Throughout the book of Isaiah we find prophecies pointing to the Messianic Age. The fulfillment of these prophecies can be found in the coming of Jesus that first Christmas, in the life of His people today, and when He comes again. While studying these prophecies we want to bring them to life in southern Kenya; drawing people to the Mountain of the Lord with hope, sprouting new shoots to nourish life for this generation and clean water for generations to come. We pray that all of this will be a declaration of the sign of God’s love sent to the world, Jesus.
Put this theme verse into your memory, “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10 (ESV)
Now that’s Christmas!
Many in Israel held a nostalgic view of God’s Kingdom wishing for the good life that could be theirs when God returned to reign. Our Advent Conspiracy gives us a challenge to demonstrate God’s Kingdom by pouring ourselves out. It’s as if Isaiah had heard the AC challenge to spend less, give more, love all.
Be like Jesus this year and pour yourself out generously to your family with love and special attention and to your friends and neighbors with a touch of God’s presence. Shine light of Jesus into another’s gloom. As you memorize this verse, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how.
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.k In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as the highest of the mountains, it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it." Isaiah 2:2 (NIV)
How does one see a mountain? To encompass a whole mountain in one's sight requires distance. One needs a long range perspective.
Advent is a time to celebrate that the Messiah has come and it is a time to anticipate his return.
God's kingdom has come, yet we continue to pray for that Kingdom to come. This is our long range perspective. We see the mountain of the Lord NOW and we can point it out to others who have NOT YET seen it.
This Advent pray for perspective that the joy of the Lord is not overcome by the stress of the season.
Continue to set aside devotion time.
Consider sharing one of your favorite joys of the season (music, lights, gifting) with someone who does not celebrate Jesus.
Pray for open eyes to see the hurting, the needy, the lonely. Give them the gift of your presence. Invite them to join in your celebrations.
Share this good news of Advent and Christmas in a bold new way, perhaps by taking a financial leap of faith for the Advent Conspiracy or by giving up a holiday tradition in order to redirect resources towards God’s kingdom in Kenya.
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established as the highest of the mountains and raised above the hills. All the nations will stream to it.
Then many people will come and say, “Let’s go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways so that we may live by them.”
The teachings will go out from Zion. The word of the Lord will go out from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:2–3 (GW)
Picture a mountain. If you are like most people, you’ll see a majestic snow covered peak in the Rocky Mountains. I don’t. I think of the mountains out east; green, full of trees, full of life.
The mountain in Isaiah 2:2-3 where the house of the Lord resides is full of life. It is a place where all the nations come to hear the word of the Lord; to find justice, peace, life. It is the place where to “love your neighbor as yourself” becomes a reality.
This Advent we have the opportunity to make this vision of life with a God seem a little closer for the people of southern Kenya. Through our gifts we will help them learn new farming techniques to produce a harvest in a drought prone land, to improve their diet, to improve their economic situation, to give them a better life. Better yet, they will learn about Jesus, the Bread of Life, who came from heaven to die for them so they might gain real life in Him.
Make a special point today to thank God every time you go to pantry or refrigerator for the abundance of food you enjoy. Pray for those who don’t. Ask the Bread of Life to open your heart to how God is leading you to give so the people of Kenya can live a more abundant life now and for eternity.
"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32 (ESV)
Take a minute and ask yourself: What fraction of my day is spent looking upward? Working, driving, walking, talking, eating, watching TV are all done looking straight ahead or down toward the ground. It's almost as if God has reserved our upward gaze for Himself.
From Indian Garden Campground in the Grand Canyon, you can peer up after dark and see a light shining from the South Rim, 3000 feet above. The next morning, you begin the long journey to the rim. As you approach the 40th switchback, there's such a sense of anticipation and joy. It's as if the rim is drawing you upward. So it is with your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When you gaze up at Him suffering and dying on the cross, see him rising up from the dead, ascending into heaven, sitting on His high throne in heaven, He is drawing you to Himself. His gentle hand is under your chin, lifting your gaze upward into His eyes, saying "Come, follow me."
May you fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith each and every day. Look up dear child, Look up!
Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength,
Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Isaiah 40:9 (ESV)
During Advent, our family has a tradition of listening to Handel’s Messiah. This inspired musical work is completely based on scripture and the first section focuses on prophecies concerning the coming Messiah, His birth and purpose. Listening to this music inspires our hearts and helps us prepare for the coming Christ of Christmas.”
This week, we are talking about the Mountain spoken of in Isaiah 2:2, a high place where we can meet with God, find rest, hope and healing from the affliction of living in this sinful world. When I heard this mountain emphasis, my mind immediately went to another Isaiah passage found in the Messiah – Isaiah 40. It begins, “comfort ye, comfort ye my people” and later, “get thee up into the high mountain”. From that mountain, surrounded by the glory of the Lord, we are exhorted to “shout” the good news.
And how can we shout it today in our world? Our shouting doesn’t need to be a thunderous voice, it can be a quiet tone of caring, loving, and acting. We can make a difference – one which can represent a mountain of hope and the love of God in Christ Jesus. We can “shout” the good news to the people of Kenya as we join with other Christians to bring them relief from poverty and oppression with our Advent Conspiracy. We pray that they come to feel part of God’s comforted people and come to know Him as Savior and King!
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