CHRISTMAS DAY: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Merry Christmas!

Today’s Homework: Take some time today to celebrate Christ’s birth by reading his birth account in Luke 2:1-20.

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 24: John 1:1-5

“In the beginning the Word already existed.

The Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

He existed in the beginning with God.

God created everything through him,

and nothing was created except through him.

The Word gave life to everything that was created,

and his life brought light to everyone.

The light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:1-5.

Christmas is all about Christ. His name is vital to the spelling of the holiday after all. But if we are only remembering Jesus as a baby, we’re doing the day a disservice. We need to remember Jesus in his entirety. It is Jesus’s life that brought light to everyone, our salvation.

 

Today’s Homework: Take some time today to tell Jesus quietly the things about Him for which you’re thankful.

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 23: Psalm 98:1-6

“Sing a new song to the LORD,

for he has done wonderful deeds.

His right hand has won a mighty victory;

his holy arm has shown his saving power!

The LORD has announced his victory

and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!

He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.

The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

Shout to the LORD, all the earth;

break out in praise and sing for joy!

Sing your praise to the LORD with the harp,

with the harp and melodious song,

with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.

Make a joyful symphony before the LORD, the King!” Psalm 98:1-6.

The Christmas season is all about celebration. We have big meals. We bake cookies to bring to our neighbors. We travel across the country to be with the people we love. All in the name of celebration. But how often do we pause to actually celebrate who God is? And not just during the Christmas season, but all throughout the year? Maybe it’s something we should take a look at.

 

Today’s Homework: Take some time today to celebrate what God has done in your life. And then take some more time to celebrate what he has done for those around you.

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 22: Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16.

Often we think of Jesus as the light of the world, but in reality, he also calls us that. We are to be beacons of hope and light to the world at large. It’s an easy thing to forget. A lot of times we count on others to be the light and do our best to glide around in the background. But that’s not what we’re called to do. We’re called to shine. So let’s start doing that.

 

Today’s Homework: Make an action plan of how best to start becoming a light in the darkness over the next six months.

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 21: John 8:12

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’” John 8:12.

There’s this funny thing about darkness, if you’re in it long enough, you get used to it. You start being able to see shapes. You start learning how to navigate around without stubbing your toes. It gets comfortable. But when the light turns on, after the initial blindness, everything gets better. You can see things clearly. Where that thing in the corner used to be a dark shape, now it’s a dresser. You don’t just function, you become effective. Which is a good way to look at the Christian life. You may function in the darkness, but if you want to be effective, head toward the light.

 

Today’s Homework: Think about what the dark areas of your life are. How can you best bring them to light? Can you find someone to help you bring light to those things?

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 20: Matthew 28:19-20

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.

We’ve been talking a lot about the beginning of Christ’s life here on earth, but how about the end of his life? You see, after he’d been born in a manger, lived a perfect life and died for our sins, he came back. And he stayed around for a little while before he ascended into heaven. And right before he ascended into heaven, he had one more message for us. Go. Do. Go do what I showed you. Minister to those around you. Teach them who I am and how a follower should live. And the message is just applicable to us today. Go and do.

 

Today’s Homework: Evaluate how well you’ve done fulfilling the great commission over the past 12 months. What have you done well? What do you need to do better next year?

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 19: John 14:6

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6.

Today’s Homework: Remember Christ today. Remember that his coming to earth in that manger was so that we could again have a right relationship with God. And again, find ways throughout your day to be thankful for this.

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 18: Ephesians 2:12-13

“In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:12-13.

Today is a day to be thankful. In anticipation of all of the holiday rush, the present buying, the Christmas cookie baking, and then carol singing, remember to be thankful for God’s grace.

 

Today’s Homework: Be thankful. Take a moment in the middle of all of the craziness and just be thankful.

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 17: 1 John 4:7-16

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

“God showed how much he loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

“And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” 1 John 4:7-16.

If Christmas is about anything, it’s about love. Think about it. God sent His son to the world to suffer and die for us. Not because we loved Him, but because He loved us. It’s something that’s really hard to get a handle on. Preemptive love. But it’s important, because if you don’t understand this, you don’t understand the heart of God.

 

Today’s Homework: Do you practice preemptive love? Do you try to love people before they’ve earned your love? Take a couple minutes today and write down a list of people who you have preemptively loved and then write another list of people that you need to love even though they may not deserve it.

