December 3rd – Jacob’s Ladder

Genesis 28:10-22

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Dreams can be powerful things.

Mine are usually forgotten as soon as I leave my bed, but in this passage of Scripture, the dream was so vivid, Jacob, son of Isaac, acted on it immediately.

Wow… it must have been incredible.

This dream, deliberately given to him by God, reminded Jacob of the promise He made to his grandfather, Abraham.

He promised, “Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth… and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your offspring” (Genesis 28:14).

In addition, He also promised Jacob his presence… continual… never-ending presence…

How did Jacob respond?

He worshipped. He offered himself fully to this promise-keeping, always faithful God.

Jacob decided the LORD of his ancestors would be his God, based on God’s faithfulness to him.

Not withholding any part of himself…his heart or his life.

During Advent, we trust  the fullest expression of God’s promise to remain with us.

Emmanuel, God With Us…

As we wait for His coming, consider your response to His promise to never leave you, to strengthen you… to abide in you…

How do we respond today? With our moments?

 

Our response should be worship…

Our response should be the gift of ourselves…fully.

What are we holding back from the LORD?

Lord,

What a magnificent promise to us You have made – to remain with us always! Through your Holy Spirit, point out to us the places where our response to your grace is less than adequate. Enable us to give ourselves fully to you.

Amen

Photo by Tj Holowaychuk

Day 7 – The Test

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Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash

Genesis 22:1-14

This is one of the hardest stories in the Bible for me to read. I can’t even imagine the heartache Abraham must have experienced when God told him He would require Isaac’s life as a sacrifice, a burnt offering.

The horror of it is beyond my imagination… This was his child…his boy.

BUT… out of obedience…Abraham set about to do just that.

It wasn’t just obedience though. Abraham KNEW God. He knew Him to be faithful, sovereign, and a keeper of His promises.

God would NEVER break His promise…never.

I want to know my promise-keeping God that well…

The promise hinged on Isaac. Future generations would depend upon Abraham’s descendants.  Abraham knew that if God was requiring this of him, He would provide a way.

Can you even imagine that hike up the mountain for Abraham?

Even when it seemed hopeless, God made a way…

God came through and provided a ram as a substitute for the sacrifice. He kept His promise.

Centuries later, God provided a different Lamb as a sacrifice. Like Abraham, God was willing to sacrifice his Son, but in this case, there was no ram to take His place. This time the Lamb was His Son, too.

It’s that Lamb, the One who offered himself on our behalf and who rose again to new life, that we await this Advent.
Remember, it’s not just the excitement for the baby who comes at Christmas. It’s about the longing for His coming AGAIN.
When it seems that life in this present world is overwhelming with evil, hatred and heartache…

When it is hard to imagine joy and peace…

When it feels as if there is no way for good to triumph…

We wait.

We wait for Jesus to come in glory.

We wait…knowing our God keeps His promise to set things right.

God,

It is so difficult to trust that you’ll keep your promise when life seems so out of whack. Give me the courage to wait for your provision. Guard my heart in that waiting process. I praise You because you keep your promises. You are faithful.

Amen

 

Day 6: Promises of Stars – Genesis 15:1-6

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God had promised to make Abram a great nation…

But time was passing, and he and Sarai remained childless. Perhaps God had another plan?
No.
God confirmed to Abram he would indeed have a son to carry on the promise He had made.
God promised him descendants like the stars in the sky…too numerous to count.
Just when Abram was despairing, God confirmed his promise of descendants far beyond Abram’s imagination.
The magnificent thing about this promise is that those descendants aren’t limited to the blood relatives of Abraham.
The reason his descendants would be as numerous as the stars is that we are among them too.
In Christ, we were grafted into the family tree (Romans 11:17).
We are among those stars…
This is our story too, made possible by our promise-keeping God.

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, thank you for grafting me into your family tree. Thank you for the knowledge that I am among those stars too numerous to imagine, and for inviting me into the covenant promise. May I reflect the family name well by your power. Amen…

Day 5: Leaving Home – Genesis 12:1-7

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Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Pexels.com

(Hadasah picked out the graphic for today’s post. I asked her to help me pick a picture about travel, and she suggested a compass… because when we travel, we need to use a compass to point us in the right direction. Well, that was perfect for this post.)

I love home.

Now, don’t me wrong, I love to travel too, but the day-in, day-out, every weekend- constantly going kind of busyness… I don’t like.

I love to plan and execute big trips, but then I am ready for home.

Today’s story about God calling Abram and Sarai to leave their familiar and move to unknown, well, it makes me nervous.

But I think this is also a reflection of my current season of life. Home is comfortable, and my home reflects my tastes and my preferences. There are very few unknowns with regard to my home, except possibly the “What am I going to cook for supper?” or the “Should we change the wall color of the guest bathroom?” questions.

But in this passage of Scripture, we see a radical obedience that pleases God. We see a move from known comfort to promised blessings. We see God, through His great love and Abram’s obedience, blessing all people of the earth.

Greater still, in this story we see glimmers of Jesus himself.

We see the Son of God who also left the comfort and splendor of home with His Father. He put on flesh and traveled to a far away land with fickle, disagreeable humanity.

And through Him all people are blessed. The grace of God went out to all.

We have received grace upon grace through the willingness of Jesus to leave the comfort of Heaven and enter our world.

Jesus,

You were born into humanity and entered our space… a place unfit for One who was accustomed to the perfection and grandeur of Heaven.

But You knew… You were and are our only hope, our only way.

Without You, there would be no grace.

Help us to step away, to step out of our comfortable places so that others see you brilliantly shining through us.

