Our guest today is Homer Allison, founder and pastor at Battle Cry Ministries in Houston, Texas. One week after Hurricane Harvey devastated their community, Homer is sharing how they are seeing God move powerfully throughout the recovery and rebuilding process. His ministry team has developed a long term strategy to help the people of Houston not only rebuild their homes but find new life in Jesus, sharing the Gospel with every family they serve. To find out more information on their recovery efforts, their ministry, or how to support them financially click on the links below:

The Epicenter Harvey Relief Facebook Page

BattleCry Ministries Harvey Relief (Donate + Serve)

#IKnowHim Hurricane Harvey

#IKnowHimPodcast Homer Allison

Our #IKnowHim story today was submitted by Kali Peddy, who one day found herself face to face with a truth that saved her life. Even in the trenches of depression, she knew that God was ever present, waiting to redeem, and longing to restore. Just as the sun continues to rise each day, she continues to experience God who is faithful to show up in the valleys, along the mountaintops, and every step of the way in between.

**Help us share her story and if you were inspired by her story be sure to leave her some encouragement in the comment section below!** 

Chocolate milk saved my life! Well, not literally, but in the most important way, this is wholeheartedly true. Let’s back up…

I grew up in the good ol Texas Panhandle, splitting time between Canadian and Canyon in the all too familiar world of broken homes; my parents had divorced when I was 7 years old. I grew up with a preacher for a grandpa; I knew about Jesus. I went to church regularly until I was 11 years old. I was baptized in a pool in a New Mexico hotel during a youth ski trip with a church that I attended, mostly alone, during my entire high school existence. My mom and stepdad had long since quit attending, my brother had no interest, my younger half sister just did what my mom did, and so that left me, 15 year old Kali, to decide if going to church alone in a small town was worth the whispers and gossip and humiliation that I felt almost every time I stepped through those doors. I knew at 15 that I knew who Jesus was, wanted to be saved, was obedient through baptism, but nothing significant remains in my memory from that event in my life. I could point out dozens of moments in my life and claim that that was my “salvation moment.” I attended church camp every single summer for six years when I would visit my dad in the summer. I “knew” all the things to say and sing and believe but I had THE hardest time living it out. You could characterize my high school and early college years in the words of Johnny Lee: “Looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in all the wrong faces….” Yup. Guilty. Horribly so.

Until chocolate milk saved me. On a stateside mission trip to Branson, Missouri with Campus Crusade for Christ at Oklahoma State University, a chocolate milk demonstration finally revealed the all consuming, life giving, irrevocable love of Jesus. I was completely enraptured as chocolate syrup (representing Jesus and his Holy Spirit) was poured into a glass of milk (my life), and we were challenged to try to separate the syrup from the milk. It all made sense in that moment: when I proclaim to follow Jesus, declaring him my savior, surrendering my messy broken heart to his will, ain’t no amount of sin gonna separate that syrup from the milk. Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” LIBERATING! FREEDOM! RELIEF! I felt it all. That was such a monumental moment in my spiritual journey and what I consider my “salvation” moment. I knew it then, I had no doubts that I was saved; that I wanted to live for Jesus. It was amazing.

But we all know that life doesn’t always stay on the mountain top. There are moments and seasons in the valley. In a season of fear, and desperation, and loneliness shortly following my time on the mountain top, I hit absolute rock bottom.

I attempted suicide my junior year of college. My biggest secret; my darkest shame; my ultimate lack of trust.

My syrup was still there, but I was watering it down with all my might.  For some reason, a full bottle of aspirin and alcohol seemed more attainable and fulfilling than my Jesus. Oh but his mercies are new every morning. Jesus crawled in my nasty, dark, broken life and pulled me back to the mountain top. Great is his faithfulness. He loved me through the shame, and heartache. His mercies never come to an end. My story didn’t end on the mountain top in Branson, Missouri. My story didn’t end in the darkest valley in Stillwater, Oklahoma in November of 2010. My story is new every morning.

