Sinners Galore

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Today’s Devotional

by Meagan Evans
April 19, 2019

We have all sinned. Every single one of us. Yes, even you. Many times, without a single thought given to the nature of the sin. It just happens, almost as if it’s second nature. Unfortunately, sin is a part of daily human life, whether we want it to be or not. We sin.

You know who never did? Jesus. He led a sinless life and died for my sins. He died willingly for someone who would never deserve it, who could never earn that favor, He died for me! Although his life wasn’t without struggle and extreme temptation, he was able to live a life with no sin — something we will never be able to do, but can strive for daily.

Obviously, we don’t wake up in the mornings with the goal in mind of being a sinner that day. But it’s truly sad how easily it happens. Whether it’s being angry about the previous day’s events, or what is happening in the seconds of the present, we sin.

Sin is defined as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” And while that’s true, we are never far from his grace, the “free and unmerited favor of God.” His grace runs so deeply, so freely, and so abundantly for all those who believe. God’s forgiveness for sin was paid by the ultimate sacrifice, and it is available to all who trust in him through faith. There is absolutely nothing you can do to make you unworthy of God’s grace. In fact, by definition, grace is a gift to the unworthy. God’s grace is greater than your deepest, darkest, ugliest, messiest sin. We serve a God who can and will forgive even that!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
— 1 John 1:9

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

— Isaiah 53:5

Pray that today, and every day, we can be more like our perfect Father, who loves us despite our ugliness, despite our sinful nature, and despite our brokenness.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

The Lawgiver, the Lawbreaker and the Substitute

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Today’s Devotional

by Nolan Jones III
April 18, 2019

Penal substitutionary atonement. What is it? Let’s start by looking at the definition of each of the three words:

Penal
The Oxford English Dictionary defines penal as “relating to, used for, or prescribing the punishment of offenders under the legal system.” First, we know that penal substitutionary atonement has something to do with the punishment of someone who has broken a law.

Substitutionary
The same dictionary defines substitution as “the action of replacing someone or something with another person or thing.” Second, we know that penal substitutionary atonement involves someone standing in as a substitute for another person.

Atonement
Atonement is defined as “the action of making amends for a wrong or injury.” Third, we know that penal substitutionary atonement involves someone making amends to another who has been wronged.

Now that we have defined all three words, let’s look at them together and try to see what’s going on here. We need to understand that the words penal and substitutionary are both adjectives that describe the noun atonement. So, atonement is what we are discussing here. And the words penal and substitutionary describe the type of atonement taking place.

It appears that we have three persons involved in penal substitutionary atonement:

1. The Lawgiver
First, we have a person who have given a law that defines how a person should behave and defines the punishment a person will receive should they choose to break the law.

2 The Lawbreaker
Second, we have a person who is under the law who chose to break the law and is now under the punishment defined by the law.

3. The Substitute
Third, we have a person who has chosen to act as a substitute by voluntarily bearing the guilt of the lawbreaker and receiving the full punishment of the lawgiver, all for the purpose of making amends and bringing peace between the lawbreaker and the lawgiver.

That is a basic understanding of penal substitutionary atonement. Now, please take a moment to read through the following passage from Isaiah. In this passage you will find the most amazing example of penal substitutionary atonement. You will see the lawgiver, God. You will see the lawbreaker, yourself. And you will see the substitute, Jesus. Read through it carefully and try to find which phrases refer to the lawgiver, the lawbreaker and the substitute. What is said about each of them? What did each one do? You may have read this passage before, maybe many times, but have you ever really taken the time to truly absorb the truths found in it? Please, do that today. See the full beauty of the substitute that reconciles us lawbreakers to the great lawgiver!

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
― Isaiah 53:4–6 NASB


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Joy Unexpected

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Today’s Devotional

by Rebecca Spence
April 17, 2019

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
— 2 Corinthians 4:15

Have you ever marveled at the phenomenon that gratitude both leads to joy and praise, as well as springs from joy and praise? It’s as if our happiness is affixed inseparably to our gratitude.

There are days when the funk that precedes my wakefulness seems to be waiting, lurking in the corners for my mind to arise and meet it. These mornings start out negative and lacking gratefulness. Other mornings, I am awakened by joy and optimism. In the former, I must practice gratitude to come to joy. In the latter, gratitude flows freely unforced from joy.

