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God’s Gift: Restoration

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For the next 25 days, I intend to share with you my Advent devotional. I wrote it to remember God’s goodness and gifts while I grieved for our lost babies.  

I also wrote it with the intention of using it with a Jesse Tree, though this isn’t necessary.

Jesse Tree scriptures are relatively standard across denominations.  Sometimes the order is a bit different or the addition of another unlikely hero may be included.  I used the progression of scriptures included in Jesse Tree Journey by Ann Voskamp and Nancy Rodden from www.aholyexperience.com.  I wrote the scripture references at the top of individual pages in my journal, and then put their words away.

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Bible Reading: Isaiah 11:1-2

When I was growing up, we had a maple tree which my parents decided to cut down.  The stump marked the edge of a makeshift parking spot in our yard. After a season of “stumpiness”, it sprouted.  The maple tree came back more beautiful and full than it had ever been previously.

A stump seems dead, but when we wait patiently, it bears new life.  These verses remind us of the Trinity and the characteristics that are bestowed upon Jesus: wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, loving reverence of God.  We wait expectantly for these traits to appear from the stump of Judah. It is Advent.

We progress through all of God’s gifts, towards the One.

Thoughts for today:

How can you recognize beauty in the waiting? 

Where can you nurture to bring forth beauty and fullness that previously was missing?

Where can you display more patience in your life?

Ask God today to reveal areas where restoration is waiting in your life. Ask God to help you relax in the waiting.

Resolutions

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Years ago I made the resolution to not make resolutions at the New Year.  Who needs the extra pressure?

For the most part, I’ve managed to keep that one.

Past resolutions have included things like:

1) Quit biting my nails: I still bite them–when I’m bored, when I’m nervous or agitated, when I’m driving down the road, and interestingly enough when I go to the movies.  (And though I don’t resolve to do it anymore, I do wish I could quit!)

2) Lose weight: Who hasn’t made this resolution?  (Don’t answer that.)

3) Exercise more: Let’s face it–I hate exercise; I hate that it’s called exercise; I hate that it makes me sweaty and hurts; I hate that other people seem to get happy endorphins after exercising–why should they be so lucky?

These are the resolutions that I can recall right off the top of my head.  I notice that they seem to have a lot to do with my outer appearance.

A resolution is merely a commitment. And commitment takes effort.  Consider:

Owning a pet. Going to your job and doing it well. Marriage. Raising children.

Being a Christian.

When I give up on those outward resolutions, I’m left with more time to focus on the commitments that really make up my life.

I offer this verse:

Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”