"Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin." (Romans 7:24-25)
The Apostle Paul recognized that no matter what he did, he could not avoid sin, thus was in constant need of God's grace. So are our lives. True, we can try to stay away from situations that are liable to cause us to sin, but at the end of the day, we "will" fall short in our thoughts, words or deeds.
Therein lies our need to be covered by the grace that only Jesus can provide. Have you accepted His offer of grace yet? A grace that can't be earned, but is given freely to those who believe in Him. "If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth." (1 John 1:8) and "If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts." (1 John 1:10).
Bottom line is no one is perfect. "Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins." (Ecclesiastes 7:20) God knew this and was the "exact" reason He sent His son to save us once and for all. Please don't pass up what is freely offered to you. Repent for your sins, surrender to Christ, and allow God to help you navigate your life from this day forward.
"If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)
Don't be surprised when God, not only answers your prayers, but then goes above and beyond what you had been hoping for. We are not always faithful, but God ALWAYS is.
Place the glory where it belongs and let everyone know what the Lord has done!
"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." (Ephesians 3:20)
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalms 46:10)
Sometimes we'll get distracted by other people's opinions, or by our own urges to rush ahead, rather than do what we feel God has called us to do. In times of uncertainty around God's calling in your life, it is sometimes best to just "be still", trust His plan for you, and wait for His further encouragments on your path. But, when He DOES reveal it to you, be sure to follow it as it is His will for you.
Proverbs 31 Ministries:
Without fail, when I turn from distractions, God always shows me moments he handcrafted for me. They’re waiting for me. I just need to step into them.
Dear God, teach me to be where my feet are. It’s easy to be stuck in the past or worried about the future but I know You call me to this moment, this hour, this day. Thank You for the tiny details throughout this day I know You’ve stitched for me.
- Hannah Brencher
I thought this was very well stated. When we are walking in God's light, and not distracted by the world, we can see Him working in our lives. It may be something "big" like a marriage, a health issue or a job, but don't ignore the "smaller" workings either, like a coincidence, a chance encounter, or even noticing certain times when you are looking at a clock.
God is in EVERYTHING, so make sure you are "looking".
On this day when we honor the fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country and our freedom, let's also remember the one who sacrificed Himself for our ENTIRE fallen world (now and forevermore). How are you honoring that sacrifice?
From Matt McMillian Ministries:
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
In the Old Testament there was a prophet named Isaiah. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Isaiah foretold about a man who would take the sin of the world into His body–it was Jesus. The punishment for every single sin a person ever commits is death–from gossip to murder (Romans 6:23). This prophet was Jewish, so he knew that without the shedding of blood, you could never be forgiven (see Hebrews 9:22). The words “ask for forgiveness” are not in Bible. This is because a death must happen to be forgiven. Confession doesn’t forgive either, only a one-time confession that we need the forgiveness of Christ (see 1 John 1:9).
As a Jew, Isaiah was used to getting his own forgiveness at the Day of Atonement. This was a single day of the year in which the Jews received forgiveness for their sins for the pastyear–all of them. After they came out of the temple, they had relief. They were good to go for another 365 days.
The forgiveness was received only when their sins were transferred into the body of animals by way of a levitical priest (see Numbers 18:1, Hebrews 6:2). To be clear, this animal couldn’t be their 10-year-old heifer who was on her last leg, oh no. It had to be their best animal–a spotless and healthy creature (see Leviticus 27:10, 1 Peter 1:9).
However, “it was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). The key words focus on in that verse is, take away. The animal blood was simply a reminder of how poorly a person performed over the course of the previous 365 days (see Hebrews 10:3). It was a shadow of what Jesus would do through His own perfect body! (See Hebrews 10:1, Colossians 2:17). But even better, Christ would take away our sin once and for all time with one last sacrifice! (See John 1:29, Hebrews 7:25, 8:12, 10:10).
Afterwards, the Day of Atonement would no longer be needed because the world would finally have the real thing!
Think about it, if my wife is pregnant and that’s all I can talk about, then my child is born, but rather than go to the hospital to receive my new child, I stay home and stare at ultrasound pictures. This is what happened to the Jews who kept attending the Day of Atonement after the events of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection! (See Hebrews 10:26).
