Go out and stand before me on the mountain” And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper – 1 Kings 19
A mighty wind, an Earthquake and a raging fire – in these ways and more the Lord God revealed Himself – He made Himself known – Elijah’s fire from heaven – a pillar of fire and smoke and the voice of God as the blast of the loudest trumpet. Then thousands of years later even after 400 years of silence…He came. I was inspired after hearing the song “Winter Snow” by Audrey Assad to consider how He came to us.
- He came in a way that no one could have ever expected a King to come. He could have come like a mighty storm bursting through the sky, lightening, rain and thunder
- He could have come like a hurricane tearing through the trees, breaking limbs and uprooting.
- He could have come like a forest fire with searing heat and smoke out of control consuming everything in His path.
- He could have could like a tidal wave flooding and defying the rules that say to waves “stop here”
- He could have come the way the Kings should come
But that is not how He came at all is it? He came like silent snow fall. No parades. No cheering crowds. But instead of coming with a lot of noise and the display of human excitement brought, He quietly brought Joy to the world. Joy is described in the Holy Scriptures like that of a war cry, a shout SHOWING gladness and rejoicing that overtakes our heart and that joy benefits us through encouragement of hope.
There is a joy that is caused by an occasion. A special moment – A wedding – A child’s first words – Good News like the birth of a child. This joy is caused not only by an occasion but also by a person. This person would be responsible for that joy; the One bringing the good news and it causes GREAT excitement! He is called Jesus! In the book of Luke 2 we read a very familiar passage that says…
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people”
Did you catch that? Not just joy but “Great” joy; the word great is “Mega” joy and this joy is to All” people. Jesus knows what we need…better than anyone. He wants you to not only receive Him and experience the joy, peace and hope that he brings but but to hand over the reigns of your life and let him be Lord. And as Lord of our life we can true sing…
Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”– Luke 1:30-33
If you searched your heart, where would you find hope? What it is that you have based your hope? Job security, finances, significant other, stuff? I will go out on a limb and say that these things will at least at some point lead to disappointment, discouragement and desperation.
Our hope is found in the fact that God has keeps His promises. Hope began in the Garden of Eden where satan is told that from the seed of the woman would come a savior, Emmanuel and that Savior would destroy all of the doubt, sadness, pain and suffering and ultimately satan himself once and for all.
His name is Jesus!
He will do battle with Satan and even though the enemy would strike a seemingly fatal blow against Jesus, he will not defeat him. Jesus will crush Satan and his power. Jesus will destroy the pain of death and sin giving us hope as we wait confidently for His return.
Is there hope in this world? Yes! Hope was born to the world 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. Do you want hope? Do you need hope…real hope? Confident expectation? Do what the shepherds did so long ago. Make “haste” and bow before the King. Are you willing to humble yourself and bow in faith before the Lord Jesus Christ?
Some people think about Jesus each year at Christmastime. They are deeply touched by the season, the songs and the spirit, they promise to know him personally. Then Dec. 26th rolls around and the moment passes. Life’s pressure drag us away from the birth of Jesus, even His life, death and resurrection. Make the personal commitment that Jesus Christ will be your Lord and Savior. Is there room in your heart for Jesus? May God give you grace to make room in the Inn of your heart.
Lord, help us to put aside the pressures of gifting and receive Your sacrificial gift of love. Thank you God for loving me enough to leave Your heavenly throne and relentlessly pursue me. I surrender all to You. In Jesus Name…Amen.
“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully” – Psalm 24:3-4
Many people today are hungry for a fresh movement of God in their lives and ministries. They want to see truly powerful worship services; they want more of the mountaintop. They want to see God’s power in their families, schools and careers. They want to see God’s protection in their families. They desire a REAL relationship with God – the kind that Moses, David and Paul had. People are not satisfied with just reading about what God used to do, they want to see what God IS doing. They are anxious to see God move in the same way – today!
This Psalm begins with 2 huge questions –“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?” David asks a legitimate question here – Who can actually stand before the Lord God? Who has the right to walk straight in and stand in his presence?
Then David zeros in a little further and asks, “Who can stand in His Holy Place?” Have we as believers forgotten that God is Holy? It would seem that we have and that question that David is asking, if asked by us today would be more like “How can I be happy?” in fact it would seem that that most of mankind is seeking happiness from God instead of pursuing a right relationship with God.
I hear people say all the time “God just wants people to be happy” and I think that is not an accurate statement in fact I have never been able to find such a statement in the scriptures. What it does say is….
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice for they will be satisfied
God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure for they will see God
God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of Go
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs
Did you catch that…Blessed not happy. Did you see the words like “mourn” and “persecuted”? These words indicate hard times and struggles but that in those hard times we can have the joy of the Lord in our hearts not happiness. Our cultures screams to us, “Forget about being right with God, just be happy because that is what He wants and that is all that matters!” But what about character – Moral character?
