April 26

Isaiah 31-35, Psalm 116

An important question to consider, is what is our reality? We sing songs, make statements to others, mention in prayers that Jesus has already won the fight and redeemed us and therefore we are all victors with Him. But do we live that way and live like we believe it? Paul wrote in Philippians 3:20, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,". Do we live and act like we are citizens of heaven and ambassadors on earth, or do we allow ourselves to be beaten down like all of the other citizens of the earth? We all have our lists of things which burden us: family issues, financial issues, marital issues, employment issues, societal issues, health issues, etc. With all of these burdens, do we walk like we are beaten down or like conquerors? Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

We read in Isaiah 35:3-4, "Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you." Though this was written to a group of Israelites who were surrounded by the Assyrians, this promise is just as true for us now. In fact, for us it is past tense, He has already come and He has indeed offered salvation to any and all who will come to Him. Isaiah goes on in 35:5-6, to say, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing...". When John the Baptist was struggling in prison he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was indeed the long awaited Savior and Jesus responded by quoting this as proof in Matthew 11:2-5. We go on to read of this beautiful picture in Isaiah 35:8-10, "A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray...But the redeemed shall walk there, And the ransomed of the Lord shall return...". When Jesus said on the Cross in John 19:30, "It is finished!", He said "paid in full". On the Cross, He redeemed us.

Without minimizing any of our individual burdens, for those of us who are in Christ, why do we walk around downtrodden. We are victors. We are not in the process of winning, we already have because it is not based on what we do, but on what He did. The unsaved world is watching. Do we resemble them, beaten down by the trials of this world, or do we resemble Jesus who was the picture of joy, despite His circumstances. Again, we sing the songs, pray the prayers, use the various Christianese terms, but do we believe it and act accordingly. Our fight was over the minute we accepted His free offer of salvation. Sin and death have already been conquered. We have nothing to fear. As Paul said in Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Now that is freedom coming from a man who experienced more trials than most of us will ever come close to.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster