Servant Song #1 Thanks Be to God for Sending Jesus!

As we begin Chapter 42 of Isaiah we find one of 4 ‘Servant Songs’ within the book of Isaiah that speaks specifically of the Messiah to come. This first servant song is Isaiah 42:1-9

“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
    He is my chosen one, who pleases me.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
    He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout
    or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
    or put out a flickering candle.
    He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
He will not falter or lose heart
    until justice prevails throughout the earth.
    Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.”
Jesus was chosen by God to come and fulfill His plan of redemption for all mankind. He was filled with God’s Holy Spirit and walked justly and humbly during his time on earth spending his time healing, teaching, and reasoning. He ignites the light of life within us as he said in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out.
    He created the earth and everything in it.
He gives breath to everyone,
    life to everyone who walks the earth.
And it is he who says,
“I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
    I will take you by the hand and guard you,
and I will give you to my people, Israel,
    as a symbol of my covenant with them.
And you will be a light to guide the nations.
    You will open the eyes of the blind.
You will free the captives from prison,
    releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
Creator God had a purpose for having Jesus walk the earth. Jesus demonstrated God’s love and righteousness. He renewed the covenant with Israel and all believers as He is a guide and savior to all nations. Luke 20:22 “After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” He opened the eyes of the blind literally and spiritually. He freed those bound by the chains of sin and set us free. Luke 4:18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,”

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not give my glory to anyone else,
    nor share my praise with carved idols.
Everything I prophesied has come true,
    and now I will prophesy again.
I will tell you the future before it happens.”
God reaffirms that He is Sovereign and will not share His Glory with anyone. All his prophesies and promises are true and will be fulfilled!

This beautiful song from Isaiah confirms for us that Jesus, the Messiah, did indeed fulfill all that the Father had said about Him. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, was humble and unassuming, reestablished the covenant in a new way between God and man through his sacrifice on the cross, brought light and righteousness to all mankind and made a way for us to be free from the bondage of sin. Praise God for our magnificent Savior! Christ is the Holy one, the Only one, who can Save us.

Linda

Promise Keeping God is Revealed

Today we hear the first half of Zechariah’s prophesy about the coming Savior.

Luke 1:67-75 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73     the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
    and to enable us to serve him without fear
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

What do we learn about the coming Messiah from Zechariah’s prophesy? Verse 68 tells us he will be sent by God to redeem or buy back people from the penalty of sin. The Messiah will be the vehicle for that redemption before God. Verse 69, he will be from the house of David, just as God promised to Abraham that though him all people would be blessed. Genesis 12:3 “and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” David was a direct descendant of Abraham. Verses 71 and 72 speak of salvation from enemies and haters which they thought meant the foreign oppressors, Rome, but in the long term our greatest enemy is Satan and Jesus will rescue us from our bondage to sin and its power over us. This is further explained in verse 74 which speaks of freedom, rescue so we can serve Him without fear. God is sending the Messiah as promised as He is remembering the Covenant to Abraham to be their God and they would be His people. Verse 75 tells us that the promised one will be holy and righteous and will enable us to serve him in holiness and righteousness.

This was a lot to take in at the time and much was still hidden from their understanding. More was fully revealed though Jesus’ life, teaching, death and resurrection. Lastly, more is revealed to us through His spirit that indwells us, His Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” We have the benefit of God’s Holy Spirit to help us understand in a new way God’s plan of redemption, the message of salvation, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the truth of His complete Word. Just as Zechariah was blessed that day by God’s revelation, we too are blessed by our knowledge of Jesus and our faith in Him.

Let the truth of God’s Word and character be renewed in you today. God is who He says He is and will eternally keep His promises. The whole world is indeed blessed by Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross, His death and resurrection. Stand on His promises with hope and conviction this Christmas season as you experience anew Christ’s work in you.


Linda

A Hidden Gem Brings Hope and Assurance

Today’s ‘put on’ scripture is a bit of a surprise. When I read it I could not remember seeing this promise from God about the Holy Spirit here in 2 Corinthians. It is a gem, a hidden treasure to encourage and enlighten you and me!

