Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

True Comfort and Hope March 31, 2009

Filed under: applications,introductions,Isaiah,Romans — womenembracingfaith @ 3:35 am
Tags: , , ,

The following is March 31, 2009 “Daily Reading” from http://www.mlj-usa.org.
It is Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaking in 1942 about the power of the gospel in contrast to any other idea about life and its problems. He was living in London, preaching at Westminster Chapel. His wife and daughters had left the city for refuge and safety. The war with the Germans did not end until 1945.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith'” (Romans 1:16-17).

“The Gospel – still our only hope

We say [that the only hope for men is to believe the gospel of Christ] knowing full well all the talk about science and learning and culture. We say so knowing that, at the end of this war* the world, in exactly the same way as at the end of the last war, will announce with confidence its plans and schemes for a new world, without taking any account of what the gospel has to say. Why do we say so? For precisely the same reasons adduced by St Paul [Romans 1:16] … he is proud of the gospel because it is God’s way of salvation … At once we see that it possesses an authority which is quite unique. For all other ideas with respect to life and its problems are man-made. At their best and highest, they never get beyond the realm of speculation and supposition … The great minds and the profoundest thinkers … end by admitting that the ultimate problems of life are shrouded in mystery … The very fact that there are so many different and differing schools of thought bears eloquent testimony to this uncertainty and inability … But there was another fact … which proved how inadequate all the schools were finally. And that was the endless number of religions that were to be found … We see a perfect picture of this in Acts 17 as regards Athens. The same was true of Rome and all other great cities … Paul had something essentially different to offer and to preach. He knew of the other systems. But he also knew their limits and their inability to solve the problems. He could not make his boast in men and their systems. Before he could boast of a system it must have authority; it must have certainty. The gospel Paul preached was not speculation; it was a revelation from God Himself [Gal. 1: 11, 12]. There was no need to be ashamed of such a message. And it is precisely the same today.”

*Written in 1942.

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians : 11-12).

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him:
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles..
.” (Isaiah 42:1).

How is true comfort and hope experienced spiritually?

We look at our circumstances anxiously,and want some kind of relief immediately. That’s why chocolate, coffee, wine are so popular.

Of course, that’s not spiritual experience at all. Instead, we need to think about ourselves in relation to the good news of Christ Jesus. Do I see Him as Isaiah did 730 years before He lived? The Promised One. The Savior. Am I in the realm of Christ or living under the control of Satan, sin, and the law? (See Romans 6). Which is it? You are either under Jesus’s governing power or you are not. That is the first step. Where am I? Who am I? Think of yourself as having died to Adam and his consequences and having risen to a new life loving and serving God. Comfort and hope start with right thinking.

Instead of seeking immediate relief from your raw circumstances, remember who you are. “God has set his love upon me. The Lord is my shepherd. He creates and orders and controls the cosmos for my good and His glory. He has forgiven me. “(Psalm 23, Romans 8, Isaiah 44:21-22)

Ask for the Spirit to give you understanding. To see things from God’s perspective. And to give you comfort and hope. (See John 16 )

You cannot produce comfort or hope on your own. But, you can think like a Christian and wait on the Lord to mysteriously come along beside you, giving you comfort, hope, and even joy. All in the midst of your pain.

Advertisements
 

FOCUS HELPS March 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — womenembracingfaith @ 4:58 pm

If reading several Old Testament chapters is overwhelming for you, try focusing on a couple of verses. Many in these Isaiah passages are famous and used in a lot of old songs. Pick out 1-4 verses and think about them when you can during the day.

For mothers training up children about “Who made you?”, think about:

Isaiah 43:1-2:
“But, now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
And He, who formed you, O Israel:
‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you:
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.”

 

READING THRU ISAIAH March 17, 2009

Filed under: introductions,Isaiah — womenembracingfaith @ 5:31 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I hope you are still trying to read Isaiah. Don’t get bogged down and give up. Even reading one verse is better than just giving up. Think as you read. Look for biblical principles. Look for Jesus..

