Are you enjoying the daily Advent scriptures? Would you like to have them all in an easy-to-reference e-Book? If so, click the link below to download your FREE copy of the entire Advent story. God Bless You as you press in to worship the King of Kings in this season.
It’s December 1st and so begins the Advent season. This is traditionally a time when we celebrate the first coming of our great King and Savior. He came into this world as a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling in a lowly manger, not what we would expect for the coming of a King. I love this story because it shows how the coming of Jesus was prophesied all throughout the Old Testament, but yet when He came, so few recognized Him. I will be posting a retelling of His first coming each day during this season. It is my prayer that you will look forward to His second coming and know that it is very possible that we have expectations about His 2nd coming that may cause us to miss Him, to miss what He is doing even now to prepare for His second coming. We are in the midst of His 2nd Advent even now. Study and enjoy the story of His birth, but ask and pray that the Lord reveals the truth about our soon coming King! No longer is He a baby in a manger nor a man nailed to the Cross. He is risen, He is alive, and He’s coming with a mighty roar to receive the reward of His suffering!
The first Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims came after an intense battle for freedom. They came from a place of confinement where religion & multiculturalism were trying to squeeze spiritual life out of them. Their desire to worship God alone led them across the ocean to the New World, a promised land. God showed them the way and they risked it all for freedom. After the arduous journey in which many died, the surviving pilgrims did not get to sit back and enjoy their freedom. They continued to fight to establish a new way of life. The territory was unfamiliar and the natives were not always friendly. They had to rely on establishing relationships in order to learn how to build their new community. Sickness and death threatened to wipe them out, while hunger drove them on. Yet, God kept His hand upon them. They persevered and their crops grew. While on their journey to the new land, the Christian pilgrims had spent time in Holland with a community of Sephardic Jews. They learned of the Feasts of the Lord and experienced the Feast of Tabernacles in a way they probably never had done before. The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration of harvest and a time of remembering how the Lord had brought the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage into the Promised Land. I’m sure the pilgrims felt an instant connection with the Jews since they were in the middle of their own journey to their Promised Land. When their first harvest came in the New World, they celebrated by giving thanks and praise to God, their Deliverer and their Sustainer. Their hearts were full of thanksgiving which compelled them to worship the One who made it all possible. Years later, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, but the Spirit of the holiday is rooted in the Feast of Tabernacles.
Why is this significant? Because God established this nation for His purpose. The Pilgrims didn’t just wander to the New World, they were sent by Him. He ordained their steps and planted them here to establish His covenant root. Before stepping foot on the new land, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact. This document represents the first time free and equal men entered into a covenant with God and each other to create a new society based on biblical principles. The celebration of Thanksgiving is a celebration of covenant with God! When the Pilgrims convened their first celebration of harvest, rooted in the Feast of Tabernacles, they established God’s order in America. They forever staked this nation to God.
Since that time, evil forces have risen against God’s covenant in the land. There has been a deliberate plan to destroy this nation and its people, but God has heard the cry of His people. Just as the Israelites cried out to God in their slavery in Egypt, many have sought the Lord through prayers, tears, prophetic declarations and the demolition of strongholds that tried to separate us from our original destiny and our Father God. The 2016 election initiated God’s response to our prayers. In His great mercy, God has shown favor to America and given us a second chance. God chose President Trump to clear the way for a new path forward. Father God has issued a call to return to Him and the blessings He originally intended for this nation. He is interested in capturing our hearts and showing us the beauty of having relationship with Him. Because so much of the teaching we received was tainted by the enemy, many do not understand the Heart of the Father and what the original intent of His covenant was. Many do not understand that He is Good, Faithful and True. Though the enemy has been working for many years subtly infiltrating every sphere of society, the past three years have blatantly revealed the enemy and his takeover plan. The battle lines have become clear for all to see. It’s been ugly, sad and infuriating to see so many souls lost and confused. They have been deceived by the enemy’s wicked schemes, but God is not content to leave them there. He is merciful and looking for those that will give their lives to rescue those that are caught in the devil’s web. Every person was created in His image and they have great value, regardless of their present behaviors. God loves and He sees us in our broken state. His arm is mighty to save, Jesus already paid the price.
Thankfully, America is waking up! Still the question remains – Will we return to God and experience healing in the land, or will we continue to do things our own way and reap the consequences? The Bible repeats this story throughout history and is very instructive for us at this time. It is this covenant and our Christian heritage that made America the greatest nation on earth. No other nation has our history; America is a nation built on biblical principles for the benefit of all. It has never been about controlling people and forcing them to be Christian. It was about establishing laws and norms that honored God which in turn, resulted in the entire nation being blessed. The battle for the recovery of our nation is just as fierce as it was when the pioneers and pilgrims fought to establish this land.
