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Messiah's Invitation

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Isaiah 55:1 - 56:8

55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, to the waters! Come, he who has no money, buy, and eat! Yes, come; buy wine and milk without money and without price. 55:2 Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which doesn’t satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 55:3 Turn your ear, and come to me; hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 55:4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander to the peoples. 55:5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you don’t know; and a nation that didn’t know you shall run to you, because of Yahweh your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he has glorified you.”

55:6 Seek Yahweh while he may be found; call you on him while he is near: 55:7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says Yahweh. 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 55:10 For as the rain comes down and the snow from the sky, and doesn’t return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 55:11 so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing I sent it to do. 55:12 For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing; and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands. 55:13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree; and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to Yahweh for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” 56:1 Thus says Yahweh, “Keep justice, and do righteousness; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 56:2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast; who keeps the Sabbath from profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 56:3 Neither let the foreigner, who has joined himself to Yahweh, speak, saying, “Yahweh will surely separate me from his people”; neither let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” 56:4 For thus says Yahweh, “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and hold fast my covenant: 56:5 to them I will give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name better than of sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 56:6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to Yahweh, to minister to him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath from profaning it, and holds fast my covenant; 56:7 even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” 56:8 The Lord Yahweh, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet will I gather others to him, besides his own who are gathered.”

Remember from Day 8, that we talked about the City of God to come, where all those who believe will live and worship the Lord God Almighty for ever! Who is this invitation for? This invitation to join is to all people of all races and nationalities!   But they have to respond to the call!

Come, see and taste

READ verse 1"Come", cries Almighty God through the prophet Isaiah.  Come!  The gates to my City are open to all who believe!   There is no entry charge, its free!  This food is free for all!  What is this food? It is mercy and pardon. Mercy from God and pardon for sin for all those who respond to the call God has put out.

Everlasting Covenant Disclosed

This is the everlasting Covenant (Isaiah 55:5-6) or the new Covenant we have talked about and was proclaimed by other prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel.   Just as each of the previous covenants had a symbol to authenticate the agreement, so does this!  Noah's covenant had the rainbow, Abraham had circumcision and Moses had the sprinkling of blood.  This new and everlasting Covenant will also have a sign! The sign is disclosed in 55:13 as a everlastingly transformed universe! Amazing!  This is the climax of Isaiah so far!  This is why the Messiah Servant must suffer in Isaiah 53!  This new everlasting covenant does not cancel the other covenants, but rather fulfills them.  The final result of the Messiah Servant's work will be everything that Almighty God has promised and all promises of God will find their Amen in the Servant.

Everlasting Covenant Result

Because of this New Covenant, even though Israel will go into exile, they will return from it stronger.  As in Isaiah 55:4-5, David was made a witness to the covenant and leader of people, so too will Israel.  Once restored to the land, this Messiah Servant will come from Israel, and Israel will be used to conquer people spiritually for the Lord.

And this is no dream, hallucination or fantasy as some of the people of Israel would be thinking.  But the thoughts and mind of God is so much higher than mere mortal humanity.  For as Isaiah 55:8-9 states "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," says Yahweh. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Just as plants grow when rained upon, so too will Almighty God's plans.  His word has gone out and it will not return with nothing (Isaiah 55:11).  His word has power to speak the universe into existence.  His word will bring a restoration from exile, a redeemed creation and a renewed world (Isaiah 55:12-13).   It will be a place of joy and excitement!

Come Quickly Everybody!

It is with a sense of urgency that Isaiah speaks these words of God.  Decisions must be made but guest must come!  The spiritual food of mercy and pardon is available to all, but the offer must be taken up!   If the offer is rejected, then the consequences are disastrous for the person who does not believe.  That is why the command to seek while God can be found, for there will come a time when the gates will be closed and no more admittance allowed.

Everlasting Covenant Features

What are the hallmarks of this Covenant?  Two of the characteristics are justice and openness

Justice: Isaiah 5:7 tells us that God had looked for justice but found only injustice and suffering.  Those who respond to this Everlasting Covenant will need to administer justice and live obedient lives.  They are to do this, because God's righteousness is about be disclosed (Isaiah 56:1).  They are to live an obedient life to God, not to earn salvation, but rather as a hallmark of having agreed the New Covenant with God, to symbolize that they are God's people.

