Category Archives: 23 – Isaiah

Every Rain Has a Purpose


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 53-56; 2 Peter 2

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 55:8-11

 

July in Texas usually means two things.  It is going to be hot, and it is going to be dry, and this summer is no exception.  In fact, for the life of me I cannot remember the last time it rained, which is usually the way it works.  See, I love a rainy day, but when the rains stop and the sun comes back out the water quickly fades away and we forget it was even there.  The evaporation process, especially in the heat of a Texas summer, is extraordinarily fast.  One thing we can always be sure of, though, is that before the rains evaporate they are going to perform their purpose.  They will always nourish the land.

In today’s key passage, we are reminded of the similarities between God’s Word and the rain.  Through the prophet Isaiah, God says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Vss. 10-11)  Just as the rains always nourish the land, God’s Word will always accomplish His purpose.  It will never return to Him void.

So what does this mean to us practically?  It means that every time God’s Word (The Bible) is preached, heard, or read, it is accomplishing His purpose.  What we have to keep in mind, however, is that we might not always know or understand what that purpose is at the time.  Sometimes His purpose might be to draw someone closer to Him while other times that might not be the case.  Sometimes His purpose might be to teach us something, and other times it might be to correct us.  There will be times when He will give us more faith, and other times when He will convict us of our sins.  We will never know what His purpose might be, but we do always know that He has one.  When we get into trouble is when we think we know what His purpose “should” be and decide that anything less is unacceptable.  For example, when we speak the Word to an unbeliever and they fail to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, we might feel like a failure because we wrongly believe we did not fulfill God’s purpose.  In reality, though, God alone decides the purpose for that conversation, and simply by taking part in it, you have succeeded!  Do not waste time trying to figure out His purposes, as he reminds us when He says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”. (Vs.  8)  Instead, rest in the comfort of knowing that God’s Word always achieves His purpose, and be thankful for the opportunity to help advance His Kingdom.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Advertisements

Praying for the Right Reasons


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 36-37; Psalm 76; 1 Peter 1

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 37:14-20

 

Even before I was saved, I used to spend time praying before going to sleep at night, though I vary rarely prayed for the right reasons.  For example, I would often pray that God would allow me to win the lottery.  Moreover, I did not want to win the lottery so I could do anything good like helping the homeless or building a church.  I wanted to win the lottery so I could buy a big house and a Ferrari.  Of course, looking back on it now my prayers were nothing short of sinful, yet at the time I was always at least a little surprised and disappointed when my lottery numbers failed to win.  See, I used to look at prayer the same way a small child looks at blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.  I would simply make a wish and hope for the best.  I never gave any thought to praying for the right reasons or praying according to God’s will, mostly because at that point in my life I had never actually read the Bible.

Hezekiah was a man who knew how to pray for the right reasons.  As we saw in yesterday’s reading, the Assyrian king had Jerusalem besieged, and was threatening to attack.  In the face of a seemingly hopeless situation, Hezekiah went to God in prayer.  Fortunately for us, the text of his prayer is preserved in our key passage today (as well as in 2 Kings 19).  Hezekiah began his prayer by praising and exalting God. (Vss. 15-16)  He then asked God to deliver his people from the hands of the Assyrians, but perhaps not for the reason you might think.  Hezekiah did not ask to be delivered to save himself from death or exile.  He did not even ask to be delivered simply to save his people.  Hezekiah asked God to be delivered, “so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” (Vs. 20)

When we pray, we need to constantly seek to know God’s will and not our own.  So how do we know if our prayers are in line with God’s will?  One good way to test our prayers is by asking ourselves who would benefit if our prayers were granted.  If our prayers only benefit ourselves, we are probably not praying according to God’s will.  Even if our prayers benefit others, we still may not be praying according to His will.  The true test is whether or not the answer to our prayers will advance God’s Kingdom.  The more we learn about the Lord through his Word and the more we grow in Him, the better we will get at discerning His will.  When we know and surrender to God’s perfect will, we will find that we are able to pray for the right reasons.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

