Thursday, December 19th 2019

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 11

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:23-29

It’s not what I was born, where I was born, or even who I was born but why I was born.  We were born to be children of promise.  This life was intended to be lived in the promises of God, trusting Him and loving Him.  There are neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female but only children of promise, in the presence of God.  Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise to us and Jesus showed us how to live as children of promise by living as God’s Son of promise.  That’s why the true believer doesn’t just believe in Jesus but believes Jesus.  This life is lived in the promises of God by the power of God for the purpose of God.  We are all sons of God through faith.  The law, you might say, kept us looking forward to a redeemer.  The life of Jesus keeps us looking up at our Redeemer, loving and living in His promises, not our past, pain, problems, paranoia or perversion.  Live in the promises of God and you’ll live with the perspective of God, with you head up!

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 10

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Let your hands be strong, you who in these days have been hearing these words from the mouth of the prophets who were present on the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in, for I set every man against his neighbor. But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the Lord of hosts. For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”                     Zachariah 8:9-13

The plans of God are in the promises of God.  Zachariah prophesying about this day said that Beauty and Blessing are in the coming of the Lord.  The only thing that interferes with God’s behavior is man’s unbelief.  God says, “I will save you and I will bless you.”  Those who believe in God, believe God.  It’s so sad when we call “saved” a life that is still saddled with sin.  God’s word is one of beauty and blessing.  God has come to deal with man’s ugliness.  Don’t call ugly, beauty.  The promise in Zachariah’s prophecy is that God will give those who believe in Him and believe Him a new name and a new life.  This world shows its contempt for wrong by its words and witness for wrongdoers.  Those things change when God saves us.  We earn our title by our testimony.   A curse and a by-word are what a promiscuous life earns but beauty and blessing are the words that God speaks over those who believe in Him and believe Him.  Strengthen your hands; become strong in what you believe, and you will no longer fear the words of unbelievers.  Don’t just believe in God, believe God!

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 9

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.  Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.     Jude 1:17-25

God’s plans are in His promises.  Those who get ready for God’s plans, live remembering His promises.  Hold on, God does not lie.  There are going to be days when it seems like everyone has forgotten God’s promises.  The Bible says that those people will live devoid of the Spirit.  When we don’t have the spirit, we’re left with just the skin.  Get to know God’s Spirit and live in Him.  Get to know God’s love and live in it.  Get to know God’s mercy and live in it.  Get to know God’s promises and you won’t live in man’s peril.  And the Holy Spirit will live and move within us with power, purpose and pleasure, preparing us for all of God’s promises.  It is amazing!  Don’t forget and you won’t miss out on what God is doing.

Monday, December 16, 2019

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 8

​ The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.  The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.  They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.  Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees.  Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not!  Behold, your God will come with vengeance , with the recompense of God.  He will come and save you.”                     Isaiah 35:1-4

Judgment is coming and justice will prevail.  This life, which can be so mean and miserable, is meant to be majestic and meaningful.  God placed the handling of this place into the hands of man and we headed off in our own direction without God or just enough of God is remember He created this place for us.  But God isn’t done, and He hasn’t given up.  Judgment comes demanding justice and it always will.  Judgment came with Jesus and He judged the powers and personalities of darkness.  Our enemy has been defeated!  However, we must rule over those powers and personalities.  They’re not dead, they’re defeated.  Those who would possess a majestic and meaningful life will strengthen their hands to serve God, their knees to walk with God and their hearts to follow God.  This life doesn’t belong to the mediocre believer but to the missional believer who wants God’s justice in this life, now and forever, here and everywhere, for me and for you.  Don’t just get up, grow up!  God has more in store for you!

