- 2014Dec 17
“Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).
Everything of this world is shakable. Buildings crumble into dust, companies declare bankruptcy, our degrees fade into illegibility, our houses age and creak and crumble, our cars rust out, and worst of all, our bodies eventually wear out. But the kingdom of God lasts forever. When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he said that she would give birth to a Son who would “rule over the house of his father Jacob, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33).
God desires to establish a kingdom on earth that will last forever. That kingdom will be made up of men and women who have decided to live by God’s eternal values. Therefore, the whole human race may be divided into two groups—those who decide to live by earthly values and those who decide to live by kingdom values. The difference is this: living by earthly values produces earthly rewards that pay off quicker and disappear faster; living by kingdom values produces kingdom rewards. They don’t usually come as quickly, but they last forever.
You can live for this world or you can live for the kingdom of God. The choice is yours.
Jesus has a kingdom.
He is building it in human hearts around the world.
Someday he will return and visibly reign on the earth.
That kingdom will never end.
There are some men and women who are not like everyone else. They have been gripped with the thought that the kingdom of God is the greatest thing in the world, and that one thought has revolutionized their lives and reoriented their values. Kingdom issues are at stake. That’s the only possible explanation for the way they live.
His kingdom will never end. Why would you follow anyone else?
Sovereign Lord, you are the solid rock beneath our feet in our turning world. We trust in you, and we will not be moved. When the kingdoms of this earth have crumbled to dust, your words will still be true. Amen.
- 2014Dec 16
Billy Graham with President Eisenhower
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
Someone has said that Isaiah 53:6 is the “John 3:16 of the Old Testament” because it makes the way of salvation so clear that we cannot miss it.
Note that “all” is the first and the last word of verse 6.
We have all sinned.
We have all gone astray.
We have all missed the mark.
We have all turned to our own way.
We’re all in the same boat, and the boat is going down.
If God doesn’t do something, we’re all going to die.
At this point we encounter the great, glorious news of the gospel.
God has done something!
He could have looked at the mess we made and said, “They deserve it. They messed up. Now let them face the consequences.” If God had said that, he would be 100% justified. God was under no obligation to rescue us when we wandered astray.
We said, “Leave me alone!”
But God said, “I can’t do that.”
“And the Lord has laid on him.” That’s Jesus! That’s the great Servant of the Lord who came from heaven on a divine rescue mission.
God laid our sins on Jesus.
That’s the doctrine of substitution.
That’s the heart of the gospel.
He took my place when he died.
God laid my sins on him.
When President Dwight Eisenhower was hospitalized for the final time before he died, Billy Graham paid him a visit. At one point President Eisenhower asked, “Can an old sinner like me ever go to heaven?” Billy Graham assured him that even “old sinners” can go to heaven by trusting in Jesus. But there is good news for “old sinners,” “young sinners,” “big sinners,” “small sinners,” and everyone in between. Jesus paid the price in full so that you can go to heaven. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done or how bad your record might be. If you know that you are a sinner, you can be saved.
We can be sure because the Lord has laid on him the iniquities of us all.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for not giving up on us when we sinned against you. Thank you for Jesus whose death paid in full the price of our salvation. Amen.
- 2014Dec 15
“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).
“He was pierced” – as with a spear.
“He was crushed” – pulverized, broken, ground to pieces.
“Upon him was the chastisement”— beaten with a whip.
“By his wounds” – His body cut, bruised, his skin flayed.
People don’t always understood that our Lord Jesus died in terrible pain. Consider what happened between 1 AM when he was arrested and 3 PM when he died:
Arrested in the middle of the night.
Crowned with thorns that went into his scalp.
Scourged with a large strap studded with bits of bone and stone and metal.
His beard ripped out.
Beaten again and again.
Forced to carry his own cross.
Nails driven through his hands and feet.
Jesus did not fail in what he came to do.
He perfectly fulfilled the Father’s will.
As a result, we have peace with God. The word means wholeness, health, the absence of war, and safety. In a messed-up world filled with broken people and broken promises, we have peace through Christ that passes all human understanding.
We are healed. We are healed from our guilt, our hatred, our doubt, and healed from our shame. Through Christ broken people are put back together again.
He took our sin, bore our pain, and through his death on the cross, he healed us from the inside out so that we now live in peace.
My Lord, nothing I do will ever compare with what you have done for me. Help me to make my life one great “Thank you” in return. Amen.