Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent. The word “advent” means arrival. The Advent we celebrate is not just any arrival. We celebrate THE Arrival: Jesus.
This is the Advent: the coming of hope to the hopeless, the arrival of peace to war-torn exiles, and the long-awaited freedom for generation after generation.
It’s the elaborate yet stunningly simple plan of God to come to His children, to become like them in the most unexpected, unglamorous, fully human way: a Babe in a manger….born of a virgin.
It’s the beginning of a great ransom story. And you’re in it.
Our ransom story begins way back at the beginning. Way back to the fall in the Garden of Eden:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:1-15 NIV)
“No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed” -Matthew Henry
God’s rescue plan started right then. He couldn’t leave us there. His weapon of choice: Grace. He would use Grace to draw us back to Him in the form of His Son. A Messiah. A Savior. Emmanuel: God With Us.
Yes, the evil one would strike His heel. Jesus would experience real suffering with real blood, sweat and tears. But, Jesus would have the last word. When He cried out, “It is finished!” the serpent’s head would receive the final, fatal blow.
This is how He would become God With Us. Once His work is done….once you and I accept Him as Lord and Savior…..we will never be separated from Him again. God.With.Us.
In this Holiday season, I pray you all are keeping your devotion time going. Often we put them aside when we’re busy, but that’s when we need them the most. When we’re distracted and busy we are a prime target for the enemy. And this Holiday is about Christ anyway, right? Let’s keep our focus and the flame of our love affair with Him burning brightly. Do an Advent study/Devotion this season and worship Him. Grow deeper and closer to our Savior.
You’ll find keeping Christ in Christmas will help your busy Holiday time go much better! Also important: We see a lot of people this time of year that we don’t see regularly….as well as stores packed full of strangers. What a prime opportunity to share Christ and His Gospel. Remember why you’re here in the first place 😊
I am your all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere present Father.
You may feel lonely, but don’t believe it. You’re never far from Me.
I Am is always here – delighting in you, watching you, adoring you.
I know you better than you know yourself, and it brings Me great joy to show you My love. I pleasure in caring for you.
Let My love overwhelm you today….
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I am far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! Psalm 139:1-6
These are my notes from my devotion time today. His loving presence is wonderfully, fantastically, overwhelmingly, almost too much to handle. It makes you feel like you’re going to spontaneously combust! It’s miraculous. It’s where I crave to be all the days of my life.
Let God overwhelm you today.
Go ahead….invite Him in right now
Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever. Psalm 100:4, 5 (MSG
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May you enter deeply into His presence this week as we all count our blessings.
But, not just that. Not just this week. Let’s live our entire lives in Thanksliving to Him from whom all blessings flow. This practice makes it possible to pray without ceasing. Let’s thank Him in every situation. Let’s remember to pause and thank Him for all the little kisses He gives us throughout our day.
When we are occupied with thanking Him, there is no time to worry or complain
The negative thought patterns gradually fade away to a grateful heart. Bitterness for joy. Worry for peace. The sting out of adversity….GONE.
It’s a trade off. We give Him thanks. He gives us joy.
Thanksliving carries us deeper into His presence. Our thoughts on Him. Though circumstances may remain the same, we have changed.
And then the circumstances do change because the light has been switched on and we see things from His perspective.
That is why the password into deep presence with our Jesus is “Thank you!”
May we all be overwhelmed in the presence of God. My we always be Thanksliving
There is a woman in Haiti that goes outside her tent everyday, raises her hands in the air and praises God for everything she has. Out loud….in front of everyone. This dear woman only has about 5 things in her whole possession (AND lives in a tent!). 5. 5 things, yet she praises God with everything in her. All around her are people living just like her. Want to know her secret? Her security doesn’t lie with her circumstances, but on the promise and presence of God. She is passionate for His presence. Rich, poor, comfortable, uncomfortable, first world or third world this principle remains true: the presence of God comes to those who seek Him. I have way more than 5 things. You have way more than 5 things. We need to walk around everyday praising God. We need passion for His presence!
The Lord recently brought a sweet girl into our family. Her name is Bella. Although she has a lot of hurt, and a lot of pain in her young 6 years of life, we stand on the promises of Psalm 103 and see His healing, redeeming, crowning. Oh, the crowning of love and compassion. That brings tears to my eyes for her. Every single day I tell her she is loved, treasured, and wanted. He is faithful and He is healing her heart and her body and is redeeming her from where her circumstances could have taken her.
Want to get in the presence of God? Praise Him. Remember all that He has done, who He is, and what He will do. He forgives. He heals. He redeems. He crowns. He satisfies.
We have a compassionate, loving, gracious God who is crazy about us. We talk about the benefit packages we have with our jobs. The benefits of a child of God are listed here in this Psalm. When you feel as though you have nothing for which to praise God, read David’s list and worship. God’s love is overwhelming, all consuming, and everlasting. He wants to overwhelm you now with His loving presence.
Go ahead…..walk outside your door, raise your hands in the air, close your eyes and praise Him with everything in you. People may say your crazy, but deep down they want to do it too 🙂
A Door To Hope ministries does a great work in Haiti. We are very impressed with them and encourage you to click the link and get involved.