September 23

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‘“Present the case for your idols,” says the Lord. “Let them show what they can do,” says the King of Israel. “Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence”‘ (Isaiah 41:21-22 NLT).

From: September 23, 2019

GOD’S CHALLENGE TO OUR MATERIALISTIC IDOLS

The idolatry of today is not unlike that of Isaiah’s day. Explanations of origins were offered by the prophets of Baal. They offered materialistic creation stories and led the people to “exchange the truth about God for a lie, so that they worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). They built idols made in the image of bulls, birds and other created things and led the people to bow down to them as gods. The people of Israel exchanged their worship of the LORD and put their faith in idols that were made with human hands.
 
Sounds pretty superstitious and archaic doesn’t it. Surely we know better than to bow down to such silliness. Yet, we have fallen for the same materialistic explanations for origins today. The prophets of the philosophy of naturalism have clothed themselves in the robes of science and convinced us that there is no need for a supernatural God. For all things can be explained through natural processes. They attempt to “tell us what happened long ago” by inserting the name “evolution” or “nature” in the place where the name “God” belongs. We’re really just as idolatrous as those in Isaiah’s day. Our idols and explanations are just more complex and insidious than theirs were.
 
Yet we have been given more than God’s natural revelation through His creation. We have been given His specific revelation through His Word. And we don’t have to read far into His book to know the truth of our origin. For it opens with the words: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Any explanation that varies from this is idolatry. Those who consider the natural evidence in light of this revealed truth will be convinced and finally worship the Lord as our Creator.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, forgive us for lowering our eyes to worship created things rather than lifting them up to You, our Creator. We ask that You open the eyes of our people that they might recognize the lie of naturalism that has stolen true science, and finally turn to You. We are broken hearted for the idolatry in our land. Bring us to repentance and reveal Yourself to us afresh through Your Son and by Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth” (Isaiah 42:5 NLT).

From: September 23, 2018

GOD IS BOTH CREATOR AND SUSTAINER OF LIFE
A worldview built on any other foundation than the dual truth that God is both Creator and Sustainer of life, will surely lead to false and foolish conclusions. The prophet Isaiah declared this dual truth and more. For the Lord revealed to him the coming of the Messiah, the One who would redeem from death those who believed in Him. So that in Christ, the title Redeemer must be recognized in addition to Creator (John 1:1-3) and Sustainer (Heb. 1:1-4). A right understanding of this truth leads to a more accurate worldview. Yet, the fullest understanding of truth is found in knowing and belonging to Jesus. Because Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV).

From: September 23, 2017

What is “grace?” Someone has said it is about “mercy, not merit.” This is true, yet grace is more than mercy. For mercy only withholds punishment. But grace forgives and adopts. Grace not only withholds what we do deserve, it gives us what we don’t deserve. For grace changes our status from rebel to righteous, from criminal against God, to child of God. Grace is the basis for our salvation (“by grace you have been saved”).
 
What is “faith?” It is trusting in the grace of God. Faith is the hand that takes hold of God’s gift, which is Christ Jesus, who died for our sins, was buried and raised on the third day. Yet, even this “hand” is a gift, for didn’t the God of grace also give us the “hand” of faith? So, do not make too much of your faith. It’s nothing to “boast” about. Even a child has the faith to open a gift. Therefore, if you boast, boast in the grace of God, which is Christ Jesus, our Lord!
 
So, if grace is the basis for our salvation and faith the means by which we receive it, then where do “good works” belong? If grace is the steam engine of salvation and faith is the coal car, then good works is the caboose. For good works follow salvation, but do not have the power to accomplish it. Good works are the evidence of salvation. They are the fruit on the branch that has been grafted into the Vine, which is Christ.

“I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8 ESV)

From: September 23, 2016

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah reminding His chosen people of the glory due His name. He had revealed His covenantal name, Yahweh (יְהוָ֖ה or “Jehovah”), which means “I AM,” to them through Moses (Ex.3:14). English translations use all caps, “LORD,” to distinguish His name from the more generic use. He is “I AM,” the eternal, self-existent One. Not “I Was,” nor “I WILL BE,” but “I AM.” Without beginning or end, He stands outside of time. Not created, but Creator, He created all things including time itself, and He not only created all things, but sustains all things by His power. When we give our praise, our worship, to created things or manmade things, we deny the glory due the LORD. Let us give God the glory, the credit, due His name. All glory is due Him.

“having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20 NKJV)

From: September 23, 2015

The Church is the people, not the steeple. Paul said that we are being “built on the foundation” of the New Testament apostles and the Old Testament prophets. And that Christ Himself is the “chief cornerstone.” We are the church. Not a place, but a people. Jesus is not only its cornerstone, He is also its builder. As He told Peter, “Upon this rock I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). We are to “be” the church, while Christ “builds” it.

“May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere” (Psalm 67:2 NLT)

From: September 23, 2014

This psalm was to be sung in the Temple accompanied by instruments. It is a prayer, asking God to make Himself known to people everywhere. This prayer is consistent with God’s will and it is being answered today, perhaps even in this generation. Jesus has commanded us to go to the nations and make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20) and He also said that when every nation has heard the gospel, the end would come (Matt 24:14). So, we pray this psalm to God, knowing that only He can save and make Himself known, yet also knowing that we are called to be His heralds, announcing the gospel to the nations, so that they may hear and be saved.