Monday, July 07, 2014, 7:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 42:1-9 (NIV). My Servant “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” The Lord’s servant is Jesus Christ our Lord, and yet we, too, are his servants, as we carry within us the body of Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit. Daily we are being conformed to and transformed into his likeness by the Spirit of God within us as we surrender our wills to his will. We are commanded of God to be holy as he is holy. Holy means: set apart from (different; unlike) the world and set apart to God and to his service. Amen! And, we have been given the Spirit of God, as well, to counsel, teach, instruct, encourage, and to direct our steps, and to empower us for the work of the ministry to which God has called us. Jesus Christ was faithful in all that he did. He did not falter (waver or fluctuate) nor did he give in to discouragement. He remained committed to the task to which he had been sent to earth, which was to die on the cross for our sins. And, he will strengthen us and will help us to remain faithful, too, to his calling upon our lives, so that we do not waver in our commitments nor give in to a spirit of discouragement to where we give up, back down or run away when the going gets tough, and it will. The word of God says that he who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6). It is not about us and our abilities or even our strength to keep going on, but his strength is made perfect in our weakness. We just need to put our absolute faith and trust in him for all things and keep on keeping on in doing what he has called us to do until he takes us home. Called You This is what God the Lord says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Again, the servant here is Jesus Christ (Cf. Is. 61). And, yet, much of this is also the calling of all of Christ’s followers. Jesus Christ called Paul (then Saul) to do much the same as what is stated here (See Ac. 26:16-18), but is this unique only to Jesus and to Paul? Are we not all called to be his witnesses? Are not all his disciples called to go and to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded us? (See Ac. 1:8; Matt. 28:18-20) Are we not all called to let our lights shine before men, and to snatch people from the fires of hell, to lead out those who have eyes but are blind, and to turn sinners from the error of their way so that they can be saved? Are we here on this earth only to live for ourselves and the sinful pleasures of our own hearts? No! We have been given a wonderful gift – the gift of salvation. Why do so many keep it to themselves and not share it with others? Why are we not passionately burdened for lost souls and calling out to God daily in prayer for their salvation? So many are blinded by sin and rebellion against God; so many are duped, manipulated and deceived by master manipulators who twist the truth for selfish gain, and so they are believing and following the lie. Who will tell them the truth if we do not? We need to answer the call of God, with Isaiah, to go, and then to say, “Here am I! Send me!” Why do we persist in living our lives primarily for ourselves and our pleasures with little regard for God and for what he wants? One day he is coming back. When we stand before him, what excuse will we give for not sharing the gospel? The essence of the gospel is this: People are blinded by sin. They are without God and without hope. They are bound for hell and eternal separation from God. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins so that we might be delivered from our blindness and our slavery to sin, and so we might walk freely in his righteousness and holiness, as well as escape the fires of hell and have the hope of eternal life with him in glory. We accept his plan of salvation into our lives by faith. This faith is also a gift from God, but one we must apply to our lives. We do so by surrendering our lives to God, allowing the Spirit of God to turn us away from our lives of sin to the light of Christ’s truth (his word) so that we may now live by it instead. We willingly die with Christ to the sins which once enslaved us and we choose to now live for God in the power and working of his Spirit within us. This is God’s grace! New Things “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” The “new things” being declared and announced here are Jesus Christ and his ministry of salvation in our lives. Yet, what he was telling them here was not just for their future, but it was for their present. They were to believe in the promise that was to come. We believe in the promise who has already come and who will one day return. They were and we are all saved by faith in the promise, Jesus Christ. And, both their lives and our lives are to reflect that faith. It means we forsake our idols, we forget the former ways of living for sin and self, and we follow the new way of holiness; the way of the cross – all in the power and working of the Spirit within us who is transforming us into the image (likeness) of Christ “with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (See 2 Co. 3:18). Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer / Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer, This is my constant longing and prayer; Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear. Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion, Loving, forgiving, tender and kind, Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting, Seeking the wandering sinner to find. O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit, Holy and harmless, patient and brave; Meekly enduring cruel reproaches, Willing to suffer others to save. O to be like Thee! Lord, I am coming Now to receive anointing divine; All that I am and have I am bringing, Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine. O to be like Thee! while I am pleading, Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love; Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling, Fit me for life and Heaven above. Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee, Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art; Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness; Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.