Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 2019 — Third Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Luke 1:46-55

“And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

On this Third Sunday of Advent my church celebrated “JOY.” It was a wonderful service filled with hymns and songs of the Advent season. With all of the focus on the baby Jesus coming it can be easy to push Mary aside. Mary’s response to being chosen by God to give birth to the Savior of the world was praises to God and faithful rejoicing. Mary has found favor with God and her life was about to take on some major changes. Had she not considered how others would react; did she sense the implications of being pregnant and unwed (?); did she realize that she could lose her future husband and cause disgrace to her family…maybe she did and maybe not, the important part of the story is that she listened and followed in faith the things that were told to her my the angel. Her response to the Lord’s message was PRAISE!

It is through Mary we are able to learn of God’s grace and mercy; most importantly this grace and mercy took human form in a newborn baby boy. It is through Mary and this baby boy, the world would never be the same again.

Step out in faith and everlasting joy to God’s call in your life. This week spread JOY wherever possible! Be the light of Jesus to friend and family but most especially to strangers.

Prayer:

Lord, you called Mary to a large task, At the time it may have seemed to be more than she or anyone else could handle. Yet through her, Emmanuel would come and change the world. During this season of preparation and anticipation, work within me, to be your agent of divine change. Look upon me with favor and send me. Let this season of Advent be one of your in-breaking, not in sentimentality, but in a reordering of the world to your will and your kingdom. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy~

References:

https://www.themissiondsm.org/message/marys-magnificat

Why not the Magnificat? Mary’s song of humble joy ought to be our song, too

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Thankful Heart ♥️

December 14, 2019

This is a post of thanksgiving, to share the joys of my heart and my life. I’m so thankful for this platform and all the wonderful individuals who take the time to follow and read my posts. I am also grateful to share my faith with all of you! I know that as soon as I start naming names, I will forget someone and that is not my intention. I am so blessed with amazing friends some old, some new and all an extension of my family. I love you all very much. This season of Advent has been especially meaningful to me because I’ve been able to share my blessings from God with family and friends.

“A friend loves at all times.” ~Proverbs 17:17

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of celebrating the Christmas season with my Esther’s Circle group through my church. These women are absolutely amazing. They bring so much joy to my life and have helped me grow in ways I never imagined possible. Sometimes they are my sisters, sometimes my mother, and always my friends. I was able to give just a token of my gratitude back to them and my heart was overflowing with gladness! Just a week ago I was able to have lunch with the Juliet’s from my church, a group of women who meet once a month for lunch at a local restaurant and enjoy good food and conversation!

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~Proverbs 27:17

Today, I was able to drive a couple hours away to visit a friend whom I rarely get the chance to see. She’s had a difficult year due to an injury. I’ve know her for over twenty years and we have been through a lot of stuff, good and bad. I wish her nothing but happiness and joy, lots of joy. She’s not had an easy life but she has risen above it and is brave and courageous and determined. I’ve learned a lot about myself through our friendship and I think I’m a better person because of her. We had a short visit, shared a meal and did a little shopping! It was a good day!

“…there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” ~Proverbs 18:24

I have another friend that I’ve known for over twenty years and I really would like to visit her but we live several hours apart and our schedules make it difficult to plan. She is an amazing single mom of twin boys. She is a fantastic mom, always wanting the best for her boys. She is brave and smart, determined and funny. She sacrifices many things to provide for her family, and wants her children to experience a childhood filled with as much love and laughter as she was raised with. I’ve seen through her the precious moments of children growing too fast, one day your holding and rocking them, the next day they are running around and exploring everything and before you realize it they are 10 years old and sitting on mom’s lap or cuddling on the couch doesn’t happen as often. One thing I’ve learned in life, you never outgrow your parents. These three individuals are very close to my heart. Anyways, I have not been able to visit but I sent Christmas gifts and I can’t wait to FaceTime with them as they open their gifts. I am blessed to have all three in my life, they have given me memories that will last forever.

This past summer I was able to visit a very dear friend, we met my freshman year in college and she has a heart of gold. She and I became friends rather quickly, which is still puzzling to me because she was a sophomore or junior transfer student, and I was a nerdy freshman. We have maintained a beautiful friendship through the years, we don’t talk often or see one another very much but I trust her with my life. She and her husband have always had the ability to make me feel “wanted” and part of their life. She has 3 amazing children and because of their inclusion and sharing I feel as if I know her children but I have only met them a couple of times. My college memories are sweeter and in some cases funnier because of her. She has always loved and accepted me for who I am nothing more and nothing less. She is courageous, supportive and encouraging.

