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


Image: Public domain

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.

God’s Gift: Provision

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Day 7 of Advent and God’s Gift

Bible Reading: Genesis 22:1-14


Image: public domain

Abraham never ceases to amaze me.  He follows God’s instruction without question. . .again!  He prepares the ONE thing he wanted most in life to be sent to God in sacrifice.

Have you ever thought about what sacrifice is? I admit that I didn’t look up the definition in a dictionary or online, but here’s my personal take on what it means to sacrifice.  It means to give your best to someone without wanting anything in return. Sometimes that best is more than you think you have or are able to give. Sacrificing is to honor.

In our scripture today, the innocent child asks where the sacrifice is and the answer is, “God will provide.”

And He did, and He will. The Christ child is coming.  God, like Abraham, prepares His son, His best, for us.

Thoughts for today:

When have you given more than you thought you had?

What emotions did you experience when you gave?

How do you honor others in your life?

How do you honor God?

Consider talking to God about your sacrifices.  Ask Him to help you determine your reasoning for what you give and if you need to reevaluate your motivations. Ask Him to help you find ways not only to honor Him, but also to honor those who are in your life–even if only for a brief moment

God’s Gift: Presence

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Day 5 of Advent and God’s Gift

Bible Reading: Genesis 12:1-7


Image from public domain

How does Abram’s unfaltering obedience to God mirror our walk toward Christ’s coming?

Without question, Abram picks up his entire household and leaves all he has ever known, moving forward in faith trusting God’s plan, even when he may not understand what it was all about. 

Abram acknowledges God’s presence and sovereignty in a land, Canaan, that denied Him. He carries His belief in the one God into an area that may not have had knowledge of Him or just denied Him because it was what they found easiest.  It matters not what the Canaan reason is; it matters only that Abram said He is here, whether you think so or not. And in that belief, he builds the altar at Shechem and makes it impossible to deny God’s presence.

Thoughts for today:

What areas of your life have you been trying to deny God’s presence?

How could you acknowledge God’s sovereignty in situations where He feels absent to you?

Praying today may be difficult for you because you feel abandoned or alone or confused by what you feel God has asked of you.  Remember that putting one foot in front of the other, while tough, is all it takes. Remember that God is all around. Thank Him for His presence.  Ask Him to make Himself tangible to you and to give you the wisdom to recognize His presence.

God’s Gift: Promise

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Day 4 of Advent and God’s Gift.

Bible Reading: Genesis 6:5-8


Image from public domain

Isn’t it reassuring, in an odd sort of way, that we’re not alone in getting lost? The entire earth turns to wickedness and loses its way. 

Noah stands in the gap for humanity. A mere man, who, if you continue the story, you find having favor with God doesn’t mean he’s without sin. But he tries to honor God with his life.  And in that trying, God is pleased. He knows our hearts and our struggles and it pains Him when we don’t even try.

It is our task, as we wait, to honor God so that He honors the promise placed in the sky by the rainbow.

Thoughts for today:

Are you making choices that will honor God?

Do the choices you make point others to God in your life?

Are you living a life that shows you believe in the promises God has made for you?

In talking with God today, discuss the decisions you have to make and ask for His direction.  Be sure you listen for His answer. Ask Him to help you to keep moving in the last way that He pointed you.

God’s Gift: Grace

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This is day three of Advent and of God’s Gift: An Advent Devotional I wrote. Please feel free to share the devotions, but please also give me credit as they are my original work. Thank you.

Bible Reading: Genesis 3:1-21



Image from public domain {as a side note–my husband, in a show of support for me, chose the pictures for each day of the devotional}

After giving us an extraordinary gift, God wishes to spend time with us.  After the serpent tempts Eve and Adam, God calls out. . .”Where are you?” He looks for us, asking for us to come to Him.

The Fall is difficult for us to understand with our 20/20 hindsight.  How could Eve be so easily deceived? But we each have the same desires as she.  We want knowledge and understanding. We want to know why. We trust our own minds over the plan of God. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so hard on Eve.

God wasn’t.  Yes, there was discipline.  Yes, there was a consequence.  But it wasn’t what He could have done as Almighty God.  God allows room for growth, room for coming to Him. And He performs the first sacrifice, a sacrifice that covers Adam and Eve’s shame in their nakedness.  Another foreshadowing of what He will give when He allows the last sacrifice for covering sin.  

It’s grace.

Thoughts for today:

When has someone shown you grace when you deserved less?

When have you shown grace even when it was difficult?

What questions are you seeking answers for today?

In your prayers today, consider thanking God for the love He shows through discipline. Ask Him to help you show grace to those around you so they can take advantage of the same gift you have received and grow.

God’s Gift: Creation

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This is day two of my Advent Devotional, God’s Gift.

Bible Reading: Genesis 1:24-31


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Have you ever thought about the fact that God didn’t make Man first? He didn’t create Man and then ask, “Hey, what do you think you’d like to see here?” 

He didn’t need Man’s input for His plan.  His creation was something He already had in motion.  The separation of the land and the sea, the heavens and the earth, the animals and the plants.  He had it all orchestrated. And only then did He make Man and gave it ALL to us. 

He created a perfect Earth for His pleasure, and then He gifted it to Man.  He gave it to us for our pleasure, allowing us to oversee everything that He had made.  

We live in a culture that promotes a concept of reciprocation.  But God did not desire that we repay Him for this gift. How could we possibly?  It is all of creation. There is nothing we have that could ever equal the enormity of this gift.  It is a precursor to the gift He has prepared for us.

Thoughts for today:

How often do you feel guilty when you receive an extravagant gift?  Do you struggle with feeling adequate for such a gift?

What feelings do you think the gift giver would like you to feel when you receive a gift?

How could you bless someone today with an unexpected gift?

In your prayers today, thank God for finding you special and worthy of a gift such as creation. Thank Him for reminding you that gifts come from love and the mere idea of pleasing the recipient.