Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

Scripture: Luke 12:35-38  

“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.” Click here to read entire passage. 

get ready

I’m one who likes to keep things relatively clean all the time so that I don’t have the big job of seriously cleaning the house. Growing up, I had 5 siblings. Not all of them were tidy and I hated to clean up after them. If we were to have company, my mother would crack the whip and get us all cleaning the house to the nth degree. All the high places and the low places. Places that no one ever went… even us. It was drudgery for me. 

The Holy Spirit coming into our hearts has been compared to a house. When we are saved the Holy Spirit comes in as a guest. He is in the Living Room, maybe the kitchen. But He wants to have access to every part. He wants to clean the high parts and the low parts because God cannot abide with sin. It must all go away. He wants to have access to your bedrooms and those closets where you hide away stuff that you want no one to see. He wants to go up in the attic and down in the basement to dig out things you have hidden away so far and so deep that you have completely forgotten about them. 

Just like we look forward to having a guest, we look forward to Jesus coming back and we shall ever be with the Lord. We need to do more than just keep watch at the window for His coming. We must prepare by having our whole hearts cleaned and pure. 

Points to Ponder 

  • Matthew 24 says BE READY for Christ’s Return. How can we be ready? Read (Matthew 24:45-50
  •  Study Matthew 25, What does Jesus say in these parables on being ready: 
  • Matthew 25:1-13 
  • Matthew 25:31-46 
  • What instructions did Paul give about being ready? (1 Thessalonians 5:1-24

PRAYER 

Lord, You have shown us through Your Word that You will come again to reign with us. I pray that I will be ready and watching for that day. Help me to remain in Your Word and work to show others the Way until You come. Work in and through me to shine as a light to the nations so that others may know You and be ready as well.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. 


Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

P.S. Are You Ready For His Coming?

Friend, it may not be long until Christ returns for His Bride. I hope and pray that you are ready for the day. No one knows the day or time. It will happen in the twinkling of an eye. There will be no time to get ready. The time is now. If you are unsure that you are ready, click through this link for more understanding.


get ready

Trusting God’s Plans and His Ways

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

Trusting God’s Plans and Ways

Scripture Reading: Psalm 25:1-22

“In you, Lord my God, I will put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.” 

I grew up in a farming community. Most farms are on country roads connected by county roads named only with a letter or two. But beware because the next county over may use a different letter for the same road.  

One day, my brother was invited to visit his friend in another county. Mom was busy with farm business and she asked if I would drive him there. I had only a vague idea of how to get to this farm. Mom said that my brother could direct me there. So, with a little fear and trepidation, I headed out the driveway with a five-year-old in the co-pilot’s seat. 

God wants us to trust Him like this. To allow Him to show us the path of life. Usually, He only points in the direction He wants us to go. We must move ahead until He tells us to change directions. It may feel a little risky to trust Him and move ahead without any real plans on where we might be heading. Others might think us a bit foolish. They would say that we need a course of direction. They might say that to head out with no direction is “preposterous.” 

But when we move out on faith, we will find that we are not disgraced. My brother and I arrived safe and sound at his friend’s home. It’s the same with our faith. Trust God and we will arrive safely and right where God wants us to be.  

Points to Ponder 

  • Have you ever struggled to trust God when not knowing His plan? What truths about God do you lean on to help you trust Him more? Think of your own or look up these scriptures (Psalm 9:10, Psalm 28:7, Psalm 37:4-6, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 26:3-4, Matthew 6:25-27, 1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:19)
  • God always has a plan. He is never far away, and we can trust His plan. What do we know about God’s plans and His care? Make your own list or use these scriptures.  (Genesis 28:15, Joshua 1:9, Job 42:1-2, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 55:9, Psalm 23:4, Hebrews 13:5, 1 Cor. 3:16, John 14:16-17, Romans 8:37-39, Galatians 2:20)

Prayer 

Dear Lord, You are the God of the impossible. You can do anything. I want to trust your plan for my life whether I know Your will or not. You see the whole picture, so help me trust You completely as I follow You. Teach me to see things from Your perspective, and to know that You go before me and behind me, and Your hand covers me with protection. I declare my faith in Your promises, Lord. You are mighty, powerful, righteous, and true.  

In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen! 


Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

Trust in You by Lauren Daigle


The hope of God with us

The Hope of God With Us

The Hope of God With Us was originally published at Gracefully Truthful. It is not part of the Church of the Nazarene Advent Series; however, it certainly follows the theme of God With Us.

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming


Read Ezekiel 37:15-28 First

70 Years in Captivity

Ezekiel lived during the 70-year captivity of Judah in Babylon. The prophets Jeremiah and Daniel were his contemporaries. The nation of Israel had forgotten God and become idolatrous by worshiping other gods. Through prophets, God repeatedly warned them about their sin and the coming destruction as a result.

Ezekiel lived during the 70-year captivity of Judah in Babylon. The prophets Jeremiah and Daniel were his contemporaries. The nation of Israel had forgotten God and become idolatrous by worshiping other gods. Through prophets, God repeatedly warned them about their sin and the coming destruction as a result.

Even after they were captured, they took on the pagan gods and beliefs rather than standing up for the One True God. They had a “form of godliness but denied the power within.” (2 Timothy 3:5, Titus 1:16) They ignored the prophets, so God “left them to their own devices”. They wandered so far from God they no longer had unity within the nation.

In just a few short generations after King David’s reign, the nation split into two nations. The Northern Kingdom (10 tribes led by the half-tribe of Ephraim) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (The tribes of Judah and Benjamin). The Northern Kingdom had already been overtaken by Assyria during Ezekiel’s ministry and finally, God allowed Babylon to overtake the Southern Kingdom as well.

