Friday, April 20th, 2018

Isaiah 37:14-20 - Hezekiah’s Prayer
Hezekiah’s prayer is simple, humble, brilliant. It contains four main elements. 1. Ascription- You are God, You are Supreme. 2. Entreaty- Your Name has been insulted, mocked, your Glory put beneath that of Sennacherib. 3. Acknowledgment- Assyria has in fact been powerful, unstoppable and by human means, this looks dire. 4. Supplication- Deliver Your people for the sake of Your Glory- your renown. How can Hezekiah’s prayer serve as a model for your prayer life when facing trials and challenges? 

 

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Isaiah 37:1-13 - Threats
Hezekiah shines here as a model of how to respond to a crisis facing his people. He does two important things: He goes into the presence of the Lord and seeks the counsel of the Prophet, Gods’s man. How do you respond when faced with an attack on your leadership, your people, your sphere of responsibility? Note that Isaiah need not represent a priest or pastor here, but simply a godly man or woman in your life, and of course he can picture Christ Himself, our Mediator!

 

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Isaiah 36:11-22 - Impending Doom
The Assyrian commander uses warfare psychology to break the will of the people, but he makes two grievous assumptions. He assumes that Israel’s “god” is a different god than Judah’s (most would have believed in territorial/tribal deities) and he assumes the people will not obey the king. While perhaps a slight over-spiritualization, it is nonetheless fair to apply the idea of both remembering the universal Sovereignty of the God we serve, as well as the importance of the unity of God’s people when our foundations of faith are mocked. (See 2 Peter 3:4–9). Where is your trust when your faith is mocked?

 

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Isaiah 36:1-10 - Half Truths
Sennacherib uses half truths - Judah was in fact foolish to trust in Egypt (30:2,31:1), God has made that clear; Assyria was an instrument of the divine chastening of God’s people (10:5) to try to convince the people of Jerusalem to capitulate to Assyrian demands and forsake the trust in the LORD. How is this tactic typical of how the Evil One operates? See Gen.3, “Did God really say?” How does the destruction of the surrounding villages (36:1–2) make this threat more significant for the people of Jerusalem? Where have you felt spiritual attack this week, this month? 

 

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Isaiah 36:36-37 - Miracle of Miracles!
It is because of these chapters that skeptics and liberal scholars alike attribute these chapters to a later author other than Isaiah as they cannot believe that God, through Isaiah, could predict what happens here. The lessons for us, from all that we’ve studied, about trusting God above all else, are now exemplified in the life of Hezekiah, giving us a model for how to pray, and reminding us of the power of God on behalf of His Beloved (37:33).

 

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Isaiah 33 - Re-centering
Chapter 33 begins with a promise - when the divine purposes of the oppressing nations who’ve functioned as the rod of God’s correction have been accomplished, they will then be judged themselves. Verses 20–24 foreshadows a heavenly state when the LORD reigns, sin is forgiven, and even the sickly are mighty in relative terms. The center of this picture of heaven is the LORD on His throne: For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us. As we gather for worship today, let’s praise Him alone - who is our Savior!

 

GBC Supported Missionaries and Ministries

--Rick and Chelsea Conrad, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Cameroon, Africa.  Rick is a database programmer and language software developer.

--Michael and Jillian Wills, Africa Inland Mission, Rift Valley Academy, Kijabe, Kenya.  Michael is a science teacher and Jillian is an active ministry partner.

--Mark and Carolyn Kinzer, AIM, Rift Valley Academy.  Carolyn teaches; Mark is the superintendent of RVA.

--Steve and Mary Hawthorne, Serving In Missions, Potosi, Bolivia.  Medical missionaries, teachers, and evangelists.

--James and Lindsay Taber, Serge.  The Tabers are on special assignment in the US.

--Ken and Marcia Therrien, WorkcampNE, Litchfield, NH.  Ministering to GBC’s summer teen Vision Team and reaching the underserved in the Northeast.

