April 18 – “The Anointing”

Day 108 – Read Isaiah 61

Isaiah 61:1 – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

Isaiah is, of course, referring to the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus without measure. This was the mission to which He had been sent: preaching good news, healing the sick, and setting the captives free.

The ‘poor’speaks of those who are afflicted, distressed, and needy; those who have been oppressed under the weight of some misfortune or calamity. The ‘brokenhearted’ are those who are greatly afflicted and distressed for any reason. And then there are the captives and those in prison. Both are bound in some way. There is good news for them all. They can rise above their impoverished condition, be healed of their affliction, and be set free from whatever form of bondage they may be experiencing.

But this anointing was not only for the Messiah. When Jesus sent out the twelve apostles, and later the seventy, he appointed them to preach the gospel of the kingdom, heal the sick, and cast out demons. Then, after his resurrection, He breathed on His disciples and said: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you…Receive the Holy Spirit.”

That same Holy Spirit was poured out upon the 120 in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost, and is available to all believers today. Not only can we personally be healed and delivered, we have an abiding power and anointing to bring this message of good news to all who are in need.

April 17 – “Humble Yourself”

Day 107 – Read Isaiah 57

Isaiah 57:15 – “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’”

There is no doubt that God is unlike us. He is eternal, holy, and above all. When the children of Israel met God at the mountain after their escape from Egypt, they trembled for fear and kept their distance. Only Moses was allowed to go up into His presence, and even he was not allowed to look upon His face.

When the Tabernacle was built there was a special room designed just for God called the Holy of Holies. But only one person, the High Priest, was allowed to enter, and he could only do so once a year. Anyone else who tried to enter would instantly die.

But God does not want this separation. He longs to have fellowship with those He created. And so, in these verses, we find a contrast. The High and Lofty One, who is far above all and out of reach, can be approached by those who are broken and lowly. As it says in James 4:6, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

It is when we are contrite (crushed, broken) and humble (lowly) that we will be lifted up into the presence of God. As James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” If you are broken and feeling low today, you are closer to God than you think.

April 16 – “No Weapon”

Day 106 – Read Isaiah 54

Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.”

It doesn’t take long after one becomes a Christian to discover that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. There might even be times when then enemy seems to be winning, and the weapon he is using appears to be invincible. Often, the warfare is manifest by verbal attacks and accusations that are designed to destroy us, or damage our reputation.

But, as a child of God, we are not alone in the fight. We have One to defend us who is greater than all our enemies, and He has promised that no weapon that comes against us can bring defeat. Notice that it says “no weapon”. That is all-inclusive. No strategy, no plan of attack, no method, no tool, no weapon of war, nothing by any means has the power to defeat a child of God.

The word “prosper” gives us some important insight into the struggle. It means to have the final and complete success. In other words, the enemy might appear to be winning for a time, but, the end result will always be victory for the believer. Perhaps the greatest example of this was the crucifixion. Satan appeared to have won the victory, but then came the resurrection.

This is our inheritance. We are more than conquerors, always victorious in Jesus Christ. No matter what battle you are facing today; no matter how powerful the attack might be; no matter if the circumstances appear to be against you and the enemy seems to be gaining the upper hand; no weapon formed against you will have the ultimate success. The final victory will always be yours.

April 15 – “The Suffering Savior”

Day 105 – Read Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53:4a-5 – “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

One doesn’t have to read very far into this chapter to see the obvious reference to the terrible suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Even though Isaiah wrote these words 700 years before Christ, the details of His suffering give credence to the validity of his prophetic words. Nevertheless, there is significant meaning lost in the translation.

Jesus bore our griefs. The literal meaning of the word ‘griefs’ is: sickness, disease, anxiety, affliction. Almost everywhere this word is used in the Bible it is referring to a bodily disease. So Isaiah’s prophecy is that the Christ would take our sickness.

But He would also carry our sorrows. Again, the meaning of the word ‘sorrows’ is: pain, sorrow, grief, to be sad. Perhaps the difference between griefs and sorrows is that the first refers to physical suffering, while the latter refers to mental and emotional pain.

It isn’t until we get to verse 5 that Isaiah begins to talk about our sin. While sickness and physical suffering had to be alleviated, sin had to be punished. For that reason He was pierced, wounded, and bruised, so that we could be at peace with God. And by His stripes we were healed. This refers to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. God is concerned about our entire being, not just the spiritual part. Through the suffering of Jesus Christ we can be brought to wholeness in every area of our life. Whatever your need might be, turn it over to Him today.

April 14 – “Our God Reigns”

Day 104 – Read Isaiah 52

Isaiah 52:7 – “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

After 70 years of captivity, and Jerusalem in ruins, the people are beginning to see the fulfillment of the prophecy of restoration. At long last their life of bondage is coming to an end. With great anticipation, the remnant living in Jerusalem set watchmen upon the mountains to look for any sign of a messenger bringing good news.

How beautiful it is to hear that God reigns and He is bringing deliverance, salvation, and peace. The Temple will be rebuilt, Jerusalem will be restored, and there will be rejoicing in the streets. But this is not just a message for Israel. The Apostle Paul uses this verse to refer to the preaching of the gospel (Rom. 10:15).

The good news that we proclaim is that our God reigns. You don’t have to live in bondage any longer. Jesus won our deliverance on the cross of Calvary, and we can now have salvation and peace.

So, if you are tired of the way your life is now, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Turn it all over to God. Let Him take control and begin to reign; first of all in your heart, and then in your situation. The good news is for everyone, and that includes you. Because of Jesus you have been set free. Our God reigns.

