Daily Archives: August 19, 2018

August 19: The Cost of Comfort

Isaiah 39:1–40:31; Luke 14:1–35; Job 9:12–19

“ ‘[You all] comfort; comfort my people,’ says your God. ‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her, that her compulsory labor is fulfilled, that her sin is paid for, that she has received from the hand of Yahweh double for all her sins’ ” (Isa 40:1–2). God directed this command at the prophet and a group of people—possibly all those remaining in Israel. They were to speak comfort to the exiled Israelites, to call them home again.

Sometimes we feel the need for this kind of comfort. Like the prodigal son in the pig sty, we feel exiled and alone; we have paid our sentence, and we want to go home. We’re not even asking for joy—just comfort. Despite their sins, God responded to the Israelites. But God did not merely restore them to their former state. He sent the Suffering Servant, prophesied later in Isaiah (Isa 52:13–53:12), to die on behalf of the people, to pay for the sins that resulted in exile in the first place. God does this so that all our sins—past, present and future—might be paid once and for all.

But God requires much from those to whom much has been given, which is all of us. The great news of the Suffering Servant, Jesus, is not only that we find comfort and peace in Him, but also that we are empowered to act—free from sin. As Jesus’ disciples, we must live the way that He has called us to live, being willing to make the sacrifices that discipleship requires (e.g., Luke 14:25–35).

The grace we receive from God is free, but a great price was paid for it. We must live fully in it. We must embrace it with our entire being. For when we do, we become not just a comforted people, but a restored people, instruments of God’s work in the world.

What is God calling you to sacrifice? How can you take joy in the comfort He has brought you, and then show others that joy?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

August 19 The Generosity of Love

“[Love] does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:5).

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Love transforms selfish people into self-sacrificing people.

From the time of Adam and Eve, replacing God with self has been at the root of all sin. Our first parents had only one restriction: “From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But Eve believed the serpent’s lie that God was trying to keep her from realizing her full potential (Gen. 3:5). She ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to Adam, and together they plunged the human race into sin and death.

Christ changed all that when He came, not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). Unlike Adam and Eve, He didn’t seek His own comfort or gain but made whatever sacrifices were necessary to redeem lost sinners.

It is reported that the inscription on a tombstone in a small English cemetery reads, “Here lies a miser who lived for himself, / And cared for nothing but gathering wealth. / Now where he is or how he fares, / Nobody knows and nobody cares.”

How tragic to spend your entire life enslaved to your selfishness! In contrast, a tombstone in the courtyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London reads, “Sacred to the memory of General Charles George Gordon, who at all times and everywhere gave his strength to the weak, his substance to the poor, his sympathy to the suffering, his heart to God.” The first tombstone testifies to the futility of greed and selfishness, the second to the glory of generosity and self-sacrifice.

Christ is the perfect example of self-sacrifice. If you love Him, you should be characterized by the same quality. Then others will see your genuineness and commitment to them and will by God’s grace be drawn to your Lord.

What epitaph might your family and friends write about you? I pray it is one that glorifies God for the selfless love He demonstrated through you.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for those who have made significant sacrifices toward your spiritual growth. Seek to imitate their love.

For Further Study: List the fifteen qualities of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4–7, then determine how self-sacrifice relates to each one.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 244). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Twitter CEO admits platform is left leaning after complaints tech giant gags conservative voices

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey admitted this that the social media powerhouse is “left-leaning” – but he stressed that the company operates without bias after complaints from conservatives that right-wing accounts are being silenced.

Source: Twitter CEO admits platform is left leaning after complaints tech giant gags conservative voices

Trump calls Mueller probe ‘McCarthyism at its worst’ lashing out at ‘fake’ New York Times

US President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to launch another scathing attack on the New York Times and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, calling it “McCarthyism at its WORST.”

Source: Trump calls Mueller probe ‘McCarthyism at its worst’ lashing out at ‘fake’ New York Times

AUGUST 19 GOD FAR AWAY

Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?…Do not I fill heaven and earth?

Jeremiah 23:23–24

I remember the words of a little song I heard when I was young about God’s presence “Far Away Beyond the Starlit Sky.”

That is really where mankind has placed God. He is far away, out there somewhere beyond the starlit sky.

As men and women in this world, we are prone to think of God’s presence in terms of space, as we understand it. We think in terms of light-years or meters or miles or fathoms. We think of God as dwelling in space—which He does not! God is not contained in heaven and earth as some seem to think.

God in His person and His attributes fills heaven and earth exactly as the ocean fills a bucket which is submerged in the ocean depths.

Why, then, does man say, “God is far, far away!”? Because of the complete dissimilarity between the nature of the holy God and the perverted nature of sinful man!

Heavenly Father, I praise You that You are not distant and detached from Your creation. Thank You that we can know You through Your Word and through prayer and fellowship with You.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.