Choices-when you Know you’re wrong! Can you live with it?

What do you do when you know you’ve done wrong? You can deny it. You can wallow and continue doing wrong. You can stop doing wrong and turn over a new leaf, so to speak, on you own. OR You can stop, repent- be sorry for your wrong doing- and turn from doing what is wrong, seeking God’s help to go in a new way away. In Isaiah 57, God is confronting the people of Israel through the prophet Isaiah. In verses 1-13, Isaiah points out their sins towards God. They were worshiping other gods as they made offerings to stone idols, put up pagan symbols in their homes, and burned incense to the wicked god Molech. God questions the Isarelites and asks, who will you turn to when you are in trouble? Your collection of idols will not answer and no help will be found in them. God ends this confrontation with challenge and hope. Isaiah 57:11-13 “Are you afraid of these idols?
    Do they terrify you?
Is that why you have lied to me
    and forgotten me and my words?
Is it because of my long silence
    that you no longer fear me?
12 Now I will expose your so-called good deeds.
    None of them will help you.
13 Let’s see if your idols can save you
    when you cry to them for help.
Why, a puff of wind can knock them down!
    If you just breathe on them, they fall over!
But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land
    and possess my holy mountain.”

What are you doing now or have done in the past that God is confronting you about it? Where are you putting your hope and trust? Are you placing your hope in man-made things or people instead of God? God says the idols you so hopefully worship and put your trust in can be knocked over by the wind, they will not answer you or support you when you ask for help. God alone promises help and restoration with an inheritance!

I love God’s promise in Isaiah 57:15 “The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,    the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
    with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
    and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”
God says He dwells with the one who is contrite in spirit and humble. Contrite is an old-fashioned word that means one who shows sincere remorse, and has a sense of guilt and deisres atonement. God seeks those who have a repentant heart and desire to turn to Him for help. He promises restoration and revived courage to live rightly. In verse 19 He promises peace, “I will comfort those who mourn,
19     bringing words of praise to their lips.
May they have abundant peace, both near and far,”
    says the Lord, who heals them.”

Restoration, peace and healing are to be found with God! Praise God! In Him we will find hope and forgiveness. If we do not make the choice to come to Him with a contrite and humble heart, verse 20-21 tell of the consequences that await us. “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea,
    which is never still
    but continually churns up mud and dirt.
21 There is no peace for the wicked,”
    says my God.

Again, I ask, what do you do when you know you’ve done wrong? The Isarelites who turned back to God and recieved His forgiveness that was filled with grace, mercy and hope. Those who did not turn back to God were rejected and found no peace. Consider the power of repentance and the cost of being unrepentant. Which will you choose?


Choices- Benefits or Consequences. You Choose!

Isaiah 56 gives us a picture of what God desires and the benefits of following Him. It also shows the plight of the ungodly and the consequences of their choices.

Isaiah 56:1-8 starts out with God’s admonistion to do what is right, be just, avoid evil and follow God’s commands. The command example is keeping the Sabbath. God promises rescue for His followers and this is provided through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

This is what the Lord says: “Be just and fair to all.
    Do what is right and good,
for I am coming soon to rescue you
    and to display my righteousness among you.
Blessed are all those
    who are careful to do this.
Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest
    and keep themselves from doing wrong.

God goes on to say that foreigners should not be afraid of exclusion, 3, and if they bind themselves to God in service, worship and love, He will bring them into His house. His house will be a house of prayer for all nations, 6-8.

“Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord say,
    ‘The Lord will never let me be part of his people.’
“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord,
    who serve him and love his name,
who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest,
    and who hold fast to my covenant.
I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem
    and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer.
I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
For the Sovereign Lord,
    who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says:

I will bring others, too,
    besides my people Israel.”

Even the eunuchs, those who are symbolically cut off from God’s house, need not worry as they wll be given His everlasting name by choosing Him and holding fast to His Word.,4-5.

For this is what the Lord says:
I will bless those eunuchs
    who keep my Sabbath days holy
and who choose to do what pleases me
    and commit their lives to me.
I will give them—within the walls of my house—
    a memorial and a name
    far greater than sons and daughters could give.
For the name I give them is an everlasting one.
    It will never disappear!

These ancient words are comforting to us today as no matter what our situation is, God will be there for us. Whether we are in His family already, are outsiders- unbelievers as were the Gentiles, or if we think we are totally isolated from God and His family. God promises to rescues us with benefits! We need to trust in Him, walk in the light of His Word and seek to serve Him. This is God’s remedy for our lostness and is filled with hopefulness and promise.

