Monday, March 20, 2017, 10:36 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 11:1-5 (ESV). There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. A Shoot In the Old Testament and in the Four Gospels, the people of God were the Jews, i.e. the nation of Israel. God made a covenant with them that he would be their God and that they would be his people. And, he gave them laws which they were to follow. Yet, none of them were saved by keeping the law, because no one could keep the law perfectly. They were saved by faith, but that faith included repentance and walking in obedience to God. When God called Abraham, he gave the promise of the Messiah through him. Jesus Christ is the seed of Abraham through whom all the nations of the earth would be (and have been) blessed (See: Gen. 12:1-9; Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:1-4:31). At that time, when God called Abraham, God was their only king. Yet, at some point in Israel’s history, the people clamored for a king, so God chose Saul to rule over them, but he also warned them of what kind of a king Saul would be (See: 1 Samuel 8:1-10:27). Then, David, who was the son of Jesse, was God’s choice to succeed Saul. Jesus Christ came from the line of David, which is why he is called the Son of David. Therefore, Jesus Christ is this shoot from the stump of Jesse. His Character Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but he is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When he walked the face of this earth he was fully God, yet fully man. Yet, even as man he was empowered of the Spirit of God with all godly wisdom, understanding, knowledge and the fear of the Lord. To fear God means to respect, reverence, honor, value, love and obey him. Jesus was always in submission to the Father and honored him in everything he did. His relationship with the Father, as his Son, serves as our model for our own relationships with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We should also walk in the fear of the Lord. Jesus’ judgments (assessments) were (are) not based on human logic and reasoning, on superficial or face value evaluations, or according to man’s standards, traditions, philosophy and values. He also doesn’t make judgments based on rumor and gossip, and neither should we. He doesn’t think like we think. He is always fair and completely just and righteous in all of his judgments. And, we should aim to be like him in all that we do. When Jesus Christ walked the face of this earth, he healed the sick and afflicted, ministered to the poor and needy, comforted the sorrowful, raised people from the dead, forgave sins and delivered people from demons, too. He didn’t judge people by human standards, so he often ministered to those who were considered the scum of the earth by those who were proud and self-righteous. He doesn’t judge us by outward appearance. He looks at our hearts. He often chooses the despised, forsaken, abused and misused of the world as his chosen instruments to bring forth his words to the world, too. So many people picture Jesus as this man who just went around “loving on” everybody and only doing what made people feel good. But, if that was true, why did they hate him, persecute him and then put him to death on a cross? They killed him, not because he was “Mr. Nice Guy,” but because he told them the truth, and they didn’t like the truth. He told them the truth about who he is, and about their sin, and about judgment, and about who would be among those who would have eternal life with him. But, they didn’t like his truth. They wanted to believe the lies, instead, because the truth did not fit with their chosen lifestyles. And, so his lifestyle was an offense to them. A Branch From Jesus Christ came the new Israel, i.e. the heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy City of the New Covenant, i.e. the church, the body of Christ, his temple. We, as Christ’s followers, are called to bear much fruit for his eternal kingdom. We, as his followers, should also emulate his divine character. We should walk (conduct our lives) as Jesus walked, and do the kinds of things he did, and love people like he loved them, not as the world loves. We should also judge (evaluate, think) as he thinks, and speak the kinds of things he spoke, i.e. we should be those who live and who speak truth. We should also humble ourselves, as he did, by giving himself for us so that we might be free from slavery to sin and have eternal life with God. Jesus Christ, who is God (the Son of God), left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin. Although he knew no sin, he became sin for us when he died on the cross. Thus, our sins died with him and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, Satan, death and hell on our behalf. By God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we can be delivered from the punishment of sin (eternal damnation) and from slavery (addiction) to sin. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Savior and Lord (owner-master) of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Through faith in Jesus Christ, the sin that condemned us to death is forgiven, paid for by the blood of Jesus. We are now free from condemnation, and free from the control of sin over our lives, and we are now free to walk daily in Christ’s righteousness. Yet, that does not mean we will not face some natural consequences for the sins previously committed. We may. And, yet, we can now walk in victory over sin, free from the weight (burden) of sin, and we can rejoice in our newfound freedom in Christ and in the new lives he has given us in him. Gift of God / An Original Work / October 25, 2016 Based off Various Scriptures Jesus Christ, Son of God, Died for us on a cross; Conquered death, sin, and hell, So, with Him, we would dwell. For, by His grace, we are saved. He set us free from all sin. Thanks be to God for His Gift. Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven. Holy Spirit of God, Given to us who believe, Gives us new life in Christ; Made to be just like Him. We died with Christ to our sin. New lives in Him we begin, Walking with Christ day by day. We read His Word, and we pray. Jesus, He is our Lord. Follow Him where He leads. Tell the world of His grace. We’ll see Christ face to face. Soon He is coming again. We’ll be forever with Him. He’ll wipe our tears all away. Oh, what a wonderful day!