Have You Not Heard?

Isaiah 40:21-31

 

21 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?

22 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;

23 who brings princes to naught,

and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

 

24 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.

 

25 To whom then will you compare me,

or who is my equal? says the Holy One.

26 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.

 

27 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”?

28 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.

29 He gives power to the faint,

and strengthens the powerless.

30 Even youths will faint and be weary,

and the young will fall exhausted;

31 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.
 
 

This chapter of Isaiah begins with these words – “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.” Read more…



What Is Epiphany?

by Pastor Jay Shailer 

 
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”         
 
Matthew 2:1-2

 

Epiphany isn’t your typical Lutheran church. I’m sure many of us know that, but I think it’s important to recognize why we are who we are. Because who we are, our identity, is vital to our mission of being followers of Jesus, and loving Him by serving.
 
Our name, Epiphany, is no misnomer. I think it nails who we are right on the head. I imagine Epiphany as the bright star that brought the Magi to pay homage to the baby Jesus, because that’s exactly what we hope to do with everything we do. Leading people to Christ is woven into the fabric of our congregational being. This is why we aren’t like many other Lutheran churches. Read more…


Transitions in the Works

by Kathy Whited
 
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter 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 12:1-2
 

This twelfth day of Christmas – the last day of the Christmas season and the eve of Epiphany – is traditionally known as Twelfth Night. With this transition, we have two reasons for celebration: the end of Christmas and the beginning of Epiphany. Within the past week, we celebrated another transition: the end of one year and the beginning of the next. The New Year brings resolutions and fresh starts. Similarly, the Magi experienced new beginnings. Upon meeting and acknowledging the Christ Child, the Magi fell in reverent worship. They realized that they met the Savior, and they obeyed the directive to return home a different route. Essentially, they began a new race. Read more…



Focus

 

by Cindy Dahlman

 

“Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God. They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O Lord; answer us when we call.”         

Psalm 20:7-9

 

I have believed in God all of my life. But to be honest, I have had and still have moments where I question my faith. This always happens when I become complacent in my faith, when I am hurting or when I see others hurting. Read more…



Our Time to Sing

by Kim Villalva

46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

–Luke 1:46-47, 54-55

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
“Silent Night”
“Joy to the World”

Did you ever go Christmas caroling? How about singing Christmas songs while decorating your tree?
Read more…



Connecting the Dots

by Pastor Jay Shailer

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham… Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

–Matthew 1:1-17

We love to know where we come from. Genealogy is a growing industry with websites like ancestry.com and others like it. It can be deeply moving to uncover stories of forefathers. Learning about the struggles of your ancestral past can give you hope and strength for the days ahead. This kind of inspiration can galvanize a family together and give exemplars for children to aspire to be.
Read more…



Free to Follow

by Natalie Heimann 

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

–Galatians 5:1

Christmas of 1985 found me living thousands of miles away from my small-Texas home as an exchange student in Denmark. Holiday preparations and celebrations were in full-swing in the weeks leading up the Christmas. My host family had hosted a party for friends and family where we crafted traditional Danish decorations for the tree. Gifts had been mailed to the U.S. for my family. I had learned all the carols in a language I had only been speaking for five months. The season was awash with “hygge” – a proud Danish mindset of warmth and coziness. And yet, I was melancholy. For all the candlelit parties with my new people, I still felt I was missing something.
Read more…



God’s Faithfulness

by Kim Villalva
 
“Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my victory.
 

–1 Samuel 2:1

After we lost our second baby in 2013, I questioned God. I didn’t understand why, after such a difficult journey to conceive after our first loss three years earlier, He would not see this miracle all the way through. Why had our second pregnancy ended so soon after it began? I just didn’t understand God’s answer to my prayer.

As I read and studied Hannah’s story, I was amazed at the depths of her faith despite the lack of support she received from other women, and even her husband. Read more…



Human Beings — Not for Sale

by Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
Read more…



The Cross in the Manger

by Pastor Charlie Woodward

 

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
4 O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us the scorn] of our neighbors;
our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

–Psalm 80:1-7
Read more…



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