Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28–31)
This promise was directed at God’s people as they faced seemingly impossible situations. The particulars we face today may look different on the surface but the challenge to our faith is no less daunting.
- Broken relationships
- Lost jobs
- Unexpected illnesses
- A general sense of discouragement
- Unfulfilled dreams
At times it can feel like the weight of the world pressing down on us. But the One who holds the world in place will not let us slip through his fingers.
Will we trust in ourselves and our own resources? We we leverage influence with others that we think can help? Or will we learn to wait on the Lord and trust in His sovereignty?
A week ago last Friday our family car got totalled by a rogue deer. We were on our way home from the movie theatre at about 11:30 at night and traveling rather briskly on Highway 70 when a doe ran into the driver’s side of the car near the side mirror.
Being dark I never saw it coming except for a brief glimpse just in time to grip the steering wheel. Thankfully we were not pushed into the next lane which was occupied by a semi and none of us was hurt – except for the deer.
The car is mostly fixable but we’ve been using a rental for several days now. It’s a no-frills Chevy Aveo but it is new – less than 300 miles. Given that our newest vehicle is 14 years old, even this most basic of cars is a real treat.
One of the newer features that we are unaccustomed to is automatic headlights whenever you turn on the car. It’s suppose to make driving safer even during the daylight hours. Makes sense to me.
Last night I jumped in it around 11:00 pm to go pick the girls up from working at the Wayne County Fair and when I pulled out of the drive I moved the switch to bump my lights up to hi-beam… but nothing happened. When I glanced down at the dashboard I realized it was black because I hadn’t turned on the headlights. I hadn’t noticed because of the automatic ones that come on every time you start the car.
After only a few days of driving this new rental car I’d somehow forgotten to think of turning on the headlights. I wasn’t engaging in the basics of driving a car. If it can happen that easily with something as simple as headlights, imagine how fast it can happen when we offer our praise to God.
We go to church most weekends and engage in largely the same routine each time. We even sing familiar songs. How often do we mouth the words without engaging our heads or hearts in the process? Do you suppose that God is honored or pleased when we offer praise to Him out of habit?
Jesus offered a stern rebuke in Matthew 15:7-8 when He said:
“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.'”
Whenever it is that you gather with a fellowship of Christ followers… don’t give in to shallow praise!
To read more about making our gatherings meaningful check out PointMan.
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The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the advent season – from now through Christmas – is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God.
Isaiah 9:2-6 is one of the more popular passages in connection with the advent season as it draws attention to Jesus as the light that comes into a dark world.
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Over the next five Sundays I’m going to be focusing on verse 6 and the five names used to describe Jesus. Names in Scripture serve a dual purpose as the focus on a persons’ character and on what they will do.
The Hebrew word that Isaiah uses here for Wonderful is used throughout the Old Testament and is translated in various places as: marvelous, hidden, too high, too difficult, and miracle. It carries the basic meaning of being unique and different.
May we come to experience Jesus as Wonderful!