Advent Day 8: Genesis 21:1-4, Barren No More

Barrenness had been Sarah’s identity for all her married life. When God repeated his promise to Abraham over the years, she surely felt persecuted. His plan for Abraham—and the rather lengthy timeline–highlighted her shame and failure. Then she made a mess of things by bringing Hagar into the picture.

Three Things You Gain From Taking Risks

I am in the habit of trusting my abilities, rather than Christ. Huh. That’s a sneaky form of self worship, don’t you think? In my former life, I would continually submit myself to a process doomed to failure because, by putting my faith in my abilities, I factored the Lord out of a critical equation. Ergo, my fear of failure sets me up for failure.

I held a baby today . . .

I held a baby today. That’s not a big deal, right? It is. For a moment it’s unfamiliar—the lightness of a newborn, his head worked up into the curve of…

Advent Day 7–Isaiah 40:9-11, Close to His Heart

Where I see the most obvious parallel between Isaiah’s prophecies and the modern church is what we’re willing to call worship. Too often, church membership and attendance is flashed around like some kind of Jesus talisman. I attend. I sing a few songs—but only if they are the songs I prefer performed only by certain instruments. I hear a little lightweight preaching and call it good for the week. What is neglected is devotion—a devotion that can only come about in a heart that knows it has been rescued.

Advent Day 6–Genesis 17:1-8, Blameless

God’s chosen people avoided spiritual obedience by practicing the ritual of worship. The people rebelled–even to the point of prostituting themselves with idol worship–and spent years of anguish in exile. Still, God remembered His promises to Abraham and the covenant with His people which He would not break. A new covenant is required—one that fulfills all that God promised to Abraham and makes the people blameless.

Advent Day 5: Isaiah 52:7-10, The Bad News Makes the Good News

Within a few weeks of having our sweet Eden home, I realized what God had done. He had revealed Himself through the adoption of our daughter. Even though I was a believer for a lot of years before, I now saw salvation in a different light—that God deeply, deeply loves me and made all the arrangements so that I could be His child. I had doubted for so long that God could work all this pain together for good. I had felt for so long that God was punishing me by not allowing me to carry a baby to term. I had grown accustomed to thinking of God as angry, and cold, and distant. But here He was showing Himself.

Advent Day 4: Genesis 15:1-6, That I May Gain Christ

I thoroughly enjoy decorating and gift giving and cooking for a crowd. No one is going to shame me into removing the Christmas stockings from the mantel because it’s a tradition that doesn’t do enough to promote Jesus. Still, I’m not going to flip open my bible and find a big guy who rides in a sleigh or a Currier and Ives snow scene or Ebenezer Scrooge. What I do find in scripture is the truth. I enjoy stocking stuffers and peppermint bark. I need truth.