Pilots are trained for emergencies. They are taught that when the unexpected happens, the number one thing you do is to keep flying. You may have to make some adjustments, but you keep flying the plane. And that’s where we are right now. We keep living. We make adjustments and be prepared, but we keep on living, and hopefully do it in a more mindful way. Slow down, spend more time with family, call an elderly friend, take a walk outdoors, or sit in your backyard and listen to the birds. Fresh air, sunshine, and God’s nature are all good, healthy things to enjoy. No one wants circumstances like we have right now to remind us what is truly important, but let’s not waste the opportunity either. Live now. Enjoy God’s beauty around us. Be kind. Pray more. Less sensational news and social media. Look up.
And now, I think I’ll go bake some cookies with all that extra flour, sugar, butter and eggs I recently bought. Live your fullest, my friend! Don’t waste a moment.
“You haven’t prayed yet this morning.” a little nudging thought seemed to say to me.
I know… I say back to myself in my thoughts, while grabbing my purse and phone and taking that last sip of coffee. … I’ve got to get going for my appointment this morning. I’ll pray when I get back. Besides, there’s nothing going on here in this quiet morning that needs urgent prayer. It can wait a few hours.
I try to read my devotion and pray every morning, but honestly, it sometimes gets away from me. I always feel better when I do. It’s like getting dressed in the morning. When I rush, I don’t always look my best. Those shoes I grabbed in a hurry don’t really go with my outfit. I may get through the day ok, but I don’t feel great.
On this morning, I’m dressed but don’t have on great shoes. I head out for my appointment downtown, and afterwards I check my phone. There’s an urgent text from my son – COME HOME NOW. I call and text and wait to hear back from him as I’m madly driving home. And praying, urgently praying.
It all turned out ok, just some scary scammers that he wasn’t sure how to deal with. But it got me thinking. That nudge earlier this morning. God was giving me a heads up. He knew what was coming. He knew the evil that was lurking in people who are ready to pounce on the unsuspecting or vulnerable. When we least expect it. God wanted to talk with me that morning through my prayer, to reassure me, and to help clothe me for what my son would be facing in just a couple of hours. God was already preparing his angels to surround my son from such evil.
I was reminded there is nothing more important in getting ready for our day than starting the day talking to God. So this morning when I opened my devotion, I found this:
As Soon As You Prayed God thinks highly of you, and at the very moment you started praying, I was sent to give you the answer. Daniel 9:23 God answered their prayers because they trusted him. 1 Chronicles 5:20
God starts to answer us the minute we begin praying. And many times for things we don’t even know about.
Come along for the 31 days of December, as we look at the familiar Christmas story and season in a slightly different way. The story of Jesus and the meaning behind the celebration of Christmas is woven throughout the entire Bible – from the beginning of mankind in Genesis to the resurrection of Jesus, as told by the apostle John some 4000 years later. You will have a new and exciting appreciation for the ancient Christmas story we celebrate today.
Genesis 3:15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
This is the first sign of hope that God gives us in the Bible. Adam and Eve have just rebelled against God, and sin is now introduced into the world and humankind. God curses Satan for it. “Your seed” refers to Satan and unbelievers who are called the devil’s children in John 8:44. “Her seed” refers to Christ, a descendent of Eve through the virgin Mary and includes believers in Christ. This first prophecy of a Savior to come says that Satan will strike Jesus’ heel, but Jesus will give the final blow to Satan’s head and destroy him.
Just prior to this prophecy in Genesis 3:13, God asks Eve what she has done. In verse 14, God curses the serpent, and just one verse later in Genesis 3:15, God provides a way for redemption and hope. God has never left us without hope, even when reading from one verse to the next in the Bible. Through all the suffering that sin has caused in our world, God has always and will continue to, offer a way of hope for those who seek it.
May God touch your heart this Christmas
and show you what His Hope feels like.
Two thousand years passed between the time of Adam and Eve and when Abraham arrived on the scene. That was a long time from the first prophecy given in Genesis 3:15. God was certainly patient! Almost everything we know about these first 2000 years of humanity is recorded in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. While God does not give us all the details of what occurred and why, there are some very remarkable people and events during this time.
Genesis 5 records the genealogy starting with Adam. Adam lived 930 years. Enoch, the father of Methuselah, walked with God and lasted 365 years until “he was no longer there”. He never died but was taken up by God. Methuselah, the oldest man, lived 969 years. But after Methuselah’s time, the world was significantly changed forever. It had become extremely evil and violent, and there was only one righteous man left – Noah, and his family. They were saved by God from the Great Flood which wiped out all the evil and started humanity over again. Life spans were decreased, and the world and climate changed. Some 700 years after this event, the people tried to build a monument to their own greatness (calling themselves gods) and worshipping creation instead of the Creator. So God scattered the people into different groups by separating their languages, and this became the beginning of different nations.
By the time Abraham arrived, around 2000 BC, he was living a life of luxury in the city of Ur, now modern-day Iraq. The culture had advanced extremely well since the years after the flood and beginning of nations. They were advanced in the areas of arts and sciences, and had been writing for about one thousand years. Their standard of living was high, with the average middle-class home having 10-20 rooms and over 2000 square feet (Archeology and Bible History, Joseph Free, p. 49). But God called Abraham out of this life of luxury to lead a nation who would carry God’s story forward through history to all nations. God was ready to begin the prophecy stated in Genesis 3:15. Abraham left his former life behind, all for his faith and obedience to God, and the first covenant between God and His people was created. This changed everything. It changed the history of mankind forever, and religion as we know it today was first established.
This is the second prophecy, the Abrahamic Covenant:
Genesis 12:1-3 Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to theland that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
God promised three blessings to Abraham: land, a great nation, and all people will be blessed through you. We are still living out this first covenant today. The land and nation were fulfilled in the later chapters of Genesis, and the third promise – a blessing to all people – has been fulfilled through Jesus Christ, a descendent from this nation and the One who came for all people.
May you get to know the God of Abraham this Christmas season.
He is the One who establishes a covenant promise with His people
to never leave or forsake them, and to be a blessing to all people.
Abraham is chosen by God and becomes the patriarch of the nation of Israel. His son Isaac marries Rebekah and they have twin sons, Jacob and Esau. A family feud develops between the two brothers which lasts for centuries, and it even has a connection to King Herod who attempts to kill the baby Jesus 1700 years later. The two brothers follow different paths. Jacob is given the birthright, takes the name Israel, and has 12 sons who become the 12 tribes of Israel. The other brother Esau becomes angry at God, never repents, and his descendants (the Edomites) become a violent nation that is in perpetual conflict with Israel.
One of Jacob’s 12 sons, Judah, will become the line of King David. In this third prophecy, it foretells of Judah’s tribe being the line of the coming Messiah – the One whose scepter will not depart and whose right it is to come.
Genesis 49:1, 8-10 Then Jacob (on his deathbed) called his sons and said,
“Gather around, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come. Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be on the necks of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. Judah is a young lion— my son, you return from the kill. He crouches; he lies down like a lion or a lioness—who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah or the staff from between his feet until He whose right it is comes and the obedience of the peoples belongs to Him.”
A dying Jacob saw the day of Christ. He lived by faith in the promise of a Messiah to come. We can now live by faith in a Messiah that has already come! We can know Him. The prophecy of Jesus Christ is here.
May you know the peace that only Jesus Christ can bring –
an everlasting peace full of true joy that can never be taken away.