Redemption

Being a believer, a Christ follower does not guarantee a straight path from mountain top to mountain top; but it does guarantee a God who will walk with you, search you out, call you back, open doors, straighten winding paths, and wrap us up in love when we find ourselves in a valley. I will never stop loving my Jesus, I will never stop serving my great God, I will never stop being grateful for the steadfast love of the Lord.

Kali's #IKnowHimStory

Has God ever met you in a hard place? When did you come to understand that there is nothing that can hinder His love for you? We want to hear your thoughts! Tell us about your experiences in the comment section of the blog! 

Want to tell YOUR story? Click HERE to submit your story to be featured on the blog! 

We are pleased to invite Roxy Hall to the #IKnowHim podcast! Roxy is a mother to many as she is a passionate advocate for children in the foster care system. We are honored to partner with her in ministry as we dive in to how she has personally experienced God in her life. She is passionate about telling her story and our prayer is that this episode of the #IKnowHim podcast will be encouraging, inspiring, and maybe will shed some light on how we can be a voice for those that cannot speak for themselves. Sit back, enjoy the episode, and leave her some encouragement in the comment section! **Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes to get each new episode automatically as they become available!**


#IKnowHimPodcast with Roxy Hall

 

After several long months we are thrilled to share the very first episode of the #IKnowHim Podcast! We have worked for this so long and prayed about this next step for #IKnowHim even longer! We know that God will move mightily through the testimonies and conversations offered through this platform and are prayerful that you will be encouraged and inspired to see Him move mightily in your life as well.

Click HERE to see it on iTunes and subscribe to get the latest episodes! If you have a second, leave a review while you are there so we can hear what you think!

On this episode of the #IKnowHim podcast, we are talking with Julia Grief, a missionary who serves in Africa in addition to being a college educator in the states. In this conversation we cover topics such as what people really think missionary work is, how God met her in the middle of a jail cell, and how her life continues to be radically impacted daily by knowing God. Be sure to check out her blog to follow her journey back to Africa and support her ministry efforts by clicking the links below.

#IKnowHim_JuliaGreif

https://www.juliagreif.com/

MONTHLY + ONE TIME DONATIONS

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Help us spread the word about #IKnowHim by ordering your own graphic tee! These shirts are SUPER soft and are available in a V-Neck or a Crew for adults, and we are also offering youth shirts in the Crew Neck! This is a great way to get your whole family involved and 100% of your purchase will go towards helping us continue the ministry of sharing hope and the name of Jesus, as we further our reach to share the Gospel + what it means to know Him.

Click HERE to order or check out out “SHOP” page for more information!

After you order, don’t forget to tag us on social media of where you are wearing your apparel so we can celebrate those spreading the message of #IKnowHim all over the world! Use #IKnowHimAmbassador to submit your photo! We can’t wait to see this message travel!

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Today’s story was submitted by Mandy Pugh. Read her story below to see how God revealed He had a greater plan for her life. 

Proverbs3:5

As a teenager, I can remember so many times talking to God and asking him into my heart but never taking that next step to salvation.  There was still something holding me back.  I truly believe God places people in your life for a reason.  My high school sweetheart’s family were devout Christians.  They will never truly know the impact they had on my life.  Even though it wasn’t exactly for the right reasons, I started attending church with them.  I knew God was working in my life.  On July 31, 1998, God gave me a second chance at life.  I was in a horrible vehicle accident.  For three days, I was in a medical induced coma due to the brain injury I sustained.  I walked away from the accident with a major concussion and minor scraps and bruises.  Many people would say I am lucky to be here today due to the fact I was wearing my seat belt that morning.  I know in my heart it wasn’t by chance or luck that I was given another chance at life.  God had other plans for me.  After the accident, something inside of me changed.  I wanted to savor every moment in my life but still I hesitated.  I want to think that I had to completely hit my lowest for me to see how much I needed God in my life. 

