Isaiah 43: 1-12

New Resources

  • Exegesis (Isaiah 43:1-7)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Sustained through Challenge, Challenged for Possibility

    by David Russell
    I happened to read an article just yesterday by Diana Butler Bass. She is a church historian and author. We used one of her books for our Lenten study a few years ago and some of us heard her speak in Ames a few years before that. She was writing about what people are calling The Great Resignation – the number of people who have left the workforce in recent months. She said, We’ve all worked really hard in the last twenty months, often doing things we never imagined we could do, work where we’ve learned much but that also hasn’t always been what we feel confident in, good at, or held the greatest emotional rewards. It has been hard for everyone: young adults entering the working force; mid-career workers, many of whom are also parents and had school-age children at home; those approaching retirement. People who had to work at home; people who couldn’t work at home. Bass was recently was in Norman, Oklahoma, doing her first in-person event since the pandemic began and she said she experienced something she had not in a long time – the joy of being a teacher. The personal contact was renewing. She went on to say that commentators are focusing on economic reasons for so many leaving their jobs, but it seems to her there may be a spiritual component to it...
  • Baptism of Jesus (C)

    by Howard Wallace et al

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Whose Are You?

    by Gilbert Bowen
    Dennis Prager, journalist out in California writes, "I have often thought that if Hollywood stars have any God-given role to play in our society it is to teach us that happiness, satisfaction in life, has nothing to do with fun. These rich, beautiful and celebrated individuals do indeed have constant access to what they desire — glamorous parties, fancy cars, expensive homes, luxurious vacations, a steady supply of attractive sex partners, invitations to exciting sporting and theatrical events. And yet in memoir after memoir, many of these celebrities reveal the unhappiness hidden beneath all the fun: depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, broken marriages, troubled children, profound loneliness. We should feel greatly indebted to all the Hollywood stars who have written about their sad lives. If we could only learn from their experiences..." and several other illustrations
  • The Next Chapter

    by Stephen Clyborne
    If you look up the word “prequel” in an older dictionary, you will not find the word. It is a relatively new word coined to identify the opposite of a sequel. If a sequel is the story after the story, the prequel is the story before the story. My older daughter, Rachel, is really into the Broadway musical, Wicked, and she stayed after me until I agreed to see it. She knew that, since childhood, I have always loved The Wizard of Oz. But Rachel kept trying to tell me that I can’t really understand The Wizard of Oz unless or until I see its prequel, Wicked. All these years, I thought I understood The Wizard of Oz. But apparently, I didn’t. As it turned out, things were not as they seemed in the wonderful Land of Oz. Now that I have seen the prequel, I will never look at The Wizard of Oz in the same way again. That is the way it is with your story and mine. Every Sunday, this Bible is open before us to symbolize our belief that there is a prequel that gives new and deeper meaning to our stories...
  • Swimming with Jellyfish

    by Sally Haynes
    It was the summer after my senior year of high school, and I was working with a Christian outreach ministry with other college students on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was my day off from my paid work of cleaning bathhouses, so I wandered over to the small sailboat franchise we also helped run. There wasn't a paying customer in sight, so the two guys working it decided it would be okay if we took a boat out onto the water. It might even drum up some business for someone to see our sail out on the waters of the Sound. And so there we were, the three of us. As the guys steered and managed the sail, I looked lazily into the water below. There were schools of jellyfish beneath us, and somehow seeing them below while we sailed across the surface seemed to magnify my sense of security and enjoyment of the beauty of this day in God's good creation. Until that moment when the wind changed suddenly. Our small boat capsized, dumping all three of us into the water. I heard the yelps of the guys immediately as they splashed into a school of jellyfish. But not me. As chance would have it, I had been flung into the sail. There I sat, in water but surrounded by the sail, as if I was in my own private wading pool. And there was not a jellyfish to be found in my private pool...
  • Baptism of Our Lord (C)(2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Those of you who use Gmail for your internet email communications know that they have an ever-changing series of daily quotes up near the top of the same page that displays your inbox of email messages. One quote that pops up with altogether too much frequency there is from a TV preacher of a particularly upbeat and sunny sort. The quote is 'Tough times never last, but tough people do.'...")
  • Passing on the Faith

