The Mediator of Salvation

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Jesus intercedes for us as one who walked in the flesh among us – our compassionate mediator.

Scriptures of the Day:

Hebrews 9:15, 24

15 And so he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised, since he died to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant.  24  For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands – the representation of the true sanctuarybut into heaven itself, and he appears now in God’s presence for us. 25 And he did not enter to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the sanctuary year after year with blood that is not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice.

1 Timothy 2:5-6

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”

Job 16:19-21

19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. 20 My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 and he contends with God on behalf of man as a man pleads for his friend.  

Countless are the feats Christ accomplished in coming in the flesh.  Each facet of His work on earth becomes more precious to me, when I consider them!  Having endured through a painful court process, the word, mediator has a special significance to me.  Sometimes in life we feel there is no hope, no end to our turmoil.  When we feel like no one is on our side, Christ is our compassionate Mediator.

We can never underestimate the one Who owns the thousand cattle on a hill, Who is completely knowledgeable of all things, and by the way, is on our side if we are His.  Even more amazing, He is on all sides, surveying and working all things together.  His purpose is that all might know and believe and He uses everything to draw us nearer to Him.

I have a funny image in my head now – of someone playing multiple roles vicariously.  An airline representative checks in your baggage and sells you a ticket.  The same individual guides you onto the plane.  Now if this person said they were the pilot, I might rethink hopping on that flight.  We might have various roles simultaneously, too – I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, worship leader . . . the list goes on and on.

Some roles I do better than others, and sometimes juggling all I have to be and do is hard. But Christ accomplishes multiple roles perfectly.  He is the Righteous Judge with Whom we will one day answer, our Savior, LORD, Comforter, Healer, the Mediator defending us, who ultimately paid our sin debt, too. The list of Who He is never ends.

When Christ came as the bridge between man and God and ascended to Heaven after completing His work on earth, He did not abdicate His role as mediator.  He still intercedes for His children and does so as one who walked in the flesh among us – He is a compassionate mediator.  This Christmas may we reflect on Christ, our Mediator.  Without His willingly choosing to represent us before our Father, Almighty God, we could not have fellowship with Him.

Lord, thank you for coming not just as a perfect babe, but as a peacemaker, mediating our relationship with God.  Only You could fulfill that role.

Mundane Monday: The Struggle is Real

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Struggling is an indicator of an ongoing fight – we have not given up. When we keep up the fight of faith and struggle toward righteousness, leaning on God and His word as our light, we are becoming more like Christ, our LORD.

Scripture of the Day:

Ephesians 6:12

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”


Spoken often in jest, we confess with our mouths about the struggle of living in a chaotic world, yet we are often unaware of the real struggle lying underneath. The Prince of the air is busy – constantly striving to steal, kill and destroy. Ignorance is not our friend, no, we perish for our lack of understanding.

Blaming a devil behind every evil is not the answer, but seeing the influence this evil is waging on us and those around us is paramount. This influence might not be as obvious as acts that we see which can be clearly understood. The power of the enemy can be borne out in our thoughts, attitude and behavior.

When we perceive that someone does not like us or we feel negatively toward another person ourselves, these pessimistic thoughts have but one source – the pit of hell. Judgment, shunning, gossip, deceit, superiority, self righteousness, unkind remarks – all have a common root of flesh affected by enveloping darkness. We who are in Christ are given a great gift of recognizing this evil and turning away from it.

Filtering our thoughts and actions through the Bible and prayer instructs us on how to live and how to discern things outside and inside of ourselves. True freedom comes from recognizing that our flesh does not desire conviction but then yielding that flesh to Jesus, anyway.

While we will never arrive on this earth, we can know that Jesus knew we would struggle and He loved us so much that He made a way out. We do not have to be imprisoned by the negative influence all around us, but can cry out to God for understanding and choose to obey Him, instead.

Even though the struggle is indeed real, whether or not we perceive it, we are not without hope. Struggling is an indicator of an ongoing fight – we have not given up. When we keep up the fight of faith and struggle toward righteousness, leaning on God and His word as our light, we are becoming more like Christ, our LORD.

Jesus, thank You for opening our eyes to see sin in our own lives. When we see demonic influence in other people’s lives, help us to pray for them and not judge them. Help us to examine ourselves for worldly influence that we might be a faithful witness for You – testifying and living for Your glory alone!

