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Advent 2019 December 9

I was daily His delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man. Proverbs 8:30-31

In this Scripture selection, we see delight, enjoyment, rejoicing, pleasure, JOY!

Jesus, throughout all of eternity, has celebrated with His Father as they made plans for creation and delighted in what has been created. Can you picture a happy God, a joyful Saviour?  Scripture shows us this.

What is it you are usually eager about during the Christmas season?  Is it gathering with friends and family, laughing, sharing, communicating.  This interaction is the very nature of the One who created us.

We see Jesus speaking of joy several times in Scripture:

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11 nasb).

“Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

“Now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13).

Experiencing joy is one of the delights God has created in us.  We can safely say He desires we live joyfully.  Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, given to us when we become His by His Grace.

As we sing “Joy To The World” this Holy-day season, sing it with the vibrant eternal joy God has given you.  And be reminded it is that same joy the Holy Trinity shared before creation.

This is today’s contribution of “Away In A Manger.”

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Advent 2019 December 8

Hi Scrappers!  Thank you so much for the encouragement and feedback!

In today’s Advent Devotion, Wolgemuth takes a look at the “eternity” of Jesus.

“Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” (John 17:5)

We often hear that babies were “Heaven Sent,” and while God does plan when and where their conception and birth takes place, and creates them in the womb, babies do not live in heaven (or anywhere else) before their birth.  This, however, is not true for Jesus.  Jesus did live in Heaven, with God, before He came to earth in the flesh.

“Before Abraham was, I am,” He told His disciples (John 8:58).

In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, we find more than 2 dozen direct quotations, as proof that Jesus is the direct fulfillment of God’s plan from the beginning of time.

This is a quote from today’s devotion:

Why would Isaiah lead the way in this department? John’s answer: “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him” (John 12:41). In other words, the “high and lifted up” Lord that Isaiah saw hundreds of years before Jesus was born was the glory of Christ Himself, one with the Father. And Jesus had been that way forever.

Jesus has no beginning and He has no end.

“In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Before creation, the Son existed, in close communion and fellowship with God, the Father, in fact, while distinct from the Father, He is One with the Father.  And then, Christ came to earth, in the flesh as a baby.

“He left the Splendor of Heaven
Knowing His destiny
as the lonely hill of Golgotha
there to lay down His life for me.”
Dottie Rambo, If That Isn’t Love

Because of His leaving that intimate fellowship with God and coming to the earth full of sin, we can now experience the oneness with the Father that Jesus has enjoyed forever.

 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Colossians 1:15-17

 This is today’s part of  “Away In The Manger.”

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If you have stopped by each day, this is what you have, so far!  If you haven’t been here each day, just go back and get your missing parts.  These will be available through the end of the month.

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Hope you have a blessed day, see you tomorrow, Lord willing!

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Advent 2019 December 7

In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily. (Colossians 2:9)

Jesus!  Have you noticed how the diety of Jesus has been downplayed in our world?  Have you noticed, more crucially, how the diety of Jesus has been downplayed in our modern day churches?  The world doesn’t mind the idea of a Jesus being a man who only loves, or Him being prophet.  But there is a problem with Him being God.

This is a quote from Nancy Wolgemuth in today’s devotional:

“If Jesus is God, He stops being only a great moral teacher and becomes Someone who has all authority and power, Someone before whom all humanity stands accountable.

And the world does majorly mind that part.”

The authority and power of Jesus has raised hackles, not just in modern days, but when He was walking the earth in the flesh.  Jesus often impressed those who heard Him, with His knowledge and insightful observations, however; when He referred to Himself as teh “Son of Man” or the “Son of God” they became enraged. The charge of blasphemy was used to condemn Him to death on the cross.

The continual attack against Jesus’ claim to diety has continued since then.  Modern day religions, and even some who claim to be “Christian,” demote to Jesus to “A” Son of God, but neglect to recognize Him as THE SON OF GOD.

By His own admission, Jesus IS God!

