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I Shall Arise

“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” -Micah 7:8

When I was rather young, I went sledding down Bowling Green’s “Hospital Hill” one snowy day with my brother and my Dad. I was so excited about taking my first run on my own, but something went terribly wrong. there was a snowdrift covering a stump and I hit it head on. The sled went down, I went up (and what goes up must come down) and I hit the ground and lay flat on my back. My wind was gone, I felt I couldn’t breathe, and I was panicking. In moments my brother and my Dad were there to check on me. But the instant they saw that I would survive, their concern turned to jubilation. They laughed! They laughed hard! And I must admit, it was probably funny.

Others often take our calamity lightly. Our pain and our suffering, to us, is always immense. We see the world from a darkened valley while the masses look on from the cliffs and mountain peaks. Our enemies especially take advantage of every opportunity to rejoice in our tragedies. But for the Christian there is a great promise – our calamities are but for a moment. Micah, the contemporary of Isaiah, knew what would befall Israel in a matter of decades. He knew of their coming captivity and the suffering they would endure under slavery to Babylon.

The nations around Israel could rejoice at her defeat, but Micah, speaking under inspiration of God gave warning to the nations. Rejoice not! We have not been destroyed, we shall rise! Darkness is inevitable, it will consume half of every day. Falling is part of life. But Micah reminds us that for all of the failures of the children of God, there will be a rising in the end. For the darkness we endure here, there is the light of God’s presence and the revelation of His promises. The future is bright, our hope endures. As children of the King, we shall rise and reign! Take courage, be hopeful, the end is not yet!

The Price of a Soul

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” -1 Peter 1:18-19

Do you realize that we’ve each sold ourselves under slavery to sin? We owe a spiritual debt for our rebellion that we cannot pay. Further, we cannot pay the debt of those we love either. For us to be redeemed, purchased back from the grip of hell, One far wealthier than we must pay our price. God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who created all that exists, paid our price. He did not pay for us in terms to which we could assign a dollar amount. Even the most precious things on earth could not ransom our soul from the cold grip of death. But the blood of an innocent Savior… that alone would suffice.

So Jesus stepped from the portal of heaven and stood in our place. The nails were driven through His ministering hands and His calloused feet. The crown of thorns was thrust through to His skull. The whip tore the flesh from His back and the blood ran down. Immanuel’s blood covered the cross of shame and flowed to the dust beneath His altar. Once spilled, our souls were purchased. Now all who will receive His sacrifice alone for salvation may have heaven, free of any charge.

Is His blood precious to you? To the world, the idea of the blood of Jesus is a scandal, a spurious thing. But to us who are saved, it is the precious blood of a spotless Lamb. In the words of William Cowper…

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

Have you been plunged into that fountain today? Trust Jesus and live eternally!

No Turning Back

”This is that Moses… To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt.” –Acts 7:39

Egypt has always symbolized the world, not in the physical sense, but in the sense of a false, humanistic, hedonistic philosophy which runs counter to the philosophy of God’s Kingdom. To the Jews in the wilderness, Egypt was looking good. Even though they had to endure slavery, they at least were enjoying momentary pleasures. Now they were forced to suffer as they followed Moses to an as of yet unseen promised land.

This story certainly has a ring of familiarity to it. Like the Jews, our hearts are often overruled by the old nature in us. We long to go back to the world where there is the promise of pleasure, fleeting as it may be. This Christian living stuff is quite tough after all! Our rally cry often becomes “Back to Egypt!”

But do you remember how the Israelites began this journey? With sure and certain death chasing them from behind they crossed the dry bed of the Red Sea. On that fateful day they had made a commitment to follow the Lord and His leader, Moses. They would get frustrated. They would experience doubt. Some would even rebel against God and He would chastise them accordingly, but there was no turning back.

If you’re a believer, the world will beckon to you all the days of your life. You’ll hear the whispered lies of the enemy saying “it’s easier to just turn back, to drop out, to give up.” Don’t listen! Don’t give Satan a foothold. Keep marching forward for though you may not see your promised inheritance yet, you have the seal of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the saints. “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back!”