BLACK SHEEP

Song “Lord You Are Greater Than My Heart’ by The Zoe Group

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?

Who would have thought God ’s saving power would look like this?

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him— our sins!

He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.

We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.

And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.

He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off— and did anyone really know what was happening?

He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people.

They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true.

Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.

And God ’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.

Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many “righteous ones,” as he himself carries the burden of their sins.

Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly— the best of everything, the highest honors— Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest.

He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.
Isaiah 53:1‭-‬12 MSG
http://bible.com/97/isa.53.1-12.MSG

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

(Read Hebrews 12:1‭-‬11 NIV
http://bible.com/111/heb.12.1-11.NIV)


So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet!

Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle.

Help each other out. And run for it!

Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity.

Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.

Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite.

You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.

Unlike your ancestors, you didn’t come to Mount Sinai—all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble—to hear God speak. The earsplitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words—“If an animal touches the Mountain, it’s as good as dead”—they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified. No, that’s not your experience at all. You’ve come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides. The invisible Jerusalem is populated by throngs of festive angels and Christian citizens. It is the city where God is Judge, with judgments that make us just. You’ve come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God.

He is the Mediator of this covenant.

The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel’s—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace.

So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words.

If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings?

His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations;

this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.”

The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.

Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be?

Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God.

For God is not an indifferent bystander.

He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!
Hebrews 12:12‭-‬29 MSG
http://bible.com/97/heb.12.12-29.MSG

Song ‘Holy Spirit Breathe On Me’ by The Zoe Group

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:

Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.

Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.

Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.

Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1‭-‬2 MSG
http://bible.com/97/rom.12.1-2.MSG

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