The God of Comfort

www.bible.com/72/isa.66.13.hcsb

In the context of Isaiah 66, God is comparing the revival and rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exiles return to the nurture and love of a young mother for her child. The source of this comfort is the nourishing milk that a mother provides her infant, giving him ease from his hunger.

The context for Isaiah 66 is interesting. Using this comparison, God is like a nursing mother bringing and nurturing life in His city. Like a nursing mother, God provides all that is necessary for life in this place. A nursing mother does more than simply feed her child. She holds him close and speaks softly to him, comforting him. This is the image that God wishes to convey to us.

When we need comfort, His are arms that we can run to. Last fall, my father had heart problems and had to have surgery. With my father feeling so vulnerable, I experienced a moment when I felt lost. The man in my life who had always been strong was now suffering, and I had to move into a role of strength for my family. I felt terribly unprepared. I really needed someone in that moment that could tell me it was all going to be ok. I really needed a pair of arms that would hold me and whisper in my ear that everything was going to be fine. And I think if someone actually did that I probably would have melted right then. I almost did when my uncle showed up a couple of hours later. The hug I received from him was priceless.

In those moments I wished for someone I could turn to, but we all have to grow up sometime, and be that comfort for others. Where do we get that comfort? We get it from the Master Comforter. He throws His arms around us, whispers in our ear and tells us it’s going to be ok. As a comforting mother, He wraps us up in His arms and eases our anxiety and fear with love and compassion.

Be grateful to your mother today. She gave you life from her own body. Be grateful to God today. He gave you life both from beginning and from the cross.

God bless you today.

Advertisements

Spiritual Hygiene

www.bible.com/72/1th.5.17.hcsb

This command from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is good spiritual hygiene for the Christian. If you are constant in prayer, you will have little time for temptation. As Christians, because we have within us the Holy Spirit, the presence of God is within us constantly. I cannot really understand what that means. Do we comprehend the gift that that is? Never before in the history of man had any people ever been given the promise of their God being present in them. This is the same Spirit if God who hovered over the waters at Creation. That presence swells within us. How could we not be in constant contact with Him?

This command is as much a recognition of our new normal as it is a command. You are always in the Lord’s presence. You always carry His Spirit, not just a portion because God cannot be divided up into little pieces. You carry the presence of God within you at all times. There is no place that you go that God is not already present. You do not need Temple or Church to find the presence of God.

So imagine how much more meaningful it is when you do find that gathering of saints at your church. Whose meaningful encouragement and mutual support only reinforce your awareness that God is present with you.

I want to encourage you today to pray constantly. Talk to Him always. He will never leave you.

God bless!

Evidence

www.bible.com/72/heb.12.2.hcsb

When looking at this verse, I realize that the only part of this verse that can be proven historically is that a man named Jesus from Nazareth died on a cross nearly 2000 years ago. While that seems like a long time ago, it is easier to prove than the exodus of Israel from Egypt or the Flood of Noah.

The rest of this verse depends not only on the crucifixion, but another piece which isn’t mentioned, the resurrection. That too can be proven historically beyond a reasonable doubt. With these two points in hand, what can we say about the others?

Jesus is the author and perfected of our faith. – because Jesus rose from the dead, He is the first to both predict his resurrection but also to fulfill it. While there are other resurrected god stories out there (i.e., Osiris), we actually have historical evidence that His is true. There are a number of eye-witnesses, there documents recording their varied accounts. A number of eye-witnesses, On threat of death, refused to recant their faith in the living Christ. Then there is the Shroud of Turin, whose image was burned into by an amazing heat that cannot be explained by natural means. This One is the author of our faith. He started it by rising from the dead. He perfects it by continuing to work in us today as the living Christ. I can accept by reason that He is alive. I accept by faith that He continues to live and mentor me today.

Jesus now sits at the right hand of God. – This one is harder to prove, but not impossible. In His life in earth, Jesus claimed often to be the Son of God. He performed many miracles which established His power over creation like His Father. When he died and rise again, he established that even death had no hold over him. By these evidences, He has proven He is the Son of God, God in flesh. So it is not much of s stretch to believe by faith, though we can’t see it, that today He sits at God’s right hand, a position of favor with His Father.

Evidence? Far more reliable than the reasoned suppositions offered by others. It is far easier to prove God exists in an ordered, physical universe than to prove He doesn’t. What kind of God He is can be found in the pages of Scripture. While we may not agree with the Christian God, that doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. I am grateful for a God who loved me enough to save me before I was ever born.

Thank you God.

Creation Entitlement

www.bible.com/72/rev.4.11.hcsb

Sorry about the late post today. Time got away from me this morning. But I looked at this verse and immediately knew what I needed to write about it.

