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  • ~Jesse Tree: A Plan like no other~ (Day 24)

    On Wednesday, January 18 th, 2006
    Today’s Reading: Matthew 1:18-25Jesse Tree:A Plan like no Other Joseph being a righteous man—and a carpenter—has a blueprint for a seemingly wise plan. But God pierces a midnight dream with blindingly light to tell righteous Joseph that his plan to quietly put Mary away isn’t a good one. Because he is betrothed to one carrying a baby who is unlike any other baby ever to draw in breath and cry on this planet. This baby is God. Very God with us. Sometimes I too have drafted up what I consider righteous, goodly plans…and Light Himself shatters my night and says that there is another way…a brilliant , stunning way to God with us. As radical and unbelievable as that plan sounds….it’s the plan I choose to wildly embrace. Lord, You come…and take the plans I build and turn them on their head! Imagine—who would ever have thought God would come and be with the likes of us?!! Come and change my world!
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  • On Wednesday, January 18 th, 2006
    Believing the impossible with an open heart…(Jesse Tree Symbol Day 23)
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  • ~Jesse Tree: Repentance Makes a Way~ (Day 22)

    On Friday, December 23 rd, 2005
    Today’s Reading: Matthew 3:1-6 Jesse Tree: Repentance Makes a Way Deserts are achingly dry, parched, thirsty places. John knew this—the Desert of Judea was his home. But repentance changes all that. Repentance is preparation for quenching, for new growth, for rainshowers of hope and fertility. Repentance washes away our sins and makes a straight path for God to come near. And so people came out of their own personal deserts, to confess, repent and plunge themselves in the cool, flowing waters of the River Jordan—to be washed clean of the past and its pain…and to be drenched in newness of Life. In the wrapping and the baking and the preparation, have I repented and prepared the way for You, Lord? Lord, may I repent, for the Kingdom of heaven—You—are near. In the midst of it all, may I take time to repent—for that is preparing the way for You to come to me.
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  • On Thursday, December 22 nd, 2005
    Preparing Hearts in the Silence (Jesse Tree Symbol ~Day 21)
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  • On Thursday, December 22 nd, 2005
    Waiting and Looking for You….(Jesse Tree Symbol–Habbakuk–Day 20)
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  • ~Jesse Tree: Preparing Hearts in the Silence~ (Day 21)

    On Thursday, December 22 nd, 2005
    Today’s Reading: Luke 1:5-25“And he will go on before the Lord…to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:17 Jesse Tree: Preparing Hearts in the Silence Four hundred years of silence….deafening, pressing, aching silence…waiting for a word from the Lord. And now the silence is shattered. God speaks: “Do not be afraid…your prayer has been heard.” God has heard our heart howls. Our fears now melt away for our prayers have been heard. Our Savior is coming, our Deliverer, the one who will shatter all that binds us, and we will know freedom like only in our dreams, abundance we thought only fantasy. So count the moments. Turn. Make ready hearts prepared for the Lord. For out of the silence, God Himself comes. Lord, Good News—the BEST news—has shattered the emptiness of our existence. And now we are silenced at the awe of You hearing us….and coming. So we prepare our hearts.
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  • ~Jesse Tree: Waiting~ (Day 20)

    On Thursday, December 22 nd, 2005
    Today’s Reading: Habbakuk 2:1, 3: 16-19“I will stand at my watch…I will look to see…Yet I will wait patiently for the day…” (Habbakuk)Jesse Tree: Waiting Tis the season of waiting. Countdown calendars, numbering days left, anxiously ticking off hours, all the world awaiting that grand and glorious day. But do we stand on the watchtower, up on the ramparts, eyes fixed on the horizon, scanning for signs of…You? Is all the world on the edge of its seat, dangling with bated breath…craning for the first glimpse of God on history’s stage? Is my heart waiting You, Lord Jesus? “Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vine” (Habbakuk 3:17), we only have eyes—and a longing heart— for You, Lord. You, Lord, are whom we await and it is You who gives us Joy. Lord, may I be up on the heights, desperate for Your coming.
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  • ~Jesse Tree: The Time is Here~ (Day 19)

