God’s Gift: Ruling

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Day 17 of Advent and God’s Gift.

Bible Reading: Isaiah 11:1-9


Image: public domain

Part of this scripture reading was Day One of our waiting.  Here we are reminded of the characteristics of the Holy Trinity: wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge.

But today’s reading goes further.  It explains the gift of God’s ruling.  It will bring such peace that creatures who were once enemies will eat together and lie down together.  The knowledge of the Lord will bring safety.

Only the fear of the Lord will remain. . .that awe inspiring, righteous trembling of His great power and rule.  We will not have a fear of each other.

God’s rule will bring His creation together.  What a beautiful thing on which to wait.

Thoughts for today:

What fears are keeping you awake at night as you wait?

How do you think it will feel to give all that fear to the Lord and rely simply on His ability?

Too often, God, we let our fears control what we do during this time of waiting.  We wrap ourselves in the memory of the past rather than look toward Your ruling of our future.  Help us to lay down our fears and to move toward Your light as we continue to wait.

God’s Gift: Power

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Day 16 of Advent and God’s Gift.

Bible Reading: I Kings 18:17-39


Image: public domain

Oh, what a beautiful example of the power of God! And, a lesson to us all to not waver (or dance, as the text says) between our choices.

Elijah’s simple prayer to the Almighty is in such contrast to the antics of the prophets of Baal. His prayer is not for himself, but so that the people in attendance will know the one true God.

And the one true God answers!

He pulls their attention and their hearts back to Him in a way no other could EVER do. 

Thoughts for today:

Are you wavering in indecision while you wait?

What would happen if you simply asked God to use your situation to show the people around you His power?

God’s power is not something we can understand.  Our minds can’t grasp everything He is capable of doing because we are so weak. . .much like the beloved children’s song says. We are little.  Call on God’s power to show you and those around you what the direction of your hearts should be.

God’s Gift: Light

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Day 15 of Advent and God’s Gift.

Bible Reading: Isaiah 9:2, 6-7


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If you’ve been in the dark a while, turning on the light can be startling.  The use of the word “dawned” in my version of these verses, causes one to consider the realization, the slow bath of light into darkness.  

God’s light was coming.

Focusing on His word and promises helped for it not to be blinding.  Further, that focus should be on how Isaiah describes the light. . .

Counselor–carries out the plan

Mighty–strength as a warrior

Father–compassionate protector and provider

Peace–wholeness and well-being

His is a light we can count on.  A light that can only grow brighter.

Thoughts for today:

Where in your life do you need the characteristics described of God’s light?

How can accepting that God’s light is all of these things help you persevere in your time of waiting?

O God, how we all need a mighty counselor, a father of peace.  Our wholeness and well-being is so often put at risk when we turn to our own abilities in our times of waiting.  It is only with Your light that we can get through this time. Help us to focus on what Your word says about the light that is dawning. Keep the countless times You have provided, protected, and promised forefront in our hearts and minds.

God’s Gift: Kingship

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Day 14 of Advent and God’s Gift, the advent devotional I wrote over the past year.  Please feel free to share, but give me credit as it is my original work. Thank you.

Bible Reading: II Samuel 5:1-5


Image from: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghent_Altarpiece

The first reason that the Israelites cite for anointing David king is his kinship.  He is their blood. The second is his ability to fight their battles–and win. And, finally, they claim his kingship because of God’s declaration.

Catch that–relative, warrior, the Lord’s.

In His wisdom, God’s anointing of David parallels our life with Him, the reasons we claim Him king of our lives.

God is our father, our kin.

God fights our battles.

God says, “I am Lord.”

Thoughts for today:

When you think of your earthly family, do you attach these characteristics to them?

In your time of waiting, which family members do you know fight for you?

How does it feel to know that there is One who is all of this for you during this time?

God is not an abstract idea that floats in the space around us.  He IS our family. He rules in a very tangible way. Thank Him for being available to fight our battles and know how to win even when we are confused and scattered while we wait.

God’s Gift: Vision

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Day 13 of Advent and God’s Gift.

Bible Reading: I Samuel 16:1-13


Samuel is instructed by the Lord that appearance is not the establishing factor of a king.  David fails to meet the “standard” status quo of Saul.


God looks at the condition of the heart. 

When we look in the mirror we are often faced with our physical flaws and shortcomings. We judge appearance without hesitation.

With God’s eyes, His vision, we can see the kings and queens we are in our hearts as children of the one true God.  Our inheritance is greater than the body we live in, the house we live in, or the Earth we live in. With God’s vision we can see not only our impact, but also our future.

Thoughts for today:

What is the first thing you think when you look at your reflection?

How can you readjust that thinking with God’s vision?

What lasting impression do you want others to have of you?  Does it have to do with your appearance or your heart?

It is a true gift to see ourselves through God’s eyes.  It is also a daily practice. . .something we must do over and over to remind ourselves of our value in Him.  In our waiting today, God can help us see through new eyes what our direction is. . .ever closer to Him.

