Tag Archives: Isaiah

Hard But Worth It

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“Trust the Lord,” Scripture says.

It may be the hardest thing we do, but it can also be the most rewarding. It may be made even more difficult by our life experience. Our heartbreaks suffered by trusting other people may have taught us we shouldn’t trust anyone, yet the Bible helps us see we can trust the Lord.

Isaiah 26:4 says, “Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”

Unlike others, the Lord is our eternal rock. He is unshakable, unmovable, and unchangeable. He will not lead us astray or walk out on us, so we can trust him and count on him to be there for us. We can trust him to be there, keeping his promises, and doing what he says he will do. “Trust in the Lord,” Scripture says, and…

  • You will have peace as the Lord can provided peace in Christ Jesus that goes beyond human understanding.
  • Your paths in life will be straight as the Lord guides your steps and directs your movements.
  • You will have a fullness of life that can only be found in Christ Jesus.
  • You will have an eternal place prepared by Jesus. He says, “I am going to prepare a place for you, and if I prepare a place for you, I will come back to take you with me so you also may be where I am.”

It may be hard, but it is certainly rewarding to trust in the Lord.

Have You Been Waiting?

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Have you been waiting? This can be one of the most difficult parts of life. We live in a super connected world, so if we have to wait longer than 10 seconds for anything, it is hard. Yet, our lives sometimes take us down paths that require us to wait.

We have to wait to see if we’re going to get our dream job. We have to wait to meet the person we desire to marry. We have to wait as we’re trying to have a family. We have to wait on our prayers to be answered.

The people of Israel also had to wait. They find themselves in a hard time. Their bondage has been harsh, and they have suffered immensely. They are needing and wanting the Lord to work, but they have to wait. As they wait, Isaiah brings encouragement, and it is still encouragement for us today.

Isaiah 64:4 says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!”

Hang in there if you’re waiting. Psalm 27:14 encourages, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” The Bible promises the Lord is working on your behalf.

3 Keys to Remember Amid Suffering

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Perhaps it seems odd, but we share some thoughts with ancient Israel. The Israelites found themselves in captivity, and they were wondering if God had totally left them. Feelings of loneliness and thoughts of abandonment were prevalent. Where was God? Why was he not answering?

We may find ourselves asking these same questions as we look at our circumstances. The political landscape is stressful. There are marriages on the brink of disaster. Finances are operating paycheck to paycheck, trying to stretch every penny farther than it was designed to go. The pressures of life are heavy, and as we start to buckle under the weight, we relate to the Israelites. Where is God? Why is he not answering?

Thankfully, the Lord sent Isaiah to offer encouragement to Israel, and we too can find encouragement in his words. In Isaiah 40, the prophet offers 3 keys to remember amid hard times.

First, the Lord is all-powerful.

Isaiah asks in verse 28, “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.”

It’s as if Isaiah is saying, “Don’t forget…”

“Don’t forget the Lord is everlasting.”

Psalm 90 proclaims, “Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.” There’s never been a time without the Lord, nor will there ever be a time without the Lord. Don’t forget the Lord is everlasting.

“Don’t forget the Lord is the creator.”

Genesis 1:1 reminds us God created the Heavens and the Earth. He was there before anything existed, and he is the one who spoke everything into existence. Remember, God is the creator.

“Don’t forget the Lord never loses strength.”

Jeremiah reminds us the Lord’s strength is always there. In chapter 32, he says, “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” Nothing is too hard for God. There are things that are too hard for us, but not for him; he carries the heaviest of loads with ease. The pressures of life which cause us to buckle, don’t even cause him to flinch. Jesus says what is impossible for man is possible for God; his word never fails. Keep in mind God does not lose his strength.

“Don’t forget his wisdom is immeasurable.”

“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways,” states Romans 11. Don’t forget there is no end to the Lord’s wisdom.

Remember, God is all-powerful. It may seem are struggles hold all the power, but God holds more. Amid a difficult season, Isaiah reminds us of God’s power.

Second, the Lord desires to help us.

Isaiah says the Lord wants to help us. In verse 29, Isaiah exalts the Lord by saying he gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. The Lord is willing and able to help us.

Third, the Lord will get us through.

