He is despised and rejected by men

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  Isaiah 53:3

These verse described prophetically what Jesus would go through at Calvary.  He was despised and rejected because of us.  He knew the price that had to be paid at Calvary and He knew the pain and suffering He would face.  But it was His love for us that drove Him to choose to come to the earth and lay down His life.

Many in the world today despise the name of Jesus.  They reject the existence of God and want nothing to do with Him.  They want to simply live their lives to fulfill the selfish desires that exist within their hearts.  But God in His grace and mercy continues day after day to knock on human heart.  The Lord continues to advance the gospel throughout the earth.

When we understand the grace and mercy of God we will surrender our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ.  To follow Christ means to simply give Jesus all that we are.  His will becomes the driving force in our lives.  We simply live our lives to bring glory and honor to His name.

Matthew 25:1-13: Importance of being prepared and ready on a daily basis in light of the Lord’s soon return

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“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom [a]is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour [b]in which the Son of Man is coming.  Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus teaches this parable to the disciples about the importance of being ready.  The bridegroom within the parable represents the Lord.  The five foolish virgins represent those who are not prepared for His return.  The five wise virgins represent those who are wise and gather enough oil as they wait upon the bride grooms return.

When the bride groom returns the five foolish virgins are found off guard and without the proper oil.  They find themselves shut out from the wedding fest.  There are real consequences to failing to prepared and follow Christ on a daily basis.  Oil often times in scripture represents the Holy Spirit.  As we abide in Christ each day our hearts and lives are filled with the Lord.  But those who fail to abide in the Lord find themselves empty and outside the will of God.

Jesus gives us the warning to watch and it is very easy to become distracted in the world and culture we live in.  We live in a culture where we are bombarded by entertainment and false information.  Many times the enemy will lull us to sleep if we fail to diligently seek the Lord.  Diligently seeking the Lord happens as we commit ourselves to the discipline of setting aside time each day for the Lord.

Jesus desires that we would spend extravagant time with Him each day.  He desires that we spend the beginning of the day with Him and continue to fellowship with Him throughout the day.  Setting aside the beginning of the day with the Lord sets the tone and prepares our heart for the rest of the day.  We will naturally face trials and challenges throughout the day.  We will naturally be tempted.  But overcoming everything is dependent upon our intimacy level with the Lord.  The more intimate we become, the more we experience freedom and victory in every area of our lives.  Because the victory comes as the Lord simply lives through us.  It is His strength and power and not our own that we operate by.

The return of the Lord is far more closer than many realize or understand.  Many in the church live in complete ignorance of the nearness of the Lord’s return because they sit under compromised preaching that values the honor of men over the honor of the Lord.  But when we examine the truth of God’s word and we examine the signs of the time, it is evident that the Lord’s return is near.  But no man knows the day or hour and to try to figure it out is a useless exercise.

May we heed the warnings of the Lord and His word seriously.  May we not be lulled to sleep by the deception and culture of our day.  May we set aside time to spend extravagant time with Jesus and may He become the obsession of our lives.  True freedom is only found when we totally abandon our lives to Jesus Christ.

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Psalm 5: Crying out to the Lord in the midst of trial and tribulation

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Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my [b]meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil [c]dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward [d]Your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.

For there is no [e]faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
10 Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You.

11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You [f]defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
12 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.  Psalm 5

David begins this Psalm crying out to the Lord to hear his prayer and to consider his meditation.  The experience of those before the cross was much different from our experience now.  Before the cross Israel had a covenant relationship with the Lord, but only knew Him from a distant.  In Christ we are able to have a personal relationship with the Lord and know Him very intimately, for He lives within us.  Even though David was the king, he knew who the king of his heart and the nation of Israel was.  David was a man of worship and spent much of his life worshiping and writing worship songs.  David was not a perfect man by any means, but he was a man who truly loved the Lord.

David knew that God does not take pleasure in wickedness.  In this world that is marred and broken by sin, it can feel at times that the wicked prosper and those who seek and serve the Lord are forgotten.  But we must remember this world is not our home and one day we will rule and reign with Jesus Christ.  But until that day we must continue to seek and pray.  God is in control and He is fulfilling His plans and purposes in our lives.