Often our culture desires so desperately to be grateful but lacks something or someone to be grateful toward. Our gratitude hangs out there suspended by nothing and soon dissipates into indecision and even nihilism. When we watch someone thanking the universe or chance for their good fortune, there is an overwhelming since of arbitrariness and even ludicrousness that we can’t shake. It seems that our gratitude can not remain without praise and our praise can not continue arbitrarily. There is something in us that seeks to thank someone that can take credit for providing us with ‘what is’ based on their free choice.

In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis puts it this way:

The Christian says, ’Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

Perhaps earthly pleasures, finding no one to thank here on earth, were meant to arouse a sense of the real, unearthly thing from which these gifts flow. What an unnecessary and unwarranted surprise love is, for example. We can see from other creatures that it is not necessary to have love to thrive as a species. Love, in its fullest consciousness sense, seems to be a blessed gift for humans alone, and oh how thankful we are for it. We would die for those that we love. What about the glorious taste of bread? Certainly we could have evolved to eat food tasting of sand if we got hungry enough. Where did this blessed gift of taste come from and why if not God himself?

So we come back to joy and gratitude. How surprising it is to find such gratitude and joy in forgiveness. Have you watched a child’s face when they’re caught with a stolen cookie? The best description is fear and loathing. Lets face it, a spanking doesn’t hurt all that much, and a parent’s scorn shouldn’t be all that alarming. They’re going to love us again in a minute, right? So why the overwhelming joy when forgiven? Even children seem to know that they have violated a rule that should not be violated, and that they alone are responsible for that act.

Thus, when forgiven, a child’s face washes with relief, and they rush in for a hug. They promise that they will never, ever, ever do it again. They know that they do not deserve such forgiveness, and their joy, praise and gratitude spill over.

These small gratitudes are put in place for a reason, so that we will understand the magnificence and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through joy we express our understanding that his death for our trespasses was an unmerited gift. Our gratitude brings us to our knees, a smile etched on our faces. We rise and follow singing songs of praise. We are not worthy of such good things. Who are we that he should be mindful of us?

This Easter season, may our gratitude for the love and work of Jesus Christ spill over into joy and praise such that others may see and be attracted to Christ in us. He is risen.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

The Answer Was Right n Front Of Them

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Today’s Devotional

by Doug Hall

This devotional was orginally published on April 6, 2017

Sometimes I look too hard, think too long and analyze too deeply. While not bad practice in certain situations, the answer to my question is often apparent. It is right before me, lost in a maze of questions, doubts and elaborate examination. I fail to see the obvious. It can be the same with religious thinking.

In our culture, rules, penances, mystical incantations, rote recitations, and even physical punishment substitute for religious belief. People are fooled into believing that religious activities will suffice when it comes to a relationship with God. Some are even fooled into believing that there are many ways to God.

That is not the case with authentic Christianity. As Christians, we are not bound by religious contrivances. We are set free though our relationship with him. And only through him.

When Jesus was asked by Thomas how to follow him, he answered:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
— John 14:6

Paul admonished the believers in Rome when he instructed them:

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 6:23

When the Jewish leadership confronted Jesus about his claims, going so far as accusing him of being demon possessed, Jesus pointed directly at the Father:

“My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.”
— John 8:54

Denying the miracles he had performed, the truths he had taught and the claims he had made, blind to the reality that the long-awaited Messiah was standing before them, their final accusation at this time was that Jesus was not 50 years old. They missed the obvious.

In response, Jesus offered the ultimate defense of his deity. Using the same phrase that is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in Jesus’ day to describe the voice from the burning bush in Exodus, Jesus simply responded, “I am.” (John 8:58)

They were thinking in terms of time. Jesus’ response was timeless. They said he was not old enough. He responded that he had always been and will always be.

They accused him of having lived too few days to be God. His answer to them was a declaration of eternity — past, present, and future.

His affirmation was, “I am.” His response declared his eternal existence.

Do not get caught in the trappings of religious activity. “I am” wants a relationship with you.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Don’t Miss It

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Today’s Devotional

by Randy Wade
April 15, 2019

He who knew no sin became sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
— 2 Corinthians 5:21

In the message on Sunday, we learned of a thing called penal substitutionary atonement. Although it sounds complicated, it simply means that Jesus took the punishment you and I deserved upon himself in order to put us in right standing with God. Jesus became the ultimate and final sacrifice for the sinfulness of mankind when he willingly went to the cross to suffer and die. Unfortunately, the majority of the people in Jesus’ day completely missed that he was the Messiah. They missed what it was that he was doing on their behalf. They missed the forgiveness and the grace that he offered them through his death and resurrection. They just flat-out missed it.

