Holy Spirit Power

Isaiah 54:1.

“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.”

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The Apostle Paul quotes this verse in Galatians 4:27.  It predicts the salvation of the Gentiles during the rejection and dispersion of Israel. Paul quoted this verse to prove that more men will be saved under the new dispensation than under the old one, which is cast  out and abolished. Before the Day of Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the relatively few believers following Jesus’ death and resurrection,  the church was mostly in hiding, not sure of what to do next. Souls were not being brought to Christ.

Once the Holy Spirit filled the Apostles and other believers, all that changed. Thousands of people in Jerusalem came to Christ, and persecution drove them out into the world where the gospel was spread quickly, and church were established all over Asia, into Africa, and  in Greece and even Rome, where Caesar was the god to be worshiped.

What a change!  The power of the Holy Spirit remains with us today, and we need to learn to tap into it, to empower our witness, to continue to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in whatever way we can.

We need revival!

He Poured Out His Soul

Isaiah 53:12

12 Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

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This verse means that God will account the Messiah among the great, and He (Messiah) will  divide the spoils of the strong. The Septuagint  reads, “divide the spoils of the strong,” referring to His mighty victory over Satan and all supernatural powers against God. If it does refer to dividing the spoils with the strong, then it means the He shares the blessings of victory with His followers who become joint-heirs with Him (Rom 8:17-18).

He hath poured out His soul unto death refers to His blood being shed for all our sin.  Always, from Adam and Eve, blood was required to cover sin; the blood of Jesus, however, cleanses sin.

I seem to remember a while back that there was a controversy over whether Jesus shed ALL His blood, or just SOME of it.  Please don’t get caught up in that kind of pointless debate. Satan loves us to divide ourselves over such arguments, and there really is no way of knowing.  I forget why it was so important to some.  The thing that is important is that He DID shed His blood to cleanse us from all our sin, and that He did have the victory over sin and death through His resurrection, without which there would be no salvation.

I love the phrase He poured out His soul. . . .He was not made to do so, but chose to obey the plan of His Father, and willingly gave His life for us.  In doing so, He became sin for us, and so was numbered among transgressors, and made intercession for us with God.

He Bore our Iniquities

Isaiah 53:11

11 He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.

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The travail, or anguish, of His soul was for the restoration of man and his dominion  as before the fall ( I Cor 15:24-28).

It is by the knowledge of God’s plan that mankind is blessed (Luke 1:77).

The Messiah is called righteous  because He did and always will do that which is perfectly right in all things commanded by God. It emphasizes His personal holiness ( I Peter 2:21-22).

To justify  means to declare not guilty. Faith comes by knowledge of the Word of God, and such knowledge will justify when obeyed (Rom. 5:1; 10:17).

Jesus has born all our sin.  He, and He alone, by the shedding of His blood and His resurrection, has made it possible for us to be reconciled to God.


Sunday Morning Coffee: Just Thinking

This is the last Sunday in October.  The weather is cooling.  I love it for sleeping, because I love to pile on the puffy comforters and blankets.  We’re supposed to be getting a very heavy wind/rain storm, but so far it’s quiet out there.  One more week of Daylight Saving Time, which it truly wish would go to its eternal rest.   Soon it will be Election Day.

I cannot urge you strongly enough to GO VOTE on Nov 6.  Doing nothing is not acceptable.  This is undoubtedly the most important mid-term election in our history, and whoever is behind the invasion from Central America has organized and timed it to hit our borders just in time for the election. No matter what President Trump does or does not do, the scavenger bird media will tear him to pieces.  We need to pray for him.  His position is anything but easy.

Okay, no more politics.

The other thing I’m thinking about is the approaching holidays.  I love Thanksgiving.  I’ve held it here most of the time, but my failing back has made it necessary for my daughter to step up a couple of times.  She’s an amazing cook, and it’s no trouble to go there, believe me!  I just feel a bit lost that this part of my life is slowly moving into other hands.  You never think it’s going to happen to you.

My daughter always does the family Christmas, and again, it’s a wonderful treat. They decorate beautifully, and the meal deserves to be featured in some fancy cooking magazine 🙂

Still, as I think back over the Christmases of my life, I find myself, in one small corner of my heart, a little unwilling to let it go to the next generation.

Instead of being sad, though, I should instead be overwhelmingly thankful for all the wonderful holiday seasons of my 71 years, from the tinsel-covered Christmas tree of my childhood, to Christmases on the farm, to driving to South Carolina to be with my parents, or to Michigan to be with Terry’s—so many good memories, good times, good music, laughter, and activity.

Remember when everyone put tinsel on the tree? I guess it’s considered tacky these days, which I don’t understand at all.  I thought it was magical, and I miss it.


