Devotions

You Can’t Stop Us

“...and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfected of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1b-2 
 
There is a commercial Nike produced during the pandemic that showed athletes in great moments and tough moments. Images were placed side by side, always moving and changing, blending different people and different sports. It’s an inspiring sight to see and the caption said, “We are never too far down to come back.” Ultimately you see the masked-up socially distanced efforts to keep sporting events going, with the conclusion that “you can’t stop us!” I like that very much. It fits well with how I understand our Lenten faith journey. We are never too far down to come back because of Jesus and his sacrifice. As we embrace a life of faith and learn how to be unshaken by circumstances, we grow strong, and you can’t stop us!  
 
We aren’t all athletes, but we are all called to be disciples. That means we should get in good spiritual shape. Jesus got the disciples moving not just physically, but also spiritually. He moved them away from sin and into a holy life, he moved them to have compassion for others. He led them forward to seek a heavenly prize. He taught them to pray, to serve, and to love. They became healthy, growing disciples. What are the exercises you engage in that keep you spiritually fit? We have at our fingertips easy access to scripture, prayer, and sermons. We can volunteer in many different ways. We can stretch out farther and deeper into a whole new life and engage in the meaningful work of love. What spiritual shape are you in right now? You may already be in the unstoppable category, and I say keep up the good work! If you know there’s very little strength in you, turn to Jesus. Remember with Jesus, you’re never too far down to come back. We can and need to work hard like those preparing for a race; pressing forward to be the best at loving others, to serve unselfishly, and to revel in the unstoppable victory of Jesus Christ.

God is With Us

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 

I’m so glad that God gives us signs of God’s presence. This is exactly what was announced by Isaiah long ago; that an enduring sign of God’s presence would be enfleshed in a baby boy born to a virgin mother named Mary. God, through Isaiah, said that the baby boy should be named Immanuel. We know God by many names, and Immanuel is one of the most striking illustrations that God is with us. That’s exactly what Immanuel means: God is with us.  

It is indeed Jesus birth, life, and ministry that proves God is with us. So if you are looking for a sign of God’s presence today, look to Jesus. If are looking for an announcement that God will not leave us or forsake us, meditate on these words from Isaiah. Immanuel, God enfleshed, has come for you and for all with the hope and promise of loving-relationship forevermore. But this word today reminds me that sometimes we don’t see signs or we choose to look away from them… Road signs, traffic signs, signs in our communities or buildings that we frequent. So this magnificent sign of God’s presence—Immanuel—may we willingly choose to see it, to embrace it, and to share it will all people of all nations. God is with us. Thanks be to God! 

Posted by Josh Miles
Tags: devotion

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