The remainder of Chapter 56 speaks of the plight of the unrepentant who seek the world and are blinded by its allure. They seemingly love to sleep and dream, lack understanding and seek their own gain. God also warns the one who leads others down that pathway. Beware of ungodly leaders- check their motives and their hearts. Sounds like the world around us today where people live with the illusion that tomorrow will be like today or even better as they party through life on their own. They seek to live life in the moment and don’t consider the eternal consequences.

Isaiah 56:9-12 Come, wild animals of the field!
    Come, wild animals of the forest!
    Come and devour my people!
10 For the leaders of my people—
    the Lord’s watchmen, his shepherds—
    are blind and ignorant.
They are like silent watchdogs
    that give no warning when danger comes.
They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming.
11     Like greedy dogs, they are never satisfied.
They are ignorant shepherds,
    all following their own path
    and intent on personal gain.
12 “Come,” they say, “let’s get some wine and have a party.
    Let’s all get drunk.
Then tomorrow we’ll do it again
    and have an even bigger party!”

Which sounds better to you? Following and serving God, being cared for by Him now and throughout eternity or going it alone? The choice is yours. Seek Him as the benefits far outway the consequences.


A Great Promise, Plus more…

After a bit of a hiatus from my blogging during Lent, I am looking forward to continuing and finishing the book of Isaiah. The passage for today is Isaiah 55:10-13. God has been telling the Isaralites, who will be exiled to Babylon, that their days there will end and that they again will florish.

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer

    and bread for the hungry. The seasons will come and go replenishing the earth and providing fruit. It is like God is telling them- things will return to normal and go on as before your exile. You will live, enjoy the land and florish- just like I planned. Like my land and seasons God continues in verse 11, my Word will be sent out and will always produce fruit! It will do exactly that which God desires it to do among men.

11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
This is an amazing promise we can claim in our lives. We can trust God to produce results from giving out His Word. We don’t have to worry about where it is going or to whom, our job is to give it out. I claimed this verse for my first book, Fearless Living. I can trust God to fulfill His promise and use His Word in the lives of men. Praise God!

12 You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
13 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”
Isaiah’s words of prophecy were to be like a balm to the exiled Jews. They were given hope and reassurance that God’s love and power will remain and bring forth good things for them again.

Where do you need that hope today? Are you thinking things are futile and the cycle you are caught in is endless? The Jews must have thought that too, but God gave them hope by looking at the seasons and reassuring them fullness of life would return. Look around and see where God is sending encouragement into your life. Are you concerned about ministy and where you are giving out God’s Word? Be encouraged and don’t fret over the who and where, just trust God to bring the harvest when the Word is given out. He is a Promise-Keeping God! Are you looking for times of joy and restoration? Look to Jesus as He alone can and will restore us. Pray for restoration and pray for the faith and restoration of other Christians as Peter asked in 1 Peter 5:5-9 “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” Pray, pray, pray.

In accordance with Isaiah 55:11-13: live with and in hope, continue giving out God’s Word and pray for restoration for the areas of weakness in your own life and in the lives of others.


Seeking God is the Answer

In Chapter 55 of Isaiah the exiled Jews are encouraged to seek God for nourishment both physically and spirtually. Isaiah 55:1-5 lays out the invitaiton to come.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”

God calls to all who are thirsty as Jesus did to the woman at the well in John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” God is the source of spirtual waters that will quench eternally. God also encouraged them to come and buy wine and milk without money. God is desiring to give good things as Jesus said in John 6:35 “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” God also encourages them in verse 3 to come and listen to receive life. Romans 10;17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Christ established the New Covenant between God and man. All nations will one day know, that God is the Holy One and God brings restoration. Through Christ we can know God, 2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

After these encouraging words of what believers had to look forward to, God gives verses to focus and ground us for the times ahead. Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

The time is NOW to seek the Lord. He promises to be near and hear us. Turn to Him and walk in His righteouness. God promises mercy and forgiveness! Christ has it all for us if we seek Him.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God continues and explains that with our finite minds and all the intelligence God has bestowed upon us, we will still not be able to totally comprehend all that God is and does. He is incomprehensible. The way God thinks and acts is not like us as His ways are higher and more perfect than anything we can conceive. Even though that is true, it does not mean we cannot know God and commune with Him. He desires as realtionship with us and that is why He sent Jesus. Luke 19:10  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Consider the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” God is definietly higher in all ways, yet He sent Christ to reconcile us to Himself. God loves us!

So, go back to verse 6 and 7 and pursue and claim His truth. Seek God and know that He will and can be found!


Unshakable with God!

