WHEN CHRIST COMES – THE MYSTERY OF ADVENT AND THE STUMP GROWER

“The cut-off stump of Jesse will sprout,
and a fruitful Branch will grow from his roots:
the Spirit of Yahweh will rest upon him,
the Spirit of Extraordinary Wisdom,
the Spirit of Perfect Understanding
the Spirit of Wise Strategy,
the Spirit of Mighty Power,
the Spirit of Revelation” ISAIAH 11:1

The guests have all left from your Thanksgiving Meal and you can’t wait to see the last dessert eaten, the stuffing thrown out, the leftover turkey frozen just to be able to eat something green again. Before you know it, we suddenly wake up to the coming of Christ or the “advent season”. When the son of man “rents a womb to come into the world”. (Augustine) The unexpected unwraps himself with something so small that becomes something so big. Right when you think you can never reach back and see any life from the stump, a branch begins to grow. It is called the story of redemption. It has brewed in the swirl for eternity, born the test of time only to come knocking at your door – the coming of him into your life. He is the stump grower, the branch extender, the vine connector. He becomes our ladder back to God in a most mysterious way. The little child in the manger always looks for the one that is invisible. The decay in your life where the roots have been forced to keep digging deeper will suddenly spring up and your cut off stump will grow like a green shoot. The germinator has come! Just allow him to come, forever come into you life and let him become the wonder for He too bore the brunt of the stump. Stumps understand other stumps.
It’s time to “sing, who were once barren”(Isaiah 54). Matthew Henry says, “The longer the church has lain desolate the greater will the transports of joy be when it begins to recover the ground it has lost and to gain more”. For in this Advent season, this coming season-you will gain new ground so to speak or new territories. Your life, your dreams, will sprout and grow till they overtake the very dark that they came from. Light comes in advent, when you receive the gift from the cradle hide it deep within. The barren one is comforted because It broke forth, as the breaking forth of waters—on the right hand and on the left, that is all around her house.
So go ahead, let the coming one come for the fullness of time came. As you hang your lights, decorate your tree-surround yourself with family, he comes in those precious moments hiding on their smiling faces. Open up your stunted self and watch the miracle grow…….

RESTING

Isa.11:10 – In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

In this prophetic word from the prophet Isaiah we see the fruit of the work of Jesus on the cross. He has canceled the debt of sin against us and opened up a place of rest for us. I love the phrasing of this verse, “His resting place shall be glorious”.

In Isaiah 28, the prophet speaks of our access to this place of rest in the latter days. He speaks of stammering lips. This prayer language, given to us by the Holy Spirit, enables us to access this supernatural rest. Here is Isaiah’s prophesy.

Isa.28:11,12 – “For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people,

To whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.”

David also discovered this amazing resting place. In the Shepherd’s Psalm David speaks of resting beside the living water of the Spirit. Here is Psalm 23:2 from the Passion Translation.

“He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.

His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.”

The common denominator in all of these passages is the beautiful Hebrew word for rest. It is the word menuchah. Here is the definition from Dick Mills.

“menuchah — Resting place; place of stillness, repose, consolation, peace, rest; a quiet place; also the condition of restfulness. Menuchah is derived from nuach, a verb meaning “to rest, soothe, settle down, comfort.” Because Noah’s parents foresaw comfort “through his life (Gen. 5:29), they named him “Noah,” which comes from this root. Is. 28:12 states, “This is the resting place; let the weary rest!” Menuchah is greatly soothing, comforting, and settling, as in Ps. 23:2, “He leads me beside the waters of menuchah [the waters of quietness.”

The world and all of its pressures tend to get us out of rest into stress. Everything from bills, children issues, work problems, marital stress, to problems on the job; all of these things can bring us into a veritable meltdown. The rest of God is essential. Learning to drink from the river and rest in His love cannot be overestimated.

Little Suckler

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MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot–yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root” Is.11:1
Most people that have done anything in this world came from just a “little suckler”. Meaning, most likely, they were insignificant, looked over, and not expected to do much. If you take the story of David when he was anointed by Samuel, he too was looked over and Samuel had to be nudged by God to even take notice. Christ came at a time of humiliation and obscurity for Israel and the Jewish nation. This lowly shoot will bear much fruit. Let’s look inside the miracle of the sprout in this Advent Season. The invisible root around us echoes the message of hope in the dead things.

Spurgeon even compares our Christianity as a wee little shoot when he preaches this message; “Christianity in our own hearts—the Christ within us—is also a “tender plant.” In its springing up it is as the green blade of corn which any beast that goes by may tread upon or devour. Oftentimes, to our apprehension it has seemed that our spiritual life would soon die; it was no better than a lily with a stalk bruised, and all but snapped in two; the mower’s scythe of temptation has cut down the outgrowth of our spiritual life, but, blessed be God, He who comes down like rain upon the mown grass has restored our verdure, and maintained our vigor to this day! Tender as our religion is, it is beyond the power of Satan to destroy it; weak as we are, we have not utterly fallen, nor shall we, for the feeble shall be victorious, and the “Lame shall take the prey.” Though grace is often like the hyssop for its weakness, it is ever as the oak for endurance; man threatens to crush the church, or hopes to uproot true grace from the heart of the timid believers, but it shall not be done—the “tender plant” shall become a goodly cedar, and the weakness of God shall baffle the power of man!”

Never underestimate the power of the cross. The birth of Christ paints a beautiful picture of a tender sprout shooting up to take over the hearts of men. In the third grade at a Christmas gift exchange in school, a student gave me “The religious Christmas” book. Every year I would as a wee little stump read over the stories of Christmas with its beautiful paintings and Christmas songs. If you told me back then what I would be doing today there would be no comprehension of it in my mind. “There will grow a shoot from the root of Jesse”. God makes the ordinary-unordinary. He visits children and adults worldwide bringing hope for the hopeless. Does Christ see you sick this Advent season? He can touch the heated brow. Does lack dress your table this year? He can bring cheer.

Where there was once a stump, Christ can bring new life! It is what he does best!