Monday, March 17, 2014
On Sunday night during our Praise Service it was so nice to meet with a couple that serves in the leadership of an area church. After the service they talked about how much they loved worshiping with us and how the worship of Jesus brought joy and peace to them. No matter where they worshipped.
I find that to be true as well. I love attending worship in churches where Christ Spirit is lifted high in jubilant worship! Somehow when Christ's church is together there is joy and peace like few other places no matter what is going on around in the world.
I just wish I could visit other churches on Sunday Mornings sometimes. But frankly even if I wasn't preaching I probably wouldn't do that because I find such joy with my friends at the church that I attend. I find Christ living in them and this brings me joy and peace.
In our Scripture for today Isaiah offers prophetic words about the coming of Christ. He speaks of the majesty of that child who will control all things. "The government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end." Isaiah 9:6,7a
I know that these words speak of a day when Christ will rule on the thrown of David. A day when his presence and rule will bring justice and righteousness.
When I hear such words it is easy to look at the world as say, "Where's the peace?" I know someday the Lord Jesus will bring this peace to the world and this will be a most glorious thing!
But today we can find and should find this peace within the church. We should find it as we worship with any Christian around the world or just next door. If Christ rules in our hearts then we as His church should be one.
To Ponder: Do I feel the glory of God ruling in my heart? Do I feel the majesty of his peace in the church? Am I, as a member of the body of Christ, working to bring Justice and righteous to the world?
May the prophetic words of Isaiah 9:6-7 come soon. In the Lord's time. Amen
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
As Christians we have entered into the season of Lent. This is a time of prayer. It's a time of sacrifice, a time of confession, a time of service, and a time to renew our faith in Jesus. At its best I believe it is a time to strive to experience what Isaiah experienced during his time of worship. The parallels with this passage and Lent are very striking indeed. In Lent we bring ourselves in worship to try to grasp the breadth of whom God is which is exactly what Isaiah is confronted with in the temple. His encounter is so overwhelming that it brings him to his Knees in repentance much like the repentance that we seek during this special season of the year. It is during the season of Lent that we are aware of our sins and the sins of our world which would lead Jesus to the cross.
There is one last parallel that I found in this passage which I had never seen before. I find in both passages God's desire to forgive and atone for our sins. In the old testament the coals of fire reminds us of the sacrifices and the burnt offerings provided each day for the payment of sins. However in Lent we remember that it is Jesus who served as the once and for all perfect sacrifice. The angels said to Isaiah "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." As Christians we know that the perfect atonement comes from Jesus who takes away the sins of the world.
If you look through the old testament you will see that each page points to Jesus and as Jesus himself would say that he came to fulfill the Law.
As we enter into this season of Lent may we contemplate our sins and the sins of our world. May we seek to have a fresh encounter with Christ. Whether you sacrifice something as a reminder of your sins or add on additional practices as a sign of your devotion, never forget that His glory continues to fill our universe. And the same power that shook the doorposts and thresholds of the temple at the times of Isaiah, is the same power that caused the earthquake at Jesus death and caused the veil that covered the Holy of Holies to tear in half.. It's also the same power that Caused Jesus to raise from the grave. Its also the same power available to all of us who believe through the Holy Spirit. That my friends is awe inspiring. May it also inspire us to say..."Here I am send me" when the spirit calls our name.