After telling us to not be afraid in Isaiah 54:4-5, the Lord explains the brief punishment the Israelites will suffer. It may have seemed to them that God was abandoning or turning His back on them. Isaiah 54:7-9

“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with great compassion I will take you back.
In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while.
    But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord, your Redeemer. “Just as I swore in the time of Noah
    that I would never again let a flood cover the earth,
so now I swear
    that I will never again be angry and punish you.

It may seem to you too, that you are being abandoned, and are not loved and cared for by God. But God promises that He loves us with an everlasting love. He makes promises to us that He alone can and will keep. God keeps all of His promises! See how God concludes this conversation in verse 10.

“For the mountains may move
    and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
    My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
    says the Lord, who has mercy on you.”

God promises no matter how things appear His faithful love remains placed upon us. His word and His new covenant through Jesus will not be broken. He always has love and mercy for us.

What do we know about God’s love and mercy? His Love– In Ephesians 6:16-18 Paul explains God’s love to the Ephesian Christians,  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Psalm 23:6 by King David, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” From Daniel in Daniel 9:4, “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands.” His Mercy– It is God’s decision who will receive His mercy. Romans 9:15-16 explains God’s position.  For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose,  and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” 16 So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.” Mercy and love are part of God’s character, attributes of His, Psalm 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” We can ask God for His mercy. David repeatedly asks God for mercy as in Psalm 25:16 “Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress.” In Daniel 9:8, Daniel pleads for mercy for the nation of Israel who were in captivity in Babylon, “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.” Paul explains in Ephesians 2:4-5 how God’s mercy towards us led to our salvation, “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)’

Isaiah 54:10 is a verse we can claim and hold onto in our lives. No matter what is happening around us we can count on God’s love and mercy. He delivers on His promises!


What Role Does God Play in Your Life?

I am excited to continue in Isaiah as there is so much yet to be learned and discovered! I pray you will continue with me on this journey. After the 4th and final Song contained in Isaiah containing a vivid description of our Savior, Jesus, Isiah continues in his words of encouragement from God to the people of Isael. God knows that they will need these words as they languish in exile in Babylon. In Isaiah 54 we find words to build up Isarel as God knows they will be feeling discouraged, ashamed and downtrodden when they reflect on their sin and disobedience towards God and the time they spent in Egypt and in Babylon.

Isaiah 54:4-5 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
    Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
    and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband—
    the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
    he is called the God of all the earth.

These verses are filled with truths that are timeless and can be applied to our lives today. The Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, can cover my shame and alleviate the pain that it causes. He can cause me to forget things from my mind so that I will no longer dwell on them. Both of these are priceless promises that can and do help me to live for Him for today and not be stuck in the past. God did not want the Israelites to mourn and be consumed with their past failures but to look forward and let Him carry the past pain. He desires the same for you and me today.

In verse 5 God lists for me the roles He desires to exercise in my life if I will turn to Him and trust Him. He promises to be my Maker or Creator, Husband or loving caretaker, companion, Almighty God who is the all-powerful one in my life and world, Holy One who is pure and spotless, Redeemer, Savior or the one who went to the cross to save me so I can be in a relationship with Father God, and Sovereign God who is above all, in all, completely in charge so that nothing escapes His power and might.

I would echo the words of David from Psalm 89:8 “Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.” God is the one and only God and only He can take care of you perfectly. I love Nahum 1:7 and claim it often, “The Lord is good,  a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” As you ponder these verses today, may the Lord show you how He is your Creator, Husband, Almighty God, Redeemer and Sovereign Lord.


Glorious Easter to You All!

Having just finished the 4th Song in Isaiah 53 about our Suffering Servant Savior, I am awed by His sacrifice in a new way. Today as we celebrate His Resurrection, we cannot forget His suffering. Without His suffering we would still be lost in our sin. Without His suffering we would be separated from God for eternity. Because of His Resurrection we can have confidence in His Sacrifice and know we will also be resurrected. He conquered death and brought reconciliation to mankind. Through faith in Jesus and His work on the cross and His resurrection our relationship with the Father is secure. As Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15 our faith is not in vain but is real and true.

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born (Saul/Paul).”

Jesus is alive. He was seen by the 12 and over 500 others. Later as Paul said out, Jesus appeared to him. Acts 9:4-6  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Jesus is just as alive today as He was to Paul, Saul, on that road to Damascus! Praise God!

Bask in the light of the Resurrection today for “He has Risen Indeed!”


P.S. I will be continuing my journey in Isaiah after Easter as there is much yet to discover in this wonderful book of the Bible.

