Monday, March 19th, 2018

Isaiah 21:1-10 - Attitude is Everything
We see here a response from Isaiah, (vs.3&4), that reminds us of chapters 15 &16, but here Isaiah is not weeping as he did for Moab, but he is aghast as it were. In this second and more severe oracle against Babylon, the Medo-Persian conquests is in view (vs.2a), and again the lesson for us is not to gloat when those we may dislike get “what’s coming to em”. At the same time God’s end time judgments are also in view, (see vs. 9b & Rev.18:2), and Isaiah is depicted as watching and waiting for this. How can we have a proper balance of awaiting the final justice of God (restoring the world) while not personally gloating when it comes?


Shoes That Don't Fit

We were in Pignon, Haiti.  A teen evangelism conference had just finished. I was asked to bring “a few” of the participants back home.  I ended up with 12 people stacked into a mid-sized SUV.  The final push, literally, was to stuff a leftover skinny guy in the front seat with me.  

Bumping along the road, Ephraim Lucien translated as I asked, “What did you learn at the conference?” I got a variety of non-answers, so I probed a bit deeper.  “What story would you use to tell someone about Jesus?”

My squished front-seat buddy, Odlins, a 12th grader, was silent for a while, and then said, “I’d say my life before Jesus was like wearing two different-sized shoes that didn’t fit.  My dad was devout in one religion and my mom was devout in another.  I had to find shoes of my own that fit.”  He continued telling me how a friend shared with him about Jesus and invited him to church.  After a while he committed his life to Christ and was baptized.  His new “Jesus” shoes fit.

Unfortunately, his joy was lessened when his father became upset over his new-found faith and refused to pay for his schooling.  So, he missed a year of school--all because he found the Savior.  He’s back in school now, but sees his desire to become a school teacher as a far reach.  “Parents in my country usually can’t afford paying for college education.  So, I’m not sure what to do.”

Odlins, like many of his peers, is a teen of great promise--and he loves Jesus.  His faith has been tested, and he’s persevered. I struggled because I couldn’t fix his problem, so humbly I had to turn him over to the One who can.  


Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Isaiah 18:3 - A Banner is raised, a Trumpet sounds…
Coming back to this one verse- God’s judgement of the nations is done from the mountains where all can see and hear. When Christ was “lifted up” on the hill of Golgotha, a standard of the judgment of God was raised that reverberated through all of human history! So too a trumpet will one day sound that all will hear when the final judgment of God is consummated once again on His mountain by the One who bore His judgment. Ponder these thoughts as you prepare to worship Him today!


Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Isaiah 20 - Naked
Indicative of the fact that Isaiah’s audience is not getting it, the Lord prompts Isaiah to dramatically demonstrate the effects of God’s impending judgments for effect. How willing are you to put yourself out there in your workplace or neighborhood to communicate the plan of salvation for all people? If God truly is going to restore the world, are we willing to proclaim that even if facing embarrassment or ridicule?


Friday, March 16th, 2018

Isaiah 19:16-25  - Egypt My People
One of the most majestic passages of the scope of God’s redemptive Grace is vs.24-25! Consider the gravity of the statement- “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” Truly God has redeemed the nations! Again, even those we think are beyond hope, are within the reach of God’s Grace in Christ. Who are you praying for this week? 


Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Isaiah 19:1-15 - The River
Just as in Exodus, God’s judgment of Egypt centers around her lifeblood of commerce and her economy (the Nile River), but also the center of her idolatry. Egypt continues to seek idols (vs.3) and her leaders are useless (vs.11-12). What is the center of your life monetarily (not the source, like your job, but your spending)—where does most of your money go? What is the center of your worship life? Where do you spend your time? What needs reordering? 


Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Isaiah 18 - You Will See It!
Some scholars speculate Ethiopia had been scheming to conspire with Egypt against God’s people, Judah, in secret. In stark contrast, the Lord declares that His judgements will be like a banner raised on a hill and a trumpet blown, that “you will see it”. How have we become secret about the judgments of God? How does preaching the Gospel in its fullness make God’s love and grace more profound?


Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

2 Corinthians 10:7 - Sorrow
There is some question as to whether the sorrow of Damascus detailed in Isaiah 17 is “godly sorrow” or is a forced “too little too late” scenario. The key (in my mind) is the little word “yet” in verse 6, which seems to indicate repentance and remnant. But what about in my life- is there any “Christian behavior” that I am fulfilling out of a sense of duty or obligation, as opposed to a passionate desire for holiness to the Lord? Have I experienced “godly sorrow” over my own sin? 


Monday, March 12th, 2018

Isaiah 17 (focus on vs.1-8) -  There Will Come A Day
Ephraim and Damascus had formed an alliance against God’s people Judah and so God would judge them. Verses 6-8 describe the imagery of the harvest of judgement which includes both the response of the people in turning to the LORD in verse 7, but also their turning from their idols in verse 8, a clear picture of repulsion against their previous sinful practices. Are you aligned with anything unholy, be it media consumption or relationships? What do you need to turn from today?


Wangouman Update

Most of you know that GBC has been working in the remote Haitian village of Wangouman for the past five years. Most of you are also aware that we’ve helped build a church and improved their access to potable water.  But, has it made a difference?  Has it been worth it?

