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9 Character Traits of the Lord’s Servant

Hundreds of years before He was born, Isaiah prophesied about Jesus the Messiah. In Isaiah chapter 42, we read about nine of His character traits. It is truly amazing that Jesus was the fulfillment of all of these, and more. What is even more amazing is that God calls all of us as Christ-followers to emulate Christ, and He helps to develop these character traits in our lives as well.

1 “This is My Servant; I strengthen Him,
this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him.
I have put My Spirit on Him;
He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry out or shout
or make His voice heard in the streets.
3 He will not break a bruised reed,
and He will not put out a smoldering wick;
He will faithfully bring justice.
4 He will not grow weak or be discouraged
until He has established justice on earth.
The islands will wait for His instruction.” (Isaiah 42:1-4)

Here are the nine character traits, with a question or two for you to consider concerning your personal walk with Christ in regards to each character trait.

  1. He is God’s servant. (v1)
    • Do you realize what an honor it is to be a servant of the God of the universe, and not just the servant of any earthly kingdom or king?
    • When is the last time you actively pursued an endeavor that was something you knew that God wanted you to do?
  2. His strength comes from the Lord. (v1)
    • Is there an awareness in your life that moment by moment the Lord is strengthening you?
    • How do you draw strength from the Lord?
  3. He is chosen by God. (v1)
    • Have you taken time today to thank God for choosing you to be one of His children?
  4. God delights in Him. (v1)
    • Think about how children are a delight to their parents. What are the things in your walk with Christ that God delights in?
  5. God’s Spirit is on Him. (v1)
    • How is the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life evident to you and evident to others?
    • Which aspects of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) are the strongest in your life, and which aspect is God developing in you most evidently right now?
  6. He is concerned for all nations. (v1)
    • Do you pray for people from all nations to come to faith in Christ?
    • Are you praying for God to bring new friends into your life from all nations?
  7. He will not be boastful or arrogant. (v2)
    • Is your life characterized by humility or by boasting and arrogance? Which of these best honors the Lord?
  8. He will show value to all people by His gentleness and compassion. (v3)
    • In what ways are you showing compassion and gentleness to all people, thereby showing the value that you place on every person’s life?
  9. He will work tirelessly to establish justice on earth. (vv3-4)
    • Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” How are you praying and working to establish justice for all people: in your home, in your community, in your nation, and around the world?
 
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Posted by on July 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Two Gates

20140605_065925ONE GATE is a wide gate on a broad road that leads to destruction. Many people are on it.

20140611_125032

THE OTHER GATE is a narrow gate on a difficult road that leads to life. Few people are on it.

Which gate will you choose? Jesus says that you have a choice.

Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

The narrow gate is the way of Christ

  • The way of Christ is NOT the most popular way

You already knew that, right? If you stand for Jesus and His Word, you will be in the minority in our culture and around the world.

  • The way of Christ is NOT the easiest way

Be courageous and determined to make the right choice, even when it is not the easiest road to walk. Jesus’ road wasn’t easy to walk. Neither was the road walked by the apostle Paul. They both suffered greatly to fulfill God’s mission for their lives.

  • The way of Christ IS the best way

This is the way of holiness, the way of serving others, the way of sharing Christ, the way Jesus says to go.

  • The way of Christ is the only way that leads to life — abundant life and eternal life

The wide path leads to destruction. On earth, the consequences for walking on this path are damaging. Eternally, the consequences of remaining on this path are monumentally tragic — separation from God and eternal suffering in hell.

The narrow path leads to life.

Jesus said, “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10)

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

Three points of application to your life 

1. If you are currently walking on the wide path, it is time to choose a new path. Trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior today. Enter through the narrow gate (Him) and let Him change your life today.

2. Does it bother you that many of your friends and neighbors may be on the road to destruction? It should move you to tears and to action.

3. Are you on the narrow path, the way of life? If so, then live your life with joy. You may even need to tell your face: “I am a Christian! I should smile every once in a while!”

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Lord vs false gods

Who do you trust — the Lord or the false gods of the earth? From the beginning of time, the devil has been tempting people to trust in philosophies, systems and objects that are in opposition to the clear Word of God. It was true in the garden of Eden. It was true in the time of Jesus. It is true today.

