Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Beautiful feet

How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!” – Isaiah 52.7

What do we think about a messenger who brings good news, peace, glad tidings of odd things, salvation, and the words ‘Your God is in control?’

In these days of seemingly endless bas news that is the kind of news that we need to hear. I hate to admit that I am a news freak. Even when the news is all bad I still am a bit obsessed about seeing and hearing it and reading about it. Good news stories are always a joy to see and even human good news stories can help lighten a day.

Here though we read about the ultimate good news. Peace, good things, salvation, and having a God who has all this covered should make any day bright. God says that the deliverer of this good news has ‘beautiful feet’ and I think that is a lovely way to describe how we feel about the bearer of good tidings.

Of course ultimate bearer of this good news His Christ for He is the one who brought salvation and peace and the knowledge of a God who is in control.

But he told the disciples that He was sending them out just like the Father sent Him out to do these things. We too are called to share the same news. That means that we too can have beautiful feet as we go about our daily task of sharing the good news with those around us. Our lives and and actions and our words should constantly reflect Christ’s message of salvation and peace and how others can know the God who reigns.

It is a shame when I, or anyone else, is so consumed with the worldly news and the badness of it that we don’t have time to share the good news.

Lord, give me beautiful feet today that I might be the bearer of good news to a world that needs it so desperately.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Forever salvation

Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
And look on the earth beneath.
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
The earth will grow old like a garment,
And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not be abolished. – Isaiah 51.6

As I get that little bit older it seems like nothing lasts forever. Everything wears out.
Even heaven and earth will one day pass away and it is certainly true that not a one of us is going to escape death.

Yet it is all these temporary things that grab our attention and that is where we tend to focus because they are so visible and so real. It is these things we see everyday and it only make sense to pay attention to them.

For Christians though there is something in our lives that will last forever. God’s gift of salvation will last forever and His righteousness will never be abolished. Heaven and earth are going to pass away, but Jesus will never fail.

Jesus’ salvation is forever. It is not temporary. It doesn’t come and go. Forever means forever.

Monday, 14 August 2017

God's hand is not shortened

Why, when I came, was there no man?
Why, when I called, was there none to answer?
Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a wilderness;
Their fish stink because there is no water,
And die of thirst. – Isaiah 50.2

Israel often through her history doubted the power of God. From the time they left Egypt and were sent into the wilderness they questioned God’s ability to take care of them.

And man doesn’t really change, does he? I don’t know about everyone else, but there are plenty of times in my life when I am just as bad as they. I wonder if God can really deal with this situation. Even though I have watched God deliver me from trouble after trouble I still can wonder ‘can He really deal with this one?’

I need this reminder. There are a couple of things in my life that make me anxious about the future. I know I am wrong. I know these things should not make me nervous. I say that I know God can handle it, but I wonder if I REALLY know He can handle it.

God hand is never going to be shortened. He is God. Nothing can limit His power no matter how bad it might look to us. God can do the things that seem impossible to me. His hand is never too short. Nothing is impossible for Him.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The ends of the earth

Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” – Isaiah 49.6

We can find clues that God plan, from the very beginning, was not just to be the God of Israel but His desire was to be God of the whole world. It only makes sense because, indeed, God so loved the world that He gave His only son.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance – the whole world.

Speaking here to His future Messiah God says ‘it is not enough that You be saviour to the Jews alone, but that You should be a Light to the Gentiles and carry my salvation even to the ends of the earth.’

What is truly is amazing is that Jesus passed that commission on to us. ‘Even as the Father has sent me so send I you’ He said and ‘go into all the world and preach the gospel.’

It is easy to get focused on our own Jerusalems or Judeas because they are so close and they are the people we are most comfortable with. It can be harder to carry God’s salvation to our Samarias and the ‘uttermost parts of the earth.’

God’s plan is for His salvation to be carried to everyone, to the ends of the world. I wonder if we are really doing our part.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

No peace

And they did not thirst
When He led them through the deserts;
He caused the waters to flow from the rock for them;
He also split the rock, and the waters gushed out.
“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” – Isaiah 48.21-22

Peace.

What a wonderful goal. Everyone wants peace. Nobody really wants fighting and struggle. “Peace, peace’ the world cries. But there is no peace for the wicked.

Peace, real peace, abiding and eternal peace is impossible apart from the peace that Jesus said He would leave behind. The problem with peace is that as long as people live in their sin they cannot find peace. I looked at inner peace recently so I think this time we can look at actual peace between men.

Apart from Christ that is impossible. James tells us why when he describes where fights and wars come from. He tells us that conflict comes because of our wrong lusts and desires and without Christ those lust and desires rule and we do whatever it takes to get what we want and because we do whatever we want and try to get what we want we are never going to be content and never find peace.

The only hope is the internal peace that comes with a relationship with Christ. When we are in Christ we learn to be at peace and to find contentment in Him. We realise that our own lusts and desires are not really all that important. Christ’s peace allows us to rest in Him and not try to fight and scrap like the rest of the world.

There is no real deep abiding forever peace outside of Christ.

Friday, 11 August 2017

He created all things

For thus says the Lord,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the Lord, and there is no other. – Isaiah 45.18

For about 150 years now there has been a wholesale attack on the concept of creation. The obvious, all of this world could not happen by itself, as been dismissed. Despite the rule that nothing comes from nothing is now mocked and attacked as being unscientific.

But if the world can be convinced that everything got here by itself there is no need for a god and if there is no God there is no one to be accountable to and the world does not need to worry about eternity and go whatever it wants.

But there is a creator God who made heaven and earth and everything in it. There is a God who made the world and who loves His creation. That means that He made us and loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him. That means that we are accountable to a holy God and that our sin offends Him and His righteousness. But He loves us an provides salvation to all those who will call on Him.

The world may hate the notion of a creator God and do all it can to ignore Him. What joy they miss
both now and for eternity if they continue to ignore Him.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

No other rock

Do not fear, nor be afraid;
Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
You are My witnesses.
Is there a God besides Me?
Indeed there is no other Rock;
I know not one.’ ” – Isaiah 44.8

On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand
This Rock is Jesus, yes He’s the one
The Lord liveth and blessed be the Rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The Lord’s our rock in Him we hide

And so it goes with our hymns and songs. Jesus as the Rock in a great theme of many great songs of the faith. I think this rock picture is so popular because everyone can get it.

I have seen a couple of fabulous structures built into a solid rock foundation. The Rock of Cashel in Ireland and Edinburgh Castle in Scotland we built into massive rocks. Both have stood majestically over the surrounding countryside for about 1000 years. They have not been shaken because they are founded on a rock.

And that is the picture here. There is no rock like Jesus. Only in Christ can we find the total stability we need to face the storms of life. In this world of instability there is only one sure and safe foundation.

That rock, that foundation, is Jesus and nothing else.