Monday, September 10, 2012

Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12

See, my servant will prosper;
he will be highly exalted.
But many were amazed when they saw him.
His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human,
and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.
And he will startle many nations.
Kings will stand speechless in his presence.
For they will see what they had not been told;
they will understand what they had not heard about.
    Who has believed our message?
    To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
    My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
    like a root in dry ground.
    There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
    nothing to attract us to him.
    He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
    We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

On Mental Illness and Sin, Healing and Salvation

In the old Anglican Prayer Book, Christians are asked to renounce three things: the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanity of this wicked world and all the sinful lusts of the flesh, so that they would not follow or be led by them.

First, we stand against the Evil One who is the Father of lies, the deceiver, the ruler of this world who seeks to bring all creation under his own sway.
Second, we resist the attractions or distractions of the world in order to remain focussed upon the person and purposes of Almighty God.
Third, we battle against the internal personal drives which must be mastered in order to come to maturity as a believer and follower of Jesus.

This is a lifelong task, to learn to overcome the inertia of endemic evil systems, to endure through the chaos of broken communities until we reach the Heavenly Kingdom and to struggle through sin and disease toward salvation and health.

Christians have always battled sin. We have always been afflicted with disease. We have not been immune to diseases of the brain. Delirium and even hallucination can sometimes be attributed to physical causes such as infection. Mental illness cannot always be traced back to brain malfunction. Today, families are being manipulated by socio-economic forces; communities are built or destroyed by political design or geological accident; men, women and children have become objects of consumerism having only the illusion of democracy. It has always been so.

We see confusion and conflict in politics, industry and education, even in social work and medicine. We see tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanoes, acts of terror and warnings of plague and famine. We have instant access to vast amounts of information. Mental illness has become more prevalent, its steady rate of increase observed to be roughly 0.04, but sin is universal.

Jesus came to preach, teach and heal. He speaks of the acceptable year of the Lord. Today is always the right day to be saved. Anyone who admits that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead after being crucified, and who confesses Him as Lord will be saved from the ultimate penalty of sin. Yet even salvation cannot prevent illness.

Almighty God, who art afflicted in the afflictions of thy people. Regard with thy tender compassion all those in anxiety and distress; bear their sorrows and their cares; supply all their needs and help both them and us to put our whole trust and confidence in thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

If you are saved but still in torment, don't give up. Keep looking to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. He will heal all our diseases. That is His promise, not mine.

for more info on the prevalence of mental illness in Canada click on the following link