Isaiah didn’t know His name, but the Holy Spirit revealed exactly what Christ would do. In Isaiah 53, he goes into great detail about what would take place in the life of this Messiah. He penned, “He’ll grow up like a tender shoot,” and that very thing happened! Baby Jesus grew into boy Jesus, and then boy Jesus grew into the man. Christmas Day celebrates the beginning of this tender shoot’s life.
Isaiah continued, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Could there be a more accurate description of how simple Jesus’ life was? The very name Jesusis as common as the name Joe.
Verse three reads, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” The foretelling of what would happen in Jesus’ 33 years, through Isaiah, is uncanny. God even revealed to him how his own people would treat dear Jesus. “We held him in low esteem.” But that’s not all he had to say about those who refused to believe: “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)
Surely He took their pain and suffering! Surely. Yes, even the Jews who were trying to kill Him, and finally did. One of the Jewish leaders, Nicodemus, was so intrigued by Jesus, he snuck off at night to meet with Him (see John 3). But even so, the colleagues of Nicodemus had Him cut up and ground into a bloody pulp. Isaiah 53:4 reveals that they honestly believed Jesus deserved to be crucified–that God was backing them up…they were wrong.
“He was pierced for our transgressions!” Isaiah announces in verse 5. But what is a transgression?…It’s sin. He was pierced and killed for our sin. All of the stuff which cannot enter into heaven, He removed by way of a bloody death! He changed up our deal with God! (See Hebrews 8:6,13).
A new Priest has come! The Levites are out! They’ve been replaced by a Priest who will never die! (Hebrews 7:25). He hails from the Tribe of Judah–a priest has never come from that group of Israelites! But it doesn’t matter because a new covenant was put in place bythe Messiaaaaaaah! He brings good tidings of salvation by way of grace through simple faith! BELIEVE!!!! YES! IT’S THAT GOOD! YES! IT’S THAT EASY! (See Hebrews 4:14-16, Ephesians 2:8,9, John 1:12).
It’s so easy it’s impossible for many. “Nope, we gotta do our part,” they’ll say. They’ll go right back to Judaism. They’ll go right back to the temple.
Friend, Jesus did your part. Just open up your hands and say, “Thank you.”
“Yeah right, Matt! He died for us so we gotta get to work and die for Him!”
Friend, no…just relax and be yourself (see Hebrews 4:11, Galatians 5:22,23). Sure, your mind is being renewed by way of Christ’s Spirit–but you are complete! (See Romans 12:2, 2 Peter 1:3). All of the dying stuff is over. You symbolically followed Jesus to the Cross and you were supernaturally crucified, by faith.
So just…live. Be you. He likes you.
That word pierced, in Isaiah 53:5, is literal and accurate. Piercing was the job of a long, sharp, nasty nail. Other versions of the Bible read, “Crushed!” “Whipped!” “Bruised!” “Chastened!” One interpretation even claims Jesus was scourged. If you’ve seen The Passion of the Christ, you’ve seen a scourging.
As Jesus was tied up to a post, the Romans used a whip with metal shards on the end of each chord. WHEN THEY SLAMMED THE WHIP AGAINST HIS BACK, THOSE COARSE BITS OF METAL DUG DEEP INTO HIS SKIN AND LATCHED ON! Then they ferociouslyripped it away! Fragments and chunks of the Son of God spread all around them! THEY DID IT AGAIN! AND AGAIN!
Fleshy portions of the Messiah fell into the crevices on the ground! His perfect blood–never tainted by sin–poured out of the holes in His back…saturating everything. Blood splattered in the faces of the guards! Screamsfrom the crowd bellowed as people watched in horror!
…And Christ went limp… “GET UP! GET, UP–YOU STINKING FILTHY JEW! WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?!”
