Jesse Tree Advent Devotional – Day 20

Day 20: The Exile

Picture / Ornament: Flames – Fiery Furnace

Scripture: 2 Kings 17:6-12; 2 Kings 25:8-11; Daniel 3:1-4:3

Song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Another Song: Through It All

Another Song: Though You Slay Me

God sent many prophets to the people of Israel, not only to tell them about the coming Savior, but also to warn them. God warned them to follow Him rather than chasing after false gods.

Do your parents ever warn you? Don’t touch the hot stove. Don’t eat too many cookies. Don’t stay up too late at night. Your parents warn you because they love you and want for your good. Likewise, God warns us because He loves us and wants for our good.

Despite all of God’s warnings, the people continued to worship idols and they refused to follow God’s commands. What if you don’t obey your parents’ warnings? You might get burned, or you might get a stomachache, or you might fall asleep in the middle of math class. Or your parents might have to discipline you, so you will obey them next time.

Because God’s people did not obey Him, they were invaded by other nations and taken off as captives to foreign lands. Three Israelite young men named Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were taken from Israel to a land called Babylon where King Nebuchadnezzar ruled. Even though these three young men were taken to a foreign land and given foreign names – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego – they continued to trust and follow the one true God.

When King Nebuchadnezzar made an enormous gold statue and demanded everyone worship it, these three young men refused. Even when King Nebuchadnezzar told them they would be cast into a burning fire, they still refused to worship this idol. They told the king, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18 ESV)

God was with these men in the fire. God protected them, and they were unharmed by the fire’s flames. Even King Nebuchadnezzar saw God’s great power and decreed that no one could speak evil against the Most High God. King Nebuchadnezzar himself said, “How great are His signs, how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and His dominion endures from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3 ESV)

Once again God was using for good even those things which evil men mean for harm. We can always trust God. Even if Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had perished that day, God would still have been with them, protecting their hearts and bringing them faithfully into His eternal kingdom.

Today is a perfect day to thank God for His everlasting Kingdom and His everlasting King, Jesus.

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus.

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional – Day 6

Day 6: Jacob’s Ladder

Picture / Ornament: A Ladder

Scripture: Genesis 25:19-26; Genesis 28:10-22; John 1:51

Song: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Isaac grew up and got married. His wife, Rebekah, had twin sons. They named their sons Esau and Jacob. Before Esau and Jacob were born, God had told Rebekah that her sons would be rivals and that the older son would serve the younger son.

One day when Jacob was on his way to stay with his uncle Laban, he stopped to camp for the night. As he slept, Jacob dreamed of a ladder that reached from earth all the way to heaven. Jacob saw angels of God going up and down that ladder. The Lord, standing at the top of the ladder, repeated to Jacob many of the same promises that He had given to Abraham.

Look at Genesis 28:13-15 and list these promises. God promised to give Jacob and his descendants this land, that Jacob would have countless descendants (as many as the dust of the earth – can you count all the flecks of dust on earth???) and that these descendants would spread to all places on earth. God promised that all the families of the earth would be blessed through Jacob and his descendants. God promised to be with Jacob, to protect him wherever he went and to bring him back to this very land one day. God promised to never leave him and to be faithful to keep all of his promises.

WOW! Our God is always faithful. He is faithful to keep all His promises. We can trust Him.

God appeared to Jacob from the top of a ladder. God is so holy and perfect that we cannot reach Him by our own human efforts.

Ladders connect us with things that are beyond our human reach. I often need to use a ladder to change a light bulb or to reach a dish kept up in a high cabinet.

Jesus is our spiritual ladder, our way to reach the holy, perfect God. In the beginning of Jesus’s ministry on earth, Jesus told Nathanael, “You will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” (John 1:51 NLT) Our sin has separated us from God, but Jesus, the son of God and the son of Man, came to pay the price for our sin, so we can be reunited with God.

Today is the perfect day to trust in Jesus, the only way to the Father.

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus.

40 Day Social Media Fast – Day 1

Whatever keeps me from my Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear. – A.W. Tozer

Today is my first day of forty days focused on realigning my heart to seek first the kingdom of Heaven and what God wants that to look like for me.

I’m also sure it’s no coincidence that today is also the 22nd anniversary of our baby boy’s birth. Losing our son, Tommy, at only 16 weeks gestation began a new trajectory for my life as I began seeking the Lord in earnest as never before.

