“He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” Isaiah53:3
“… and like one from whom men hide their face…”. Ever hide your face from someone? Avoid someone? Couldn’t look at someone for one reason or another? Is that right? Is that what we should do or called to do?
Isaiah 52:14 tells us that Jesus was marred more than any man in appearance and form.
He was scourged, flogged, and beaten beyond recognition. And we couldn’t look at him. Jesus took the beating and punishment by man for man. It was bloody, painful, and incomprehensible. Knowing what was coming, He cried drops of blood. (Luke 22:44) But He endured for those who are His. He died for His beloved church. He died for you and me.
Jesus was a suffering servant and died for us on the cross. Why are we still making Him suffer today?
If we call ourselves His, why don’t we live the same way?
“Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.” Isaiah 52:13
This isn’t a reference to material belongings. I don’t believe God really cares about our comfort. He cares about making us holy. He cares about our sanctification.
Jesus will prosper, did prosper in what He came to do. “…He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21b. Jesus died and suffered greatly at the hands of the very men He came to save.
Why do we live in reverse? Why do we struggle for (actually, against) our rights?
If we truly believe, why don’t we surrender our “rights” and truly follow Him?
He never promised it would be easy. But it’s worth it.
“3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Norfaint when you are reproved by Him; 6 For thosewhom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble,13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:3-13
God disciplines us. If you are His child, He WILL discipline you. But how do you know if you’re under discipline because of sin? Simply put, read your Bible. You may have a PhD in theology and/or do this study or that, but none of that is a substitute for hearing God’s voice. How do we hear God’s voice? Read your Bible. Pray so you can know His voice when you read your Bible. Do you want Jesus to speak to you? Read your Bible.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” John 10:27
We all know the Sunday School answer as to why we are disciplined. To conform to Christ. (Romans 12:1-2.)
But God disciplines those He loves. Ephesians 1 reminds us that God chose us before the foundations of the world. And not only did He choose us, He chose us to become blameless and holy.
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” Ephesians 1:1-4
And he will do the work.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.
How He chooses to do the work is up to him.
‘“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.’ Isaiah 55:8
We are not off the hook though. We have to do the work. Not works unto salvation, so man may boast but we must live out our faith.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Sometimes God does grant us grace instead of discipline. But He lovingly puts us where we will grow to be more like His Son.
Discipline, from God, in done in love. It is always meant for our good!
In today’s fast pace life, we look to cut corners everywhere we go. Sometimes we tend to do that with our Bible study and reading time. Devotionals can be wonderful if used properly. We should never use a devotional to replace our time in the Lord’s Word and our time just spent with Him in prayer.
Below I’ve given a few devotionals that I enjoy and read over again. These devotions will bless the time you give to God. Some of these devotionals are not devotions with dates or times, but ones you work through at your own pace. “Humility” by Andrew Murray, for example, is 14 chapters but it didn’t take 14 days to read but 2 – 3 months. Sometimes we only need a few words to inspire us, to give us something to meditate on and to take us back to Jesus. Sometimes that one chapter will take days to digest and mediate on and pray about. A devotional should only be a tool to enrich your time with God not replace it.
A few suggestions are:
The True Vine, Andrew Murray
Humility, Andrew Murray
Devotions & Prayers of John Calvin
LOVE to the Uttermost, John Piper (Passion Week Devotional)
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, John Piper (Devotional for December)
On The Christian Life, John Calvin
Tabletalk Magazine, Ligonier
Morning and Evening, CH Spurgeon
Not I, but Christ, Corrie Ten Boom
As time goes on, I will update this list, gladly and joyously so!
May God bless you richly as you draw nearer to Him. IHS
The Godhead eternally exists in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). These three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections, and are worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence and obedience (Mark 12:29; John 1:1-4; Matthew 29:19-20; Acts 4:3-4).
Jesus Christ Total Deity – The Lord Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God in the flesh. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He is the true God and true man (John 1:1, 1:14, 1:18; John 14:8-9; 1 Timothy 3:16).
Holy Spirit Total Deity – The Holy Spirit and His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:14). The Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner upon belief in Christ, baptizing the believer into one body of which Christ is the head. The Holy Spirit indwells, guides, instructs, fills, comforts and empowers the believer for godly living (Mark 13:11; John 14:26; John 16:13; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 3:16). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of God’s righteousness and of coming judgment (John 16:8-11).
