Today read Psalm 77 and Isaiah 9:1-7, Saturday read Psalm 77 and Philippians 4:4-9, Sunday read Psalm 77, Micah 5:1-4, Hebrews 10:5-10, Psalm 80:1-7, and Luke 1:39-55. It is amazing how fast our time together has gone. We will finish next Friday on Christmas Eve. We may talk about 40 Days to Begin the New Year if you’d like. Drop me a message, email, or even comment below if you are interested in that. And I AM going to do a Monday video about some spiritual exercises for the New Year. Blessings! Here’s the devotional.
Pray today: Blessed are You Jehovah, forever and ever, for giving us the doorway to the Kingdom of Heaven in Messiah.
Let me make a confession. I take a lot of Bible verses personally. Not in a, “Your breath stinks,” or, “You should have that thing removed,” personal. I take a lot of verses personal as if they were written just for me. I know that Scripture is written in context, with layers of application, and one of the worst things we can do is take verses out of context. The various books, chapters, and even verses in the Bible were written, first of all, to a specific person or people, at a specific time, for a specific reason. Take our Isaiah reading today for example.
Judah, pretty much all that’s left of the 12 Tribes of Israel, has fallen on hard times. The glory days of David and Solomon are a thing of the past. They have had a whole series of flawed presidents, I mean kings, (I told you I take it personally) and the guy in power now is one of the worst, Ahaz. He followed a not-so-bad king, Uzziah, but Uzziah is dead and his son, Ahaz is leading them down a dark path. He has set up idols to pagan gods. He even sacrificed his own son to Moloch, and a young prophet Isaiah is preaching doom, gloom, and destruction every chance he gets. But, thank God, he also has some messages of hope for the people.
He begins chapter 9 with the word, nevertheless, almost always a good word after gloom has been declared. “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those in distress.” He goes on to predict a coming “messiah,” a savior of the people, and calls Him, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. That leads me to the next layer of understanding for the Bible. It was also written for a future people, the children of God, to let them know that God was working on their behalf. In the Old Testament, those people of God were the Jews. (In the New Testament they will be the church.) Isaiah writes to warn the people of his day and also to give them hope. He also writes to coming generations to tell them to look for this sign, “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given,” and let them know when they see the sign, to remember that God promised all of this, hundreds of years before.
There is yet another level, Scripture is written, all of Scripture, so that the entire world, Jews, Gentiles, Ancients, Moderns, people living today, could know about and look for the Kingdom of God in their own age, their own lives and situations. And that’s where I really start to take this personally. There are some verses that were written nearly 3000 years ago that I am pretty sure God wrote JUST FOR ME. I usually write little notes in my Bible beside those verses to remind me that it IS all about me. 😊 Here are three from this passage. Verse 3, “You have enlarged their nation and increased their joy.” I wrote, “God has done this for our family.” Another one, verse 4, “You have shattered the yoke that burdens them,” and I wrote, “Yep, He did that just for me in 2004. Then in verse 6, “He will be called Wonderful Counselor.” I wrote beside that, “That’s me!” I’M JUST KIDDING. I DIDN’T DO THAT. 😊
The point is some of these messages that God wrote to an ancient tribe, thousands of years ago, the Holy Spirit will whisper into our hearts today and say, “This message is just for you.” Let me give you three quick hints about how that works:
- Approach your Bible reading every day with the confidence that God loves you and is interested in the most minute details of your life.
- Remember as you read that He is a GOOD God and that He has your very best interest at heart.
- And then, make it a habit to look for those verses that He might have put there just for you, when you see them, thank Him for giving you that verse for that day for that life situation.
The more I do that, the more I begin to see those secret little love letters He has hidden in His Word just for me. And the neat thing is that the very verse that He put in there just for me, can be the same verse He puts there just for you. (except the wonderful counselor verse. That one really is just for me.)
Have a blessed day. Remember that God loves you today and has a Word for you. See you Monday.
So that you can prepare, next week’s reading: Psalm 65 every day.
Monday Isaiah 43:1-13
Tuesday Galatians 3:23-4:7
Wednesday 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Thursday Ephesians 4:17-32
Christmas Eve John 3:1-8