Openness: This offer is open to all!   Just as the nation of Israel was always meant to be a light of God to the nations, so too are the people of the New Covenant.  They are to be a light to every nation of God's goodness and glory, extending an invitation to all to join in this life of the New Covenant.  They were to accept all those who chose to accept the offer of being bound to God Almighty through this New Covenant (Isaiah 56:3, 6).  An obvious example is that of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40.  This man was a eunuch from a foreign land, and according to Isaiah 56:4-7, he was to be welcomed by other acceptors of this New Covenant.  All of this resulting from the Messiah Servant's work.

Jesus as this Messiah

Lets see again from his own life and words how Jesus is this Messiah Servant.

This Jesus welcomes the burdened: Matthew 11:28-30"Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  Are you burdened down with cares, stresses and strains?  Come to Jesus today and let him take them..

Are you hungering and thirsting after righteousness? Then come to Jesus who offers Living Water and is the Bread of Life.  John 7:37-38 Now on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water." Or John 6:35 "Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."

Are you seeking God! Then seek! Ask! You will find!  Matthew 7:8 "For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened."

This is Jesus who said in John 12:46 "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness"!  What's more, He said that all those who follow Him are lights to the world as well Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world."  That's why Jesus gave the command in Matthew 28:18-20 for His followers to go into all the world to tell about Him.

Fulfilling the Covenants

Frequently, this Jesus said that He was to fulfill what was written. One example of this is Luke 18:31-33 He took the twelve aside, and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all the things that are written through the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be completed. For he will be delivered up to the Gentiles, will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit on. They will scourge and kill him. On the third day, he will rise again."

Primarily though is Jesus' Words in Luke 22 whereby Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion.  Luke 22:19-20 He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in memory of me."  Likewise, he took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Christians do this regularly as a remembrance of Jesus until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11v26)!  The bread symbolizes His body broken on the cross and the wine symbolizes His blood shed on the cross.  Further more it has other symbolic meanings, all of which symbolize the New Everlasting Covenant - a Covenant guaranteeing salvation! Amongst these meanings are that it

  • Symbolizes fellowship with other believers in the worldwide church in openness and integrity
  • Symbolizes our dependence on Christ for spiritual life and spiritual food.
  • We receive the benefits of His sacrifice as the Suffering Servant.

It signifies in the New Covenant for Christians to tell all others of this offer to come and join.  It is also for Christians to live an obedient life to God Almighty, to love justice and be welcoming to all!

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Messiah's Promise

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Isaiah 54:1 - 17

54:1 "Sing, barren, you who didn't bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife," says Yahweh.

54:2 "Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations; don't spare: lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.

54:3 For you shall spread out on the right hand and on the left; and your seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

54:4 "Don't be afraid; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be confounded; for you shall not be disappointed: for you shall forget the shame of your youth; and the reproach of your widowhood you shall remember no more.

54:5 For your Maker is your husband; Yahweh of Armies is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.

54:6 For Yahweh has called you as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off," says your God.

54:7 "For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you.

54:8 In overflowing wrath I hid my face from you for a moment; but with everlasting loving kindness will I have mercy on you," says Yahweh your Redeemer.

54:9 "For this is like the waters of Noah to me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.

54:10 For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed," says Yahweh who has mercy on you.

54:11 "You afflicted, tossed with storms, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in beautiful colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires. 54:12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies, and your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. 54:13 All your children shall be taught of Yahweh; and great shall be the peace of your children.

54:14 In righteousness you shall be established: you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not be afraid; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.

54:15 Behold, they may gather together, but not by me: whoever shall gather together against you shall fall because of you.

54:16 "Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and brings forth a weapon for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.

54:17 No weapon that is formed against you will prevail; and you will condemn every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of Yahweh, and their righteousness which is of me," says Yahweh.

God fulfils every promise made!