The Pot and the Potter


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 29-31; James 1

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 29:13-16

 

When I was in my twenties, I enjoyed having friends over to my house on weekends to play poker.  One day, I decided that the one thing that was missing was a good poker table.  I did not want to go out and buy an expensive table, so I reasoned that I could build one myself.  Over the course of a few weeks, I would work on the table in my spare time.  Eventually what started as a pile of lumber turned into a relatively well-built poker table, complete with cup holders, chip trays, red felt, and leather rails.  In the end, I am sure I spent more on my handmade poker table than any table I would have bought in a store, but that did not matter to me.  Because I built it, I knew the position and purpose of every single nail, screw, and staple that went into that table.  I knew every nuance of the wood, including the two or three imperfections where I made mistakes.  See, the beauty of creating something from scratch is that when you are finished you know everything there is to know about your creation.

In today’s key passage, God (through the prophet Isaiah) reminds us that He too knows everything there is to know about His creation.  He says, “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He did not make me’? Can the pot say of the potter, ‘He knows nothing’?” (Vs. 16)  Many times in this life, it is easy for us to forget just how well God knows us.  We live our lives thinking that no one knows our thoughts, our feelings, and our motives, forgetting that God knows them all.  At times, we think we are alone, forgetting that God is watching everything we do.  Sometimes we even stray from the way God has told us to live, convincing ourselves that somehow we know what we are doing.  What we must always remember though, is in those times of temptation when we choose to sin we are as foolish as a pot telling the potter he knows nothing.  God has provided us with the Bible to show us the right way to live, because as the Creator, He knows everything about His creation.  He knows what is best for us.  He knows what we need.  He even knows our faults and imperfections.  Sometimes we just need to be reminded to trust Him.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Pruning Trees


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 25-28; Hebrews 13

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 27:10-11

Trees are interesting organisms.  Unlike most other living things, sometimes removing parts of a tree can actually make the tree healthier.  During this process of pruning, diseased or insect-infected branches of the tree are removed and discarded.  If done properly, pruning can stimulate fruit production and make the plant stronger overall.  In addition to scheduled pruning, all woody plants shed branches in response to shading and competition. Branches that do not produce enough carbohydrates from photosynthesis to sustain themselves die and are eventually shed.  Branches that are poorly attached may be broken off by wind or the accumulation of snow and ice. Branches removed in this way often result in large, ragged wounds, which is certainly not ideal.

In today’s key passage, Isaiah is prophesying about the end times.  He compares Israel to the branches of a tree and says, “When its twigs are dry, they are broken off and women come and make fires with them.” (Vs. 11)  Trees in the Bible are often used as a metaphor for our relationship with God.  Imagine a large, strong oak tree sitting in a meadow.  The trunk and root of the tree are like God – strong and immovable with a solid foundation.  The branches of the tree are like all of us – attached to God and being fed all of the nutrients we need by Him.  The fact is, some of the branches are naturally not going to make it.  Some of these branches are rotten and infected, and they will not be able to properly use the nutrients the trunk is trying to provide, so they will die and will fall off the tree.  These are the people who will never accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and these branches will eventually be thrown in the fire.

The other problem, though, is that some of the branches are so weakly attached to the trunk that they might be broken off by external forces.  When people are not getting the nutrients they need from God because their attachment to Him is not strong, they are more likely to be in trouble when the storms come.  They are more likely to be broken off the tree when the strong winds of life or the weight of their sin becomes too much for them to bear.  These are the people we need to reach.  These are the people that can be saved if we act quickly.  Since we cannot tell from the outside which branches are the ones that are rotten internally verses the ones that can be saved, we must try to help both.  Never stop spreading the Gospel.  Never stop trying to reach people for God.  The next branch you talk to just might end up being saved.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

No Reason to Wait


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 11-14; Hebrews 9

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 12

 

My wife and I are similar in many ways.  One of these similarities is the way we both view holidays involving gifts.  Whether it is a birthday, our anniversary, Valentine’s Day, or any other gift-giving holiday, we both have a hard time waiting to give our gifts.  In fact, with the exception of Christmas mornings, I can count on one hand the number of times we have waited until the actual holiday to give our gifts to each other.  The funny thing is that in each case, the gift giving is done early at the request of the one giving the gift, not the one receiving it.  Once the gift is wrapped up, both of us are so excited to give the gift that we rationalize that there is no reason to wait.

In today’s reading, the prophet Isaiah talks about Christ’s eternal reign over the earth.  In chapter 11, he talks about what life will be like when Jesus begins His reign.  In our key passage, he talks about how people will react to His reign.  He says that on that day, people will praise God because they will know that He is no longer angry with them because of their sins. (Vs. 1)  They will know that God is their salvation and they will trust Him without fear. (Vs. 2)  They will experience nothing but joy in that day because their salvation is secure. (Vs. 3)  They will be so excited, that they will have no choice but to tell everyone what God has done for them. (Vs. 4)  They will shout and sing songs of praise to the Lord. (Vss. 5-6)  It sounds like a glorious day.

Here is the really good news.  As great as that day will be, for those of us who are saved we have no reason to wait.  If you have accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, all of these things already apply to you.  You can praise Him today because you know that He is no longer angry about any of your sins.  You can trust Him without fear knowing that He is your salvation.  You can experience nothing but joy today because your salvation is secure.  In gratitude, you can shout and sing songs of praise to the Lord, and you can begin today telling everyone what God has done for you.  There is no reason to wait until that day to celebrate and praise God.  As you read today’s key passage, picture what life would be like if you lived every day as if it were that day, and understand that all of us can start this process right now.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Blaming God


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 8-10; Hebrews 8

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 8:11-22

 

In November 2010, wide receiver Steve Johnson of the Buffalo Bills dropped a touchdown pass in an overtime game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  On the next possession, the Steelers drove down the field and kicked a field goal to win the game.  The dropped pass alone did not make this much of a story.  Professional football players drop passes all the time and even heartbreaking drops in the end zone during overtime games are quickly forgotten.  What happened after the game, however, is the reason why this particular dropped pass will be remembered by many football fans and Christians for a long time.  When the game ended, Mr. Johnson went back to the locker room, logged into Twitter on his iPad, and posted a tweet blaming God for his dropped pass.  The ensuing firestorm was epic.  For weeks, articles and blogs across the Internet were written about Mr. Johnson’s Twitter post.  It seemed like everyone had an opinion about his post, and most of the opinions were a mixture of shock and horror that he would blame God for his dropped pass.

I am not condoning Mr. Johnson’s actions.  He was wrong to blame God for the dropped pass.  What struck me as odd though, was the backlash this tweet created considering the fact that blaming God when things do not go our way is actually fairly common.  This phenomenon has happened as far back as the Israelites.  In today’s key passage, Isaiah (speaking for God) correctly predicted that the Israelites would blame God for their tragedies.  He said, “Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God.” (Vs. 21)

When things do not work out the way we think they should, many times human beings look for someone to blame.  It is in these times that we are vulnerable to attack by the enemy.  It is in these times when Satan will try to tempt us into believing that God is at fault.  His voice whispering in our ear will try to convince us to blame God.  This, of course, is a dangerous proposition.  When we listen to the enemy’s voice, we grow further away from God as we, “look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and are thrust into utter darkness.” (Vs. 22)  God’s voice, however, says something completely different.  God’s voice tells us that He has plans for us – plans to prosper us and not to harm us.  God’s voice tells us that even when we cannot understand the reasons behind why something happened, we can rest in the knowledge that God is in control.  God’s voice tells us that we can grow closer to Him in our times of distress, and that we can learn through our failures.  The next time you face a setback and are looking for someone to blame, which voice will you decide to listen to?  Listen to the voice of God and avoid the trap.  When things do not go your way, resist the temptation to blame God, and instead press in closer to Him.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Every Rain Has a Purpose


