Posts Tagged Fool

Be Strong in Praising God 20150208 Isaiah 40:21-31 RSUMC

bladeofgrass
Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. [NRSV]

WARNING: Don’t forget God in the PROCESS of Leading the People

The prophet Isaiah is warning King Hezekiah to be clear as the leader who is God and for the king to put himself and the people in perspective of God.

The prophet Isaiah is warning King Hezekiah to be certain there will soon be a day when all the wealth and possession will be taken away. Where will the king turn when there is no peace?

The prophet Isaiah is warning King Hezekiah to be aware that they people and his kingdom will be turned over to Babylon and he speaks for God saying: Who is mighty, Who is in control, who is THE king when the kingdom is overthrown due to arrogance, misplaces alliance and a loss of faith?

Isaiah reminds the king of God’s place in the order of politics:

TO THE PEOPLE

1. FIRST, God’s words are to the people: “Comfort, O comfort my people” The king may be leading you to destruction but that does NOT mean I have forgotten you.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

2. (There are consequences for following a king that leads people away from God)  Nevertheless: God is still with us.

3. FOLLOW GOD FIRST, above all:

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.

Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

FOLKS WILL SAY

People will say… Folks will shout out… Leaders will talk but let’s look at the basics:

GRASS: Flowers, grass.. When the winds blow, where will you run?

MOUNTAINS: High places don’t make you closer to God.

GOD is a GOOD SHEPHERD: Feed on God’s grace… grazing

OCEANS and SEAS and LAND: God’s handiwork, and it operates by God’s design, not king’s command and laws.

POWER, WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, JUSTICE, UNDERSTANDING:

God’s heart/spirit is God’s to will.

God is God’s own counselor.

You might explain how a tomato is formed, but who designed and produced the first one.

Who taught your kings what they know and who taught them..

A DROP in the bucket

Add up all the wealth, knowledge, wisdom and talents in the world and no one can make a blade of grass from scratch.

The DEFINITION OF DEPRAVITY

Here is an equation: Take all the fuel in the world, efforts of humanity focused on one task, use all your resources, all the gross national products of all nations combined and who can make a blade of grass.

WE ARE ALL EMPTY and NOTHING without God.

COMPARISON: piss’n contest (forgive the crudeness)

To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?

IS an IDOL greater than God?

A thing, shaped by a workman, guilded by another, and displayed by another with (no rot wood)

Designer’s CHALLENGE

CAN ANYTHING WE MIGHT FORM, DESIGN OR DREAM UP out do what God has already done. Start with a mustard seed, a carrot, a flea, on tick on an fly….

WHAT ABOUT THE ORDER of things?

WHO WAS AT THE BEGINNING? Who created the matter? Who defined gravity, mass and energy? Who started the big bang? Who determined relativity, string theory and quantum mechanics would be the guiding factors?

WHO ARE YOU KIDDING: Who are you king? Who are you president? Who are you Hezikiah? compare yourself to God. God says through ISAIAH: I think, at best, you are a grasshopper.

You didn’t form the earth and all that is in it.

You didn’t form a chicken or an egg.

You didn’t make a blade of grass much less the seasons that both kill the grass and renew it in the spring.

SO WHAT ?

LIFT UP YOUR EYES AND SEE. (KNOW and SPEAK the truth)

WHY DARE do you ask: Where is God? What does it matter? Life is not fair!

HAVE YOU NOT HEARD

  1. God is everlasting.
  2. God is always creating and recreating
  3. God gives power to the fainting and powerless
  4. God does not get tired.
  5. God renew those who are tired.

Therefore, Fly, Run and Walk

The Soar like eagles makes for a good song or placard.. but more significant is the series of perspective.

Can you fly, can you run, can you even walk without using what God has already made for you?

A CASE for reminding the king, the people and the nations of the world:

God, who made heaven and earth, shows grace through his Son, and power, knowledge and wisdom through his Spirit and Counselor is to be trusted with all that we are.

BOTTOM LINE: (Yeah, Preacher, we know all that stuff, so what?)

Isaiah is making a case for us to tell the king, tell each other and tell the world, God is all around. Don’t doubt it. Don’t forget it. Don’t confuse it. Don’t deny it. Don’t take it for granted. PRAISE the LORD.

