In life we sometimes may feel like God has abandoned us to our problems, to our pains, to our anxiety. However, there is one message that rings very clear throughout Scripture: God does not abandon His people! We see this play out in the sufferings of Jesus, for there we see God abandoning His own Son as a gesture of unconditional love toward us.His people. The cross of Christ may not give us immediate physical healing from the sufferings we experience. However, it does give us the strength to endure suffering and even death itself to the hope of eternal life beyond. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” – Joel 2:12-13 Just as we so often turn away from God in our hearts.so too are we called to return to Him with our hearts. Such turning.or repentance is not just a rending of our garments.an outward show for those around us. It is not an apology filled with excuses! Instead it is a desperate and sincere turning to the only One who can give us what we need for salvation: Jesus.
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” 11:1-16 God’s message to us is one of hope. Hope that shines amidst the smoldering ruins of a nation torn apart by war. Hope that the quietly burns amidst the shouting matches that take place in government buildings around the globe. Hope that holds fast even amidst a family torn apart by anger and hatred. Hope that burns bright even when death’s darkness comes. The world is a scary and frustrating place.but through Jesus there is hope that the world simply cannot offer. You may not always see it as clearly as you’d like.but it is there. Like the sun rising in the east, the forgiveness and salvation that Christ offers is certain. Just as Jesus emerged from the darkness of sin and death, Jesus has promised the same for you. Though the darkness may threaten to overwhelm you.with Christ know that there will always be light..there will always be hope!
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in a land of deep darkness on them a light has shown.” – Isaiah 9:2 We live in a society that feels entitled and expects a certain degree of “prosperity”. In short: we are spoiled! The problem with this is that it causes us to view the world in a very self-centered way. This entitlement mentality has ultimately created two types of people: 1) People who want to FIX the world or at least control it and their own lives to a certain degree. 2) People who seek to be given “happiness” (or at least their own definition of happiness) to them on a silver platter. The problem is that a sinful world makes both of these expectations impossible. Therefore, the result is that we yell at each other AND at God. After all, where is He in all of this? Well, as Scripture tells us, it is because of our own self-centered nature we experience the just results of our own rebellion against Him. Sin clings to ALL of us.even those who have faith in Jesus.and unfortunately death is the greatest consequence! This may be hard to come to grips with. And yet, in this dark world, a light has shone. Jesus came not to condemn you, but to save you! He offers you forgiveness and eternal life at the price of His own life. His light is YOUR life! And through Him, we the needs of our neighbors are illuminated as well. Life is not about “ME” and “What I want”.and no, none of us can fix the world by our own power. And yet, by God’s grace we will look beyond ourselves, giving thanks to God for His light and seeking to reflect that light to those He has placed in our path.
“.he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” – Isaiah 8:14 I don’t know about you, but due to my own sinful nature I sometimes worry about my heart.in a spiritual sense. It is easy to say “trust” and believe we indeed DO trust until a “rock of stumbling” comes along. A true rock of stumbling makes it impossible to keep the status quo and simply say “trust”, as though it were a simple matter! A true rock of stumbling is something that lays bare our hearts and goes to work on our faith, testing it in ways we could scarcely imagine, let alone “understand” form the outside looking in. Is my “trust”.my faith just words? Am I putting on an act? It is in these moments that it becomes clear that this faith of mine is a gift given to me from the Lord. It is not something I forged by my own will. THAT is why it is a mighty shield that can withstand any blow that Satan may land (Ephesians 6:16). And yet, do I hold this shield by my own power? No – the shield is Christ who stands between me and the evil one. He is my strength and my shield.the source of my faith’s rigidity. Thank you Lord that I do not have to face anything on my own.by your Grace.
“Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14 In Hebrew, “Immanuel” means “God with us”..which is an interesting thought to ponder. For those who reject Christ, these words are scary. They are words of judgment! Those who rely upon their own reason and strength.those who stubbornly ignore God may want to examine themselves! Why? Because God is with us! And yet, for those of us who have faith, these words offer amazing grace! When you stumble and fall.when it feels like Satan is winning and your faith is weak.you are not alone. Instead, with a great sigh of relief you are able to look to the cross and empty tomb and say “God is with us”. Thank you Lord for being the light in a dark world.
“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.” – Isaiah 7:9 We all want to control our lives.but at some point we all are forced to place faith in something other than ourselves. Perhaps that faith is placed in friends, family, professionals (such as doctors), or maybe even money and material wealth. And yet, as sinful human beings, friends, family, and professionals cannot offer us the assurance that Jesus offers. Faith in other people will leave us disappointed. Faith in money and material wealth is foolish as they so often are exhausted over time through bad management or wear and tear. The truth is that it is only through faith in Jesus that we find firm ground.a rock that will not be moved. Jesus is forgiveness that is ever present.hope that shines through our darkest moments. May God grant us the ability to look at the world through His eyes.
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” The I said, “Here I am! Send me.” – Isaiah 6:8 Whom shall the Lord send? One whom is overconfident in himself? One who is better than others? No.the Lord sends sinners who understand the radical unmerited forgiveness granted to them by their Heavenly Father for Jesus’ sake. In a culture that feels entitled to everything, the Lord calls those who know they are entitle to nothing! The Lord calls those who know that all blessings, both temporal and eternal can be summarized in one word: Grace. Thank you for dying for me Lord. Thank you for your grace. Regardless of the outcome, let me be your mouthpiece to those who cross my path. By your grace, let my actions bring others closer to you.
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of his glory!” – Isaiah 6:3 Our life can sometimes feel void of God. Yet, as difficult as it is, God calls us to look beyond our feelings. His presence fills the earth. He sustains our life.daily restoring and preserving it for eternity through His Son, Jesus Christ. Yes, it is sometimes hard to see this truth as we become blinded by feelings. And yet, by God’s Grace, I pray that you will see the truth of His almighty glory shining in your life. Today is a new day. Forgiveness is real.through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Do you struggle with idolatry? If you are human, then the answer is “Yes!”
We are all sinners…which ALSO means that we are all idolaters. Idols stand between us and God. They distract us from God’s love and ultimately compel us to love ourselves more than Him!
But here is the problem: Even if you identify your idols the temptation to worship them will not go away!
Such temptations can give us an overwhelming feeling that might best be described as “frustration”. Frustration that the temptation is there. Frustration that you are even THINKING about doing the very thing you know you shouldn’t do!
And yet, when viewed with the proper perspective in mind, you can see temptation as an INVITATION to worship God rather than that idol you love so much! The truth is, whenever you are tempted to sin, you will respond with worship. You will either worship your idol.OR you will worship God by rejecting that idol!
If you have a few moments, I would suggest that you read the following blog post. It speaks to this issue and offers some great words of encouragement: http://theresurgence.com/2012/06/12/temptation-is-an-invitation