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by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of December 28, 2014
"After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him..." -Matthew 2:11
During the advent of Christmas, The Lord impressed upon me to give gifts to a couple who had been struggling greatly in their physical health, their mental health and in their spiritual walk. To my knowledge, the husband didn’t know Jesus at all. The wife, on the other hand, was the granddaughter of a late pastor and had received Jesus as her Savior years earlier but had gotten off track in her daily walk.
This was a couple that seemed to have everything material and in need of nothing. But they were spiritually starved, desperate, on the edge of the ledge.
As I sought God on what gifts to bring, He impressed upon me to give the wife Christian books. But for the husband, He impressed upon me to bake his favorite treat. So I texted his wife and inquired about what to make.
“Apple pie,” she replied, “If it’s not too much trouble.”
Apple pie? I didn’t expect to hear this. It was so simple, such a humble pie to make, especially around Christmastime.
I couldn’t remember the last time I baked a plain apple pie, probably decades ago. So I prayerfully reached for my oldest cookbook—the only one I had brought with me on our extended retreat.
I leafed through the cookbook pages, and there it was: Deep Dish Apple Pie.
The moment I saw the words “Deep Dish,” I knew in my spirit that God would use this pie to reach this man’s soul in a deep way. As I sought God more, He reminded me of and illuminated the words He had impressed upon me earlier: “Humble Pie.”
God desires that we choose Him and to humble ourselves before Him out of the love and humility He places in our hearts. But to deny our responsibility and be humbled by Him is a frightening thing. To be met at our dead ended self-will by Him is a profoundly humbling encounter.
Four times in the book of Revelation, God reveals to us that He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty'" (Rev. 1:8 NIV).
There is no place we can run that is too far for God to reach. Nowhere. And God can use the simplest things.
Luke 18:14 assures us: "...For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
1 Peter 5:5 instructs us: “…God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."
In order for God to show us favor, we must humble ourselves before Him, acknowledge Him, invite Him. So in order for the resistant to be in a place to receive God’s favor, they have to go low so He can bring them high. God’s purpose is never to abandon us in the low places, our dead ends, but to let us come to the end of ourselves so we know firsthand how much we need Him and His redemption.
I believe God loves each of us too much to allow us to remain where we are. He is the sanctifier, the redeemer. He takes us from glory to glory. He has more and much more for us. He is rich in mercy and full of grace. And He knows just how to position each of us to receive more of Him.
Concerning this husband of the couple in need, I believe God is answering my fervent prayer: “Please don’t give up on him, O Lord. Please pour out Your grace and mercy, and give him an encounter with You he can never deny.”
The overwhelming presence of Almighty God can make us bow to Him beyond any circumstance in our lives. In a single encounter with Him, we can come to know that He is the one, true God of the universe, not us.
Matthew 2:11 above reveals that even baby Jesus had the power to bring people to their knees and worship Him as God when He was revealed to them. And the book of Hebrews assures us that Jesus is the same now as He was then (Heb 13:8).
To whom has God assigned you? Be encouraged in your outreach mission, and always remember that there is no darkness that can sustain the light of Christ. None. Not anywhere and not in anyone.
Pray that God will soften the hearts of the spiritually lost towards Him. Pray for the spiritually lost to receive Jesus as their Savior and to truly know Him as Lord of their lives. Pray that the one true God, who loves them more than they can comprehend, will visit them profoundly, in a way that they can never deny.
During this Christmas season, when many gather in unity and peace, there is a blanket of the sweet prevailing presence of God. Only Jesus saves. And only The Holy Spirit convicts. We all need God—the lost and the found. We never stop needing Him. So won’t you come nearer to Him?
May we all humble our hearts and fall to our knees in worship, overcome by God’s presence, His power and His love for us during this Christmas season. And may we all reach out to the hurting and the lost-in-spirit…every day.
Oh, and by the way, there were enough ingredients for me to also make two mini apple pies for my husband and myself. God knows that the very act of outreach is humbling too.
This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, Enduring Grace. All rights reserved.