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 53-56; 2 Peter 2

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 55:8-11

 

July in Texas usually means two things.  It is going to be hot, and it is going to be dry, and this summer is no exception.  In fact, for the life of me I cannot remember the last time it rained, which is usually the way it works.  See, I love a rainy day, but when the rains stop and the sun comes back out the water quickly fades away and we forget it was even there.  The evaporation process, especially in the heat of a Texas summer, is extraordinarily fast.  One thing we can always be sure of, though, is that before the rains evaporate they are going to perform their purpose.  They will always nourish the land.

In today’s key passage, we are reminded of the similarities between God’s Word and the rain.  Through the prophet Isaiah, God says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Vss. 10-11)  Just as the rains always nourish the land, God’s Word will always accomplish His purpose.  It will never return to Him void.

So what does this mean to us practically?  It means that every time God’s Word (The Bible) is preached, heard, or read, it is accomplishing His purpose.  What we have to keep in mind, however, is that we might not always know or understand what that purpose is at the time.  Sometimes His purpose might be to draw someone closer to Him while other times that might not be the case.  Sometimes His purpose might be to teach us something, and other times it might be to correct us.  There will be times when He will give us more faith, and other times when He will convict us of our sins.  We will never know what His purpose might be, but we do always know that He has one.  When we get into trouble is when we think we know what His purpose “should” be and decide that anything less is unacceptable.  For example, when we speak the Word to an unbeliever and they fail to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, we might feel like a failure because we wrongly believe we did not fulfill God’s purpose.  In reality, though, God alone decides the purpose for that conversation, and simply by taking part in it, you have succeeded!  Do not waste time trying to figure out His purposes, as he reminds us when He says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”. (Vs.  8)  Instead, rest in the comfort of knowing that God’s Word always achieves His purpose, and be thankful for the opportunity to help advance His Kingdom.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Praying for the Right Reasons


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 36-37; Psalm 76; 1 Peter 1

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 37:14-20

 

Even before I was saved, I used to spend time praying before going to sleep at night, though I vary rarely prayed for the right reasons.  For example, I would often pray that God would allow me to win the lottery.  Moreover, I did not want to win the lottery so I could do anything good like helping the homeless or building a church.  I wanted to win the lottery so I could buy a big house and a Ferrari.  Of course, looking back on it now my prayers were nothing short of sinful, yet at the time I was always at least a little surprised and disappointed when my lottery numbers failed to win.  See, I used to look at prayer the same way a small child looks at blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.  I would simply make a wish and hope for the best.  I never gave any thought to praying for the right reasons or praying according to God’s will, mostly because at that point in my life I had never actually read the Bible.

Hezekiah was a man who knew how to pray for the right reasons.  As we saw in yesterday’s reading, the Assyrian king had Jerusalem besieged, and was threatening to attack.  In the face of a seemingly hopeless situation, Hezekiah went to God in prayer.  Fortunately for us, the text of his prayer is preserved in our key passage today (as well as in 2 Kings 19).  Hezekiah began his prayer by praising and exalting God. (Vss. 15-16)  He then asked God to deliver his people from the hands of the Assyrians, but perhaps not for the reason you might think.  Hezekiah did not ask to be delivered to save himself from death or exile.  He did not even ask to be delivered simply to save his people.  Hezekiah asked God to be delivered, “so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” (Vs. 20)

When we pray, we need to constantly seek to know God’s will and not our own.  So how do we know if our prayers are in line with God’s will?  One good way to test our prayers is by asking ourselves who would benefit if our prayers were granted.  If our prayers only benefit ourselves, we are probably not praying according to God’s will.  Even if our prayers benefit others, we still may not be praying according to His will.  The true test is whether or not the answer to our prayers will advance God’s Kingdom.  The more we learn about the Lord through his Word and the more we grow in Him, the better we will get at discerning His will.  When we know and surrender to God’s perfect will, we will find that we are able to pray for the right reasons.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