I remember sitting in the pew at Porter Springs Baptist Church and I knew in my heart it was time.  I had waited too long and God had a purpose for my life even though I still wasn’t quiet sure what that was at the time.  I was baptized in April 2002.  Almost a year and a half later, I married my best friend.  Life was great.  I gave birth to our first daughter in April of 2006 and the second just sixteen months later.  Family has always been important to me.  My family was shaken in 2008 when circumstances sent my father away for almost a year.  Being a “daddy’s girl”, I couldn’t wrap my mind around it all.  I was crushed and questioned why. As we communicated, he would tell me that he was reading his Bible daily and knew God would get us through it.  Here I was questioning God and turning my back on Him when He was the one person I needed to be turning to.  I had to get down on my knees and beg God for forgiveness. 

Proverbs 3:4-5 “Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  This verse has such a powerful meaning.  We can’t lose sight of God in our times of trouble but, instead, we must turn to Him.  Give praise to Him and trust in the plan He has for your life.  I am blessed to say that I am a born again Christian.  A year ago, God laid it on my heart to take the role as Team Leader for Children’s Ministry at my church.  What a blessing it is watching children come to know and trust in Jesus Christ.  God is working in my life daily and can’t wait to see what else he has planned for me. What a blessing it is to know Him!… and an even greater blessing every day to know Him more.

Has God revealed a different plan to you, other than your own? How does trusting in God’s plan for your life rather than leaning on your own understanding influence your daily decisions? How have you experienced this in your life? We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave your comment in the section below! You can also SHARE YOUR STORY here!  

#IKnowHim story submitted by Mandy Pugh 

Mandy's #IKnowHim story

Our #IKnowHim story today comes from Natalie who shares about a time in her life when God revealed Himself to her as her strength and comfort during a difficult summer. She is sharing her story today with hopes to encourage others going through difficult seasons with five characteristics of God that remain true no matter the circumstances.  

5TipsforaHardSeason_0002

As I pulled away from the coffee shop after saying goodbye that Sunday afternoon, I began weeping. With tears clouding my eyes, I managed to navigate onto the freeway for the long drive home. Alone. I thought of all the people around me driving to their various destinations and wondered if any felt as sad as me, or were they all happy on this sunny summer Sunday?

My husband and I had been living four hours apart for several months because of his job. His help was necessary at another facility, and while I was proud of his skillset, it broke my heart for us to be apart. I hated saying goodbye on Sundays. I came to dread the end of every weekend because it meant a week of being alone, of worrying about my husband working incredibly long hours, and of dealing with all things happening back home.

Things were falling apart. My car was having mechanical issues, our shower in the master bedroom was leaking causing the wood to rot, and worst of all, our daughter was struggling terribly with anxiety. I decided the best thing to do on that car ride home was to turn on some worship music to lift my spirits; otherwise, I was going to unravel completely. As I began to worship and pray, I cried out to the Lord.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 NLT

I desperately needed God’s mercy, His grace, and His comfort. My heart felt broken and the separation was very difficult, but I trusted that the Lord would carry us through this tough season. He is a gracious and compassionate Father, One whom I can come to at any time with my needs. I can approach His throne boldly knowing He hears the cries of my heart, and He is willing to offer me grace, mercy, and unending love.

That summer was particularly challenging; however, I continually approached the throne of God asking for fresh grace for the day, for His mercy, for strength, for healing for our daughter, for the work assignment to end quickly, for protection for my husband, and for the courage to manage our home alone.

***

When you walk through hard times, it is helpful to remember five things:

  1. God is on the throne, sovereign over all
  2. He will not allow you to be overcome
  3. He is faithful to carry out His promises in the Word
  4. He is ready to listen to all your heart’s cries
  5. He will never leave your side.

5TipsforaHardSeason_0001

God knows all about our struggles, our pain, our worries, our fears, our trials, and our weaknesses, but we have hope because of who God is. He is trustworthy, He is mighty, He is holy, and He is loving. We can cast our cares on the Lord and believe that He will help us get through the rough patches. He loves us beyond measure. He is our Comforter, our Protector, our good, good Father.

try2

Natalie is a Bible teacher, speaker, and writer who blogs about everyday things using anecdotes of faith, marriage, food, and friendship. She loves the sunshine, fine chocolate, reading, and traveling.