People today worship humanism (intellect), hedonism (pleasure), and materialism (possessions). Other people revere money, power and control above all things. And the religions of the world declare the validity of their gods.

the situation

Isaiah was facing a difficult situation in 700 BC. The nations of Assyria and Babylon were poised to conquer Jerusalem and all of Israel. The people of Israel refused to admit that their sin was the root cause of their inevitable destruction. The Lord had warned them that they would be conquered as an earthly consequence for their sin.

Rather than recognize that the Lord was the all-powerful controller of human events, the children of Israel were tempted to believe what the Assyrians and Babylonians believed. Those nations believed that the reason for their victories were that their gods were stronger that Yahweh, the God of Israel.

Speaking through Isaiah the prophet, the Lord calls the false gods of the nations to stand before him:

“Submit your case,” says the LORD. “Present your arguments,” says Jacob’s King. (Isaiah 41:21)

the evidence

The Lord asked for a presentation of the evidence to display to everyone who the true God is. He asked questions related to prophecy: Who accurately predicted the future? He asked questions related to history: Who raised up the kings that led armies to victory? He asked questions related to actionCan you do anything? He asked questions related to the future: Who knows what will happen next? 

Examine the evidence in the verses below:

22 “Let them come and tell us what will happen. Tell us the past events, so that we may reflect on them and know the outcome, or tell us the future. 23 Tell us the coming events, then we will know that you are gods. Indeed, do something good or bad, then we will be in awe and perceive. 24 Look, you are nothing and your work is worthless. Anyone who chooses you is detestable.
 
25 “I have raised up one from the north, and he has come, one from the east who invokes My name. He will march over rulers as if they were mud, like a potter who treads the clay. 26 Who told about this from the beginning, so that we might know, and from times past, so that we might say: He is right? No one announced it, no one told it, no one heard your words. 27 I was the first to say to Zion: Look! Here they are! And I gave a herald of good news to Jerusalem. 28 When I look, there is no one; there is no counselor among them; when I ask them, they have nothing to say. 29 Look, all of them are a delusion; their works are nonexistent; their images are wind and emptiness. (Isaiah 41:22-29) 
_______

The Lord prophesied of past events with 100% accuracy. The Lord raised up the kings who won victories for their nations to fulfill the His sovereign purposes. And He brought them down at their appointed times. The Lord acted in history through people and nations, and through natural and supernatural events. And through the lens of more than 2500 years of time since Isaiah lived, we can clearly see that the Lord’s predictions of the future were right on target.

the choice

The choice is clear. Trust in the Lord God. He is the all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign God of all the nations. False gods have no answers. False gods have no true power. False gods are ultimately worthless. The Lord says this about the false gods:

Look, you are nothing and your work is worthless. Anyone who chooses you is detestable. (Isaiah 41:24)

The best news that the Lord shares is the good news that took place on Mount Zion (Jerusalem). Jesus died on that hill and was raised from the dead to offer forgiveness, salvation and eternal life to all who will put their trust in Him. A verse in Isaiah chapter forty-one hints about the work that Jesus was going to do on Mount Zion:

I was the first to say to Zion: Look! Here they are! And I gave a herald of good news to Jerusalem. (Isaiah 41:27) 

The Lord displayed His power over the false gods in Moses’ day. He displayed His power over false gods in Elijah’s day. He proved it again through Jesus the Christ. Trust in the Lord. He is the one true and living God.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Leading Someone to Faith in Christ

Salvation is truly a gift of God’s grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast.

Salvation is available to everyone who will put their faith and trust in Jesus:

John 3:16
For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 1:12
But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name,

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

A few verses in the book of Romans clearly explain the gospel, and show you the way to Christ. These verses are referred to by many as the “Romans Road.”

Salvation is truly turning away from your sin, trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross as the payment of your sin, believing that Jesus rose from the dead and that He will give you eternal life, and placing your faith in Him as your Lord and Savior. Salvation is receiving the gift of eternal life.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8
But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Romans 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

Romans 10:13
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

In light of all of the verses above, are you ready to do the following?