God’s Gift: Alliance

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Day 12 of Advent and God’s Gift

Bible Reading: Joshua 2:1-21


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Rahab’s scarlet cord–a signal that her household were allies to the Israelite army and claimed God as the one true God.

Isn’t it astounding how God presents us with allies in the most unlikely places?

Rahab: a foreigner, of enemy birth, of questionable profession.

Yet (what a powerful word) she confesses God’s lordship and ownership over Canaan.  She aligns her heart with God’s purpose and He is able to establish the line of David through her son Boaz–who married Ruth.  

Thoughts for today:

When have you been presented with an ally in a situation you weren’t expecting one?

When have you been an ally for someone who may not have been expecting it?

How can you rely on God’s alliance to move through this particular day?

God is all around us, if we take the time to look. Take a moment to recognize the scarlet cords in your life and thank God that He has placed so many allies around you during your time of waiting. 

God’s Gift: Empathy

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Day 11 of Advent and God’s Gift

* Please remember that sharing of these devotionals is encouraged, but please give me credit as they are my own thoughts and words. Thank you!

Bible Reading: Ruth 1:1-2:3; Matthew 1:5, 16


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Empathy, knowing what we feel, feeling it with us.

Ruth, a foreigner not raised in the Jewish tradition, leaves everything she’s ever known to cling to Naomi, to care for her, to share in her emptiness and desolation.  She chooses not only to sympathize with Naomi’s “bitter” life, but also to empathize. She chooses to truly feel.

And God uses this foreigner in the lineage of Jesus.  God uses Ruth to redeem Naomi’s line and life.  

And Jesus leaves everything He’s ever known to share in our desolation, to care for us, to truly feel our heartache and despair.

Jesus redeems our lives.

Thoughts for today:

When has someone truly empathized with your waiting?

How does empathy differ from sympathy for you?

Have you ever considered stepping out of your comfort zone to be there for someone else?

Our dear Jesus who left the comfort and glory of Heaven to be with us.  Talk to Him about what that means to you.

God’s Gift: Discipline

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Day 10 of Advent and God’s Gift

Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 5:1-22


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The Commandments seem so restrictive.  Yet they are a reminder that God takes us out of Egypt–He rescues us from slavery, from things that entrap us.

They also show His care for our well-being.  His instructions for living are no different from a parent helping a child learn to share or not to touch a hot stove.  He loves us. He brought us out of slavery, but He doesn’t want us to stay in a slavery mindset. His discipline moves us in the direction of freedom.  

During this time of waiting, it can often seem difficult to keep to the “rules.” Maybe if we tweak this one over here, just a bit, what we’re waiting for will come more quickly.  Be careful that you don’t burn yourself on that stove by being in a hurry. Remember that the discipline is there for our well-being.

Thoughts for today:

When has following the “rules” proved to allow you to feel free?

What rule did you hate as a child, but now see as beneficial?

Where do you pray for more self-discipline?

God craves helping you move forward from where you are today. He knows you are a work in progress. Perhaps today is a good time to thank Him for the discipline He has put in place and for giving you a mind and heart that discerns when you aren’t paying attention to the path He paves with that discipline.

God’s Gift: His Plan

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Day 9 of Advent and God’s Gift

Bible Reading: Genesis 37:31-33; 50:15-20


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Joseph’s brothers get caught up in their human-ness.  Jealousy. Greed. And their actions are evil. How can this possibly be something that God can redeem?

But He does. Joseph’s story doesn’t end with the evil actions of his brothers.  God put him in a position that would redeem not only his story, but also his brothers’. Joseph reassures the terrified brothers when it’s time.  He helps them see that without their actions, God could not have saved them all. Joseph continuously clings to the gifts of promise, provision, and protection to live out the gift of the plan.

Thoughts for today:

Do you wonder how your hurt can be useful?

Are you experiencing a time when it’s difficult to cling to promise?

What gift helps you remain confident in God’s plan?

God’s plan is difficult, often, for us to wrap our heads around.  Much like Joseph’s story, we can see no redemption in the actions that we commit (like the brothers) or have done to us (like Joseph). The waiting is hard, o Lord. Ask God to help you cling to the gifts He bestows.

God’s Gift: Protection

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Day 8 of Advent and God’s Gift

Bible Reading: Genesis 28:10-22


Image: public domain {personally, one of my favorites that Steven chose}

God shows Jacob the connection between Heaven and Earth. So often, we fail to recognize that the two are intimately connected.  Jacob’s glimpse of this stairway, this constant moving between God’s realm and His creation, is a magnificent picture. 

What is noteworthy is the fact that Jacob went to sleep unaware of God’s presence in the new place.  He was unaware that God is always here and that this protection is always available. God reminds Jacob that He will watch over him wherever he goes.

And this same declaration is made for us.  God is here. Earth is the house of God. He watches over us night and day.

Thoughts for today:

Where do you turn when you are afraid or lonely?

How does that turning bring you comfort or help you feel protected?

Today, God is waiting for you to acknowledge His protection over His house.  Not just Earth, but you. Call out to Him for the comfort He provides in His protection during the uncertainty of waiting.

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