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Daily Worship

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DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION


An Unbelievable Message

by Mary Alice McGinnis


Have you ever considered what makes Christianity different? There are so many religions out there, so many ways humans have tried to understand, and come close to God. Maybe it is through using reason, or intellect, or following a set of rules or practices.


What is our inclination in searching, for a person to rescue us, deliver us, or protect us? What kind of person do we choose to follow? What kinds of things do we look for in those whom we seek to lead us? What characteristics do we desire in a hero? Close your eyes and try to picture what a perfect hero might look like in your mind.


  • Are they powerful? Powerful enough to really help us?

  • Are they prosperous? What have they achieved?

  • Are they attractive? Or charismatic? What draws us to them?

  • Are they influential? How can they use their influence to help us?

  • Are they admired? Or honored? What do others say about them? Do they have other people’s stamp of approval?

  • What comforts of life have they obtained? What makes us say, "I want that type of life too?"

  • With whom do they choose to surround themselves? Do they select the best of the best to come alongside them?

  • How do they determine who they will help?  

Isaiah turns our idea of the perfect hero on its head. Through the revealing of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah wrote these words: “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”


Isaiah wrote these words hundreds of years before their fulfilment in the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He says that the Almighty arm of the Lord of All, the King of the Universe, will be revealed, and that message will be so counter-intuitive it will be unbelievable. The Messiah, foretold by Isaiah and fulfilled in Jesus, is completely the opposite of what we as humans expect AND what we deserve. Consider these thoughts.


  • Jesus came into our world tender and vulnerable: “He grew up before Him like a tender shoot...” 

  • He was not prosperous by worldly standards —“like a root out of dry ground.” 

  • He did not use outward appearances or charisma to draw others to Him —“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” 

  • Instead of human influence, Jesus —“was despised and rejected by mankind…”

  • The Messiah, Jesus did not seek a comfortable life, but was —“a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” 

  • He was not admired or honored by people, but instead —“Like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.”

  • Whom did Jesus surround Himself with but those who are deserving of punishment and the wounded —“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

  • He does not offer His help to those who deserve it —“Surely, He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.”

  • Instead, He offered His life, for those of us who have turned our backs on Him, those who have gone astray —“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

 

No human mind would ever conceive of such a rescue plan.


PRAYER

Use the lyrics of this song as your prayer today.

 

Run to the Father, by Cody Carnes

 

You saw my condition

Had a plan from the start

Your Son for redemption

The price for my heart

I don't have a context

For that kind of love

I don't understand

I can't comprehend

All I know is I need You!

 

 





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DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


But, God...

by Judy Webb


"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." (Romans 5:6)


When we were utterly unworthy, God sent his Son. When you and I were yet sinners, not yet believing, God sent Jesus to save. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:4-5) I find it difficult to wrap my mind around this.


"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)


The more I read this verse, the more humbled I feel. I was floundering, and caught up in the ways of the world…but God. Don’t you love these two words? But God rescued me, but God knew me and reached out to me with love and grace. But God held me close when I was lost and alone, when I felt life was not worth living, when at my lowest, God bent down to give me a hand.


At just the right time. These five words also speak of God’s love and grace. At my lowest, God reached down his hand and "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the muck and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." (Psalm 40:3) And here I still stand, in awe and with great thanksgiving and daily wrapped in His love.


During this season of Lent, we all might want to reflect on these verses. When and how has God changed your life? How has God intervened to save the day for you? "For while we were still sinners Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8b)


This is your testimony, and not for only you to recall and take joy in…it is for you to share. Your story might just be the beginning of God’s story in someone else’s life. And it might come at just the right time.


PRAYER

Dear Lord,

You know me and you know all those I encounter who need to hear my story. Give me courage and the desire to share what your Son has done to save me from myself and certain death. Amen.






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DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Heartbreak and Betrayal

by Judy Webb


"When he [Judas] was gone, Jesus said, 'Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in Him.'" (John 13:1)


I found it interesting that Judas' betrayal came after Jesus washed his feet. There must have been some powerful emotions swirling around inside Judas' head as Jesus lovingly cleansed his feet. What were they, fear? Anxiety? Regret? Embarrassment? Judas had succumbed to Satan's deception. He was out in the dark and now it is clear to all, Judas had lost his faith in Jesus and his Kingdom mission. Seduced by Satan, Judas was playing the role of bribed betrayer.


But with Judas gone, Jesus could instruct His Disciples and prepare them for the crucifixion. Judas was out in the dark. We cannot fool Jesus by pretending to be a believer, or a follower, when we are not. Judas is a warning to each of us that continuing to reject Jesus opens us up for unthinkable evil.


Jesus waited for this moment to institute the Lord's Supper. Judas was not a believer and could not take part in this sacred meal. A lot of hard stuff was happening with more to come. Thus, the heartbreaking betrayal scene is ready. It will all begin soon. The ultimate drama. Jesus and the eleven disciples had a deep affection for one another and while the road ahead was going to get very difficult; it was that love which would see them through. Jesus surrendered to the Fathers’ desires. Soon, Christ’s death would destroy all the powers of darkness.


Jesus told his followers: “Everyone will know you are my disciples if you love one another.”

(John 13:35)


PRAY

Jesus, Give us the courage to love everyone as you loved. Help those around us to recognize this love which informs the world we are your followers. Amen.






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