Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Following the Light

So here we look upon Mary and Joseph, both obediently following the will of God.

They had to travel to Bethlehem, the City of David- because everyone had to return to their hometown to be registered. And Joseph’s hometown was Bethlehem.

Mary stayed alongside her betrothed, praying the chid would wait until the arrived…until they could find somewhere to stay.

Then they reached Bethlehem.

And Jesus had not been born.

But Mary knew, she would feel it, it wouldn’t be long.

He would come right on time. He would come on time…not in a clean room or in a palace…but in a stable among animals and hay- because there was no room for them in the inn.

There was no room in the inn for the Savior to come.

I wonder if it was cold that night. If she thought about the moment when they would know that He was the Son of God.

I know she was scared.

There was no one to help her but Joseph. How would she do this on her own? She hadn’t even been with him yet…surely this wasn’t how she wanted him to truly see her for the first time.

But nevertheless, the baby would come.

His first cry pierced the night.

His earthly father held Him…held the Son of God in his hands.

His wife had given birth to a son…Joseph could rest. They were both safe.

A miracle.

Tears fell down both of their cheeks as Jesus rested close on His mother’s chest.

This woman He had created now held Him. The stars He had breathed now shone down on Him.

The Light had come to break the darkness, to fulfill all of the prophecies…

And the celebration had only begun.

For nearby a group of shepherds were watching their sheep, looking up at the stars. These shepherds were the ones looked down upon by many in their society.

They had no idea that the Light of the World laid nearby.

But suddenly an angel appeared in the sky.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Light from Heaven broke through the sky as a multitude of angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

A miracle. 

The shepherds threw off their fear and they rushed to the manger, finding the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. They bowed in awe of this baby who would save them.

I can’t imagine having people come and worship my hours old baby, having them bow and praise my baby.

But not only did the shepherds come.

The wise men came, too. We don’t know how old Jesus was when they came.

When they came they brought presents for this Child. Gold, frankincense and myrrh.

They followed the star to find the Child, to find the Savior.

“And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”

A miracle. 

They followed the star to find The Light.

They let the star lead them to the place where the Savior of the world lay.

They let the star lead them. Yes, a miracle.

There will be lights in this world that lead us astray.

But His Light- THE Light- will always lead us back to Him.

Let the Light lead you this Christmas.

Not to the Christmas tree. But to the tree in the shape of a cross.

Not to the presents. But to the Present lying in a manger…the Baby who came to give hope, the Baby who came to die, the Baby who came to give us miracles- to BE the Miracle.

Friends, have a very merry Christmas celebrating the miracles He does in our lives each and every day and most of all...The Miracle He came to be.


"Jesus came for you, warring against the darkness to win you back to Him...And then, at last, all was calm. All was bright. Over Bethlehem the star hung high and victorious on that silent night, that holy night.

"All other love stories don't compare to this one-because this is the truest, realest story that ever was. That night, our rescue has come. God has visited our planet, and we can breathe free.

"He chose to enter our world right in a pile of mucky, messy, stinky dirty straw. Jesus comes and meets you in the stinky mess of your sin... Jesus is with you now. Wherever you are, no matter what is happening, Jesus always wants to be with you. The Lord saves. Jesus is with us." -Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Miracle Monday: Week 4

I’ve been especially excited about this week’s post ever since I had the idea for this series.


Because between today and Wednesday, we get to talk about one of my all time favorite parts of Scripture.

And yes, I know. Wednesday is not a Monday. BUT, I needed an extra day to fit in an extra special story so we’ll have Miracle Monday and Wednesday this week!

- - - - - -

Four hundred years.

Four centuries.

Forty decades.

However you want to look at it, it’s a very, very, very long time.

God’s people haven’t heard from Him in 400 years. What they had been hearing from Heaven was so silent you could have heard a cricket chirp, a pen drop.

They had been waiting for those prophecies from Isaiah to come true. The ones about their Promised King? He still hadn’t come but they held out hope.

