Thursday, December 5, 2019

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 3

In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.            Isaiah 4:2-6

In that day.  God works in terms of promises.  In that day Jesus would come as a beautiful and glorious savior, redeemer.  And the work of His love, life and labor would result in something of honor.  In Him we will find cleansing from everything that stains and shames.  God didn’t make us to live with stain and shame.  And He will cover us from the elements that stain and shame.  And He will do all this by His Spirit who will judges life and death.  Listen and live by His Spirit and He will save and separate us from all that stains and shames.  The promise of Christmas is the promise of Christ who lives and labors in us by His Spirit.  Listen and let the Holy Spirit work.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

From the Kitchen Table

Advent Day 2

​ “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.  “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.  For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.  “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.  For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.  For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.  For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.  In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.  “This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you.  For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.                 Isaiah 54:1-10

God does His thing through promises and people.  Just as God had made a covenant with Noah and all of creation, so God would make a covenant with His people who would believe in Him.  The life that God has for us is full and free.  With everlasting love He will love us and with steadfast love He will establish us.  No more shame and regret, loss and humiliation.  Our God is a generous God and His generosity in our lives will grow our lives and expand our families.  God brings everything He is and everything He has to the table for us to enjoy.  No weapon formed against us will succeed and no other tongue or judgment will limit us (Is 54:17).  God is inviting us to live in His promises, not our pain and problems.  We serve a generous God!  Jesus, the love of God, changes everything.  The Lord of hosts, the God of angel armies, says so!

From the Kitchen Table

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”                   Genesis 9:8-17

God operates in terms of promises and agreements.  His promises reveal His passions and purposes.  As soon as Noah docks the ark and builds an altar, God makes a covenant (an agreement) with Noah and all of creation.  Then He seals that covenant with the sign of a rainbow.  God promises to never again bring a worldwide flood to bring worldwide judgment.  That’s how it all began anew;  God works in terms of promises and that led to the promise of Jesus who would be the last covenant God would make with man.  Whoever lives in agreement with this arrangement will live in the authority of God.  We do that by putting our faith in God’s word.  Just as the rainbow stands as a sign of God’s great love and commitment, so the empty cross stands as a reminder of that same love and commitment to us personally and eternally.  God comes because God cares.  This life is lived by faith in God’s promises and it all begins for us with the promise of Jesus.  Live today in His promises, not our problems.

Monday, December 2, 2019

From the Kitchen Table

​ The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. ”For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.  O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.    Isaiah 2:1-5

God does nothing without telling His people.  Isaiah, prophesying 500 years before Jesus appears, says that God is coming.  Jesus was on the way.  God was going to shine a light from Zion, the city of God.  That light would be the word of God on this walkthrough life.  And that word would be what judges the beliefs and behaviors of this world, the nations, as wrong.  His word would come and settle the disputes of mankind.  God’s word is His light for this life.  God’s law has always been about His love.  His word is the law for this life.  Those who believe in God’s love, live by God’s law to experience God’s life.  Love works!  But love lives in the light of God’s law for this life.  Those who believe in God’s love also believe in God’s light.   Let us walk in the light of the Lord.