Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Isaiah 6:3 & Revelation 4 - Trihagion
What do you think is the meaning of the pronouncement of three “Holys”, (as opposed to one)? Note the reaction of the angels (vs. 3), and that of Isaiah seeing the Holy One in 3-5. How have we lost our reverence for God? What is your perception of God’s holiness? Do you demonstrate reverence in your worship of God, or has your worship become to “familiar”?

 

Monday, September 25th, 2017

Isaiah 6 - Impressions
What strikes you about the scene Isaiah describes? Why do you think the events of this chapter occur in chapter 6 and not chapter 1? One commentator cleverly noted that the pillars of the altar were moved by the presence of God (vs.4), while the hearts of men remained unaffected- indeed! What do you think is the meaning of verses 9-12, and why is vs. 13 an encouragement?

 

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Habakkuk 1:5, 3:17-18 - Utterly Amazed
Habakkuk 1:5 is also in the context of impending Babylonian judgment, but when we come to the end of this short book (vs.17-18), he ultimately lands on the trust in God as His Savior. So too for us- we approach the LORD today in worship, trusting Him as our ultimate Savior, while at the same time our finite perspective may leave us challenged to understand all His ways. Where do you need to trust and worship Him today?

 

Hurricanes

Irma, Jose, Lee, Maria - all major hurricanes which have inflicted death, destruction, and massive losses on the U.S. and other nations.  What should be the response from those who follow Jesus?

According to USA Today, faith-based religious groups have provided 80% of aid delivered so far to communities with homes devastated by recent hurricanes.  “About 80 percent of all recovery happens because of non-profits, and the majority of them are faith-based,” Greg Forrester, CEO of NVOAD (75% of members are faith-based organizations), told USA Today.  

Leading these groups are Samaritan’s Purse (Franklin Graham) and the United Methodist Committee on Relief.  Massive amounts of equipment, trained personnel, and workers have been deployed to assist FEMA efforts.  Seventh Day Adventist properties have been helping governments warehousing relief supplies and become distribution centers. Convoy of Hope has set up feeding stations in affected communities, often at the request of FEMA.

In fact, without the free help of believers, the U.S. government would have great difficulty helping those in need.  “FEMA cannot do what it does so well without the cooperation of faith-based non-profit organizations and churches,” Rev. Jamie Johnson, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, told USA Today. “It’s a beautiful relationship between government and the private sector and it is something to behold.”

These caring responses are “reflecting the Lord Jesus to the needy world!” Not only should we pray for those in in need, but pray for and support those organizations who are being the practical hands of Christ in these places of crisis. 

 

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Isaiah 26-30 - Babylon
Note that the Lord Himself calls, beckons, even whistles for Babylon to come as the swift source of God’s punishment of Judah. Certainly the people, and even the prophets struggled with God’s choice of an even more wicked nation to punish His own people. Do you sometimes struggle with God’s sovereignty in His dealings in your life? Praise God that Jesus bore the cost of our forgiveness!

 

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Isaiah 5:11 & 22 - Sobering Thoughts
As mentioned above these two verses mention alcohol abuse specifically, once as an obsession, and later as a point of boasting. Are you familiar with the Bible’s teaching on alcohol use/abuse? What is your personal application of these teachings? How does Romans 14 help us to be discerning about food and drink? Using Isaiah 5 as a guide, is alcohol (or food) consumption in your life a point of either obsession or boasting? If so please share with a trusted brother or sister in Christ.

 

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Isaiah 5:8-25 - The “Woes”
The first two woes appear in chapter 3 and deal with rebellion and idolatry, while the 6 here in chapter 5 deal with materialism, hedonism, self-righteousness, indifference, pride, and injustice, not to mention two specific mentions of alcohol abuse. Suddenly this chapter doesn’t sound so ancient. Remember that these woes are to God’s people. Are there any of these that you need to address in your own life? How does atonement and forgiveness reconcile with expectations for holiness among God’s people? 

 

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Isaiah 5:1-7 - The Song of the Vineyard
In the first 4 verses the LORD clearly hurts for the rebellion of His people for whom He longs. The question He asks in verse 4 is obviously rhetorical, but verse 7 reminds us that He demands the highest of His beloved, (“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” - Matthew 5:48) What has the LORD done for you, and how has that motivated worship in your life?