You may recall back on Day 4 in Isaiah 52, Isaiah started talking about a great homecoming for all those who believed.  Then on our Day 5, Isaiah gave a picture regarding the sacrificial suffering of the Messiah Servant.  Now in Isaiah 54, we see the reason for the suffering.  We see that because of this coming Messah's suffering and subsequent exultation and vindication, that God will make a New Covenant with all the peoples of the world!

God has always kept the promises He made with people!  Promises to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and David were also kept by God!  God is ever faithful and always true to His word!  And here God reminds them through Isaiah of three promises or covenants He has made: Abraham, Moses and Noah.

Past - Covenant with Abraham

Here in Isaiah 54:1-3 God reminds the people through Isaiah, that God has always kept His promises to His people!  If they looked back at the covenant promises made to Abraham, they would see this!  When they go into exile, keep hold of the promises of God and be obedient to Him!  God is always faithful and wants their total obedience to Him!

How are these verses of Isaiah 54:1-3, are meant to be a reminder of the covenant with Abraham?  The mention of the barren woman (1), tent (2) and descendants (3) would all bring to mind God's promises to Abraham... The barren woman, would be a reminder that Abraham and Sarah were aged and childless.  The tent would act as a reminder that Abraham was a tent-dweller in an alien land.  The descendants would remember that they themselves are descendants from Abraham!  And God has promised in 54:3 that they will return to the land of Abraham and populate there once more.

The Abrahamic covenant is a link to all of God's activities and programs until the end of time, when Jesus returns to gather His people to Himself.  That is how important it was, particularly to Israel!  The covenant had aspects for Abraham personally, as well as aspects that applied to all nations.

Past - Covenant with Moses

Now in Isaiah 54:4-8, God moves to the covenant He made with Moses (Exodus 19v5-8).  When as a young nation, Israel was in exile and slavery in Egypt - it was an embarrassment to her.  Now as a nation she was like an aged widow, she was due to be in exile again, but in Babylon this time. But just as God made the covenant with Israel on Mount Sinai after escaping from Egypt, so too would God restore her to Himself once again and be her husband and Redeemer.

The covenant with Moses begins with a stipulation "Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me." (Exodus 19v5).  This covenant was to Israel in order that those who believed God's promise to Abraham would know how to live righteously and obediently.

Past - Covenant with Noah

Next God talks about his promise to Noah (Genesis 9v1-19)! Now instead of just a covenant with Israel, this is a covenant with the whole world!   After the flood, Noah and his descendants spread throughout the world, bringing new life and God's blessing to all parts.  The flood is symbolic of the coming period that Israel will spend in exile, and all of the people of Israel are likened to the family of Noah and their descendants.  God will protect them in exile, just as He did Noah and his family through the flood.

God has always kept his promises to Israel!  But Israel has not always been faithful!

New Covenant of Peace - the promised New Covenant

Future - Promised New City

Now the Lord talks about the future - the now but not yet.  A great city is built to house all those who are God's people as a reward for their obedient faithfulness despite trials, sufferings and persecution!  Here Isaiah links also to the coming Messiah!  Remember the Messiah was also a Disciple taught by God (Isaiah 50:4), then so were they (54:13)! Just has He had suffered (Isaiah 53:4), so have they (Isaiah 54:11)!  Just as He was justified (Isaiah 50:8), so would they be (Isaiah 54:17).  Those who serve God Almighty with faithful obedience will share in the sufferings of the Messiah King but also participate in His glory, because they are His children.  Because of the Messiah Servant's sacrificial suffering they will be able to live in the city of God forever! God is going to make a new Covenant with people - and He can be trusted to keep His promises!

How is Jesus this Messiah?

Starts the New Covenant

Both the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel talk about the promise of this New Covenant that God will have with all of humanity.  What is this New Covenant that God is making?