The Pot and the Potter


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 29-31; James 1

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 29:13-16

 

When I was in my twenties, I enjoyed having friends over to my house on weekends to play poker.  One day, I decided that the one thing that was missing was a good poker table.  I did not want to go out and buy an expensive table, so I reasoned that I could build one myself.  Over the course of a few weeks, I would work on the table in my spare time.  Eventually what started as a pile of lumber turned into a relatively well-built poker table, complete with cup holders, chip trays, red felt, and leather rails.  In the end, I am sure I spent more on my handmade poker table than any table I would have bought in a store, but that did not matter to me.  Because I built it, I knew the position and purpose of every single nail, screw, and staple that went into that table.  I knew every nuance of the wood, including the two or three imperfections where I made mistakes.  See, the beauty of creating something from scratch is that when you are finished you know everything there is to know about your creation.

In today’s key passage, God (through the prophet Isaiah) reminds us that He too knows everything there is to know about His creation.  He says, “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He did not make me’? Can the pot say of the potter, ‘He knows nothing’?” (Vs. 16)  Many times in this life, it is easy for us to forget just how well God knows us.  We live our lives thinking that no one knows our thoughts, our feelings, and our motives, forgetting that God knows them all.  At times, we think we are alone, forgetting that God is watching everything we do.  Sometimes we even stray from the way God has told us to live, convincing ourselves that somehow we know what we are doing.  What we must always remember though, is in those times of temptation when we choose to sin we are as foolish as a pot telling the potter he knows nothing.  God has provided us with the Bible to show us the right way to live, because as the Creator, He knows everything about His creation.  He knows what is best for us.  He knows what we need.  He even knows our faults and imperfections.  Sometimes we just need to be reminded to trust Him.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Pruning Trees


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 25-28; Hebrews 13

Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 27:10-11

Trees are interesting organisms.  Unlike most other living things, sometimes removing parts of a tree can actually make the tree healthier.  During this process of pruning, diseased or insect-infected branches of the tree are removed and discarded.  If done properly, pruning can stimulate fruit production and make the plant stronger overall.  In addition to scheduled pruning, all woody plants shed branches in response to shading and competition. Branches that do not produce enough carbohydrates from photosynthesis to sustain themselves die and are eventually shed.  Branches that are poorly attached may be broken off by wind or the accumulation of snow and ice. Branches removed in this way often result in large, ragged wounds, which is certainly not ideal.

In today’s key passage, Isaiah is prophesying about the end times.  He compares Israel to the branches of a tree and says, “When its twigs are dry, they are broken off and women come and make fires with them.” (Vs. 11)  Trees in the Bible are often used as a metaphor for our relationship with God.  Imagine a large, strong oak tree sitting in a meadow.  The trunk and root of the tree are like God – strong and immovable with a solid foundation.  The branches of the tree are like all of us – attached to God and being fed all of the nutrients we need by Him.  The fact is, some of the branches are naturally not going to make it.  Some of these branches are rotten and infected, and they will not be able to properly use the nutrients the trunk is trying to provide, so they will die and will fall off the tree.  These are the people who will never accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and these branches will eventually be thrown in the fire.

The other problem, though, is that some of the branches are so weakly attached to the trunk that they might be broken off by external forces.  When people are not getting the nutrients they need from God because their attachment to Him is not strong, they are more likely to be in trouble when the storms come.  They are more likely to be broken off the tree when the strong winds of life or the weight of their sin becomes too much for them to bear.  These are the people we need to reach.  These are the people that can be saved if we act quickly.  Since we cannot tell from the outside which branches are the ones that are rotten internally verses the ones that can be saved, we must try to help both.  Never stop spreading the Gospel.  Never stop trying to reach people for God.  The next branch you talk to just might end up being saved.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

To become a fan of The Daily Bible Plan’s Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.

To follow me on Twitter for inspirational tweets, click the follow button –

If you like this post, please SHARE it with others to spread the Word of God.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

%d bloggers like this: