Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a holy calling from God. The idea that we are called is an intriguing thought. Called is defined as being summoned or drawn by divine command by God . 2 Timothy 1:9 says this is a high calling, “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,” Our calling is to come to faith and walk each day with Jesus, Paul calls this a holy calling. This implies that God initiated the call and has reasons for calling us to do His work. The verse goes on to say we did nothing to deserve this calling, but God has a plan and a purpose for us. He knows how He will use us in His kingdom for His glory producing in us growth and well being. Our response to His call, by faith in Jesus, is our part and allows us to enter His kingdom and do His work. He calls us because of His grace, giving us what we do not deserve because He loves us and desires to be in relationship with us. God is relational in all aspects of His being.
In various others places in scripture this idea of a holy or special call is used that confirm the idea that God calls and we respond. Paul addresses the letter to the Romans and Corinthians with similar words. Romans 1:7 “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” To what and by whom are you feeling called today? If God is calling, you can be assured that He will lead, provide and guide you into His will for His glory. He has great plans for you and He stated so in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Step out if faith today trusting God with your future and His plans for your good and His glory. There is great hope with Him.
Suggestion: Spend some time today asking God how you can answer His call and bring Him glory. Then be open to the opportunities that He will surely bring!
Today is deemed Martin Luther King Day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who stood for rightness in fight for freedom of equality for all men. He was very eloquent in speech and inspired many with his life and fight against oppression. He challenges the generations to dream of equality and reach for it. Where do you have unrealized dreams today? Are you actively pursuing them, keeping them in focus and grabbing onto opportunities to make them happen?
The verses I’ve chosen for this year Psalm 37:5 and Nahum 1:7 are meant to hone my focus and keep me in pursuit of godly goals for 2019. Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Nahum 1:7 ““The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” Like Dr. King, I want my dreams to be accomplished and I want to glorify God in the process. I came across another verse today that fits in and encouraged me. Proverbs 16:3 in the Message translation. “Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place.”
As we remember Dr. King today and honor his achievements for mankind. think how much God has for you to accomplish and what wonderful purposes He has for you. We know for certain that He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 Put God in charge of your plans and He will make them align with His will and be accomplished!
The Messiah next returns to Isaiah 53:8 as Handel continues to show the suffering and rejection of our Savior. His birth at Christmas is a celebration but it led to a pathway filled with grief and sorrow for our Lord Jesus. I think the Amplified Translation will help us to see this verse more clearly.
Isaiah 53:8 “After oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation [His contemporaries], who [among them] concerned himself with the fact
That He was cut off from the land of the living [by His death]
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke [of death]was due?
Jesus’ persecution by both the religious Jews in several illegal mock trials and then His judgement by Jews and condemnation by the Romans are what is spoken of here as oppression and judgement. His trial before the Sanhedrin is recorded in Matthew 26:62-67 “Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God:Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered. 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him.” Later before Pilate they all demanded death for Jesus. Matthew 27:20-23 “But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “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!”
Verse 8 also states that Jesus would be cut off from the land of the living and sentenced to death for the transgressions of the people not his own. Paul puts this cutting off plainly in Romans 5:6-8 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
How can we be encouraged by these words of suffering and death of our Savior? Jesus came as a babe fully aware of his life and purpose. Even as young as 12 when he spoke in the temple people were amazed. Luke 2:46-47 “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.” When Mary and Joseph asked him about it he replied in verse 49 ““Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Jesus knew His purpose and came to earth to do the will of His Father in heaven. He came for us. Are you motivated by the love of God to give yourself willingly to serve others? It is Jesus’ example to us given at Christmas for us to ponder and imitate in our own lives. What better time of year to put this into practice!