Father and Potter, Child and Clay
Isaiah 64 is a prayer in which the prophet acknowledges God’s greatness and Israel’s great sinfulness. Then Isaiah turns to ask God to forgive and help his devastated people. The beginning of this supplication acknowledges two crucial images of God: Father and potter.Read Article
Why Does God Let Us Mess Things Up So Badly?
As the prophet looks upon the mess Israel made of its life, his thoughts turn to the mystery of God’s inaction, or even God’s participation in the rebellion of Israel: “Why, LORD, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?” (63:17). If you’ve walked with the Lord for a while, I expect you’ve had questions like these.Read Article
God’s New Name for You
What are your names? I’m not asking only about the names given to you at birth. I’m wondering also about the names assigned to you by others, the labels used to identify you, the titles that have brought you honor or shame… Do you need to discover the new name or names God has for you? Do you need to know that you are a Saint, one of God’s holy people, set apart for God and his purposes?Read Article
You are a Priest of God!
Do you ever think of yourself as a priest of the Lord? If you happen to be a clergyperson in the Anglican, Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox traditions, then you can easily answer this question in the affirmative. But what if you’re a salesperson, a business owner, a medical professional, or a cabinetmaker? Do you see yourself as a priest of God? Isaiah 61:6 would urge you to do so. As would the broad sweep of the biblical narrative.Read Article
Your Work in God’s Present and Future
When God brings his peace and justice to the world through the Messiah, God will not miraculously and instantaneously remake the broken world. Rather, the people who have been redeemed and set free by the Messiah will do this work. Specifically, we will “rebuild” and “restore” and “renew.” God doesn’t do everything for us. Instead, God does what God alone can do, and then invites us to partner with him in his work.Read Article
How You Can Display God’s Splendor
In this season of Advent, we remember the announcement of the angels, “Glory to God in the highest.” May our remembrance encourage us to live for God’s glory each day, in every avenue of life, at home and at work, in our neighborhoods and in the shopping malls, in our spending and in our giving, in our speaking and in our silence.Read Article
Hope for a World of Peace and Well-Being
In this season of Advent, we join the Jewish people in their longing for the fullness of peace and righteousness. We are preparing to celebrate the coming of the “Prince of Peace,” who will govern his kingdom “with justice and righteousness” (Isa 9:6-7). Jesus has come—and will come again—to fulfill the vision of Isaiah 60. Peace will be our governor and well-being our ruler.Read Article
Homecoming, Part 3
For many of us, our literal homecomings can be wonderful. But for others, they are fraught with difficulty and pain… When we gather with our families for the holidays, we sometimes realize how much we aren’t really “at home,” how much we ache for an acceptance we’ll never know with our natural relatives, how desperately we yearn for a real home in which we can feel fully at peace. This yearning can point us to our heart’s true home.Read Article
Homecoming, Part 2
For many of us, being at home for the holidays is one of life’s greatest joys. But not for all of us. Many people experience holiday homecoming with considerable ambivalence. Yes, it can feel good to be back on familiar turf and to spend time with relatives and old friends. But some of these relationships may still be tainted with pain… How can we find God’s grace when coming home is hard?Read Article
There will be a time when God will make his home among us, and we will be fully at home with him in the new creation. For Christians who pay attention to the liturgical year (or church year or Christian year), we have just entered the season of Advent. In this season, we remember when God came in Jesus to make his home with us, and we look forward to the future homecoming of God.Read Article
You Can Reflect God’s Glory
Our passage from Isaiah 60 reminds us that we are to reflect God’s glory into the dark world around us. As we communicate God’s truth, as we reach out with his love, as we offer forgiveness and mercy, as we live and speak and work differently, people will see God’s glory through us and be drawn to him. That is an essential element of our high calling as Christians.Read Article
Reaching the Next Generations
If we want God’s words to guide the lives of the next generations, including our own children and grandchildren, then we need to commit ourselves to this goal. It will impact how we live each day and how we function together as the church. It will require new authenticity, openness, and integrity. We have no more important calling than to pass on our faith to the next generations.Read Article
Truth Has Stumbled in the Streets
As I reflect on Isaiah 59:14, I’m struck by the phrase, “Truth has stumbled in the streets.” A more literal translation might read: “Truth totters in the square.” According to Isaiah, honesty was disappearing from the gathering places in towns and cities. This criticism applied to public officials as well as to everyday citizens. Deceit ruled the day. Sound familiar?Read Article
Do You Delight in the Lord’s Day of Rest?
It’s easy for Christians to think of the Sabbath as a legalistic burden that the Jews are required to carry. Yet this is not how the Lord speaks of the day of rest. In Isaiah 58 he tells his people to “call the Sabbath a delight,” not a burden (58:13). Those who honor the Sabbath will also delight in the Lord, who promises the blessings of honor and an inheritance.Read Article
Caring for the Hungry
As God’s people through Jesus Christ, we cannot ignore the reality of hunger in our world. Nor can we sit by while millions starve. Simple compassion, not to mention Christ-like love, calls us to act.
In the time of Isaiah, God promised that if his people would feed the hungry and help those in trouble, then “[their] light will rise in the darkness, and [their] night will become like the noonday” (58:10).