Miracles in the Rain, Part 1 (New Material!!!!)

On an early afternoon in the fall of 1990, I was about to leave the cafeteria at the commons on the Texas A&M campus. It was a fairly long walk to my dorm, then across campus to my next class. As soon as I stepped outside, the clouds sent forth a flood, comparable to the days of Noah. We didn’t stand a chance, instant drenching. Running for cover would do no good, for there was no cover that could protect us from the magnitude of this kind of deluge. So I kept walking. Five seconds latter, I could not get any wetter if I were fish food. Totally drenched.

About 5 minutes latter, a car pulled up next to me, the driver rolling down the passenger window and shouting, “Hey, do you need a ride?!”

How do you respond to that? I mean, what’s the point. I’m soaked, dude. A ride is not going to help at this point. One second after the flood started, maybe, but now, you’re a bit too late.

But, after a moments hesitation, something within led me to accept his kind but misguided offer. I got in, adding much moisture to the interior of his Monte Carlo. After he inquired to my destination, we were on our way.

I noticed he had a cross hanging from his rear view mirror, and a sticker of some sort with a pithy Christian saying on the dashboard. (Odd place for a sticker, but, oh well.) He also had one of those HUGE bibles on the seat next to him. He asked me, “Do you know who Michael W. Smith is? That’s him on the radio.” Oh, thanks dude. Haven’t a clue.

He didn’t say another word on the 2 minute drive.

We pulled up to my dorm, I got out and thanked him, He said goodbye, and that’s it. Never saw him again.

The rain let up. Great timing. I went inside my dorm and climbed 4 flights of stairs to the 4th floor. For a big boy, this takes some effort, and I’m winded after the third. As I was ascending, my thoughts started to gel. The cross, the sticker, the Bible. That guy was a Christian. And surprisingly, he was not a jerk. (Keep in mind, at this time in my life, I am in rebel mode. All things Christian were “the enemy” to my lifestyle.) In fact, he didn’t preach to me one bit. He served me. Hmmm. That’s what Christians do. They serve. Or at least they’re supposed to. This one got it right.

It was a God moment. At that point in time, my perspective on what Christians were all about did a 180. I began to see Christians and the church in a more positive light. It was a paradigm shift of the highest order.

I never saw that guy again. But I will see him again. One glorious day, I will have the opportunity to find him, and say, “Hey, do you remember that ride you gave to that random guy during the rain? Well, I’m Here because of you.”

His random act of kindness laid a major brick on the foundation of my faith.

So, never doubt your act of kindness. It may send someone on a new path.

2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2

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Part Tres, Becoming a Member of Something Bigger than Myself

Original MySpace blog posted February 21, 2008

That evening, at work, I “heard” God speak again. “Go to church on Sunday, Steve’s church, Parkside, and join. Be baptized.” I didn’t wrestle with it at all, I was there the next Sunday, two days latter, and went forward during the invitation at the end of the sermon. Couldn’t tell you what the sermon was about. But I knew what God was speaking to me. I said I didn’t wrestle with it, maybe I did. For a moment, the Enemy was doing all he could to keep me back. There was a small civil war going on in my mind. But God won. I don’t remember the walk forward to the altar, but I remember shaking Pastor Dennis’ hand.

The following Sunday, I was baptized. And two weeks later, Steve was transferred to Peoria, Illinois through his job, so he could be closer to his daughter. His work here as a servant of God was done. He has since remarried and has two more kids. But I praise God because of the huge impact Steve had in my life.

I immediately got involved in the life of the church. Discipleship was very important to me. I wanted to learn how to be a disciple, or student, of Christ. I got involved in a bible study called Experiencing God, which taught me how to listen for God’s voice more closely. Mike Dickson met with me one on one for about six months, encouraging and teaching me. I tried out different ministry roles, such as teaching 9th grade boys, or helping out in the boy’s Royal Ambassador missions program. I was and still am involved in the Single’s ministry. I also learned I had a knack for drama, and was involved in many parts and roles in our drama ministry. I even directed 2 Christmas pageants, no small thing for our church. But I was given the opportunity to try many things, and fail at many things, in order to find my place.

To back up a little bit, on March 20, 1994, I discerned God’s call on my life to do something more for His Kingdom. I’ve never like the distinction between the laity and the clergy, because I feel we are all ministers, and the pastors are there to equip us for the work of the ministry. Nonetheless, I felt God was calling me to be involved at a pastoral level. To what extent, I did not, and still do not know. I feel a burden to plant churches, and neither of the traditional nor contemporary type. 1st century churches met in homes, without buildings, budgets, or huge staffs. The church was God’s called out ones, gathering together to build each other up and to encourage one another in ministry. We are so far removed from that today, but that is a slice of the vision of what I discern God is calling me to do, to get back to a simpler model of being and doing church. I love Parkside, and that is where I am for now. But God has called me to keep my ear to His mouth and to be prepared to follow His lead.

