Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.
Meet Isaiah, Prophet & Poet
By Gordon Van Wylen on March 1, 2022
Read: Isaiah 1:1-2
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. (Isaiah 1:2)
When invited to write this month’s reflections, I decided this was an opportune time to undertake a long-held goal, a personal study of Isaiah, and share the fruit of that study with you. I hope that, as I did, you will enjoy Isaiah’s beautiful poetry and gain rewarding insights into Isaiah’s courage and ability to address the spiritual and political issues of his day, insights that continue to be relevant for us today. Isaiah celebrates God’s love and grace for the nation of Judah and people of all nations through a coming Messiah, a celebration that continues in the life of every believer today.
Verse 1 states the essential character of this book, the vision that Isaiah saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem during the reigns of four kings: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, from 740 to 700 B.C. approximately. Over the next few days, we will look at this historical context for Isaiah.
However, I’d like to pause at verse 2 today, with its wonderful incentive to read the message of Isaiah. The reason to read Isaiah is because the LORD has spoken, not with words of comfort and celebration, but of warning. The people of Israel, God’s children, have rebelled, and God, through Isaiah, is calling them back. As you read this month, I encourage you to hear this warning and this call too. —Gordon Van Wylen
As you pray, ask God to help you hear his message for you this month.
Devotions for Lent
By Christy Prins on March 1, 2022
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Joel 2:12-13
Next week, Christians around the world will be celebrating Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Lent takes place over the forty days before Easter (not counting Sundays), and is traditionally a time of repentance and preparation for the celebration of Easter.
The goal of the Lenten season is to draw closer to God. There are many traditions surrounding this season, but whatever you do, it’s great to start by reflecting on your life, and the parts of your life where you feel disconnected from God and his people.
For example, you may have heard about people giving something up for Lent—often things that bring pleasure, like sweets, alcohol or tv. When I was in college, I tried to give up sugar for Lent. It didn’t last long (I have an epic sweet tooth), and one of the reasons I did it is that I was hoping to lose a few pounds. It didn’t have much to do with my relationship to Jesus!
If you plan to give up something, I encourage you to take a different approach. If you are giving something up, do it as an intentional act of worship and sacrifice to God. This year, I am going to try to put away my phone when I get up in the morning, and take that time for intentional prayer. We will see if it is more meaningful than my ineffective sugar fast!
Giving something up is just one way to observe Lent. Maybe, like me, you hope to add something in to your life—a time of prayer, or Bible reading. Some believers take these forty days to read through one of the gospels. Another way of observing Lent is through giving—time, money, or talents. Again, your goal should be to see this an act of worship and sacrifice, not just as a good thing to do.
If you’d like to learn more about Lent, CRU has a great guide here.
If you are looking for a daily plan to reading through the gospels, Bible Gateway has an easy to use guide here.
And of course, the Words of Hope Daily Devotional is always here to support you in your daily devotional time. Our Easter series will start on April 1, with Signs and Wonders: Jesus in the Book of John, written by our President, Rev. Jon Opgenorth.
However you observe this season, we hope that Lent will be a time of growing relationship to Christ.