They passed down these prophecies to their children and to their children’s children and to their children’s children’s children…you get the point.

I’m sure people asked, “Well, it’s been 257 years and He still isn’t here. Why should we keep believing?”

Their answer, “Because the God we serve has done amazing things for us and our people and we know He will keep His promise.”

So they waited.

And waited.

Through the silence they passed down the promise.

And still they waited, praying maybe their generation would be the one to see the King of the Jews born in Bethlehem.

Then one day a young lady, probably about my age (only 17), was going about her business…and then God said, “I have come to speak again.”

And the silence ended.

The Light was breaking through….to a teenage girl betrothed to a man named Joseph.

An angel came to Mary and told her that she would bear a son. That she was favored in God’s sight. That she was to call the baby Jesus…the Son of the Most High God.

Hold on. I’m not married. I can’t have a baby yet.
I’m favored in God’s sight?
Why the name Jesus?
Son…of the Most High God?

“How can this be, since I am a virgin?” she asked. Out of all the questions flying through her head, How can this be?

The angel tells her that the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will conceive by the Holy Spirit. “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Her response blows me away every time I read this story, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

And just like that, the angel left. The angel left and Mary was pregnant and not married and so young…and so afraid.

Let it be to me according to your word. 

She knew the ridicule that would come to her for being pregnant out of wedlock. She knew hardly anyone would believe her when she said an angel had come to her, much less that she was favored in God’s sight. She knew that her betrothal to Joseph would more than likely come to an end.

But not only did Mary say, “Let it be…”, she said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

In the middle of the scariest situation she has probably ever faced, Mary turns and praises the Lord.

This is all recorded in the book of Luke, chapter one.

If you flip back a few pages, you see the story of Joseph and get a bit of a different perspective.

In the first chapter we see the genealogy of Jesus Christ including people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David. All sinful people who God used to bring about the sinless One.

In verses 18-19 we read this, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”

But God.

But God was speaking again and sent another angel to Joseph in a dream.

“Joseph, your wife’s child is from the Holy Spirit, just as she has said. Don’t fear to take her as your wife. She will give birth to a son. And Joseph, call his name Jesus…for He will save His people from their sins. This all fulfills those prophecies you’ve learned about all of your life, ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ which means God with us.”

And Joseph awoke.

He obeyed.

He took Mary as his wife.

And together they pushed past all of the fear, pushed back all of the worries…

They pushed back all of the questions like, “How will we raise the Son of God? What does this mean?”

Together in God’s power and in obedience to His Word they walked together knowing this was what God had planned all along.

After 400 years God was talking again…and He would use one perfectly normal, sinful young woman and one perfectly normal, sinful man to be the earthly parents of His own perfect, sinless Son…

And it would be the greatest love story to ever unfold.

Just wait, you’ll see. It’s what Christmas is all about.

- - - - - -

“When you make space in your words, in your wants, in your ways for Jesus, He comes and lives in the most miraculous way in your heart, too.” Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Luke 1:28-35, 28
“And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

- - - - - -

Christmas is coming. The day when the Savior would be born and hope would come…

*To be continued Wednesday, Christmas Eve*

Monday, December 15, 2014

Miracle Monday: Week 3

I went into this week knowing it was going to be INSANE. I had the ACT Saturday morning, the Christmas musical at church all weekend, babysitting on Thursday and Tuesday…

You get the point.

Well, God certainly has a good sense of humor. Friday morning I woke up and felt HORRIBLE. Like stomach bug horrible. Let’s just say Friday wasn’t a pleasant day for anyone in the Bowers household. THANKFULLY we all caught it in 24 hours and it was gone by Saturday mid-day.

The ACT did not happen. We were only able to take part in one(some of us two) nights of the Christmas program. But here we are. And we made it. And please, Lord, don’t let that ever happen again.

Whew! Now, let’s talk about some miracles shall we?

