Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Peace Found in Jesus' Knowledge

Photo by Kai C. Schwarzer
Scripture: Isaiah 11:2
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Insights: In today’s verse we see the second reason we ought to have peace in our Messiah, Jesus Christ.  He knows everything.  The theological language describing this truth is He is omniscient.  Jesus possesses all wisdom and understanding.  In His counsel strength is found.  He, because He is God, understands why one ought to fear Him and how this fear cultivates knowledge.  The reason these facts produce peace is because Jesus knows our past perfectly.  He knows every sin we have ever committed and every right choice we have made to draw closer towards Him.  He knows our present perfectly as well.  He knows what our very thoughts are as we read this blog post.  He knows exactly what we are feeling and the concerns which may be resting on our hearts.  He knows the inside workings of our hearts at this second perfectly.  He also, however, knows our future.  He knows every decision we will make in the days to come.  He knows where we will spend eternity, either in heaven with Him or in the Lake of Fire separated from His mercy and grace.  The reason this knowledge gives us peace is because we can trust Him because He already knows.  In other words, with others we often walk around guarded by what we say and do.  With the Lord, however, there is no need for pretense of falsity because He knows the truth at the deepest level of our being.  This fact comforts my heart and I pray it does yours as well.  Approaching Him from this perspective grants us a vulnerability that will provide us with amazing freedom.  We are able to live with courage and boldness because we can trust our Messiah with our future because He already knows what it is.  Beloved, trust His knowledge and live in His peace as a result.

Questions:
 1. Do you know someone who thinks they know everything?
 2. Are you comforted by the fact that God does know everything?

Prayer: Father, I so often lie to myself that I am at times overwhelmed by the accuracy of knowledge regarding my life.  Yet, at the same time, knowing You know my future gives me a peace indescribable.  Amen.



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Monday, December 5, 2016

Peace Found in Jesus' Lineage

Photo by Robert Anthony Provost
Scripture: Isaiah 11:1
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

Insights: Last week was the first week of Advent and we looked at hope.  This second week we look at peace.  I titled the sermon Peace is Found in the Messiah.  Today we specifically note that our peace in the Messiah comes from His lineage.  He is the prophetically told Savior who has to come from the line of David.  In today’s verse we see Isaiah telling us that this Messiah would be a shoot from the stem of Jesse.  Jesse is David’s father and Jesus is from that line.  Remember, Isaiah is writing these words almost 600 years before Jesus is born, but they come to pass just as Isaiah foretold.  I used this idea to spring off on a tangent regarding the existence of God.  I talked about the statistics involved in all of the elements needed for life to exist on planet earth.  In other words, the earth has to be the right distance from the sun.  If we are too close, we burn up.  If we are too far away, we freeze.  I gave a few other examples as well.  I then used Dr. William Tolar's Chance or Choice example with coins being randomly pulled out of a pocket (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QEEb61tY64).  I realize in a blog formate there is no way to explain all of this information.  The point being, it takes more faith to believe in chance than it does to believe in a Designer who choose to create the universe and all that is in it.  Part of Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies help explain and clarify His deity and Lordship as Savior.  Knowing Him because of His fulfilling work gives me peace.  It is my prayer this truth also gives you peace.  The rest of the week we will examine four more aspects that give us peace about our Savior from this passage from Isaiah.

Questions:
 1. Do you ever question the existence of God?
 2. Does the fact that Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophetic passages give you peace in regards to your Savior?

Prayer: Father, thank You for fulfilling every Old Testament prophetic word regarding Your Son, Jesus.  I receive a great deal of peace knowing He is who He claims to be and by His work I am set free from my sin.  Amen.



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Friday, December 2, 2016

Hope for a Future Peace

Photo from H
Scripture: Isaiah 2:4
And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.

