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2008: A Year of Recompenses

January 5, 2008

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

Isaiah 34.8 declares, "For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion." Assyria posed the most predominant military threat in Isaiah's time, but in Isaiah 34, the sword of the LORD will move against Edom and upon the people of God's curse, to judgment. Edom represents all gentile opposition to God's people. Edom's persecution of Israel will be returned on them. Edom descended from Esau, who despised his birthright. (Genesis 25.34; Romans 9) Edom took pride in its rocky defenses, but no matter what their gain in wealth, prestige, or independence, they will fall as an enemy of the Covenant Lord.

For God's covenant people, Isaiah offers the promise of renewing the land, strengthening hope, and healing their infirmities. Believers walk on the highway of holiness. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. To His own, God says, "Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with recompense; He will come and save you." (Isaiah 35.4)

Recompense, retribution, and vengeance belong to God. Deuteronomy 32.35, 41: "To Me belongs vengeance and recompense. If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me."

God is the God of Recompenses and will reveal Himself so. Jeremiah 51
The Law of Rewards and the Law of Sowing and Reaping go hand in hand. You reap what you sow. If you sow to the flesh, you will of the flesh reap corruption. If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap of the righteousness of Christ. (Hosea 8.7, 10.12; Galatians 6.7) It is not our place to take vengeance or to render evil for evil. (Proverbs 20.22, Romans 12.17) It's difficult not to take up our own defense when shamefully treated, wrongly condemned, persecuted, or wronged, but God says that He is our defense; and we believe Him.

Final and irreversible condemnation may be the destiny of the reprobate, but the destiny of God's covenant people differs. God champions His own cause. If anything, we should take heed to the warning of Hebrews 10.28-31:

He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three
witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be
thought worthy, who have trodden under foot the Son of God, and
have counted the blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was sanctified,
an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For
we know Him that has said, Vengeance belongs unto Me, I will
recompense, says the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

God takes vengeance with regard to His people in two ways: first by pursuing His enemies to their destruction (Psalm 94) and taking up the cause when it aligns with His cause; and secondly by punishing those who break covenant with Him. (Leviticus 26.24, 25) The purpose for this is ultimately to restore peaceful relationship.

Recompense can be either dealing out judgment or reward, but the focus leans to God's judgment of those who mock and scorn Him. (Jeremiah 51, Isaiah 59.18, Isaiah 66.6, Luke 18.7, 8; 2 Thessalonians 1.6-10, Revelation 6.10, 18.20, 19.2.)

God is a God of justice. There must be payment, payback, reward for the deeds done in the body. Left to oneself, this payback can only mean we pay for our own sins, and the wages of sin is death.

Jesus Christ came to pay off the debt note of sin, to cancel it, to satisfy the demands of divine justice. It's much like a mortgage note. When the last payment is made, you get a Satisfaction of Mortgage. Jesus paying for our sins is like someone coming in and paying off our debt for us. He bore in His body the divine punishment our sins deserve, the recompense, if you will.

The Law of Rewards for the believer, however, moves beyond escaping eternal death. Election determines our eternal destination and we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Behavior determines how we will be recompensed for the deeds done in the body (2 Cor. 5.10; 1 Cor. 3.10-15). God so desires to bless us and crown us with loving kindness that He will look to whatever we have done that can be classified as a work wrought in God, something coming out from the thought and intent of His holy heart and which leads to the seed, root, and fruit of a work He calls "good." Believers are promised heavenly rewards for earthly obedience and Jesus urges His followers to store up treasures in heaven and seek that which God rewards.

God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11.6). Even though we only do what we should be doing, God desires to reward His children, not just with a "well done," but also with crowns for faithfulness, obedience, discipline, and love. Whatever has been motivated and empowered by the Holy Spirit in our lives, even giving a cup of cold water to someone because he is a follower of Christ (Matt. 10.42), will be rewarded by our Heavenly Father.

In the world, power, pleasures, and possessions motivate greatly. What about eternity? At God's right hand are pleasures forevermore. God is the Possessor of heaven and earth. Power belongs to Him.

What is our greatest reward to be? The answer goes back to Abram. You can find it at the end of this message.

2008:
For some it will be a year of resurrection; those in the graves will rise in the power of the resurrection.
For some--redemption, as multitudes will come into the kingdom of God.
For some--rule, as they reign over sin, Satan, sickness, and the world system in their lives.
For some--reward, as they reap what they sow.
For some--a remnant, those who are Christ's at His coming, for as He is in
His appearing, so shall they be. 1 Corinthians 15; Colossians 3.4

Let 2008 draw you to God, for His Name is One and He is a unified whole. Draw or divide. In the drawing there is division; separation unto God separates His from the others. How you spend your days is how you spend your life…now and into eternity. It's a new year; live your days wisely and build your house on the Rock.

[From
word received Nov. 30, 2007]


2008 takes us into Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt for world missions, God willing. Help us go to the nations and join us in these strategic spiritual warfare missions to extend Christ's kingdom and glory.

We thank you for your generous gifts to MCM. Whether your heart leans toward Craighouse®, the Barnabas Project, evangelism, MCM media, Home Visitation Ministry, MCM mercy ministries, or MCM world missions, your gifts demonstrate the love Christ has put in your hearts.

Just the Messenger,

Mary Craig

P.S. Go to
www.marycraig.org. Order books from our Catalog section, using PayPal Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270. Send in your prayer requests.

After these things the word of the LORD
Came unto Abram in a vision, saying,
Fear not, Abram; I am your shield, and
Your exceeding great reward. (Genesis 15.1)


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