Friday, December 13, 2019

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 8

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.            2 Peter 3:11-18

So, what kind of person lives waiting for God to show up?  It’s going to be someone who not only believes in Jesus but believes Jesus.  These people aren’t hard to discover, they live in expectation just like Elizabeth and Zechariah or Mary and Joseph or even the angels and the wise men.  People of promise are diligent and devoted, they’ve been dressed in their wedding outfit and don’t want to stain or soil it for the party and the pictures.  The key is to just keep growing in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Never lose you appetite for the things of God and you’ll never have anxiety about the times of God.  Just keep growing and giving glory to God and you’ll be ready for the pictures and the party when Jesus comes.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 7

​ This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.  But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.  Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.                2 Peter 3:1-13

Just as the promises of God tell us the plans of God, so the promises of God should determine our plans also.  Those who believe in Jesus also believe Jesus and they become saints and servants who are praying and proclaiming the coming of the Lord.  God is coming and it’s going to be so real.  Don’t waste any time, the conclusion will be final, wonderful for those who believe and wicked for those who don’t.  Holiness and godliness belong to those who not only believe in Jesus but believe Jesus.  Just like Mary & Joseph let God’s promises make their plans so we must let the promises of God set our plans for today and tomorrow.  Saints and Servants of God who are seeking and setting up for the coming day of the Lord.  That’s us!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 7

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”  Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.  Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff; you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them.  And you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory       Isaiah 41:13-16

We know what God’s plans are by hearing what God’s promises are.  The plans of God are to make us the judge, not the jailed.  As we let Him take our right hand, He will lead us into a life that works.  He will help us replace what is wrong and wicked with what is right, real and rich.  He is our help!  That means that God will work through us and not just for us to accomplish His promises in us.  Rather than being jailed by our own foolishness, failures and faithlessness, God will make us judges of all that is right and wrong as we walk and work with Him in this life.  We must not only believe in Him we must believe Him.  And we shall rejoice in the Lord, in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.  Jesus is that One!  That’s what He has come to do.

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 6

​ Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.  Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.  I Thessalonians 4:1-12

Here’s something to think about.  If we don’t respect ourselves, we can’t expect others to respect us either.  It’s impossible to possess what is real when we’re living what is fake.  God’s will for our lives is what is right and what is real.  That would be called sanctification.  God’s will for our lives is what is right and real and anything that is not pure is not right.  Wrong and wickedness spring from living fake lives filled with fake new in fake love.  The Holy Spirit comes to work what is right and real in lives that are  wrong and wicked so that we can know love, real love.  As we begin to live in what is right and real, we begin to find love that is real and right.  Love become real and right as our lives become right and real.  And as the Holy Spirit makes us right, He will make us real and that’s something we can respect and so can others.  We must let the Holy Spirit not only make us powerful, positive and possible but we must let Him make us pure.  That’s where the respect lies, in what is right and real.

Monday, December 9, 2019

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 5

​ There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.  And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.  Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.  The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.  They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.  In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.   Isaiah 11:1-10

We know the plans of God through the promises of God.  God promised a Savior, Ruler who would come from the bloodline of Jesse, King David’s father.  He would rescue, restore, return and revive God’s plans for God’s creation.  And He would do those things by the Spirit of the Lord, in the fear of the Lord, with the righteousness of the Lord for the will of the Lord.  In Jesus, this Savior, King was born and through Jesus, God brought His promise on these premises to accomplish His purposes.  And not only did Jesus bring God’s promise to this place but He revealed what kind of people would live in those promises.  We know what God’s plans are by hearing what God’s promise is and we become the people of those plans by following the person of those promises.  If you want to know what the Christian life looks like, look at Christ.  If you want to know what the Christian life is like, live like Jesus did, in the power, perspective and purpose of the Holy Spirit.

From the Kitchen Table  Day 4

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.  For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.  For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”  And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.  Isaiah 30:18-26

The Lord waits to be gracious to us.  In the hospitality of God, we find the generosity of God.  “Blessed are those who wait for Him.”  Isaiah delivers the promise of God.  Those who respond to His hospitality find His generosity.  The light and the love of God are real and really powerful.  God works in terms of promises and those who hang on to His promises hang out in His presence.   There’s what this world says and then there’s what God says.  Walk out of the house and hospitality of hell and walk into the house and hospitality of heaven.  God promises to listen, lead and love us.  Just wait on Him, He is waiting on us.  Hang on to His promises and hang out in His presence.  His presence changes everything!  Those who left their pastures and their palaces found that to be true when He showed up as a baby.