 

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Isaiah 3:12b & 14.  This chapter is a sober warning to Christian leadership! Leaders must bring others into the presence (relationship) with God, to not be overbearing (or “lord it over them” as Paul says), and to steward their resources- giving care for the poor, as Isaiah will later say… How are we doing as a church? Where can we improve?

 

Haiti Update

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused huge damage on the continental United States.  Before hitting the Florida Keys, Irma spread her devastation throughout the Caribbean.  Fortunately, she veered northward before landing on the northern Haitian city of Cap Haitien.  “Cap,” as it is known, was spared from the most injurious winds and rain.  

Pastor Jephthe Lucien, who during the school year lives in Cap, wrote of his thanks for GBC’s prayer support during the storm: 

“In Acts 12, there is an account where Peter the Apostle was put to jail and about to be executed. The word of God tells us in verse 3-19 that the church never stopped praying. God did a miracle and even the people who were praying could not believe and understand what had happened when Peter knocked on the door. The reality is that when Christians are praying, God does incredible things. 

I wonder how many people, who were praying, really understand what the Lord just did for Haiti last night because of our prayers. Irma, a category five hurricane, was expected to hit northern Haiti . . . and we all watched the storms leaving the area. We just thank you for praying. We thank God for answering our prayers.”

On Thursday, September 21 through Monday, September 25, Brandon Barnes, Dave Humeston, and Andy Bonner travel to Haiti to prepare for the upcoming November trip.  Please be in prayer for them.  Their tentative schedule is:

Thursday--JFK to Port-au-Prince--purchase supplies
Friday--Buy medical tests for a lab at the JBM medical clinic in Pignon
        Prepare lumber for Wangouman, travel to Pignon
Saturday--Wangouman--organize for the pew building in November
    Visit the orphanage in Lacast
Sunday--Brandon and Andy speak in separate churches, Travel to PAP
Monday--PAP to JFK

 

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Isaiah 3:16-26.  Isaiah specifically addresses women in a chapter dealing with leadership and even in ancient cultures the role of women in leadership cultures is understood and recognized. What areas of temptation to sin does Isaiah bring out here that apply to women of all times?  What can I learn for my 21st century life from this challenging passage?

 

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Isaiah 3:10-11.  Although being chastised, Isaiah offered this encouragement to those who’ve been righteous, and another warning (woe) to the overtly wicked. Where do you need encouragement today? Have you been faithful in a situation, or group of people who have been steeped in sinful attitudes or behaviors? What about as believers within our culture? How does God’s role as judge free us to love even the wicked?

 

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Psalm 2 - Kiss the Son
Psalm 2 echoes these themes and introduces the Son as the hidden agent of God’s judgement of the arrogant, spoken of in Isaiah 2. As you head to church today, rejoice that we “kiss the Son” not simply “lest He be angry” as the Old Testament would have us, but because we know the magnitude of His sacrifice for us in His Cross, having the perspective of the New Testament. Indeed He is our refuge!

 

Politics and Missions: Haiti

GBC has an active ministry in Haiti through our partnership with the Jerusalem Baptist Ministries (JBM).  Jephthe and Mitou Lucien, and Ephraim and Nandy Lucien are people we support on a regular basis.  

Haiti is a democratic republic.  The current president, Jovenal Moise, was elected in November 2016 for a five-year term after a hotly contested and violent election in 2015 left an interim president at the helm.

The political history of the country is quite sordid. Haiti first declared its independence in 1804.  Since that time instability, influenced by foreign interference, has often been the state of existence.  

Recent history, highlighted by the brutal regimes of the Duvaliers, who ruled the country from 1957 to 1986, followed by the on and off presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, have left political life in a mess.  In addition, natural disasters, culminating in the horrific earthquake of 2010 that leveled 60% of the governmental buildings and killed 25% of the civil servants, only made matters worse.  The result is a country with inadequate infrastructure, often operating on political graft.

While the country is relatively open to the Gospel, the good news of the Savior is often overshadowed by the dark forces of superstition. So, both traditional religious beliefs and self-serving political conditions that leave people under-educated, malnourished, and sickly pull people away from the message of Jesus Christ.

GBC’s goal is to help our Haitian partners in the area of temporal support (water, medical care, housing, etc.) so that the leaders of JBM can be more effective ministers of the Gospel.

Pray that the government of Haiti will take dramatic steps to change its history of chaos.  Please pray that God will work mightily in Haiti in spite of the forces that pull people away from Him.