This Christmas is a little different for my wife and me. We’re well over 6,000 miles from our children. For the first time we won’t be spending Christmas together. We’re not snuggled in our cozy home with a fire in the fireplace. We’re not gathering at our familiar Christmas Eve service. We’ve not come together around the familiar and comfortable. My heart aches.
This Christmas we find ourselves much closer than we’ve ever been to the where all the action which brought us Christmas took place. A mere 640 miles away is Bethlehem, the site of Jesus’ birth. Just down the road from ancient Nineveh and a few clicks north of what was once Babylon we are once again entering into our Christmas celebrations.
We rejoice over and with new friends. We have a new faith-family with which we gather, give gifts, and sing the songs of hope and faith that are familiar to us. We share food, laughter, love, and hope.
We celebrate Immanuel, “God with us” (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23). My heart rejoices.
Be it surrounded by the comfortable and familiar or the new and sometimes strange, He remains.
Though those we love deepest are distant and ones we newly embrace are at hand, He remains.
Though I cannot hug my children and though I still struggle with simple greetings here, He remains.
We are not alone. God is with us. The celebration continues. Praise His Name!
Over the last eighteen months or so God has changed most of the details of our earthly lives and did so through these words of Scripture …
and these conclusions drawn from them …
Lord, enable us by your Spirit to follow joyfully, faithfully and fruitfully. Amen!
bumbling through life
I encounter a
T in the road
What to make of this T?
An impasse? The end of my road?
A signal I should QUIT?
Or does the T signal, not a Termination, but a Transition?
As I consider my options something Emerges, standing between me and that fateful T …
Exaltation of the King who rules my journey
Examination of my heart as part of my journey
Exploration of the King’s leading for the next stage of the journey
In fact, I discover the E is not just one thing, but many things
Yet it is not Everything
No, that is the Exclusive domain of my King
Him alone in that place between I and the T
Embracing Him as my Everything Transforms my journey
opening new options as I stand there before that great T in my road
there, with Him the T no longer demands I QUIT, but invites me to become QUIET
for, says my King, “in Quietness and in Trust is your strength” for this journey
“It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9)
Isaiah repeatedly speaks of “that day” (over forty times!). It is a “day” when things will be different than they are today.
Here Isaiah anticipates that “on that day” what will be different is that God will show up—clearly, undeniably, manifestly, and demonstrably. There will be no arguing to the contrary. The evidence will be indisputable.
The Lord’s appearance will come after long waiting by His people. The lengthy anticipation will serve only to heighten the joy felt “on that day.” All the faithful will be able to say at that time: “Behold, this is our God” and “we have waited for him, and he has saved us.” The hope and faith of the believing will be vindicated. What they’d tried to describe to others along the way through each “today” will be then demonstrably set before their eyes. “On that day” God’s people will simply call them to look and “Behold” that of which, heretofore, they had only heard.
This reminds us that today’s faith-filled risk/obedience will be vindicated. Guaranteed. Hope will be fulfilled. Him whom no eye has seen nor can see will be where we can “Behold” and see Him in His glory. Time is on the side of the believing. Vindication of every step of trusting obedience is inevitable.
So trust the Lord today with great abandon. Step out in obedience with every confidence. On this day follow without fear, for “on that day” we will “be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Accept today’s price for hope, but know that tomorrow’s payout will dwarf any cost you incur through today’s obedience.
“I saw the Lord, sitting upon a throne …” (Isaiah 6:1)
“What will it take to set you free from the world’s idolatries—what will it take to keep you from trusting in things that are no gods at all? What will make you free from the world’s immoralities—what will it take to make you untouched by the lust for smut that the world peddles and with which worldlings ruin their lives? What will it take to liberate you from the world’s false perspective on the way things are—the perspective that assumes there is no god, there is no revelation of truth in the Bible, and there will be no judgment?
I’ll tell you what it will take: it will take seeing God as he is. Beholding God will break the chains of idolatry because when you see God, you see what Deity is, and that exposes the idols as worthless and unworthy of trust. Beholding God will purify you from immorality because when you see God you see what beauty and faithfulness are, and that exposes the ugliness of adultery. Beholding God will give you new lenses through which to look at the world because God himself defines reality.” –Dr. James M. Hamilton, Jr. (Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches, p.130)