Thursday, December 18, 2014

HIS Passionate Commitment

I don’t know where you are as you begin to read this…whether you are at your office in the midst of distractions and noise, or in the quiet of your home… or not so quiet home, in line waiting for something or traveling in your car, but, wherever you are and however your state of being is, this is my prayer – that before you read through this, you first intentionally tune out this busy world and silence yourself to allow God’s Words to fill your being and move your soul.

Because this is the gift He brings to us…remember why we Celebrate and Rejoice!!

And… my dear brothers and sisters…those of you that are in the darkness right now, these words are for you, as I earnestly pray that you will cling to this hope and know His passionate commitment to you.

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.

You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.

For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.

You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned.  They will be fuel for the fire.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.

 And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.

The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Isaiah 9:1-7

Father, I pray we will know you as our Counselor, may we cling to your strong arm as you guide us.  You are our Mighty God, and your arms which hold us are full of strength. You hold us dear as your sons and daughters for You are our Everlasting Father, may we grasp your unconditional love for us, and may we rest in Your protection as You are the Prince of Peace.  As this world is full of darkness, may we know Your light, and understand how passionate You are to rescue us from the darkness.  Thank You, we love You, Jesus,


- Sue Parrott

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gift of the Cross

Recently I was re-arranging a room in our church that we had a cross leaning upright in a corner.  Nailed onto the cross was a large variety of cards in which people had written down things they wanted to ask forgiveness for, and then pounded the card onto the cross.

I began to carefully pull the cards off and lay them on the ground; not thinking too much about the task at first as my mind wandered to Christmas and how I was going to decorate this room for the season.  My mind continued to focus on thoughts of the gifts I had yet to purchase, and the various plans I needed to complete for the holiday season.

I paused at my task, as my mind wandered. Slowly I blinked and my eyes refocused on what I was doing.  Glancing down, in my hand was a card that said, “Forgive me for being angry at my wife.”  I then looked down before me and saw all of the cards scattered at the foot of this cross.  Each one representing a broken person asking God to forgive them for all kinds of things. I reverently continued to take down these cards one by one, as silent tears slipped down my cheeks; I placed them at the foot of the cross. Overwhelmed with the understanding that this…, this is His gift.  This is Christmas.  He gave Himself, his birth, his life and his death for forgiveness to the broken.  Forgiven and restored so we can be in relationship with Him.

 And as we celebrate Christmas, how can we truly reflect what His gift means to us?

Celebrate! And share joy with others!  The giving of ourselves, our joy to others that are broken.   Sharing this gift Jesus has given to us is the best gift we can give, better than any gift we place at the foot of a tree.  This gift we receive at the foot of the cross.

"He himself bore our sins" in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed."  I Peter 2:24

- Sue Parrott

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Measuring Stick

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29 NIV)
One Christmas when our children were very young, their artisan granddad surprised our family with a six-sided, solid oak, measuring stick. One side serves as a seven-foot ruler while the remaining sides are dedicated to recording the growth of our five kids. Every year at Christmastime we take that stick from its resting place, and with all kinds of anticipation, the kids gather ‘round to see how they’ll measure up against the previous year’s mark. It’s usually an uproarious occasion because, more times than not, our kids are shocked and delighted by their growth.
 As we near the end of this year, and if we could hold a measuring stick up to the full height of our spiritual selves, like a child at Christmas, would we laugh with surprise at our growth? If we were able to hold a mirror up to our inner man, might we gasp in wonder to detect a tiny resemblance of the Savior?
When we spend time in the presence of the Lord, we are changed. We don’t know how it is, but it is!  Just lately, like me, have you begun to notice a deeper, heart-felt compassion for those you are interceding for?  As you’re led to confession, does your sin seem more offensive and God’s grace greater?  Are you quicker to turn complaint to praise and fear to trust?  Has a quiet, intimate, listening to The Word become an exercise you can’t imagine living without?
Jennifer Dean in her book, Live a Praying Life, puts it this way: “Through the ongoing discipline of prayer, we are brought into direct and intimate contact with the Father’s heart. As we continually behold His glory, we are changed into His image. Miraculously, our lives begin to reflect Him; our desires begin to mirror His desires. As He has constant access to us, He aligns our vision, recreates our desires, reproduces His heart.”
Our Father in heaven, thank You for the growth You are bringing about within us. Spending time with You is such a joy. Just being with You, listening, abiding in Your presence, has changed us.  We don’t know how that is, but it is! We know it’s true. Thank You for the invisible work You are doing within us, Your church.  Please continue the job until it’s complete so that we might be used for Your glory alone.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

- Dianna Lanser