It is in our weakest moments it seems the Lord does his best work. He sure did for Israel. The Lord delivered the Israelites from captivity, and he rebuilt their nation. They were wondering where God was; why he wasn’t answering, but he pulled them through the hard time.

As we are wondering where God is; why he is not answering, we need to remember the encouragement of verses 30-31:

Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

Amid the hard times in life, we need to remember to trust in the Lord. He will pull us through. The stresses and pressures of life are no match for the Lord. His strength will get us through.

The next time you find yourself buckling under the pressure of a hard time, remember, Isaiah’s 3 keys:

  • The Lord is all-powerful, and can handle anything that may come.
  • The Lord desires to help.
  • The Lord will get you through the difficulty.

Finding True Peace Get Encouraged

With so much hubbub around us, many folks long for peace, and they search for it in a number of places. As they search, peace seems to elude them, so they begin to ask if there really is true peace. We will answer that question in this episode. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://getencouraged.blog/2021/06/10/finding-true-peace/ — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/chris-miller046/message
  1. Finding True Peace
  2. Does God Care About Me?
  3. Trusting the Lord
  4. Remembering (Memorial Day)
  5. Out of the Storm

God, Why is This Happening?

“God, why is this happening?” This is a question Job asked poetically. He couldn’t understand, and he wanted to hear from God. Job’s older friends offered solutions, but they were incorrect. Job himself tried to conclude what was happening, but couldn’t find a reason. Job’s youngest friend, Elihu, offered an idea, but wasn’t completely right. As they were talking, God interrupted their conversation and began asking Job some questions.

Job 38 records God answering out of the whirlwind with a series of questions. Obviously, Job knows none of the answers, and one question may have been enough to grab Job’s attention, but God uses a long series of questions. Not to incriminate the questioner, but to help him develop a clear perspective of God’s almighty power. When God gives Job an opportunity to speak, Job does not have an answer. He fully realizes God is the one in control. In the midst of his storm, God answered Job.

Amid storms, God answers many of us. Not to incriminate us, but to give us a clear perspective. We may not always understand what is happening. Isaiah 55:8-9 says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

While we may not fully grasp what is happening, we can rest assured God is in control.

The Lord stayed with Job through his pain and suffering, and he promises he will stay with us as we may endure pain and suffering. The Lord says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

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Are You Afraid?

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Much fear has gripped many people over the past few months, and recent events are still causing many folks to battle with fear. Scenes of recent events startle us, and headlines provoke the natural emotion of fear to enter our lives. Individuals are fearful of what is happening around them; they are fearful of the days ahead. If you are saying, “That’s me,” you are not alone. There are a lot of people finding their way through a fearful season right now, and the Bible offers a suggestion.

David had fearful seasons in his life, and he writes these words in Psalm 56:3-4.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

We can find encouragement a few times in David’s words.

  • David says, “When I am afraid….” Fear is natural and comes into life occasionally. Though he experienced fear, David was still a person after God’s own heart. Being frightened does not make us a bad person. It is how we handle the feelings of fear that make all the difference.
  • Take note of how David handles his fears. He remarks when he is afraid, he trusts in the Lord. The Lord can deliver him from his fears.
  • At the end of verse 4, David asks, “What can mere mortals do to me?” He recalls God is more powerful than the circumstances causing him to fear. The Lord says in Isaiah 41:10, “10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
        do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you;
        I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

When we are afraid, the Bible suggests we look to our trust in the Lord for strength.

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A Deliverer Has Come

A deliverer has come.

Isaiah had many bad things to say, but he had many hopeful points as well. He speaks of a coming deliverer.

Isaiah 9:6-7 says, “For to us a child is born. To us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace, there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it, with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The seal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

In Isaiah’s day, they had to wait for this deliverer to come; however, you and I do not have to wait. He came on Christmas Day. This deliverer is Jesus.

We need only to accept his offer of grace and mercy to enjoy the benefits of his kingdom. Christ offers hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. Amid the darkness of Isaiah’s prophecies, the light of a coming deliverer – the hope of Christ coming – shined brightly. For those searching for hope, the light is still shining brightly, and Christ is still offering hope.