Isaiah 40 starts a whole new book. This was written by 701 BC. No one knows exactly when. But, the date is important because of all that was predicted and all that came true. My friend, Roger Ellsworth, calls chapters 40-67, “God’s Book of Comfort.” It certainly comforted the believing Judean exiles to Babylon after 586 BC and all the generations of believers since.

ISAIAH 40-43

Do you find yourself needing a little comfort now and then? How can we experience true spiritual comfort?

BACKGROUND
After promising to uphold and strengthen His people, making them strong like an eagle, God asks His people to think together with Him about who He is, who they are, and the circumstances they find themselves in. (Those circumstances were dire. Israel had been destroyed as a nation because of their becoming just like the nations around them–idolatrous and immoral. They were hauled off to North Eastern Turkey, and probably dispersed all over E. Europe and Russia, Judah had been ravaged and tormented for over a hundred years by repeated raids and taxes from Assyrian and Babylonian invaders. All this was joined with warnings to turn back to God from their idolatry and sinful lifestyle. Now they were in Iraq, exiled to live without being a nation or having their own religion, their temple destroyed, etc. This sounds very harsh to our 21st century ears, but it is nothing to the judgment of God described in chapter 34! This was corrective discipline, not judgment in the way unbelievers will be judged for their sins. After 70 years, Babylon was destroyed, invaded by Persia. The Persian king, Cyrus, not only allowed, but funded, a group of the exiles to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their nation and reestablish their religion. This took place around 500 BC).

These chapters are all about giving comfort to God’s people while they are in exile. Promises would be made specifically about Cyrus and Christ.
KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING MEANING:
Judah and Israel are tangible examples of God’s people. God does not change. His relationship with His people today is the same. The context is important. Servant can mean God’s corporate people or Christ, depending on the context. These chapters are focusing on God’s people as His servant.
THINK, REMEMBER, REASON
Idols would be challenged to put up or shut up! God asks them to think and remember some very important things:

God is all powerful, The most powerful being in existence (40)
He would strengthen them and undergird them and never leave them. (40:28-31)

He was the one who brought in invaders,(41:1-4) but they were responsible for becoming idolaters (41:5-7)

He has chosen, elected them, set His love upon them to be His friend and servant (41:8-10)

Their enemies would be destroyed (41:11-13); They would be made strong and nourished and watered (41-14-20)

WHAT HIS SERVANTS ARE TO DO; WHAT GOD WILL DO
Part of this reasoning process would be to remember and sing about the long-promised Redeemer, His justice and gentleness and righteousness. They are to give glory to God and tell the nations about Him (42:1-12.) And hear and see. God will act like a mighty man of war to straighten things out. He will be satisfied by Christ’s righteousness and will make his law very visible and honored (42:13-21). But, will His people hear? Will they realize their troubles result from their idolatry?(42:22-25) Will they tell of God’s character, power, and friendship? Will they praise Him and give Him all the glory? (43:10-12; 21)
WHERE IS THE COMFORT?
By remembering the promise of our Redeemer and God’s being satisfied by His righteousness as a cover for our sins. (Look to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved!)

By remembering that God helped His people then, and will now.

By remembering the power God has to do that–can turn king’s minds, lay waste the most powerful and advanced nations.

By remembering the power of the Holy Spirit to bring revival and stir hearts to honor God and His law.

By remembering the love God has shown by choosing you to know and praise Him. This kind of thinking comforts and warms our hearts. Help each other to think like this! (44:21-23)

I hope this helps you keep on reading and thinking about Isaiah’s message to us, and to actually know what it is to experience comfort from our LORD. As Martyn Lloyd Jones reminds us in his “Daily Readings,” it all starts with right thinking. Thinking BEFORE experiencing. And R. C. Sproule of Ligonier Ministries would remind us of that same thing.

Grace and comfort to us all!