Isaiah 60: 1—62:5

This book was written to remind Israel that they are God’s chosen people and that He will fulfill the promises He made to them.  In these closing chapters He drives home the point that redemption for them as a nation is still in the future.  This future time will be like nothing we have ever seen.  In their circumstances, ya know—the aggressive army coming to take them to exile—they might be tempted to forget that they are in the middle of the story and God is still at work.  Pastor Doug reminded us at church yesterday that Eternity is all about God.  And these chapters in Isaiah prove that.  When everyone knows that God is God, that is when mourning, suffering, broken heartedness, and pain will end because we will be in His presence and free of the sin that distracts us from Him.  When we see God face to face, rejection of Him won’t be an option.  In ancient Israel and right now, rejection of Him is what causes all the mourning we live with right now. 

Philippians 1: 1—2: 18 (two days for the price of one)

This is a little beauty of a letter.  Do not miss this.  The repeated words in this epistle are, “joy, rejoice and glad.”  The author, Paul, had Timothy record this letter FROM A JAIL CELL.  And the funny thing is scholors are not sure which imprisionment this is.  So this letter may have been written in the 61 AD jail stay or the 62 AD jail stay.  How on earth can someone compose a letter about joy from a jail cell?  The answer is because he has found the key to the successful Christian life.  And yes, a successful Christian life may include a jail cell. 

This letter is to a church that has taken what Paul taught them and ran with it.  This church also includes one of my favorite bible characters Lydia.  We met her in the book of acts.  Anyway, this church is characterized by generosity and their desire to make Christ known.  That is a good thing. 

But Paul does have to address the Judaizes again to this church (1: 17).  This is the group that seems to follow along behind him and muck up his teaching by telling people they have to follow the Law and believe in Christ to be saved.  We learned from Romans and Galatians how dangerous that teaching was.

In Chapter 1 Paul focuses in on what really matters and tells us that the message of God is going forward despite the fact that Paul is in prison.  God uses it all to make Himself known.  What really matters is that we live as citizens of heaven.  This means we live in a way that reflects the Good News we know about Jesus no matter what comes our way, maybe even jail. 

Chapter 2 gives us that key we need to live a joy filled life in the face of the world who seem hell bent on burying Christians.  I encourage you to really read this section over and over and see the way Paul says “do {this} because {this} is true of your standing as a believer in Christ.”  WE CANNOT turn this into a to do list, that would make us Pharisee’s.  But we can start to capture thoughts and make them obedient to Jesus.  So, say for example, you notice yourself complaining about something.  Take that thought in hand and say, “Lord you told me not to complain about anything but instead do everything without complaining.  I repent Lord, change my thinking please.”  Or you can do it my way and scream and yell at everyone, so they are all clear that you are not happy with the current situation, and then be convicted by Jesus that you just acted like Satan on steroids and have to go back and apologize to everyone.  (I’m not trying to bossy, but the first way is the more mature way.)

Psalm 72: 1-20

Proverbs 24: 11-12

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: