Week of Prophecy

Week of Prophecy
November 30th
Isaiah 7:14; Matt 1:18-25

The essence of prophecy in the bible is not simply telling the future – it’s casting a vision of how glorious and fulfilling a life of faith in God can be. In the beginning, we see God delighted to be with His creation and even endow humanity with his image and likeness. He was our God and we were most definitely His people. But all of that went horribly wrong when sin entered the scene. Humanity chose to refuse God’s good rule and go it on our own which resulted in a quick and extreme demise. All through the bible we hear the call of his desire to repair what we ruined: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” When the Israelites were liberated from slavery in Egypt they were a people lost in every way – without a home, without a national identity, and most of all, without a relational knowledge of God. They were led by the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day as God revealed himself to them and reminded them that He was to be their God and they, His people. The giving of the ten commandments and law at Sinai was their birth as a nation belonging to God. Through the age of kings and the tragic exiles to Assyria and Babylon, God continued to whisper through His prophets that though He was judging, there would come a time when all would be restored and He would be their God and they His people. Then one day, a virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit and her fiancée was told by an angel to name the boy Jesus, in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. In beautiful grace and kindness, God came after humanity. Jesus arrived as a sign to us all that God is relentless in making for himself a people who worship Him and who He can call His own; a people no longer defined by an ethnicity or geography, but something much more significant: those who believe that Jesus is God with us.

It’s fairly common for many of us to feel a sense of being lost at Christmas time, wondering where we really belong. We battle cynicism about all the sentimental commercials, cards, movies, and decorations along with a feeling of hope that it might all someday be real. Well, it isn’t. It’s much, much better. All of that Christmas cheer, as we know, wears off sometime around mid-January and we’re left feeling lost again...and maybe more cynical and hurt. What Jesus has done is to claim you as His own so that you can NEVER be lost again. He has proven that it is not up to us to somehow get near to God. Jesus did it at the cross! And when we turn our hearts to Jesus, He assures us as often as needed “Because of the cross more than the manger, I am your God, and you are my people.”

Pastoral Prayer
Gracious Father in Heaven, Author of mercy and God of love. By sheer grace, you have chosen to write our lives into the unfolding of you redemption. O Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters of Mission Church as we all labor to see beyond our own mini-dramas at times. As we see a thousand situations that don’t go according to our plans, protect us from even the slightest disappointment and frustration. Protects us from anger and a refusal to trust in You. With the apostle Paul, I pray that the eyes of our hearts would be illuminated so we can see and savor and stand in awe of Your great plans in Jesus. How astounding to know beyond a doubt that You, Almighty God of Glory, have come to us to be our Strong Redeemer who will rescue us from our own sin and into Your world of love. O God, help us to set our hearts and minds on You above all else that everything else would be brighter, lighter, more enjoyable, more glorious because it lives in the light of Your love and grace. We are glad to be Your people, O God, and will forever rejoice that You are our God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Questions to ponder together
What are some of your instinctive reactions to when things don’t go according to your plan?

What does the Holy Spirit reveal in your own heart during those times?

How can the bigger story of God’s redemptive plan bring peace and joy to you in those times?

Activities with family and/or Gospel Community
Write down a holiday experience from your past that fits the “not what I had planned” criteria. Shuffle the papers and have others read them out loud and share how God used/is using it.

Reconnect with a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Meditation verses:
Monday Isaiah 7:14, Behold the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Tuesday 1Peter 1:4-5 ...to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith

Wednesday Zechariah 13:9 ...They will call upon my name and I will answer them. I will say ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God’.

Thursday Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you whoever you go.

Friday Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Saturday John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

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