Friday, July 2, 2010

Isaiah 65:17–23

"'Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth,
     and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.
Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation!
     And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness.
     Her people will be a source of joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
     and delight in my people.
And the sound of weeping and crying
     will be heard in it no more.
'No longer will babies die when only a few days old.
     No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life.
No longer will people be considered old at one hundred!
     Only the cursed will die that young!
In those days people will live in the houses they build
     and eat the fruit of their own vineyards.
Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses
     and confiscate their vineyards.
For my people will live as long as trees,
     and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains.
They will not work in vain,
     and their children will not be doomed to misfortune.
For they are people blessed by the LORD,
     and their children, too, will be blessed.'"

God gives us the vision of what he desires for humankind. His list includes all this: a beautiful heaven and earth. His people as a source of joy to all (including himself!). No death or cause for sorrow or weeping. Work and the ability to enjoy the results of work. No fear of invasion from enemies. Our continual dependence on him for our needs and his glad answers to our prayers. Peace and harmony in all of nature—no more pollution or even "survival of the fittest." We're not there yet, but we will be! It's what he intends to restore.

Diane Eble, author of Abundant Gifts: A Daybook of Grace-Filled Devotions

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Isaiah 64:3–5a

"When you came down long ago,
     you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations.
     And oh, how the mountains quaked!
For since the world began,
     no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
     who works for those who wait for him!
You welcome those who gladly do good,
     who follow godly ways."

When God works, he does things beyond our highest expectations. He works for those who wait for him. That is the prerequisite for experiencing God in his greatness: wait for him, cheerfully do good, and follow godly ways. As you do these things, expect the unexpected!
Diane Eble, author of Abundant Gifts: A Daybook of Grace-Filled Devotions

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Isaiah 63:1b, 7-9

"It is I, the LORD, announcing your salvation!
    It is I, the LORD, who has the power to save!'
I will tell of the LORD's unfailing love.
    I will praise the LORD for all he has done.
I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel,
    which he has granted according to his mercy and love.
He said, "They are my very own people.
    Surely they will not betray me again,'
    And he became their Savior.
In all their suffering he also suffered,
    and he personally rescued them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them.
    He lifted them up and carried them
    through all the years."
In these verses we see repeated mentions of God's love, mercy, and goodness. He saves his people, redeems them, sufferes with them, rescues them, and carries them. Can you let God lift you up and carry you as you surrender to his love and mercy? Let you burdens become his, for he alone has power to save.
- Diane Eble, author of Abundant Gifts: A Daybook of Grace-Filled Devotions

Monday, June 28, 2010

Isaiah 62:11-12

"The LORD has sent this message to every land;
   'Tell the people of Israel,
"Look, your Savior is coming.
    See, he brings his reward with him as he comes."'
They will be called 'The Holy People'
    and 'The People Redeemed by the LORD'
And Jerusalem will be known as 'The Desirable Place'
   and 'The City No Longer Forsaken."'
God has always been a Savior to his people. Of course, these verses are fulfilled in Christ, and we live in the spiritual Jerusalem, The time will come when these verses and others like them will be fulfilled literally as well, in history. Jesus came, and his reward was with him. This reward is for those who believe. And what is it? A new identity of holiness, along with God's presence and favor. These things are for you right now, today. Claim them!
- Diane Eble, author of Abundant Gifts: A Daybook of Grace-Filled Devotions

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Philippians 2:3–4

"Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too."

This oft-quoted passage applies to relationships in the family, the church, organizations, and even business. Most people try to make a good impression on others. The focus is on self in that case. If, however, your focus is on other people and their interests as well, you will be more winsome and stand out. In your interactions with others today, let your own interests be in the background of the picture, with the focus on the interests of the other person(s) you're dealing with. How might that change what you do and say?
Diane Eble, author of Abundant Gifts: A Daybook of Grace-Filled Devotions