Denise Pass Promo Pic Denise Pass – Seeing Deep Ministries – http://www.seeingdeep.com

 

Author | Singer/Songwriter | Worship Leader

Truthful Tuesday: Judging Judgment

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Romans 14:12

“Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister.”

1 Peter 4:17

“For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God?”

Judgment.  No one wants to be the recipient, but all have been participants in either judging others or being judged themselves.

In His perfect wisdom, God designed a system of justice in place to judge our actions.  Man sets up his own system of judgment, too, to condemn one another.

At the root of judgment from any human being is pride.  Pride in our own sinful, myopic condition that we would think we could ever be in a place to pass judgment on another creation, made in God’s image.

There are so many more motivations in the act of judgment, though. Sometimes we want to make ourselves feel better about our decisions, or we manipulate others with judgment to try to get them to do something we want.

Sounds pretty ugly.  That’s because judgment from man is going to be man-centered, but judgment that Christ gives is perfect and redemptive.

God judges our hearts to bring us to repentance and show us our sinful condition.  Man judges to prove a position, inflict pain, manipulate or inflate self.

Man cannot judge other’s motivations, for we cannot see the heart – only God can.  Still, the default sinful condition of man is to presume and judge brothers or sisters in Christ.

Despite out corrupt nature, we do not have to give in to judgment.  The heart of man is deceitful, but God.  He is gracious and able to help us lay down our judgments and put on forgiveness.  Sometimes people can hurt us and boundaries have to be put up so they cannot hurt or condemn us further.  Sometimes we have to lay down our desire to please man in his faulty judgments, too.

Maybe some of us feel we deserve judgment – we all do.  But Christ bore that judgment for us all.  In this world we have relationships that are broken from sin and ensuing consequences, and people will judge us until the day we die, but all of those judgments fall off our shoulders and are laid at the feet of our Savior – the One, perfect, Righteous Judge.

Lord, thank You for the sweet victory You give to walk in freedom and forgiveness.  Thank You for bearing our judgment.  Help us to consider others better than ourselves and to discern others in the light of the grace that we have been given.

Worshipful Wednesday: The God of the Afflicted

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Inspirational Thought of the day:

God chose to identify with the lowly and lifts them up.

Scripture:

Psalm 9:19-13

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10  And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. 11  Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds! 12  For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. 13  Be gracious to me, O LordSee my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death.”

Psalm 10:14

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

Psalm 10:17

“You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”

Have you ever felt like no one notices you?  Or perhaps no one understands or knows the anguish of your soul?  Silently you suffer, wondering if anyone cares?  There is One Who knows – intimately – every worry or care that floods our minds, every burden we try to pretend is not there.  Jesus.

Every slight you feel, pain you endure – none of it is hidden from God’s keen view.  He longs for us to bring it to Him and lay it at His feet, but sometimes we think we can either bear the burden on our own or that he is not able to remove it from us.

it is not until we reflect on this God Who would choose to be counted as one of us – and not as a popular one of us, but as an afflicted one Himself, that we begin to see His ability to help us to do the same.

Joyfully He bore His cross.  How can that be?  Solely by the grace of God and the God Who helps us see past temporary burdens that can serve as stepping stones to be more like Him instead of enduring through some circumstance we regret.  May we be counted worthy to walk through suffering for the glory of God and not our own.

More than the praise or sympathy from any created person, we have the empathy of the Creator Himself, Who has truly been there and is able to completely understand and enable us to walk the same road he did – with victory.

Lord, thank you for showing us how to walk through this lift filled with burdens and cares.  Thank You for choosing to be afflicted, choosing to die for our sins so we could be saved.  May our light and momentary troubles be seen as just they are – temporary afflictions that lead us closer to you.

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 6 – Our Sovereign God

Photo Credits: bluecollargospel.com

Photo Credits:
bluecollargospel.com

Job 42:2

““I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

Isaiah 46:9-10

” Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’”

Proverbs 19:21

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

People want to be around people of power … if they are in good favor with them.  It is also impressive to be around someone who is extremely knowledgeable, but no one likes a know-it-all.

But being in the presence of God, the only truly sovereign being, is at once humbling and comforting.  He knows us completely, yet He chooses us.  Nothing is Hidden from Him, yet He accepts us.  The plans of this world seem out of control, but He is in complete control of it all.