Website: www.everydaynatalie.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everydaynatalieblog/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everyday.natalie/

 

Our #IKnowHim story today was submitted by Alli Miller, who experienced the goodness of God in the valley of the shadow of death. She shares her story today to encourage anyone that finds themselves in the valley or overcome by darkness. She reminds us to trust that God will make the darkness light, and turn the mountain that lies ahead into level ground because that is what HE promises, and that is exactly what she experienced. 

Valley

No one expects to die on a Thursday. It was a surprise to me as well, but that’s a little too far ahead in the story. The beginning is an autumn day. The kind of day ripe for expectation as it was the start of the weekend. The weather forecast predicts nine inches of rain. Living in a state frequenting tropical storms and hurricanes, we could handle it. The rain began as expected. The unexpected part is that it kept raining. Sheets and sheets through the rest of the weekend. In a matter of days, that nine-inch forecast is met, then exceeded by an extra seventeen inches. A soggy Monday arrived, and it’s finally over. Over twenty-six inches of rain fell. Sixty thousand people displaced in a matter of three days. But death didn’t come for me then.

Floods are no respecter of persons or property. My house did not flood, so as soon as it was safe to begin cleanup, I was on it. The next few months my weekdays consisted of my regular day job, then after work, I’d be a part of a team picking up the pieces of someone’s life that had been swept up by the flood. Saturdays were all-day cleanup events with multiple teams spread out across three cities. There’s a delicate balance in caring for victims of flooding. It requires walking that line where you care for people, while simultaneously throwing out every material possession they own. The kind of things that help turn a house into a home. Trinkets and treasures that have memories attached to them. All needed dragging to the dump pile on the street. Helping sometimes hurts. But death didn’t come for me then either.

Two months into flood recovery, it’s a Sunday full of blue sky. My church routine begins with teaching the smallest children a Bible story. The story for the littles this week is of His faithfulness. How He is good all the time. No matter the fire or the flood, He is there, infinitely involved in our lives. The littles ask about Him. Nothing draws you closer to Jesus than having a seven-year-old innocently pose a question that stumps you. After the kid’s small group is over, it’s time to worship corporately. Sitting amongst my community, a wave of exhaustion rolls over me. I could barely keep my head up during the church service. I didn’t know it then, but that was the first physical indication He would lead me through the valley of the shadow of death. 

Did you know your body naturally keeps viruses locked away in your spine? They rarely travel up your spinal cord. Unfortunately, weariness weakens your immune system. Your body can’t fight well when tired. What began as being extra sleepy on a Sunday night revealed itself in the form of a virus crossing my blood-brain barrier. Viruses don’t attack your brain; they eat it. This particular virus attacked sensory organs. I would go blind, losing sight in my right eye. My brain would swell, losing feeling in my hands and feet. Tests on top of tests in the ER and then after being admitted to the hospital. Once green eyes turned gray in the fight for survival. Apparently, the human body decides eye color isn’t a necessity when fighting a virus lodged in your brain stem. There are days I still don’t remember. The one night doctors told my family they couldn’t do anything else. Just see if I make it through the evening. My sister needing to answer the question of where to ship my body if this night ended in death. That next morning, waking up with new IVs and bruises not knowing what had happened. Sometimes the valley of the shadow of death looks like a hospital room in muted yellows.

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16

Isaiah is known as the “Evangelical Prophet.” He prophesies of the Messiah, His character, His death and His kingdom. This verse, like the majority of the book, is written with the intent to point the reader to Him. Death’s shadow, death itself, dies in the light of our Savior. The redemptive power of the cross reveals that my death is inconsequential. A virus may have ravaged my body, but death can do nothing to my soul. Death defeated is but an off-key echo fading in the wondrous overture that is His kingdom coming.

My story didn’t end that night in the hospital, but eventually, there will be a day when He directs me from this present world into His everlasting joy. And as a follower of Christ, your ending is the same as mine. It’s impossible to see past my pen and into your life. I do not know the valley He walks you through. But, oh, God is good even when our circumstances are not. He leads the blind in ways they do not know. He guides us down paths our feet have never thought to tread. He transforms dark to light. He levels craggy peaks. Our God does this. The Almighty does not abandon those who are His own.