Insights: Today we conclude our thoughts regarding the hope we have in Jesus. Notice with me our eternal peace begins with judgment. In other words, Jesus will first be the judge of the saints at His bema seat judgment. After this judgment comes the Great White Throne judgment which is reserved for those who will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. When this judgment is over, God will then usher in His eternal peace. At that time in eternity's history there will be no more need for sword and spear. These weapons of destruction and death will be transformed into instruments of life. In other words, we will use the plowshare and the pruning hook to cultivate and nurture instead of killing. There are those who foolishly believe we can obtain peace here on this side of eternity. The truth is that ever since the fall, man has been at war. Cain killed Abel and the world has seen violence ever since.  There is a day coming, however, in which all of this killing will come to an end.  It is the day in which the Lord Jesus announces His eternal authority and begins His reign as the King of kings and Lord of lords.  We, who have received Him as Savior and Lord, will live under His peaceful reign forever and ever.  This day of which I speak is a hoped for day.  I pray you long for it as much as I.  Until that day comes, Jesus promises us peace in our hearts here on this side of eternity.  Paul describes it as a peace that surpasses understanding.  It is a glorious state of contentment in the midst of difficult and unbearable situations.  Only by having a relationship with Jesus are you able to have this kind of peace.  If you have never met Jesus, I encourage you to meet Him today.  He will give you a hope for your future.

Questions:
 1. Have you ever experienced the peace of the Lord in your life?
 2. As you imagine a future in Christ without war and strife, what kind of emotions are stirred within you?

Prayer: Father, I long for that day of eternal peace with expectant hope.  You are my fulfillment of peace and I can’t wait to see You face to face.  Amen.



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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hope for a Future Rule

Photo by Chad Kainz
Scripture: Isaiah 2:3
And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.”  For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Insights: The second aspect to the hope we have in Jesus’ second coming is His rule.  Notice in today’s verse we see Jesus Himself teaching us about His ways and guiding us to walk down His paths.  He will establish His law and it will go out from Him.  In the Lord’s prayer Jesus said, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  How is Jesus’ rule in heaven lived out by heaven’s residents?  The answer to the question is perfectly.  In other words, when Jesus gives a command, it is done.  There is no arguing, procrastinating, worrying if it is the right decision, etc.  When Jesus gives a command it is immediately followed in heaven.  Notice with me a second aspect about this future rule under which we long to live.  It is found in the phrase, “That He may teach us concerning His ways.”  When we get to heaven it is true that we are glorified and no longer enslaved to our old sinful nature, but we do not become God.  He is the infinite One.  We are finite.  One of the aspects of heaven is us learning from the great Teacher, Jesus, perfectly unhindered by the sorrows of sin.  When He teaches us in heaven, we receive it perfectly and obey Him perfectly.  So, the Lord’s prayer will be one day reality for us because God’s will is done perfectly in heaven.  Until that day comes, may we strive to obey and learn His rule as best we can on this side of eternity.  May we strive for obedience and servitude to Him in our current place of assignment from the Lord.

Questions:
 1. How well do you follow the commands of God?
 2. Do you have hope in the reality that in eternity God will teach you and you will obey perfectly His commands?

Prayer: Father, I learn from You now on this side of eternity, but I continue to sin.  I long for the day in which I will be in Your presence and learn Your ways and paths unhindered by the bearer of sin.  Amen.



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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hope for a Future Kingdom

Photo by Pacheco
Scripture: Isaiah 2:2
Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.

