Thursday, June 19, 2008

Isaiah 54

In preparation for Bible study last week the Lord led me to a passage in Isaiah. I truly felt it was a word for someone, perhaps more than one, in the service that night. I want to re-print it here in light of the untimely loss of family members that a couple families in our body are experiencing.

“O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,

Behold, I will set your stones in antimony,

And your foundations I will lay in sapphires.

“Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies,

And your gates of crystal,

And your entire wall of precious stones.

“All your sons will be taught of the LORD;

And the well-being of your sons will be great.

“In righteousness you will be established;

You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear;

And from terror, for it will not come near you.

“If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me.

Whoever assails you will fall because of you.

“Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals

And brings out a weapon for its work;

And I have created the destroyer to ruin.

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;

And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.

This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,

And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

Last night we were reminded that "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes" and we are reminded that Jesus said, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (Jn 14.16)

This is one of the many blessings and advantages we have as Christians, as children of God.

Isaiah 53 tells us that Jesus is, "A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" He knows we hurt, He knows what it means to hurt and He has made Himself available to us when we hurt.

This knowledge does take away the pain completely, sin stinks and so to its' "wages". I think this was part of what was taking place when we are told "Jesus wept" at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus knew what was about to happen, He knew that Lazarus would soon walk out of that tomb, but I believe it was the affect of sins' wages on his dear friend that caused the tears to flow. He wept for sins' curse.

Lazarus, however, knew the giver of life, the One who said, "I am the resurrection and the life" and because of that relationship with Jesus the grave could not hold him, would not hold him.

And it will not hold us either. The ultimate comfort is knowing that we will walk out of the tomb as well.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One Thing

As (Jesus) was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” ...Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing". Mark 10.17, 21
Let us first set aside the idea of "doing" to obtain eternal life. Jesus "finished" all that needed to be done when He offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. In another place Jesus responded to the question, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" by saying, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent". John 6.28-29

It is an important question; is there anything in my life that if the Lord asked for it I would say "no". Take anything but that Lord, ask me to do anything else Lord... but not that.

  • Would I take my children out of school, away from their friends and move?
  • Would I quit my job, give up my "security" and go to the mission field?
  • Would I simplify sacrificially?
  • Would I, could I?

Jesus is no kiljoy, He is not out to make our lives miserable, in fact quite the opposite is true. He came to "give us life and that more abundantly"; He deisres to see us experience a life that is "exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think".

But what the Lord does want is for us have absolutely nothing standing between us and Him. What is important to Him is that we have "no other gods before Him".

So it is a profitable exercise to take inventory, to ask myself, "Is there anything that if the Lord asked me to give it to Him or do it for Him, I would say "no".

I want to stay in a place where my life belongs to Him completely. And not just hypothetically or theoretically but actually and literally.

Now you might be saying, "Come on Scott, is the Lord that serious about all that? I mean do you really think it is that important to be willing to give the Lord anything and everthing? The Lord wouldn't test us like that just to see if we would and then not have us actually follow through!

Really? Ask Abraham!
  • “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
  • He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him;
  • for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

With God it is always about our heart. He wants us to know what is in our own heart.

If I find that there is "one thing"... I will be faced with a choice: go away sad as the rich young ruler did; or take that "one thing" to the altar as Abraham did. We can choose to remain bound and covetous and trying to save our lives or we can be free and find the blessing of what it means to truly lay our lives down for the One who laid down His life for me.