Four features of this covenant are:

  • Regeneration -God will write His law on the hearts of people. (Jeremiah 31v33)
  • Restoration - God will be their God, and they will be God's people. (Jeremiah 31v33)
  • Promised Holy Spirit - God will indwell people and they will be led by Him (Jeremiah 31v 34)
  • Justification - Sins will be forgiven and removed eternally (Jeremiah 31v34)

What does all this have to do with Jesus?  This New Covenant is sealed only through the perfect sacrifice of the God-Man Jesus on the cross as spoken of in Isaiah 53:1-12.  His blood ensures the truth of this New Covenant.  His death pays the penalty for the sins of all people who say yes to God and His New Covenant. This New Covenant is contrasted with the Old Covenant or the Mosaic covenant (Jeremiah 31v32; Hebrews 8v6-13) because this New Covenant finalizes what the Mosaic Covenant could only point to: the follower of God living in a righteous life conforming to God's holy character.  In this way, Jesus is also the redeemer of the Church and the redeemer mentioned in Isaiah 54:5 & Isaiah 54:7!  He is the redeemer spoken about by Job (Job 19:25)!

Husband of the bride - the church

Jesus Christ is the head of the church!  The church is married to Jesus Christ and is frequently described as a bride! Just as the people of Israel were in Isaiah 54!  How are the church linked to Jesus Christ?

The Church is the Body of Christ and is a living organism and not merely an organization (Ephesians 1v22, 23; 4v15-16).  We are all baptized into one body (1 Corinthians 12v13) and this body is made up of many parts or believers. Each believer has a vitally necessary and important function (Ephesians 4v15; 1 Corinthians 12v13).

The Church is the Bride of Christ, which suggests the purity, holiness and faithfulness of God's people. Furthermore it suggests the great love that Jesus Christ has for His Church, the Bride (Ephesians 5v25-32; 2 Corinthians 11v2; Rev 19v7.22v17)

The Church is the Temple of Christ - Christ is building a spiritual temple with Himself as the Cornerstone or foundation. As Christian Disciples we are living stones and God dwells within the temple, filling it with all His fullness (Ephesians 2v22; 1 Peter 2v5)

God keeps His promises - Jesus is proof of that!

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Messiah's Leadership

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Zechariah 10:1 - 5

10:1 Ask of Yahweh rain in the spring time, Yahweh who makes storm clouds, and he gives rain showers to everyone for the plants in the field. 10:2 For the teraphim have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie; and they have told false dreams. They comfort in vain. Therefore they go their way like sheep. They are oppressed, because there is no shepherd. 10:3 My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the male goats; For Yahweh of Armies has visited his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as his majestic horse in the battle. 10:4 From him will come forth the cornerstone, from him the nail, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler together. 10:5 They shall be as mighty men, treading down muddy streets in the battle; and they shall fight, because Yahweh is with them; and the riders on horses will be confounded.

During the time of Zechariah, the Temple was being rebuilt.  The Temple was central to Jewish worship.  But who would help give advice and solve the multitude of problems they were facing? Who cared about them?  Well, Zechariah speaks into their situation with wise words.  He has already likened the nation of Israel as being like sheep, and that God is their shepherd (Zechariah 9:16) "Yahweh their God will save them in that day as the flock of his people; for they are like the jewels of a crown, lifted on high over his land. ".  Throughout Chapter 10, it is repeated again and again, that God will care for and bless them.  But in order to receive the blessing and care, the nation of Israelites must seek, turn and follow.

Seek God

If the people need advice and help in times of trouble and need, the first place they should look, is to the Lord their God.  They must seek and ask of Him! (10:1)! God can provide all things! He can control the weather, but these people need to stop being so independent, self-sufficient and start to rely on God and His infinite wisdom and resources.

Turn to God

In 10:2, Zechariah reminds the people of Israel, that following idols and false gods is foolishness.  These idols are self-seeking, liars and deceivers.  Israel needed to turn back to the One True Almighty God! Instead of following the glory of the Almighty God, they were turning to idols for worship, advice and listening to superstitious nonsense. And of course idols and false gods are mute! They cannot speak or give advice because they are not Gods at all!!  The sin of idolatry particularly broke the second commandment!  The people were to turn away from false gods and return to worship the One True Almighty God.

They were also to listen to the true prophets of God instead of the false prophets who deceived by speaking words they wanted to hear.