There is much more I could write about “my” story. I hope my little story points to His story. It is that story that has the potential to turn a world upside down to being right-side up again. I hope my story might encourage your story to point to his story as well. God Bless.

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My Story, Part 2

Original MySpace Post on Thursday, February 21, 2008

I was AWOL from church for 7 years after that. But God found me on the campus of Texas A&M. That was a place where I found myself to be very insignificant. God had a mouthpiece by the name of Jeff Fitzhugh, a guy who lived in the room next to mine in my dorm. It was through Jeff that I began to see what a Christian looked like. One day Jeff used a phrase like, “I’m just trying to find out what God’s will for my life is.” That phrase got me thinking. God having a will for our life, or even my life? That was a concept that was just too big for my pagan mind to wrap itself around. But it got the ball rolling. Jeff was a wonderful example of a Christian servant, for whom I am very thankful I met. He had a profound impact on my life.

This would be the section that I would include the two “miracles in the rain” in my testimony, but because of space concerns, I will include them in my next blog.

I failed miserably at Texas A&M. Environmental Design was my major, which is the Aggie way of saying architecture. Since I was a little boy, I always wanted to be an architect. But at A&M, I discovered that I didn’t cut the mustard when it came to the artistic side of design. I was very dejected when I saw my hopes go down the drain. Because of financial problems, I returned home feeling like a failure.

Upon returning home, I rekindled a friendship with a former co-worker, Steve Iafelice. He, too, just returned home, having gone through a divorce. But, he was rekindling his relationship with Jesus Christ. And that’s what I saw, and that’s what I wanted. I saw that he had every reason to feel like a failure and be dejected and depressed, despondent. But it was just the opposite. He had a peace while in the middle of the storm. He had joy and purpose, and that’s what I wanted.

Over the next few months, Steve began to invest his life into mine. He asked me questions, and he answered mine. We studied the bible together. He shared the good news of Jesus Christ repeatedly with me, or at least, he shared the Christian life with me that was relevant to my everyday problems. We went to church a few times together. He was a member of Parkside Baptist Church. All of this took place between the months of August of 1991 to November of 1992.

On December 18, 1992, at !:40 pm, I was taking a walk in my neighborhood. And God began to talk to me. Now when I say God talked, I am not speaking of an audible voice. I am talking about a level of conviction of the heart and mind. But what I discerned God asking me was this: “Will you die for me?”

Some folks would interpret this as a physical death that He was asking of me. And maybe that is part of the request. But what I know He was asking me at that time was, “Would you deny yourself, take up your own cross, and follow me?” (Luke 9:23) I didn’t even know of the verse at the time. But I knew the essence of it. God was asking me to crucify my Self, my sinful nature, (the beast within) by receiving His gift of forgiveness, and identifying with Him in His death. His death became my own. I no longer lived, but Christ would begin to live through me. It was a onetime event that led to a daily commitment of dying and surrendering to his life.

So, I said yes.

God was also asking, “Will you start doing things My way?” Would I turn from myself and selfishness, and turn to Him? Would I start living in His Kingdom, according to His purposes and ways? Again, I said yes. I said yes to everything God had to offer, because essentially I had nothing, and could do nothing apart from Him.

So, in the jargon of the church, that was the moment I was saved. The little prayer I said when I was 11 years old suddenly took on flesh. Or maybe, it was given life.

Next Week, Membership

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My Story, Part One

Original MySpace post on February 21, 2008

Sorry so late, about 3 months.
Ah, yes, where to begin .. .

When I was growing up, on Sundays my mom used to take me to Sunday School. For the most part, I hated it. I was a shy kid, and didn’t have too many friends in my Sunday School classes. Hardly any , if none, of the kids in my Sunday School classes attended the elementary schools I went to. So I just didn’t enjoy the Church thing because I was an outsider. I would go and participate in the activities, and somewhat learned the Bible stories, but even at a young age the idea of “love one another” didn’t come across as too important, especially when you didn’t feel the love from your classmates.

