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Advent 2016: Christ Was Born For This: Day 6

Christ the Prophet Today

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Today's Text: Acts 10:43, 1 Peter 1:8-12, Matthew 8:16-17, Colossians 3:16, John 14:23-26

Text:  Acts 10:43, 1 Peter 1:8-12, Matthew 8:16-17, Colossians 3:16, John 14:23-26

Christ remains our perfect Prophet today. He calls us to share in the work of proclaiming the message of mercy and grace He secured through His life, death, and resurrection. When we bear witness to Him, we point to the same salvation the prophets of old proclaimed.

I just can’t catch the Gingerbread Man. Every time he crops up in a children’s book, running and taunting, I grit my teeth and manage to soldier on through the story, but I just get so mad at that spicy little gingerbread guy. He seems to will himself into existence, then taunt his creator; always running, always causing mischief. I want to send him to bed without any gumdrops or sugarplums.

But I can’t send him to bed, because no one seems to be able to catch him. The Gingerbread Man probably originated in 15th century German fairy tales. In Europe, he’s known as “The Fleeing Pancake,” which, while possibly sounding even more infuriating, is such a wonderfully descriptive phrase that I may just throw my fairy tale books in the bushes and give him the chase after all.

“Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.”

I’m afraid it’s so infuriating because it’s just so close to home. God created me in His image, and I spring up, shaking my tiny gingerbread fist at Him, and run—hard and fast—like a dog who has stolen a turkey leg right off the table. Do you find yourself running and shaking your fist, tweaking noses and pulling ponytails as you go?

We all lean full tilt in the direction of that Gingerbread Man. We run from our Creator, we ignore His prophets, and we turn our faces from Truth.

Our hearts are inclined to hate the words of authority. Jesus knew this, saying “I assure you: No prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24). When we see the truth we are often quick to bury it and run from it.

In spite of our best efforts to run, Christ remains the one perfect Prophet today. Indeed, He alone can unfold to us the Word of Truth. He alone can fulfill it. He calls us to share in the work of proclaiming the message of mercy and grace He secured through His life, death, and resurrection. He exhorts us, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (John 14:23). When we bear witness to Him, we point to the same salvation the prophets of old proclaimed.

In the past, Christ ministered as a prophet by both prophesying and fulfilling prophesy. He continues to minister to us today through His Word, the Bible. Just as the prophet is God’s messenger, His Word is His message to us. Because Christ is ascended, His prophetic Word is authoritative and trustworthy, and He promises heaven to those who believe in Him.

God makes His people His own. It is His great ministry of mercy, that He makes us His own despite the fact that we run like fleeing pancakes away from Him.

Our sinful hearts urge: “Run, run as fast as you can.”

And we run, but the prophet Isaiah’s words ring stronger, clearer, and truer:

“And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.”
- Isaiah 35:8

Even though our gingerbread feet are inclined to run, Christ’s prophetic ministry drives out our waywardness, and graciously makes us His own (Matthew 8:16-17).

SRT-Advent16-Instagram6s

  • Check for updates and power down for 10-15 sec. Maybe it will help.

  • Is it only me or anyone else also gets a message saying; unable to load scripture. I haven’t been able to read any of the scriptures :/

  • You spoke to my preschool teacher heart by using the Gingerbread Man story. I am guilty of behaving like the Gingerbread Man and perhaps like one of my students that loves to run when he’s in trouble. I always catch him, just like Christ always catches me, when I slow down from exhaustion. My student gives up because he’s little, and I give up when I realize I can’t do it on my own.

  • I also love how the verse in Isaiah says, “even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.” I used to think that “fools” in the Bible was referring to unbelievers, but that’s not what this verse is indicating. Aren’t we really all fools? Thinking for even a second that we can maneuver this life on our own. We either want to be in control, or sometimes we’re just so impatient that we do run on ahead of God…. and sometimes we’re not really even running ahead, just side-to-side in a crazy zig-zag line making no headway, but wearing ourselves out in the process… and Father is always just patiently waiting for us to acknowledge our foolishness and come back to Him begging for Him to light the way. Today, I am so thankful that He knows the way so much better than I do!! And He knows just when to reveal the way to us to keep us close to Him… if we’ll only trust Him!!