Follow Me

These sheep, the nation of Israel were to follow God.  Instead of wandering around aimlessly, they were to follow and obey God Almighty.  The Jewish leaders and teachers were supposed to be leading the nation in worship of Almighty God, but were not doing so.  Hence God in 10:3 being enraged at those who were in positions of trust who were deceivers, liars and only looking out for their own interests.  Ezekiel 34 expounds this out in much further detail!  So who were the people of Israel to follow?  They were to follow the coming Messiah.  Not only was the Messiah a King, Prophet Servant and Disciple but He would also be a Shepherd: the Good Shepherd!  From the lowliest tribe of Judah, will come this Good Shepherd "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, being small among the clans of Judah, out of you one will come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)

Messiah Cares

This Good Shepherd will be utterly reliable, responsible, faithful and being the sure foundation that the people of Israel need, particularly in a time of crisis. In 10:4 God will send this Good Shepherd to also be a cornerstone, nail or tent peg, battle bow and a source of all ruling authority.

Cornerstone:  all ancient buildings needed a chief cornerstone to ensure a sure foundation so that the building could not fall down easily.  It held two walls together.  The imagery fits in well with the building of the Temple.  If you want to continue worshipping God, then you must get the foundations right.  The chief cornerstone of the building holds the building together.  Not only that, it gives the building shape, strength and all other stones are adjusted by it.

Nail: Another translation is that of tent-peg. Just as the chief cornerstone holds the building together, so does a tent-peg ensure that the tent stays fastened down during storms!  This Good Shepherd would ensure that everything is held together if they stick to Him.

Battle-bow:  Probably referring back to 9:13, Zechariah now likens this Shepherd Messiah to a battle-bow!  This Good Shepherd will fight to keep the wolves from harming His sheep.  He will battle for them.  This Good Shepherd will be brave, courageous and strong as he leads his people to victory!

How is Jesus this Messiah?

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8 "Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened."  In other words, ask of God your heavenly Father and your needs will be supplied!  That was how Jesus lived and obeyed, by being in constant communication with God the Father.  That is how he could live a life of utter obedience to God, because He always asked, sought and knocked.

And Jesus is the Good Shepherd, hence Him saying in John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." Again in John 10:14-17 "I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I'm known by my own; even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd. Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again."

Jesus is the Good Shepherd only through the sacrifice he must make for His sheep. Here Jesus is looking ahead to the sacrifice He makes on the Cross. His love for all of humanity compels Him to make the ultimate sacrifice. Just as all shepherds will endanger themselves for the safety of their sheep, so too will Jesus endure the pain and suffering of the Cross, so that people can be led into safety of God's kingdom. It is in this role of the Good Shepherd, that Jesus exhibits true leadership, which is self-less and sacrificial. Ezekiel 34v11 tells of God searching out for his sheep among all nations, and this is fulfilled through Jesus. Through His perfect, obedient and voluntary sacrifice on the Cross, not only will salvation be available to the Jews but also to those of other nations.

And Jesus is willing to fight for His people! He gives spiritual armour for all those who follow Him to wear.  Christians are in a spiritual battle reminds Paul in Ephesians 6, and as the Good Shepherd, Jesus will fight and battle for us through His indwelling Holy Spirit!  For as the Bible says in 1 John 4:4 "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world."

Jesus Christ is, as Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 2:8, the Cornerstone of faith - referring back to Isaiah 8:14.  Jesus Christ is the dependable, sure foundation that all faith is to be ground upon.  All Christians are living stones, but should be living on the dependability of Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone alone!  It is only Him, who can give direction, assurance and be relied upon.  It is Him that calls all people everywhere to seek for, turn to and follow obediently.

Jesus Christ, Servant King, Servant Prophet, Servant Disciple, Servant Shepherd.  Follow Him as the great leader He is and victory is assured!  Whatever you are struggling with today, turn it over to God and ask for His help!  He has promised to help! Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord!  Amen!  Just as Jesus said to Peter in John 21:19 "Follow Me!", so Jesus calls all those willing to follow Him, to follow Him for life.  Follow and be led by Him and Him alone, regardless of what and where that might be.

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