    by Janet Hunt
    I was a very young pastor — then the assistant pastor on a staff which included a senior pastor and a visitation pastor. George, our visitation pastor, was more than a colleague. In time, he became a friend and a mentor as well. He and his wife, Mary, would drive into town every week and on Thursdays and Fridays he would make calls: on the home-bound, the sick, the struggling, and the suffering. And when he would go often he would read this bit of scripture to them. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers,they will not overwhelm you…” This passage came home to George when he was a young man, serving in the navy during the Second World War. He told the story that as he was sitting on a PT Boat, he pulled out his Bible, and opened up to these wonderful words. It was, he later said, as though they were meant for him. As you can imagine, he never forgot it and for the rest of his life he sought to share this comfort, this promise, with others navigating rough waters...
  • Bathed in Love

    by Beth Johnston
    It was the fall of 1985 and we were in the chapel at Atlantic School of Theology for daily worship. It was the morning after a group of us received word that a friend from Mount Allison had just been killed in a motorcycle accident. At least one who was not a “Mt A” grad had known her from “Youth Forum”. I suppose it was the first time that most of us had experienced the death of someone close to us; someone OUR AGE. We were all in our early 20s! One of the hymns chosen for worship that day was “Be Not Afraid” - from the Catholic Book of Worship . The first two verses of this hymn are based on the passage that has just been read from the book of Isaiah. To the surprise of the others present, one by one almost every member of “our group” dissolved into tears as we all sang these words by Jesuit, Bob Dufford. If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown. If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed. If you stand before the pow'r of hell and death is at your side, know that I am with you through it all. We were in deep grief but these words touched our hearts and souls and we knew that we were not alone. We knew that somewhere, somehow, our friend was not either...
  • Baptism of Jesus (C)(2019)

    by Stan Mast
    One of the year’s most powerful movies is “The Hate U Give,” a movie about race and racial injustice in America. It focuses on Starr, a black girl who lives in an all-black urban neighborhood, but attends an all-white high school in the suburbs. Part of the conflict in the movie occurs in Starr who acts white in her school and black in her neighborhood. Who is she, really? Her struggle to find and express her true identity in the swirling crowds of her school and her neighborhood arches back to exilic Israel and over into the lives of all children in this confusing world. “I have called you by name. You are mine.” Speaking of movies, I have never forgotten the seagulls in the delightful animated film, “Finding Nemo.” Perched on posts that dot the harbor, the seagulls are always looking for a scrap of food. I laughed out loud when a piece of bread hits the water and all the seagulls dive for it, screaming, “Mine, mine, mine, mine.” It’s a hilarious picture of the very unfunny human lust to make it all mine. How comforting to know that God has dived into the waters of chaos and the fire of judgment to prove that, “You are mine.”
  • When the Waters Overwhelm

    by Jim McCrea
    In his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace?, Philip Yancey tells a story about the power of that courage. In 1987, the Irish Republican Army set off a bomb off in a small town west of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The target was amid a group of Protestants who had gathered to honor the war dead on Veterans Day. Eleven people died and sixty-three others were wounded from that attack. What made this act of terrorism stand out from so many others was the response of one of the wounded, Gordon Wilson, who was a devout Methodist. The bomb buried Wilson and his twenty-year old daughter under five feet of concrete and brick. As they waited to be rescued, Marie held her father’s hand and said, “Daddy, I love you very much.” Those would prove to be her last words.
  • Yeah, But We're Precious

    by Steven Molin
    In his book Rebel with a Cause, Franklin Graham spends 300 pages detailing what it was like, growing up as the eldest son of the world's most famous preacher since Jesus. The expectations on Franklin were so great, the rules, so rigid. By his own admission, Franklin Graham was a rebel; in fact, he openly opposed every value and every virtue his parents stood for, including the Christian faith. He smoked, he drank, he cursed, he caroused; he did it all. But no scene in his book is more poignant than the day that Franklin Graham was kicked out of his conservative college in Texas for taking a co-ed off campus for the week end and piloting a rented plane to Florida. My description could not do justice to this vignette, so I will let Franklin's words describe it for you. He writes; The drive home from Texas was dreary. Maybe by driving slow I was prolonging the inevitable; I would have to face my parents. I knew they had to be disappointed in me - I was! They had invested a lot of money in my education, and now I'd messed up...
  • In Good Company

    by Carl Wilton
    ("There's an old story about a woman who was living through the aching pain of bereavement. She kept coming to church during her time of grief, but she would just stand there with the hymnal in her hands, not singing. A good friend noticed this and said, 'I see you're not singing, and I also know how much you love to sing. Why don't you just try to join in? It'll make you feel better.' 'I'm sorry,' said the bereaved woman, 'but I just can't sing right now. I'm sure that I will, eventually. But for now, I know the church is singing the hymns for me, and that's a great source of comfort.'..."

Other Resources from 2019 to 2021

Other Resources from 2016 to 2018

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Other Resources from 2013 to 2015

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources

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The Classics