In Isaiah chapter 6, the prophet paints an amazing word-picture of God’s temple in Heaven. He describes God on His throne, high and exalted—but God is not at the highest point in the temple: “Above him were seraphim…and they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory’” (Isaiah 6:2-3). I’ve always thought of heaven as a place where God’s people declare their praises to Him for all eternity. However, notice that the angels Isaiah describes are not declaring their praises to God, but to each other. Think of it this way: Imagine that you bought a car, and you really appreciated the heated steering wheel. If you were really impressed by it, you might reach out to the car’s manufacturer to let them know how great it was, but you would certainly tell your friends, your family—even strangers on the street—how incredible the feeling was of getting into your car on a winter day and wrapping your fingers around the heated steering wheel. This is how we should be as Christians. Yes, it’s important and appropriate to send our praise and worship to God, but we must also praise Him to others—our brothers and sisters in Christ, our friends and family, and even people we don’t know. When Jesus tells us how to reach people for His Kingdom, He doesn’t tell us that we should show them the error of their ways or convince them of the horrors of hell. Rather, He says that we are to proclaim to them the good news about God (Mark 16:15). Be like the angels! This is our call, as followers of Christ. Wherever we go, with everyone we meet, let us, with our words and—just as important—by our lives, declare the greatness of our God!
“A voice says, ‘Cry out.’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever’” (Isaiah 40:6-8). The longer I live, the greater the awareness grows within me of the brevity of life. I had a call from a friend yesterday about a man who recently started attending Bible study and services here at Highway. Ed developed a blood clot in his leg and had to go to the hospital. After receiving medication and rest for a couple of days, he was discharged on Thursday. On his way out of the hospital, he collapsed just inside the entrance doors. His heart stopped…he was gone! I am so grateful to have met Ed at the Love in Action ministry on Tuesday nights at City Hall. From our conversations and praying together, I was assured by Ed that he loved the Lord and had given his life to Christ. Our physical life on earth is compared to a breath in the Book of James. COVID-19 also reminds us that life is fragile. The best we can do in this brief speck of time is to love and follow Jesus! Make your plans in the light of seeking God’s will, remembering the words of James: “Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (4:14). Also, may the Lord help us not to be intimidated by those who confidently ignore God. Many today mock the idea of serving God and look at Christians as hopelessly “outdated” and out of touch. Try to picture them as you would the grass in a vacant lot. It can be long and very visible one day…and mowed down the next. Don’t be intimidated by people who pass away, but love and fear the Lord who holds eternity in His hands!
Pastor Mark Boucher
Sick of It!
Just when you think you have your day all planned…something happens, and you have to say good-bye to all your plans. This past Wednesday did not start well for me. As I got out of bed, I felt as if the room was spinning. My unfriendly intruder, vertigo, had come to see me again! On average it “visits” me once a year or so and does a number on me (I won’t go into the unpleasant details). However, I am so grateful vertigo doesn’t stay long with me…about a day. But it’s a very long day and the only thing I can do is lay around thinking about how lousy I feel and praying I recover quickly! For those of you who suffer with an ongoing issue, my vertigo challenge may seem quite miniscule. However, let me share with you some of my musings concerning sickness. First, I am so grateful for the cross of Jesus and the healing that flows from our Lord and His great sacrifice! No matter what you go through, what a great comfort to know that Jesus loves us, keeps us, and heals us. And yet, who hasn’t struggled with questions like, “Why am I not healed?” or “Why is this taking so long?” I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but I do know the faithful ONE who sustains me through every health challenge. My imperfect faith in Jesus is seen through the clouded lens of living in a fallen world beset by sickness and death. As a believer, I don’t expect never to get sick. Nor do I look at other believers who suffer as somehow lacking faith. Only God knows certain things, and it’s best for us not to pretend to know it all (remember Job’s friends)! The best I can do is trust Him to bring me through and stand on what He speaks to me through His Word and the application of His Word through the Holy Spirit. On Wednesdays I usually attend the phone prayer group with Pastor Finney and Liza. I did not feel well enough to call in, but I did send a text asking the group to pray for me. Interestingly, I felt a great improvement in my condition right around 8 PM, the time when group prayer ended. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Even though I don’t expect a pain-free, perfect body this side of heaven, I do rejoice in the power and presence of Jesus who promised to never leave or forsake me! “Praise the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:2).
Pastor Mark Boucher
Lately, I have been spending a lot of time in the Book of Isaiah. As you may know, Isaiah was a prophet called to warn Israel and Judah of coming disaster due to their abandonment of following the Lord and His Word. With a passionate heart, Isaiah continually reminded the people of God’s desire to forgive and restore them to favor and blessing. In the midst of Isaiah’s messages, we find one of my favorite promises in the whole Bible: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (26:3). God promises perfect peace! What does this look like in everyday life? I see this as describing what the New Testament calls “walking in the Spirit.” This means that I must give my life to the Lord and learn to handle life and the current events swirling around me through prayer and the Word of God. We all get tested in life, and peace only comes by lifting up our soul in prayer to the One who told us to “cast all your cares on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). There are also times when doubts and attacks come to our minds. During these times we must give ourselves to prayer, asking God to help us to trust what His Word says rather than our confused and jumbled thoughts. It’s a battle sometimes, but the outcome is worth it! What can compare to the blessing of God’s perfect peace? This amazing inward tranquility, so elusive to the world, is always available to us…in the presence of the Lord himself! He extends the invitation for us to enter and abide in this peace that passes the world’s understanding. Just as a bride has her mind set on her beloved and the upcoming wedding, may our minds be set on the Lord Jesus. And enjoy the fruit of His peace!
Pastor Mark Boucher