A — Admit that you are a sinner

B — Believe in Jesus as your only hope for salvation

C — Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior

If you are ready, then verbalize your desire for salvation through a prayer to the Lord. You can pray a prayer similar to this one:

“Dear Jesus, I know that I am sinner and I need you to save me. Right now, by faith, I turn from my sin and trust in You. I believe that you died for me and rose again. By faith, I receive your grace and the gift of eternal life. Jesus, I commit my life to you. Thank you for saving me. Help me to never be ashamed of you. AMEN.”

If you just trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior, praise God! It is very important for you to tell someone (a pastor, parent, friend or other Christ-follower) about your decision. They can help you in your walk with Christ, including next steps of obedience with Christ including:

  • baptism
  • reading your Bible
  • prayer
  • connection to a local church
  • telling others about Christ
  • growing in your faith to become more and more like Jesus

If you just trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior, I am excited for you! You have just made the most important decision of your life. I want to celebrate with you and help you any way that I can. Please contact me using the Contact tab above.

Perhaps you are already a believer in Jesus Christ. Use this resource to share the good news of Jesus with others who are not yet followers of Jesus. When you have the opportunity to lead someone to faith in Christ, let me know about it. I want to celebrate with you too!

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law”

One of the pastors that I deeply respect is John Piper. Like me, he believes in the sufficiency of Scripture to guide us, so that we will know what to think, what to believe, what to say and what to do in every situation. He encourages us to love Christ deeply and to realize how the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything!

Here is Piper’s article from June 26, 2015 after the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States of America in regards to same-sex marriage. May the Lord use his words to drive you to the cross and to God’s Word for perspective on this monumental ruling in our nation’s history.

______________

Article by John Piper: “So-Called Same-Sex Marriage: Lamenting the New Calamity” (June 26, 2015)

Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved. Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy.

His will is that a man might leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6–9). In this union, sexuality finds its God-appointed meaning, whether in personal-physical unification, symbolic representation, sensual jubilation, or fruitful procreation.

For those who have forsaken God’s path of sexual fulfillment, and walked into homosexual intercourse or heterosexual extramarital fornication or adultery, Jesus offers astonishing mercy.

Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

But today this salvation from sinful sexual acts was not embraced. Instead there was massive institutionalization of sin.

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

The Bible is not silent about such decisions. Alongside its clearest explanation of the sin of homosexual intercourse (Romans 1:24–27) stands the indictment of the approval and institutionalization of it. Though people know intuitively that homosexual acts (along with gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness, boasting, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness) are sin, “they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:29–32). “I tell you even with tears, that many glory in their shame” (Philippians 3:18–19).

This is what the highest court in our land did today — knowing these deeds are wrong, “yet approving those who practice them.”

My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us. The new thing — new for America, and new for history — is not homosexuality. That brokenness has been here since we were all broken in the fall of man. (And there is a great distinction between the orientation and the act — just like there is a great difference between my orientation to pride and the act of boasting.)

What’s new is not even the celebration and approval of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.

My main reason for writing is not to mount a political counter-assault. I don’t think that is the calling of the church as such. My reason for writing is to help the church feel the sorrow of these days. And the magnitude of the assault on God and his image in man.

Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way. Sin carries in it its own misery: “Men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:27).

And on top of sin’s self-destructive power comes, eventually, the final wrath of God: “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:5–6).

Christians know what is coming, not only because we see it in the Bible, but because we have tasted the sorrowful fruit of our own sins. We do not escape the truth that we reap what we sow. Our marriages, our children, our churches, our institutions — they are all troubled because of our sins.

The difference is: We weep over our sins. We don’t celebrate them. We don’t institutionalize them. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and help. We cry to Jesus, “who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

And in our best moments, we weep for the world, and for our own nation. In the days of Ezekiel, God put a mark of hope “on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 9:4).

This is what I am writing for. Not political action, but love for the name of God and compassion for the city of destruction.

“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:136)

______________

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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In the Middle of the Desert, God Provides

The children of Israel knew their history. Their ancestors wandered in the desert wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land of God’s abundance. At one point in their journey, when they were completely out of water, they cried out to the Lord in prayer and God provided water from a rock.

