Tuesday, October 14, 2014

WHAT WE FIND IN JESUS (PART 4)



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The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him - the Spirit of counsel and of might.

Isaiah 11:2

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

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WRITER’S NOTE: I will be on travel overseas beginning tomorrow, October 15th. I’m not sure if I will be able to post from where I am going but if not, The Christian Walk will resume daily devotions on October 28th. To all, blessings to you always. In Christ, Mark

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What do we find in Jesus?

That is the question we have been answering with the opening verses from Isaiah, Chapter 11. To date, we have learned that we find abundant fruits of the Spirit in and through Jesus, fruits that we bear as well when we accept Him as Savior and receive the same Holy Spirit that rested on and in Him. We also learned that we find wisdom and understanding that is not of this world but from God the Father, the God who imparted His wisdom on His Son Jesus who in turn imparts it upon us.

But that’s not all we find in Jesus. For as we look at today’s scripture verse, we discover that in Jesus, we find His counsel and might.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him - the Spirit of counsel and of might. Isaiah 11:2

Indeed, look back at the ministry of Jesus and you will find Him constantly counseling others about life and how to live it in a way that is full of righteousness, a life that is grounded in holiness and totally pleasing to God. Whether it was His chosen disciples or people He encountered during His ministry journeys, Jesus was definitely in the counseling business. Thus, it’s little wonder that when He was preparing His disciples for His impending death and departure, Jesus attempted to assure them by telling them He would send them a Counselor (John 14:26 HCSB), the Holy Spirit who would carry on the same perfect spiritual guidance and direction because the Holy Spirit and Jesus were one. Thus, when the Holy Spirit speaks, He speaks with power and might on behalf of not only Jesus, but His Father God as well.

Yes, seek Jesus and there is no doubt you will receive faultless counsel on life, a counsel you can’t get from anyone else. This is because Jesus and Jesus alone is the way (John 14:6). He’s the way to eternal life and He’s the way to living life in uprightness and virtue as we journey toward that promised salvation. In and through Jesus, the Way, we learn how we are to live. He showed us how to do it through the accounts of His life (We have no greater role model than Christ) and He continues to guide us first hand through the work and power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is also the truth (John 14:6) and not just any truth but rather THE truth, the only One who counsels us in perfect truth every time. No speaks truth like He does. No one. He did when He lived and He speaks in truth to us now through the Holy Spirit. His words from the gospel of John attest to that in this verse:

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. John 16:13a

Jesus, the perfect Counselor who showed us the perfect way to live, leads and guides us today in truth through the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. So many people are looking for answers in life, particularly how to live it. Those same people are seeking truth as well in a world where there seems to be such a lack of it. In Jesus, they can find both, counsel for dealing with life’s circumstances, to include navigating through them, and as they receive that guidance and direction, they have the assurance it is true without doubt for the words they are receiving originated with the One who is THE truth, now and forever.

Friends, where would we be without the perfectly legitimate and instructional counsel of Jesus?

Lost, that’s where. And that’s not a place anyone should want to be.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

WHAT WE FIND IN JESUS (PART 3)



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The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding.

Isaiah 11:2

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

Today we look at the third devotion in the series, “What We Find in Jesus”, looking at verses from the 11th Chapter of Isaiah, verses that foretold the coming of the Messiah who would deliver the people of Israel and all mankind from the oppression and bondage of sin and the sure death it brought.

In our first two devotions, we saw where we could find abundant fruits in Jesus, the prophesied Branch that would emerge from the stump of Jesse, fruits of the Holy Spirit that came to rest upon Him, a Holy Spirit that comes to dwell within the hearts, minds and souls of anyone who places their full faith and trust in Jesus as Savior.

