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Suffering has a way of refocusing our minds and hearts. When we’re in pain, be it physical, emotional, or relational, we stop caring about little things that don’t matter. Our hearts yearn for what is truly important: the love of family and friends, the assurance that life has meaning, justice for all people, and, the transformational peace of God.
The bulk of Isaiah 47 consists of God’s taunting condemnation of Babylon. But verse 4 is an interjection by the prophet, speaking on behalf of Israel: “Our Redeemer—the LORD Almighty is his name—is the Holy One of Israel.”
Begin this day knowing Christ is for you, God is with you, and the Holy Spirit lives in you. Grow tall into the truth of what it means to be a child of the living God. And, with this truth bubbling over and spilling out on those you meet today, give others the gift of believing them into the fulfillment of their possibilities, too.
Many of us have been deeply wounded by others. Some bear burdens so great, we would be astounded to take in their full weight. God’s invitation to forgiveness is not a call to “just get over it.” The invitation to forgiveness is not a mandate to “forget about it and move on.”
God has been gracious to me again and again, delivering me from the messes I make, giving me hope when I feel hopeless, and working away at helping me to become more like Christ. For God’s amazing, tenacious grace, I am most grateful. Yet I am eager for more of God’s grace in my life. I yearn for revival.
Throughout the Bible, God’s people are called to remembrance. We are to bring to mind God’s wondrous works in the past so that our faith might be renewed in the present… For Christians, the focal point of our remembrance is the cross, by which God delivered us from slavery to sin and death.
We worship the triune God through bowing before him, offering our whole lives to him in humble worship. This worship happens not just in church, but in the world, as we serve the Lord each day, at work and at home, in our jobs and our hobbies, among our neighbors and our friends.
In the context of Isaiah, God is the potter and Israel is the clay. God is molding Israel according to his plans and purposes. What was once true of Israel is also true of us. God is the potter and we are his clay. He is in the process of shaping us, so that we might be everything he has created us to be.
Through Isaiah, the Lord made known his plans to use Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple. Of course, this meant that the Israelites would be subject to Cyrus… not exactly the kind of restoration they would have wanted. Surely it was tempting for them to question God’s plans, to doubt his wisdom or goodness. Yet the Lord points out the folly of such arguments.
The purpose of leadership is to mobilize people and resources towards a determined goal. Transformational leadership, however, is about cultivating future leaders who can carry on the mission for generations to come. Transformational leaders look at their core group of followers and are able to discern the future leaders that lie within. This is what Jesus was doing when he called out the twelve disciples.
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