David knew that God was full of mercy.  That to fear the Lord is not to fear punishment, to fear the Lord is to live in holy reverence of who He is and understand that He alone is God.  David’s desire is that God would simply lead Him in all His ways and the Lord would lead Him to righteousness.  When we ask God’s to lead us we must understand we are surrendering our plans and purposes to the Lord.

David placed the battle in the hands of the Lord.  Vengeance belongs to the Lord alone.  When we take matters into our own hands we operate from our sinful nature and open the door for disaster.  But when we seek the Lord and pray His will, He will perfectly move.  It can be most difficult when people rise up against us and desire to do us harm.

Those who trust in the Lord and love His name will be greatly blessed and protected by the Lord.  Even in the midst of trial and tribulation the Lord will sustain us and meet every need.  The wealthiest people on the earth are those who simply know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior because no matter how difficult something seems, the Lord will see us through.  He will cover us and protect us.  He will be a shield around us.  He will protect us on every side.

Matthew 20:20-28: Greatness in God’s kingdom begins with humility

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:20-28

This passage of scripture opens with an interesting interchange between Jesus and the mother of James and John. She asks for her sons to sit on the right and left hand of Jesus in His kingdom. These would not only be positions of authority but they would also point to high ranking.

The disciples believed Jesus would overthrow Rome at some point and establish His kingdom. They failed to understand that the first time Christ came was to conquer the curse of sin and death and truly set people free.

But Jesus makes it clear that the one who will make that decision is His Father in Heaven. He speaks of His soon coming baptism that would involve the suffering and the cross at Calvary. But both James and John would suffer greatly for the name of Jesus and the kingdom of God.

But Jesus uses this as an opportunity to correct their wrong understanding of true greatness. When the Lord speaks of the gentiles, He speaks of those outside Israel who lived their lives according to the principles of the world. The way of salvation would eventually be made open to the gentiles.

But the Lord points out that those in positions of authority according to the world’s system Lord it over they rule. They use people and disregard them when they are done with them. But Jesus says it is not so with His kingdom. For those who desire to be great must be willing to serve. That those who desire to be first must be willing to be a slave.

This would have blown the minds of the disciples and challenged their desire for selfish ambition. Jesus told them on multiple occasions that He would be betrayed, would suffer, would be scrounged, and crucified. The Lord fully understood why He came to earth. That it required His laying down His life to set people free.

But Jesus also knew the importance of investing in the lives of the disciples and teaching them the principles upon which His kingdom is built. These ordinary men would be entrusted with taking the gospel forward and building the solid foundation on which the church is built.

Greatness in God’s kingdom is not the result of selfish ambition. It is not the result of popularity or being the most charismatic person behind a pulpit. It is the result of walking closely with Christ that naturally leads to humility. It results from being willing to lay down our lives daily and trusting the Lord each step of the way.

If our desire is greatness then we must desire to be a servant. Be willing to do the things that no one else desires to do. Be willing to simply say yes when the Lord leads and instructs. It requires us to lay down our lives daily.

Psalm 4

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Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
[b]Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood? Selah
But know that the Lord has [c]set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.

Be[d] angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.  Psalm 4

It is a great comfort to know that when we pray the Lord hears us.  If we have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ we know that we are covered by the blood of Jesus and are commanded to draw near to the throne of grace.  God’s grace and His mercy is far greater than we even understand.  We will face trials in this life, but during those difficult times may we draw near and simply seek the Lord, He will be our comfort and strong tower.

The psalmist writes of those who attack him for unrighteous reasons.  But we must remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, it is against the enemy of our souls alone.  The way we take the fight to Satan is in the place of prayer.  As we draw near to the Lord, the Lord draws near to us.  The enemy runs every time when He sees the Lord coming.

The Lord has set apart those who are Godly.  He hears those who cry out to Him.  The enemy will often lie to us and tell us that God has abandoned us.  But the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.  His promises are true and He is faithful to complete His plans and purposes.

