December 18, 2021
Alleys Chapel UMC
Isaiah 66:7-11(NLT)Isa 66:7 “Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son.
Isa 66:8 Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born.
Isa 66:9 Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the LORD. “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God.
Isa 66:10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her.
Isa 66:11 Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.”
Growing up, I attended a small country church within walking distance of my home. Thanks to my Mother, I was there on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I was there for Christmas programs, Easter programs, Bible Schools, singing schools and all in between. After college and marriage I, with my wife and our two small children, moved to that community and with my wife at the helm the cycle began to repeat itself.
Through all that, I had never felt in my heart as if I had been “saved”. Then one Sunday morning during the worship service the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit shook me to the core and my wife led me to the altar. I gave my heart and soul to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and joy flooded over me. I am not given to emotion but that was an emotional time.
That morning, just as soon as I stepped outside the church door the Devil said to me, “You sure made a fool of yourself in there. I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.” The new birth brings with it pain: pain of repeated confrontations with the Devil as he attempts to thwart our commitment to Christ. We should not be dismayed for we have assurance that the Holy Spirit will not bring us to the point of birth and then not deliver us from the Devil’s snares.
Those who raise cattle know how important it is for the newborn calf to get mother’s first milk for it contains the elements needed to protect the newborn during the early stage of life. So it is with our new birth. We must drink deeply of our Lord’s joy and in so doing receive that blessed assurance that we are loved and that our birth has been met with rejoicing. As we move forward toward sanctification, we are comforted in knowing that the Lord’s face shines down upon us.