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 16: Ephesians 2:8-9

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

God keeps a naughty and a nice list. It’s weird to think of God doing that, isn’t it? The difference between God’s list and Santa’s is that there is no way for you to get off the naughty list by yourself. You can never be good enough to counteract all of your sin. Neither can I. No one can. But this is good news, because the pressure is off. Instead of being “good” because we’re afraid we won’t get to heaven, our motivation should be one of gratitude. It’s by God’s grace we’re on his “nice list.” That should give us all a reason to celebrate.

 

Today’s Homework: Sit down for five minutes and ask yourself “Am I motivated to do good because of gratitude or because of fear?” Really dig and see.

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 15: Galatians 4:4-5

“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” Galatians 4:4-5.

Why did God send his son? To buy us freedom. To adopt us. I can’t think of a better reason to celebrate Christmas than the idea that Christ came to set us free.

 

Today’s Homework: Think about how God’s gift has set you free and write down a list of ways you’ve been able to benefit from that freedom.

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 14: Matthew 2:12-15

“When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

“After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,’ the angel said. ‘Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’

That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: ‘I called my Son out of Egypt.’” Matthew 2:12-15.

This is essentially the end of the Christmas story. They end up having go on the run until Herod dies. We don’t really sing about this part in the Christmas carols. But it’s important to remember a couple of things. First, this fulfills prophecy. I can’t think that any of the Biblical scholars back in the day could have anticipated the way this prophecy would be fulfilled. But Jesus and his family were fugitives. Second, it allows us to understand that Jesus’ life was not perfect. Although he never sinned, sin was constantly committed against him. He was persecuted as an infant, which is a hard thing to think about.

 

Today’s Homework: Think of the ways that you’ve suffered persecution, and rest in the knowledge that Christ has been there too.

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 13: Matthew 2:10-11

“When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:10-11.

A lot has been made of these gifts. We make sure our wise men are holding them in the nativity scenes we see around town and on our mantles. We give each gift a different meaning in sermons. But one of the things we don’t really talk about is the reaction of the wise men to meeting the Christ. They met him with joy and then they bowed down and worshipped. These are educated men. They are prestigious scholars…and they bow down before an infant. And they don’t give it a second thought! It’s hard to imagine a celebrity doing that today.

 

Today’s Homework: Do your best to encounter Christ with joy today. When you read your Bible or you are praying, do your best to do it joyfully.

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 12: Matthew 2:9

“After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.” Matthew 2:9.

Let’s take another moment to recognize how faithful these wise men were. They went on a long road trip on a hunch and an urging. God told them to go, so they went. And went and went. The journey required these wise men to put their lives on hold and travel over 400 miles (one way) in the hope that they would discover something worth finding. That takes a lot of faith. If I’m honest, it takes more faith than I normally have.

 

Today’s Homework: Take an inventory of your faith. [Are there] things that God would require of you that you would be unwilling to do?
– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 11: Matthew 2:7-8

“Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, ‘Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!’” Matthew 2:7-8.

Herod was sneaky. If you’ve read the rest of the story, you know he wasn’t interested finding Jesus to worship him. He was looking for a way to assert control. He wanted to make sure that he wasn’t upstaged and would do whatever it took. And though Jesus was never actually threatened by Herod in person, it’s scary to think that there are these kinds of people in the world. People who are willing to do anything to get ahead…to make sure they maintain control. It’s something of which we need to be mindful. Are we guarding against the temptation to do anything & everything we can to maintain the illusion of control over our life and our circumstances?

 

Today’s Homework: Where do you see evil in the world? How can you start to actively work against it?  Do you struggle with the temptation to maintain control at all costs? How might you yield that desire to God’s control?

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 10: Matthew 2:7-8

“Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, ‘Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!’” Matthew 2:7-8.

If you know this story at all, you know that Herod was just looking for an excuse to kill Jesus. He was trying to scheme his way into eliminating a rival before the rival came of age. It’s interesting to see Herod’s mind at work here. Herod is jealous and he’s afraid of losing his power and I think most of us can relate. We all are tempted to experience those emotions. We are tempted to want things that other people have. We might even get angry when we can’t have them. And when someone threatens our place of power…well, get ready for a battle. So as much as we would like to separate ourselves from this heinous man, it might actually be important for us to take a moment and realize…we might not be that different.

 

Today’s Homework: Take a moment to think of two people that you secretly think you’re better than. How can you change your perspective on that?  How might God want to work an “attitude adjustment” in your heart?

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 9: Matthew 2:3-6

“King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, ‘Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?’