And so we find in Jesus fruits born of the Holy Spirit that He sent to be with us after His death, resurrection, and ascension to sit at God’s right hand. Today, we learn that we also find wisdom and understanding when we submit our lives to Jesus and allow Him to be the way and truth and life (John 14:6). Look at verse two of Isaiah, Chapter 11:

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding. Isaiah 11:2

Jesus was one with God the Father, the Author of all wisdom and understanding. And so whatever wisdom God and discernment possessed, Jesus possessed it in kind. God’s word in Proverbs instructs all believers to:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

The truth of things is that our intellect is so limited although some men and women feel they know it all or even know what’s best for themselves over what God desires. Unfortunately, that kind of arrogant, prideful approach to thought serves as a roadblock to proper perception of the world we abide in and the life we have within that world. This is why we need the Lord Jesus and His wisdom and understanding which the scriptures proclaim came with Him to lead us to “righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). It was this Spirit of wisdom from Jesus that Paul prayed the Ephesian church would receive when he wrote these words:

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. Ephesians 1:17

Paul cared deeply for other and showed concern about their relationship with Jesus. We should follow his lead regarding people around us today. For so many proclaimed believers spend little time in relationship with their Savior between visits to church on Sunday. Their relationship with Christ is superficial and convenient. Unfortunately, the by-product of such a detached connection with Jesus is a lack of wisdom and revelation which produces a lack of knowing about the One Christians are to model themselves after. We claim to be in and of Christ but we fail to properly know the One we are to be similar to.

With this, we find that things have not changed much from the days of Jesus. For He spoke to multitudes who, although hearing what He had to say, failed to comprehend it because they were not yoked with Him for discernment and understanding of what He had to say. Jesus described these people like this:

He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” Mark 4:11-12

So many people in Jesus’ time were not committed to being one in Spirit with Him and as a result they saw but didn’t perceive, heard but failed to comprehend. Nothing has changed much in the more than 2,000 years since as people today still see the work of the Lord but don’t identify it as being of Him and they hear His guidance but fail to translate it to the way they are to conduct their lives. It’s sad really.

Friends, all the wisdom we could ever hope for and then some can and will be found in our Lord Jesus Christ. God’s word attests to it and His word is truth.

Let’s not make life hard and attempt to lean on our own understanding. Only a fool would do that.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com

Sunday, October 12, 2014

WHAT WE FIND IN JESUS (PART 2)



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** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
** Like posts and send friend requests to the author of The Christian Walk, Mark Cummings on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.cummings.733?ref=tn_tnmn
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The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him

Isaiah 11:2

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

Isaiah’s words of hope come alive in the opening words of Chapter 11 of the bible book that bears his name. For a Branch was foretold that would emerge from the roots of Jesse, a Branch who would come to be known as Jesus, the Savior of the world. As we examined yesterday, we find an abundance of fruit in Jesus, the perfect fruits of the Spirit that include love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), fruits that we too can have in abundance when we place our faith and trust in Him and ask Him into our hearts, minds, and souls.

But how can Jesus live in us and bear abundant fruit in and through us? Didn’t He die and then ascend to heaven to sit at the right hand of God Almighty not long after He was raised from the grave on the third day?

The answer is “yes”, Jesus does come to live and abide in and through us, bearing His abundant fruits but He does so through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit He promised to comfort as well as lead, guide, and advocate for us through life (John 15:26).

But how was Jesus able to send us the Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord that originated with God, His Father and ours?

Because the Spirit was placed on His from the very start of His life. Take a look at the verse for today and see where the Spirit of the Lord is the second thing we can always count on finding in Jesus:

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him. Isaiah 11:2

God was sending His people of Israel (and in doing so all humanity) a Messiah, One who would come to give them deliverance. That deliverance of course wasn’t so much from the bondage of people, although the Israelites thought that was why he was coming. No, Jesus, the promised One who was to come and save Israel (and all mankind) lived and died to deliver all people from the bondage of sin. His death and resurrection opened the gates of heaven for others to follow if they would place their faith and trust in Him as Savior. And in that, He offered everyone a hope that would endure. For anyone in Christ would have a victory that no one could ever take away, an assured victory over death and the grave.