And a closing quote from Wolgemuth in “Consider Jesus” Advent Devotional:

But Jesus is God . . . unapologetically God. The wonder of Christmas is that “God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16 nkjv). If not, the whole structure of Christianity crumbles. But if so—and it is most assuredly so—our celebration of Christmas can be not only a winter excuse for expressions of human love and kindness, but an opportunity to receive again the love of God for us.

What are some ramifications of dismissing the fact that Jesus is God? What difference would it make in your life if He wasn’t Who He claimed to be?

Here is today’s part of the “Away In A Manger” kit.

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Have a blessed, happy, scrappy day!

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Advent 2019 December 06

When the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem. (Luke 2:22)

How many times have you attempted to read through the Scripture and get as far as Leviticus and just give up?  Well, reading through Leviticus helps us to understand why many things happen in the New Testament, including Mary.  Leviticus 12 tells us what the Jewish women needed to do after giving birth for “purification”.  Mary, of course, was a Jewess.  Now, forward to Luke 2.  It was time for her sacrifice of purification. We are told Mary had two turtledoves (or pigeons), which tells us Joseph and Mary were not affluent.  The required offering was a year-old lamb, unless you could not afford one, and then the requirement was the doves.  They were given to the priest and the priest would follow the sacrifice ritual for Mary’s atonement.

Be assured, the altar was not a spic ‘n span clean and shiny place.  Blood was everywhere, as usual.  Each person coming to the temple would have a sacrifice for whatever sin, disease, purification ritual, needed to be done.  Nancy vividly reminds us:

“Fountains of blood streamed down from the altar as a means of restoring the relationship between sinful humans and a holy God. “Under the law almost everything is purified with blood,” the writer of Hebrews would later write, “and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins'” (9:22).

Do you see the link between Leviticus and this scene is Luke?  Mary comes to the temple with Joseph and Baby Jesus, offering her doves to God, out of obedience to His Law.  Those doves would be killed so she could be purified. And with her, was the “infant Lamb of God” who would be the Perfect Sacrifice.  About 32 years later, He would be offering Himself for Mary’s sins, our sins, and the world’s sins.

This is another quote from today’s devotional reading by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth in “Consider Jesus:”

“It’s such a striking picture, made all the more precious because it reaches back so many centuries into the heaviness of the Old Testament and rushes through first-century Palestine on its way to us here today, this Christmas. It reminds us that the gospel is as old as it is new and that the blood of Jesus still purifies.”

Father, Thank you for reminding us that Jesus being the Perfect Sacrifice was the plan from before the beginning. Thank you that His blood is still purifying today, even a wretched sinner, like me.  Amen.

Here is today’s part of “Away In A Manger.”  I hope you enjoy!

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I pray your day is blessed!

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Advent 2019 December 5

 

He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15)

In today’s “Consider Jesus” Advent Devotional by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, we are reminded of keeping covenants and obedience.

The devotion begins with the story of the Israelites  in two groups, standing before Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, after they had entered the Promised Land (Joshua 8).  As previously directed by Moses (Deut. 28), the Levitical Priests read from the Law and the people would shout, “AMEN!” Amen means, “truly.”  It is a word of agreement.  The priest read, from the law, that those who are not obedient to the God, would be cursed.  Again, the people shouted, “Amen.”  Even after agreeing, the Israelites failed to obey.  Over and over, they broke the covenant with God.

How many times are we guilty of not keeping our end of a promise?  Each year I think, “I am not going to do so much for the holidays.”  And while I have cut WAY back on my decorating and busyness, I still get caught up in other aspects of the season.  I have to consider other promises I may be breaking.  This is an impactful quote from today’s devotional:

We, too, are covenant breakers. And though we tend to think that we’re not so bad, that God will surely negotiate terms with us, bearing in mind the specifics of our situation, that’s not what the Bible tells us.

God does not change His position on there being consequences to breaking His covenant; however, He has sent a Perfect Substitute, in Jesus, to fulfill the law, that we have no hope of fulfilling.

As Christmas approaches, we can praise God for Jesus being the, “mediator of a new covenant.”  Even though we are guilty of being covenant breakers, He is our Promise of an everlasting relationship with God.