- - - - - -


The baby in the basket. We’ve all heard about him. We all know that his mother made a basket and sent him downstream to hopefully save him from the murdering Pharaoh. We’ve heard about how his sister waited in the bushes to see what would happen.

But I think the miracle here is in his very mother…the one who sent her son up a river in a basket. Her month old son…just floating away from her grasp. I can’t imagine the pain!

Her trust in the Lord alone is a miracle.

She sent him down this enormous rive only to be found by who? Pharaoh’s daughter.

Talk about God’s hand being in a situation! The same Pharaoh who was killing all of the Jewish baby boys…his daughter had come down to bathe and Moses just happened to be right there.

You probably remember what happens next?

But since we’re talking about miracles…let’s list a few in this story.

1. Moses grew up in the household of Pharaoh, more than likely treated like one of his sons.
When Moses killed an Egyptian, he ran off into the wilderness…and there he met HIS WIFE! Ha. Crazy beautiful.
2. One day he was leading his sheep when he came upon a bush. Not just a bush…a burning bush. But…wait…hold on…it’s not really burning. I mean, yeah, it was on fire but it wasn't being burned away. The fire wasn’t turning it into shreds…this went against all science. I love it.
4. From that burning bush he received a message from the Lord that he was to go into Pharaoh’s court and tell him to let God’s people go. And what is God’s name to these people? I AM. I Am your God.
5. God’s people are passed over when the death angel comes to kill the firstborn of every Egyptian during the plagues.

Many plagues later and Moses and God’s people were making their way out of Egypt. The Pharaoh had said, “I’ve had enough of you people and your God- GET OUT!”

So gladly they left.

Then something happens. Pharaoh woke up.

He realized that with the Jewish people, he had lost every one of his slaves. How will he get his work done? He won’t.

Quickly Pharaoh changed his mind and they went after Moses and God’s people.

Just about this time our Jewish friends had reached the Red Sea and they needed to get across. And FAST. Because Pharaoh’s army was quickly approaching from behind.

How in the world would they get across?

{Follow me on this one…if you’ve ever read the children’s book I’m Going on a Bear Hunt, you know this phrase. We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it- we’ve got to go through it!}

This is what they’d have to do. They couldn't go over or under a huge sea. Somehow they'd have to go through it. But complaints and cries for help began to arise from these people, telling Moses, “How are we going to get our animals across with the Egyptians right at our heels? Did God just bring us out here to die?”

Can you imagine the thoughts going through Moses’ head? Seriously. Did you see all that God did to get you out of slavery? That’s not even the beginning of what He is going to do for you!

So Moses hit his staff on the ground…

And the water split.

Where there should have been water there was dry ground…just enough for God’s people to walk through. Were there were doubting hearts and minds…now stood wide eyed, open jawed and amazed people. Because they were God’s people.

We travel forward quite some time…to another story with fire.

This one is in the book of Daniel. It’s way past Exodus and while there are many more miracles in the pages between Exodus and Daniel we’re running out of Mondays before Christmas.

So in your mind turn with me and imagine three men. Their names are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (The spell check on my computer is hating me for those names right now.)

These three men are noted as, “servants of the Most High God.”

They served the Lord and refused to bow down to the golden statue of their earthly ruler.

King Nebuchadnezzar didn’t like this very much and decided to throw them into the fiery furnace. These three servants of the Lord were bound together and thrown into the fire.

But here’s one of my favorite parts of this story, it’s what they say before they’re thrown into the fire.  “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

They said, “Our God is able!”

They also said, “But if not…”

But if He chooses not to deliver us, we will still serve Him. We will still trust Him because we are his people and He is our God.

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were bound and thrown in the fire. Just the three of them. A fire that hot would kill them, it would, at the very least, severely burn them.

Nebuchadnezzar looked in the fire and saw not three but FOUR men standing in the furnace. And none of them were burning.

And the fourth man, where did he come from? “The appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” He looked like an angel.

He had come to protect Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Remember how Abraham was willing to sacrifice his one and only son because He feared and loved and trusted the Lord?