They would also have His Spirit living and abiding within them, the same Spirit that came to rest upon Him when He came. What do we gain with this Spirit inside us? The scriptures share the following:

1. Instruction.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

2. Words to speak.

When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. Luke 12:11-12

3. Revelation.

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Luke 2:26

4. Joy.

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Luke 10:21

5. Power.

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

6. Boldness in testimony.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31

7. Encouragement.

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers. Acts 9:31

8. Goodness.

He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. Acts 11:24

9. Acceptance from God.

God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. Acts 15:8

10. Warning.

I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. Acts 20:23

11. God’s love.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

12. Righteousness and peace.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

13. Overflowing hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

14. Sanctification (or made holy).

He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:16

15. Help.

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:14

16. Rebirth and renewal.

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5

What do we find in Jesus through the Holy Spirit that rested first on Him and now lives and abides in the heart, mind, and soul of every Christian believer?

Instruction, words to speak, revelation, joy, power, boldness in testimony, encouragement, goodness, acceptance from God, warning, God’s love, righteousness, peace, overflowing hope, sanctification, help, rebirth, and renewal, just to name a few.

Remember the fruits that Jesus would bear, fruits from the Branch of Jesse. In the Holy Spirit, we find just one more offshoot of the Branch, One that bears its own fruits and freely shares with those who have Him within them.

Question: Have you received the Holy Spirit in your life?

If not, come to Jesus today and you will.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com

Saturday, October 11, 2014

WHAT WE FIND IN JESUS (PART 1)



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** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
** Like posts and send friend requests to the author of The Christian Walk, Mark Cummings on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.cummings.733?ref=tn_tnmn
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

Isaiah 11:1

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

The people of Israel had heard of a coming Messiah, one who would come to save and deliver them. They weren’t sure when He would come or in what way but they definitely were aware of the prophecy and believed in it.

As Isaiah, Chapter 11 opens, we discover one of the many prophecies given about the coming Savior and through them, we learn about Him and what we can find in and through Him. Today marks the first in a series of devotions on that topic. Look at today’s opening verse:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1

One thing we find in Jesus is that He always will bear fruit.

The illustration painted if of a shoot that rises from the stump of Jesse, which makes Jesus in the lineage of King David of Israel. This shoot will produce a branch and that branch is Jesus, the One who would come to bear the fruit of salvation for anyone who would place their belief and trust in Him.

Keep in mind that Israel was about to be laid to waste as God’s consequences were imminent, first with the Assyrians used as instruments of judgment and then the Babylonians. The Assyrians would also face God’s wrath after they had been used by Him to punish His people and you may recall the description of their demise didn’t paint a rosy picture. Look at these words again:

Under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame. The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick person wastes away. And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down. Isaiah 10:16a-19
   
This picture is one of utter destruction. There would be no new life springing up, just singed and scorched forests and fields that were once fertile. It will not be just a minor fire but an all consuming one. Nothing would remain.

This would not be the same for Israel. We learned in the last few devotions that there would be a remnant that would be able to come out of Babylon to start fresh and new in the Promised Land, returning to rebuild the holy city of Jerusalem as they were freed from bondage from God. Israel was going to be laid to waste by the Assyrian and Babylonian invaders with the people removed for seventy years but there would be a coming revival as a chosen few who turned back to God would find Him turning back to them and blessing them with a fresh start.

This was just the beginning however as we find more good news in the opening verses of Isaiah 11, words of hope that were intended to buoy up the people then, words of hope that should buoy us up today. For a Savior was coming who would be like no other. Moses might have been sent by God to deliver Israel from the enslavement of the Egyptians but the Messiah Jesus, the Son of God, was coming to deliver all people, no matter their national origin, from the enslavement of sin and death. In Him, all people would find life from the One who was the way and the truth and the life, both now and forever as through Christ, they would find their way to the Father.

Thus, Jesus, this branch of Jesse, would come to walk among the people of earth, bearing the richest fruits ever experienced by mankind, not the kind of edible fruit that nourishes the body but rather spiritual fruits such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). He shared His fruits through His ministry work and He has continued to share them through the Holy Spirit sent to lead, guide, direct, and counsel us.

This is just one blessing we find in Jesus. Tomorrow and in the days ahead, we’ll look at many others.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

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