Blow after blow after blow… “STOP! PLEASE! STOOOOOOP IT!” Loved ones wailed for mercy! But they didn’t stop…they showed no mercy…they kept going. Our sin was being dealt with at that moment. Our sin was being paid for in full. Our sin was being taken away by Jesus through one final death. Afterwards, He sat down in heaven, never to have to die again: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
This is how we stay saved as Christians, it’s because Jesus died once for all sin. He is not dying again and again, up in heaven, after each stupid transgression we act on (see Hebrews 7:25).
Now, I say this with all due respect. But there are some people who are part of a “name-it-claim-it group.” With vigor and enthusiasm–and even innocently–they’ll shout, “By His stripes, I claim this job!” “By His stripes, I claimthis new car!” “By His stripes, I claim this healing!”
Friends, claiming anything by His stripes is not the gospel. We cannot boss God around and then use the name of Jesus to do so. How about we just ask Dad, and trust Him? Romans 8:15 says we now have the right to call God, “Abba,” which means, “Daddy.” So what do you say we go from claiming stuff, to simply being content in all things while asking our loving Father for what we want? He already knows before we even ask (see Matthew 6:8), He just craves for us to talk to Him.
Dad longs for us to trust Him through prayer, and by being our true selves, His kids. He wants us to know, “I’m with you, always.” He doesn’t want you frustrated by claiming things over and over. He wants you at peace.
God is not against us having stuff, getting that job, or mending your broken relationship. He’s not against you breaking that addiction, and He’s not against miraculous healings. He is God and He can do anything He wants, whenever He wants–and He’s always right. Thankfully, He loves us no matter what He decides about our requests!
But this verse, which was meant to explain what Jesus would do to our spirits has been misused for far too long. Can we please get back to the truth? Sure, Jesus can heal anyone at any time, and we should ask (see James 4:2, Philippians 4:6). But Isaiah 53:5 is not referring to our physical bodies, but instead, our infected spirits–our sinful spirits.
This verse is addressing our broken, damaged, spiritual selves. The one we were born with. Most people think we become sinners after our first act of sin, but that is not true. We areborn sinners, because of Adam (see Romans 5:12). Humanity’s original ancestor was created like God–perfect. But he chose to act on the power of sin which was presented to him by Satan. As a result, sin was infused with Adam’s supernatural DNA–his spirit–and so was all of his would-be descendants, us.
The good news is, even though that one man caused us to be born sinful–Adam–by one other man–Jesus–He caused us to become non-sinful in spirit! He caused us to be perfect just like Him in our eternal bodies! (See Romans 5:19).
Therefore, it was by His stripes our spirits are healed! It was by His stripes we have the opportunity to go from having a disgusting, puss-filled, maggot-infected, sinful, dead, carcass of a spirit–HELL BOUND–to instantly being healed! To instantly being perfect and heaven-ready!
Why? Because we are joined with Him inspirit! God is not looking for dead spirits to improve their behavior or go to church! He wants us to be remade, in full, once. This happens when we believe that Jesus saved us.
To take this one notch higher, if you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you haven’t simply been healed. You’ve been supernaturally killed off and reborn as a saint! You are a spirit! Your spirit will go on into eternity, with or without God. Your flesh will die but your spirit will not.
Isaiah thought our spirits just needed to be healed, but they needed to be born again! (See John 3:7). We had to be born of water–the sac we came into this world through Momma–and we had to be reborn of spirit! In John 3:5, Jesus is not telling Nicodemus about being dunked into H2O, but an embryonic pouch andGod’s own Spirit! Only the Holy Spirit joining our spirits can cause this rebirth, and it happens the first moment we believe even if we didn’t feel anything. Your salvation is not a feeling, but a fact.
Paul explains this to the Romans:
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” (Romans 6:6,7)
Do you see it? We’ve not simply been healed from sin–we’ve died to sin! Our spirits no longer contain it! By faith, we’ve died, we were buried, and then we were resurrected withJesus already in our physical bodies and spirits!
With Christ in us, we don’t even want to sin–it’s like touching a hot stove–it makes no sense when we do so. But as flawed humans on a fallen planet, and with the powerof sin and demonic temptations still floating around–WITH PEOPLE EVERYWHERE–yes, we touch that stove sometimes. But our Father will not disown us (see 2 Timothy 2:13). He doesn’t even convict us any longer. Jesus was already convicted and the punishment was death.