Just as God delivered Isaac, He delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Because He is their God, and they were His people.

- - - - - -

"All the little things that happened- they just happened to be little miracles. All that's happening around you every day is happening to make miracles. Eery little thing is going to be okay, because God is working good through every little thing. There is never a night, never a darkness when gifts and miracles and joy aren't coming- coming right to you." -Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Matthew 2:1-6, "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.' When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, 'In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

'"And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler

    who will shepherd my people Israel."'"

- - - - - -

I'm adding an extra little section here to tell you all about some serious miracles that have happened in my life this week.

Miracle 1:

When we were traveling to Rwanda to get Sonia back in 2009, we met another family who would be with us for those 16 days. They were the Spores and they were the kind of people you felt like you've known forever.

Well, the Spores adopted Cooper from Rwanda. Hannah and Caleb were adopted from Uganda and they are now in the process of adopting a young man with special needs from Uganda. I LOVE the heart of this family that so strongly beats for God's love and His heart for orphans. After they bring "S" home, they will have four biological children and four from Africa. THAT is beautiful.

Anyway. Chad and Heidi (mom and dad) are in Uganda right now waiting for their court date. They were told upon arriving that their judge had left country and couldn't hear their case until FEBRUARY. Seriously?

Well. We got to praying. And Saturday we found out that by God's miraculous hand, their case would be heard this coming week and they would return home in time for Christmas! Praise God!

Now, they'll still have to go back after the new year to finish everything up and bring home "S" but let's join together and continue to pray for the safe arrival of "S" back in the United States with his amazing family.

Miracle 2:

One of the young ladies in our youth group has faced something many of us won't face. Her father was diagnosed with lung cancer about three or four months ago. He went in for a check up this past Wednesday. He had been undergoing weeks and weeks of chemo and radiation and was scheduled to start another six day round this coming week.

BUT GOD! Oh this gives me chills.

His doctor came in and said, "Well, we won't be needing to do that chemo. Your cancer is gone."


Only God. Only our God of miracles.

We stood in my dad's office after church Wednesday with another family from church and we prayed aloud, thanking the Lord for this absolute miracle He had done in this man's life. He is the Healer and the Great Physician. How could we ever forget that?

- - - - - -

God didn’t let that bush burn. He had something He needed to tell Moses. God didn’t let those three men die in the fire. He had something else He needed to do through them.

He has something He needs to do through you, too. He needs to say something to you, too. And you can be sure He’ll work His miracles and He’ll bring you out of the fire to do incredible things in your life. Because you are one of God’s people.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Miracle Monday: Week 2

This coming week is going to be particularly busy for me and sitting down to remember and write about the miracles of God seems like something God had planned for me for a long time. 

So maybe this very moment He designed for me is a miracle in itself. Isn’t that a fun thought?

Anyway. Here we go- week 2!

- - - - - -

So Abraham and Sarah had their miracle baby, Isaac. 

Abraham still had this promise, “You will be the father of a great nation. Try to number the stars- this is the number of your descendants!”

And now Abraham was finally beginning to see the promises of the Lord playing out in his life. And he was thankful, worshipful, praising God for his son.

Then one day Abraham received a message from the Lord. Keep in mind that the last time Abraham spoke to the Lord he received the news he was going to be a father after thinking he would never have children with his lawful wife. He was probably expecting something grand. 

But this is not at all what he was expecting. God came to Him and said, “Abraham.”

He called his servant by name.

“Here I am.”

“Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love…and offer him as a burnt offering.”

I can only imagine what was running through Abraham’s mind.

But God- he is my son, my only son…the one You promised me! You said through HIM you would make a great nation. You can’t do that if he’s dead. 

But his outward response was this, “But God has done so much for me already, I must trust Him with this, too.”

We don’t know how long it was before Abraham, his son Isaac and his servants left to go the place where God called him to make the sacrifice. Nevertheless, the left. They carried the wood and the knife. 