 Alli Miller

Alli loves turning pages, learning more about our Living Hope, laugh lines, and serving in her local church body. Her heart is for encouraging others to taste and see God is breathtakingly good to and through them. Say hello at http://allimillerwrote.com or on social media @allimillerwrote. 

Have you ever found yourself in a valley of some sort? What was it that got you through to the other side? We’d love to hear your answer in the comment section, and feel free to leave some encouragement for Alli!

Have you experienced God in you life? We are always praying for people to boldly share what God has done in their lives and would love to help you share your testimony of God’s faithfulness here on the blog. Visit our submission page for more info by clicking HERE. Every story makes an ETERNAL difference. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Today’s #IKnowHim story was submitted by Lauren Clark, a young mother of three who experienced God in powerful ways during one of the most difficult seasons of her life. Read her story to see how God saved the life of her and her son, and her relationship with God was forever changed. 

I have always wanted to be a mom. After graduating high school I went to Texas Tech University for one year and three days to get my MRS. degree and after realizing that cutting classes the first day of my sophomore year was probably a bad sign I dropped out and began putting more effort into my photography career that I began at 17. Three months after I quit going to college I met my husband and we were married seven months later at the ripe ages of 19 and 21. I was raised in a deeply spiritual and giving family and I dreamed of the day that I would be a stay at home mom, cook homemade meals in the kitchen and have water balloon fights with my kids in the backyard. Fast forward to year seven of our marriage. Within the previous three years we had gone through two careers, three towns, two states and had our first two sons. I was exhausted in every way possible. Back to back pregnancies almost did me in! After finally loosing all 60 pounds of my pregnancy weight and feeling like I was finally getting ownership of my body back from my toddlers for the first time in four years, I had made a strong pledge to not get pregnant again for a long, long time.

One month into my pledge I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test.

I was fearful, depressed and a little bit angry. We had been through so many transitions and struggles in those years and this was not a convenient time for me to be sick for months, taking a maternity leave from my home based business again and trying to save up cash for another home birth.

Around the turn of my first trimester I had a very vivid dream that I delivered a still born baby around 20 weeks. God had used dreams in my life in the past to show me very real things that were about to happen in my life and so I woke up with an eery feeling that I may possibly miscarry the baby as I had seen in my dream. I blamed myself for my own feelings of rejecting the pregnancy from the start. I felt guilt and relief and fear all at once. How did I get here? How did I go from wishing to be where I was in life as a mom to wishing that precious life away? Shame, hopelessness and ambivalence stirred around in my heart.

At 16 weeks I began to show signs of miscarriage and immediately came crashing into a wall of fear as I remembered my dream. I thought for sure that God was going to be just and take my baby because I hadn’t wanted to be pregnant. I needed to be punished by a just God, taught a lesson to never stumble again in my faith. This was the theology that I grew up believing. My husband was out with friends that night and the children were already in bed. I was alone in the bathroom and the emotions finally burst through the door of my heart with desperation. “Oh God! I want the baby, I WANT THE BABY! Please don’t take my baby. Let him live.” I wept for thirty minutes and prayed. How could my heart have gone to that place of apathy about a life inside of me? That moment turned my heart around. I was in a place of deep brokenness and repentance before God and I began to speak life over my baby.

I quit complaining, I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and I continued on my journey of pregnancy with renewed hope that God would sustain me. He would have to, He was my only hope.

I had chosen to do a home birth with my second son because it was a more frugal option, and after going through it once and not dying I thought that it would be a good idea to just do that again. I hired the best midwife in all of Kansas City. She had more than 20 years of experience and was one of those ladies that you would consider your humorous and blunt mom. As my son’s due date came and went I was starting to feel the anxiety of the home birthing process. I always joked about home birthing and would say things like, “I won’t die… most likely”, but this time I needed something more than sarcasm and endurance to tether my wavering soul to. My doula told me that the verse that she focused on during her five home births was Psalm 118:17:

“I will not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.”

That was it. I wrote it on a notecard and it became the verse that I would re-read when I would begin to falter in my fear.