Hundreds of years later, during the time of Isaiah the prophet, God reminded them (and he reminds us!) that He is still the one to provide streams in the desert. God provides in miraculous ways. God takes a person who is spiritually dry and gives them eternal life! They know the refreshment that comes from abundant life with God.

Let me illustrate. I have a friend who was a police officer in a big city in America. He was married with children. But he was a hard man. He was rough, with very foul language and searing anger that could explode at any moment. He was an alcoholic. He had grown up aware of religion, but he was spiritually dry. He was lost. After years of marriage struggles, he and his wife got divorced. He relocated to another part of the state.

He began attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). He got remarried. Some friends from AA invited him to our church. He came week after week. He attended Bible study discussion group and worship services. God began to soften his heart. I remember the day that he came to talk to me at the end of the worship service. His huge hand shook mine, and he gave me a huge bear hug. He poured his heart out, and received God’s gift of salvation on that day. His life was changed forever. He became a brand new person in Christ. He now knows what it is like for God to provide streams of water in his life.

The poor and the needy seek water, but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, Yahweh, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

I will open rivers on the barren heights,
and springs in the middle of the plains.
I will turn the desert into a pool of water
and dry land into springs of water.

I will plant cedars in the desert,
acacias, myrtles, and olive trees.
I will put juniper trees in the desert,
elms and cypress trees together,

so that all may see and know,
consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:17-20)

In a hopeless situation
There’s a cry of desperation (v17a)
____________
God who hears
God who cares (v17b)
____________
God who works miracles
God who meets needs
God who turns the desert
into an oasis (vv18-19)
____________
Tell all the world who God is
Tell all the world what God has done (v20)
__________
 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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3 Reasons to Rejoice in the Lord

Rejoicing in the Lord is bragging on the Lord; being grateful to the Lord; being happy in the Lord; giving the Lord the credit He deserves for the great things He has done. There are many ways to rejoice in the Lord: prayer, songs, spoken words, written words, grateful contemplation, and many more.

Hear the words spoken by Isaiah the prophet:

Isaiah 41:11-16
11 Be sure that all who are enraged against you will be ashamed and disgraced; those who contend with you will become as nothing and will perish. 12 You will look for those who contend with you, but you will not find them. Those who war against you will become absolutely nothing. 13 For I, Yahweh your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you. 14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel: I will help you— this is the LORD’s declaration. Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. 15 See, I will make you into a sharp threshing board, new, with many teeth. You will thresh mountains and pulverize them and make hills into chaff. 16 You will winnow them and a wind will carry them away, a gale will scatter them. But you will rejoice in the LORD; you will boast in the Holy One of Israel.
_________

Why do you rejoice in the Lord? Here are three reasons.

1. The Lord empowers you (vv13-16). He guides your hand the way that a father holds the hand of his son when he is teaching him a new skill such as fishing or archery. He helps you the way a father helps his young son to hit a baseball for the very first time. The Lord provides the strength you need for the tasks at hand. He empowers you. Rejoice in the Lord.

2. The Lord removes your fear (vv13-14). In comparison to God, you are as small as a worm (see verse 14). Yet, God loves you so much that He speaks deep into your emotions to remove your fear. If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you do not have to be afraid because He is with you, and He is your God. Moment by moment, one emotional, mental and spiritual battle at a time, He removes your fear. When He does, rejoice in the Lord.

3. The Lord gives you victory (vv11-12). When Jesus died on the cross, He broke the curse of sin. When Jesus rose from the dead, He proved to be the One who gives us power over every sin, temptation and struggle we face, even the enemy of death itself. When you trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, your life is changed forever, your sin is forgiven, and your home in heaven is secure. As you face the challenges of each day, you do not have to wonder if God will help you to have victory over sins, temptations and struggles. You simply need to stand in His victory, and trust Him to defeat your enemies one at a time. Trust in Him. Depend on Him. Walk in victory. He will guide you. He will empower you. He will remove your fear. He will give you victory. And when He does, rejoice in the Lord.

As Paul writes in Philippians 4:4 — rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice!

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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