“’In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they said, ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,

are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,

for a ruler will come from you

who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’” Matthew 2:3-6.

Take a moment to realize how crazy this is. The prophecy was so specific that it named the town in which Jesus was going to be born. It’s mind boggling.

 

Today’s homework: Think about some of the things that boggle your mind about God…things that are so big, they’re hard to grasp!

 

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 8: Matthew 2:1-2

“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’” Matthew 2:1-2.

These wise men were crazy. They saw a star and felt compelled to follow it. So they put their entire lives on hold to travel the 800 miles it took to get to Jesus. And these guys weren’t vagrants. They’re wealthy. They have lives that would be hard to put on hold. Which, again, makes these guys crazy. And it makes me think of the things I’m tempted to think are too important to give up for Christ. Is it my time? My money? My social standing? Are there things that I prize more highly than Jesus?

 

Today’s Homework: Start seriously thinking about any thing you consider more important that your relationship with Christ. Is there anything you would struggle to give up if God asked you to? Are you willing to give up everything to follow Jesus?

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 7: Luke 2:20

The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.” Luke 2:20.

What impact has God had on your life? Can you remember a time that it was like this? Maybe you went to a really powerful church service. I can’t help but think of these guys just so full from experiencing the glory of God that they couldn’t help themselves. They had to sing and praise all the way back to their fields. And I can’t help but think that life would be at least a little better if we all did that from time to time.

 

Today’s Homework: Praise God in a time or place that you normally wouldn’t. It doesn’t have to be loud. It could just be a prayer, but focus on giving glory to God.

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 6: Luke 2:19

“But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Luke 2:19.

How often do you go back to what God has done for you and mull it over? Once a week? Once every 6 months? Once every 6 years? I confess, I’m not sure the last time that I did. That’s why I think this is one of the most interesting verses in the Bible. Mary was there for the birth of Christ. She was the person who was most intimately involved. And she took all of that, and logged it away not to some obscure filing cabinet in her head, never to be seen from again, but right at the front. She stored them where she could see them often.

 

Today’s Homework: Start writing down the things that God has done for you. And go back to them. Look over them. Remember them. Because it’s a lot harder to stray from closeness with Jesus when he’s constantly at the front of your mind.

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 5: Luke 2:17-18

After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished.” Luke 2:17-18.

When was the last time you just had to tell something to everyone you could find? Was it when you found out you were pregnant? Or maybe when you got the job of your dreams? If you can recall that feeling then maybe you’ll get the smallest sliver of what the shepherds were feeling that night. They went out, in the middle of the night, and started telling everyone what just happened.

 

Today’s Homework: Go find people that you love and trust. Fellow believers. Tell them what God has been doing in your life recently. Just let them know. And then ask them to tell you.

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 4: Luke 2:15-16

“When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ’Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

“They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.” Luke 2:15-16.

Notice this. They hurried. Folk at that time didn’t hear from God dally. So, they hustled right on down to the manger side to see Jesus. Sometimes we lose that kind of urgency which is understandable, but sad.

It’s easy to imagine the shepherds could have gotten used to an every night angel show if it went on long enough.  Would they have lost their sense of urgency?  Perhaps, but let’s think about what it was like to be new believers for a moment. That initial joy of discovering the Prince of Peace, it’s special.

And we, as believers should be doing everything we can to regain that same sence of excitement and urgency. We need to get to the place where we want to run to the manger side just to catch a glimpse, even if it is just the tiniest fraction, of our Savior.

 

Today’s Homework: Memorize this verse. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” Psalm 51:12

2015 Advent – December 3: Luke 2:13-14

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven, 

and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:13-14.

 

Today’s Homework: Take a moment to try to imagine how this felt. Just sit down for five minutes and think about how it must have felt being in the presence of angels as they filled the air with their worship of God.

2015 Advent – December 2: Luke 2:8-12

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12.

Jesus did not first appear to kings. He didn’t first appear to the Roman Emperor. His first public appearance was to a shabby group of guys on the night shift sitting on some hill outside of town. So before you start thinking that God has dealt you a short deck in this life, remember, Jesus isn’t looking at the state of your clothes, the size of your paycheck or any of the other superficial stuff. He’s looking straight at your heart.
Today’s Homework: Take a moment to think about how much you really value humility and which areas of humility you need to work on.

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – December 1: Luke 2:6-7

“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:6-7/

Jesus’ birth took place, not in a hospital or even a home, but in some kind of a stable, perhaps even in a cave. Only a few people were even aware of it when it happened. Yet this event, which took place in an out-of-the-way spot was the most important event in history!