--Russ and Betty White, World Gospel Mission, Tenwek Hospital, Bomet, Kenya.  Russ is a surgeon, program director, and teacher.

--Growing Christian Ministries, Bradford, RI.  GBC’s Ron Reid and Margie Reid oversee the world-wide teaching ministry founded by Dr. David Reid.

--Eric and Deb Riedy, Family Life, Little Rock, Arkansas.  FamilyLife works to develop godly marriages and families.

--Dave and Diane Hultgren, His Mansion, Hillsborough, NH.  A Christ-centered healing community in Hillsborough, NH.

--Eugene Chee, Good News Church, Houck, Arizona. Pastor of a Navajo church and host of our summer teen Vision Team.  

--Jephthe and Mitou Lucien, Jerusalem Baptist Missions, Pignon, Haiti.  Jephthe and Mitou guide the ministry of over 120 churches in Haiti. 

--JBM Clinic, JBM, Pignon, Haiti.  Supporting the doctor and nurse at JBM’s Pignon Medical Clinic.

--Fils and Filles de Sion Orphanage, JBM, Lacaste, Haiti.  The ministry site for orphans and under-supported children connected to all the JBM churches. 

--Ephraim Lucien, Hinche, Haiti.  Guide, interpreter, and logistics expert during our trips to Haiti. 

Please uplift all of these friends in prayer.

 

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

Isaiah 32 - Leaders and Ladies
This is not the first time that Isaiah has addressed the women of the city directly; he also did so in chapter 3, even more harshly. Here Isaiah calls out the very thing that women yearn for - security and stability (see Gen.3) -  and highlights the fact that their security is misplaced. The message for all of us, men and women alike, is that in the Gospel we see the LORD act this out in full finality; in the Gospel we gain the means (power) to obey and to not “go back” to the “Egypt” of our past enslavement to sin; and in the Gospel we find true security and blessing (vs.18–20).

 

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Isaiah 31 - Rely and Return
God’s persistent punishment is always connected to a promise of restoration for those who will but just repent, return to their God, and rely on Him. We need to be reminded of our shameful propensity to return to fleshly and sinful “coping mechanisms” to process stress, and life in general. While this chapter is a restatement of the previous, we can use it to affirm the words of the Psalmist- Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life,(143:8).

 

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Isaiah 30 - Ever Over Egypt?!
Clearly in these verses God is more broken and beside Himself with the willful stubbornness of His people’s self-righteousness and reliance on every other human and earthly solution possible. We ought to remember that God had miraculously and powerfully delivered Israel from Egypt just a few centuries prior, and now under a threat, Israel sought refuge in Egypt instead of in Him. Have you sought refuge in an “Egypt” from your past? A former bad habit, a world crutch? Put your trust in Him alone!

 

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Isaiah 28 - Insecure Security
This chapter is a warning against a complacent people pursuing a life of partying and pleasure, who’s attitudes toward God, death, and judgment are rooted in their man-made ‘securities’. Clearly this is a word to primarily the leaders (vs.7–14). These are those who have made unholy alliances and reassured the people that everything will be fine. What “unholy alliances” or smug attitudes do people have today toward God, toward life, and death? Do you possess any of these attitudes?

 

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Isaiah 28 - Insecure Security
This chapter is a warning against a complacent people pursuing a life of partying and pleasure, who’s attitudes toward God, death, and judgment are rooted in their man-made ‘securities’. Clearly this is a word to primarily the leaders (vs.7–14). These are those who have made unholy alliances and reassured the people that everything will be fine. What “unholy alliances” or smug attitudes do people have today toward God, toward life, and death? Do you possess any of these attitudes?

 

Water and Golf

For most of us, water is an easy find.  We simply walk to the nearest faucet and pour clear potable water into our cup.  When we want to wash our clothes, shower our bodies, or cook our food, we just push a button or twist a handle--and water pours freely.