We are called to not become angry and sin.  It is very easy to become angry when we are offended and wronged by others.  We can desire to take justice and matters into our own hands.  But every situation must be surrendered to the Lord.  When we surrender our situation to the Lord, we place it in His hands and wait upon His timing and His will.

We are called to do right and place our trust in the Lord.  For the culture of our day wants nothing to do with God and His ways.  But as followers and believers of Jesus Christ we are called to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, not the world around us.

The Psalmist was able to lie down in peace and safety because the Lord was His foundation and where he placed his trust.  For it was a great joy when there was a mighty harvest.  But no greater joy exist when we know that the Lord is involved and intervenes in the affairs of our daily lives.

God is our protector and our shepherd.  It doesn’t mean we won’t experience pain and suffering because the greatest growth actually takes place in the place of suffering.  But it does mean that no matter what we face, as we trust Him, He will lead and guide us through all things.

Psalm 3

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,
There is no help for him in God.” Selah

 

But You, O Lordare a shield [a]for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

 

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

 

Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah   Psalm 3

Psalm three is a cry for help.  David is fleeing from Absalom who has conspired against his father to take the throne.  David had brought this upon himself with the sin in his life when he committed adultery and tried to cover it up by having Bathsheba’s husband killed.  David sent a letter with Uriah back to Joab his commander and in the letter David told Joab to place Uriah on the front lines and when the fighting was fierce to call the army back.  This resulted in Uriah being killed and David thought he had covered up his sin.  But a year later the prophet Nathan would confront David about his sin.

But even though David had brought this upon himself, he cries out to the Lord because he knows where his true help comes from.  Our help is not found in horses or the might of armies.  Our help is found in the Lord alone.

The Lord is our shield and He is our shepherd.  He goes before us and He protects us.  When we cry out to Him, He is always there and will always help us.  David was not a perfect man and we as well are very broken.  Many of us if we were honest are not proud of where we have come from.  We are not proud of our past and often the enemy tries to use it to condemn us.  But thanks be to God that our past and our sins have been nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ.

David was able to sleep in peace because he knew that the Lord held his life and his future in His hands.  When our faith and trust is placed in Jesus it doesn’t matter how many surround us.  It doesn’t matter how fiercely the enemy rages or pursues us.  Because if the Lord before us, who can stand against us.  Our trust and hope is in the Lord alone.  The key is fully relying on Him for all things.

David knows that vengeance belongs to the Lord.  The battle belongs to Him.  When we take matters into our own hands we fall for the bait of Satan.  Satan will always play off our emotions.  Any time we respond from a place of anger or fear we have already lost.  We must remember that Jesus is our Savior.  That doesn’t simply mean that He just died on the cross for us, but every day He is leading and guiding us through the Holy Spirit as we face the wiles of the devil.  The devil is real and desires to simply destroy us.  But thanks be to God that He is within us is greater than he who is against us.  Even if all the world stands in opposition against us we will not be moved.

Psalm 2

Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have [e]set My King
[f]On My holy hill of Zion.”

“I will declare the [g]decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall [h]break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
12 [i]Kiss the Son, lest [j]He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.  Psalm 2

The nations rage against the Lord’s anointed.  The Lord’s anointed is Jesus Christ.  As we examine the world around us we see that things are aligning.  There is a day coming in which the Lord shall remove His bride from the earth and then the wrath and judgement of God will be poured out upon the earth.  At the end of the seven year tribulation, Jesus shall return and destroy the armies of the earth who have gathered in valley of Armageddon with the sword that proceeds from His mouth which is His spoken word.  He shall simply speak and the armies that stand before Him will be decimated.

The Lord sits upon His throne and laughs at the arrogance and pride of man.  Man is blinded by his pride and his wickedness and believes he is the one who is in control.  But he fails to understand that God almighty holds everything in His hand.  He is alone is the one who is in control of history.  He is daily fulfilling His purposes upon the earth.

God has placed the nations in the hands of His Son Jesus.  He shall return to establish His kingdom and rule for one thousand years.  He shall rule the earth with a rod of iron.  He shall return as the rightful King that He is.  When He came the first time, He came as a suffering servant who came to give His life.  But when He returns, He shall return in all His glory.