As a result, the folks who missed it kept doing what they had always done. They would bring a lamb to the temple once a year and offer it as a sacrifice for the atonement of their sins. They would approach the priest with a lamb under their arm, hoping that this act of sacrifice would be enough to cover them for the next year. They repeated this routine over and over again. They missed Jesus, and ultimately they missed the point of his coming to dwell among us.

I suppose we need to be careful though. It is entirely possible for us to do the same thing. It is possible for us to come to church week in and week out with some sort of sacrifice under our arm with the hope that God will notice. We bring him our effort, our generosity, our consistency, our kids, our career, our regrets, our fear. Each week we bring him something, hoping that he will appreciate our effort and give us grace for another day. It feels right on Sunday, but we all know the truth that Monday is just around the corner. We all know deep in our hearts that it isn’t enough.

I have good news for you! It will never be enough. You and I do not have what it takes to appease God for one day, much less a year, and certainly not for an eternity. Apart from Christ Jesus, we have absolutely no righteousness to offer God. All we have to offer is filthy rags of brokenness and human effort, and it isn’t enough. I know that doesn’t sound like good news, but it is because as soon as you and I realize we don’t have what it takes to satisfy the wrath of God, we will start looking to find the one who does. When we earnestly look for the one who does, it leads us to the cross of Jesus Christ every single time. Why? Because only Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the only way to the Father. Jesus is the only way to forgiveness. Jesus is the only way. This is good news because Jesus took upon himself the full wrath of God. He became our substitute.

He who knew no sin became sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
— 2 Corinthians 5:21

Are you looking for a way to be forgiven? Have you been taking feeble sacrifices to the local church house every Sunday, hoping that one day you will take one that satisfies God? None of that will work, so you can lay down those empty sacrifices and go as quickly as you can to the foot of the cross — the cross and death your sin earned — and see that Jesus has already taken your punishment and proven himself victorious over it.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Our Deepest Need

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Today’s Devotional

by Kyle Kelley
April 12, 2019

The weeks leading up to Easter always have a fun feel. There is more sunshine, spring weather, and a sense of hope in the air as things begin to grow and awaken. In our new series, [Un]expected, we look at Isaiah 53. Although we know it is a prophecy about the Messiah from nearly 700 years before he was born, it is not what the Jewish people were expecting. I am sure they had a deep desire to have their spiritual needs met, but they were unable to separate this from the desire for getting their physical, social and political needs met.

Our spiritual needs deal with the deepest places of our heart and are different than other needs. God shows dozens of examples of people who are persecuted, yet have great joy because of their bedrock of hope and faith. Paul was in prison for serving God and was beaten while incarcerated, yet his gratitude was so great, he actually rejoiced for being counted worthy of that suffering. John was sentenced to a life of isolation on the island of Patmos for his faith and yet he was able to hear and see God and write the Book of Revelation. Almost all of the disciples were executed for their faith and yet counted it a blessing to die for their faith.

The Jewish people of Isaiah’s time did not see Jesus of Nazareth in this passage.

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
— Isaiah 53:2–3

That does not sound like the description of a mighty warrior or unstoppable king. They wanted a powerful leader that would re-establish their homeland and usher in a new reign, not a leader that would surrender to the authorities and refrain from fighting back when arrested. Their king would not be despised and rejected, their king would be powerful and loved by all.

I think sometimes we come to God asking similar things. We want him to do things for us that are tangible, beneficial and powerful when what we need most is grace and forgiveness. If you are stuck and in a place where you just aren’t seeing the goodness of God because of your circumstances, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of your salvation, of that moment when he replaced your heart of stone with a heart of flesh. Ask him to help you remember his gift on the cross, the gift that saved you, and met your deepest need.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

I Am the Bread of Life

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Today’s Devotional

by Ryan Castle
April 11, 2019

When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
— John 6:25–40

The passage you just read in the gospel of John comes immediately after Jesus has just finished feeding the 5,000 (most scholars believe it was actually more like 12,000), and walking on water. Those were two signs, and this is the sermon attached to those signs. People are following Jesus in droves after these two signs, and even continue to ask him to do more. They are interested in what he can do for them, but aren’t all that interested in Jesus himself. (If you don’t believe me, keep reading until the end of John 6 and you’ll see how many of them are still there after Jesus is done preaching.)