    On Thursday, December 22 nd, 2005
    Today’s Reading: Esther 4:10-17 Jesse Tree: The Time is Here An orphaned Jewish girl handpicked from among thousands of well-manicured beauties to be the King’s new bride—it seems the stuff of Hollywood and movie screens. But God’s drama has sweeping ramifications: the deliverance of the entire Jewish race. As Mordecai declares to Esther: “You have come to this…position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) Just like You, Jesus. You came to this position—a swaddled, red faced baby in a cold, dark barn—for such a time as this. Your coming is the dividing, definitive point in all of God’s drama: Your birth divides history into the time before You and the time after You. Since the very first tick of Earth’s time, all of time has been waiting, groaning, yearning, for You. And here it is: You have come for such a time as this—and You’ve come for all time. As Esther came to deliver a people, You come to deliver all people. Esther said it, but didn’t need to do it: “And if I perish, I perish.” You came…and You did just that. Lord, You come—for me and my time—and You perished—for us all. Could there be a greater gift?
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  • ~Jesse Tree: O Little Town of Bethlehem~ (Day 18)

    On Wednesday, December 21 st, 2005
    Today’s reading Micah 5:2-5 Jesse Tree: O Little Town of Bethlehem Far from home and family and security, in a backwater town of Bethlehem, comes a ruler, not only of Israel, but, yea, One whose reign is to the very ends of the Earth—and time. It is as the songwriter wrote: “O little Town of Bethlehem…our hopes and fears of all these years are held in thee tonight.” All of humanity, hinged on that one night in Bethlehem. We leave our burden of fears in a stable on a Bethlehem backstreet and retun home light and full of hope—anchored, unwavering, iron-clad hope. We now “live securely”’ (Micah 5:4), because of Who was born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. O little town of Bethlehem is the birth town of He who came…and He has changed everything—especially us.Lord, You come—to a hick town like Bethlehem out of a passion for the likes of me. The Hopes and Fears of all my years are held in Thee, Lord, … always.
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  • ~Jesse Tree: Staggering Extremes~ (Day 17)

    On Tuesday, December 20 th, 2005
    Today’s reading: Jonah 3:10-4:4, 11 “And should I not have compassion on Nineveh?” (Jonah 4) Jesse Tree: Staggering Extremes It is just like God: he’d go to any and all lengths—even having a prophet sit for three days in the cavernous belly of a great fish—to turn people to Himself. And when Jonah relents and finally brings God’s message to Nineveh, Nineveh does just that: confesses, repents and turns towards Him. Yes, our God is, as Jonah ironically laments, “…a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love…” (Jonah 4:2) And He will go to stunning lengths to draw people to himself: like taking on flesh, being as born as a helpless baby in smelly cattle pen, hanging on a bark-covered cross by nails pierced through flesh, descending three days into the very pit of hell, to buy back people as wicked as any Ninevehite–just like me. Yes—he is a God abounding in love—mind-boggling, staggering love. Lord, You come, a wild lover of souls, driven by extreme passion, to turn us to You. And we do, Lord—we turn with open arms to You.
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  • ~Jesse Tree: The Glorious Impossible~ (Day 16)

    On Sunday, December 18 th, 2005
    Today’s Reading: Isaiah 11:1-9 “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse…The wolf will live with the lamb.” Jesse Tree: The Glorious Impossible It all sounds unbelievable: a shoot from a stem, a wolf lying with a lamb, a child playing near the cobra. But the day is coming when the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and the impossible will be possible. He will come again with righteousness and faithfulness as His belt, and He will do the impossible: all will be righted, all will be fair, and all will be flooded with the glory of Him. He came once to a manger and a cross and the world was forever changed. And we can hardly believe—but we do—how the world will be breathtakingly transformed when He comes again! Lord, You came—to the manger. You come—to my heart. And You will come again—to do the glorious impossible.
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  • ~Jesse Tree: Spectacular Clarity~ (Day 15)

    On Saturday, December 17 th, 2005
    Today’s reading: 1 Kings 18:17-39 . “Then the fire of the LORD fell…When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!” Jesse Tree: Spectacular ClarityFireballs hurling down from heaven—it doesn’t get much more gripping and spectacular than that, does it? God steps forward to declare to His people with breathtaking clarity: I AM HERE. The men, women and children who witnessed this blazing act of God, fell on their faces and worshipped. But God has performed something even more spectacular than mere falling flames to proclaim that He is here. He has come himself, Omniscient, Omnipotent One, in the flesh, here, to our dusty world…right there in the stable barn. And like the Israelites, we fall on our faces and whisper, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.” Lord, You come—Emmanuel. God with us. It doesn’t get more spectacular than that.
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