At the foot of the mountain Abraham turned to his servants, “My son Isaac and I are going up to make the sacrifice…”

Yes, Lord, we will go. But please, somehow, bring him back. 

“And we will return to you.”

Abraham did not say I will return to you. No, he said WE. As in, me and my son will return to you.

That’s faith big enough to believe in a miracle. 

They got to the top of the mountain (it’s name was Mount Moriah, just incase you were wondering) and Isaac finally asked the question burning on the tip of our tongues, “Father, we have the sticks and the knife but where is the ram for the sacrifice?”

“God will provide,” Abraham said. I picture him looking up at the sky thinking, God please provide.

Abraham painstakingly laid the sticks for the fire, piling them on top of each other. Isaac probably helped his father.

God, don’t let these be the last moments with my son. He can’t die after building the very alter to be sacrificed on. 

I can’t even write this calmly. It makes me nauseous to even think about being in this situation. 

Then as Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice his son, the angel of the Lord called out to him again.
“Abraham! Abraham!” 

“Here I am.” Same response. Lord let it be different, better news. Save my son. 

“Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

And there it was in the bushes. A ram. The sacrifice that would take Isaac’s place. 

I wonder if Abraham cried as he lifted his son from the alter, if he cried tears of joy over his son’s life. 

And they sacrificed the ram. Abraham called the place “the Lord will provide.” Together they went back down the mountain. Together they returned to his servants. 

Later down the line Isaac married a lady named Rebecca and together they had twin boys names Jacob and Esau. The story of Jacob and Esau is quite lengthy but we’ll sum it up like this: they didn’t get along. Worst sibling rivalry E.V.E.R. Almost as bad as Cain and Abel- but before Esau could kill Jacob (or vise versa) Jacob ran off and fell in love with Rachel.

But Jacob had nothing. He had run away from home and had no money, no prospects, nothing to his name but his inheritance which wouldn’t do him any good since his father was still alive. 

Jacob made a deal with Rachel’s father. He would work for him for seven years. At the end of those seven years Jacob would get to marry Rachel. 

You think that is a picture of love? Wait, it gets better.

On their wedding night, Jacob found not Rachel but her OLDER SISTER, Leah to be beside him.

I can only imagine the scene. It’s not pretty.

In their weddings, the bride would wear all kinds of coverings over her face and you couldn’t tell who was who. That’s how Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. 

But, he decided not to divorce her. He decided to work another seven years to marry the woman he truly loved.

Now that’s a beautiful picture of devoted love! 

So, now Jacob had two wives (which was common then), and Leah began to bear children. 

Actually, Leah had quite a few children. Leah, the one Jacob didn’t really love. Scripture tells us that “when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.”

Woah. Again. This sounds like a rivalry between wives. 

BUT. Something miraculous happened the fourth time she had a son. We don’t know if it was her fourth child (girls aren’t typically recorded except in really awesome stories like Esther, Ruth and Mary), but it was her fourth son. 

“And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she called his name Judah.”

Guess who was one of Judah’s great-great-great-great-great-grandsons? King David.

Do you know who was one of King David’s great-great-great-great-great-grandsons by his mother AND his father’s lineage? Jesus Christ of Nazareth. 

You heard me right. 

Jacob was deceived into marrying Leah so that WAY WAY WAY down the line…Jesus would be born of the line of Judah.
Sometimes God gives us miracles in a ram hidden in the bushes, in a treasure that his hidden that God gives to us.

Sometimes God gives us miracles in loving someone we didn’t originally want to love, in a way that seemed absolutely crazy. 

But no matter what, He’s a God of miracles. He’s a God who provides miracles in the ways we would never expect and never dream. 

