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Daily Worship

Bible readings and resources for your time with God




Isaiah 30:15-22



Good News in Repentance

by Pr. Dave Mann

What is the good news when God calls us to repentance? Is a call to confess our sins bad news? Well, when it is done poorly, it is bad news. If we fear that punishment awaits us on the other side of repentance, we will likely continue to deny that we need to repent. But the truth is that our loving, heavenly Father is the one who has issued the call to repent and that he is already running across the field to embrace us (Luke 15:20). When we believe that God is good, we will sense the good news of forgiveness even before we form the first word of our confession of sins.

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,

but you would have none of it." (Isa. 30:15)

Even the agonies of life are signs of God’s goodness to us – "the bread of adversity and the water of affliction." Sometimes the Lord needs to get our attention through difficult circumstances. As C.S. Lewis writes in The Problem of Pain: “But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Our man-made self-help strategies will not work in the end. Isaiah uses the imagery of swift horses that the people of his day would like to imagine being effective to get themselves away from problems (30:16-17). We have our medications, our money, our pleasures, our portfolios, our “ten steps to wholeness” – none of which will succeed in giving us peace and hope if we use them to sidestep the call to repentance.

The Lord longs/yearns/deeply desires to show his mercy. God desires to forgive us more than we desire to be forgiven.

"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" (Isa. 30:18)

Nothing besides God himself is worthy of our confidence. All others are idols. Trust in God alone. He promises to be our guide step by step in the journey.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (30:21)


Heavenly Father, even your calls to repentance are full of grace and mercy. Thank you for announcing the gospel even in the midst of the reminder that we are sinners and need to confess. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Isaiah 40:1-5



Uncomfortable Comfort

by Elaine Pierce

The first verse of Isaiah 40 is such an encouraging one, isn't it? Who doesn't want comfort? And yet, if we look at the situation the people find themselves in, we might be forgiven for wondering why Isaiah urges comfort. The Israelites have been defeated, torn from their homes, their faith, and their way of life. Comfort does not seem to be part of the picture, does it? In 587 BC, Jerusalem is sacked and its people deported by Babylon, the new world power.

The comfort Isaiah is talking about is certainly not a material, earthly one. There are three voices that bring words of this comfort in verses 3, 6, and 9 (yes, we're going to read a few verses past today's assigned scripture).

V 3: A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord" (New Testament readers will recognize that this is the scripture John the Baptist quoted).

V 6: -8 A voice says "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field...the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."

V 9: You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain...say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!"

Today marks the start of Advent, as we prepare for Jesus' birth. In so many parts of our world, comfort is hard to find. Wars are raging. People are hungry. Families are fractured. Tempers flare over every misunderstanding. Anger erupts and egos clash. Where is this comfort? We know where it is, my friends. Listen again as Isaiah reminds his defeated, downcast fellow Jews that "the grass withers, the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." (v. 8)

Yes, we will face trial and heartbreak. God knows this. His comfort will not guarantee you an easy life. In fact, that's not what he is offering. But he is offering eternal life to all who accept this freely offered gift. He is offering good tidings of great joy: Here is our God!


Thank you, Lord, for giving me a comfort that is everlasting. It does not depend on what I do, on my income, or on my accomplishments. Help me as I prepare for your son's birth to bask in the comfort that only you can give. Amen.

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Romans 12:6-18



Humbly Gifted

by Mary Alice McGinnis

If you were to ask for the greatest gift you could be given, what would it be? How would you identify the deepest longing of your heart?

  • Most of us think immediately of the basics of provision--more wealth, more possessions, more material things.

  • Then it may progress to the desire for protection, feeling safe in a crazy world. A longing for peace and security.

  • Digging deeper, we may discover that what we really want is a sense of belonging. Who are my people? Where do I fit in?

  • Going deeper still, we may see that we have a deep desire to be unique, finding confidence in who we are as an individual.

  • Finally, we may find ourselves longing for impact, purpose, and significance. Feeling like we are playing an irreplaceable role in something bigger than ourselves.

Psychologists say these are basic human needs. Often, we spend our lives in endless pursuit of these deep desires, the highest being the search for significance.

Today’s reading tells us something about gifts.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

God is the master designer of all human giftedness, molded and shaped together to bring Him glory in His master plan. These gifts are precisely that, gifts. Unearned, unmerited, undeserved. How would it change our view of life if we really embraced this truth? If we really took to heart that God willingly lavished each of us with our own special uniqueness, to be used by Him in His bigger picture?

There would be no need for striving to prove ourselves

There would be no more need for us to compare ourselves to others

There would be no need to exalt ourselves over others in order to feel more significance

There would be no need to shrink back in fear of failure

Grounding ourselves in the lavish under-served gift of grace given to us, instead of striving after self-seeking significance, we can be supernaturally empowered to humbly serve one another.

Paul uses these phrases to describe this counter-intuitive use of gifts. We are gifted so that we can humbly serve.

Love will be sincere - not with a hidden agenda or ego-seeking significance.

Honor one another above yourself - instead of tearing others down to feel more important.

Be joyful in hope - instead of complaining. My hope is in God, not myself.

Patient in affliction - instead of feeling discouraged. God has a plan.

Faithful in prayer - instead of relying on self. God is the source of all I need.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need - instead of fearing I won’t have enough.

Practice hospitality - instead of closing off my hearts and home in self-protection - to those I feel are less than.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse - God’s under-served grace is bigger than what others can do or say to me.

Rejoice with those who rejoice - instead of begrudging other people’s joy, fearing others are more favored.

Mourn with those who mourn - instead of judging other’s pain.

Recognizing our giftedness is exceedingly unmerited keeps our pride in check. Pride is self-focused—either in self-doubt, or in self-sufficiency.

We have received God’s undeserved gift of His favor because of Jesus' death on the cross. He has invited us into being a part of His family, His Kingdom.

He has an irreplaceable role for each of us to play. It’s not about us. And through His Holy Spirit, in humility we are enabled to “never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” And “as far as it depends on us, to live in harmony with one another.”


Thank You Lord, for the gift of Your grace, through Jesus Christ. Remind us Lord, that You have uniquely gifted us and given us an irreplaceable role. We have done nothing to deserve it. We have nothing to prove. Forgive us our self-seeking, egocentric pursuits for significance. Thank You for inviting each of us into Your Master plan You designed before the beginning of time, to humbly serve others and invite them into Your abundant grace and belonging in the Family of God.

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