Jul 30, 2012
Music Copyrighted by Esther Mui. Violoncello by Rebekah Mui.
Isaiah 53:3-7 (NKJV)
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
Background image adapted from:
Colorful Stone by Matt Gruber http://www.creationswap.com/media/11050
When you were under the fig tree, I saw you —John 1:48
Worshiping in Everyday Occasions. We presume that we would be ready for battle if confronted with a great crisis, but it is not the crisis that builds something within us— it simply reveals what we are made of already. Do you find yourself saying, “If God calls me to battle, of course I will rise to the occasion”? Yet you won’t rise to the occasion unless you have done so on God’s training ground. If you are not doing the task that is closest to you now, which God has engineered into your life, when the crisis comes, instead of being fit for battle, you will be revealed as being unfit. Crises always reveal a person’s true character.
A private relationship of worshiping God is the greatest essential element of spiritual fitness. The time will come, as Nathanael experienced in this passage, that a private “fig-tree” life will no longer be possible. Everything will be out in the open, and you will find yourself to be of no value there if you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions in your own home. If your worship is right in your private relationship with God, then when He sets you free, you will be ready. It is in the unseen life, which only God saw, that you have become perfectly fit. And when the strain of the crisis comes, you can be relied upon by God.
Are you saying, “But I can’t be expected to live a sanctified life in my present circumstances; I have no time for prayer or Bible study right now; besides, my opportunity for battle hasn’t come yet, but when it does, of course I will be ready”? No, you will not. If you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions, when you get involved in God’s work, you will not only be useless yourself but also a hindrance to those around you.
God’s training ground, where the missionary weapons are found, is the hidden, personal, worshiping life of the saint.
When I witnessed an eagle in flight, I understood why God used this bird to describe a relationship with Him. The eagle—which simply opens its wings and soars—is wholly dependent upon air currents to keep it aloft.
In contrast, we oftentimes beat our wings trying to be better Christians. We resolve to read the Bible more or to improve at keeping our temper. We strive to escape old habits and temptations. But instead of flying to the mountaintops, we remain on the valley floor with tired wings. This is because we sometimes get confused about what makes a person spiritually mature. The godly believer isn’t someone who tries and tries to do well. I’ve been a believer long enough to know that I can’t live the Christian life. This flesh of mine isn’t any better today than it was the day I was saved.
Spiritual maturity means recognizing that we do not change ourselves. The flesh is corrupt, and it cannot be suppressed by any human means. But our omnipotent Father subdues our imperfect impulses through His Spirit. For example, God’s indwelling Spirit can calm anger and wield His strength to weaken the lure of temptations. While others tire from trying to be good, the mature believer relies on the Lord and will “mount up with wings like eagles” (Isa. 40:31).
Isaiah reminds us that even young men stumble and grow weak. Anyone trying to change himself will burn out beating his wings against the world system and his own flesh. God did not make our human bodies, minds, or spirits to fly solo. He created us to soar on His strength.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
In this verse we are told that God’s power resides in the gospel—and indeed, that the purpose of this power is the salvation of both Jew and Greek. This passage is intended to incorporate spreading the gospel to all humanity, which is specifically commanded by the Lord Jesus: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
Evidently, the event that takes place when one is twice-born is nothing less than a supernatural “creation” by the Creator Himself (Ephesians 4:24)! There is no need for salesmanship or psychology or finesse or technique; the dunamis (power) of the living God is transmitted, applied, and exercised as the gospel is spoken and a person listens.
-Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
-Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
– John 6:63: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
-1 Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
To be successful (not to mention obedient) to the Lord’s command, we must most surely use the “power” of God that has been made available to us in the Scriptures! HMM III
And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.—Colossians 3:14 (R. V.).
THOU hatest hatred’s withering reign,
In souls that discord maketh dark
Dost Thou rekindle love’s bright spark,
And make them one again.
WE have cause to suspect our religion if it does not make us gentle, and forbearing, and forgiving; if the love of our Lord does not so flood our hearts as to cleanse them of all bitterness, and spite, and wrath. If a man is nursing anger, if he is letting his mind become a nest of foul passions, malice, and hatred, and evil wishing, how dwelleth the love of God in him? HUGH BLACK.
Love me always, boy, whatever I do or leave undone. And—God help me— whatever you do or leave undone, I ‘ll love you. There shall never be a cloud between us for a day, no, sir, not for an hour. We’re imperfect enough, all of us, we needn’t be so bitter; and life is uncertain enough at its safest, we need not waste its opportunities. JULIANA HORATIA EWING.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. (Or, change strength.) Isaiah 40:31
When I am weak, then am I strong. — God shall be my strength. — He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. — Let him take hold of my strength.
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee. — The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob. I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. — Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
2 Corinthians 12:10. Isaiah 49:5. 2 Corinthians 12:9. Isaiah 27:5. Psalm 55:22. Genesis 49:24. Genesis 32:26. 1 Samuel 17:45. Psalm 35:1,2.
I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them. Jeremiah 32:39
A new heart … will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you. — Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy
and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
I … beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, … endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ezekiel 36:26. Psalm 25:8-10. John 17:21. Ephesians 4:16.