April 13 – “You are not Forgotten”

Day 103 – Read Isaiah 49

Isaiah 49:15-16 –“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;”

There is perhaps no relationship more intimate than that of a mother and her nursing child. The bond between them is so strong that little can come between them. Nevertheless, we occasionally hear of newborn babies being abandoned by their mothers. But God assures His people that He will never abandon them.

This was Israel’s fear. Jerusalem had been left in ruins, and the people taken away as captives to a foreign land. In verse 14 they declare, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.”

There are times when our circumstances seem to indicate that God has left us on our own. There is no sign of His presence or care, and we feel abandoned and forgotten. But just as God assured Israel of His love for them, He wants you to know that He has not forgotten you.

God will never leave you nor forsake you. In fact, your name has been inscribed in the palm of His hand. This was a Babylonian custom of which the Israelite captives would have been aware. Young men in love tattooed the name of their beloved on the palms of their hands as a symbol of their faithfulness. So God uses this illustration to assure them of His love and commitment.

No matter what your circumstances are today be assured that God has not forgotten you.

April 12 – “He Forgives and Forgets”

Day 102 – Read Isaiah 43:14-28

Isaiah 43:25 – “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”

As human beings we have the ability to forgive a wrong committed against us, but often it is much harder to forget what has been done. In fact, it is our inability to forget a wrong that can interfere with a relationship. A husband or wife that continually brings up past mistakes is in danger of destroying the marriage. No one wants to live in that kind of environment where their past sins are always being brought before them.

Another hindrance to a happy life is constantly living with a sense of guilt. Rather than helping a person to move forward into a productive life, guilt is a chain that keeps them bound in the past. And it is not a joyful past. It is the constant reminder of something they regret. Satan uses guilt to keep people under his control, and to hinder them from becoming all that God created them to be.

But God has the power to forgive and forget. When we come to Him to confess our sins, He erases the record of that sin from His memory. It is gone from His sight as if it had never happened. Rather than having to live in the shadow of our past mistakes, we are given a clean slate. We can start brand new without any marks against us.

God doesn’t do this because we are deserving of His forgiveness, but because He is merciful. It is for His own sake that He forgives and forgets. In that way we can’t take any of the credit. All of the glory and praise go to Him who is loving, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, and faithful to His promises. Don’t hold on to past sins or failures. Turn them over to God and start anew today.

April 11 – “God Knows Your Name”

Day 101 – Read Isaiah 43:1-13

Isaiah 43:1 – “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name: You are Mine.”

There are few things more important than a person’s name and a sense of belonging. When a teacher calls out to a student and says, “Hey, you over there in the blue,” it indicates a lack of personal relationship. They see you, but they don’t know you. But when you are called by your name, it gives a sense of satisfaction that you are not just another student, you are known.

The same is true of belonging. Everyone wants to belong to something significant. An orphan dreams of belonging to a family. An athlete is nothing if he doesn’t belong to a team. A citizen is one who belongs to a country. This is why young people join peer groups or gangs, it gives them a sense of belonging to something important.

In this passage, the children of Israel are living as captives far away from their homeland. Perhaps they feel abandoned and forgotten. They are outcasts who don’t belong in the nation where they are living; and there is little hope of becoming a people again. But God speaks these words of reassurance: “I know your name, and you belong to Me.”

Perhaps you have felt that God isn’t really aware of you, or that He is not concerned about what you are going through. Let these words become personal to you today. You are not just a number, or an unknown face hidden in the crowd. God knows your name, and you belong to Him.

April 10 – “Fear Not”

Day 100 – Read Isaiah 41

Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

The expression ‘fear not’ is found multiple times throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament it is usually God who is speaking to assure His people that He hears their cry, He sees their condition, and He is with them.

In this verse God gives His people four promises: His presence, strength, help, and support. It is usually when we feel weak that we call out to God. When we feel strong we have the tendency to think that we can handle the situation. The danger with that is that we also tend to forget God, or at least put Him to one side. We don’t have that sense of dependency upon Him that we should have because things are good.

But, when we are facing something that is bigger than we are, we call out to God. I think there are even times when God allows us to get into those situations just to remind us that He is still there. That is not because He wants us to suffer, but because He longs for a daily relationship with His children. When we walk in daily fellowship with God, we will always be aware of His presence, feel His strength, have His help, and receive His support.

Don’t wait until you feel weak or in need to call out to God. Spend time with Him today and let Him assure you of His presence in your life.

April 9 – “Renewed Strength”

Day 99- Read Isaiah 40:27-31

Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it seemed like you just couldn’t go on any further? Then, all of a sudden, your spirit revived, you gained new strength, and you were able to keep going.

Long distance runners often talk about getting a second wind. It is at that point in the run where all strength and energy seems to be coming to an end. The runner is too out of breath and tired to continue. They can then quit running, or they can push on in spite of their weakness. Those that persevere are the ones that experience the second wind. Their strength revives and they can keep going until the end.

In this passage the children of Israel are 700 miles away from home and living as captives in Babylon. As they look with longing hearts to be freed from their captivity, they are overwhelmed with the thought of crossing the rugged and dangerous terrain to return home. They question whether or not God has forgotten them. Then, as a second wind, God gives them a promise that fills them with hope to go on.

Even young men in their prime have a limited amount of strength and energy. Eventually they will reach a point where they can’t go on. But God never runs out of breath. He is never tired or weary. And He has promised to replace our weakness with His strength. All He asks is that we wait on Him. The expression means to wait expectantly, or to have hope. It is not waiting in vain for something that will never happen, but to trust in God’s promise that is faithful and true.

No matter what you are going through today, wait upon God and let Him exchange His strength for your weakness.

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