Spread your grace through us today…

Amen

Day 4: Genesis 6:11-14 – The Rescuer

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Photo by Alex on Pexels.com

Well, I didn’t forget about yesterday’s post, but… there was a lot of grandparenting going on. So… two days for the price of one today!❤️

Day 4: Genesis 6:11-14

You know the story.

 

The Ark, Obedient Noah and a Rainbow Story? Right?

 

But you may ask, “What does this story have to do with Jesus and Advent?”

  • A world corrupted by sin… eat up with cruelty and violence

  • Noah, a man chosen by God, to rescue his family and a sampling of animals in an ark…

  • And rain… lots of rain. Rain that continued for days upon days. Rain that washed away all the hate and sadness and everything that had gone wrong… Rain that would make the world clean again.

  • Hope in the form of an olive branch in the mouth of a returning dove. Our promise-making and promise-keeping God provided a new beginning – a clean start in a beautiful world.

“And like a warrior who puts away his bow and arrow at the end of a great battle, God said, “See, I have hung up my bow in the clouds. And there, in the clouds – just where the storm meets the sun – was a beautiful bow made of light.It wasn’t long before everything went wrong again, but God wasn’t surprised, he knew this would happen. That’s why before the beginning of time, he had another plan – a better plan. A plan not to destroy the world, but to rescue it – a plan to one day send His own Son, the Rescuer.” excerpt from Sally Lloyd Jones and The Jesus Storybook Bible

You see, Advent is our rescue story. It is about our Rescuer. He was always the plan.

 

“Our planned-from-the-beginning-of-time” Rescuer who seeks and saves… Jesus the Messiah.

 

Lord,

I understand the desire to wipe away all the decay of sin and wickedness.

Sometimes the evil is so strong that destroying it completely is the only way to eliminate it.

And yet you promise not to destroy all flesh again.

Instead, you’ve made another way.

You sent us a Rescuer and the hope of new life in Jesus.

Come soon, Lord.

Amen

Day 3 – Jesus, Present in the Beginning

Genesis 1:26-31

I love seeing Jesus in the Old Testament…

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I especially love knowing He was in the creation story as the second person of the Trinity, the Word who was with God in the beginning, through whom all things were created. Thank you John 1.

That person, Jesus Christ, may not be present in his human flesh in the creation story; however, He is certainly there.

When God formed man from the dust of the ground, He had another human in mind – Jesus Christ – who IS the image of God.

In bearing God’s image as humans, we must also know that Christ IS God’s very image.

The next time you hear that it’s our ability to think, create, or relate to others that makes us image-bearers, consider also that it might simply Jesus in us that makes us image-bearers. The perfect human, Jesus Christ, the One who was there from the beginning, the One who constantly intercedes for us…it is He who is the true image of God.

Through Christ, we brightly reveal God’s image.

Jesus,

Thank you for being the image of God.

May our deepest desire and dearest delight be to reflect You. Remake us. Rewire our hearts this Advent… Thank you for revealing your goodness to us in our moments and in our days. Shine your goodness through us as image bearers.

Amen

Day 2 – Habakkuk 2:1-4

Today’s Advent lesson hits this momma hard…

I have looked forward to Thanksgiving for several months now because all of my babies would be under my roof… at my table… in my arms…

This only happens about once a year… Hasn’t happened since last Christmas…

AND THEN… a snowstorm hits Denver and much of Colorado, and flights are being cancelled.

I will not lie. Last night my heart was sinking fast…

AND THEN… Habakkuk 2:1-4.

Wait. Have faith… in His plans and purposes.

It’s hard, y’all. REAL HARD.

But, I trust Him. The LORD knows this momma’s heart…

 

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Day 2 – Habakkuk 2:1-4

Background: Habakkuk was a prophet during the last days of the Assyrian Empire and the beginning of Babylonia’s world rulership. Violence, wickedness, and injustice were rampant and seemingly unchecked. It was during these dark days Habakkuk cried out to the LORD for divine intervention.God answered Habakkuk that He would send judgement, not only for the Chaldeans but to the people of Judah.

(Bible Nerd Girl Fact: The term Chaldeans often refers to Babylonians in general, but normally it refers to a specific semi-nomadic tribe that lived in the southern part of Babylon.)

Habakkuk questioned God’s response to his prayer. In Habakkuk’s mind, the growing problem was not whether God would respond to the growing evil, but would God vindicate His own character and His covenant with His people?

It’s a solid question for us. Do we care more about how the evil around us is impacting us or the attack of God’s character by the wicked in our world today? Hmmm…

Habakkuk 2:4 is the core of God’s message to the prophet, “The righteous shall live by his faith.”

We need to remain strong and faithful as we walk through heartache and hardships.This faith is not just in isolated situations, but it is habitually persevering in faith. It is a way of life. Day in. Day out. Unwavering faith.This is a waiting and watching kind of faith.

Habakkuk compares himself to a watchman on a watchtower. He is prepared to wait for God’s answer and ponder God’s reply (2:1).

Are we? How well do we wait for God’s response in our own lives?

God responded to Habakkuk by telling him to write down the vision He would give as a reminder that the judgement would definitely come. He also told Habakkuk that the proud who trust in themselves fail, but the just live by their faith in Him.

Oh wait patiently, sweet ones…

Even when we don’t understand why things are happening as they are, wait…Hold on.

God is directing things according to His plans and purposes.

Our job is to stand at our watchpost and proclaim Him boldly. Let’s encourage each other to do the same… when the days are hard and dark… when we want to give up.

This Advent, we watch, we wait, we proclaim, and we encourage…

The King IS coming…

Father,

You have called me to wait patiently and to grow in my faith. You want me to proclaim your promise and your plan to the people in my life, just as Habakkuk did. Would your Holy Spirit enable me to do just that with great love, boldness, and conviction?

Oh please do…

Amen…

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