Making Room: Where the Word Began



We have not come like Eastern kings
With gifts upon the pommel lying.
Our hands are empty, and we came
Because we heard a baby crying.

We have not come like questing knights
With fiery swords and banners flying.
We heard a call and hurried here –
The call was like a baby crying.

But we have come with open hearts
From places where the torch is dying.
We seek a manger and a cross
Because we heard a baby crying.
~Philip Britts from Water at the Roots: Poems and Insights of a Visionary Farmer





On a night long ago
the two traveled far
seeking rest below
a brightening star.

Yet no room was found
as they asked all they could-
instead they were bound
for a stable of wood.

In a barn dry and warm
animals welcomed them home,
sheltered after the harm
of closed doors in Bethlehem.

Where else can this birth be
but deep in a cave,
where our hearts are set free
and lives and souls saved.

Home and barns, like our hearts,
should always make room
since the Word had its start
in a manger assumed.

As we welcome our Lord
and we worship today,
He gives us His Word:
Love and Peace came to stay.
~Emily Gibson from Barnstorming


Merry Christmas from everyone at Wiser Lake Chapel!





Making Room: Such Good News!





Late on a sleepy, star-spangled night, those angels peeled back the sky just like you would tear open a sparkling Christmas present.

Then, with light and joy pouring out of Heaven like water through a broken dam, they began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born.

The world had a Savior! The angels called it “Good News,” and it was.
— Larry Libby from The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas









Making Room: Grace is All of God



By Nick Laninga

Grace is all of God and we bring nothing. We would not even come and make “Room” for Him, grace is His gift and the faith to believe is also His gift. It is God who comes to man to dwell in us.

Isaiah 59:16—“He saw there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene, so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.”

It is God who makes “Room” for Jesus in our hearts.

Philippians 2:12-13 which speaks to working out our salvation has often been confusing over the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility in matters of salvation. One of the most prevalent errors in Christendom today is the idea that lost people can choose God by their own free will. The fallen human will is bound by sin and would never choose Christ. Jesus said plainly, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” John 6:44. “ No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father” John 6:65. Left to ourselves we all choose to go our own way. Salvation depends on God choosing us and irresistibly drawing us by His grace according to His good pleasure.

Psalm 98:1 “Sing to the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things; his right hand, and holy arm, hath gotten Him the VICTORY.

Our prayer to the Lord is “soften your dwelling in the room of my/our heart [s]”


Blessings the Laninga’s



Making Room: Mary and the Grammar of Consent



by Dan Gibson

When it was announced that the theme for this year’s Advent meditations would be “making room for Jesus”, my mind immediately migrated to the topic of sovereign grace in this 400th anniversary year of the Synod of Dort. In what sense may we rightfully speak of making room for Jesus when he occupies our internal territory by his sovereign will?

As I reflected on this, Luke’s account of the angel’s announcement to Mary, found in Luke 1:26-38, provided me with a real-life example of the concordance between God’s establishment of residence in the citadel of our hearts, and our making room for him.

Gabriel, God’s chosen messenger, comes to Mary, and announces to her the vocation that will be uniquely hers:  “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus.”
How? Mary asks.
“The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

In our present age, with the primary tenet of its faith being our human autonomy and self-determination, this divine pronouncement is heresy of the rankest order.

We could accept perhaps a divine colloquy of this nature:
“Mary, in the eternal counsel of the Triune Godhead, we had this idea of the incarnation, where a human mother would give birth to Son of God.  We wanted to check with you, however, in light of all the inconvenience, to see if you would be OK with this.  We’ll give you some time to think about it, and we’ll be back in a little while to get your answer, and just as a matter of good practice, get your signature on the informed consent paperwork, if you’re willing.”

But no:
God’s plan and intent for a most intimate residence in her is simply announced to Mary.  No questions of Mary, just the most profound declaration of God’s habitation within her, through her, for her sake and the sake of the world.  And yet, Mary also makes room.  Not merely a passive receptacle of the burgeoning presence of the Son of God,  Mary declares in her turn, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May your word to me be fulfilled.”

I suggest for your reflection this Advent season that God’s way with us, as he makes himself resident in us, is analogous in important ways to the incarnation.  Our rebirth through the presence and power of the Spirit is accomplished by God in the continuing exercise of his sovereign grace.  May we, with regenerate hearts and with Mary, declare: “I am the Lord’s servant.  May your word to me be fulfilled.”

Footnote: Canons of Dort, Third and Fourth Main Points of Doctrine, Article 16


Making Room: If You Leave Out Christ



“… if you have left out Christ,
there is no manna from heaven,
no water from the rock,
no refuge from the storm,
no healing for the sick,
no life for the dead. 

If you leave out Christ,
you have left the sun out of the day,
and the moon out of the night,
you have left the waters out of the sea,
and the foods out of the river,
you have left the harvest out of the year,
the soul out of the body,
you have left joy out of heaven,
yea, you have robbed all of its all. 

There is no gospel worth thinking of,
much less worth proclaiming in Jehovah’s name,
if Jesus be forgotten.”

~Charles Spurgeon

Making Room: I Am Not My Own

by Pastor Bert Hitchcock

In the midst of pondering the question of where we need to be making room for Jesus, I began reading the book of Daniel.  There I was reminded of a place where we increasingly have little room for the Lord – a place that Daniel and his friends were zealous to protect.