That is the second part of this puzzle – “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully”
This speaks to something that is foreign to many people – actions and a heart that are pure. Few people are concerning themselves with purity or moral behavior. Instead it is an attitude of feel good, anything goes, be happy. This results in a perverse lifestyle that hinges on destruction and death. And it is not just the one with clean hands but the pure heart must be present as well. The term clean hands speak loudly of the outward life but the pure heart speaks to the inward. The outward is drastically affected by the inward. The condition of the heart will control the hands, the mind and all of the actions that come from them. When we give our hearts away to the things of this world whether it is the treasures like all the latest electronics that have taken over our lives or the fleshly pleasures that stimulate our bodies the result is – idolatry…some sort of idolatry…we have given ourselves away.
Let me end my ramblings with this passage. When i read this I can’t help but imagine an man on a horse, rallying his troops, preparing for battle, riding up and down the ranks shouting these words…
Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. – Habakkuk 3:2
Father, Let this be OUR cry
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” – Romans 10:13
Nothing like getting up early in the morning, fresh coffee brewing with that wonderful aroma. The sound of birds chirping outside. The quiet stillness in the house so that I can drink my coffee undisturbed……Wait! Is this a Folgers coffee commercial?
The reality is I wake up to the sound of 1 or all of my children’s voices calling….DADDY! So I get up and hear … DADDY! Can I have breakfast….. DADDY! I have to go pee. DADDY! Joshua is looking at me. And while I am sure you are probably laughing AT me at this point, there are times when I say something like, “I’m sorry, Daddy is not home, please leave a message.” Or, “Please don’t call my name again”.
I am so glad…no…I am so thankful that the Lord NEVER gets tired of hearing me call His name.
I find myself so often just sitting at my desk with my face in my hands on the brink of tears, crying out to the Lord, the giver of life…”DADDY! Help me”, “I am hurting; I am struggling, I need your help”. Unless I am being stubborn, as I sometime am, I can feel the warmth of God’s embrace all around me giving me comfort, strength and courage to face the day and the problems that will without a doubt not last forever.
Hopefully when I wake in the morning to the sound of “DADDY! I gotta go pee”, I will remember all of those in the scriptures, like Abram, Isaiah, David and many others that called upon the name of the Lord and found comfort in knowing that He is aways there and delights in hearing His children call His name….even at 6:15am.
Lord, I thank You for the allowing me the privilege of being a father, a high calling in life to be sure. Help me to always remember Your example as I attempt to mirror what You teach. Amen.
Recently my 4-year-old son fell out of bed a fractured his collar-bone. The sound of him hitting the floor from his twin bed was thunderous – it shook the entire house. We ran into his room to find him climbing back into his bed and upon examination we could not see any signs of injury. The next day however was a different story. He was clearly in pain. So off we went to the ER.
I was somewhat amazed at how my little boy clung to me, never letting me out of sight. He wanted me to sit on the bed with him and hold him. He wanted me to carry him and when the time finally came to get his x-rays he wanted me to go in with him. My boy was terrified and I can only hope that my presence there offered him a little comfort because he knew that I was close by.
I believe that the Lord shows us this picture of trust so that we don’t exist in this life filled with fear. The Lord teaches us that He will ALWAYS be right there with us through the most difficult trials and our happiest moments. The Lord truly wants us to be content; the kind of contentment that ONLY comes from knowing Him, trusting that He will always meet our needs and that He always has our best interest at heart. This truth has the power to expel fear and allow us to say with assurance “the Lord is my helper”.
Joshua didn’t want to be at the hospital and certainly didn’t want an X-Ray but he found out that it was for his own good. He also found out that just like with our Lord, I had every intention of holding on tightly to him with no plans of letting him go – unless he wanted his mommy of course. 🙂
Lord, Help us to truly realize Your Supreme love for us, Your desire to comfort us and Your power to cast out the fear that trips us up. Thank you for loving us with a perfect love. Amen.
During a season of tough love with one of my girls, the resounding theme was “I don’t want to”. Without going into details, this was the answer that I received every time I tried to make her understand that her behavior was unacceptable and needed to change. She wanted her way, no matter what. She would risk everything to have her way even if it meant disappointing me and mom, getting grounded or even a spanking.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you – Ex. 20:12
The honoring of a father and mother creates not only sability in the home but also in our society
So I began to try to show her that the very thing that SHE wants, she cannot have. That her disobedience would lead to much heart ache. Disobedience is nothing new I said. I explained to her about Adam and Eve and how they were created here on earth by Almighty God and given everything – EVERYTHING, with the exception of course, one thing that was withheld for their protection and because God loved them so much. And yet the one thing that they were told to avoid, to leave alone, they had to have.
Now before I am too hard on Adam and Eve, I would have done the same thing I am sure given the same circumstances and so would you – we have all proven that.
I remember hugging her tightly and saying, “You are loved. We love you and because we love you we can’t allow this to go on behaving this way. You are loved”. And so We continue to love her through this season of growing pains, teaching her that God loves her, that we love her and that we are here for purpose – to honor the One who created us, to have charity, patience, to care for all those we come in contact with and to show the love of Christ so that it is real to anyone who sees. Is it tough? Absolutely! But press on friends. The final product will be amazing.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God – 1 Cor. 10:31
Father, Help us to understand that You want what is best for us and always have our best interest at heart. Lord give us the wisdom we need to see things the way that you see them, that we might glorify You with our obedience. – Amen