Isaiah 54:1-17 – What a Blessing!

Read Isaiah 54:1-17

This was an interesting passage, wasn’t it? Sometimes I feel like God is speaking right at me from the pages of the Bible. Today was not one of those days, but it could be that for you. What I did sense was that no matter where we come from, what we’ve experienced in the past, what skeletons may be lurking in our closets, God can make us new. He will bless his children.

We also are witness to a great promise. “Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you.” God may get angry with us, but we’ll not be punished. We have a shield of protection around us. We have Jesus.

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Matthew 5:1-12 – What is a Beatitude?

Read Matthew 5:1-12

Have you heard that word, Beatitude, before? Do you know what it means? The Google dictionary says “supreme blessedness.” For the purpose of our text, it represents the blessings spoken by Jesus. It’s such a beautiful passage. In our last reading, we hear how people are following Jesus, gathering crowds where ever he goes. Today’s text looks, in particular, at one of those days.

Picture this. The crowd was gathering, and Jesus was ready to teach. He went up the mountainside and sat down with his disciples gathered around. Everyone was ready to hear what Jesus had to say. Today was special. Jesus is about to preach a sermon that will rock their world. He starts with the blessings.

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Luke 1:39-45 – What Do You Believe In?

Read Luke 1:39-45

There is so much going on in this short passage. We are told that it was only a “few days”after receiving the message from the angel that Mary left to visit her relative, Elizabeth. I’m sure Mary was very excited to see Elizabeth and share “girl talk” about what was happening in their lives.

In Luke, we don’t see the interaction between Mary and Joseph, but could it be that she left quickly after telling him she was pregnant. Joseph’s anguish and deliberation takes place in the book of Matthew.

Mary didn’t have to say a word, as the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth with the knowledge of what was happening to Mary. Even the son in her womb leaped for joy!

Mary no doubt left behind a questioning fiance and surrounded herself with family. With Elizabeth, an older woman, pregnant in her final trimester, Mary was probably a very good companion and helper. Mary was also able to process the reality of what was happening to her. I can’t even imagine being the mother of  God’s son, can you?

Is Mary alone in her blessedness? While she is the only one that will  ever carry the Son of God, we can all receive God’s blessing. Elizabeth said, “You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Now I realize the context here is huge, but for us it can also speak volumes.

As we prepare our hearts for the Christmas season, and more importantly for the second coming, all we need to do is believe. Believe that God will do what he has said. There are so many promises in the Bible. We need to believe them. Even without seeing first, especially without seeing them. We will then have a faith that will set us apart.

Jesus told us he is going to return. We need to believe that with our whole heart. We need to feel the anticipation each and every day. We should be living our lives as if he were coming today.

What does that look like for you? Do you want to tidy your house and have some cookies in the oven? Do you want to walk away from an unhealthy relationship and rely on God’s perfect will for your life? Do you want to devote more time each day to building your relationship with God?

How can you change things up in your life to be more obedient to God, to be ready? What lies are filling your head and keeping you from believing God’s word to be true?

Let’s pray. Lord I come to you today yearning to be closer to you. Help me to shut out all the ugliness of the world so I can truly focus on you and your goodness. May your peace and mercy wash over me and give me a new sense of joy. As we celebrate your incarnation, may we stay truly expectant on your second coming. Lord, I want my heart to be ready. I want to help bring others to a faith and belief in you as well. Give me the words to say and the wisdom to know when to speak. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 144 – God First

Read Psalm 144

No matter what you are doing right now, you are doing exactly what God wants. He wants you to put him first, above whatever else you could be doing right now.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to shut out the world and all of it’s demands and distractions. For me, today, I am having internet problems. It may seem like a little thing to most people, but when that is the tool you use to help share with the world, it’s like coming to a roadblock or detour along your route.

I long to spend time with God, and my devotion time is precious to me. I hope it that way for you. If not, please visit these short devotionals and use them as a way to springboard back into your relationship with God.

This psalm will speak to each of us a little differently depending on what we are going through or where in our journey we are. For today, I’m going to focus on verse 3. Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them?” 

Who Am I is a great song that really drives this verse home for me. Listen to it here.

We are only here for a flash in time when compared to eternity. I am constantly in awe of a God who could love EVERYONE and everything he created. Isn’t that just hard to comprehend?

Jesus has paid the price! He is our salvation. Little did the psalmist know, who would personify his cry of verse 11, Save me! Rescue me fro”m the power of my enemies.” 

Our Savior and King reigns and I agree with verse 15. “Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord.” Are you feeling joyful today?

Let’s pray. Lord, despite all of the trials and new directions my day can take, I am with you now. Thank you for walking with me through my frustration and helping me to feel peace. You are my strength, my shield, and my stronghold. I want to be your shining light. Help me to truly enter into a time of honor and praise to you. There is so much to be grateful for, and all if it is from you, Lord. Thank you for this day and another opportunity to sing your praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen.