This week’s devotion is one that I will make very personal. Being a basketball junkie, a coach, and a sports missionary; it just makes sense that I look at my own kids and wonder if they will be athletes. Not that it would change at all my love for them, yet it is great when things are shared in common.
This season two of my boys are playing hoops – one at the high school level and one at the middle school level. The travel is quite a challenge to get between games but it is well worth it. It is great to watch my kids competing. The oldest is much like me – a basketball junkie. Since he was big enough to speak anything round has been “ball.” The younger of the two has not ever shown a love for the game but has the basic motor skills to do well. (Now that he has played a few games this year and tasted a bit of success the “love for the game” seems to be changing.)
What I want for CHRISTmas is for my kids to “play well.” No I am not talking about hoops. I am talking about in a life of serving the Lord. Of course I love for them to taste success in basketball also – yet that in and of itself carries no eternal significance.
In sports it is very common to give players nicknames. My oldest son’s nickname is “the Prophet.” We came up with that for a couple reasons.
The first is that a prophet is known for seeing the future. On the court we want him to see what is coming and be one step ahead of the competition – have court awareness. In life I believe the Scriptures call for us to be aware of our surroundings. (Ephesians 5:15 tells us to “walk circumspectly.”)
The second is based in the New Testament usage of the word. There it predominantly refers to one that is proclaiming the truth and giving direction. On the court it is important to be a leader. Yet my prayer is that this be true of my son on and off the court. Ultimately I remind him that he is called to proclaim Christ (and that success on the court can increase that platform.)
My son is “the Prophet” not “The Prophet!” This CHRISTmas season is a great time to remember “The Prophet” John the Baptist.
Luke 1 tells us the story of John’s parents being up in age and God miraculously allowing for his mom to get pregnant. It tells of his special appointment by God. Verse 15 tells us that John will be “great in the sight of the Lord”; and verse 16 tells us he “will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” What an awesome game plan for John’s life.
Later in the chapter we see that the people were wondering “what kind of child this would be.” (See vs. 66)
John’s dad does some prophesying of his own in verses 67 through 80. He talks of the coming Messiah, Jesus! He proclaims what the angel is soon to tell the shepherds that Jesus will be the Savior. And then in verse 76-79 he tells his baby boy the game plan.
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1:80 then goes on to tell that the “child grew and became strong in spirit…” And probably my favorite verse concerning The Prophet can be found in John chapter 3, verse 30. John himself says this: “He (Christ) must increase but I must decrease.”
John’s dad had a CHRISTmas wish for his son just before the birth of Christ. My wish this CHRISTmas is for not only my kids, but also each of you reading this devotion. I pray that we will “play well” and “prepare the way of the Lord.”