Posted in Advent devotions, Devotions

Advent devotion: A drink and a snack

“Live and in person” Advent devotion for December 1, 2020. Read Genesis 18:1-22 and Psalm 19.

So Abraham is just chilling in his tent by the oaks of Mamre when three men show up. The gracious host in him shifts into high gear and he invites them in for a drink and a snack. And what a snack that was! Freshly baked bread, a little cottage cheese and veal.

The conversation turns to Sarah, listening in the tent as “the Lord” says, “Congratulations! You’re gong to have a son next year!” Sarah must have overheard the conversation, and chuckled to herself, “I’m a little old for that!” (18:12) “The Lord”  heard her and wondered why she was laughing. Such a blessing isn’t too hard for someone like the Lord!

Anyway, two of the men head towards Sodom to see if it’s as evil as everyone says it is. In 19:1, we learn that they are angels. But one, the Lord, stays behind to let know Abraham know about the destruction to come (18:22). After Abraham tries to bargain for the survival of the righteous in Sodom, “the Lord went His way” (18:33). I am certain Abraham never forgot the day the Lord stopped by his tent!

If Jesus stopped by your house for coffee and cake, how do you imagine the conversation would go? Would you have the guts to ask Him all those questions you say that you want to ask Him? Would you make sure you told Him why you didn’t make it to church last week? Or apologize for some of the things that have come out of your mouth recently? Show him pictures of the family? While I would love to know about unexpected blessings on my way next year, I wouldn’t be as excited to hear forecasts about imminent devastation and destruction.

That “snack” we have in worship, the Lord’s Supper, is accompanied by words of blessing and judgment. The body and blood of Christ bore God’s judgment for our sins on the cross. But it is also ours to eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation, the most unlikely and surprising blessings we could ever receive from the Lord.

I love the bible’s banquet imagery of heaven. At that occasion, the Lord is the host with a table full of blessings like no other. We won’t be talking about judgment. That will all be in the past. We won’t have to dig deep to believe the good news, either. It will – He will – be right there before our eyes, live and in person!

Thanks, Lord, for inviting me to the meal that speak both law and gospel. And thanks, too, for the invite to the ultimate banquet of heaven! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Posted in Advent devotions

The Cast of Advent: December 18 – Abraham

Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash

Once Zechariah got his voice back, filled with the Holy Spirit, he reminded everyone of “[God’s] holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days” (Luke 1:72-75). 

How could you leave Abraham out of the cast of Advent? It all started with him. He was the father of that great nation through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed. The plot of the advent of Christ begins with Abraham. 

Every parent knows you have to be careful what you tell your children. They will remember. They will remember everything you said you would do for them and with them. You can’t reason with them. They will persist, “But you promised!” Yes, God made a promise. He made a promise to Abraham. No matter how stubborn, impossible and unfaithful his people were, the one thing that remained the same was God’s promise. 

How many of our prayers include the phrase, “But you promised?” That’s a good petition to include. It means you believe God is faithful. You believe God will do what he says. It means you trust him. 

We live in a world where we must doubt most of the emails, messenger and phone calls that promise us something. Most of them are a lie, a scheme, a scam to take advantage of us. God steps into our world with something different. He is someone we can trust. He is someone who does what he promises. The ultimate example is Jesus, who said he would be killed and then come back to life. He even specified the third day. The resurrection means we can trust his word!

It fills my heart with joy to know I can trust him. How about you?

Thank you, Lord, for being the one I can trust. Amen.