Like this moment right now…when I’m asking for a miracle in my own life…but taking a moment to remember the amazing things He has done all through scripture to show me that He is more than possible to do what I’m asking. To remember that He is a God who gives miracles big and small each and every day…

- - - - - - 

"Jesus doesn't wait for you to be good; He comes to be with us who are having very awful, miserable, no-good days right now. Jesus comes to cary us who are feeling mad and  bad and sad and anything but glad, and He left heaven to be with us who feel left out. Jesus comes to us who seem to get every step wrong- he becomes the step just to get to us. Jesus came from heaven to be with you in your hurt." -Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Genesis 28:12-16, "And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, 'I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.' Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.'"

- - - - - -

Let’s look for the ram in the bushes. Let’s find the miracles this Christmas season. 


Monday, December 1, 2014

Miracle Monday: Week One

Christmas is quickly approaching. I couldn’t be more excited. 

I think that so often we forget all that Christmas really is. We don’t take the time to slow down and look past the decorations and all of the materialism to see the miracle of Christmas.

So for the next four weeks, every Monday we’re going to have a bit of fun. 

We’re going to make our way through scripture, observing some of my favorite miracles. 

Because, you see, Christmas didn’t begin at the manger. 

Christmas began here…

When God said, “Let there be light.” 

- - - - -

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God opened His mouth and the world came into existence. He didn’t have to wait for it to become something- He spoke and it was there…

A miracle

Light. Day and night. Earth and sea. Sun, moon, and my personal favorites- the stars. Birds and fish. Animals. And God’s personal favorite- man. 

…And it was good.

We then see the story of Adam and Eve. 

If you were watching a movie- I imagine that this is how the story of the Bible would look right about now… 

**Opening credits

God creates the world. 

You say, “Woah! How did He do that?”

God creates man and says, “It is very good.”

“Wow. I am very good?”

But then this woman and this man disobey the one command God had given them. They eat of the infamous fruit. 

“Come on! You couldn’t listen to that ONE rule? Seriously, Adam and Eve. You got to walk with God for goodness’ sake!”**

And that’s just about how it’s played out so far. You and I are sitting here wondering how in the world Adam and Eve couldn’t have listened to one simple command…

While that is vitally important, perhaps what we should be focusing on is God’s mercy. 

Maybe we should take this moment to look at the fact that God did a miracle in the moment when He allowed them to still walk the earth. After all, He had said they were very good. And how did they respond? By going against the one thing He had commanded them not to do. 

But God…

He allowed them to live. No, they would not live in the garden of Eden. But they would live. 

And many years down the line, there would be a man named Abram.

Abram had a wife named Sarai. And Abram was called to leave his home and take his family and travel to the land of promise. 

Now, God had promised that He would show Abram the land of promise. He had also promised that He would be a father of many nations. 

If you know this story, you know that this is problematic. 

Abram had no children. His wife was barren. How would he be the father of many nations with no children? 

Don’t worry- Abram and Sarai were asking themselves the same questions. 

Without trusting God or listening to His promise, Abram took things into his own hands and had a son outside of his marriage. Yes, it’s as scandalous as it sounds. 

But again- this was not the son God was referring to. 

God called Abram to himself yet again and said, “Abram, I am changing your name. You shall no longer be Abram, but Abraham- Father of the Great Nation. And your wife, she gets a new name too, she’ll be Sarah. Oh, and she’s also going to have a baby.”

Well, Abraham thought God was a little crazy. He was one hundred years old! His wife was ninety. She could not have children. Abraham and Sarah laughed at the thought.

God said, “Your son’s name will be Isaac, it means laughter.”

I kind of think they forgot they were dealing with the God who created the universe. 

A year later, Abraham and Sarah had a son. His name was Isaac. 

And he was the son God was talking about from the very beginning. 

Isaac was the miracle baby. 

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"God never stopped dreaming of the miracle, the one He'd dreamed right from the very beginning, because love never stops dreaming of a way to draw close again." {From Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, a journey through Advent.}

Isaiah 11:1-2, 10

"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord...
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—
    of him shall the nations inquire, 
    and his resting place shall be glorious."

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Stay tuned for next weeks miracles. It only gets better. Trust me.