When Daniel and his three friends were carted off to Babylon as slaves, they were generally at the mercy of their captors, and the Babylonians were intent on reeducating these young, teenage, Hebrew boys to make them productive Babylonian servants.  The first step in that process was to change their names: Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego.  For the rest of their lives, those four young men had new names – they were redefined, and there was nothing they could do about it.

But, as we read through the book of Daniel, we learn that, apparently, they never called each other by those names – they seem to have never fully accepted their Babylonian identity.  So, why would they resist it, when they had no power to change it?  I believe they were determined to make room for the LORD, in that most important, most personal space: their own self-identity – our sense of who we are.  For you see, those names were more than identification tags; Daniel in Hebrew, means “God is my judge”; Hananiah means “The Lord is gracious”; Mishael means, “Who is what God is?”; and Azariah means “The Lord is a helper’.  But the Babylonian names all invoked the names of the Babylonian gods: Marduk, Bel, and Nebo.

These days, we don’t having anyone trying to change our names, but everything about the world in which we live is trying to change our self-identity – to strip away our strange God-centeredness and bring us into a ‘more enlightened’ conformity to the rest of the world.  This is especially true in the educational world where young teenage men and women are are still the target of the re-programming encountered by Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (whom, in honor of their bold commitment, I will never again call by their Babylonian names: Belteshazzar, Sahdrach, Meshach and Abednego)!

Because I am a Christian, I am not whatever the world wants to call me, or wants to make me.  I am not my own, I am a child of God; I am united to Christ as a member of his body; I am free from the condemnation of sin and clothed with his righteousness; I am a citizen of heaven; in a word, I am holy – consecrated, set apart for God’s service.  And, by God’s grace, I will make sure that this self-identity is never crowded out or compromised by conforming to the world.

You unravel me, with a melody, You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies, Till all my fears are gone
I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God
From my mothers womb You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into a family 
Your blood flows through my veins
I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God
I am surrounded by the arms of the father
I am surrounded by songs of deliverance
We’ve been liberated from our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters, let us sing our freedom
You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me and I will stand and sing, I am the child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God
“No Longer Slaves” 
Songwriters: Jonathan David Helser / Brian Joel Case / Mark Johnson

Bethel Music

Making Room: Grasp What You Missed



That’s just how Advent works. 
What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. 
And you begin to grasp what it was you missed,
like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s hindquarters fade in the distance.
So stay.

~Jan Richardson from Night Vision





Making Room: He Helps Me


by Danyale Tamminga


God entering into our humanity means He understands the constraints of time—the Eternal One subjected Himself to Time. He understands not “getting it all done” as you’d hoped you would—the disappointment of unmet goals.

It makes me think He understands my lack of discipline to carve out time to read my Bible or pray on a given day. These realities of life make me thankful for God’s provision in giving us the Lord’s Day and the sacraments. The Lord gave us a day of rest, set aside for worship; a day to be with His people, praising Him, confessing our sin, receiving assurance of our pardon and hearing from Him—what a gift in the midst of weary, “didn’t-get-it-all done” days.

And the sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper–visible reminders, pointing us to spiritual truths—washed clean by Christ’s blood, nourished by His broken body, being reminded again that He is near.

Making room for Jesus? I don’t do it so well, but God helps me–He’s given me Sundays and the sacraments–He helps me to make room for Him.


Making Room: Suddenly There is Time



by Jan Lovegren


When do we have time to do the things that are most important in our lives? It seems the tyranny of the urgent rules our lives so much of the time. Yet it is funny how sickness and death suspends that scenario. One of my closest friends died only 2 months following her diagnosis. She lived half an hour away so it was easy to put off a visit before her illness. After her diagnosis all I wanted to do was visit her. Suddenly there was time for that.

So with that in mind I think of the best friend we could ever hope to have, Jesus. It is easy to put off that friendship because he is always present for believers through his wonderful Holy Spirit. With the death of my friend I think of her joy in his presence. I am sure she now holds dear those ties she built up by spending time with her Lord here on the earth. Are those the treasures we have waiting for us in heaven? I think of one of her favorite songs we often sand together, “Oh Lord You’ve Been Good”. And that he has been.

I marvel at his grace for me. He knew when my friend would be called home. So in his grace, 2 months before, we had planned a 2 night and 3 day stay at Harrison Hot Springs Hotel. Just before we left for another of our many vacations we had there with each other and our husbands she received her diagnosis. That time there together I have held close. It has helped me through the loneliness. I no longer will praise the Lord and talk of his beautiful creation with her this side of heaven. It always seemed to lift and blow away the darkness. I still see her face as we talked of her possible soon departure.

So will I now feel the urgency and importance of making room for the friend that will never leave or forsake me?

Jesus, my closest friend, who looks for me every day.
Who has given me life and everything I hold dear.

I pray so. For I am weak yet he is strong.

Oh Lord, you have been GOOD!



Making Room: I Knock at Your Door


by Lance Crumley


The shadow leaves, replaced by Light.
I knock at your door. Your echo is my answer.
You open.  I look over your shoulder, watch you
measure my dust on the scales of love and truth.

You make a mark.
You save a soul.

You smile.  Speak of the weary load I carry
chained to the judgment seat.
The tear you weep is the compassion of life.

You point your finger at the shadow
and Light reflects creation:

Christ is the I AM.
Born today for today of all days, a child is born!

Joy Joy Joy