Bible Reference: Isaiah 48:11–13
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)
Bible Text: 11 I will rescue you for my sake – yes, for my own sake! I will not let my reputation be tarnished, and I will not share my glory with idols! 12 “Listen to me, O family of Jacob, Israel my chosen one! I alone am God, the First and the Last. 13 It was my hand that laid the foundations of the earth, my right hand that spread out the heavens above. When I call out the stars, they all appear in order.”
OBSERVATION: As a child of the King of all kings, we should constantly be mistaken for King, because of our actions, words, and our heart. But how often does that happen? Way too often our friends will see no difference between followers of Jesus Christ and the ungodly. Why do you suppose that might be? Well, in our Scripture today God said that He would not share His glory with the likes of this world. So wouldn’t that mean that we should be dedicated to the glory of our King and not just to pleasing our friends and the rest of the world? Let’s open our hearts to the Word of the Lord today as we meditate on Him.
APPLICATION: I believe that God spoke to me on two items in these verses this morning, and I wanted to share this with you friends:
1. The verses preceding those above spoke about God purifying His people with fire. Then He said something very powerful in verse 11: “I will not let my reputation be tarnished”. Friends, we may claim the name of ‘Christian’ or ‘follower’ or we may have a desire, and commit to live like Jesus. However, this may sometimes result in no change in our lives. I believe that God will then quickly step in to make sure that His reputation is not tarnished. We hear about Christian leaders being caught in adultery or some other sin, and we may sometimes wonder how did they get caught. Friends, God said that He will not allow His reputation to be tarnished. I believe that this still very much applies today! Christianity is not a ‘pretend’ thing, it’s a lifelong commitment to the very One who sacrificed His life for our salvation. He’s the One who holds our future in His hands, and may I remind you that He will not allow His reputation to be tarnished!
2. In verses 12 and 13 God reminds us of His awesome power and supremacy. Let’s try to keep in mind that this God that we serve, created the universe that we enjoy today. He is the ONLY God – the Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end. Let’s also note that it is just not the human race that is under the obligation of obeying our Master, but even to the stars that we enjoy looking at – God also made them and they are obedient to His call. When we think of the awesomeness of our God, do we need to go any further than to simply read His Word and savor the awesome descriptions of our Creator? May I remind you that we serve a strong, awesome God!
Friends, do you know this awesome God of whom I have spoken in this devotional? If you do, please enjoy His presence today and rejoice in the awesome God that He truly is. If you don’t know my God, please allow me to introduce Him to you. There is information in my ‘Footnote’ that might help you, but I would welcome your email asking for my help. It would be my honor to introduce you to the One who will make the difference between eternal life with the Creator of this universe vs endless death in the presence of the Evil One – Satan.
PRAYER: Praise God, I can rejoice in the joy of my salvation, the Creator of this universe and the One who lives forevermore! Lord, please deal in my heart daily so that I may never misrepresent You or tarnish Your name. Please touch the hearts of my readers today so that they may also commit to a pure, dedicated life that is totally sold out to You – a life that will never sacrifice or tarnish the wonderful name of Jesus. May others see Jesus through our actions and through all areas of our character, for I ask this in the precious and holy name of Jesus, AMEN!
Text to Consider: Ephesians 5:22-33
Fallen Condition Being Addressed: Unlike things fall apart.
Grace Answer: Christ has now made us one new unity, one new thing in Him.
Have you ever been to an orchestra concert? Isn’t it amazing how so many different players and instruments can sound so “together” in the performance? Think about it! On the stage there may be one hundred artist or more, all playing their instruments skillfully in unison with each other. When it all comes together, it simply sounds like one new instrument beautifully playing one piece of music. The secret to the magic is that the many become one, each giving place to those around them so that an expression of the heart can be transmitted to the listeners’ ears.
This is the idea we must keep in mind in order to understand the teaching of this passage. These instructions make no sense to those who see themselves as individuals. In order for this to make sense we must grasp that we are no longer “independent operators” in God’s scheme. We are now unbreakably joined together as one new “molecule,” or on new “atom.”
