November 27

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) 6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

In the midst of all of Isaiah's prophecies of doom and gloom, he predicted a bright hope. He begins chapter 9 telling us the region of the coming Messiah's ministry will be humbled now but honored in the future. He says they will see a great light and have joy. Why this turn around? A child will be born. God will be incarnated. A son will be given to us, the Son of God. The government of the Kingdom of God is on his shoulders. One day all government will be on his shoulders.

We call Him our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Isaiah said we would call Him by those names, and we do. None else could dare to claim any of those sacred titles. The end of Judah was coming, but there would be no end to the government and peace of the Messiah's kingdom. We experience that even now. Two thousand years later the Kingdom of God has only grown. Though the world is at war, we have peace in our hearts.

He will reign on David's throne. The nation of Judah had forgotten righteousness and justice, but the kingdom of the Messiah will uphold and establish them. How will this come to pass? The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish it! It is not a work of man.

Consider: The miraculous birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was accomplished through the zeal, that white hot burning love, that God has for us.

November 27

James 2:14-17 (NIV) 14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Faith produces action. The early church must have had just as much trouble as we do today when they realized that they were saved by faith in Christ. People looked on it as a magic formula. They thought if they understood what Christ did for them and voiced their acceptance of it they had a guaranteed place in heaven. James is trying to tell them that genuine faith will result in actions. You can't separate faith and actions. The actions don't save us, but they will accompany the faith.

Jesus said the same thing by declaring that you will know a tree by its fruit. If someone has a real faith in Christ, then their actions will be like those of Christ.

James' illustration was of meeting physical needs. You can tell a person to be fed and clothed, but it won't do any good unless you take some kind of action to see that they receive the food and clothes. The analogy says that saying you have faith means nothing. The evidence of genuine faith is a transformed life.

If you have believed you were right with God but continued in your old life style, then you must come to the realization that you are fooling yourself. Repentance is a change of direction. To accept Christ as Lord implies that you are no longer the master of your life.

Consider: Is your faith alive? Is there enough evidence in your life to convict you of being a Christian? If not, go to the cross and die with Christ, and be raised to a new life in Him!