Looking back, my feelings now, and my perspective, is that I don’t feel ill will toward any of them. Many of them have grown up to be fine, Godly Christian men and women, many of whom are my friends now. When we’re teenagers, we can all be punks. We lived in a hormonal, peer-pressured jungle. It’s a battleground for the mind when one is a teen, and sometimes, God’s Kingdom loses out on that round. (All the more importance for an engaged children’s and youth ministry, in my opinion.)

I digress. At the age of 11, my Sunday School teacher at the time, an older gentleman, of whose name at the moment eludes me, gathered all of us boys together, and asked a very important question. “How many of you boys want to go to Heaven?” ……. Well, duh, we all raised our hand. I knew there was a Heaven, and I knew there was a Hell, and I definitely didn’t want to be roasting in eternity after I died. Our teacher then proceeded to tell us a very child friendly version of the Cross. When he wrapped it up he then said something along the lines of, “Now, bow your heads and repeat after me. Say this prayer, and mean it in your hearts.” He then proceeded to lead us in a sinners prayer, something like this:
‘Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, I believe that you died on the cross for my sins, please come into my heart and forgive my sins…Amen.”

I really didn’t understand the significance of what was happening to me at the moment. And no explanation of repentance was given. But, I do know that at that time I understood that Heaven was all about Jesus and the Cross. I knew that Jesus’ death was very important, and central to getting our butts into heaven.

A few years passes, and I still disliked going to Sunday School. Mom took me to “Big” church a few times, and I thought that was kinda cool, but long and drawn out, and the preacher was boring. My understanding of the things of God were getting clearer, but I just didn’t understand some of the stuff of the Bible. It just seemed so upside down.

My freshman year in high school was one of those fork in the road moments for me. I had a Sunday school teacher who seemed to give a darn about me, I remember he invited me to a few Sunday School events. I thought he was cool because of that, and I remember him to this day. (Thanks, Lee Terrell.) But for the most part I still didn’t fit in. So, one Sunday I begged mom to not take me to Church. And she gave in. And the next Sunday, and the next, and the next. Soon, church was a thing of the past. Mom stopped going altogether, too. And I feel guilty about that to this day.

I do remember one guy, named Michael Howell, who tried to get me back to Sunday School. He made an effort to invite me back, told me that I was missed. That has forever made a mark on me. He was the only one, other than Mr. Terrell, who stepped to the plate and noticed that someone was missing. I’ll always have an immense amount of respect for him because of that. We never became close friends or anything like that, probably never spoke another word after that for 4 years. But the memory remains.

Next Post, The College Years

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Not Just a Ticket to Ride

Original MySpace blog posted on Thursday, November 8, 2007


So, did you think about the question I asked you two weeks ago? If you were to die tonight, and were standing before God Almighty, and He asked you, “Why should I allow you into my heaven?” how would you respond?

Some folks answer, “Well, I’m a good person. I’ve never done any really bad things, like stealing, or committed adultery. I’ve never killed anybody, like Jeffery Dahlmer.”

Well, that’s all fine and good, but the bible says in Isaiah 64:6 “We are all infected and impure with sin. They are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall ,and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

Maybe you would say, “Hey, I’ve done all these good things, like give to the Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity. I mow old widow Jones yard every week. And I help out every Thanksgiving with the homeless dinner.”

Again, that’s a good list of things, and you’re to be commended. But God’s Word says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Maybe you’ll answer, “I’ve lived my life on my own terms. It’s my life.” Bold statement to be telling the Almighty. But the Almighty say’s in His Word, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12

I say boldly, and with no apology, there is only one correct answer this question, (although its truth can be expressed in many ways.) The answer is simply, “My faith is in Christ alone. Because of Jesus Christ and what He has done for me, may I enter your Heaven.”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Have you had this experience in your life? Maybe as a young child or teenager? Or even an adult, but you’ve walked away from it, because you didn’t understand, or wavered in your belief? Has there been a moment in your life where you were one on one with God, and you had that heart to heart talk with Him, recognizing that you were a sinner and you needed His forgiveness?

If you have, great! You can rest in our Fathers grace and continue to seek his direction in your life..

If not, do you want to. I’m here to help. Message me. I’ll respond, as long as you’re seriously seeking.

Next time, my story….

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Something Heavenly!

Original Blog posted on MySpace, Thursday October @5, 2007

Hello, back again. So, we’re about to wrap up the acrostic. Let’s recap.

F is for forgiveness. We can’t have eternal life without God’s forgiveness.

A is for available. God’s forgiveness is available, but it’s not automatic.

I is for impossible. It is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven.

T is for Turn. We must turn from our sin and selfishness and turn to Christ and trust Him alone.

H is for Heaven.

