The Ultimate Gift

May your preparations for Christmas be filled with awe and wonder as you meditate on the
Ultimate Gift.

Please share how you are preparing for Christmas in the comments below.

Download your free 7-day devotional, “Abounding Hope: Finding Hope in Chaos.”

The Jesus Who Surprises … A Review

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:27

Dee Brestin’s The Jesus Who Surprises invites the student of the Word to walk on the Road to Emmaus with two of Jesus’ disciples. Not recognizing Jesus, they told Him that their hopes had been dashed when the One they thought was Israel’s Messiah had been crucified on the cross, buried, and now His body was missing.

As they walked, Jesus opened up the Scriptures to them. Brestin imagines the Scriptures that Jesus may have used.

Continue reading The Jesus Who Surprises … A Review

Authentic Christianity Begins …

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In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:1-8

For 52 years, King Uzziah ruled Israel, and the people loved him.
“And as long as he [King Uzziah] sought the Lord, God made him to prosper” (II Chronicles 26:5).
Who could fill the throne as well as King Uzziah? What would become of the nation?
An empty throne. A failing Northern Kingdom. Confusion and despair.
In a time of hopelessness, Isaiah sees the Lord of Hosts on the throne. Holy. Exalted. Worshipped.
I love the song, “I Can Only Imagine.” “Will I sing ‘Hallelujah’? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine.”
Isaiah’s response was different. When he saw the holiness of God, he realized his depravity.
He was unable to remove his guilt and his sin, but when the altar’s burning coal touched his lips, he was cleansed.
Then, the call to an authentic walk with God.
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
“Here am I. Send me!”
And the Lord sent him to warn the people to turn from their sin.
Most of us don’t have a dramatic encounter with God like Isaiah did. However, we have glimpses of God’s glory in each day’s sunrise and sunset, the unfolding of a rose, or the birth of a baby.
We have a love letter from God, the Bible, that shows us God’s nature, and we have the Holy Spirit to teach us.
God is at work in us, and we may recognize it in the small things: a prompting to pray for a friend – later, you find out that the friend was just diagnosed with cancer, a “yes” to a prayer, a door closed and a better opportunity opened.
Authentic Christianity begins with the recognition of God’s holiness and our depravity.
As we think about God’s nature, His holiness, His love for us, our initial response is “Woe is me! I am unclean.”
The altar’s burning coal, Jesus’s death on the cross, cleanses us. Jesus paid the price for our sin, and He conquered death by rising from the dead three days after His crucifixion.
After the burning coal’s touch, Isaiah never said “Woe is me! I am unclean.” He went where God sent him, and he served the Lord and the Lord’s people.
An authentic Christian’s response to glimpses of the majesty of the Lord God Almighty is “Send me.”
God equips.
We go.
We serve.
Remaining authentic is the key.

My prayer:

Lord God Almighty, we are humbled that You would share glimpses of Your holiness and exalted nature with us. Great are You, Lord. Holy, Holy, Holy are You, Lord God Almighty. We praise You and give You honor. Bless Your people as we study Your Word and learn how to follow You authentically. Amen.
Let’s study authenticity together in a series of posts.
Please share your insights or questions about the authentic Christian
in the comment section.

Need a miracle, healing, blessing? Cry out to God

Jordan RiverThe Jordan River

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.

O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Isaiah 30:18-19

Isaiah warned Judah against making an alliance with the Egyptians, but they rebelled against God’s plan for them and chose their own path. They even told the prophets to be quiet.

Judah ignored the Word of God and did what was right in their own eyes.

The consequences were oppression and deprivation.

God longed to bless them. All He wanted was for them to cry out to Him. He was waiting to be gracious to them.

God longs to bless you and me. He is waiting for us to turn from our plans, to cry out to Him and turn to His plan for us.

He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!”

Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture. Isaiah 30:20-23

Do you need a blessing? A miracle? Healing?

My prayer for you

Father, I am astounded that You would wait upon us, that You are longing to bless us. Thank You for Your great patience with us. You are our Teacher. You are our Miracle Worker. You are our Healer. You are our Blesser. We cry out to You. We turn from our plans and take You by the hand, so that You can walk us through Your plans for us. Thank You for Your great compassion and love.

Cry out to God. He’s waiting to bless you.