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September 9: Joy and Peace

Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 24-26, Proverbs 22:17-29, Luke 22:31, Hebrews 6:1-12 Isaiah 24-26: Judgment once more, but interleaved with salvation and mercy. Extraordinary words. Again we come to chapters of Isaiah that are not only brilliantly poetic but also profoundly significant and spiritually resonant. There are far horizons here, beyond where we are even today, that speak of distant judgment, and final salvation. “Behold the LORD will empty the earth and make it desolate” (24:1). There will be a whole new heaven and a whole new earth, and there will be a time of judgment for all people in this world. It will come irrespective of class or wealth: “as with the buyer, so with the seller” (24:2). This is because there is a “curse,” the original curse that comes from the garden of Eden, “Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt” (24:6). But then a little later, almost...

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September 8: Correct and Encourage

Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 21-23, Proverbs 22:1-16, Luke 22:24-30, Hebrews 5 Isaiah 21-23: When we think of “vision,” we tend to think of a positive dream of the future. But here the “vision” of chapter 22 is far more a vision of judgment. Nonetheless, there is hope (22:20), ultimately of a messianic kind (22:22). I want to spend time this devotional reflecting on the dynamic tension that Isaiah here incorporates into his prophetic vision—on the one hand judgment, on the other hand hope—and ask ourselves whether we tend toward one or the other side of this double-edged sword of Scripture. It is all too easy to reflect a desire to please in the heart of the person who is skilled at ingratiating him or herself into the hearings of others, to begin to reflect that in a message and an idea about God that is solely positive. On the other hand, it is possible to...

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September 7: Cost

Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 17-20, Proverbs 21:17-31, Luke 22:14-23, Hebrews 4:12-16 Isaiah 17-20: Four chapters of extraordinary content, and great depth—who is equal to comment on these things, even in devotional form, in a few short words! In chapter 17 there is judgment against Damascus. They had “forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge” (17:10). There is some hope for there will be a “day” when “man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel” (17:7). Chapter 18 has a message for Cush, a message which sends people flowing to Mount Zion, to God, and to salvation. Then in chapter 19 there is judgment against Egypt. And then chapter 20! “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush…” so shall the Egyptian captives and the...

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September 6: Salvation Complete

Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 14-16, Proverbs 21:1-16, Luke 22:1-13, Hebrews 4:1-11 Isaiah 14-16: Interwoven through Isaiah is this thread of restoration combined with judgment. Just because God used the pagan nations around his people to bring discipline upon his people in no way means that he will not in time to come judge those pagan peoples for their sins and rebellion against him. So chapter 14 begins with promise of restoration for his people (14:1-2). And then rapidly it moves—throughout the rest of these chapters—to various descriptions of judgment upon those who had thought they had triumphed over God’s people during their exile, while they were under God’s discipline. It is disconcerting to read of God’s people being encouraged to take up a “taunt” against anyone (14:4), even Babylon as a symbol of wickedness and evil, but this is not the yah-boo sneering and jeering politics of the school playground, but instead the formal declaration of the...

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September 5: The Joy of the Christ

God Centered Life is excited to announce a relaunch of its ministry on Tuesday, September 6. As a result, the ministry is going through a pre-launch test of the new website and app. As a subscriber to God Centered Life Ministries, we are pleased to give you a sneak preview of what will be made official on Tuesday. Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 11-13, Proverbs 20:16-30, Luke 21:29-38, Hebrews 3 Isaiah 11-13: These chapters begin with a prophetic hymn to the “shoot from the stump of Jesse” (11:1), that is, from David. This descendent will be characterized by various aspects that are exemplary, and more than exemplary. The “Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him” (11:2). His “delight shall be in the fear of the LORD” (11:3). He will not be partial to the powerful but instead “with righteousness he shall judge the poor” (11:4). The result of this exercise of justice will be peace: “The...

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September 4: A Great Light

God Centered Life is excited to announce a relaunch of its ministry on Tuesday, September 6. As a result, the ministry is going through a pre-launch test of the new website and app. As a subscriber to God Centered Life Ministries, we are pleased to give you a sneak preview of what will be made official on Tuesday. Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 9-10, Proverbs 20:1-15, Luke 21:20-28, Hebrews 2:10-18 Isaiah 9-10: Words here made famous by Handel’s Messiah and sung at every Christmas around the world, they are rich with meaning and applicability as well. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (9:2). “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder” (9:6). For those who are tempted to believe that these prophecies refer to anything less than the God-Man Christ, the incarnate Son of God, look at the latter...

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September 3: God-Sized Vision and Mission

God Centered Life is excited to announce a relaunch of its ministry on Tuesday, September 6. As a result, the ministry is going through a pre-launch test of the new website and app. As a subscriber to God Centered Life Ministries, we are pleased to give you a sneak preview of what will be made official on Tuesday. Today's Bible Reading: Isaiah 6-8, Proverbs 19:15-29, Luke 21:1-19, Hebrews 2:1-9 Isaiah 6-8: Rather than attempt to explain each of these chapters—so rich with meaning—in such a short space of these few words, I’m going to focus particularly on chapter 6 and a few parts of chapter 7. Chapter 6 is the great famous vision calling of Isaiah. Note that at the heart of the vision is the holiness of God. This holiness is emphasized by the thrice repeated word “holy” (6:3), for in Hebrew the way to say that something is very holy is to say “holy, holy” and...

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September 2: The Branch

God Centered Life is excited to announce a relaunch of its ministry on Tuesday, September 6. As a result, the ministry is going through a pre-launch test of the new website and app. As a subscriber to God Centered Life Ministries, we are pleased to give you a sneak preview of what will be made official on Tuesday. Today's Bible Reading: Isaiah 3-5, Proverbs 19:1-14, Luke 20:41-47, Hebrews 1:10-41 Isaiah 3-5: More extraordinary chapters from the great prophet Isaiah. First, in chapter 3, there is more judgment. Note the signs of judgment: they will have boys as their princes, infants shall rule over them (3:4). God’s judgment against a people is often shown in immature and infantile leadership. Some of our leaders may be older but still act like babies. Lack of fearing God leads to lack of maturity, and bad leadership is a scourge on all. In fact, people will no longer seek leadership positions for they...

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September 1: Stop Regarding Man

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 1-2, Proverbs 18, Luke 20:27-40, Hebrews 1:1-9 Isaiah 1-2: We enter now perhaps one of the greatest works of literature ever written. More to the point, Isaiah is perhaps the greatest of the Old Testament prophetic books. The style is at times sublime, the message not only “timeless” but timelessly profound, and its words, while deep and ever rich, have some of the most famous and clearest prophecies of “the servant” and “the suffering servant,” that is the Christ called Jesus and his cross. We will barely do justice to the brilliance of these words, certainly not in any finicky exactitude, but we can bask in the warmth of their light. Almost certainly, the best modern commentary on Isaiah was written by the recently deceased great scholar and Bible teacher Alec Motyer. It is not only extremely accurate technically, it also manages to be edifying and uplifting all at the same...

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August 26-31, 2016

In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” August 26-31 then are intended to allow you to catch up on reading you may have missed or to study passages more in depth that intrigued you during the first 25 days of the month. With this in mind, God Centered Bible will not have a devotional for August 26-31, but will pick back up on September 1, 2016, with Isaiah 1. We welcome your comments also during these days with insights you’ve found during the first 25 days. To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here....

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