Our great privilege is to offer Him our praise and thanksgiving and put our trust in Him. Remember those that have gone before, the Israelites, the Pilgrims, the warriors, soldiers and many more that have fought in pursuit of the Promised Land. Our fight is not in vain. We make our appeal to Heaven, and God fights the battle. We give Him the little that we have and He causes it to multiply. He is the miracle-working God! God is pouring out mercy and grace so that we can move forward quickly. Those that choose to partner with Him will experience great joy and peace even in the midst of the battle. We can trust Him completely knowing that without Him opening the way in 2016, our nation was doomed for destruction. He is pouring out His Spirit in unprecedented ways and He is going to reap His harvest. If you keep looking for Him, you will see Him moving everywhere!
Let us join our hearts with His. As we give thanks, remember that our Thanksgiving tables are our altar of sacrifice. Let us offer ourselves back to Him and join Him in reaping a harvest of souls for His Kingdom. This lost world needs Jesus! The truth is, He is here and His desire is to bless. It’s time to give thanks!
One of my favorite scriptures has always been Proverbs 3:5:
Trust in the Lord, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will give you the desires of your heart.
What a wonderful promise we have in this verse, but this is a conditional promise. If we trust in Him and acknowledge Him in all of our ways, then we can be confident that the things that burn in our hearts will be ours. I was pondering this truth the other day and began to consider what exactly does it look like to acknowledge Him in all of my ways.
Am I just giving God a nod? Of course, I want to know His perspective, His answer, His leading, but am I relying far more on my preconceived ideas, traditions, ways of doing things that are just so normal that I don’t really yield them up to the Father? It’s easy for us to think we know God and how He thinks, but often we mistakenly think He thinks the way we do. He clearly tells us, “His ways and thoughts are higher than ours.” He is not like us. This is the very reason that He calls us to come up higher and transcend our earthly thinking, our habits and our ways that have been conformed in certain patterns. We must begin to think with our spirit instead of our soul. If we’ve been born again, then the Holy Spirit is alive within us to lead us in the way God thinks. Jesus’ death on the Cross gave us access to Heaven’s realm, but we need to accept the invitation to “Go up!”
Many of us have been through a long, difficult season of preparation. That season has come to an end and we are now transitioning into a new era: The era of living out our Kingdom Identity. With the beginning of the new year 5780, last month, we can feel the winds changing and a new liberty of the Spirit blowing across the land. We can sense the Lord is releasing us into the “desires of our heart,” but there is still much uncertainty to what that will really look like. The Lord has given many words to encourage us, words that have pressed us to move past discomfort because what we’re about to experience is so unlike anything we’ve seen or known before. The main key to all of this is to stick close to His heart and trust Him, and to be quick to obey even when we don’t understand. It is these exciting, yet mysterious, words from the Lord that have caused me to ask if I’m only giving God a nod; is my acknowledgment of Him is just a cursory gesture or a heartfelt surrender.
After inviting Him to come in and search my heart, He has revealed many places where I was holding on to what I thought things should look like rather than giving Him free reign to release me into the true desire of my heart. I haven’t acted with intentional rebellion toward Him, but rather just a learned way of response and a human tendency toward comfort. When He says “Dream Big,” it’s easy for me to get my heart set on something and form the expectation that that’s the way it’s going to be. I have struggled with these concepts for years seeking understanding of what He really means. When I dream I am specific; I see something and my heart longs for it to be that way. If I was to dream about the perfect house, I would dream in every detail, the color schemes, the light fixtures, the number of rooms, the outdoor areas, etc. I would spend countless hours imagining what this house might look like. That’s dreaming to me! It’s fun and exciting and when I’m finished, I’ve decided I know the desire of my heart. The Father let me walk through this process this past year and it served as a great example to me.
He began talking to me about moving. I had asked about location but didn’t feel Him prompting me to leave my current location. I began looking at houses online and going to open houses. I came up with my list of “must haves” and “wants.” It was so much fun and soon I was chomping at the bit to move. But then some things happened and because I wanted to be obedient and responsive to the Lord, I felt like He might be saying I needed to move to another state. At first I was not happy about this, but I yielded and said, “Yes, Lord,” so I began researching housing in that area. The style of houses, prices and features were completely different. I had to shift my thoughts. It took a while, but eventually I started to see a lot of benefits to moving to this area and I got excited about that. The things on my “must haves” list didn’t change, they just looked different.
