Friday, 18 August 2017

Our grief bearer

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. – Isaiah 53.4

Grief us a terrible part of life. Every one of us has had plenty to grieve over in our lives. Death and illness and sorrow cause us grief. Our own behaviour can cause us pain and sorrow. We can grieve over our own failures. The more years go by the more grieve and sorrow we see. It can sometimes seem that live if ever and only all about grief.

Without hope that can be what life is all about. I think that is why suicide is such a huge problem today. There is grief and sorrow and pain and people can’t see an out, so they just decide that death must be better than sorrow.

But there is a hope for our grief and our sorrow. God has it sorted. He gave us a grief bearer.

Surely, He, the messiah, Jesus Christ, has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Even in those sorrowful grief filled moments we have hope because we learn to see our trials in the light or eternity. All of the trials and tests and sorrows and grief that we face today are not worthy with the glory that will be revealed because Jesus carries the load of our grief.

He shares the yoke of grief with us and gives us a place to turn. Let's let Him carry the weight. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Despised and rejected

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. – Isaiah 53.3

I think one the saddest aspects of the gospel message is the rejection of Christ by the world He died to save. He was known from the beginning that He would be rejected, and yet still He came to die for us.

John describes it as a matter of life and darkness. The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin. There was nothing man could do without light. Sin always blinds us.

Because man was hopeless and helpless Jesus came as the Light of the world. But, as man normally does, the world rejected Christ because they love their darkness more than they love the light. He was despised and rejected by men despite His ultimate sacrifice.

That’s bad enough, but Isaiah is speaking to God’s people when we says ‘and we hid, as it were, our faces from Him. He was despised and we did not esteem Him.’

How sad it is when God’s own people ignore Him and despise Him by our actions and our attitudes. And yet we do that all the time when we choose our way over His. We do that when we ignore His promises to us and choose to trust our way. We despise His word when we ignore all that He does for us and choose to live according to the flesh.

It’s bad when the world rejects Him. It’s heartbreaking when His people do.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Beautiful feet

How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!” – Isaiah 52.7

What do we think about a messenger who brings good news, peace, glad tidings of odd things, salvation, and the words ‘Your God is in control?’

In these days of seemingly endless bas news that is the kind of news that we need to hear. I hate to admit that I am a news freak. Even when the news is all bad I still am a bit obsessed about seeing and hearing it and reading about it. Good news stories are always a joy to see and even human good news stories can help lighten a day.

Here though we read about the ultimate good news. Peace, good things, salvation, and having a God who has all this covered should make any day bright. God says that the deliverer of this good news has ‘beautiful feet’ and I think that is a lovely way to describe how we feel about the bearer of good tidings.

Of course ultimate bearer of this good news His Christ for He is the one who brought salvation and peace and the knowledge of a God who is in control.

But he told the disciples that He was sending them out just like the Father sent Him out to do these things. We too are called to share the same news. That means that we too can have beautiful feet as we go about our daily task of sharing the good news with those around us. Our lives and and actions and our words should constantly reflect Christ’s message of salvation and peace and how others can know the God who reigns.

It is a shame when I, or anyone else, is so consumed with the worldly news and the badness of it that we don’t have time to share the good news.

Lord, give me beautiful feet today that I might be the bearer of good news to a world that needs it so desperately.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Forever salvation

Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
And look on the earth beneath.
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
The earth will grow old like a garment,
And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not be abolished. – Isaiah 51.6

As I get that little bit older it seems like nothing lasts forever. Everything wears out.
Even heaven and earth will one day pass away and it is certainly true that not a one of us is going to escape death.

Yet it is all these temporary things that grab our attention and that is where we tend to focus because they are so visible and so real. It is these things we see everyday and it only make sense to pay attention to them.

For Christians though there is something in our lives that will last forever. God’s gift of salvation will last forever and His righteousness will never be abolished. Heaven and earth are going to pass away, but Jesus will never fail.

Jesus’ salvation is forever. It is not temporary. It doesn’t come and go. Forever means forever.

Monday, 14 August 2017

God's hand is not shortened

Why, when I came, was there no man?
Why, when I called, was there none to answer?
Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a wilderness;
Their fish stink because there is no water,
And die of thirst. – Isaiah 50.2

Israel often through her history doubted the power of God. From the time they left Egypt and were sent into the wilderness they questioned God’s ability to take care of them.

And man doesn’t really change, does he? I don’t know about everyone else, but there are plenty of times in my life when I am just as bad as they. I wonder if God can really deal with this situation. Even though I have watched God deliver me from trouble after trouble I still can wonder ‘can He really deal with this one?’

I need this reminder. There are a couple of things in my life that make me anxious about the future. I know I am wrong. I know these things should not make me nervous. I say that I know God can handle it, but I wonder if I REALLY know He can handle it.

God hand is never going to be shortened. He is God. Nothing can limit His power no matter how bad it might look to us. God can do the things that seem impossible to me. His hand is never too short. Nothing is impossible for Him.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The ends of the earth

Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” – Isaiah 49.6

We can find clues that God plan, from the very beginning, was not just to be the God of Israel but His desire was to be God of the whole world. It only makes sense because, indeed, God so loved the world that He gave His only son.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance – the whole world.

Speaking here to His future Messiah God says ‘it is not enough that You be saviour to the Jews alone, but that You should be a Light to the Gentiles and carry my salvation even to the ends of the earth.’

What is truly is amazing is that Jesus passed that commission on to us. ‘Even as the Father has sent me so send I you’ He said and ‘go into all the world and preach the gospel.’

It is easy to get focused on our own Jerusalems or Judeas because they are so close and they are the people we are most comfortable with. It can be harder to carry God’s salvation to our Samarias and the ‘uttermost parts of the earth.’

God’s plan is for His salvation to be carried to everyone, to the ends of the world. I wonder if we are really doing our part.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

No peace

And they did not thirst
When He led them through the deserts;
He caused the waters to flow from the rock for them;
He also split the rock, and the waters gushed out.
“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” – Isaiah 48.21-22

Peace.

What a wonderful goal. Everyone wants peace. Nobody really wants fighting and struggle. “Peace, peace’ the world cries. But there is no peace for the wicked.

Peace, real peace, abiding and eternal peace is impossible apart from the peace that Jesus said He would leave behind. The problem with peace is that as long as people live in their sin they cannot find peace. I looked at inner peace recently so I think this time we can look at actual peace between men.

Apart from Christ that is impossible. James tells us why when he describes where fights and wars come from. He tells us that conflict comes because of our wrong lusts and desires and without Christ those lust and desires rule and we do whatever it takes to get what we want and because we do whatever we want and try to get what we want we are never going to be content and never find peace.

The only hope is the internal peace that comes with a relationship with Christ. When we are in Christ we learn to be at peace and to find contentment in Him. We realise that our own lusts and desires are not really all that important. Christ’s peace allows us to rest in Him and not try to fight and scrap like the rest of the world.

There is no real deep abiding forever peace outside of Christ.