Man Man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker but, by voluntarily transgressing, fell from his sinless and happy state. Consequently, all mankind is sinful. All people are sinners not only by inheritance, but by their own choice and therefore are under just condemnation without defense or excuse. Without exception every man and every woman is totally depraved and needs a Savior (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; Romans 1:18, Romans 1:32; Romans 5:1-2).
Salvation The Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice. Each person who by faith receives Him as personal Savior is justified on the basis of Jesus Christ’s shed blood on Calvary. Each person who receives Christ as personal Savior is born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby becomes eternally secure as a child of God. The Holy Spirit baptizes each believing person into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation and that there is no second baptism of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
Resurrection The resurrection of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, His ascension into heaven and His present life for us as High Priest and Advocate (Acts 1:3; Acts 1:9; Hebrews 7:25-26).
Church Upon accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, a believer becomes part of His body, which is the church. There is one church universal, composed of all those throughout the world who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scriptures command believers to gather in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the ordinances (baptism and communion), fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world in fulfillment of the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations (Ephesians 5:23; Romans 12:1; Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-20). Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the church – under the oversight of elders and other supportive leadership. The church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
Missions Realizing that the cause of Christ extends beyond any one local fellowship, we commit ourselves to an ongoing ministry of extending the call of Christ to make disciples around the world (Matthew 28:19-20).
Nobody wants to talk about it, unless it’s someone else’s sin. But that would be gossip, right? And gossip is a sin. I’m not saying we don’t address sin and there is a way to do that, but that’s not what this blog post is about.
I want to encourage you (and myself) to avoid sin, to take the steps necessary to not go to where you will stumble. We’re all weak and we all sin and we all need help.
Christ didn’t die for us to continue in our sins or to pick up new ones. Also, the excuse, “I was made this way”, isn’t an excuse if you are a NEW creation, a born-again believing Christian. So, how do you avoid it?
Jesus says while speaking to His disciples in Mark 13:37, “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’” And in Luke 21:34a we read, “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation…”
We need to think about when your sin has taken advantage to exert itself in the past, and watch carefully at these times.
We need to watch and be prepared for every time sin rears its ugly head (sin always corrupts). David says in Psalm 18 that he kept himself from guilt (v. 23). That means he watched ALL the ways and working of his sin and then watched and worked to prevent and to rise up against his sin. In Haggai, we are told, “Consider your ways” (1:5).
What causes you to sin? The company you keep? Music? Books? TV? Movies? Internet? Donuts? Expensive coffee? Gossip, that need to know? The list could go on and on.
You may not be aware of what trips you up to sin. Start watching and start listening to the Holy Spirit. When you sin, what happened? What led up to it? What were you doing, watching, or listening to? Where were you? Who was around?
We’re quick to avoid certain foods if we’re on a diet. We start to take better care of our physical needs if we’re sick or want to lose weight or look better. Isn’t our soul equally important? Shouldn’t it be more important?
Avoid temptation. Plain and simple. If we should dare to entertain sin, to even think of it, we will desire that very sin.
Psalm 1 is one of my favorites of all Psalms. It’s probably one of my favorite ones to teach too. It is the gateway Psalm to the Book of Psalms. You can choose the way of the righteous or the way of the wicked. The Book of Psalms is filled with Psalm after Psalm of failing, of sinning, and of repentance and forgiveness, and of righteousness.
The wicked don’t just jump in with both feet and say, “give me what you got, I’m ready to live in my filth and debauchery.” No, Psalm 1:1 shows us that sin eats away at us, at our souls, little by little. It grabs our attention, it entices us and shows how “good” it can be. Look at what Psalm 1, verse 1 has to say:
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”
Look at the progression – You are walking where you shouldn’t be, then you stop to listen, then before you know it, you’re sitting taking in everything sin has to say. And if you’re sitting in the midst of it, you’re a part of it, participating in it.
How do we avoid it? How do we have the victory that Christ wants us to have? Look at Psalm 1, verse 2-3:
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
This is work. It’s not a quick little devotional and out the door you go. It’s spending time in prayer and time in the Word. Meditation is not quick, it takes effort. Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You shall teach them [the Words of God] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
The effort is so worth it. You’re spending time with our precious Savior. You walk with Jesus, not in the counsel of the wicked. The world wants to see you and I fail. Jesus says He’s already gone before us and won.