Despite continuing challenges, the answer is “yes.”  It’s pretty obvious in three ways.

First, the community now has access to potable water.  The 75ft deep, hand-dug well continues to yield water.  Each morning and afternoon villagers line up to fill their water jugs.  One big step forward is the community’s efforts to fund future pump repairs.  The church secretary is now collecting 25 HTG (about $.50) each quarter to keep the well going.  This is a giant step toward self-sufficiency and a source of pride for the community.

Second, Christ is proclaimed, the church has seen dramatic growth, particularly since the construction of the benches in November.  In addition to internal growth, there is now a community about 2.5 hours away that is sending 70 people to worship weekly.  The walk is up over a mountain. And, people from Wangouman hike to this community to conduct mid-week services.  A “church plant” there is in the works.

Third, and probably the most important, the community has been encouraged by our presence and continued care. We’re still there, and we are appreciated.  In fact, their church community prays for GBC each week.  

Our mission is not finished.  The church needs repair on the gable ends.  And, it still needs to be painted.  Finally, one of the greatest needs is formal education.  For many kids, it just doesn’t exist and limits their future.

Thanks, GBC for your support and prayer.  It is making a difference.  


Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Isaiah 14:12-15 - Three Time Zones
We’ve acknowledged that Isaiah writes to the time just to follow his life, and that he also writes to the “last days” or end-times, but here in verses 12-15, he writes in reverse, chronicling the fall of Lucifer, the guardian cherub of God (see also Ezekiel 28), who says 5 times (I WILL) in his pride and the intention to exalt himself above God Almighty. The King of Babylon serves as a representation of our adversary- the Devil or Satan, further driving the idea that Isaiah is really dealing with God’s judgement against all rebellion in His mission to “restore the world”. The reminder is that God is completely Sovereign. How are you thankful for God’s ability to see, to know and to make right on a universal scale?


Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Isaiah 14:3-11, 29-30 - Taunting?
This vivid and graphic description of the downfall of the king of Babylon here reminds us that the end of evil is to be celebrated. “All the lands are at rest and peace; they break into singing”, Isaiah exults. Where specifically do you yearn for the end of evil? How will you celebrate? What is the difference between this and self-righteous gloating? (Isaiah 14:29-30)  


Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Isaiah 14:1-2 - United
As becomes typical in Isaiah, in the midst of judgment we see God remind His people of His overall plan of remnant, redemption, and return. We see all three of these things here in that Jacob- Judah and Israel- are mentioned as being reunited, but in addition the Gentiles are a part of this redeemed community and promise too! Who in your life would be an unexpected conversion? Will you commit to praying for their salvation? 


Monday, March 5th, 2018

Isaiah 13 - Infants
This prophecy is directed at Babylon, (which as we’ll see also represents the totality of man’s rebellion against God), and the Medes are mentioned specifically in this judgment. It is hard to miss the detail that their “infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes”, and later that, “…they will have no mercy on infants, nor will they look with compassion on children.” Looking at it from a slightly different perspective, what does a lack of value for infants and children say about a society? What can we learn about our own culture and time in not only our treatment of the unborn, but also the marginalized among us? Finally, what does a judgment that includes this level of gruesomeness say about Babylon?


Haiti Vision Team, March 11-18, 2018

This coming Saturday our next Haiti Vision Team will be heading off.  The team of ten will be starting at 2:30am for a morning flight from JFK to Port-au-Prince.

After getting into Port-au-Prince (PAP), the team will travel for about five hours to Pignon where they will start their week’s stay at the Zion Guest House on the Lucien compound.  

On Sunday morning, the team drives another 2.5 hours to the church in Wangouman for their harvest festival.  Celebrations like this one are always a high-spirited time at local churches.  People visit from all over the area to worship together, bringing their choirs for a time of singing, which often lasts for hours, and is followed by a harvest meal.  

Daily, from Monday through Friday, our group will split into two teams.  The medical team will conduct several mobile medical clinics in the surrounding villages.  The construction team will start on two projects at the Lacaste orphanage, Fils et Fille de Sion, Sons and Daughters of Zion.  

The first project at Lacaste will be to re-sheath a 64ft x 16ft building with treated T1-11 and install four jalousie windows in each of the three rooms.  From the original design, one window per room, the added windows will help with light and ventilation.

The second project tackles the creation of a water collection system to feed an empty 10,000 gallon underground cistern. A filled cistern will help the orphanage with daily hygiene needs and, during times of drought, can be a source for filtering water.

After the team drives to PAP on Saturday, their return flight is on Sunday afternoon.  Please remember that all Vision Teams deeply desire the fervent prayers of those who aren’t traveling.  Prayer warriors are needed.   


Sunday, March 4th, 2018

2 Corinthians 5:17-21
God, through Christ, reconciled us to himself. He made us a new creation, but He did not stop there. He made us the fragrance of Christ to the world and then committed to us the message of reconciliation.  Pray this morning that you would know and feel what it means to have been reconciled to God.  Pray that His Spirit, through your fragrance and your message, bring many people in your community to Life.