  • Christine Pribac

    Lord help me to hear your Word loud and clear, even if it’s hardest to hear. Let the truth from your word pierce my heart. So humbled by day 6 that God forgives me though I’m a sinner but yet rejoicing and full of joy because that’s the God we serve! So perfect, forgiving, loving and kind!

  • Yes even as foolish as we are he gracefully receives us into his loving arms. Thank goodness we love & serve a merciful God!

  • Alicia Sharp

    I love how the verse in Isaiah says, “even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.” The Lord’s grace is wonderful!

  • A wonderful illustration of our behavior. Our disobedience rings true especially when we are being told something we don’t like.

  • Rachel Charlton

    This was so timely! I was behind on my reading for the week and started on the Grace Day pages of my Advent 2016 book, and was praying and confessing this very thing–how often I let bitterness, frustration, and complaining reign in my heart–how I often try to conjure up my own Christmas “magic” by thinking if I do more crafts, baking, or listen to more music, it’ll fill up my Christmas spirit. You all have helped to remind/convict me that my Christmas “spirit” doesn’t start and stop with my own will power or efforts, but that Christmas spirit and joy that truly fills me up is already there in abundance for me…all because God choose to give us the best Christmas gift of all, Jesus Christ…who lived the life I couldn’t live and to die the death I should have died. I needed this morning to really pause and let that joyous truth once again sink in. Thank you, She Reads Truth ladies! Love you all.

    • Elizabeth White

      Couldn’t have articulated my own struggles better than this! Truly. Similarly, one of my favorite quotes from one of Christy Nockels recent podcast interviews with Ann Voscamp was of Ann reminding listeners, “simplicity is not a matter of circumstance; it is a matter of focus.” And in a season where culture says “more! more! more!” everything vying for our attention and affection, we need even more to set our focus on Christ alone. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • JoAnn

        Thank you for your perspective Rachel! I was a single mom for most of my children’s lives. One Christmas the children were at their dad’s home. Knowing I would be alone friends send invitations to share the holiday. Nonetheless I chose to spend a quiet Christmas. It wasn’t sad…or lonely…I had the most beautiful day with the Holy Spirit. It was a refreshing reminder that God’s love IS everything!

  • Sonja Matthews

    This analogy is bomb and totally spot on! “Lord forgive my gingerbread feet as I desire to run from you and your truth. Turn those feet around and empower me through your spirit to curb my desire to run from you and to ultimate run to you. Especially this season when I am distracted by work, parties and family. Help me put that aside and run to you the author and perfecter of my faith!”

  • Love the Gingerbread Man analogy …. it rings so true to everyday life.

  • Amazing! This is the best advent I’ve ever seen

  • Annette Briones

    What a beautiful reminder and it put it in a way I waa able to understand.

  • Love this analogy today! Totally relatable!!

  • I really love this and how it relates the scriptures to life. I definitely am the gingerbread man, and while I run in the wrong direction sometimes, I also find I am running more and more towards God when I continue to read and study His word and pray every day.

    I think one of the most amazing things about God is that he not only gave us salvation through Christ, but that he did so knowing how badly we would mess up. He gave us chance after chance and still mankind couldn’t get it right. But He continues to pursue us. It would be impossible to find anyone on this Earth who would extend to us the same grace, forgiveness, and love that God gives to us knowing all we have done.

  • I too love this site. The discussion strengthens me. I usually come back each evening to see if anyone new commented during the day. Thank you each for your insight.

  • Jess Gardiner

    I stray not stay!

  • Jess Gardiner

    Yes I am quick to run. But I find an even more subtle danger in how quick I am to forget and when I forget, I stay. Anna Voskamp calls it soul amnesia. And Jesus, knowing our hearts, fully meets that forgetfulness. In John 14:26 He promises that the Holy Spirit will remind us continually of all these things. Everyday I pray for the Spirit to remind me of HIS truth. And He answers that prayer. Thanks be to God!