When we understand the truth of God’s word and the majesty of Jesus it will impact how we live our lives every moment.  We understand that our lives no longer belong to us and we truly understand that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  There are those now upon the earth who mock the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  But these same people will stand before Jesus in judgement and will tremble as they face the judgement of Almighty God.  May we seek Him with our whole heart and remove anything from our lives that would hinder our relationship with Jesus.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the [a]ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he [b]meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the [c]rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.  Psalm 1

Who we surround ourselves with has a huge impact on the trajectory of our lives.  If our lives are surrounded by those who pursue the wickedness of the world it will impact us and pull us away from the Lord.  But if we are surrounded by those who are pursuing the Lord and His purpose, it will increase our walk with the Lord.

When our lives are spent on the study and meditation of God’s word it will bring great blessing to our lives.  I am not simply speaking of material blessing.  Too many times when people hear the word blessing they focus on monetary things.  But the greatest blessing is simply knowing the Lord intimately.

Our closeness with the Lord will have a direct effect on the way we live our lives.  In all that we do the Lord will lead, guide, and empower us to impact this world for His kingdom and His glory.  It will not be our might or power that things will be accomplished, but by the Holy Spirit alone.

The ungodly are those who reject Jesus and His purposes.  They are those who seek after the desires of the selfish sinful nature that ultimately lead to destruction.  Jesus said that He came to give life and give it abundantly.  When we walk with Jesus, every day is an adventure.  But when we pursue the world and its desire it may seem enjoyable for a season, but it ultimately leads to destruction.

The Lord’s hand and His eyes are upon the way of the righteous.  Those who have chosen to follow the Lord and commit their way into His hands will have their steps directed by Him.  He has given every person a freewill upon the earth.  We can either choose to serve the Lord and set aside the things of self, or we can choose to indulge in selfish desires and reject the Lord and His ways.  But it is only committing our lives to Christ that leads to eternal life.

 

The Lord is always faithful

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God is faithful. He is always faithful. Often times our feelings and emotions will try to make us think other wise. Often we examine our circumstances in light of our limited understanding and become frustrated and discouraged.

But we must view every situation in light of God’s word. He has demonstrated throughout His word that He is always faithful. He simply asks us to seek Him and walk in obedience. Today we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. As we abide in Him we become more sensitive to the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit. It is by His grace and His power that His plans for our lives are accomplished.

The need for quality mentors in the body of Christ

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Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.

Titus 2:2 NLT

If we have this false perception in America that once you are old, you are no longer relevant.  But this could not be more false when it pertains to the body of Christ.  Older men are called to live Godly lives and to mentor the young men who are coming up through the church.

Too many times when people become older they kind of tap out of life when it comes to being involved.  They develop a retired mindset and believe their best days are behind them.  But we must remember that Moses didn’t begin his ministry until he was 80, Abraham did not have Issac until he was 100, and Noah didn’t begin to build the ark until he as 500 years old.

Age is simply a number.  Yes our bodies break down as we get older, but by the grace and strength of the Lord we are able to accomplish all God has called us to do.  If you are older understand your best days are not behind you.  God has much for you to do and one of the greatest things He has called you to do is to mentor the next generation.

The reason this is so important in our day and age is because we have a generation of young people who come from broken homes and have no knowledge of God.  Your value is far greater than you understand.  Keep pressing on and doing whatever the Lord has laid on your heart to do.

It is through intimacy with the Holy Spirit that we learn to trust and obey His leading

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Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.

Psalm 143:10 NLT

It is the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us in all things.  The Holy Spirit is not an it, He is the third person of the trinity and we are able to develop deep intimacy with the Holy Spirit.  But this requires us to draw near to the Lord daily.

As we draw near the Holy Spirit will speak to us about areas in our lives.  The Holy Spirit will convict our hearts and will speak to us at times about removing things in our lives.  Those the Father loves He continually prunes and refines.

God’s desire is to develop within us greater maturity.  As we grow in maturity we come to recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit and become more sensitive to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It begins with us developing intimacy and fellowship with the Lord.  As we do this, He will lead us and transform us into the character and nature of Jesus Christ.