If you make something, do you feel ownership is entitled to you? I mean, if I write a post, and someone else quotes from my post without giving attribution, will that make me upset? Of course, and rightly so. That material is an extension of me, it goes forth from me and represents my thoughts and inner workings. It is me to an extent.

So when God creates the universe, is He entitled to credit for making it? Duh. And yet, what has happened? Why is there so much desperation to make it a natural random chance event? Why are there those fanatical about making the universe create itself? Because doesn’t that put the creative earnest right our laps? Surely the atheist believes that is the universe created itself, and we are the highest form of life in this universe, we are responsible for creating ourselves. Or something like that. And we don’t have to give credit where credit is due.

But God is the Creator, and He is entitled both for credit and for Ownership. He made it. It belongs to Him unless He willingly sells it to someone else. And there is another who stole it from Him, stole the power of the air for himself and stole men away from God. So God sent His Son. Jesus died and paid the ransom for many. God owns us. Twice. He will own is a third time when He grants us a resurrection body, a newly created thing when we lose this one to death.

Isn’t God amazing? Let us glorify Him together.

Revolutionary

www.bible.com/72/rom.1.16.hcsb

Jews AND Greeks? Are you serious? God wants to save both of them? What about the Romans?

Seriously, the power of God is the gospel. Without regard to piety, reverence, law-keeping and ritual, the gospel has more power than any of these. The gospel is a story. It is the story of an Almighty Creator God who wants to save His Creation, namely Man from his own rebellion. So God sends His Son as witness and testimony to the care and love of God. Man kills the Son in the ultimate act of rebellion. The Son rises from the dead in order to demonstrate His forgiveness for sin. He is the God who loves us despite our evil to compel us to change.

This requires of us in humanity a desire to return. Under the right circumstances and conditions, something in us will revive that had died. It is our love for our father. Our desire to be approved and loved by our father. Our desire to make our father proud of us. It is as deep-seated in us as our need to breathe. It transcends culture and language. And the gospel is the power of God to restore that fundamental relationship despite our sin and grief and guilt. It is God who forgives, who stands ready to receive us back when we’ve realized in the hog pen that being in our father’s house, even as a servant, would be far better.

I challenge you with the gospel today. I know this world is lost and broken. It has Daddy-issues. But the gospel is stronger. The world has rebellion, strife, murder and death, but the gospel is stronger. It is the power of God unto salvation. And it is ours to wield simply by telling.

God bless you today.

Starting with Love

www.bible.com/72/jhn.3.16.hcsb

Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. Maybe I am just a hack when it comes to preaching. And I probably am. After preaching for over 20 years, I’ve been out of the pulpit since 2016. My preaching gears are getting rusty. In part, that’s why I write this blog, just to have an outlet for those energies. I don’t have an axe to grind. It’s just that that street preacher really bugged me. It bugged me because he represented for most what Christianity is about, fire and judgment and the wrath of God. While true, it is a narrow interpretation of God’s nature. God is much more than this.

If he had delivered that message in a church, he would probably received a more sympathetic hearing, but as a trial sermon, I think it would have been a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” situation. I can’t fault the guy for trying, because it was more than I was doing sitting there minding my own business. But could I have done better, with that mildly hostile crowd? The guy was preaching the word of God, and reading directly from the text. But he might have started with this John 3:16 instead of Romans 1:19ff.

He could have started with John 3:1. He could have started in the gospels. He could have started in the Psalms. He could have started with love and then balanced with God’s wrath for sin, and that expended upon Christ at the cross. As Paul in 1 Cor 3, he could have come preaching “Christ and Him crucified.” He could have went a number of different places. But what do I know? I’m just a guy writing a blog.

It seems to me that guys that begin and end preaching against the sins of the world have come out of some pretty dark places themselves. This is preaching out of personal pain and shame. If someone has not felt the love of Christ, it’s very hard to preach about it. And I think that’s where these guys come from. They are spoon-fed the wrath of God and fear of God’s judgment if they live less than perfectly. And that’s where they start in their preaching. It is a sad reality that many are exposed to Christianity in its most negative light. It’s not fair to God to describe Him so one-sidedly.

God bless you today.

Extraordinary Power

www.bible.com/72/2co.4.7-9.hcsb

Need a miracle today? Consider that the church founded by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago still stands. Consider that despite the temptation and hardship you have experienced in your own life, you still cling to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Consider that God still loves, still protects, and still considers the Church His, especially after all the times we have abandoned Him and tried to make Christianity about us, tried to make a religion from our relationship, tried to pervert and undermine its very message of grace and love with rules and legalistic layers of ritual. Yep. That’s a miracle in my book.

Let us rejoice and be glad today that God has not abandoned us to our sins as we deserve. But He continues to watch over us, guide us, continues to lead us by His word and counsel. Blessed be the name of the the LORD.

God bless you today!