I have many more friends with similar characteristics and would love to share them with you, but this has already gotten lengthier than I had planned. My message is “do take life for granted, sure there’s parts of it that hurt and some that sucks but there’s also so much more! More goodness, more joy, more love…”.

Don’t forget to count your blessings!

~Peace & Love~

Charlotte~Char~Charlie

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/14/2019

Saturday, December 14, 2019

1 Samuel 2:1-8 *This is a prayer expressing the power and holiness of God, God is our “Rock!”

“Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory. “There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.”

Can you imagine being with Moses and the children of Israel when they were wondering in the wilderness and seeing the moment Moses struck the rock and water sprung to quench their thirst (Exodus 17). What power, majesty and holiness of God was displayed!! Throughout history artists have tried to capture such events such as this in different expressions of art. Here’s a few:

The Bible has many examples of God’s power, God’s holiness and the greatest of all is found in a baby, born in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. Jesus traded the beauty of heaven and its splendors reserved for the holy for the furnishings of the lowly. It is through this great sacrifice, born to a virgin and a carpenter, Mary & Joseph loved Jesus and praised God for all He had done! You and I can experience the holiness of God this Advent season by reading about and anticipating the birth of Jesus.

Prayer:

God, there is no one like you, and none can compare to you. You are our Rock, our Redeemer. May I grow in holiness as you are revealed to me. May the coming Christ Child be a reminder to me of what your holiness looks like. ~Amen.

~Hope & Peace~

References:

https://www.alamy.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/13/2019

Friday, December 13, 2019

Isaiah 9:2-7

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

Have you ever experienced darkness in the physical sense? The writer talks about the differences of living in the city verses living in the country and/or rural areas and just how different they are. I grew up in a rural area and as a kid I remember being very afraid of the dark. I was always seeing things that were not really there or hearing something, that was really nothing. Darkness is still not something I enjoy, but I have learned to adapt. If you allow your eyes to adjust, even the smallest light source can help you navigate the dark. Being aware of places and sort of memorizing the placement of things can also help. I remember when I was a kid maybe 6 or so, my parents gone out had for the evening and a babysitter was watching my brother and I for the evening. When bedtime came I ask to sleep in my parents bed, at least until they came home. I remember waking during the night, the room was completely dark, no slivers of light at all. I tried reaching for the bedroom door knob and NOT finding it, all I could feel was the walls…I panicked and probably cried for mom(!), I woke thinking I was still in my parents bed but I had been moved to my own room at some point and I was now totally disoriented. Have you ever experienced anything like that?

The same effects can happen when we are all of a sudden exposed to a really bright light, it can be blinded. Our eyes need a moment to adjust to these extreme changes. To make matters worse, some people have extra sensitive eyes. I just happen to be one of those individuals, bright sunlight and the reflection of white snow can be debilitating at times. I wear glasses and I need to wear sunglasses in some situations. My eyes will water and become irritated when they are not protected.

In the Bible, the Prophet Isaiah writes about a great light and it shining on the people. Isaiah talks about people who were living in darkness and they walked in darkness. He proclaims that they have seen a great light! Isaiah 9 is the prophesy of “The Righteous Reign of the Coming King” that King was the foretelling of the birth of Jesus and His eternal reign as the King of Kings!

This Advent season is an opportunity for us to see the light, the everlasting light of Jesus Christ! It is also an opportunity for us to share the light of Jesus with those who have never seen the light. Be the light you hope for in this world to someone else who is still in the darkness.

Prayer:

Lord, your promised light is coming. Through the manager, the world will become disoriented to the Way that is to come. As I adjust to the divine light at Christmas, make your grace known so that I may continue to seek the light and not retreat to the familiar darkness. ~Amen

~Hope & Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 2019 12/12/2019


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Psalm 146:5-10

“Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!”