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Christ is Hope

A Better Day is Coming

Isaiah had many horrible predictions, but he also had some glorious predictions to offer hope in a seemingly hopeless time.

Isaiah 11 states out of hopelessness will come one baring hope. Isaiah 11 says, “He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance, nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. In that day, the wolf and the lamb will live together. The leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion. And a little child will lead them all.”

These words of Isaiah paint a glorious picture, and for us, Christ provides hope. For us, he was the one who came out of hopelessness baring hope. He judges based on our hearts, gives justice to the poor, and works on behalf of the exploited. Christ brings much hope.

How do you find hope in Christ?

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Hope in Unsettling Times

Darkness doesn’t prevent the Lord.

Isaiah is a prophet who brought some shocking news to God’s people. Israel was going to fall into the hands of Assyria; they would have difficult days ahead. The time would seem unsettling and dark, but God would not forget about his people.

Today may be an unsettling time. COVID19 is still present in our lives causing interruptions. Other problems have reached a boiling point. It does not seem good headlines exist in the news, but God has not forgotten about his people.

In chapter 8, Isaiah says, “The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, ‘Don’t call everything a conspiracy like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear; he is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe.”

He promises to keep those who are faithful safe. Isaiah goes on in verse 16, “Preserve the teaching of God, and trust the instructions of those who follow me. I will wait for the Lord, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him.”

Isaiah recognizes God is the one constant hope. Hope in anything or anyone else is fallible, but hope in the Lord is unfailing. Isaiah was living in an anxious time, but he centered his hope on the Lord.

“Look to God’s instructions and teachings,” Isaiah encourages in 8:20-21. “People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry, and because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their god. They will look up to Heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.”

The next time life seems hopeless and you are plagued by yesterday’s mistakes, try looking to the hope and grace offered by the Lord. Partake in his grace, and allow it to wash over the feelings of hopelessness and despair you may be encountering. Isaiah’s promise is as good today as the day he originally prophesied.

The Lord offers hope to his people even in the most unsettling times.

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Looking to the Future

The future is coming.

Well, the future is coming. It may be unsettling, but we can not stop it from coming. The good news for Christians, the future will be glorious. At the end, the Lord will be victorious.

Isaiah had many unsettling things to say, but the Lord promised through Isaiah, a future of peace and rest.

Isaiah 4:5-6 says, “Then the Lord will create, over all of Mount Zion, and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night. Over everything, the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.”

Israel did not fully experience this when they returned out of exile, nor have we fully experienced it today. But the Lord promises he will create for us an eternal dwelling of peace and rest. The toil of this life, for Christ’s followers, will give way to peace and rest in the future.

The future is coming. We can’t stop it, but we can rest assured it will be a time of peace and rest.

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Forever Hope

A loving and patient God continues to offer hope.

A large city’s school system had a program to help students keep up with their homework while in the city’s hospitals. A teacher assigned to the program received a routine call to visit a student in the hospital. She obtained the child’s room number and name. She spoke to the boy’s teacher and found out the class was studying nouns and adverbs.

No one told the teacher the boy was in the hospital because he had been badly burned, and he was in a great deal of pain. When she saw the patient-student, it took all of her strength to continue. “I’m a teacher from your school,” she explained. “I’ve been sent here to help you with your nouns and adverbs.”

The two worked on an assignment, then the teacher left feeling defeated. She believed she had accomplished nothing, but the next day a nurse applauded her.

“I don’t know what you did yesterday, but the patient’s outlook has changed. He is fighting back and responding to treatment,” the nurse happily explained.

Two weeks later the boy explained the teacher’s visit gave him hope. “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on homework with a dying boy, would they?”

Hope is a powerful tool of the Lord, which he continues to offer.

Max Lucado explains, “Isaiah revealed Judah’s impending doom. God vowed not to listen to the prayers of his people because of their excessive sin, but God assured he would restore Israel after purging it of sin. A loving and patient God continued to offer hope to the Israelites. He offered forgiveness if they repented.”

Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” God promised he would purge the Israelites.

The Same is true for us. Whatever is causing you and I to feel hopeless, the Lord can remove from our lives. Past mistakes and difficulties are no match for his grace and mercy. He can turn our hopelessness into pure hope.

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