But, access to water is not universal.  Various organizations like the World Health Organization and UNICEF tell the story in statistics.  844 million people live without access to safe water.  2.3 billion people live without access to improved sanitation.  266 million hours are spent by women and children daily finding a place to get water.  Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.  1 million people are killed by water, sanitation, and hygiene-related disease each year. The 3rd leading cause of child death is diarrhea.  (Taken from Water.org.)  

That “big” picture is played out in individuals.  It’s the child lugging the huge bucket for miles to get water.  It’s the mother holding her sick and crying child. And, the problem is not just temporal.  Thirst, sickness, and hunger are gnawing, making it a challenge for anyone to focus on God.  It’s hard to see God’s mercy when your body--or your child’s body-- is being ravaged by malaria or typhoid. 

GBC has been working in Haiti for the past six years to help with this need.  Our “water fund” honors Mike Giannattasio, a former elder and passionate advocate for the underserved, particularly in the area of potable water.  From the fund, we have dug wells, distributed water filters, placed pumps, and provided sanitation training for hundreds of people. The Mike G Living Water golf tournament raised $6,000 for the fund last year.  It’s on July 16th this year.  Mark your calendar.

 

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Isaiah 27 Blessing
A sweeping literary arch of God’s love, deliverance, punishment, longing, and final redemption of His people. In this chapter we see the heart of God, which is reminiscent very much of the heart of a parent, moving sovereignly through these modes of “response”, to His people, and on behalf of them as well. He is protective (vs.1), tender (vs.2&3), desirous (vs.4&5), reassuring (vs.7-9), exasperated (vs.10-11), and finally, resolved (vs.12-13). How have you seen these “modes” of the heart of God in your life? In what “mode” would you say your relationship with the Lord is today?

 

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

Isaiah 26:12-21 - Birth to Wind
It is the Lord’s work that is fruitful, and ours by contrast is empty (illustrated in verses 17-18). God’s work is the only legitimate work of redemption and regeneration. For all of Judah’s (and our) effort and religion, and even abuse endured or punishment suffered, they (and we) could not enact one person’s deliverance or redemption. But, vs.19 says,“Your dead will live, their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy!” Praise God for the promise of new life in Christ!

 

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Isaiah 26:1-11 - Trust
Isaiah 26 opens with an affirmation of trust in the Lord for all things, for the strength of cities and for the justice of judgments against the wicked. It is a self-reminder to God’s people that “God’s got this” whether things are going well, or even if “the enemy is at the gate”. How does this reminder bring comfort to the current circumstances of your life?

 

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Isaiah 25:6-12 - On this Mountain
In the immediate “this mountain” alludes to Zion, Jerusalem, the place where God will deliver and provide blessing (see ch.36-39), and in the distant future the New Jerusalem and the future Kingdom of God. Where else do you see heaven likened to “God’s Mountain” in Scripture? (Hint: all over the place!) What is the “sheet that covers all nations”? How does this chapter cause you to be thankful for the Grace and forgiveness of God?

 

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Isaiah 25:1-5 - Sun-shade
A counter-point of blessing to chapter 24, vs.5 presents a vivid imagery of the relief of God’s judgment turned blessing. Have you ever been outdoors in the heat of summer and seen a cloud or group of clouds drifting toward the sun and almost tried to will them to cover the sun, to provide some relief? This is the imagery Isaiah is communicating. Meditate on this picture. How does it magnify the severity of God’s judgment? How does it enhance the image of the Grace of His forgiveness?

 

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Isaiah 24:14-23 - Sin’s Effects
Isaiah, as is becoming consistently evident of him, is distraught over what even the treacherous will endure in judgment (vs.16-17). How can we remain grace-driven toward even those who clearly do wrong? The planet and the cosmos are seemingly entangled in the judgments of God against His people. Why does creation share consequence for man’s sin? (See Gen.3 & Rom.8)