Is it possible that in common, everyday events God may be at work in ways you are unaware?
Today’s Homework: Take a moment today and realize how precious this moment truly was for all of mankind.

– Devotional adapted from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – November 30: Luke 2:1-5

“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.” Luke 2:1-5.

It’s amazing how perfect God’s plans are. If you remember from a couple days ago, it was prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. But that’s not where Joseph and Mary lived. So they had to travel to Bethlehem, which even if you’re not pregnant, isn’t a short trip, and if you are, well…

So here they are ready to have a baby and this census comes along and they find themselves traveling to Bethlehem to be counted while Mary is very, very pregnant. Seems like the worst possible timing, right?

Except that it’s not. This road trip is literally setting up the fulfillment of prophecy. Which allows us to draw a really neat parallel. Following God’s plans are not always very comfortable. There are times that we’ll experience hardships for Jesus. And there are times that he’ll ask us to.

As we explored yesterday, God expects a lot from us because His plans are not small. They’re huge. And to carry off huge plans, it takes hard work. Sometimes dangerous work. But when the plan is finally carried out, it’s 100% worth it. So next time you feel tired and worn out, because let’s face it, this life can do that to us, remember this: You are working on plans conceived by the Creator of the universe.
Today’s Homework: Write down what God’s three biggest expectations for you are.

2015 Advent – November 29: Luke 1:26-33

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!’

“Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!’” Luke 1:26-33.

Hard expectations aren’t always bad, but imagine someone came up to you and said, “Hey, your job is to raise the Savior of the world. Oh, also, He’s gonna be God, too. Don’t mess it up.” It seems a little absurd until you realize that is exactly what was being asked of Mary. God literally called her to be the caretaker of the most important person ever born. And she did it. She heard what God said and then obeyed.

So let’s think for a moment, because it’s really easy to get wrapped up in the idea that the Christian life is just too hard to live, right? Some days, what we’re asked to do seems impossible. But God is in the habit of asking the impossible. Because what is impossible to us has always been possible for Him. The one who spoke the stars into existence is the same one who tells you “you must be holy because I am holy.”

Here’s the good news, though. God didn’t leave Mary alone. He doesn’t give us jobs without giving us the means to complete them. So if life is feeling a little overwhelming, take comfort. God will equip and sustain you for any job He’s given you.

 

Today’s Homework: Think about a time that God equipped you to do a job that was too hard for you to do alone.

 

– Devotional from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – November 28: Matthew 1:18-24

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!

She will give birth to a son,

and they will call him Immanuel,

which means ‘God is with us.’”

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. Matthew 1:18-24.

Joseph was trying to do the right thing here. He wanted to quietly and respectfully end things with Mary. It’s what was done. He had every right to do it, too. His prospective wife had somehow been unfaithful. It’s common sense. And then, the angel shows up and turns Joseph’s world upside down. He was pulled into a life bigger than his own. And he said yes. (In all fairness, it’s kind of hard to say no to an angel standing at the end of your bed, but still.)

This should spark something inside of us. Joseph’s call is not unlike ours. Most of us would consider ourselves fairly moral people. We do the things we think are right at the time, but when we come to Christ, we realize what we think is right does not matter. Our lives are part of a bigger plan. We are no longer our own. In 1 Corinthians 6:20 it says that “God bought you with a high price.” And from the moment he bought you, he pulled you into a bigger story. Which is a pretty great thing.

Today’s Homework: Write a paragraph of how you see yourself fitting into God’s bigger story.

 

– Devotional from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

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2015 Advent – November 27: Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:2

The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). Isaiah 7:14

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. Micah 5:2

It’s amazing to think that Jesus’ coming was anticipated so far in advance. The specific details of where He was going to be born, the life He was going to live, the death He was going to die. All of those things were spoken years before His ancestors were even born. And every day, people were waiting for Him to show up. In fact, there are people who are still waiting for the Messiah, not realizing that He’s already been here.

And sometimes, that’s what we’re like. We don’t realize that Christ has come. Or at least, we live like He hasn’t come yet. So while you go through this Track, try to keep this in mind. Christ has indeed come, just like He said He would. And that, by itself, is reason to celebrate.

Today’s Homework: Take some time to think about how significant God’s plans are.

 

– Devotional from Back to the Bible, used by permission.

To have this devotional delivered to you daily, register on our site by clicking here, or download our smartphone app, “FaithBuilder” for iPhone or Android.