So now, God’s Spirit is loving us through our sinful choices with never ending grace (see Romans 5:20, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Galatians 5:22,23). He counsels us and patiently guides us away from danger. We still get to choose what to do! We get to decide if we will walk by our true selves or fake it! Either way, behavior cannot change your identity. Attitudes cannot change your identity.
Friend, saint, this is something we all have to deal with and it’s not easy…but very possible. We are new creations in Christ! Through His body we are now at peace with God! We are completely reconciled with our Creator! Holy! Blameless! Spiritually set apart! We are already sitting in heaven with Jesus at this moment–He is not bound by time–we are! Yet, we are still righteous today! We are children of God! That is what we are! (See Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 5:17,21, Romans 5:1, Colossians 1:22, 2 Peter 3:8, Ephesians 1:4, 2:6, John 1:12, 1 John 3:1).
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for sending Him here so that I can be a part of you and Him for good. If Isaiah could have only known how accurate he was as he wrote, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter”–it would have shocked him! I know your Spirit guided his human hand on that scroll the very day he penned this passage. As I read it today, thousands of years later, I’m very grateful! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. God, reveal to these dear readers that the very same Spirit who was WITH Isaiah is now IN them. The event he wrote about–Jesus taking away our sin–CAUSED US to be able to have your Spirit infused with OUR spirit, permanently! You’re not just WITH us, but IN us! We have something so much better on this side of the Cross! Because of Jesus’ loving sacrifice, you are committed to us forever! That is, if we believe, once. Thank you for your promise to Jesus, and His to you. Amen.
From Matt McMillian Ministries.
Our command is to concern ourselves with today and let God handle our "tomorrows". It's not that we should neglect our responsibilities of the future, but that we should be casting our worries and concerns onto the Lord. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Don't let what you can't control at the moment rob you of the joy of today.
We are but a mist, and not one of us is promised a tomorrow, so let's seek first the kingdom of God and let Him provide our needs from there (James 4:14 and Matthew 6:33).
I think we can all lose sight of how blessed our lives are from time to time.
We begin to focus all our energy on the "worldy" issue of the moment. I'm not saying that these issues aren't "stressful", but if we were to keep our focus on the "eternal" and not so much on what's temporary, I believe we'd be MUCH better off on a daily basis.
"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Colossains 3:2)
I believe our marriages are very important, not only to us, but also to our Heavenly Father. That said, there is absolutely nothing that should take top billing away from your relationship with Jesus. Make sure God is THE priority in your marriage, as all else will take care if itself. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)
Too often I see broken spouses who are saying they can't go on without their significant other. What does that say about their relationship with Jesus, who gave Himself so they "could" go on? If you find yourself saying (or even thinking) that, remember the sacrifice Christ made for you. Remember, this life is not eternal, and your ultimate inheritance is in heaven.
"Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever." (Psalm 73:25-26)
"For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him." (Colossians 1:16)
Quite simply, you were created for God's purpose and pleasure. God created you to have a relationship with Him (whether you acknowledge it or not). God has plans for you, "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)
Are you listening to God? Have you even asked Him what His plans are for you? God would tell you, "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21) So, we can run about trying to plan our lives by ourselves, while hoping to find a purpose in it all, OR, we can look to the One who already knows it ALL! Trust God. Pray for His guidance in all that you do. "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28)
God has a plan for your life here on earth. Choose to accept Christ into that life, so that God may guide your path from this day forward, and give you a purpose.
"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Now "that's" the kind of purpose worth living for. Amen.
Mom's are frequently good examples of how we should live our lives here on Earth (I know mine certainly is). Unselfishly, humbly, and with love in all things.
This is the last verse in Proverbs. The book begins with the command that the Lord should be feared and ends with the picture of a woman who fulfills this command. Her qualities are mentioned throughout the book: hard working, has a fear of God, a respect for spouse, foresight, provides encouragement and cares and has concerns for all those around her. All of which show us how to become wise, make good decisions, and live a life according to God's ideal.
Thank you mom. I love you and am truly blessed that God chose you to be my mother.