God’s promises are real! He continues to deliver on His promises every day and in the midst of life’s situations. There will be times in this life that we, ourselves will feel downhearted, lonely, depressed and even oppressed. It is in these times we need to anchor ourselves to God and His promises. The season of Advent can be a difficult time for many, even for those who know the promises of God, life can still be hard. On a personal note, this year is the first year since my mother passed that I have truly been excited for the Holiday Season. This will be the seventh Christmas without her and it’s still hard to believe she’s gone. Life waits for no one and the days continue even though at times I have wished for them to stop or at least slow down. In my head, logically speaking I know the process of grief and that she’s in a better place, no more worry or stress or pain, but from a daughter’s perspective, I miss my mom terribly.

Advent is newness, the newborn Christ child bringing Hope, Peace, Joy and Love! This year it is all those things for me as well as a sense of renewed family relationships and sharing abundance of love for my friends! God has been with me every single day since the passing of my mom, some days the promises of God seemed far away, but present nonetheless, all along. God’s timing is best! I am so thankful for all of God’s gifts, the healing, the comfort, the companionship, and for the waiting!

You and I may differ on many things and that okay, God didn’t ask me to be a carbon copy of someone else or instruct me in to see everything the way everyone else does, He simply said, “Love One Another!”

John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”

I think as believers, no matter our preferred denomination, doctrine or worship styles, we can agree with the first sentence of the Lord’s Prayer, where Jesus taught His disciples how they should pray saying, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” ~Matthew 6:9b. We state the name of God, state where he is/sits, and He is holy above every thing else that exists. We say these words of praise because of the promises God has done, is doing and promises to do.

Prayer:

Lord, there are times when I do not feel you presence. Life becomes tough, things do not go in my favor, and I lose sight of the promises you made to me as your child. You have promised to care for your children. Your glory is beyond compare and still, you promise to care for me. Thank you for this promise. ~Amen.

~Hope & Peace~

References:

http://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent in Narnia: Becoming Like Children 12/07/2019

“He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~Matthew 18:2-3

Definition of Childlike:

• marked by innocence, trust, and ingenuousness.

• delight.

• resembling, suggesting, or appropriate to a child

Are there things about Advent that gives you a sense of childlike feelings or emotions? I have loved Christmas most of my life. I love the tree decorating, shopping for the perfect gifts, wrapping presents, giving presents, seeing the beautiful lights, exchanging good tidings with friends and strangers, sharing meals with friends and family, watching the enchantment in the faces of children as they see Santa and the toy aisle in every store, holiday foods and drinks, to mention a few! I also look forward to singing Christmas songs, especially the ones at church describing Jesus and His birth, they transport me to my youth, an opportunity for me to revisit those precious memories of special individuals who helped shape my faith from a very young age. This past Sunday, my church presented our annual children’s Christmas program and it was a great success, topped out with Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Angels and of course Jesus! The children wore homemade costumes and sang songs and had two separate storylines happening simultaneously, great producers and performance!!

One can experience Advent with the delight of childlike experiences without having children. Christmas whether secular or religious, is not about age but about heart.

Jesus spoke about childlike attributes while talking with His disciples in Matthew 18:1-5, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Jesus was instructing the disciples to have mature and responsible minds and the hearts like children. C.S.Lewis paraphrased Paul’s writing from 1 Corinthians 13:22 by saying this…

There are many ways to experience the childlike emotions of Christmas, the writer of the book I’m reading suggested the following:

• Do a “Jesse Tree,”. I had no idea what it was and if you already know, that’s awesome. Basically, it’s a bare branch hung with symbols of stories from the Old Testament, creating a family “tree” for Mary, Joseph, and the Christ Child — a Christmas prequel. The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” With doing a Jesse Tree each day of Advent read a passage from the Old Testament and hang a tiny/small ornament representing it, something like a globe for creation; a whale for Jonah; or a boat for Noah.

• Collect ornaments.

• Create traditions with friends or family or both

• Be a secret Santa to someone.

Questions for Reflection:

• What do you think Jesus means by “becoming like children? *Be trusting, open and honest.

• What childish activities do you enjoy at Advent season? If you don’t have any, do any of the suggestions listed above interest you? *I am interested in doing the “Jesse Tree.”

• C.S.Lewis also write this, “Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’, but also ‘as wise as serpents’. He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.” What are some ways to balance a “child’s heart” and a “grown up’s head? *Be kind, treat others as you want to be treated, share, be fair. Do you think Lewis succeeds in. Alan Inc the two in the book, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe?” Why or why not? *Short answer, YES…I love the writings of C.S.Lewis and the imagery that spins in my imagination!

