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Isaiah 60:1-62:5

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV)


Have we ever really stopped to think about these three verses, do we admire the prose more than its content? Jesus stood up in the Temple and proclaimed this about Himself (Luke 4:18-21). I copied in the King James because in the NLT, in this particular case, a lot is lost. It is not just the poor, meaning lack of resources, this preaching/good news, is directed too, but to those who are meek in the Hebrew states:
‛ânâv ‛ânâyv
aw-nawv', aw-nawv' depressed (figuratively), in mind (gentle) or circumstances (needy, especially saintly)

There are many who have an abundance of resources or at least enough to live on. In fact, God has given to each according to his abilities but we have not recognized either the value of what God has given us, or we like the servant who buried his talent, refuse to acknowledge that we are to do something with it. Poverty, or lack of financial resources, is relative based on the culture, climate and economic system you live in anyway. When I read the above verses I am reminded that my biggest job is to work with people in identifying the gifts God has given them and help them place a true value on that gift. The greatest poverty is spiritual poverty. When you are in “poverty,” you recognize neither the God who created you nor the God who gifted you with your gifts, talents and abilities.

Without seeing yourself as God sees you, without valuing yourself as God values you, you will never be able to get out of spiritual poverty. All of the stated bondage listed in Isaiah 61:1-3 are not physical conditions but spiritual conditions from which everything else flows.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Paul describes how he wants the followers of Christ to spread the Word and be joyful about it. Since Jesus came down from the level of God to be a man and suffer with us, God had brought him to the highest place in heaven. We should also believe in and suffer for God so we and others can be with him too.

This Phillipians passage is a very commonly read one at church and memorized during AWANA. Verses 12-18 is a reminder that we should not complain or "grumble" while doing anything. Because we will "shine among them like stars in the sky." In a world that loves complaining, if we can learn how to not complain and grumble while doing anything, we will stand out in the world like stars in a dark night sky. Super applicable for me.

Paul was not only imprisoned at the time of writing this letter, he was awaiting the end of a trial that would eventually put him to death. It was in such circumstance that he wrote these words. The clarity of who Jesus was to him and his own purpose and mission in life was to imitate Christ gave Paul the ultimate courage and peace to face anything even death for his faith. While I am not even asked to imitate Christ in this way YET, what am I striving to imitate at the moment that is worthy to be called His followers?

We shouldn't do anything in selfish ambition and/or conceit, instead we should do it in interest of others and yourself. Jesus is the ultimate example of humility. Paul describes the mind of Christ, but before he tells us, he tells us what we ought to do with the information. Then in verse 11, it says that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord. It kind of reminded me of Romans 10:9 "If we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

When I read the passage from Philippians, there were two parts that stood out to me the most. One of them was Philippians 1:29, which says "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him." I think this is an important verse because although faith is crucial, if we suffer for the sake of Jesus we know that our faith is strong. Maybe we believe in Christ but are not willing to suffer for him.

The other few verses that stuck out to me was Philippians 2:5-8. Here, it says that Jesus humbled himself and became a servant, obeying God without asking questions. Jesus freely gave himself to die for our sins on the cross. When you read those verses, you feel kind of ashamed. Because Jesus came to earth as a servant, when he could have been sitting on a throne in heaven with God! How humble Christ was when he died on the cross. Paul says we should have the same mindset in our relationships with each other: humble and obedient.

When I read the verses in today's Philippians passage, I remembered the times when I disobeyed what Paul said. It's often easy to want to argue or complain. And as a student, I usually study with the mindset of getting a good grade for my own accomplishment. But the verses the Paul wrote says to never work for our sake, but to "work out our salvation... to fulfill His good purpose". I hope I remember that at each start of a new day!

Isaiah had foretold the suffering of Christ in chapter 53. Today's passages he's painting a future picture for the Israelites (us believers). The verses stand out to me are:"your sun will never set again, your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end". There's faith and there's hope just like in Hebrews 11, although we can not see yet by faith we know it will happen. God is faithful.

Today's Philippian passage is a reminder for me to exam my attitude.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, This passage is an important because i feel like the world needs to see and follow this

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