Wednesday, December 7, 2016

26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet--Miracle

Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Nativity Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 words in the Nativity Alphabet are so intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows. My heart has been drawn to write 26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet.
While pondering the word, “Miracle,” I was inspired by listening to the anointed hymn, Miracles, by Jesus Culture featuring Chris Quilala... The One who made the blind to see, Is moving here in front of me, moving here in front of me, The One who made the deaf to hear, Is silencing my every fear…I believe in You, You're the God of miracles, I believe in You…You're the God of miracles, The God who was and is to come, The power of the Risen One, The God who brings the dead to life, You're the God of miracles!

Pastor John MacArthur states: “ Regarding Matthew 1:18-25, Dr. Walvoord, the president of Dallas Theological Seminary, writes, “The incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ is the central fact of Christianity. Upon it the whole superstructure of Christian theology depends.”  The whole essence of Christianity is predicated on the fact that Jesus is God in human flesh.  This is something made clear at the very birth of Christ, an essential doctrine. You see, if Jesus had a human father, then the Bible is untrustworthy, because the Bible claims he did not. And if Jesus was born simply of human parents, there is no way to describe the reason for his supernatural life. His virgin birth, his substitutionary death, his bodily resurrection and his second coming are a package of deity. You cannot isolate any one of those and accept only that one and leave the rest or vice versa, accept them all but one. You either believe all those realities that are the manifestation of his deity, or you do not. The virgin birth is essential enough for the Apostles’ Creed to speak of Jesus as “conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary.” That’s always been a cardinal fact of Christianity. There is no birth ever in the history of humanity that is as singularly spectacular as the birth of Jesus Christ. Any rejection of Christ’s supernatural origin leaves his supernatural life and his supernatural death and his supernatural resurrection inexplicable. You’ve got to have it all for any of it to make sense. If Jesus wasn’t virgin born, then the claim that he can save is highly questionable. Matthew, to begin with, affirms the virgin birth. He was none other than God in human flesh. Matthew tells us he came to dwell with the sick, to heal them. He came to dwell with the demon possessed, to liberate them, with the poor in spirit to bless them, with the care ridden, to free them from care, with the lepers, to cleanse them, with the diseased, to cure them, with the hungry, to feed them, with the handicapped, to restore them, but most of all, he says that he came to dwell with the lost in order that he might seek and save them. Immanuel, God with us, infinitely rich became poor, assumed our human nature, entered our sin-polluted atmosphere without ever being tainted by it, took our guilt, bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was wounded with our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, went to heaven to prepare a place for us, sent his Spirit to dwell in our hearts, right now makes intercession for us, and will someday come to take us to be with him.

Pastor MacArthur’s closing prayer: “Father, what a wonder, what a wonder it is that Jesus was thus born, the God-man, miracle of miracles, that he should be man and yet God. Thank you for the lesson, too, Father, that when you want to do your special works, your mighty works, your supernatural works, your miraculous works, you always find some humble, faithful, trusting, righteous people like Mary and Joseph. Thank you not only for the theology of the virgin birth, but for the example of what happens when God uses two simple people.  May we be so righteous, so useful for that which you would do today in our world in revealing yourself. Thank you that you have chosen the weak things to confound the mighty. Thank you that we who have nothing to offer can be used by you. What a mystery. May it so be that everyone gathered here comes to know that precious Lord Jesus who came to save people from their sins, and that in knowing him would become humble, submissive, trusting, available people who can be used again to do your work in this world and will give you the praise. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

The miracle of Jesus’ birth was only the beginning of His life of miracles and the miracle of His resurrection. In Mark 8:11-13, Jesus had just miraculously fed the multitude, yet the Pharisees demanded more signs, more miracles. Like them, we sometimes fix our hopes on miraculous, stupendous events: our ship coming in so that all our financial woes disappear in a moment, or our wheelchair-bound friend getting up to walk again. Jesus is just as able to do those things as He was to feed the five thousand, but what about the fact that the sun rises each morning or that God has given us new birth into a living hope through Jesus’ finished work for us on the cross? Aren’t those things manifestations of His miraculous power? We see signs of God’s presence everywhere: in a beautiful valley of wildflowers, in the encouraging words of a friend, in the gentle rain, in the ways He provides all we need. We don’t need a miraculous sign—we just need Jesus! Ask Him to help you to recognize the many ways in which He is with you, for you are never outside of His loving arms or without His Spirit, who dwells in the innermost part of you. Ask Him to give you glimpses of His nature and character wherever you go and to turn your heart toward Him in gratitude and belief.

Lord Jesus, forgive me if I ever demand evidence of Your miracles—Your supernatural working and power instead of thanking You for all you do. Please open my eyes to be aware of Your continual presence, to sense Your nearness, and to see the works of Your hand everywhere I look. With all my heart I welcome Your presence today, however you choose to reveal yourself to me. Give me a heart which longs to know You, to believe You, and to thank You in all things. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Mark 8:11-13  … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on
Mark 8:11-13 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on
Mark 8:11-13 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


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4 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful image and great scriptural encouragement today! Visiting from #coffeeforyourheart

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    1. Thanks foe stopping by, Becky. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  2. I just keep on loving these. The birth of Christ is such a beautiful subject to begin with and now with these. Thanks for sharing, Beth.

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    1. Linda, I so appreciate your kind and encouraging words! Many blessings to you ❤️

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