Come Home

Connecting Points

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Today’s Topic:  Come Home

Today’s Text:  Isaiah 12:2  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”

Before you read ahead, please take a moment and read the context of Isaiah 11:10 – 12:6. It is important to getting the big picture.

Now, let’s review. God is promising to the Israelites that the day is coming when He will establish His King and Kingdom on the earth. His people, who have been scattered all over the earth for generations, will be reclaimed and reunited in Israel and become a great nation again under the reign of Jesus Christ, the Root of Jesse.  All enemies will be cut off (11:13). All competition for recognition and prestige will end (11:13). They will become the most powerful and dominant nation of the world (11:14). God will make the way easy for them to return to the Promised Land (11:15-16). It will be the time of God fulfilling His covenant to Abraham as a testimony to His faithfulness.

Then in chapter 12 we have the songs of praise that the people will sing when the promise has been fulfilled. The people will proudly and boldly proclaim the marvelous works of Almighty God to save them and bring them into the Promised Land permanently. The whole earth will be overwhelmed with the greatness of God.

That’s the historical and prophetic picture of what happens in God’s chosen people Israel. But there is a bigger picture for us today. Notice the spiritual applications to our lives today:

  • People are living in the bondage of sin, held captive by its deceptive influence on the fleshly desires we all have to seek acceptance and recognition. They are scattered all over the earth seeking fulfillment in a myriad of ways, all of which drive them deeper into sin and further from their true homeland in Christ.
  • Jesus has raised up a banner for all the world to see, so that people can be reclaimed and reunited in God’s true family. That banner is the cross, where Jesus died to pay for the sin of the world and reconcile people to God. Jesus declared that truth in John 3:14 when He said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Then in John 12 Jesus said, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 
  • God has made the way easy to come home. He has prepared every path of your life with crossroads that lead to Him. You may have ignored them, or been so focused on the path of self-fulfillment that you didn’t see them, but they have been there. If you will open your eyes and look you will see the path of God leading you to the cross where your life can begin.
  • Once you come to the cross, the joy of salvation will so fill your heart that you will burst forth in words of praise so that others will be able to hear about God’s greatness. No longer will your heart be filled with complaining or criticism. No longer will resentment and bitterness rule your thought life. There will be no more grudges harbored in a heart of unforgiveness, because you will have experienced ultimate forgiveness from the Lord and will be ready to do the same for others no matter what they have done.

Everyone reading this today can relate to one point on this path. Maybe you are the one who is still living on your own path, rejecting every crossroad that would lead you to Jesus so you can fulfill your own desires. I have news for you – God never gives up designing crossroads in your life to draw you to Jesus. You will come across one even today.

Maybe you are the one who has started toward Jesus, but the desires and influence of the world are distracting you. Don’t stop moving to the point of repentance and surrender to Jesus. Consider how unfulfilling and literally deadly the pursuits of the world have been. Now consider what you are missing by not having the fullness of Jesus Christ the Lord living in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. Choose life, not death.

Many of you have already met Jesus at the cross. Why has the singing stopped? Why has the proclamation of the greatness of God been replaced with the pursuits of personal well-being in the world? Why have we stopped living like we really believe the truth of these words:

Surely God is my salvation: I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

It is time for the followers of Jesus to stand up and do what Isaiah says we will do when the day of salvation comes.

   “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.  Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.  Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Pastor John


The Rallying Point

Connecting Points

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Today’s Topic:  The Rallying Point

Today’s Text:  Isaiah 11:10  In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. 

I wish there was a greater patriotic spirit in our land today. I remember as a child the pride we had in our country. We were not all that far removed from the end of World War 2, and there was a sense of national pride and unity that permeated our country. I can’t remember ever seeing a single person sitting while a flag would be carried by in a parade. I also can’t remember anyone ever standing without having their hand over their heart in a personal salute to what the flag represents.

Not so today, is it? There is a disrespectful disregard for patriotism. Some would say it is because we have drifted so far from what our founding fathers designed, so they are excused from honoring what currently stands. I believe that the reason we are where we are today is because we, the generations since those days of honor and respect, have failed to live it and teach it as we should. We became complacent. We stopped rallying around a common banner and hope, and the resulting disrespect for our Republic and changing philosophies of our leaders is what we should have seen coming.

William Arthur Ward (his biography) wrote these moving words:

“I believe in America.

“I believe it became great because of its faith in God, its hope for independence, and its love for freedom.

“I am grateful for America’s glorious past; I am awed by its unbelievable present; I am confident of its limitless future.

“I am not ashamed to take my hat off and to stand at attention when Old Glory passes by. I do not apologize for the lump in my throat when I repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. I am not embarrassed by the tears in my eyes when I hear ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’

“Like millions of Americans, I want a free choice, not a free handout. I prefer an opportunity to prove my abilities on the job rather than a license to demonstrate my frustrations in the street.

“I am an old-fashioned American with a new-found determination to do my part to make democracy work.”

Like Ward, I too still get tears in my eyes when I sing the Star Spangled Banner. Just think of what that song meant to the people of that day, and what it should still mean to us. In the midst of a predictably unwinnable war against a vastly superior army from a long-established country, our troops were fighting to preserve our young Republic. During the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake in the War of 1812, the rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. The flag was the rallying point for the army. It was the signal to all around that there was still fight left in the troops. The flag is our symbol of liberty, and it should be held high and in high regard.

As Christians we belong to a spiritual Kingdom. The Ruler of this Kingdom has also established a flag – a banner – that flies over us as our rallying point. It is the cross on which He died for our sins. One day, maybe very soon the way things are going, the banner of the cross will be replaced by the One who hung on the cross. The day is coming when a new Ruler will rise, or rather descend, to power. He will become the new banner for the people of the world. He will be the One to bring true world peace. He will be the One to unite the world again. All nations will bow before Him. All nations will be united in Him. He will bring peace that is glorious.

His name is Jesus, and His banner is to be lifted high and held in high regard.

Pastor John