Heaven is here, right now! Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b. Think about that! Is your life characterized by abundant life? Is your life characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control? The life that Jesus offers is. It’s a life filled with hope, lived in the awareness of God on a moment by moment basis. It’s not Pollyanna, pie in the sky naiveté, it accepts that bad things happen and struggles still takes place. But it acknowledges that God has resources available to deal with those challenges.

Heaven is also the Hereafter. Jesus also said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself: that where I am, there you also may be.” John 14:3 Jesus was telling this to His disciples just hours before His crucifixion, when they didn’t have a clue about what was about to happen. Jesus dies, and is buried for 3 days, is resurrected, reveals Himself to the disciples, and for 40 days teaches them new things about the Kingdom of God. He then Ascends into heaven. Jesus is in heaven right now preparing a place for us. Exactly what all that entails I don’t know, but what I do know is that we will feel at home in heaven.

Some folks have said they want no part of heaven because they feel it will be boring, sitting on a puffy white cloud with a harp, singing 24/7, eternally. Or they envision an eternal church service. But this is error. Heaven is described as a place where there is no sin, death, pain. And this has several implications.

Think for a moment your life as it is right now, but with the absence of sin. Not just in you, but in everyone you encounter. Think about it. No war, no jails, no prisons, no hospitals, at least not like we have them or how they’re used today. No insane asylums, no drugs, no cemeteries, no funeral homes, no insurance dealers, no military, no OSHA, EPA, NAFTA, OPEC, or FDA. No United Nations. All the institutions of man that have been created to deal with the insufficiency of man to live here on earth in harmony with man will not be needed, for there will be no sin. This will be what it is like in heaven, and also in the new heaven and earth to come.

Heaven will be a place of learning. We will continue to learn the many aspects of life that we have not discovered while we were here in the now. You have heard that we only use 10% of or brains? Well, I believe that the other 90% will be awakened upon entering heaven.

We will be creative, and have more opportunities to use our creativeness. We will have sanctified imaginations, so the art we create will be pure, reflecting God’s glory. We will still be entertained, for the entertainment will be stories that point to God and reveal the beauty of His character.

We will be explorers. We will explore the depths of the seas and the far reaches of the galaxy, even universe. We will not be as hampered by our physical limitations. Imagine diving into the ocean and swimming for hours underwater on one breath of air!

And this just scratches the surface……

A lot of what I just wrote are ideas I gleaned from a book entitled “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. I suggest you go buy it, or borrow it, and devour it, for it clears up a lot of bad ideas we have about heaven, and gives us some good ideas that are more freeing, yet bible based. I can’t do it justice here. But it piqued my interest in a view of heaven that makes me anticipate it more.

Well, there we have it. The beast within can be slain by a simple yet profound thing called FAITH, but not just faith in any old thing. Not faith, like optimism or positive thinking. Those are really great things and are needed in the Christian life. But it’s a faith in Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross.

So what about you? Where do you stand is the journey of faith?

Next week, I want to explore where you are. Think about it now. If you died tonight, and stood before God, and He asked you, “Why should I allow you into my heaven?”…. How would you respond? You’ve got a week to think about it…

Next week, Not Just a Ticket to Ride…

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea existed no longer. 2I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

3Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:

Look! God’s dwelling is with men,

and He will live with them.

They will be His people,

and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Death will exist no longer;

grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,

because the previous things have passed away.

5Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” 6And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty from the spring of living water as a gift. 7The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. 8But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:1-8

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Beautiful Tree

Original MySpace Blog posted Thursday, October 17, 2007

Well, I suppose I’m back. Been a rough few weeks. Still dealing with a lot of loose ends. But I’m hanging in there.

Before I get to the letter H in the Acrostic FAITH, I told you I would tell you about the cross.

Where to begin….

God created heaven, the earth, and everything on the earth. And that includes man. He started with Adam, and declared that it was not good foe Adam to be alone, so He created woman, and then He declared that it was good. This is important, on another note, because it shows that we need relationship to one another, not just male/female relationship, but relationship in general. But this is another sermon.

God liked to chill with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. That’s cool in itself. God liked being with Adam and Eve. This was the true order of things. God spending time in a love relationship with His crown creation, Adam and Eve. This was the design. God and humanity, together, no conflict.

God had one rule, one command: Don’t eat the fruit from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why, you ask? That’s beyond my current knowledge of theology, but I bet it has something to do with the fact that knowledge has a lot to do with being in relation to. If you eat the fruit of this tree, you are now not only in relation to good, but evil as well. Before there is only one choice for evil, eating the fruit. Once eaten, a whole smorgasbord for evil was set before them, for they now knew what evil was. But I’m jumping ahead of myself and diving too deeply. God told Adam don’t eat.