Pray for my heart to recognize that Jesus is the highest good, that He is way more important than how many shares our likes I get.

I think I’ll still be sharing my heart on my blog and scheduling things to be posted onto my FB group at “Teach What Is Good,” but won’t be checking likes or comments. But we will see how they goes.

If you’d like to chat, send me a direct message or text or give me a call on the phone.

#The40daySocialMediaFast
#teachwhatisgood

Life lessons from the sun

There is only one sun.

The sun is still shining even when it’s dark in your part of the world.

The sun was given to shine upon every nation and corner of the globe.

Clouds may temper the brightness of the sun, but when you’re flying above the clouds, you see it’s still as bright as ever.

The sun brings to light things hidden in the darkness, things you’re unable to see in the dark.

What are you selling?

When I was an outgoing, confident young girl, I loved to sell stuff to strangers. I loved working at my grandma’s antique shop. I loved going to craft fairs with my aunt and uncle to sell their handmade pottery. I loved selling the “newspaper” that I wrote, typed and illustrated in my second floor guest-room office.

Most people don’t like to be sold stuff (Ask me sometime about my experiences with telemarketers and time share salespeople) … AND most people don’t like selling stuff that they’re not personally sold on themselves.

As a 23-year-old who knew next to nothing about home ownership, I tried selling real estate … then I tried selling Usborne books at home parties, but I didn’t feel right trying to convince people that they should buy books at full-price when I preferred checking them out at the library or buying them second-hand.

But as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I want to tell EVERYONE about the best, greatest, most fantastic way to living a life of meaning and purpose.

The love of Christ compels me – both the love that I have received FROM Christ and the love that I feel FOR Christ. I am compelled to share because I believe so deeply in what I have to offer others.

Jesus is so much more than the most magnificent house or the latest and greatest vacuum cleaner or the most life-changing kitchen gadget.

The good news is more important than anything Fox News or CNN could ever broadcast.

The gospel is worth more than any earthly possession that the Home Shopping Network could ever carry.

So, sisters and brothers, we have to stop seeing ourselves as peddlers of useless wares and optional gadgets … and instead see ourselves as Heralds of the King of kings and Messengers of God Most High.

Don’t know how? Do you need some help? Comment below or leave me a message, or check out my YouTube channel for some helpful videos about sharing the gospel:

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV)

“And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23 ESV)

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:35 ESV)

“It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” (1 Peter 1:12 ESV)

“So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20 ESV)

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

Trust = Obedience. Distrust = Disobedience.

“If deep in our hearts we suspect that God does not love us and cannot manage our affairs as well as we can, we certainly will not submit to His discipline.” – Elisabeth Elliot (Nor His Word or His plan for our life.)

The more we know the Lord’s loving goodness and mercy, as well as His almighty power, the more we will trust Him and His plans for us.

You can know God. Imagine that! God has given us His Word, so we can know and trust Him. The more you know and trust Him, the more closely you will follow and obey Him.

How can I come alongside you?

Message me or leave a comment.

Pro-life Atheist to Pro-life Christian

This morning I was honored to be interviewed for a radio program for a local pro-life ministry, so I went ahead and recorded a little video for my YouTube channel. I hope it blesses you.

God has used my experience of losing a baby after finding out he had a fatal condition at only 12 weeks gestation, followed by adopting our son a year later, to share the good news of HOPE in Jesus Christ.

This may not be your exact experience, but God has given you unique talents, trials and testimonies to share, too! I hope are encouraged!

Please check out my ministry website at www.AChildofPromise.org for more information.

Like a shrub or like a tree

It has been really hard for me recently to fix my eyes on the eternal hope of Heaven and on the joy that I have in the finished work of Christ. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the struggles of everyday life. When I read this passage yesterday morning, I was uplifted and I hope you will be, too.

The years of heat and drought will still come, but the man who trusts in the Lord can continue to bear fruit without fear, because he is rooted in the Lord. The desert shrub might survive the drought but that well-watered tree can thrive.

“Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.  He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:5-8 ESV

Scripture Memory

I love to memorize scripture, especially with my children! I’ve memorized several longer passages or even chapters of the Bible, but never a whole book! Right now we’re working on Philippians 2.

We use many of these same tips that Kim Cash Tate recommended in her video.

I’d love to hear what you’re memorizing now and any tips you have for memorizing.

TWIG