Again, Deuteronomy 6:7 reminds us that this is constant and it’s also satisfying. You’ll flourish and grow and become stronger. You’ll be stronger in your resolve, you’ll be stronger in AVOIDING the very temptation that entangles you.
This is more than just a morning or evening time in the word. It’s hour by hour or minute by minute. You have to be willing to do the work to crucify the sin raging war with you. We are in a battle!
True happiness comes from a Christ centered life. Sin leaves you empty and wanting more. Sin leaves you with regrets and misery. Jesus keeps every one of His promises. Sin lies and never keeps a single promise.
Pray. Seek God. Ask Him to show you where and how and what to avoid. Don’t even allow the temptation into your life. The price of sin is not worth it, but He is worth everything!
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I’ve been praying about what to write. Starting a new blog, finding the grove of a new blog can be challenging. What does God want for it? I know what I want – to honor Him. The next question is ‘How’.
So, as I’m working on that answer (and I don’t think it’s just one thing), I want to share this excellent post on Sanctification. Read through to the end and be encouraged! Sanctification is a Direction
Did you jump on the bandwagon and ask God to give you a word for 2019? If you did, how are you doing with it?
Or (like me) did you hear about it and shrug it off? Or maybe you thought it was silly?
At the beginning of the year I saw a lot of people with “their word” from God. I thought pssh, they’re all words of God and they’re all important. I study and even teach the Bible – the Bible which is the entire word and council of our Lord and Savior. Not one of those words are more or less important than another. (Ha! Take that word of year-ers!)
Then, something happened and God put me in a situation that I wasn’t in control of, that was a result of someone else’s actions. I was wronged, well I felt that I was wronged. And, I knew what I needed to do, how to attack this problem… in my own strength and power, of course.
Did I pray about it? Not really. (Remember, I already knew what to do. Btw, I’m a “fixer” and a solution-oriented kind of person.)
Did I read my Bible and seek out His word? See the answer above.
I was formulating “my plan” and justifying my behavior and responses and thoughts. I was right! I knew it.
I was folding laundry of all things, when God smacked me upside the head with one word. My very own “word”, He gave me my very own little five letter word – TRUST!
I trust God. I trusted God. But was I trusting Him how He wanted me to trust Him? Did I care? Was I so caught up in my “rights” or in my “perceived rights” that I missed what He really wanted from me?
God was happy to clue me in here. Gently, but loudly, He made it clear that I wasn’t trusting Him. Not like He wanted. Not like He wants.
God says, Trust ME! In my mind, I was trusting Him. In my hurt, anger, etc. I was trusting Him. But was I trusting Him the way He wanted me to trust Him? Clearly not.
When pride or the devil whispers in my ear that I have a right to be mad, a right to hold a grudge, and a right to do what is right in my own eyes and/or what is right in the eyes of those around me, I remember one word – TRUST.
Every time I think of that word, TRUST, it takes me back to God telling me to trust Him. My trust is to be only in Him and in no one else or anything else.
Proverbs 3:5-6, that familiar passage, reminds us to,
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
It says all, not some, not once in a while but all – Trust with all.
God says trust Me with your faith, your belief, your family – no matter how crazy. We must trust Him with our children and our patience. God says trust Me with your relationships, trust Me where I’ve placed you, and even trust Me in your failures. We have to trust Him with our futures. We have to trust Him with all our life. We trust Him because we know everything is in His timing and He holds everything in His hand.
God says in Deuteronomy 31 to be still and know that He has gone before us and that He will bring everything to pass.
Psalm 37:3 – 5 also reminds us,
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
1 Chronicles 28:9 – David is speaking,
“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”
Seek the Lord, wait on the Lord and trust in the Lord.
When we trust in the Lord, He takes away our anxiety, our impatience, our fear and replaces it with the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
When we trust in the Lord, He fights our battles and we rest in what He’s given us to do.
Whatever you’re struggling with, trust God with it.
So, do you have a word for 2019? If you don’t, that’s okay, it’s never too late to hear from God.
You can share my word too, for as long as you need. I know He still has a lot of work to do with me, how about you?
Join me in trusting God.
Thank you, Lord. Thank you for caring and that you will always be there for us. We know you are trustworthy and good. And we will wait on you.