Insights: With today’s verse we start the season of Advent.  The remainder of this week we are going to be looking at three aspects of our hope for our future.  As a preliminary comment let me explain Advent for a moment.  Advent is the season in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Each week leading up to Christmas day there is a theme on which the sermon and the candle reading/lighting ceremony is centered.  Now Advent has two connotations to it.  The advent of Jesus’ first coming foretold in the Old Testament, as well as, Jesus’ second coming as mentioned throughout the Bible. This weeks theme is that of hope.  It was specifically focused on the hope of a Savior to rescue Israel from their sins.  To be fair, however, the Israelites thought this Savior would save them through the establishment of an earthly kingdom that would never end.  The truth, however, is Jesus would usher in this aspect of His kingdom at His second Advent.  It is this kingdom that our verse today speaks.  Jesus’ hoped for kingdom will be for all people who enter into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus.  This truth is an amazingly hoped for reality in the life of a believer.  It helps us to put the situations of this world in the proper context.  We are able to undergo and endure through all things because we know our residence is secured in Jesus.  Beloved, it is my prayer you will join me in changing your perspective and life to such an extent that you begin sharing Jesus’ love and salvation with all people.  God’s kingdom is for everyone after all.  Let us be busy about reaching them.

Questions:
 1. Do you have hope in a future kingdom?
 2. In what ways are you trying to make this kingdom available for all people?

Prayer: Father, thank You for allowing me to be a citizen of Your kingdom.  May I be bold in sharing with others about this amazing place in store for my future.  As a result of my declarations, may many come to know Jesus the One who grants citizenship to this kingdom.  Amen.



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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Obedience is Derived from Good Information

Photo by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Insights: Today we finish our 2 Timothy study.  Specifically today we are looking at how obedience is actually derived from good information.  Good information comes from two sources.  The first source is the people with whom we associate.  There is an old adage that says you become like the people with whom you spend the most time.  If you hang around bad people, you are going to likely become bad.  You hang around wealthy people, you are probably going to become wealthy.  You hang around good people, you will likely become good.  Paul is encouraging Timothy to remember those people like his mother and grandmother as a source of inspiration for Him as he proclaims Jesus.  People are not the only source of information which leads us to a life of obedience.  The second source is God’s Word, the Bible, directly.  Notice God’s Word is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.  I want you to notice, however, Paul is not telling Timothy it is just okay to hang around the right people.  It is equally not okay just to become knowledgeable about the Bible.  These relationships and God's Word ought to push us toward obedience.  We ought to be compelled to serve Him.  In fact, this truth is the final part of verse seventeen.  This individual that hangs around the right people and studies the right Book are then adequate and equipped for every good work.  We are not called to sit on the sidelines.  We are called to serve.  Beloved, let us serve well and all for His glory.

Questions:
 1. Who has mentored you in your spiritual life for whom you are grateful?
 2. What lessons have the Scriptures taught you recently?

Prayer: Father, thank You for the people You have put in my life.  Thank You for giving me Your Word, the Bible.  Thank You for growing me into the person I have become for You.  May I walk obediently as a result of all You have dispensed into my life.  Amen.



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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Disobedience is Derived from Bad Information

Photo by Caro Wallis
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:13
But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Insights: The second truth we learn this week is the world is full of people who have been deceived.  The real problem, however, is once a person has been lied to and they have bought into that lie, then they become the next generation who proselyte this wrong belief.  In other words, do you think a Jehovah’s Witness or a Muslim wakes up in the morning and says to themselves, “I am going to leave my house today and lead a person straight to the pit of hell because of this false message I am espousing.”  The answer is a resounding, “no.”  These individuals have been deceived to believe that what they are thinking is correct and because they think they are correct they share their belief with others.  In their sharing of these wrong ideas, however, sometimes a person will believe them and before we know it another false convert is out there deceiving people to a lie.  Beloved, we must understand this reality and pray for the the spiritual blinders to be removed from peoples eyes.  I pray the Lord protects you from false theology and rhetoric.  May you know the Truth, Jesus Christ, and may He guide you into the paths of righteousness.  May our faithful lives bring glory to the Lord.

Questions:
 1. Have you ever been deceived, and if so, how did it feel?
 2. Have you ever deceived someone else, and if so, why?

Prayer: Father, in this world we desire to look good in the eyes of other people.  As a result, too many times we deceive those around us.  Protect me from my false image and let me walk humbly with You.  Give me wisdom to not fall prey to the deceptive words of others as well.  Amen.



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