Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Heart of Christmas: The Listen-Up Good News


My morning routine begins early. I head downstairs for a cup of coffee, grab a quick (and portable) breakfast, and climb back in bed with my Bible. This morning was no different.

Propped up in bed, Bible open on my lap, I began to read. I sipped my coffee, read a few verses, squirmed about to smooth a wrinkle from the back of my robe, and read another verse. 

The wrinkle was still there. More squirming followed.

My reading had progressed to the next page during the wrinkle-war. After a few more verses, I realized I had no idea what I'd read.

"Lord, please speak to me. I can't hear a thing in these words," I prayed, and flipped back to the beginning of Isaiah 51. Three phrases were underlined in those four verses. In the squirming, I'd missed them entirely.

"Listen to me."

"Pay attention to Me..."

"Give ear to Me..."

Those words caught my attention. If God was that interested in us hearing what came next, it must be worth paying attention, I thought. 

It was.

"I will set My justice for a light to the peoples. My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth..."  (Is. 51:4-5)

He was speaking about Jesus. Hundreds of years would pass between the writing of this prophecy and the appearing of the Christ-child in the manger, but it was as good as done already. 

His Justice was set as a light for the peoples... His righteousness was near... His salvation did go forth... And His name is Emmanuel. God with us. Jesus.

When we pray, God answers in that same way.

He doesn't put us on the answered-prayer-waiting-list. He speaks and it happens. It may take years for that answer to be visible to us, but it's always visible to God. 

There's one more "listen up" in that passage.

"Listen to Me, you who know righteousness..." He's speaking to us, children of God, and what comes next is pretty wonderful.

"Do not fear... For My righteousness shall be forever, and My salvation to all generations." (Is. 51:8)

This verse speaks specifically of not fearing the reproach of men, but God's Word is so full of "fear not" that I believe we can generalize the fearing. 

It doesn't matter what we face. 

God's righteousness and salvation are forever and for everyone. All generations. His promises are as true today as when they were first spoken. 

No matter what we face, we serve a God who can handle it. His salvation extends to cover it all.

Including the circumstances of my life. And yours.

He's got this world and our specific part in it, so fear not.

It was a beautiful word that I needed, but I nearly missed it because of a wrinkle in my robe. That's a word for us, too.

The preamble to the celebration of Christ's birth is one of the busiest times of the year. We can easily miss the voice of God in the midst of our busyness. How tragic is that? 

Let's make time for Jesus. 

Be still and spend time with our God. 

Listen to Him. He has something to say to us, and it's worth hearing.
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The No-Shame Gift of Grace

If God leads you to help support this ministry, (prayer and outreach, both digital and in-person) you can use this link: Support Leanna's Ministry (use account #4841)

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