Jesus’ accusation in verse 26 is “You’re not here because you love me; you’re here because I fed your belly.” I’ve been wrestling with this for a few months now in my own thoughts and prayer life. Am I interested in Jesus or the stuff that Jesus can do for me? On the one hand, the stuff Jesus can do for me is remarkable and highly desired: salvation, a renewed inner self, sanctification. But why am I interested in those things? Is it so that I can look more spiritual? If that’s the case, I start looking less like a disciple of Christ and more like a moralistic rule follower and box checker, akin to a Pharisee. And I think a lot of us are like this. We say, “I go to church. I’ve memorized parts of the Bible. My kids are in these programs. I have all of these things that I am doing!” This is what Matt Chandler says about what he calls “frantic religious exercise”:

If that stuff terminates on itself and doesn’t lead to a love for Jesus and a passion for who Christ is, all it does is create arrogance. All it does is create judgmental, really terrible people who Jesus has a lot of harsh things to say about. The answer to the question “Am I good?” isn’t “Yeah, because I did this checklist.” You’re trying to check a grade card that God doesn’t grade by. That’s not how God grades.

What ends up happening is we can create our own little grade card. We can start to feel better about ourselves. We’re like, “God, I made all A’s,” and God is like, “On what test? I’m trying to …bless you with real life, and you’re trying to score A’s still. No, I’m you’re A. You’re summa cum laude because of me, not because of you. I’ve provided for you.
— Matt Chandler, from his sermon, That Which Satisfies

So going to church, reading my Bible and enrolling my kids in VBS are all good and right, but if my motivations are wrong and it doesn’t lead to a love of Jesus and who he is, then it’s bankrupt. The gospel is not about what I have done or am doing, but what Christ has done for me. You want to do the works of God? Then look back again at John 6:28–29. The work of God is that you believe in the one whom he has sent. That’s it. That’s the whole statement from Jesus in this text about how to do the work of God. But what about evangelism? Loving others? Living a holy life? Where do you think all of that comes from? Your effort or the abiding presence of Jesus?

So why else might I only be interested in the things Jesus offers and not Jesus himself? Maybe it’s because I have some false belief that the point of the gospel is that my felt needs are satisfied and that my external circumstances are changed so that I can walk around in a faux hyper-reality where there is no sorrow, confusion, loss or doubt. Jesus doespromise the end of these things on the other side of glory, but nowhere in Scripture does Jesus say, “Come, follow me, and your life will be easy.” That’s what these first-century Jews were expecting out of the coming Messiah. They believed that he would conquer the Romans and give them back their land. What he ended up doing is even better. He conquered death and he gave us his life and righteousness. Instead of taking us out of our circumstances, he enters into them with us and meets us in our mess. This is where Jesus does his most profound work in our hearts—through our angst and our doubts and our struggles. We try foolishly to hide these dark places in our hearts from Jesus when he already knows about them, which just serves to rob us of the reconciling, restoring, redeeming work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

To land this plane, I’ll restate what David said on Sunday. Don’t miss Jesus. His authority is going to rub up against us and challenge some strongly held beliefs we may have on how life is to be lived. Some people are going to choose their own way and what they want over what Christ has commanded. May we be an open-handed people set on allowing the authority of Christ to infiltrate us, change us, sanctify us, minister to us, and ultimately lead us to the fullness of life that is found in him and him alone.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

As Trees

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Today’s Devotional

by Shelli Ragle
April 10, 2019

Let the Master Gardener do his work. Let him prune you, and let him rain down on you so you may be strengthened and so you will grow ever closer to him who lives in the heavens. Let the Son shine brightly on your foliage. Feel his warmth. And may the fruit you bear be the satisfaction of those who feed off you, that they would crave more of the provision that has come from the Lord.

For we are as trees in an orchard, planted with the intention that we will bear fruit, with the need for pruning to remove wild limbs and diseased growths that can affect the other trees.

May the seeds of your fruit land upon rich soil so that they too can sprout and bear fruit for the Nation of God. And may we be an everlasting orchard, rooted in faith and abounding with the fruit of the Spirit.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Rejection

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Today’s Devotional

by Jerrod McDaniel
April 09, 2019

People are afraid of a lot of things. And by people, I mean meI am afraid of a lot of things. There are the popular choices, of course, like fear of dying, fear of heights, fear of Mongolian death worms. (Okay, maybe not that last one.) But of all common anxieties, I think the one that tends to weigh heaviest on the human soul is the fear of rejection. The fear that people will leave you, that they won’t like you, that they’ll turn their back on you. I’d like to say it’s just an adolescent thing, something we get over after the perilous trials of high school, but we never quite grow out of it, do we? There’s something about us that wants to be liked or respected or, on an even deeper level, just wants to be loved. And if that doesn’t happen, well, there’s nothing scarier than the idea of being utterly and completely rejected. It certainly sits at the top of my list of worst nightmares.