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Now, Terry and I are the old folks that the kids and grandkids come to see when they can. How did that happen?  Where did the time go?  And even more important, when did I become comfortable in this role?

Every season of life has its own special joys and good memories, from our first Christmas as a married couple to our first Christmas as parents to a man who is now 48 years old;  three more babies to follow, one born  very close to Christmas. I hope he never felt cheated.  We always had his birthday just as we did with all the rest.  Those were the busy years, the hard-working years, the challenging years of rearing kids and making ends meet.

And now we’re in what I like to think of as the reward years.  Grandchildren are a wonderful reward.  We love them all so much, and wish there weren’t so much distance between us.

These are quieter years.  We have our house to ourselves most of the time, and I like that. But I also love it when it’s full of family.

Always, underlying the good times and the not -so-good times, has been our faith in God, and our dependence on Him through His Word, and prayer, and the preaching and teaching  in our church. We have always tried, sometimes failed, to do what we believed was right in the eyes of God. We’ve had to learn to accept that we are not responsible for choices outside our realm of authority.  Surprising, isn’t it, how hard it can be to accept that?

Well. There’s my ramble for today.  I really must be getting old. This is the second time in a week that I’ve just kind of let whatever is in my brain come leaking out through my fingers 🙂


Yet it Pleased the Lord to Bruise Him

Isaiah 53:10. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”

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It pleased God to bruise His Son?

Let’s take a closer look.  We need to understand that pleased does not mean God was enjoying what His Son was enduring, but that He was satisfied with the working out of His plan for the salvation of mankind.

The only reason it pleased Jehovah to permit Jesus to be crucified was to bring the redemption of the whole creation so that His eternal program could be carried out with man on earth. He could not have been pleased with the mutilation of His beloved Son because He punished me for this (Acts 2:22-24; I Thess. 2:16). Both the Father and the Son volunteered to suffer such indignities for the salvation of men (John 3:16; 10:18). Such a sacrifice on the part of God showed His divine perfection, justice, mercy, and boundless benevolence. The law was upheld, sin was judged, and a basis of pardon and eternal reconciliation was made possible.

He hath put Him to grief:  The meaning here is to be rubbed  or worn; weak; sick; afflicted; make sick; suffer a stroke; be diseased; have infirmity; put to pain; be wounded.  Jesus was made sick when He bore our sins, took our infirmities and bore our illnesses.

Jesus willingly bore all this in obedience to the Father; He gave His very soul as a trespass offering for our sin.  The rewards of Messiah’s sufferings include the redemption of mankind, and the eventual return of the earth to complete reconciliation with God, under His hand–during the Millennial Reign. Jesus’ resurrection and renewed life would be eternal, because He is God and cannot be destroyed.

Bad Start Today

This is completely personal and has nothing to do with much of anything, except that sometimes writing is cathartic for me; also, I wanted you to know why my normal post, which should have been Isaiah 53:10, will not appear today.

I had a very bad night.  I don’t know why this seems to happen when I have an unexpected and much-anticipated day off, but there it is.  I didn’t get to sleep  until sometime after three a.m., and was awake–against my will–shortly after 8 a.m.  The lack of normal sleep set me up to be a cranky hot mess.

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We’re down to only one bathroom right now because Terry is renovating.  So when I got up and saw that he was cleaning the only bathroom, my mood got worse while I waited. Isn’t that ridiculous?  I’m very spoiled, used to having my own bathroom.  Good grief. When our kids were still home, we managed SIX people with only one bathroom!

Then I decided to work on a HUGE computer mess because of a program I installed for Terry that is massive and is blocking other applications. The more I investigated possible fixes, the more frustrated I grew.  Felt like throwing things, to be perfectly honest.

And then I pulled my Bible over to work on today’s post, and I sat there feeling utterly defeated.  I couldn’t write it.  I was upset, short of sleep, short-tempered, and knowing that I’m still going to have to tackle the computer issue.  I got up and walked away, made coffee, fixed my breakfast, and played a round of Angry Birds while I ate.

Go ahead and laugh.  It made me feel better as I blasted those stupid pigs to kingdom come.

Maybe my sour mood is compounded by a couple of sessions in my counseling office yesterday.  I’m afraid I haven’t done a very good job of leaving them at the office.  Frankly, I’d like to go do an Angry Birds-type search- and- destroy on a couple of people who don’t deserve to walk free. They belong in jail. For a VERY long time.

And then I looked at an article about the invasion from south of our borders, and fueled my anger all over again.  I need to stay away from that stuff today.  It is so clearly being orchestrated and financed by someone other than the “immigrants” (read “invaders”) and timed to coincide with the Nov. 6 elections, that my blood pressure rises just thinking about it. And no, I’m not a racist or a xenophobe or any of the other popular names the Left likes to call people like me.  I’m just wondering what Mexico or Nicaragua would do with 14,000 AMERICAN “immigrants” descending on their countries, expecting shelter, food, jobs, etc.   Please.