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Hit the Highway Isaiah 35.1-10 Advent3 JUMC 12122010

Isaiah 35:1-10
35:1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus 35:2 it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. 35:3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 35:4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.” 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 35:6 then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 35:7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 35:8 A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. 35:9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

James 5:7-10
5:7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 5:8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 5:9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 5:10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

The prophet Isaiah describes a highway, called the Holy Way, paved for God’s people to find their way to God. No wandering, not even fools will go the wrong way on that road.

I don’t know about you but I am so grateful for GPS directions. It is not 100% accurate, but it has helped me find back road to get around traffic, helped when my sense of direction is defective, give an example.., so cool.

Guys, remember the days of taking a short-cut hoping it will come out close enough. Now we don’t have an excuse for getting lost… unless.

The database does not include the correct coordinates for the location we want to find. The parsonage shows up on Google at Pete’s house. Hmm.

Isaiah has his own GPS… God’s Promised Salvation!

Isaiah and James point toward the intersection of our ways and God’s way. One of the spelling words I got to learn in seminary was hermeneutics. It is the 50 cent word for preaching… the weekly opportunity of directing traffic of our travel and God’s path in Scripture.

It is Christmas, that leads us to scriptures that teach and remind us of God’s promise to meet us on the road and guide us home toward God.

It is Christmas that is a reminder and a promise that God wants to save us.
But the real question is, “From what do we need saving?”

Hear the prophet Isaiah: The Lord’s highway leads to a place where the relationship Weak hands are made strong.

The first instruction for finding our way toward God comes from those already on the path. That is us, the witnesses of God’s promise and Word.
Tell those who have fearful hearts, “Be Strong, God is near!”

The opportunity Christmas gives us is to tell those people who are:

Afraid of loosing jobs, homes, business, “Be Strong in God’s strength.”
Afraid of illness, pain, death, “Be Strong in God’s strength.”
Afraid of failure, loss, loneliness, shame, Be Strong in God’s strength.”

It is a word of encouragement to someone, giving directions without judgement, from the perspective of Salvation…
Come this way is safe, this way is sure, this way is strong.

What keeps us from telling others? “Weak knees.”
Isaiah, tells that meeting God is the strength to the fear of reaching out to others.

Why not reach out?
We are busy. They are busy.
We are afraid, they are afraid,
We are un-prepared, they already know.
We don’t care, they don’t think we care.

Hear Isaiah’s witness.. God has a highway, room for everyone, not a narrow path, but a great seven lane highway

Where wandering… folks just enjoying the Blue Highways, sight seeing, who are more lost than they realize:

On the old highway maps of America, the main routes were red and the back roads blue. Now even the colors are changing, but those brevities just before dawn and little after dusk, times neither day nor night, the old roads return to the sky some of its color. Then, in trough, they carry a mysterious cast of blue, and its that time when the pull oft e blue highway is strongest, when the open road is beaconing, the strangeness a place where a man can lose himself. William Least Heat-Moon
Isaiah warns that God’s highway of salvation is even open to the wander.
Isaiah comforts to say that even the fool, can’t get lost following God.

Definition of FOOL: a person lacking in judgment or prudence.

Do you know anyone just killing time hoping to find meaning?
Someone hoping to win the $Billion lottery so they can start living.
Do you know someone lacking judgment about life decisions.
Someone who wastes resources with foolish choices, or
Someone who hoards resources with foolish choices.

God’s Way, the spiritual highway that leads us toward God,
Is a path of certainty for those who wander,
Is a path of hope for the who despair.
Is a road to meaning and purpose

So the passage call for you and me to be a guide, a witness.
Of God’s Highway.

It is great to have those signs that tell us what to expect at a highway’s exit. FOOD, LODGING, FUEL…

What are you telling folks this Christmas, and every day..
Merry Christmas.. Happy Christ Worship.
Still have folks who won’t say, Merry Christmas, like

If someone says, Happy Holidays, ask them, what makes them Holy Days for you? Jesus has come to show us the way to God… is my answer.
PRACTICE: “What makes them Holy Days for you?”

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