Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How Can Anyone "Delight in the Fear of the Lord?" - Part 4

Part 4 – Prophetic Picture of Jesus, Eternal Son and Savior

Isaiah has given us an amazing prophetic picture of Jesus, both to understand Him and to adore Him.
First, the prophet identifies Jesus as the fulfillment of Israel’s longing for a living Hope, the Messianic Savior they had been waiting for.
Next, Isaiah gives us deep insights into His very heart and His internal attitudes as the only begotten God, the eternal Son of His Father, through which we can both worship Him and by His grace, emulate Him as well.
After describing in great detail what the effects of Jesus’ Presence as the Prince of Peace would be, both in the lives of those He walked among during His earthly sojourn among the Galileans and Judeans of the first century, and in all of those who would be gathered to Him throughout the ages to come beyond His ascension, Isaiah turns to write about His eternal nature and future fulfillment:
10 And it shall be in that day that the Root of Jesse shall stand as a signal for the peoples; of Him shall the nations inquire and seek knowledge, and His dwelling shall be glory [His rest glorious]  
By referring to the future coming of Messiah as the “Root of Jesse,” just a few verses beyond already describing Him as the ‘Shoot’ that would come from that same stump, and the ‘Branch’ that would bear fruit from that same stump, Isaiah showed that this Person would have an existence not known by any other human being. The great prophet placed the coming “Son of David,” beyond any historical period, into a timeless dimension, only inhabited by God Himself.  Isaiah also told us that “the Root of Jesse shall stand as a signal,” indicating that the Messiah to come was literally a human ‘sign’ to the entire world, which would draw all the nations to inquire and seek knowledge.
We know that Jesus has fulfilled this prophecy, with an understanding even by fair minded nonbelievers that He stands far above most, if not all historical figures, in His Personal impact on the world over many centuries. The glory spoken of here in verse 10, could be the general regard for the “Holy Land” or Israel, and especially Jerusalem, as a very special place. The glory may be more specifically, the much greater significance that true followers of Jesus give to all the geographical locations where He lived, worked, preached, did miracles, shed His blood, was buried and resurrected, or appeared after His resurrection. His rest being glory or glorious, could also be symbolic of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, His return to the glory of His Father and heaven, until His coming again.
All these insights focus on the fulfillment of Jesus in His first coming, which we would be looking back on from vantage point 20 centuries further out.
Another focus could be on the effects of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, on the many nations of the world since His first coming, in His bringing of them all into His own Kingdom, through many millions of disciples going forth into all the earth and preaching of the Gospel, over all those centuries. This focus leads us right into Isaiah’s next verse, in which he reveals the hand of Lord God being lifted up a second time, to draw in the remnant of His people from all the nations of the world. This could be seen either as a literal ingathering of Jewish people from many lands across the earth, or a symbolic beckoning of the true lsrael of God, those with hearts circumcised by faith, coming to Jesus from around the globe into the Body of Christ: 
11 And in that day the Lord shall again lift up His hand a second time to recover (acquire and deliver) the remnant of His people which is left, from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam [in Persia], from Shinar [Babylonia], from Hamath [in Upper Syria], and from the countries bordering on the [Mediterranean] Sea.  12 And He will raise up a signal for the nations and will assemble the outcasts of Israel and will gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
While any of these perspectives, whether fulfilled at the time of Jesus’ first coming into the earth or in the intervening periods, do involve some or all of the significant supernatural elements revealed in this entire passage, there is also a fuller picture of Jesus offered to us in the whole of Scripture, both in this section and in the broad sweep of the entire catalogue of the apocalyptic Scriptures.
Both in His first coming and in the period since His ascension, Jesus is shown to us in many ways, with each revelation as a prophetic milestone along the way, moving toward a greater fulfillment. The emphasis in verse 11, on the hand of the Lord being lifted up again a second time, written just after declaring the rest of the Stump of Jesse being glorious, “also in that day” indicates a frame of reference of opening and closure, and pointing to the greatest fulfillment in Jesus’ second coming, unveiling, revealing, or apocalypses.
Ultimately, God’s “signal” will find its absolute and final manifestation only in the actual physical return of Jesus, when He is to be seen by the whole world, and Who will then judge all humanity from all time periods, and every variety of rebel spiritual forces, inaugurating His absolute reign forever.
Once again, we can clearly see from both the substance and the prophetic unfolding of this passage, which totally parallels the manifold variety of eschatological visions throughout the whole Bible, both from the Old and the New Testaments: this Messianic Personage being spoken of by Isaiah, is undoubtedly Jesus of Nazareth.