2 Corinthians 1:20-25 is an infusion of hope and courage from the Apostle Paul.  For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

His first affirmation is that every promise is fulfilled, completed, and made right in Christ. What a blessing to know that everything God has planned will be completed by Christ in His time and in His way. We do not have to doubt. 1 Kings 8:56 puts it this way, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” God keeps His promises. Amen means ‘so be it’. That is another affirmation that God’s will is to be completed just as He said.

Paul continues to reassure us that God makes us able to stand firm in our faith in Christ. David stood firmly rooted in the Lord and said, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” in Psalm 19:14. May David’s words and conviction be ours as we stand firmly for Christ. Paul also reminds us that we are anointed by Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit. The seal He puts upon us shows He owns our hearts, we belong to Him and His Spirit living within is just a heavenly deposit to remind and empower us to live for the Lord. His Holy Spirt is our guarantee that all is Yes in Christ and we have an eternity settled with Him.

May these verse help you to ‘put on’ His love, claim His promises and step out in Spirit led faith today!

Linda

Paul, “It was Worth it!” Agree?

The Apostle Paul uses put in a new context in today’s passage. 1 Corinthian 9:12 comes in the midst of a passage where Paul is reasoning that missionaries deserve to be paid or supported for their work. Just as Jewish priests were given food and clothing, so those that serve Christ preaching and teaching deserve to be cared for.

 “If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?

But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.

Paul is saying that they may have the right to support, but they did not insist upon it. They suffered and put up with less so that the gospel of Christ would go forward. He was not bragging, but simply stating the fact that he was compelled to preach the gospel. In verse 16 Paul says, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. ” His motivation was pure, without complications, as He presented the gospel so that others might know Christ and be redeemed.

What is your motivation for telling others about Christ? Paul was so driven to tell others he could not, not tell them. His desire was for them to know Christ, to be freed from the bondage of sin, to have the eternal assurance of salvation and to have hope for living each day. This was what drove him to tell as many as he could, regardless of the danger or hardships to himself. Do you want others to be free in Christ? Do you want to see them in eternity worshipping and rejoicing with Jesus?

Consider this, Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am compelled to speak of the love of Jesus, to speak of His redeeming power and to speak of the assurance I have of spending eternity with Him. Think about this in the context of John 13:34-35 ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Are you compelled to speak out for Jesus because of your love for Jesus and for those who need to know Him? Are you willing like Paul, to put up with anything so that others can know Him? As Christians we need to be willing to put up with the world’s attitude and rejection, so that someone may come to know Jesus as their Savior. As Paul reasoned, “it is worth it.”

Linda

Holy Week, Friday, Where’s Jesus?

After His arrest Thursday night, Jesus endured 4 trials.  He went before the religious leaders, the Sanhedrin, then Pilate who sent him to Herod, the Jewish head of state, then back to Pilate.  The Jews wanted Jesus killed but they did not have the authority to execute Him.  They demanded that Pilate, the Roman authority in Palestine, crucify Him.  Pilate had Jesus flogged and beaten even though Pilate knew Jesus to be innocent.  He had hoped this cruel treatment would pacify the Jews.  However, the crowds pressed him and requested the release of the criminal Barabbas instead of Jesus since it was the custom to release one convicted person as a token of goodwill at the Jewish Passover.  The crowds demanded that Jesus be crucified and Pilate agreed to appease the angry and vocal Jewish crowds.   Jesus was then made to carry His own cross to the place of execution, Golgotha.  Along the way Jesus stumbled and Simon of Cyrene was conscripted to carry the cross.  Jesus was then nailed to a cross and hung to die.  His clothes were stripped from Him and as He hung naked on the cross then soldiers gambled for his clothing underneath the cross.

I can not imagine the pain, anguish, humiliation and shame Jesus endured on my behalf. He took all the sins of the world, yours and mine, upon His pure, sinless and innocent body and the sin took him to a place he had never been before.  The sins He took upon himself, our sins, separated him from God, His holy Father.  He did this so that His sacrifice could atone for our sins.  1 Peter 2:24 explains what Jesus accomplished for you and me.

