Isaiah 40:1-5 (NIV)

1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.  4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”  

Isaiah 40:1-2 (NIV)

1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.   

DEVOTION – Al Trucano (Nebraska)

Several months ago I began visiting our county jail to lead a Bible study with prisoners.  Many of these men had been separated several weeks from their families, their jobs, and any visible means of support.  I imagine they felt hopeless.

The prophet Isaiah wrote the Bible passage above, offering hope to hopeless situation.  At our prison Bible study, I read this scripture, directed a brief discussion, and closed with prayer.  I remember looking into each face.  Together we felt the presence of God’s Spirit in that tiny place.  And we felt something else- the healing that came when we trusted God’s word.  God is wherever we are, locked up or free.  God can speak to hearts that are open and receptive or those that are closed and full of anger.

I began to see a change in their lives each time we met to study together.  When we trust in the Lord, we will receive a blessing.  Comfort comes to open hearts.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Comfort comes from knowing God, who is always near.

PRAYER: Be with us, dear Lord, even when we feel closed in.  Give us comfort when we feel alone and afraid.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: PRISONERS

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