The Restoration of Joy

My dad’s hobby is restoring old cars, mainly cars from the 1920s and 1930s. Anyone who has restored something old, whether it be a car, a house, or an antique piece of furniture knows that it is a process. In regards to restoring old cars, the process may involve repairing a steel body that has suffered years of corrosion and rust, replacing or rebuilding an engine, replacing the interior and repainting the car, all of which involve the resources of time and money. When the car is restored, it brings a sense of joy to the owner.

Our God is in the restoration business- restoring the lives of people. Of course, God’s greatest restorative act was sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for humanity’s sins. However, God not only seeks our eternal redemption, He wants a personal relationship with us. God wants us to seek and worship Him in our everyday lives. Going back to the car in need of restoration, what has brought “corrosion and rust” into your life? What needs to be rebuilt? What needs to be replaced? Do the rough edges need to be sanded down and made smooth? If we allow God to take us through His restorative process, it will bring great joy in our lives. God will replace our rusted out “jalopy” of a life with a life of joyous “show room quality.”

The restoration of Israel is a thread woven deep within the pages of the Old Testament. As Israel would fall away from God and worship the pagan idols, God would bring judgment upon Israel, often in the form of an invading foreign nation. God would relent when Israel would repent of its sins. Even in the midst of their rebellion and coming judgment, God never gave up on Israel. God sent prophets not only to warn Israel, but to encourage them with future days of joy and restoration, which would culminate with the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom.

“Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Isaiah 51:11, KJV).

“Break forth into joy, singing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:9-10, KJV).

“For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore, they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:11-13, KJV).

The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied before the Babylonian Exile, where the Israelites spent seventy years in Babylon as punishment for their continued disobedience to God. As Christians, we have a better covenant with better promises (Hebrews 8:6) and we are forgiven of our sins past, present, and future. However, there may be times when we will have to deal with the consequences of our sins. We may go through a sorrowful season, but there is joy and restoration on the other side.

The seventy years of exile in Babylon came to an end and the Israelites were allowed to go home. The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah deal with the issue of the Israelites returning home to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and the temple. For some, the rebuilding of the Temple was a time of sorrow, as they remembered the glory of the first Temple (Ezra 3:12-13). However, for many coming back to Jerusalem was a time of great rejoicing, for God had once again showed His faithfulness to Israel.

“And the children of Israel, the priest, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy…And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy; for the Lord had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” (Ezra 6:16, 22, KJV).

Concerning the dedication of Jerusalem’s walls, Nehemiah 12:43 states: “Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” (KJV).

All of us will go through difficult times. There will be times of pain and suffering, but we must rejoice in those times because we know that our God is faithful. God will restore us, bringing us eternal glory and joy after we have gone through our “momentary” trials.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18, KJV).

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians 4:17, KJV).

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:13, KJV).

Whatever you are facing, this shall pass. Your personal Babylon will not last forever. God will restore what you have lost. To paraphrase the Psalm, you have spent the night in sorrow, but joy is coming in the morning. God bless you all.

A Revelation of the Blood of Christ

I was hospitalized earlier this month (August 2015) for a low hemoglobin count in my blood. Hemoglobin carries the oxygen in our red blood cells. After three days in the hospital, two blood transfusions, and two bags of iron, my hemoglobin levels came up enough for me to go home. I believe the Lord used these transfusions to save my life. A few days after I came home, the Lord gave me a revelation about the blood I received. This is the revelation: if the two pints of blood helped save my life, how much more does the blood of Jesus Christ save us from our sins and give us new life in God? The donors volunteered a pint of their blood but the Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed and shed all of His blood for all of the sins of humanity.

There have been countless hymns, songs, and sermons written about the blood of Christ, yet the importance of the blood may not be emphasized in a lot of churches. In our modern world, especially in the Western world, the idea of blood sacrifice can make us uncomfortable. Is it because the shed blood of Christ makes us face the magnitude of our sins? Does it bring us to the realization that we cannot live for God for two hours on Sunday and live like the world the rest of the week? We have been bought with a price and our lives must reflect the sacrifice of Jesus. In order to do this, we must have a revelation of what Jesus’ shed blood means for us.

The Sacrifice of Christ is Greater than the Old Testament Sacrifices

 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:12-14, KJV).

Apart from the Blood of Christ, there is no Forgiveness

 “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7, KJV).

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14, KJV).

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7, KJV).

The Blood of Christ allows us to draw near to God

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:12-13, KJV).

“And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled.” (Colossians 1:20-21, KJV).

The Blood of Christ gives spiritual authority to us and the Church

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood. And He hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” (Revelation 1:5-6, KJV).

“And they sung a new song, saying, ‘Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9, KJV).

The Blood of Christ gives us victory over sin, death, and Satan

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14-15, KJV).

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:10-11, KJV).

Brothers and sisters, whether it be trials and tribulations or just the ordinary battles of everyday life, we must always carry with us the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God’s grace is free to all, but we must never cheapen God’s grace to indulge in the pleasures of sin for a season. The blood of Christ justifies us, saves us, redeems us, and gives us our new life in Christ. Just as donated blood is stored until needed, the blood of Christ is available to all, for all sins, past, present, and future. Do not neglect such a great salvation.