THE PLACE TO BEGINBy: Darrelyn L. Tutt"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this."Isaiah 9:6-7-------The book of Isaiah is composed of sixty-six chapters, with one-third of them being devoted to prophecies regarding the first and second coming of Christ. Unparalleled in its induced announcements of Christ, it is a "must read" and extension of hope to the believer in preparation for the celebratory Messiah in the Christmas season.While little is known of the man Isaiah, himself, it is fair to say his reputation among Israel's "elites" speaks for itself. Kings recognized the power of God at work in him and made him a steady subject in their presence; and the role of prophecy ordained for him granted him access into prominent interiors where he appeared over a span of forty years. For this reason, the words of Isaiah travel down the corridors of Israel's history with greater volume and transcend time in a more ardent step.The Spirit of God hovered over Isaiah just as He hovered over the early waters in Genesis.But the initial words of Isaiah must not be overlooked nor ignored.Isaiah's heart was composed of submission, humility, and wisdom and before prophesies emerged, five simple words came forth from his lips: "Here am I, send me."Isaiah 6:8 Never, in a million years, would Isaiah have guessed at the verbal announcements which would procede from his anointed and "coal touched" lips. "Then said, I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, 'Lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is purged."Isaiah 6:5-7 Never in a million years would Isaiah have believed or conceived that God's activity would procede from his life with a supernatural force and impact that would resonate and move into our world through his words.Hmmm ...-------We are quick, dear reader, to grab hold of the subject matter and truths pertaining most to "ourselves" and to often-rehearsed prophesies of Christ, and in doing so, miss the heart of a man who exemplifies the very heart desired by the Heavenly Father.-God loves a submissive heart which possesses an honest awareness of its internal state.-God loves and speaks well to a heart broken by its own sin and the sin of the people.-God works through a heart that gives itself over to Him in true submission and responds with five simple words upon its cleansing:"Here am I, send me."Note that the words were declared after the cleansing occurred.The effects of cleansing seem obvious.-------Governments fall and fail, as do the words of men, but the word of God stands forever.Men in government ... past, present, and future, merely speak to a need for One who ultimately has the power to reign with justice, judgement, and mercy, and has only to touch the lips of a man with the "living coal of His Christ on the soul" to be declared and made righteous, and this King is God.This Christ affords and avails Himself to all and this is what Christmas is all about.Isaiah reminds us today, as he reminded the people back in his day, that during periods of sin, darkness, and despair, there is only One who can save and His name is Jesus.He will be decorated with favorable words from on high and and His visage shall no man dismiss. He shall be called:WONDERFUL.COUNSELOR.THE MIGHTY GOD.THE EVERLASTING FATHER.THE PRINCE OF PEACE.OF THE INCREASE OF HIS GOVERNMENT THERE SHALL BE NO END.-------Utter these words aloud, dear reader, and experience the ushering in of God's glory into "your" own life.Breathe them. Repeat them.Worship with them.Study Isaiah's heart and begin your worship of God with an awareness of your sin. Hear the sound of Christmas ...the place to begin.--------STUDY FOR GROWTH:1) Read Isaiah 6 and 9 with a focus, first, on Isaiah's heart.2) Reflect on the aftermath of cleansing and its effects in Isaiah's life.3) Begin where Isaiah began ... and the word of God will be heard differently in you this Christmas season.------
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