Neil Uniacke
Executive Director

Monday, October 20, 2014


In this day and age, businesses are told that the best way to promote their company is through social media. For those of us who are over fifty this is not the easiest thing to do. I was relieved to become fairly accomplished with Facebook and my Smart Phone. Did I really need to learn how to navigate Instagram and Twitter too?
Recently here at New Hope we began working with a Senior in college who is majoring in communication, specifically focusing on writing and graphic design. We asked Hannah to critique our website and social networking skills and give us some feedback and suggestions for improvements. She is very knowledgeable and friendly and she kindly looked through our website and checked out our Facebook page and gave us some very helpful insights on how to upgrade our website and use our Facebook page more wisely. She recommended that we begin to use Twitter and Instagram as well. This all sounds like a wonderful idea, but inwardly I am thinking, "can I master yet another social media tool?"
Sometimes I find myself afraid to try something new because I am afraid of failure. "What if I really can't learn this? What if I try hard, but in the end I still can't do it? I don't want people to think I am stupid." These are the thoughts that run through my mind when I am faced with a situation that I am not sure I can handle. I often choose what I feel is the safest route which is usually running away from the new experience rather then tackling it. I wonder how much I have missed out in life because I was not willing to try or to face a problem head on.
The Bible has quite a few verses about fear. David spent sleepless nights worrying and then wrote psalms that address why he shouldn't be afraid.
Psalms 27:1 - The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalms 118:6 - The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
I like this last verse. Why should I be afraid? What can man do to me? I do not need to worry about what others will think. I need only to put my faith and trust in the Lord. He will never fail me and He will give me the strength that I need to face the complications of life. I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength ~ Philippians 4:13
So...I will not be afraid of Twitter (or Instagram). We now have a Twitter account and I am learning how to use it. I am understanding that there are proper and improper ways to post and I am trying to conquer the language of hashtags. I may make some mistakes, but so what? If you would like to follow my/our progress, please click on the link below and become one of our followers!

Mary Lehman

Monday, October 13, 2014

Customer Service

Some of the things we hope you find when you shop at New Hope Community Closet are clean, quality merchandise, a peaceful environment and caring friendly service.  While we hope to always deliver these, sometimes we struggle.  Lately I have been thinking about how caring and friendly my service is to our customers.
Some customers are easy for me.  I want to offer caring service to them.  But, some who shop in the thrift store are a little more difficult to be kind to and love.  How do I love the customer who talks without seeming to take a breath?  Their chatter can interrupt my interaction with other customers.  They ask question after question.  They take up a lot of my time.  And, they often come at the end of the day when I am tired and ready to go home.  Will I really show this customer caring service?  Or, will I seemingly show them caring service while in my mind I am being less than kind?
Or, what about the customer who really just does not smell good?  This customer is offensive to my sense of smell and is also very difficult to be around.  Other customers also notice and are offended by this customer's seeming lack of hygiene.  It is easy to hope that they quickly exit the store.
Have I shown either of these customers caring service?  Do I really show them love?  When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God with all your mind.”  The second commandment is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 
This may be easy when I like those around me, but what about those who are difficult to be around?
I do not have any answers to these questions.  Just questions.  I wonder how I really should live out these commandments.  But, do I even want to be a disciple and follow what Jesus taught?  Or, do I want to take the easy out.
I would love to hear your ideas on how to love those who are difficult.  But, I guess for each of us the answer comes when we listen for God's still small voice whispering to us-”This is how I would love that one.  Are you willing to do the same?  Remember-  I love you when you are difficult and your odor is offensive.  What will you do?”  Jesus patiently waits for me to decide which way I will go this time.  Hopefully, I am learning to love better and I really am offering caring, friendly service.
Deb Riddell
Closet Manager

Monday, October 6, 2014

Financial Dependence: Real Security

Financial coaching is more than helping you to set up a budget or be able to find resources that will enable you to pay all of your creditors. It is first helping you to find your security from your faith in God and gaining the understanding that He is the One who gives us the ability to acquire wealth.  My best bet is that when our finances are out of order, so is our spiritual life.

Often we can have a false sense of security dependent upon what our check-book says. If there is a substantial balance in our bank accounts we can feel secure, especially if we find our security in money. However when there is a lack, we can feel like our entire lives are on the brink of destruction.
It just dawned on me recently after going through a faith test that it really doesn’t matter whether it is easy or difficult to trust God. As my circumstances began to “look” better, I noticed myself trusting a bit less in God and a bit more in myself. After all, my circumstances weren’t requiring as much faith. I kind of slapped myself a bit and realized that I am no less dependent on God when things are going good as I am when they are going terrible.

The good circumstances are only an illusion of security. When things look good, it is easy to understand how things will all work out. But isn’t it amazing how quickly I can go running back to God in faith when things look bad again? I quickly realize that “good circumstances” provide no true security.
The great news is that for believers, bad circumstances are only an illusion of a lack of security.

It reminds me of Jesus sleeping on the boat during the middle of the storm. He said, “let us go to the other side.” But yet when things started looking bad enough, they started to doubt that would happen. The truth is, no matter how bad things looked, they were just as secure. They had God in the flesh on the boat with them! How could they really think that they wouldn’t make it?
When they finally were freaking out enough, they woke Him up and frustrated with their lack of faith, He told the storm to calm down. They just didn’t get it. They didn’t realize who Jesus was. They didn’t realize that it didn’t matter how bad it got, He was there with them.

It is no different for us today. We have the promise of God that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. It doesn’t matter how bad things look, it is merely an illusion. Don’t be deceived: when your trust is in God, you could not be more secure.

Connie Hanten, BCMCLC
New Hope Financial Coach