Here is today’s part of “Away In A Manger.”  I hope you are enjoying the Advent reading, as well as, the kit.

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Have a super blessed, happy, scrappy day!

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Advent 2019 December 4

Good morning and a happy Advent season to you!

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us— for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)

Have you ever pictured how beautiful Eden must have been, as God’s Word paints the picture of His Creation.  I imagine it when I wonder at nature around me, in beautiful blooms, sunrises and sunsets, the perfect shaped leaf with a myriad of fall colors, the depth and variety of color in a campfire, butterflies and puppies, and even the shape of each little individual snowflake.  God’s creation is totally amazing to me.  And then…

Just three little chapters into His creation story we are hit with the dark, ugly, fall.  Sin enters the world.  The couple who had been blessed with all of this goodness and provision, has experienced sin, and now carry the curse.  It is a curse that has effected all of creation, every human heir of Adam and Eve, since that very minute.  Let’s take a look at the curse:

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  Genesis 3:16-19

While we have a loving God, who blesses us, we must not fail to see that He is a God who also demands obedience and inflicts punishment and consequences.  In this case, a curse.  Yes, He is loving, but He is also just.  Because of His holiness, He must discipline.  Sin is a direct disobedience to God and must be punished.

Notice, after Adam and Eve sinned, God didn’t just leave them there.  He came to them in the Garden.

“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8).

True, He came to announce the curse, and to punish, but He came!  He stepped into the brokenness of the Garden, where sin now lived.  The Old Testament is a view of God coming to His people, over and over reminding them of their sin, and even though they could never escape the calamity of sin and the curse, they were often blessed.  As Nancy so beautifully illustrates the situation in today’s devotional:

“Humankind had taken a picture-perfect setting and made it uninhabitable, but God came into that cursed place and declared that He would rectify this situation. That’s why Jesus came.

He walked into a world that was broken and wrecked. Everything the curse entails—hardship, struggle, pain, grief, heartache, turmoil, limitation, condemnation—Jesus came to encounter. Long before God came into the garden pronouncing His curse, He had already planned for Someone to come and stand in our place, to take the full brunt of that curse for us, to bear the righteous punishment our sin deserves. “

As we said yesterday, God’s highest blessing was Jesus.  Jesus is the answer to the curse.  This is a blessing we can never fully encounter if we don’t first feel the weight of the curse.  When we feel the weight of our sin, we will want to rid our lives of it.  We must repent (turn away from) sin.  Christ, through His birth, death, and resurrection, is the cure for the curse that is still prevalent today.

Father, help me see the weight of my sin. The only redemption from that curse, from my sin, is Jesus, the blessing You provided as our atoning sacrifice.  I thank You and praise You for Your mercy and grace.  Amen

In today’s Advent freebie, I added a little donkey for the nativity.  Just click on the preview to go directly to the download.

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So far, this is what all of the kit looks like together.  If you are missing any of it, just go back to the previous days and grab it.  It will be available through the month of December.

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Be sure and come back tomorrow for more Advent encouragment.  Have a blessed, happy, scrappy day!

 

 

 

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Advent 2019 December 3

Good morning!  I pray your day is blessed.

I use the word “Blessed” quite often.  When someone asks, “How are you,” my habit is to answer, “I am blessed!”  Today’s Advent devotion, reminded me that God is the Giver of blessings.

Today’s Scripture is:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. (Genesis 1:27-28)

From the very beginning of mankind, God has been blessing us.  He blessed Adam and Eve with a relationship, with each other and with Himself.  He blessed them with children and “filling the earth.”  He blessed them with responsibility and He blessed them with provision.  Blessings began with God.

His preeminent blessings is Christ, and hence the reason we celebrate Christmas.  Christ was God’s planned blessing from before Creation.  As you begin to think more persistently about your celebration of Christmas, remember this greatest blessing of the birth of Christ.  This is the blessings that makes us rich in eternal life, made possible by Jesus, coming in the flesh.  We have the opportunity to receive the message of Christ and the responsibility to bless others by sharing this message.