11 days went by and still no baby. I had tried labor dances, jumping, castor oil, spicy foods, and everything else the internet tells you to try and nothing happened. Finally almost two weeks after my due date my water broke and I went into my home birthing beast mode. My face would not give away any pain that was going on in my body. I had trained myself through trials in my life to be a warrior and never let myself look weak. After 7 hours of labor I gave birth to a beautiful son, Samuel James Clark. I looked like death for a minute after I had him, but then the joy of not being pregnant shocked me back to life and I was so ecstatic that it was all over! Sam was healthy, perfect, and my biggest baby yet.

I was enjoying the rush of it all and didn’t notice that the midwife assistants had called my midwife into the bathroom for a few minutes and when she came back out she looked surprisingly shocked. Nothing ever worried or surprised this lady, she had seen it all and made it through it all. She began to try to explain that I had a placenta malformation called a Velamentous Cord Insertion and it was the worst one she had ever seen in her 20 years of midwifery. She said that it was a miracle that my baby and I were both alive and began showing us where the water broke and how it was torn right next to a huge blood vessel that was in the wrong place. She said that if it had been a hair to the left then we would have both died. It should have been spotted on the 20 week ultrasound, but was overlooked, and would have mandated a 36 weeks c-section at a hospital. She also began to explain that if I had gone in without previously knowing about this situation to a hospital for a 41 week induction and they would have broken my water manually with an amnio hook that we both would have died. She told me that having an unmedicated home birth actually saved our lives.

The severity of the situation wouldn’t become a reality to me until she came back for my two day checkup and this very strong and experienced midwife began to cry and just kept saying, “You just don’t understand.”

This was probably one of the most shameful times in my life as a Christian and a mother because I didn’t have the faith that God would provide for me emotionally, financially and spiritually during this pregnancy, yet He came through with a miracle story for an unworthy mother.

My view of God’s love and care for us in our unfaithfulness and fear was forever deepened by the birth of my third son, Samuel. Not surprisingly, the name Samuel means “God has heard”, a name that my husband chose at 16 weeks.

“I will not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord!”

Psalm 118:17

Lauren's #IKnowHim Story

Inspired by Lauren’s story? Don’t forget to leave her some encouragement in the comment section! Have you experienced God in a powerful way? Let us know what He has done for you! Submit your story HERE!

We hope you are having the best time celebrating this holiday season with your loved ones! As I have been studying an advent devotional, I am completely taken aback by the arrival of God’s promised Messiah, the birth of Jesus, in a fresh and powerful way. There are so many reasons to take a moment and put all the crazy hustle and bustle on pause, but I would love to specifically invite you to take a few moments and meditate on this promise fulfilled. When God sent Jesus to be born, He not only fulfilled His promise in sending a Savior for the world, but also revealed the vastness of His love for us. God knew the magnitude of sin would require a magnitude of reconciliation and in order to make a way so that we could be redeemed, a sacrifice of the highest price must be made. His answer to sin and death was to make perfect atonement by delivering an infant King, who would have the ability to choose to withstand sin and after time spent on earth, would grow up to be sacrificed for the sins of man. God offered up His son, Jesus, to live a life not of comfort and ease but instead a life of servanthood and unimaginable suffering. By putting the weight of the world on His son’s shoulders, God kept the promise that He would make a way for us to be with Him forever through the reconciliation that was accomplished by Christ on the cross.

We read this powerful prophecy in Isaiah 53 (ESV):

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected[ by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Next time we see a nativity scene, may we be reminded of the weight of the promise that brought the baby Jesus, the Messiah. Let us never forget that we are the transgressors He made intercession for described in verse 12. It was our sins that He was born to carry on the cross. May we also celebrate that Jesus is coming again, and use this Christmas season to offer up our lives to be used to make His name known while we wait for His return.

To continue the mediation on the Savior of the world, we have compiled a playlist (see below)for you to use in your own time of prayer. Let us know how you are centering your heart and mind on Christ this season!

We are lining up stories to share here on the blog next year, so if you have experienced God in YOUR life–click HERE to join the movement! We want to hear from YOU!

Merry Christmas friends, I can’t wait to watch God move through this community in 2017!

Grace and Peace,

Rachel Sweatt

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