Now imagine this: that’s exactly what God subjected himself to, all in order to save us. And this was not some last-minute plot twist on God’s part. No, long before Jesus was born, this divine prophecy had been written for all to see:

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

— Isaiah 53:3–4

This was the plan for the Messiah of the world. Jesus, who was God — literally the individual most deserving of our admiration — purposefully came into the world knowing that He would be completely rejected, even despised. In fact, he would be destined to bear the title Man of Sorrows. Who would sign up for that? Surely not the God of the universe! Let’s not even factor in the physical pain Jesus would endure. Just consider the emotional toll of having your creation, your children despise and reject you. And yet, God volunteered for this. Why? To save them. To save us. To save the very people who would reject him.

What God demonstrated through Christ was the complete opposite of rejection. He faced their hatred head-on and countered it with grace, mercy and unconditional love. Instead of rejecting the world, he embraced it by embracing the cross. He embraced pain, both physical and emotional. He embraced the totality of rejection. Not just rejection from the people, but also, as he bore our sin, from the Father himself.

And as mind-blowing as that is, it’s great news for anyone who has ever felt or feared being rejected. There will always be one who chose to love us instead of reject us, and he is the author of life itself. And he demonstrated this love in the most epic of ways. He even painted the picture way back in Isaiah 53. That picture is Christ. He embraced the pain of rejection so we could have the joy of fellowship — fellowship with him. It is a gracious gift, and all we have to do is be willing to accept it. Yes, God bore our worst nightmare so that we don’t have to.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

What Isaiah Saw

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Today’s Devotional

by Pat Cooper
April 08, 2019

Among the prophets of old, Isaiah is perhaps the most beloved and for good reason. If you will, allow your imagination a moment to drift back about 27 centuries with me. You are standing in the man of God’s chambers, peering over his shoulder as he dips his well-used quill in the ink tank. He has been sitting in the same place for hours, quiet as a mouse. You notice his head tilt slightly as if inclining his ear to identify a voice speaking through the silence. With calm and deliberate strokes, his steadying hand begins to move the ancient writing instrument across the parchment in rhythmic motion as to keep time with the dancing shadows cast over it by the old oil lamp perched about half an arm’s length away. What appears odd shaped scratches to you and me are actually letters. Letters become words, words becoming sentences:

In the year that King Uzziah died…
— Isaiah 6:1

As the Hebrew characters become intelligible, a sweeping wind blows your thoughts into the very throne room of the eternal one, for a moment you are there. Through the prophet’s pen, your eyes behold God; high and lifted up, exalted. His train filling the temple you see his majesty, behold his glory, and are allowed to taste his holiness. Seraphim move effortlessly through the open air above, chanting and crying out in endless refrain:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!
— Isaiah 6:2

Almost immediately you realize you are at a place where you don’t belong, seeing what you have no right to see. You are unworthy to even be near such holiness. Quickly you turn the page and are then peering into a distant tomorrow with its future headline of a virgin conceiving and bearing a son. Turning the page again you leap forward some 700 years. You are standing crib-side where “a child is born, a son is given, he is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah smiles big, his eyes are wide with joy; Jesus the Messiah has come, “and of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.”

Suddenly though, Isaiah’s expression is altered. There is a bewildering change of direction in the story, a paradigm shift. Tears begin to form in the old prophet’s aging eyes, but he continues to write, and you continue to read:

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
— Isaiah 53:5

Isaiah sees the promised one, Messiah, Israel’s great hope; his blood poured out before God a drink offering. Surely, he wept bitterly.

For you and I today, the lifeblood of Jesus spilled on the altar of sacrifice, the cross, has turned away the wrath of God being accepted as payment in full for the sin he did not commit, my sin and yours. He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, chastised for our peace, and wounded to heal us. But please understand: his torturous travail was not for purposes as would be more appealing and attractive to the senses; to remove difficulties, hardships, pain, suffering and other such maladies from the Christian experience. But to make it possible to stand in God’s presence by delivering those who will follow him from the curse of sin and its due wages:

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 6:23

Have you received your free gift yet? If not, you can unwrap it today, right now. You can touch base with us (see the info below) or read and apply these easy to follow instructions:

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
— Romans 10:9–10


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.