~Peace~

References:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/Using_Your_Head

http://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/11/2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Genesis 15:1-18

“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness. Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your ancestors in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,”

I had the pleasure of meeting and discussing today’s Advent message with a group of women from my church. We meet every Wednesday morning for Bible Study, I am blessed to be part of this group of extraordinary women!! We talked and shared our experiences of God’s promises and His faithfulness to fulfill those promises made. The story of Abram and Sarai, (Abraham and Sarah) is recorded in the book of Genesis.

“When God changed a person’s name and gave him a new name, it was usually to establish a new identity. God changed Abram’s “high father” name to “Abraham,” “father of a multitude” (Genesis 17:5) and his wife’s name from “Sarai,” “my princess,” to “Sarah,” “mother of nations” (Genesis 17:15–16).” ~https://www.google.com/search?q=abram+became+abraham&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

God’s promises extend to you and I, not just the individuals we read about in the Bible. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and to make a way for everyone to be in relationship with God through himself. Abraham indeed is the father of many; many sons and many daughters in many nations!

One of my favorite songs growing up in the church was “Trust and Obey,”. It really is that simple! I invite you to open your heart to Jesus this Advent season and lean on His promises. If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, this is your moment. God is waiting with open arms to welcome you home. Pray this prayer, Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen”

Friends, if you are accepting Jesus and need to speak to someone, I am here to prayer with you and for you. I also encourage you to reach out to a friend that is a believer or a church for more information. You are so loved by God!

Prayer:

Holy One, you have promised to be with us. Watch over me, protect me, and bless me. Make your presence known through your grace and peace. ~Amen.

~Hope & Peace~

References:

https://hymnary.org/text/how_firm_a_foundation_ye_saints_of

Author: K. (1787)Author (attributed to): George Keith (1787)Author (attributed to): R. Keen (c. 1787)
Tune: ADESTE FIDELES
Gospel Acclamation Songs
Published in 1882 hymnals

Printable scores: PDFMusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/the-sinners-prayer-4-examples.html

Advent in Narnia: The Professor 12/06/2019

“…I believe; help my unbelief!” ~Mark 9:24b

To follow along in the novel, read chapter 5.

I have been a fan of C.S.Lewis’ writings for quite some time, I love his ability to use words to transport me to new and exciting places. I love the imagery one can conjure up by using imagination. Long before movies were available or affordable travel, people have been able visiting new countries and planets; and meeting new species. People today still find it difficult to believe what the Bible tells us. They have trouble believing a child was born of a virgin but no problem whatsoever believing in a groundhog named “Punxsutawney Phil” who predicts the weather? Or in believing in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. I am certainly not trying to diss “Peter Rabbit” or “Kris Kringle,” they were both part of my beloved childhood. I’m just saying, our imaginations are gifts from our Creator! I can easily see Christian themes in many productions I’ve watched, one of my very favorites is “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” it is filled with imagery and storylines to encourage the belief in someone bigger and more powerful than ourselves. Check it out sometime!

In the story of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” Edmund has ventured through the wardrobe, following Lucy. Lucy is so excited about what see discovers she shares it with her other 2 older siblings. They are quite concerned that Lucy is loosing it! They decide to seek counsel from the Professor, with whom they are staying with. The response they received was not what they were expecting, he simply ask “why do you not believe her?” Little did they know, the Professor knew that Lucy was telling the truth, because he, himself had been to Narnia. (The Magician’s Nephew), The Professor says to himself, why are they attached to such a narrow definition of reality? I love that phrase, “narrow definition of reality.” In truth, my reality is different from yours and well, different from every one else’s I would say. We are all unique individuals living under different circumstances. Sure, we share many traits and even perform the same jobs, go to the same churches, schools, clubs…etc., but we all also have had different experiences in life that have shaped us and formed certain ideas within ourselves. I may make the same amount of money as a coworker but we have different needs and responsibilities in life. So what might be an abundance to one may not be to the other.

It’s easy to believe in the possible, it’s actually quite boring. Challenge yourself and believe in the impossible. Make the unreal, a reality.

I love the Bible verse written by Paul in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Advent and Christmas both are season of imagination and wonder, dive in and experience all it has to offer. God was born among us to make what seems ordinary into holy and transformative things. Things that can sound strange or even a bit crazy…a virgin birth, visiting angels, shepherds and magi following a star to a dark, cold and damp stable to see a baby wrapped in rags. Use your gift of imagination and enter into God’s reality and experience the Christmas season not as a silly, childish distraction but as a radical new perspective on faith and the kingdom of God.

