Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

There's tremendous power when we say the words, "I love you." God speaks powerful words of love over and over in Scripture, but perhaps never so powerfully—and tenderly—as in Isaiah 43: "You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you." The exiles in Babylon are reminded that they belong to God. They desperately need this reminder. They've been waiting a long time for God to come and bring them home.

The prophet goes further. In an allusion to the exodus, Isaiah proclaims that God will be with them as they pass through the waters, that their offspring will be gathered from east and west, from north and south. If they listen closely, they can hear the words: "I love you. I have called you by name. You are mine." There is power in these words—for Israel, and for us. As we hear them, we are reminded that we matter supremely to God. And we begin to imagine a future that we did not have before.

Loving God, give me ears to hear your powerful words of love for me. And give me eyes to see a future that is grounded in the new thing you are doing. Amen.

Shelley Cunningham
Pastor, Zumbro Lutheran Church
Rochester, Minn.
Master of Divinity , 1998

Isaiah 43:1-7 (NRSV)

1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you;
6 I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth—
7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.