A serpent comes along and starts to stir it up with Eve. “Did God really say…” “If you eat the fruit, you will be like God!” And lo and behold, Eve eats. She then gives some to Adam, he eats too. And then they realized, hey we’re nekked, imagine that, and they sheepishly make coverings for themselves out of fig leaves.

God comes by to chill, but there not there, they’re hiding, and this disappoints God. “Why are you hiding?” “We’re nekked.” ” Who told you that you were nekked? You’ve had a snack, haven’t you? A very bad snack.” And by bad, I don’t mean it tasted bad, because all sin tastes good.

So God mixes it up a bit by cursing Adam, Eve, and the serpent, and kicks them out of the garden. But here’s the kicker. Something changed in Adam and Eve’s spiritual DNA. The beast within was born. And all mankind since then, save One, has inherited that beast within. Not fair, you cry? Can’t explain it or justify it, it’s a fact. You’ve got a beast within, we’ve established that back in my first blog, and that beast has your name on it.

I’m gonna attempt to make a very long story a whole lot shorter. Adam and Eve had children and they multiply. Eventually, out of a whole lot of people, God chooses a people for Himself, out of a dude named Abraham. Abraham’s children multiplied, and they found themselves in Egypt, where their King, the Pharaoh was a jerk, and enslaved the children of Abraham, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands.. God had one of his servant’s Moses, lead his people, the Jew’s, out of Egypt, and because the were cowardly whiners at that phase of their existence, they wandered the wilderness for 40 years until they entered the promised land, present day Israel. During this time, God, through Moses, gave them the Law, and established the priesthood, and the sacrificial system that I explained to you in Blog 3. This sacrificial system is important, because it is foreshadowing of a sacrifice to come. You would sin, and you would repent by going to the priest with an animal sacrifice.. The priest goes before God on behalf of you, the sinner, and slays the animal, and sprinkles its blood on the altar. Sin demands your life, however, God allows a substitute to go in your place, and in this case, it is the animal you brought to the priest. That animal is part of your livelihood, you worked hard to raise it, it cost you something. Through all of this, you would be looking forward in faith to the coming Messiah, who would restore order to this fallen world.

Jump about 1500 years to about 33AD. The Cross. This was no plan 2 in God’s story. It was part of God’s plan all along. Why Jesus, and why did He have to die? I can’t explain it as well as the first time it “clicked ” for me. I was reading it in James Dobson’s book, “Straight Talk” that I read about 15 years ago. I’m gonna reprint that here.

“But in spite of God’s great love, His justice required complete obedience. It demanded repentance and punishment for disobedience. So, herein was a serious conflict with God’s nature. If he destroyed the human race, as His justice would require in response to our sinful disobedience, His love would have been violated: but if he ignored our sins, His justice would have been sacrificed. Yet neither aspect of His nature could be compromised.

“But God, in His marvelous wisdom, proposed a solution to that awful dilemma. If He could find one human being who wasn’t worthy of damnation–just one individual in the history of mankind who had never sinned, a man or a woman who was not guilty– then the sin of every other person on earth could be laid upon that One and He could suffer for all of us. So God, being timeless, Looked across the ages of man from Adam to Armageddon, but He could not find anyone who was innocent. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23,KJV) it would be latter written. There wasn’t a person who was worth of assuming the guilt, blame, and punishment for the rest of us. Therefore, the only alternative was for God to send His own Son to bear the sins of the entire human family. And herein we see the beauty of God’s plan and the reason Jesus had to die. When He was crucified here on earth, Jesus harmonized the conflict between God’s love and justice and provided a remedy for fallen mankind.

“Thus, Jesus said a s He was dying, ‘It is finished!’ meaning, ‘I have carried out the plan of salvation that God designed for sinful man.’ And that’s why God turned His back on Jesus when He was on the cross, prompting Him to cry in anguish, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46. KJV). In that moment, Jesus was bearing the punishment for all human sins down through the ages, including yours and mine.”

That, my friends, is the reason for the cross, and the death of Jesus. The appeasing of both God’s love and His holiness.

So I’m gonna leave it at that this week. Next week, something heavenly.

13 See, my servant will prosper;

he will be highly exalted.

14 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.

15 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.

1 Who has believed our message?

To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?

2 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.

3 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.

4 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!

5 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.

6 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.

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.

11 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.

12 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.

Isaiah 52:13-15, Isaiah 53

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