Questions for Reflection:

• Which of the Pevensie children are you most like? Peter, Susan, Edmund or Lucy. *I would have to say I’m a little of Lucy and a little of Edmund.

• Are you comfortable with the similarities? *I appreciate seeing myself in both and I want to be more like Lucy.

• Would you prefer to emulate one of the other children. *Lucy

• Does the season of Advent strain your sense of reason? *No for me, I believe that anything is possible with God. *My doubts fall on myself and my ability to be faithful and committed.

• How is your imagination fed during Advent? *Through the music and children.

• How is your faith affected at Advent through your imagination? *The manager scene and the Star! It feels like I’m hearing the story for the first time each year.

~Peace~

References:

http://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar Of Devotions 12/10/2019

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Isaiah 41:14-20

“Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you insect Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. Now, I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. Then you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory. When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”

The manner in which God brought Jesus into the world as a baby speaks volumes about His character. Jesus was born to a virgin, who became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. Her bravery is unimaginable, I’m sure others looked down upon her and questioned why Joseph would marry her after knowing she was pregnant and they had not been together. God could have chosen different parents for Jesus and a birth to put all others to shame but that is not the God we serve. God was changing things up, the world had lost its way and the promises foretold in the Old Testament were unfolding.

Isaiah 11:6b, “And a little child shall lead them.”

Judah will hold the royal scepter,
And his descendants will always rule.
Nations will bring him tribute
And bow in obedience before him. (Genesis 49:10)

The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)

But the LORD will still give you proof. A virgin is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

A child is born to us!
A son is given to us!
And he will be our ruler.
He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,”
“Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,”
“Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

“What I saw in my vision
hasn’t happened yet.
But some day, a king of Israel
will appear like a star. (Numbers 24:17)

Jesus was born in a stable, He was wrapped in bands of cloth and laid in a manager shared with the animals. No royal banners or trumpets sounding. When Jesus started His ministry it was to seek the lost. He hung out with sinners, the poor and needy, the sick and the forgotten. Where might God be calling you to serve and share the promise of salvation? May the light of Jesus shine in and through you to light the way for others this holiday season!

Prayer:

God, you promise to provide for the needy. Too often we think you will simple drop manna from the sky when instead you are calling us to go and serve. During this season of extravagance, reveal to me the poor and the thirsty. Let me provide for them just as you have provided for me. ~Amen.

~Peace & Hope~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

10 Bible verses from the Old Testament about the birth of Jesus

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 2019 12/09/2019

Psalm 21

“In your strength the king rejoices, O Lord, and in your help how greatly he exults! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. (Selah). For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold on his head. He asked you for life; you gave it to him— length of days forever and ever. His glory is great through your help; splendor and majesty you bestow on him. You bestow on him blessings forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. You will make them like a fiery furnace when you appear. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them. You will destroy their offspring from the earth, and their children from among humankind. If they plan evil against you, if they devise mischief, they will not succeed. For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows. Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.”

https://images.app.goo.gl/g4qHCjZRCXMcbEqz6

When you pause and think of God’s great power, what do you imagine? What Bible stories appear in your thoughts? Do you think of Moses parting the Red Sea so the children of Israel could cross since they were fleeing from Pharaoh and his broken promises to free them? (Exodus 14)

What about Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego in the fiery furnace? How God protected them when the King Nebuchadnezzar threw them into the furry furnace for not worshiping the golden statute. (Daniel 3)

God is our strength! Strength is defined in the dictionary as: the quality or state of being strong; capacity for exertion or endurance; power to resist force; power of resisting attack. Our God is all these things and more, much more. The strength of the Lord is not measured or compared with earthly kings and rulers, we see the strength of our Lord in the meekness if a child, not in military or militia. We see the strength of the Lord in the vulnerability of meager beginnings, not in promises of earthly riches and gain. This season we celebrate and acknowledge the Lord’s strength through the power of strangers, shepherds and kings coming to meet and kneel at the child born of a virgin and laying in a manager.

Prayer:

God our strength and hope, reveal the meekness of your strength to me and invite me into the hope that comes not from earthly powers but from the babe we seek in the manager. It is your strength I rely on, not my own, and it is your kingdom that is to come. ~Amen.

~Peace & Hope~

References:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/