  • So many good thoughts today! Reading through the different passages, it really hit me how far we do run. God called the prophets to speak of His amazing Savior who would come. He would heal, He would dwell among us, He would give us hope, and He teach us wonderful truths of our Father. We received Christ who checked all the boxes and fulfilled every promise, yet we crucified Him. It just shows how deep our bonds to sin did go before Christ died with our sin and then rose with OUR FREEDOM. Now we can fully accept that gift of freedom and allow Christ to change our hearts daily to know and serve him better. So cool!

    • Christine Pribac

      Wow this was so spot on and so what I needed to hear!

  • Mme.Langley

    I am often a fleeing pancake. But i have been trying to run back for a while now. thank you for this message. amen!

  • So often I feel like I’m chasing God, trying to catch Him and please Him. I love when I read Isaiah 35:8 Even if they are fools they should not go astray. oh how comforting a reminder to rest in the Lord.

  • “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.”
    Did anyone else pause, stumble or struggle with this phrase this morning?

    It sounds like God’s love is conditional – if you do what I say, I will love you, else I won’t.
    And yet this seems contrary to what I have understood all my life: that He loves me unconditionally, as a parent loves their child, even when that child goes astray.

    We all sin. Therefore we don’t always keep His word.
    Does that mean when we sin, He doesn’t love us?
    Does He love us any less because we sin?

    It is our choice to love. Love Him, love others. It is the primary, all encompassing commandment.
    It is also our choice to acknowledge when we sin, and again, our choice to ask forgiveness each time we fail to love.

    What are your thoughts?

    • Melanie Thompson

      I think that it’s talking about our hearts and not his. If we love HIM then we will keep his word. Right?

      This phrase did make me pause today too but more because I have to ask myself again how much I really love Him because I sometimes choose not to keep His word even though I know he loves me unconditionally and wants His best for me.

    • Lindsey

      I see it as because we love Him we will want to keep His commands. Because we love Him, we want to please Him. Just like how our children want to please us and follow our commands because they love us. Now, do they always please us or do what we say? Nope. And do we love them any less in those circumstances? Of course not. It’s the same with God. His love never changes and is unfailing. I don’t think He loves us less when we sin. But I do think it displeases Him and/or brings him sorrow.
      Not sure if that helped or not! :)

      • Lindsey #2

        I agree, the condition is on us. If WE love HIM, we show it by keeping the commands that He’s given us. I point to this verse all the time to remind my kids WHY they should obey – because they love their dad and I and it’s honoring that love by showing us that you can obey.

        Amen, you are correct, God’s love for us is unconditional. We ALL fall short constantly, and yet, He continues to pursue us so that return to Him.

    • Lexi

      I struggled with this too. I mess up all the time.

    • Colleen

      Ann Voskamp has posed this question, “Is Jesus useful to you? Or is Jesus beautiful to you?” I find in my own life that when I’m seeing Jesus as ‘useful’ or just as my way into heaven, them it’s easier to run and ignore the way he longs for me to live. But as Jesus becomes more and more beautiful to me, as my love for who he is deepens, then I can’t help but long to obey him. I don’t know if this passage is calling me to focus so much on his commands and then try to follow them in my own strength….I’m certain to fail if I try this! But this passage convicts me to look at my own love for Jesus. And the more time I spend communing with him, the more lovely he becomes. My family has endured a difficult summer. We almost lost my husband to a cardiac arrest. But our take away has really been that we treasure Jesus so much more. Perhaps he has caught these fleeing pancakes that we are through hardship? I long to live him more and more.

  • Thankful for a God who forgives us when we run and loves us even when we hide. May we choose to dwell richly in HIM and nothing or noone else.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Nicolette

    It’s so comforting to me that even though we can be completely foolish at times, God has given us everything we need for this journey with Him. And I believe he equips us and helps us grow so that we can be less foolish and more Christlike.

  • “Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…” I have not felt God in a long time in my life. Even though I don’t always see him, I still believe.