Okay.  So you can see that I’m not in any condition to settle down with God’s Word.  I need to get my own self back under the control of God’s Word before I can honestly handle teaching it to anyone else.

So, do I feel any better, having poured all this out onto you?

Actually, yes, a little.  At least my stomach muscles aren’t  all tensed up any more. And I WILL return to my usual  sensible state of mind.  I think I just need to do some serious repenting and praying. Anger is a terrible thing.


No Violence nor Deceit

Isaiah 53:9.

“And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.”

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Jesus was buried at the same time as the criminals that died with Him, but His grave was a rich man’s tomb (Matt. 27: 57-60). In Jewish cemeteries, criminals were buried in a separate place from the others. The true meaning of the verse is that the Jews appointed Him a grave with criminals, but at the last moment Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man, begged the body of Jesus so he could put it in his own tomb, as predicted. The words He made in the Hebrew mean He was appointed. It was the Jews who appointed Him such a place, but when Joseph begged His body for burial this appointment was changed. Thus, the Jews even wanted to deny Him an honorable burial, but their purpose was defeated.

He was rejected, crucified, and  buried by men-not for any personal violence or deceit, but because of the wickedness and sin of  those who slew Him.  He was no rabble rouser or anarchist, and not injurious to any man. He sought to give life instead of taking it. He was accused of being a deceiver, and was treated as one, but He was always open and sincere in all of His words and deeds.  No deceit was ever found  in His mouth. His enemies acknowledged this (Matt. 22:16).


For All Our Sin

Isaiah 53:8. “ He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken.”

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Christ was never kept in prison, nor did He have a fair trial; so the idea here is that He was cut off, justice and judgment being denied Him. Who will be able to  declare the wickedness of His generation? He was  considered too wicked to be given a fair trial. Though He was declared innocent by His judge and others, He was denied freedom by His enemies. They brought pressure to bear upon His judge, who then thought it best to save himself from being accused of treason to Caesar.

All that He suffered, every bit of it, was for the transgression of all mankind, including the Israelites who offered Him up for judgment.


Like a Lamb

Isaiah 53:7.

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. ”

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I mentioned in an earlier post that Terry and I went to see a sheep-sheering. It’s true—they never make a sound once they are hauled into position for the shearing. Perfectly quiet, all the way through.

Not only was Jesus quiet all the way through His torment; He was dignified, never losing His composure.

Oppressed and afflicted: We have already discussed how He suffered.  It is hard to imagine one Man bearing all that He bore, and never crying out in resistance or pain.

He opened not His mouth:  This is an idiom meaning silence and submission.  He did not complain or make any resistance, yet He had power to destroy His enemies with one word.


Sunday Morning Coffee: Teaching

One of the highlights of my  present life is that I get to teach a group of high school kids every other week.  These are homeschoolers, outstanding kids who are respectful and actually interested in what we are studying.  Because I taught in a small Christian school years ago,  where there isn’t much money and you have to be versatile, I got to teach a variety of things.  English, of course, and  history, as well as earth science, elementary music, and Bible.

This year, my students asked for a course that would be something about current events, present-day politics.  Oh boy!  I was more than glad to oblige.  This year we’re studying the Constitution and Current Events.  It’s been so much fun, and not stuffy, dull, boring the way I’m sure some of them thought it would be.Image result for The United States Constitution

The United States Constitution is an amazing document.  I’ve been deeply impressed every time I’ve gone through it, and this time is no exception. I am impressed with the wisdom and foresight of the writers, who created a document than can grow and change, but not too easily.  It is elastic enough to accommodate idealogical changes, but not to lose it’s original intent and power.

Aside from the content, though, I just take great delight in my students. They contribute. They ask questions. They correct me if they think I’ve made an error, but they are never disrespectful. They  look forward to the class, and because they do, so do I.  We have a great time.

It is wonderful to have this opportunity at the ripe old age of 71.   My age is not an issue, but an advantage.  It amazes my students  that I was born only two years after WWII was over, and that I remember the assassinations of the Kennedys, Viet Nam,  and so on. This stuff is ancient history to them, but for me it’s just as real now as it was when it was all taking place. Sometimes I’ll say something that gets me nothing but blank stares, and I realize that they’ve never heard the expression before, or don’t know the story behind the story.

Best of all, I can weave God into the history of our nation and no one is offended by it; no one reports such a heinous act to the authorities or tries to get me fired.  These kids have had  a Christian education.  Their teachers, usually their moms, have done a fabulous job.

I am thankful.