Archive for January, 2010

Isaiah 41:7 Idol Reinforcements

January 28, 2010

“One says of the welding, ‘It is good.’ The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.” (TNIV)

It must be something to see what you believe in fall. If you believe in it enough – you cannot see it fall, so you prop it up, spot weld the bad spots and tack it down again. We cannot go through this life putting bondo and band-aids on our broken and failed idols.

What do you believe in that is beginning to crack? Your retirement plans? Your healthcare? Your faith in the democratic and biblical roots of America? Your friend and confidant? Sooner or later all things on this earth will pass away. The problem here is who we put our trust in “chariots and horses” — meaning some trust the machine and the mechanics. You know some machines: the political machine, the free-market machine, the religion machine, and on it goes. Do put your trust in the architects of these slave machines or do you trust the freedom found in following the Slain Lamb? Sure, on the surface it doesn’t make sense to follow the way of a slain lamb – but His way is a better way.

Even in Isaiah’s little parable – the welder and riveter neither trust the institution they are trying to keep erect, nor the workmanship of the other. The spot welder says, “yup, it’ll hold.” The riveter says, “let me just tack it down.”

The problem is simply this: distrust. We want to believe in this idol – but we don’t trust each other nor truly do we trust our idol will stay put. Come to Jesus – He’s the true thing that will not crumble, will not fall – He doesn’t need any props – and nails wont hold Him.

Stop nailing down false idols and but your trust in Jesus.

Isaiah 40:12-13 Unfathomable Faith

January 28, 2010

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand… who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord?” (Isaiah 40:12-13)

We live in an age where everyone wants answers. Mystery is a dirty word. We watch TV shows, from medical to criminal mysteries that are cured or conquered in 60 minutes or less. But Isaiah reminds us that to be a Christian is to be in the thick of mystery. Who can fathom the creation of God let alone God Himself?

Sometimes, as Christians, I feel we are afraid to witness to others concerning our faith because we are afraid that we don’t have all the answers for unbelievers. In the court of evangelism, we are witnesses, not experts called to the stand. We are called because we were there, we were present at the accident, not because we can reconstruct it. God has called us to have eyes and ears to see and to hear — to be a witness. And sometimes we have our view blocked, but we know that God is acting.

Instead of giving people answers, let us give them Jesus. Allow the mystery of our lives to actually be the revealer of Christ. We cannot fathom the complexities of the world, and yet we live in it. We cannot understand in totality the mysterious workings of the microwave, but I know that when I put my bag of popcorn in and hit the button I shall have a delicious snack. I trust my microwave to work as intended, even if I have no idea how it works. Even more so than can I trust my Jesus.

Being a Christian isn’t having all the answers; it is walking in faith that the Spirit of Christ within me will guide me through the valleys of shadows.

Isaiah 1:3-4

January 25, 2010

Good ‘ole Isaiah gets right to the point. In just a couple verses he explains the power of sin in our lives in four ways. We must keep ourselves from sin lest we find ourselves kept from our God and Savior.

First, sin makes you dumb. “The ox knows its owner… my people do not understand.” It is amazing how quickly sin can make us dense. Sin causes us to depart from common sense. Isaiah reminds us that dabbling in sinful behavior will cause us to become, well, stupid.

Second, sin is such a load. “a people loaded with guilt.” Often we think sin is a shortcut, but in reality, due to our stupidity, sin just becomes a hassle – a heavy hassle. Feeling burdened? Even worry, that is faithlessness (not believing God is in control) is heavy. We carry the burden but the more you worry does nothing to impact the outcome. Why waste the energy?

Third, sin is contagious. “children given to corruption.” Dumb likes company, especially when they can’t carry their own load – so the next step, share the burden, give the gift of guilt. Isaiah says once you get caught under the burden of sin to turns you; it makes you one who corrupts others. Now others are at stake, not merely you.

Fourth, sin leaves you abandoned. So, you made some dumb moves, now you’ve got this load to deal with and after you got some people to help out you darkened them and they, of course, left you abandoned… And you thought the Lord didn’t care – that’s why you went off and sinned in the first place.

But who truly abandoned whom? Isaiah reminds us that our Lord has not left you – you left Him for something better (harken, Adam and Eve). Here’s the deal from Isaiah. Sin is a dumb move that will just weight you down, make even your friends and family your enemies and leave you all alone. But repentance? Well, it’s the smartest move you can make – repenting of your sin will release that burden and the family of God with the Trinity (that never actually left you) will surround you with grace and mercy…

grace, getting what we do not deserve; mercy, not getting what we do deserve.

Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” – is that a promise or a threat? Maybe before we step out in stupidity we can remember God is coming along with us – wherever we go, whatever we do. Maybe then we can turn the phrase around and say to our Lord, “I will never leave You nor forsake You, My God, My King.”

Symbols of Trust: Baby

January 1, 2010

It seems interesting to me that the Master of the Universe uses the most helpless of all human forms to convey His promise of help. The omnipotent (all-powerful) God uses the human form most dependent upon others. God clothes the poor, feeds the hungry, releases the captives and yet He says look for salvation, liberation, protection, and comfort in the form of a promised baby – who cannot clothe, feed, protect, or care for themselves. God says trust me – trust my sign – a baby will be born. A sign of liberation is found swaddled.

Adam and Eve look to the promised “seed.” Lamech names his child, “comfort” in hopes Noah will deliver the people of their toil. And, when King Ahaz is walking the aqueduct system checking his water supply in case of invasion, God sends Isaiah to comfort him with a sign and a promise. The sign? A young woman will become pregnant and give birth to a son. Mary and Joseph are surrounded by those who se the sign of Immanuel’s birth – from cousin Elizabeth to shepherds and foreign magi.

You can trust God because He has shown Himself all powerful, even in the form of a baby. God has given the sign – every time you see a child you see the potential for God to break through – and be reminded that He in fact has already broken through. In these 12 Days of Christmas let us reflect on the promise of God, “For unto us a child is born and the government shall be upon His shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

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