This is perhaps one of the attributes of God that I am most thankful for.  A King Who rules over all takes time to notice each one of His former subjects who have become His children.  His promises are always kept and His plans are foolproof.

His rule is perfectly righteous and He never wonders whether His decision is the right one, for He knows the end fully.  He is never surprised nor anxious, for He set the world into motion and holds it all together.

In Him coincidences are truly divine appointments and circumstances are designed and orchestrated by Him.  When evil makes its way into our lives, He is sovereign over that, too.  Using all things together for our good and His glory.  What an amazing God!

Lord, thank You for being Sovereign, Holy, Righteous.  You amaze me, God, and are too great for me to fully comprehend.  

The Instigator’s Demise

1 Samuel 23:19

“Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon?”

1 Samuel 24:1

“When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, they told him, “Look, David is in the desert of En Gedi.””

1 Samuel 26:1

“The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding on the hill of Hakilah near Jeshimon?””

1 Samuel 26:19

“So let my lord the king now listen to the words of his servant. If the LORD has incited you against me, may he take delight in an offering. But if men have instigated this, may they be cursed before the LORD! For they have driven me away this day from being united with the LORD’s inheritance, saying, ‘Go on, serve other gods!'”

Sometimes there are people in your life who just want to goad you, but one of the most terrifying things on earth is being pursued relentlessly by someone who seeks to harm you.  Feelings of desperation and helplessness overwhelm you as you wonder if it will ever end.  Driven by jealousy and selfishness and fueled by instigators and false counsel, the pursuer relentlessly seeks his way.

The Philistines’ betrayal made sense.  They were the enemies of Israel – but it is odd that Saul would listen to his enemy. Their motives were surely for their own glory.  You wonder who you can trust as people surround your pursuer with counsel to come after you.  The Ziphites, Judeans like David, betrayed him twice.  Betrayed by his own people.  It does not get much worse than that.

People surrounding Saul knew what Saul wanted.  Despite numerous times when Saul saw his folly, he quickly returned to pursuing David when those around him incited him.  He received counsel from people who ultimately sought his own destruction, as well.  The irony is that Saul reaped the opposite of what he sought and those who informed Saul sought his favor, but ultimately his demise, too.

I was comforted when I read of David’s hiding out in caves for 15 years – not at all by the duration of time, but by the fact that a man of God, chosen to lead, first had to endure severe testing and God was His portion.  Why should it be different with us?

I share personal testimony here because I think somewhere out there someone else might be barely hanging on with a similar suffering and I earnestly desire to serve someone through the pain I endured.  Dragged to court for five years by people who used to be family was one of the most excruciating moments in my life.  False testimony and accusations left scars that only God could heal, but the immense pressure of the pursuit harmed my health and hurt my family deeply.

At the same time, another family member would not accept me and lied about me, spreading rumors about me.  Add to that job loss for my husband and you have an incubator for change.

If I had not had God as my portion, I would have perished.  I sought Him more deeply than I ever had and now see that season as a treasure in my walk with God.  This blog would not have been birthed had I not walked through dark valleys and seen God’s hand in the midst.

David trusted in God and walked righteously.  Despite the attacks, he had a righteous response and saw God deliver him. So it is with us.  When people speak ill of us or are jealous, we have a refuge to run to.  The instigator does not hold sway or power over us – our God is bigger.  We might have to endure false perceptions caused by those who despise us, but it will not last forever and if we keep walking uprightly with God, he will cause our enemies to cease or give us strength to bear it.

Saul apologized several times but David knew he could not be trusted.  There was still the capability for the same sin to rise up in Saul and David had to walk in wisdom and protect himself from Saul’s potential attack.  Sometimes in our own lives we need to protect ourselves from people who have harmed us in the past.  David forgave Saul but he was not going to place himself in possible danger willingly.

More than deliverance, however, and the character earned along the way, is the beautiful surrender of our spirits to God. Our temporary suffering is not about us, after all.  What the instigator and pursuer sought results in blessings when we hide ourselves in Jesus.  If God allowed it in, there is a divine purpose that we might not understand, but God can always be trusted.

Lord, thank You for Your protection and healing.  Help us to trust in You completely even when it seems like we are forgotten.  Your ways are not our ways and You are good all the time.