He Did It All for You and Me! Thank You Jesus!

This last portion in the 4th Song in Isaiah continues to show the suffering servant and how He fulfilled the Father’s will to save us. Isaiah 53:9-12

He had done no wrong
    and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
    he was put in a rich man’s grave.
Luke 23:32 tells us that the 2 men crucified alongside Jesus were criminals. “Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.” After Jesus death, Joseph of Arimathea a rich man who was a follower of Jeus and was on the Council but had not agreed to Jesus’ death went to Pilate. He asked for Jesus’ body so he could bury him in a tomb he had had made. Mark 15:46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him.
    and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
    he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
    and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
God’s plan was one of love for the lost whi He sought to redeem through His Son. Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 8:3 “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,”

11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
    he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
    my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
    for he will bear all their sins.
The phrase Victory in Jesus comes to mind as I see these words. 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory?     Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
    because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
    He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
He bore our sins and will be exalted for all eternity. Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,  in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,   to the glory of God the Father.

I pray that the study of Isaiah 53 has added a new dimension to your Holy Week observances.


By His Stripes We Are HEALED!

As the Song #4 continuous in Isaiah 53:4-8 we hear and see more about Messiah and His suffering. We see the cost of His sacrifice for us.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

Verse 4 points out that the pain and suffering Christ endured was ours to bear but He willingly suffered for us. Verse 5 goes on to explain that it was our sins that brought on His punishment. It was our sins that caused Him to be crushed in spirit as he died and caused him to feel forsaken by God. Sin separates us from God and Jesus died so we could be healed. He suffered that separation so we could be healed and brought into relationship with the Father. He was not left separated for He conquered death and rose from the dead. By His wounds were are healed. Here are some New Testament passages that speak to these verses in Isaiah. Romans 4:25  He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” 1 Peter 2:24-25 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.

Verse 7 speaks to the fact that Jesus did not defend his innocence when put on trial. Luke 23:9  He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.” John 19:9 “and he (Pilate) went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.” Verse 8 reminds us that Jesus was judged unjustly and then led off to His death. Here is the passage from John recounting the scenes leading up to the crucifixion. John 19:1-16 “Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face. Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” 13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.”

Jesus suffered so for our sins. Through His death and resurrection we can be brought into a redeeming relationship with God. He paid the ultimate price. John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Thank you Jesus.


Man of Sorrows, Rejected and Despised -that was Jesus

Isaiah 53 verses 1-3 are filled with prophecies about the Messiah to come. Take a look:

Who has believed our message?
    To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
The Lord sent his messengers, the prophets, to lead the people back to Him. They had also foretold this ‘powerful arm of the Lord’ that was to come. This powerful arm was the Lord’s to reveal at the time He prepared. He chose the exact time in history for His son Jesus to come with His message. Paul mentions the fact that even God’s own Son was not believed in his letter to the Romans in Romans 10:16-17 “But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?”17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” The message of salvation was given but the people did not listen to the prophets.” Faith comes from listening to their message and believing them. In John 1:11, John confirms that even Jesus was not believed when he gave the message. “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”

My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
    like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
    nothing to attract us to him.
Christ, the Messiah, grew up in a humble village in Nazareth. He was of the house of David, the root of Jessie. He had none of the trappings of royalty or anything to distinguish him from others in his looks. However, we do know that his knowledge and wisdom set him apart from others even in his youth. Luke 2:41-50 recounts the story of ‘lost Jesus’ in the temple.  Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[f] 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. He looked like a regular person even as a young boy, but He was indeed more than that!

He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.
This verse so describes Jesus as the suffering servant. In Matthew 20:17-19 Jesus describes what is about to take place. “Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” Many references call Jesus the cornerstone of our faith. Acts 4:11 speaks of how he was rejected, “Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ We see the sorrow Christ felt in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:37-39 “He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Going to the cross caused Jesus great anguish but He was obedient to the will of the Father, regardless of this personal cost. The attitude of the crowd shows their ‘we don’t care’ feelings towards Jesus and his innocence. Matthew 27:21-23 gives the scene as it unfolds;  “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

What have you done or are you doing with the message God sent in Jesus? Have you taken him into your heart? Have you accepted Him and asked His Holy Spirit to fill you? Do you seek to walk with Him day by day? The times have changed but the message has not. We still have to seek and listen to God. What will you do this week to show that you are NOT rejecting or despising Jesus and His work on the cross? That you are NOT rejecting His message of hope and redemption? Now is the right time to turn to Him and listen to His message of love. Focus on John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loves you and sent Christ to died for your sins and mine.

Thank you Jesus!