24 He personally carried our sins
    in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
    and live for what is right.
By his wounds
    you are healed.  (NLT)

I never realized how sweet Jesus’ final words from the cross were until recently.  “‘It is finished.’ With that, he lowered his head and gave up his spirit.”  John 19:30   He declared with His final breath that the work of redemption was complete, and He had accomplished what the Father had sent Him to do. Through His death He took the punishment, death, for the sins of all who would believe for all eternity with His blood.  Having accomplished His work, He gave up His spirit.  His life was not taken from Him, but He gave it up voluntarily at the time of His choosing.  Only God can choose the time of His death.  When we speak of someone dying, we say the person has life take from them.  We don’t get to chose the hour or minute of our last breath, but Jesus chose when and where He was to die for you and me.  I am staggered by His love and sacrifice that He would endure such punishment and isolation from God on my behalf.  As you ponder the cross today, think of all Jesus gave up and all He did on your behalf.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I live redeemed from the penalty of sin, covered by His incredible sacrifice and will be able to stand before God sinless.

Prayer:  Father, the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice and your love in sending Him to die for my sin is incomprehensible.  ‘Your ways and not my ways’ Isaiah reminds us in Isaiah 55:8.  I am so thankful for your plan of redemption and stand humbly before you because of Jesus, my Savior.  Praising you in Jesus name, Amen.              

Linda

Thankfulness Day 16: 7 Amazing Reasons for Faith

Have you ever thought about faith and considered, what’s in it for me? Why should I believe and try to follow God’s pathway for my life? Today’s verses put this into perspective and really lead straight towards greater thankfulness.

Psalm 91:14-16 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

These verses are filled with 7 amazing promises from God. When He say, “I will” He means it, as He is sovereign and all things are within and under His control. He promises those who love and believe in Him that He will be: 1- ready to rescue, 2- protect, 3- answer when called, 4- always with you especially in times of trouble, 5- will honor you, and 6- reward you with eternal life and 7- save you from the punishment for your sins. What an overwhelming list of provisions from God are yours, all because you love and believe in Him. The reasons for belief and love for God show us His merciful, compassionate, loving character towards each and every believer. We are truly blessed by our Heavenly Father.

As you consider the psalmists words today, remember a time when God heard your prayers, rescued you from danger, allowed you to receive honor for something done for Him, how He was with you in a time of great trouble, and your response to His call upon your life as you began your eternal life with Him. These things will surely cause you to praise God with a heart and spirit filled with thankfulness.

Linda

Bringing us near = cross of Christ

In Ephesians 2:11-12 Paul summarizes the state of the world.  Basically there were two groups of people.  1- the believers in the one true God called Jews and 2-  those who did not believe in the one true God called Gentiles.  People could become Jewish by faith and the Old Testament is filled with them.  These were people who aligned themselves with the people of God.  There were even several in Christ’s lineage- Rahab, the prostitute, whose story is found in Joshua 2.  She aligned herself with the people of God as she had heard how God had led the people victoriously out of Egypt and even parted the Red Sea.  She was transformed by her faith in God, and later became the wife of Salmon.   Ruth, the Moabitis  whose story is in the book of Ruth aligned herself with the people of God when she decided to honor her mother-in-law’s God and follow her back to Israel after the death of her husband and father-in-law.   She later married Boaz, who became her kinsmen redeemer.   The Jews followed God’s laws, and had a covenant with God which required them to be circumcised.  Those men who aligned themselves with God’s people had to be circumcised also. After Christ came and died, the only thing required of believers is repentance from sin and faith in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection.  Through In-Christ-Alonefaith in Christ alone is someone saved1 John 1:9 puts it this way, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  No longer was the outward sign of circumcision needed to prove belief in the one true God.

Paul concludes this discussion of Jews and Gentiles in Ephesians 2:13 as he reminds these new believers in Ephesus of their wonderful present position in Christ.   “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.”    Because Jesus ephesians 2 13died on the cross and rose from the dead, we are brought near to God through the blood of Christ.   This is good news!  We are no longer separated from God by sin,  but can be united with Him.  This really is the heart of the gospel that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are brought into relationship with Him.  We are covered by the blood of His sacrifice and our sins are washed away.  We are not far away anymore but brought near to Christ.  Hebrews 10:10 “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”  His sacrifice was big enough, great enough and pure enough to cover all our sins.  Amazing!