After a few more months of nothing happening and no doors opening, God had me beginning to look at things from another angle and I felt impressed to consider going back to the area I am from originally. Though this was something I have NEVER desired to do, I was getting so tired of nothing happening in my current situation that I finally said, “Yes, Lord, I will go if that’s the best place for me and my family.” Sometimes, discomfort is a great motivator! I began looking at houses in a third location. Again, the styles and features of homes were completely different than the previous two locations, but I began to see many benefits there as well. Overall, there were pros and cons to each area I looked at, but in the end, I saw that I could find my “must haves” anywhere even though they would look completely different.
What then were the “desires of my heart,” the specific house or the “must haves?” The “must haves” list came from what I am hoping to do with the house. They have to do with function, not style. As I continued to write lists of how my vision would be accomplished, regardless of location, I saw that these core values and desires have always been in my heart. They were in my heart when I picked my last two homes even though my vision has increased and my purpose has become much clearer since then. This process is one of the ways the Lord helps us to clarify our purpose, desire and destiny. If we hold too tightly to the style, we may prevent God from moving us into the place of destiny and end up settling for something that is more about us than the bigger thing that God has in store.
When we acknowledge God in all our ways, we must give Him free reign to go deep into our heart and pull out the preconceived ideas we have about how the outcome is going to look. We can entrust our “must haves” to Him and then let Him perfectly fulfill them. He knows the things we like and, because He is a Good Father, He delights to give good gifts to His children. He is not limited by budget or ability. The sky is the limit when it comes to God’s ability to fulfill a desire in the heart of His child. Remember His glorious words in Eph 3:20:
Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.
To acknowledge God means that we become intimately acquainted with His thoughts about our ways. We will take the time to study Him, to discern Him, to understand why we desire something so that we can trust Him to bring it to pass. It will require a yielding, a surrender of that desire so that we understand it at a deeper level. What is His heart cry behind it? And most importantly, we will gain a perspective that goes far beyond us. The Lord is likely planning to use the desire He put in your heart to satisfy the needs of many others, to cause you to not only receive a blessing, but to be a blessing.
If we invest ourselves in developing greater intimacy with our Creator, we will discover many things about Him and about ourselves, the treasures within that He wants to bring out. This next decade will be about Him demonstrating His power, His beauty, His authority through us. He is going to show Himself through us! It will be far more glorious than any of us can imagine and it will be worth the struggle and discomfort that we have endured. He is faithful to His promises. Do not be afraid to give Him your dreams and your ideas. Trust Him and watch Him cause your heart to swell with delight as you see your desires fulfilled.
It’s about to happen!
I will trump the devil’s day by declaring over this nation and the world, “It is Reformation Day!” Reformation Day celebrates the joyful beauty of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ. Martin Luther had had enough of the lies, deception and greed. He couldn’t stand it anymore so he did something about it. He penned his 95 Theses and pinned it to the door of the Wittenberg Chapel. His hope was to spark debate, but it did far more than that, it sparked REFORMATION. Sleeping giants were awakened and the people rose up against the evil that had blanketed the church, the community, the culture. As people awaken to the truth, revolution and renaissance break forth.
I declare we are a nation and a world that is awakening. Traditions of men that have captured our true identity are breaking off. Who were you created to be and what is your role in the reformation of our culture? Everyone has a part to play. Let the fires of Reformation sweep across the world. Darkness be pushed out by the LIGHT! Truth overtake the lies. Love overcomes death! Despair is crushed as Hope springs forth. Glory rises from the ashes.
Let us not focus on our enemies, but sing the Glory of our God, His goodness, His mercy, His resurrection power. He has already won the battle and the Blood of Jesus is our Victory Cry!
Reformers and Revivalists arise in great strength and courage. May the ROAR of Reformation sweep across America and the nations.
Throughout the Word, God reveals His Presence in light. The first thing God created was light. A distinctive feature of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jesus’ day was the radiant light that emanated from the Temple. Huge menorahs lit up the Temple courts so brightly that their glow could be seen across the Judean hillsides. The menorahs were so big that the priests had to climb ladders to fill their bowls with oil. On the last night of the Feast, the menorahs were not lit. The brilliant light had been shining for seven days was giving way to darkness. It was on the morning after the Feast, while Jesus was still in the Temple courts teaching, that He revealed Himself as the “Light of the World.”
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Again, Jesus demonstrates Himself as the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. He came in the flesh to dwell among us and He is the promised Life-Giving Water and the Light that had been spoken of through the prophets.
Further study of the timing of Jesus’ birth reveals that He was born during this Feast. Scripture shows that the angel visited Zechariah, the priest while he was on duty in the Temple. According to 2 Chronicles 24, Zechariah belonged to the division of Abijah which would have served in late June or early July. The angel said Elizabeth would have a son and as soon as Zechariah got back home, she became pregnant. Six months later Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. This would have occurred during the Hanukkah season, which is called the Festival of Lights. From the last day of Hanukah to the first day of Tabernacles is 280 days, the exact length of a pregnancy.
In 1620 after landing at Plymouth, William Bradford, the leader of the Pilgrims wrote about their purpose in coming to America, “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many…”2
In the midst of darkness and chaos that is attempting to take over our nation, God wants us to remember that Jesus is the Light of the World, He is our Savior, He is our Deliverer, and He is our Provision. He is calling us to return to Him, to put our trust in Him and to repent for driving Him out of our nation. He has not forgotten us, but we have forgotten Him. We have tried to figure this thing out and make it on our own, but it’s not working. There is still time, America, to return to the One that Delivers and Heals.
To those that have grown weary in fighting for what is right, fighting to regain identity, fighting for the rights that God bestowed on us – Freedom and Liberty – I say, remember those that have gone before, the Israelites, the Pilgrims and many more….We are not alone in our pursuit of the Promised Land and we do not fight in vain. We stand our ground, God fights the battle. We give Him what little we have and He gives the increase. Believe in His miracle working power to sustain you, to light your lamp and give you His radiance. This is the season for all of God’s people to shine and light the way for others to come out of the darkness. Our obedience brings about His deliverance for us and for many!
Fight the good fight in the power of His Light!
The Feast of Tabernacles celebrated the end-of-the year harvest. It was a time for thanking God for successful crops and food that would sustain them through the winter months. While they took this time to rest from their labors, they knew anticipated planting crops for the coming year. With this in mind, this feast was also a time for asking God to prepare the ground for next year’s crop by sending rain. The time of the early rains began after this feast, the latter rains fell after the spring harvest of barley and wheat, thus the early and latter rains.
Praying for rain was no small matter to the Israelites. A priestly ritual was conducted each day of the feast. The priest would take the long walk from the Temple down to the pool of Siloam carrying a golden pitcher. A procession followed him singing praises to God; Psalms 113-118 and 120-136 are two sets of praise psalms that were sung during the three annual feasts. The priest would draw water from the pool in his golden pitcher and carry it back up to the Temple. There he would pour the water in the basin that was for drink offerings. Normally, wine was poured into this basin, but during the feast wine was poured into a different basin at the same time the water was poured. While the priest was pouring out the water, the people rejoiced, singing praises to God, waving their lulavs in all directions and shouting the verse from Isaiah 12:3, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” and from Psalm 118:25, “O Lord, do save, we beseech You; O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity!”
It was at this time, on the last day of the feast that Jesus stood up and cried out:
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me,
as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
Jesus kept a low-profile until the last day of the feast; the last day was a Sabbath day. He waited as the anticipation built throughout the week. The people had been declaring what they did not yet understand. Their minds were set on a natural harvest, but Jesus was giving them access to the spiritual rain that would produce a life-giving harvest in their hearts. He stood up and cried out! Imagine the passion He felt standing in their midst and making Himself known as their salvation. The Hebrew word for salvation is “Yeshua.”
Jesus was inviting them to come and drink deeply of His well of salvation. In Him they would find complete forgiveness, healing, wholeness, provision, protection, and purpose. In receiving His salvation they themselves would become a deep well, filled with life, joy and provision for others.
He used words that would have been familiar to them, words that had been spoken by the prophets, Isaiah and Joel. The Jews would understand the imagery of living water as meaning “streams of life” or the “river of God,” but He was releasing greater revelation. He was speaking to them about being the Messiah that was among them to give them the Spirit of the Living God. Jesus was declaring that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s and Joel’s prophecies.
For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring;
They will spring up among the grass like willows by the watercourses.’ Is 44:3-4
And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on
My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. Joel 2:28-29
Jesus, the life-giving Spirit was announcing that He was the new wine. When the priest poured the water into the basin that had been used for wine, it revealed that the old wine of the drink offering was being replaced by the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus. In Old Testament times, the drink offering of wine was given along with a grain offering or whenever a blood sacrifice was made. This is the picture of communion, the bread and the wine fulfilled in Jesus.
Jesus was speaking on the Sabbath day about entering into Sabbath rest through Him. Their offerings would no longer be useful because He was about to complete the ultimate sacrifice and offering on their behalf. He had come to earth to dwell among us to show us His salvation!
The picture above was taken during our homeschool years when we re-enacted this scene in the backyard. As we sang and danced before the Lord, the children all waved the lulav. The “Priest” poured out the drink offering and everyone presented thank offerings to the Lord. We asked the Lord to send the rain on our land and on our hearts and to draw all people unto Himself. It is so important that we raise our children to understand the Feasts of God and to know what to look for upon Jesus’ return. The feasts are a fun time for children to engage with truth and plant it deep within them.
We are on the cusp of God’s great end-times harvest of souls. In many places, it has already started. He’s calling on us, no matter what our age, to join with Him in crying out for the latter rains of the Holy Spirit to awaken people’s hearts and draw them near to God. This is the imagery proclaimed in Joel 2:18-32. After the people rend their hearts and repent (Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement), then God will restore the people and release a great harvest! This is the day we are living in….God is ready for us, the laborers, to work with Him to gather in the Harvest and make ready for Jesus to return.
Ask rain from the Lord at the time of the latter rain….And He will give them showers of rain… Zech 10:1
“And the Lord utters His voice before His army, for His host is very great, and [they are] strong and powerful who execute [God’s] word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible, and who can endure it? Therefore also now, says the Lord, turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning [until every hindrance is removed and the broken fellowship is restored].
Rend your hearts and not your garments and return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and He revokes His sentence of evil [when His conditions are met]. Who knows but what He will turn, revoke your sentence [of evil], and leave a blessing behind Him [giving you the means with which to serve Him]….
Joel 2:11-14 Amp
What are the 10 Days of Awe all about? The word “awe” means “A feeling of respect or reverence mixed with dread and wonder, often inspired by something majestic or powerful.” It is the same meaning we give to the Fear of the Lord. The 10 Days of Awe are a time we welcome the spirit of the Fear of the Lord into our lives. We ask Him to identify things that hinder our relationship with Him and we reflect upon what He shows us. We choose to break agreements we’ve made with the enemy and we commit ourselves to seek the Lord’s way, His counsel. We are cleansed, strengthened, and empowered by His spirit. For those that long to know the Lord more intimately, this is a time to be cherished. It is God’s invitation to come closer to His heart.
To those that don’t share that desire, this time can be intimidating. Many will say, “I’m saved, Jesus died and I’m forgiven, why should I acknowledge this time, it was already fulfilled in Jesus.” But if we aren’t growing in the Lord and we don’t have a heart to hear what He’s saying, then this time might be exactly what’s needed. Individually and corporately, we shouldn’t look for how little we can interact with the Lord and still be saved. He is worthy of ALL our praise, ALL our energy, ALL our devotion. The Father is pleased to answer the cries of those who want more, He gives us more grace so that we can serve Him wholeheartedly.
In a broad sense, the Day of the Lord literally began when Jesus was resurrected and it continues until the day of His return. But as we draw nearer to that day, the prophecies regarding the Day of the Lord become more intense. They become more “great” for those that walk closely with the Lord, and they become more “terrible” for those that stand far off from Him. The reason for that is because the Father’s heart is longing to draw all people unto Himself. He will allow us to suffer temporarily in the earth so that we can be with Him for all of eternity. He loves us that much. Jesus paid a high price for our salvation. Why should we settle for an inferior version of who we were created to be?
So the real battle is for the humility to admit that we don’t know what’s best, we don’t know how to truly be satisfied, we don’t know how to love ourselves or one another. We don’t even know how to love God unless He gives us the grace to do it! Scripture says, He first loved us so that we could love Him. During these 10 days, we can cry out for God’s grace and yield our ways to His higher ways. The issue is not only being saved, but it is one of continually drawer nearer to Him, knowing Him more and becoming more like Him. He honors a submitted heart and He will definitely answer that prayer. When we choose humility, and break agreement with the enemy, we align ourselves with heaven’s purposes.
Culminating on the Day of Atonement, we can confidently face the Lord and know that in the coming year we will have greater grace to draw near to Him and gain strength against our enemies. Things we struggled with last year, we will gain victory over this year. Things that have hindered us will be overcome. Judgment will be rendered in our favor and we will walk in greater power and authority.
During these days, let us return to the Lord, for He is gracious and merciful. He is waiting for us!