A Reflection by Lynda Ratliff

A note from the editor: Please enjoy this blog from our friend Lynda, who challenges us to investigate the fulfilled prophecies in the New Testament and make a decision. Ask God to open your eyes to the truth and give you the faith to believe it. If you are seeking, then be encouraged that your desire to search for God is a gift from Him. He wants to reveal Himself to you! If you find yourself struggling with doubt on this journey then pray the prayer in Mark 9:24, “…I believe; help my unbelief!” Ask God for the faith to believe His Word and watch Him fulfill the promises of Matthew 7:7-8 in your own life. 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

It is a strange thing to think of Jesus as a man with no beauty or majesty. His simple appearance as a human was not a lure for people to follow him. The images of him on the cross are even less inspiring to those who don’t believe. 

Today, people follow others because of their beauty, the talent for singing, acting, or speaking eloquently. We follow athletes that have astounding skills that they’ve perfected over time. But what do we gain from this?

We’ve all heard the phrase “hindsight is 20/20”. As a voice for God, the prophet Isaiah (often referred to as the greatest prophet of all time) tells us in chapter 53 of the coming of a servant of God and a Savior for all who believe. 

Believing a prophet takes a lot of faith. When we can look back, though, see what was foretold, and see it come to fruition, we should take note as we do in the New Testament.

We must choose whether or not to believe what we are reading. We always have to choose to accept or not what we see, read, hear, or even feel. It’s hard to know what to believe these days. Believing our feelings can be tricky as sometimes our emotions change. Believing what we see depends on our perspective. 

Our lives are a series of choices. We choose to get up when the alarm clock goes off or to hit the snooze. We decide what to eat, whether or not to brush our teeth, what we will wear, what kind of music we listen to, what to do with our time, and the list goes on. 

According to Google: “It’s estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day.”

The thing about choices is that each one holds consequences. Some good, some bad, but the bottom line is, ultimately, they define our lives. But what do we do when we don’t know how to believe?

I am astounded by Isaiah’s words and how his prophecy in Isaiah 53 is fulfilled in the New Testament (John 1:29John 10:11-18Romans 10:92 Corinthians 5:21, and so on). That alone is a reason to meditate on the possibilities and consider believing. These verses lead me to Matthew 7:7-8.

Matthew 7:7-8 is key to figuring out this whole thing. How do we determine if what Isaiah wrote in chapter 53 is true? How do we discover for ourselves? You cannot just hope to miraculously get an answer without taking the responsibility to look at the evidence we already have.

It is abundantly clear to me that we need to ask God or talk to God (another way of saying “pray”), and we need to seek the answers; seek the truth. John 14:6 again reveals, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” So, by reading your Bible coupled with prayer, you will find answers. 

Just reading the Bible alone or praying alone is like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel or gas (or another power source). You need both. Many people have read the Bible and gotten nothing out of it because they didn’t use the power of prayer. Many people have tried praying and gotten no answers because they haven’t tapped into a guide – The Good Book, The Bible.

The next step is to knock. Once you seek and find the truth, you must invite Jesus into your heart. He has given us free will, and only when we acknowledge Him and invite Him in will we truly be saved.

From what do we need to be saved? Sin. “He took up our pain and bore our suffering.” “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” ~Isaiah 53:4-5. 

In verse 11 “by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities”, directly relates to John 3:16 (KJV) – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

Do you see it? Can you feel it? Are you hearing what I’m saying? Isaiah 53, written in 740 BC foretold of Jesus’ coming and his death over 700 years later. Dig deeper. Read a Bible with prayer, and you will discover the Truth. 

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You are Precious

Has the past year chipped away at your self-esteem? Maybe you have lost a job, your health, or even loved ones. Perhaps the main focus of your entire life has been ripped away and you no longer feel valuable. You have always been the giver and now you you have nothing left to give.

None of us aspires to be weak, at least I know I don’t. I want to be the rescuer, not the helpless. I want to be the giver, not the beggar. The bottom line is that I want to be valuable. We were all created with a desire to be loved and the test of true love comes when one party has nothing to offer.

I think our ability to experience God’s love correlates directly with our ability to see our weakness. As I  read the passage below, I am struck by God’s tender love for His chosen people, Israel. 

“But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you: when you walk through the fire you will not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you….Because you are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you….I, I am the LORD, and besides Me there is no Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-2, 4, 11 (ESV)

God expresses His deep love for Israel while telling them that He is their only Savior. As a believer in Jesus, I am told that I can share in the promises for Israel. The new covenant book of Ephesians says to “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility…” Ephesians 2:12-14 (ESV)

If we trust in Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice, we can all receive these beautiful words of love from God, given to Israel in the book of Isaiah.

You are precious in God’s eyes. Meditate on that!

God created me and calls me His own. I am precious is God’s eyes and honored and He loves me. Have you ever thought of yourself as precious to God? I certainly haven’t thought about it enough!

According to Merriam-Webster, the word precious can be defined as “of great value or high price” or “highly esteemed or cherished.”

You are cherished by God and honored, not because of what you do, but because He loves you. Be encouraged today that the most powerful One in the universe says you are important. He delights in you, not because you are a so-called contributing member of society, but because you are His creation. He loves you because He loves you. 

*Photo credit: Clay Clark

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