How will you use this good news today?  Will you draw near to God and thank Him for sending Jesus to redeem you?  God loves a heart filled with gratitude and praise.  Thank you Jesus for all you have done and are doing in my life.

Linda

 

Beloved,adopted and free in Christ!

Do you think God’s plan for redemption was sudden or made up on the spur of the moment when Adam sinned?   God in his omnipotent wisdom knew we were frail creatures and when we sinned there needed to be a plan to bring us back into communion with Him.  Ephesians  1:4-6, from the Message translation makes this passage easy to understand, “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”

Can you imagine that God had us in mind, wanted us to be in His family and to show His love to us even before He created the universe?  I love that Paul says, God took pleasure in planning this.  How much He loves us!  Paul continues in verses 7-10 to explain God’s wonderful plan to redeem us and make us free.  Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely Ephesians-1-7_webfree, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.”

These verses are so encouraging.  God loves us past, present and future.  God wants us to be free and His plan is fulfilled for us in Christ.  Faith in Jesus is the key.

May you be encouraged by God’s love, the redemption plan made perfect in Christ and the hope you now have in Him.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we have all of this through faith in Him.  Thank you Jesus.

Linda

I AM … Your Savior

I amGod refers to himself in the Old Testament as Your Savior in Isaiah 49:26 and 60:16.  In both cases His name is linked to prophesy in regard to the destruction of Jerusalem when the Babylonians came and destroyed it and took the people off to Babylon.  The city was held under siege and the people suffered greatly, at one point even resorting to cannibalism.  Isaiah’s words were to be ones of encouragement that God will be evident in the dealings of His people.   Isaiah 49:26

“I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
    and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.
Then all flesh shall know
    that I am the Lord your Savior,
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”    Again in Isaiah 60:16

“You shall suck the milk of nations;
    you shall nurse at the breast of kings;
and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

I am your godThe people of Israel were to know that in both hard and good times God will be with them, He will be their Savior, Redeemer and Mighty One.   We can be encouraged like they were that God alone is God, He is our Redeemer and has plans for our redemption through Christ His Son, and He alone is the Mighty One from generation to generation.  The prophet pointed out specifically that God is your Savior and your Redeemer.  He is a personal God who loves each one of us and wants to have a relationship with us.  He desires that we accept His Son as Savior and open our hearts to His redemptive plan.

Here are a few verses to mediate upon today as you consider your Savior and Redeemer.  1 Corinthians 1:30 “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”  and Colossians 1:13-14 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

May Jesus be your Savior and Redeemer today bringing you hope and assurance of salvation!

Linda

Redeemer, I’m so thankful God that You sent Jesus.

Do you know God as your Redeemer?  In the Old Testament God refers to himself as Redeemer in Isaiah 44:24 “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,  who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things,  who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,”   Because God is creator of all things, only He has the power to redeem, buy back or save His creation.   If you know God as your Savior and Redeemer you are in the know just like Job, David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zachariah and Paul who referred to God as their Redeemer.  Read their powerful words and claim them for yourself today.

i-know-my-redeemer-livesJob 19:25-26 “For I know that my Redeemer lives,      
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,”      Job knew the eternal God as his Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”     David knew God was his Redeemer and desired to be humble before Him.

Isaiah 47:4 “Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name— is the Holy One of Israel.”    Isaiah knew God as his Redeemer and revered His name.

Luke 1:68 ““Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.”    Zachariah prophesied the coming of Jesus as our Redeemer.

Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”   Paul knew that Jesus’ death on the cross redeemed us from the curse of sin.

What about you?  Can you say that God is your Redeemer?   We like to save money by using coupons as we shop.  They help us to redeem more money than we deserve.  Jesus did that for us by paying the full price for sin on the cross.  We are able to be redeemed as we put our trust and faith in Him knowing He is always faithful to carry out His work ephesians 3 20within us.  This is my prayer for you today from Ephesians 3:17-20 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”   Amen.

 

Linda