When two atoms of hydrogen combine with one atom of oxygen one new substance is formed called “water.” These two elements, hydrogen and oxygen, join together to become one new thing.
Until we see that our union with Christ makes us into something more than we used to be, these commands to “submit” and “love” will make no real sense to us. If we continue to see ourselves as mere individuals who have signed a contract with each other rather than two things that have now combined to become one new thing, we will struggle against each other causing needless friction. Instead of playing in harmony like a well-tuned orchestra, we will explode in disunity like a triggered land mine.
In very complex endeavors of life, how you think about what you are doing makes all the difference between success or failure. Think about it! Which baseball team is most likely to succeed? A team of talented individuals or a team of talented team players? Which army is likely to win victory? An army in which each soldier feels responsible for the good of others or an army in which each man looks out for his own skin alone?
In chapter 2 of Ephesians the Holy Spirit discussed with us this principle as it concerns our ethnicity: there are no longer Gentiles or Jews in the Church. We have now become one new thing. We are Christians. This same principle is now carried into marriage; the two have become one in Christ.
The difficulties we now experience in marriage and in the church largely come from our failure to conceive of ourselves as this one new man, one new unit, with new aspirations, new objectives, new tools and new powers. It’s a thinking problem, a failure of insight and imagination first of all.
Until the Holy Spirit does His work of renewing our minds, we will struggle. He does this work through “the washing of water with the word.” Renewing our minds is crucial to the Christian life.
Secondly, we must realize that this new oneness is an expression of the life of Christ within each believer and within His Church. We live out this oneness by Christ living His life out through each member of His family.
Thinking along these lines, could we conceive of Christ refusing to submit to the Father’s leadership? Or can we imagine the Holy Spirit acting independently from the Son? Unimaginable!
So should it now be with believers. Wives now have Christ within, living in submission to their husbands. Husbands now have Christ within, loving their wives through them.
So pulling it all together, we now have one life to share together, one new objective as a team, and one Savior within living His life out through ours.
Do we see ourselves this way now that we belong to Him?
Bible Reference: Matthew 5:16
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)
Bible Text: 16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.
OBSERVATION: This verse shows us what happens when someone sees the glory of God, even through something He may say or do through us (Christians). The emphasis here is ‘God’ and His mighty works, and not our abilities. Let’s meditate on how we might best align ourselves in this scenario.
APPLICATION: We have some who are super smart, and we have some who could use a lot of help, while others place themselves at the feet of Jesus with open hearts and ask God to fill them with His grace, His love, His wisdom and His mercy. Friends, it once again struck me as a very humbling thing that someone would actually praise God because of something I may have said or done! Of course, we want to extend praise and thanksgiving to the individual when we hear something of interest from them, because we want to encourage them. But can’t you see where there would be no better way of encouraging them, than for you to thank God: for creating them; for placing them in your path; for giving them the words that may have blessed you; or for giving them the financial capabilities to help you through some very tough times; or for speaking the right words to your son, that opened his eyes and heart to salvation? Wouldn’t it be awesome to walk up to your Sunday School teacher and instead of praising him for his giftedness in explaining the scriptures, you prayed with Him and glorified God for His gifts to this individual, which in turn brought a great blessing to you? Friends, as a worker in God’s kingdom, I could tell you right now that such an experience would help me change my mind from quitting, or lift my spirits beyond anything that might be said about my words or actions. You see, for those who are sincerely about the work of the Lord, it is all for His glory. So to hear Him being praised for any impact His ministry had through me, would be worth it all. May I encourage you to try this sometime, while I try to do the same? To God be the glory for everything that He does to get our attention or encourage us, even if He uses mere man to accomplish that!
PRAYER: Lord You are good and Your mercies are never ending. Thank You for all the ways that You get through to this humble servant. Thank You for all those that You have placed in the path of my readers and I, that encourage us personally, or remind us of Your awesome power and love. Please open our eyes to more miracles today that may happen right in front of us. Lord, may You be glorified at all times, especially in lieu of praises being addressed to us. We just don’t need that extra pride to deal with, as our strength, wisdom and direction comes from You alone. In Your name I pray, because it’s in You that I depend for my every move here on earth, so that You may be glorified. AMEN!