    • Angela

      Praying that your faith is rewarded by being able to feel His presence soon. Hang in there. His timing is different than ours, but He is always there.

  • I am LOVING this advent. I didn’t buy it and it is now sold out but I am thankful I still am able to partake in it through the app. I really like analogies. I am a visual learner so when I read or hear a analogy it really helps me to not only understand but to connect as well.

    I often find myself as the gingerbread man running from God’s word because it convicts me, judges and corrects me. often times I don’t want to believe that there are vile things in my heart although I know that all of our hearts are wicked and deceitful (Jer 17:9), but when God starts pointing out what is truly in there, it hurts and is hard because then you have to allow Him to take it out and heal it. He then replaces it with His character and goodness. we are ALL a work in progress until the coming of our Lord.

    • Lindsey

      Ashlee, While the book is beautiful, and I love it, the actual devotional reading isn’t included. Which I’m particularly glad for, because coming to the app/website allows me to read the comments from so many other believers. This really feeds my soul and I believe it’s the best part of SRT!

  • Thank you

  • Carrie Rogers

    Beautiful. Amen!

  • Loved this, Rebecca and the SRT team! One of my favorites thus far. Beautiful work! Thank you for all you do!

    • She Reads Truth

      Thanks for reading along, Lana! Grateful to spend Advent with you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Lindsay Sterchi

    What would it have been like to live in the days before Jesus came to earth? The verses that spoke of the prophets’ search for the Messiah connects so deeply to the longing of Advent. How amazing that we are able to read the story and celebrate the birth of Jesus, that in the midst of our longing we are able to see the person of Jesus through Scripture!

  • jessiechatchat

    “even if they are fools, they shall not go astray!” Like the ladies above I’m so loving this, clinging to it. Praising God for Isaiah who eschewed a life of comfort to give these words to his people and to us.

    I also love Rebecca’s phrasing when she says, “Indeed, He alone can unfold to us the Word of Truth.”

  • I wanted to see what different translations of Isaiah 35:8 said and they almost seem to completely contradict each other. The NLT says “fools will never walk there” and the NIV says “the unclean will not journey on it, wicked fools will not go about on it”
    Can anyone help me understand?

    • Madeline

      I can be a little help. Whenever I see something like this, I like to look at commentary that focuses on the original language. I’m no expert, but reading what experts say and then praying about it helps. I think even though the verses are written very differently, the spirit is the same. So, I guess I didn’t answer your question, but I hope my tips help.

    • Beth

      I looked through several translations and noticed that the ESV (which is what she quoted in the devotional) has a footnote for an alternate phrasing of: “If they are fools they shall not wander in it.” That phrasing seems to fit more with most of the other translations.

    • Sadie

      Hi Stacy! I just read the commentary on the KJV Isaiah 35:8 and read a few different versions- essentially, it means that fools (the weak, the foolish) will not be able to err or ‘go on about it,’ meaning that the way of God is so straight and clear in the Word of God and from guidance from the Holy Spirit that even the weak of the world (us!) will not be able to stray. Check out Matthew Henry’s commentaries online. He’s pretty reliable.

    • Nicolette

      The NKJV says “Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.” I think the inconsistency comes from different perspectives on translation. But when I looked at a few commentaries, the idea was that even though we can be foolish (I can relate to that!) we will not fall away because we have the Word, we have the Spirit dwelling in us keeping us on “the highway of holiness”. Hope this helps!

    • Stacy

      Thanks everyone!!

  • Wow I like this passage

  • I’m not sure how you know me so well but, WOW. This spoke to me completely today. So grateful that “even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.”

  • Isaiah 35:8 is so good this morning. “Even if they are fools they should not go astray.” Because of the Way. Thank you Lord Jesus for choosing us! I often feel like a fool and am glad he sought me, revealed himself to me, and saved me! The work is His! We are to rejoice with our hearts, voices, and lives!

    • jessiechatchat

      Me, too!

