To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal? —Isaiah 40:25 niv
CNN calls a derivative of graphite a “miracle material” that could revolutionize our future. Only one atom thick, graphene is being hailed as a truly two-dimensional material in a 3-D world. One hundred times stronger than steel, it is harder than diamond, conducts electricity 1,000 times better than copper, and is more flexible than rubber.
In and of themselves, such technological advances are neither moral nor evil. But we are wise to remember the limitations of anything we make for ourselves.
Isaiah spoke to a generation who found themselves carrying into captivity gods they had made with their own hands. The prophet wanted the Israelites to see the irony of needing to care for the silver and gold idols they had crafted to inspire, help, comfort, and protect them.
What was true of Israel holds true for us as well. Nothing we have made or bought for ourselves can meet the needs of our heart. Only God, who has been carrying us “from the womb” (Isa. 46:3-4), can carry us into the future.
Father, thank You for the miracle of relationship with You. Help us not to rely on our own efforts, strength, or possessions but instead sense Your loving care for us.
An idol is anything that takes God’s rightful place.
By Mart DeHaan
Thanks And Peace
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace (Philippians 4:6-7).
As the father of four children, I tell them four words nearly every day: “You should be thankful!” I say it to them during dinner when they turn up their noses at vegetables. I say it to them when they want to get a toy that “all” their friends have. For my kids, and I suspect for many of us, giving thanks to God is an individual discipline—the proper response to what He’s done.
In Philippians 4, however, Paul reveals that the effects of thanksgiving aren’t merely personal, but interpersonal. The context of Paul’s teaching included two sisters in Christ who were embroiled in a bitter disagreement (Philippians 4:2)—something all of us can relate to. The apostle didn’t tell them to rejoice and give thanks simply for personal reasons, but because doing so also allowed them to make peace with one another. When disagreements arise, our instinct is to dwell on those with whom we’re in conflict, something that makes us more hard-hearted toward them. Instead, if we choose to give thanks for all of God’s blessings, we gain a healthy perspective and some emotional space—both vital for forgiveness to be extended.
This teaching meshes well with the parable of the unforgiving debtor (Matthew 18:21-35). The debtor—though forgiven a great deal—wouldn’t forgive the small debt of another. If he had only taken a moment to give thanks for the greater debt he had been forgiven, it’s likely he would have been more forgiving toward others.
Yes, we should rejoice and give thanks even during conflicts. Not simply because we’ve been richly blessed by God, but so that we can better love, forgive, and make peace with one another—reflecting the very heart of Jesus (John 13:35).
By peter chin