This cup is the new covenant between God and his people--an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. —Luke 22:20
As John (1 John 4:19) writes, "We love Him because He first loved us,” God has been on a amazing mission to give His heart to us, in a way that we may see His love, reciprocate, and walk with Him.
21 “This is the way; walk in it.” —Isaiah 30:21
For those of us who are directionally challenged, such as myself, sometimes we need a plain sign or a good knock over the head to get back on track, or a GPS will do just fine. Just as easy as it is to get turned around or lost on the roads of this world, so too do we need direction in our lives to stay on track and focused on Christ, to follow the right path when so many are in our way. Just as God clearly tells the people of Israel in this verse that He is the way; today His Word leads us to Him.
Seek the Lord and live. —Amos 5:6
God sees all. God judges all.
1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. —Isaiah 60:1-3
The verse above is professed as promises of restoration to the Hebrew people as they neared the end of exile in Babylon. God’s call to them is to rise up from their despair and to take in the Lord’s light, for He is going to take them from the dark place that was exile and to deliver them back to a kingdom that is built by Him in Jerusalem.
1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you — The sure mercies of David. —Isaiah 53: 1,3
The book of Isaiah, spoken by the prophet Isaiah, details the tragic fall of the Hebrew people to the hands of the Babylon people and also depicts a sort of apolocolyptic ending to the world. It first conveys Israel’s deep sin, how the nation places the exploits of man above the Lord, and how the nation loses its faith and turns to human ways to make peace and prosperity. For this, God allows Babylon to take the people and their possessions captive. But, as we know, the Lord has unbounded grace, and He chooses to redeem His people, as the author predicts; He alludes to the rise of Cyrus, of Persia, who would conquer Babylon and free the Hebrew people.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. —John 1:17
In one verse, we see the transforming power that was the free gift brought by Christ and that was Christ. Before Him was the law, a way of life that made its followers be consumed by a set order for living that when expounded on by man, set to create a rule for every facet of life.
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. —Hebrews 11: 39-40
In Hebrews, the book that speaks mostly to the newly converted and the seeking Jews, the author gives a very deep and multi-faceted account to the primacy of Jesus Christ. He spends most of the chapter in linking the authoritative order of the high priest to Jesus, the ultimate High Priest, who went into the heavenly tabernacle to sacrifice for us.
Teach me your way , O Lord, and I will walk in your truth, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. —Psalm 86:11
In order to fulfill our calling to be a child of God, we must be devoted to Him, to be devoted to following His way of living holy and righteous. Most simply: we must walk in His truth, as we walk in His light.
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. —Hebrews 3:12-14
The third chapter of Hebrews focuses on faith, more so on enduring faith, the kind of faith that calls us to hold onto God throughout our life on this earth. Chapter 3 begins by explaining the faith of Jesus Christ, who did God’s servant work, as Moses did, but took it a step further, by being the Son of the House, of which God built the house; we become part of that house, the brick and mortar, once we commit our faith to Christ firm to the end.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. —Colossians 2:6-7
Some of us can recall that moment vividly, when Jesus Christ came into our hearts and changed us forever. For most, that changing was a slow and steady process, one where His Word and His Way made its way into our soul and began convicting us on a number of life aspects.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all thing by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. —Hebrews 1:3-4 (NIV)
The book of Hebrews, whose authorship is unknown, is meant to minister to the Judean people, both the unconverted and the converted, to both portray to them the deity and magnificence of Christ, and how it is by His grace alone (not the law), which accounts for salvation.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age. —Titus 2: 11-12
Paul, speaking here to Titus, a “partner and fellow worker,” imparts on the young pastor to call out elders for the humble and noble work of building churches, to inspire Christ-following communities to take shape. Paul had left Titus in Crete, one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, in order to facilitate that process of selecting godly men to shepherd the people of that island to be godly people. Like most new churches in that day, Titus faced false teachers and men that lived in the ways of the world, that sought their own ends, that brought down others in order to prop themselves up: Says Paul (1:16): “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient and disqualified for every good work.”
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. —Romans 6:5-7
It’s an amazing process, in how the Holy Spirit in us, through Christ’s salvation in us, can turn us away from the things we once lusted for, the things that once held us captive and led us to do evil acts or have evil thoughts.
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. —Psalm 42:11
Life gets the best of us sometimes…in a way that we lose the peace, we lose the essence of joy that Christ instilled in us when He allowed us to be a new creation in Him. A number of things can trigger our self-pity and despair, be it getting stuck in a traffic jam, losing a job, or even worse, losing a loved one. But, by being in God, being in His truths and His comforts, we need to retain the fruits of the Spirit no matter what.
Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. —Luke 10:20
Jesus, in the midst of His earthly ministry, in the midst of healing and casting out demons, empowered those closest to Him to do the same, first to His 12 disciples and then to a special group of 70. Their mission was to go to the surrounding towns and do as He did: heal the sick and make known that the Kingdom of God was near.
God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” —Hebrews 13:5
Living on this earth, with death and decay all around, brokenness continually prevails. We have all had a relationship with another person that turned sour or abruptly ended. As a collective society we have seen divorce and other circumstances splinter families; we have lost touch with old friends, sometimes due to a dispute; or for some of us, had a loved one die suddenly. Despite all these hurts that can cripple our soul, we have God - the only solid rock upon which we have to stand. We can be absolutely sure of this: He will never fail nor leave us.
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. —Psalm 119:105
God, in the process of creation and when He manifested Himself as man, is greatly linked to light.
I and the Father are one. —John 10:30
This six-word verse is short, but oh so sweet. It paints a picture of the solid unity in identity and purpose between the Father, God in heaven, and His Son, God in the flesh-manifested as Jesus Christ. Prior to this verse, Jesus is talking about being the good shepherd, being the one that will lay down His life for His sheep, to keep them safe in a world where a multitude of evil beings—Satan particularly—want to harm them. Before He speaks this, Jesus praises the Father as being “greater than all” and the Father who “has given them to me,” meaning that the Father has passed His people over to the Son, Jesus Christ. In this way, Jesus links the Father’s sovereignty as ruler over all and to the sovereignty entrusted to Him as the Son, keeper of the sheep, and those that believe on Him as the Son, will have eternal life and not be harmed.
9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. —Philippians 1:9-11
Paul, as he writes to the various churches of the world throughout his missionary journeys, was an encourager, consistently giving his full heart, consistently uplifting Christ so that others may be uplifted. Here, in writing to the people at Philippi, he captures this essence with a prayer that includes elements of love, knowledge (of God), purity, and righteous. It speaks to the idea of readying ourselves for Jesus Christ, being sanctified through Him, in order that we may give glory to God.
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” —Matthew 28:18-20
It has come to be called the “Great Commission,” an anointing by the Lord, to each of us, to go out and impart His truth of eternal life unto the world.
38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. —John 19:38-40
And then silence, for it was finished.
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. —John 19:30
He was unjustly accused and sent to death after being declared innocent. He was brutally beaten, made to wear a crown of thorns and mocked, “…save Yourself and come down from the cross,” the people yelled. All the way up until His last moments on this earth, He was treated inhumanely, told to carry his own cross (though someone else did it for Him), being nailed to the cross, and then hearing voracious snickers from the crowd and even from one of the men that was next to Him on the cross…all of it falling way short of the reverence that God deserves.
45So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. —1 Corinthians 15:45
In Paul’s dissertation on resurrection to the Corinthian church, he makes an important comparison, especially for the believers in Corinth , who was still trying to grasp the basic concepts of Christianity: he compares the natural body to the spiritual body. He makes clear that the body of Adam and all those that descended after him, essentially of man before Christ, were of dust (see Genesis 2:7), they were natural bodies, originally good because God made everything good, but became sinful, distorted, ugly, and tainted, primarily because Adam allowed sin to enter into his soul and subsequently into every man thereafter. Though he was made in the image of God, he brought a curse upon himself, which sort of tarnished the essence of who he was and ultimately who he was before God. Therefore, the ‘bodies’ we take on through Jesus Christ, allows us to move back toward (through the continual process of ‘working out our salvation’) to the heavenly essence that God had destined for us. Verse 49 says this: 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we[f] bear the likeness of the man from heaven. And thus Jesus Christ came as not only a sacrifice, not only a way for us to be reconciled to the Lord through His blood, but so that He could rise, and we could rise with Him. For us here on this earth, that implies that we enter into a sanctification process, a transforming and renewing process, one where we continue to let the Holy Spirit work in our hearts.
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.[c] 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. - 1 Cor. 5:6-8 —1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Much of Corinthians addresses the sinful lifestyle choices of the city of Corinth and how the church of Corinth was engaging in activities of and conforming to that lifestyle, despite Christ’s work in the believers there. Paul encourages righteousness of those believers and encourages the church body to lovingly confront (and ultimately send out, if need be), as Jesus calls us to correct sin amongst our brethren, those who want to continue in sin despite knowing that they are committing wrongs against God.