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While Distress Consumes, God Saves

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:22 

The scripture texts of Lamentations fall in the greater context of the destruction of Jerusalem. This book contains poetic laments that are lifted up on behalf of a distressed people in their time of need. Have you felt any stress in these days? If so, these words here from Lamentations can offer some refreshment for our spirits.  

The author says that in the midst of all they face and see, they are not consumed. Their distress is not the consummation of who they are or what they hope for, and this is only possible because of God’s great love. While distress consumes, God saves. This Epiphany, in the midst of any and all distress we may feel, we can be assured that God has not given up on us. Jesus proves that God’s love never fails. God in Christ is willing and able to save us from the perils we name and experience. The great hope for Jerusalem and the great hope for us is found in the coming of Jesus to this world. So as we lift up our laments and distress to God, let us also lift up a joyful noise for the One who saves. 

Posted by Josh Miles
Tags: devotion
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Names Have Power

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 

When we were expecting our first child, one of the most exciting and challenging tasks we faced was to pick out names. We had prayed for a child and so we were filled with anticipation. We were profoundly thankful for this new life and humbled to try to find just the perfect name. We went through many lists and scratched off lots of wonderful names like “Earl” and “Charlotte” trying to discern the right name. It makes me laugh how hard we worked and how we ended up circling back to generational family names. I think the reason why is that names have power in them. 

The name for our Lord and Savior was picked out for him centuries before he was born. It’s a name above all other names and it is accompanied by additional names which describe him. The name Jesus or Jeshua means “one who saves.” That’s a power-filled name! It covers every aspect of what God intended for the Messiah to be. However, I love hearing all his other names too. Isaiah gives us more names of Jesus which tell of his infinite power. If I were to choose a favorite, I suppose I’m drawn to the Prince of Peace. I think about how Jesus calmed the storm and how as he prepared for his death, the gift he chose to leave his disciples was peace. Most of all I hear him offer forgiveness to every repentant heart and the peace that comes from his mercy is indescribable. 

The Old Testament word for peace is “shalom”. The Hebrew meaning for “shalom” has a deeper significance than the English word “peace.” We sometimes limit the idea of peace to the absence of conflict, or even activity, but the concept of shalom has far more meaning. It conveys wholeness, completeness, soundness, and prosperity. It's a big picture kind of peace. I read an article recently that pointed out that “the deeper, more foundational meaning of peace is ‘the spiritual harmony brought about by an individual’s restoration with God.’” God knows we need peace, and so he sent his Son to redeem us and restore us into right relationship with him. We all have unique and lovely names ourselves, but Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has named each of us a “child of God.” There is power in that name ...and peace. 

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