When we say, “Merry Christmas,” we are reminded of the Blessing of Christ coming to earth and the Giver of Blessings, God, our Father.

Father, I pray I can fully experience the Blessing of Christ, and see opportunities to share the Blessing with others.

For the Advent Freebie today, I have added Mary to the Nativity.  Just click on the preview to get today’s download.

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 I pray your Advent is blessed!  See you back here, tomorrow!

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Advent 2019 December 2

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:3)”

During the Christmas season, or anytime, do you grown weary and fainthearted?

We must be diligent in not permitting the holiday to become distracting from the Truth of Christ being the center of focus for the season, or of Who He is.  Do you, like me, have the experience of getting busy and allowing the busyness to engulf you?

Wolgemuth reminds us that Christmas is not like any other holiday.  It isn’t a special Sunday honoring a parent or a holiday about freedom or patriotism, or even about offering Thanksgiving.  Christmas is distinctive in that it reminds us of Christianity.

“Christmas is meant to remind us that Christianity, while technically classified as one of the world’s major religions, is not at heart a religion at all. It is a relationship that focuses on a Person. It is not just a means of practicing our faith. It is Christ in me. It is Christ in you. That is Christianity.”

The Greek word for “consider” in the Scripture we looked at yesterday (Hebrews 3:1-2) is katanoeo.  This word means to observe, fix one’s eyes on, to perceive or understand. The Greek word for “consider” in today’s verse is analogizomai, which  means to think over or to ponder.

In context, Hebrews 12:1-2  talks about running with endurance, the race set before us.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

This use of consider is an encouragement to think on Him over and over, as we run the race of life.  We have to keep or mind stayed on Him and not become distracted. to make it through Christmas, and in the bigger picture, life, we must (v.2) look to Jesus.

Look, over and over, and keep looking to Christ.  Don’t look elsewhere.  It is only the second day of December, and you may already feel the pull of growing weary from the force of expectations of the season.  As encouragement, be reminded to Consider Jesus.

This is the next download in the “Away In A Manger” Advent Freebie Kit. Today, begins building a nativity, with the Christ Child.  I truly hope you will enjoy this kit.

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Have a blessed, happy, Scrappy Advent Season!

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Advent 2019

This year, I am reading through Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s Advent Devotionals, titled, “Consider Jesus.”  It is based on Hebrews 3:1-2

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him. (Hebrews 3:1–2)

As we contemplate the Christmas season, our focus should be on Jesus, the Christ. My prayer, as I go through this Advent, is to take time to stop and ponder Jesus and to make sure my focus is on Him.  I want to give Him the glory He is worthy of, not just during Advent, but every day of my life.  As decorations are hung, lights are strung, wreathes placed on the doors and preparations for all the festivities, we must remember the true importance of the season, glorifying Christ. We often get carried away with all of the decorations and preparations and become stressed and overwhelmed with the season, even with the motivation of “Celebrating the Birth of Christ.”

This quote from the introduction to the Advent Devotional is a great reminder for us to be purposeful in our worship and focus on Jesus.

“Well, the truth is, our Christmas house can be filled with many things besides Christ, even beneath the banner of celebrating Him. That’s why if we’re not deliberate in giving Him our time and attention, our awareness of His presence can easily become artificial, even inconsequential.”

While we see nativities with the baby Jesus in the manger, we may think of the Bible story.  We may even concentrate on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ during this time and the journey from the manger to the tomb.  When Christmas is over, we can’t just put the manger away and go on with life.  We must realize that Christ’s coming was not just something in the past, but that His Word, Scripture, is also about what Jesus is doing in our lives today.  The Bible is as relevant today as it was when it was penned.

Heavenly Father, work in my heart to keep Christ at the forefront of my thoughts, and to help me remember He is real and ever present in my life, every minute of everyday. Amen

For this year’s Advent Freebie, I am creating a kit titled, “Away In A Manger.”  I truly hope you enjoy it.  Come back each day for all of it.  Just click on the preview to go directly to the download.

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Have a super blessed, happy, scrappy Advent season!