practice. He wants our love instead. He has been shut out of their lives and abandoned. Love will restore. There is so much more satisfaction out of being loved. God wants our love in return for the love he so freely gives us.

Let’s pray. Father God, I rejoice in you today. I lift your name on high and give you praise for all that you are doing in my life. I do yearn to know you more, to really understand your heart for your people. Help me to fathom the immensity of it all, and yet the beauty that you desire my love. My love is yours. Help me to be totally devoted to you in all I say and do. Bring those people into my life that need to know you more so that I can show them the way. Forgive me for my distractions. Prepare my heart for your message to me today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.