I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS WEEK’S LESSON
BECAUSE I’M CONFIDENT IF YOU DO IT
YOU WILL BATHED IN HIS LOVE
WE ARE SEEKING HIS FACE THIS ADVENT
BUT YOU MUST BEGIN WITH THIS:
CHRISTMAS IS PROOF
OF THE PROMISE HE GAVE THROUGH MOSES FOR HIS PEOPLE
I’ve been listening to a free sermon from Keller called BENEDICTION which you will hear this week. As I listened and heard of God’s desire to shine His face upon us and give us peace, I thought, This is why He came. This is the promise of Christmas.
Last Sunday I was back in Kansas City and was so thankful to be able to go to The Messiah with my family and dear friends (such as our own Rebecca and Rachael from the Idol Lies video). Kansas City has a new symphony hall and we waited in anticipation as the orchestra readied to play Handel’s inspired work of art. Every lyric is Scripture — from Isaiah, Job, Lamentations… all the promises of Emmanuel.
And then, it began. The opening strains of Comfort, Comfort Ye My People…
Whether or not you can get to a production of The Messiah this Advent, you can listen in so many ways. This week I’ll give you a link to a You-Tube video of the opening of the Messiah with accompanying lyrics that will help you comprehend that His desire for you is good, and that one day as Isaiah 40 promised:
EV’RY VALLEY WILL BE EXALTED
(THE LOWS IN YOUR LIFE WILL BE REVERSED!)
EV’RY MOUNTAIN AND HILL MADE LOW
(THE TROUBLES WILL BE GONE!)
THE CROOKED STRAIGHT
(HE WILL REMOVE OUR BENT FOR SINNING)
THE ROUGH PLACES PLAIN
(NO MORE SORROW OR SICKNESS OR DEATH)
This has been His plan from the beginning:
to make His face to shine upon us,
to be gracious unto us,
and to give us peace.
This 2nd week of Advent
Come and do a little each day
and let His face shine upon you.
Last week many of you shared wonderful stories of God “ambushing” you, based on the Walter Wangerin quote. We want to hear more stories here! I will share one here. I’ve been missing Steve more acutely lately, but determined to turn to the Lord — and one of the ways I’m doing that is by re-reading some classics that strengthened me so as a young Christian. I went to the basement and pulled out a yellowed copy of Andrew Murray’s Like Christ. When I opened the front cover I was AMBUSHED by Steve’s familiar scrawl with notes to me:
- Dee: read the 4th day twice. Define surety before reading.
- Dee 10th day very good
- Dee Look at page 212 carefully and see how embodiment is the end of the ways of God…
So now, as I read, I am sensing God’s face upon me, and in mystic sweet communion, the face of Steve.
1. Was there a way you sensed the presence of the Lord last week? If so, when or how?
2. What stood out to you from anything in the above and why?
Tuesday: Read Isaiah 40:1-5 and watch the following video. Watch and worship — as a child of God these promises are for you.
4. What from Isaiah 40:1-5 speaks to you and why? Do you know anything about how this magnificent piece of music came to Handel?
Isaiah 40:4 reminds me of a part from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings when Sam Gangee wakes to find his friends all around him and says:
“Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead! Is everything sad going to come untrue?”
Yes! Every valley will be exalted, every mountain made low, every crooked thing straight, and every rough thing smooth.
5. What valley in your life will be exalted about which you are so excited?
Wednesday: Bible Study: Read, Listen, and Watch God’s Desire for you as expressed in Numbers 6:22-26
Watch this short video with this passage put to music and scenes from creation:
6. When you read God’s desire for you in Numbers 6:22-26, what lies of the enemy does it help disperse?
7. In the free sermon you will hear tomorrow, Keller says Moses, who was forbidden from seeing God’s face for it would destroy him, must have been astonished by this promise. Moses did not know what we know according to Hebrews 10:11-14. What does this say and how does this make it possible for God’s face to shine upon us, for Him to talk to us like a Father talks face to face with His child?
Thursday-Friday Listen and Respond to this Free Keller Sermon
Click on the link and download it — it will play more smoothly than if you do not download it: Link
8. What are some things that you learned about the word and the concept “blessing?”
9. Keller turns to the story of Jacob to illustrate the blessing. What stood out to you from this and why?
10. I love how Keller is able to see the Gospel hidden in every story. Find it in Rebecca’s hasty words in Genesis 27:13.
11. What else stood out to you from this message?
12. ACTION ASSIGNMENT: WE ARE NOT ONLY TO RECEIVE GOD’S BLESSING BUT TO BE A BLESSING. CHOOSE ONE OF THESE ASSIGNMENTS AND DO IT — (One is so easy anyone can do this!)
MAKE YOUR FACE SHINE UPON SOMEONE WITH A VERBAL OR WRITTEN WORD OF BLESSING.
- On a Christmas card or other note, write a specific blessing that will delight someone, mentioning their character, their sacrifice,or the fruit in their life.
- On a piece of stationery write a blessing and frame it, wrap it and put it under the tree. This is what my 18-year-old grand-daughter Emily (who is spending this year as a missionary in Japan) did for me before she left and I LOVE IT.
If you think a word of blessing this week (as simple as I love her spirit, I like her warmth, even, I like her hair) say it to her or say it on the blog.
Surprise someone with an act of kindness. When I came home after my long trip, expecting to lug my suitcases into a dark house, my daughter-in-law and grand-daughter had decorated my little house for me for Christmas.
13. Name one way you gave the blessing this week.
14. Name one way you received it as you did the study or listened to resources this week.