Today we are reading Isaiah 30. In this chapter we read about God warning His people not to turn to others for help. “”Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation. For though his officials are at Zoan and his envoys reach Hanes, everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.”” Isaiah‬ ‭30:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬ The people of Israel repeatedly made alliances with the pagan nations around them when they were threatened by invaders. The very reason they were threatened was due to their worship of false gods. In stubbornness they “doubled down” on their idolatry rather than trust in the one true God. How have you put your trust in something or someone other than God? How did that work out for you? May you always humble yourself before God Almighty and rest secure in His power! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Isaiah 29. In this chapter we read about the Siege of Jerusalem. “And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”” Isaiah‬ ‭29:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬ This passage is quoted by Jesus in the New Testament as a rebuke for people who go through the motions of religion but have no faith in their hearts. The first time I read this passage as a young man I felt convicted. I remembered all the times I had sat in church and thought of other things. How often does your mind wander when you worship? How often do the things of this world displace God in your heart? May God bless you and keep you close and may you do the same with Him! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Isaiah 28. In this chapter we read about the Judgement on Ephraim and Jerusalem. “Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand. The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot; and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer: when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand. In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.” Isaiah‬ ‭28:2-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Even in judgement the Lord is glorious! When the Lord comes as a conqueror He will punish the wicked who lie and cheat. He will punish those who have made a “covenant with death”. What is there in our society the resembles a “covenant with death”? In the time of Isaiah people who worshipped the false gods sacrificed their children to the idols by throwing them into a burning fire. They believed that killing their children in this way would bring them prosperity. They were wrong. God destroyed them for their barbarism! May God teach us to value and protect every person’s life. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Isaiah 27. In this chapter we read about the redemption of Israel. “In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea. Isaiah‬ ‭27:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬ The creature depicted here seems to represent the enemies of Israel. As God fights for and defends His people, He destroys the fiercest enemy imaginable. Nothing can withstand God’s punishment. When we see evil all around us we can know for certain that God can crush our enemies. Sometimes it appears that the forces of evil are winning. Do you ever find yourself concerned about that? Remember that their apparent victory is only temporary. On the other hand, our victory in Jesus is eternal. May God give you joy in His victory today! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Isaiah 26. In this chapter we read about How God gives us peace during challenging times.“In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “Perfect peace” sounds pretty good right now! Think of all that we have been through in the last year…add in your own personal stuff. Our God, who is full of grace and mercy, steadfastly loves us and provides for us. How has God provided for you? Have you reached out to God in your times of of anxiety? Reflect on the promises of God: forgiveness, protection, eternal life—these promises are unbreakable. They remain true in spite of our circumstances. May God bless you with perfect peace. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Isaiah 25. In this chapter we read about God’s victory over death. “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”” Isaiah‬ ‭25:6-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬ This passage is often read at funerals. I always like it because it describes Heaven like a wonderful feast on God’s Holy Mountain. It reminds me of family reunions where you are surrounded by all of your loved ones and wave after wave of wonderful foods! The victory that is ours through faith in Jesus will surpass every hope and expectation we can imagine! What are you most excited about when you think of Heaven? May God bless you with a Holy joy and anticipation of our future in Jesus! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Isaiah 24. In this chapter we read about the wrath of God against the whole earth.“Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word. The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish. The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.” Isaiah‬ ‭24:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬ God is absolutely justified in punishing all of His Creation. When we read the words of this prophecy it seems as though no one survives. The truth is that this punishment is for those who have broken His covenant by worshiping false gods. We also know that our God is full of mercy. He forgives us when we repent. He sent us His Son to save us from our sins. Still, it is a sobering thought to see how nothing on earth can stand up to His wrath. This is a clarion call to get busy reaching out to those who do not know Jesus. May your heart break for those in the path of His wrath. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Isaiah 23. In this chapter we read about the coastal kingdom associated with the port cities of Tyre and Sidon. “The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor! From the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them. Be still, O inhabitants of the coast; the merchants of Sidon, who cross the sea, have filled you. And on many waters your revenue was the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile; you were the merchant of the nations. Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying: “I have neither labored nor given birth, I have neither reared young men nor brought up young women.””
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭23:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬ The port cities controlled all commerce in the region and so were very wealthy. Their wealth was a source of pride and arrogance. In this chapter God promises to destroy these proud people. Their hope and confidence was in their wealth and prosperity. How are you tempted to gain confidence through wealth and prosperity? Is it wrong to be wealthy? What does God want you to do with your abundance? May God move you to rejoice in your abundance and find even more joy in giving! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Isaiah 22. In this chapter we read about how the destruction of Jerusalem is just like the destruction of the nations. “The oracle concerning the valley of vision. What do you mean that you have gone up, all of you, to the housetops, you who are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain with the sword or dead in battle. All your leaders have fled together; without the bow they were captured. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away. Therefore I said: “Look away from me; let me weep bitter tears; do not labor to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.” For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls and a shouting to the mountains.” Isaiah‬ ‭22:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬ When God’s people go astray, they are just as open to destruction and punishment as those who never believed. How are you guarding yourself against falling away? How are you reaching out to those who have abandoned the Christian faith? May God use you today to move someone back into His kingdom.  Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Isaiah 21. In this chapter we read about the prophecy of the fall of Babylon. “The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on, it comes from the wilderness, from a terrible land. A stern vision is told to me; the traitor betrays, and the destroyer destroys. Go up, O Elam; lay siege, O Media; all the sighing she has caused I bring to an end.” Isaiah‬ ‭21:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬ It seems during Biblical times kingdoms were rising and falling with great frequency. Here Elam (Western Iran) and Media (Northwestern Iran) form an alliance to overthrow their powerful neighbor Babylon. Our world is in a constant state of change but our God does not change. This is especially comforting when things around us—that we have come to rely on—are fading away. God’s does not fade away. He remains Holy and Righteous. His word remains true. He is still reigning and ruling over all things. He is still our God. May you walk today with an unshakable faith in our unshakable God! Pastor Tim