    • Desiree

      Love this in the HCSB. It says “even the fool will not go astray.” I thought, girl, there is hope for you yet! Because I definitely have been a fool often. I just hope I am done being a little running gingerbread cookie!

  • I love this idea that as we live Christ-centered lives and tell others about Him,even though we are pointing to the past, we are joining the prophets of old in just pointing, pointing, pointing toward Jesus. I love the visual of all of time being a line that just point towards Him. What a beautiful, connecting thread. The people the prophets were telling the Word were just men, women, families- just like us, leaning in with just as much hope and longing and faith that we have. All of time is people reaching for our Creator, reaching toward redemption. Beautiful.

  • churchmouse

    Those prophets of old – “they were serving not themselves but you.” They pointed the way to Jesus, not for their immediate benefit but for ours. That wows me this morning. I often think my witnessing about Jesus just falls flat. I wonder what impact my words and actions make, what the results, if any, will be. Today I realize that my speaking His Truth is simply serving others. And the Truth is always beneficial. I may not see the results but that’s not my business. I am simply to keep on telling, keep on serving Him up to those around me. There will be folks gathering around my table this holiday – may they get a heaping serving of Him more than anything else.

    • Betsy P.

      This verse struck me too, churchmouse, and you have summed it up so beautifully. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • This is just what I needed. I have been struggling a lot lately. I have been running full speed in the opposite direction of where I should be..towards Jesus.

    • April Heather

      But here you are–you did it! And it’s a wonderful thing indeed. Prayers for you in your struggles today. ❤️

  • I am struggling still with not wanting to run to God with my sin, even though I have been His child for all but 7 of my 63 years. Unlearning old patterns of thinking is difficult, so though I do run to him it is generally after needing to reiterate to myself that He truly loves me unconditionally.

    • CGilmore

      @ruth praise God that he gives us His word to be able to root out minds in Him and His promises. I know I wouldn’t be able to convince myself to do any of the hard healing work that he asks me to do without a similar promise to what helps you go to him! I have been anchoring in the fact that my righteousness is through Christ so that I don’t need to cover up or “have the answers”, especially when confessing with my trusted Christian community (which is so crazy challenging and counter cultural!). I think this is part of what Christ refers to when he says to that we are to take up our crosses and deny ourselves. I am praying for us and the other ladies on here that we would know that God’s covering over us is unshakeable and he loves us and sees us no matter what!

    • Deb

      Ruth, I am the very same. I am so frustrated with myself sometimes! I know how much and how completely He loves me, yet I do selfish things that do not glorify Him. Then I am so sad. God then reminds me He still loves me! I, like you, praise God for never giving up on me!

    • Sue D.

      Ruth I hear you. I’ve been a Christian for 47 years and feel like I’m still learning what that means.

    • Kelly Wilson

      Ruth, I can hear that but let’s let go together!

  • Kelly Wilson

    Like the gingerbread man, I often found myself running and fleeing from God’s word. Not because I am trying to hide, but because I often felt that I was not worthy. Not worthy to hear God’s word, not worthy to be in his presence. Simply, not worthy. But I have come to a point where I no longer want to run, I want to, with all my faults, throw up my arms and yell “Here I am Lord”, help me heal, help me understand, help me forgive. I am yours”.

    • Katy

      Amen Kelly! And praise God that when we run to Him, He is also running to us to embrace us as well!

    • Tina

      Amen. A double Amen to that Kelly…Thank you Lord God.. thank you.

      Blessings and prayers for you dear sister…x

    • Robin W.

      Sweet Kelly, I know this battle. So much in my life has created an “unworthy” record 10 miles long. I was where you are about 12 years ago. Tired. Done. Sad. Frustrated.

      They say you have to hit bottom sometimes.

      My experience is, God will meet you! He will be the one to change your heart and encourage you. Don’t give up, friend. You have many of us rooting for you to let go and fall safely into the arms of your Father.

      • Kelly Wilson

        Thank ladies-Tina, Robin,Katy-your words of encouragement is truly much appreciated and needed.

    • Meg

      Shout it Kelly! I’m with you!

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