Valley of the Dry Bones

Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and the people were taken captive where they remained for 70 years. Ezekiel’s ministry was during these 70 years. In the first half of chapter 37, Ezekiel has a vision in the Valley of the Dry Bones. Ezekiel was amid piles of dry bones depicting the futility of the people’s lives without the Lord God.

The people did not care about God. Even if they were still worshiping Him, it was in a ritual only as they followed the cultural influences around them. They were dead in their sins and, for Ezekiel, it seemed there was no hope. But God showed Ezekiel He would raise His nation up and make them alive again.

The Promise of Hope

After 400 years of silence, God began to move again among His people and so, the dance began again. John the Baptist was conceived as a forerunner to Christ. He leaped in his mother’s womb just being near the mother of the Messiah. Doesn’t your heart leap at the joy of this news?

And who could forget the angelic announcement of the birth of Christ? Think of it! If I were a shepherd, I would not be able to keep still with excitement at the prospect of this joyous time. Hope was being fulfilled as Emmanuel (Jesus) came to humanity; God with us! A different age was about to begin, the Age of Grace under the Covenant of Redemption. Not only is God with us, but His Holy Spirit can live within us if we trust in Christ as our Savior!

The light of the world has come to chase away the darkness and the people began to dance in the light!

The Hope of Peace

God’s promise of restoration was depicted in the two visions of Ezekiel. First, the vision of the dry bones and then the two sticks coming together as one. Once they are joined, we will enter the Covenant of Peace. (Ezekiel 37:26)

This will happen when Christ returns to earth and sets up His Kingdom. When God initiated the Covenant of the Law with Moses, he created the physical nation of Israel. When Jesus instituted the New Covenant of Redemption, God created the spiritual nation we call “the Church.”

Soon it will be time for God to bring these two together. Both the spiritual and the natural must be in perfect balance, so God can create for Himself “one new man” from the two that will bring true peace in an Age of Peace. (Ephesians 1:9-13, Ephesians 2:14-17).

In the Age of His Kingdom, Jesus will be the Prince of Peace. All things will balance out with His government. His judgment will root out evil. Once evil is removed, His Truth and Grace will be in balance with His Government of Peace. Jesus will reign, and we will be in the presence of God forever.

God’s Peace will be revealed, and we will experience the “peace that passes all understanding” to the full! (Philippians 4:7) We have His peace within our hearts, but on that day, complete peace will be established. Finally, the prophecy of God’s Presence among us will be fulfilled and we can say as Isaiah prophesied,

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. A light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness. You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before you as they rejoice at harvest time.”

(Isaiah 9:2-3)

It will be the greatest Dance of Joy ever!

Mandy


God is Singing Over Us

The Lord is with you… in His love, he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.” 

Scripture: Zephaniah 3:14-17 

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series #5 of 7

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

God Sings Over us

He will rejoice over you with singing

Our daughter was born three weeks premature. Extra days in the hospital, she lay in an incubator. We could only hold her at feeding time. Once she was home, I loved to rock and sing over her. It was the Christmas season, so I began to sing a Christmas song… “Sweet Little Kaela Girl…” I created lyrics about how beautiful she was and how much we loved her. I believed the singing was just what she needed. Hearing my voice was a great comfort to her. 

Think of how God loved His people, the Israelites. Because of sin, a great chasm kept God from coming and walking with them every evening. He wanted to comfort them in their sorrow. There they were in captivity because of their sin. The next best thing was to send them prophets to speak His love over them. 

God sings over us

Zephaniah was one of those prophets. He told them that God loved them, and He had a plan. One day their sins would be completely gone. God would be with them forever. In the meantime, God would comfort them with singing. 

God has sent many muses our way also. He has given us beautiful words of comfort to our souls. I have often gone to playing the piano when my heart was sad. I would open a hymnbook and begin to play the hymns. Soon I would find myself singing the words and finally be comforted through them.  

Is your heart heavy today? Find an old hymnal and meditate on the lyrics. God is singing over you. 

Points to Ponder 

  • What hymn or song do you use to lift your spirits? Find the lyrics of that song or Civilla Martin’s hymn, His Eye is on the Sparrow. Meditate on the lyrics. Think about each word as you read and sing. 

PRAYER 

Lord, I come to You praising You for all You have done. You have _______ (list at least 3 specific blessings from your life) What a joy to know that You are singing over me. Tune my ear to listen to Your song. Thank You for loving me and caring about my every need.

In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen. 


Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019


Prepare the Way

Prepare the Way of the Lord

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series #4 of 7

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

Prepare the Way of the Lord

prepare the way of the Lord God with us

Scripture: Isaiah 40:3-5Mark 1:1-5 

‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ Click here for entire passage. 

The Transcontinental Railroad was a particularly large feat for America. It strained the resources of this young country, being built during The Civil War. A path needed to be forged across mainly unknown lands. Over 10,000 Chinese immigrants did the hard work of preparing rail beds, laying tracks, digging tunnels, and constructing bridges. Workers used chisels and hammers to blast away the rock. All types of landscape brought different challenges; desert heat in some places; other places had mountainous terrain and winter storms. This is just a quick peek into all that the workers faced as they prepared the way for the railroad.  

Isaiah Prophesied, “Prepare…”

In Isaiah’s day, when a king was coming, the road would be prepared so there would be no obstacle in the way of the king. It would be easy and safe for the king to arrive. Much work was involved in preparing the way. Terrain and weather both brought many challenges to building a road. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah King was coming, and the way needed to be prepared. He prophesied about John the Baptist who would prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. Ultimately, it was not a road that needed to be prepared but people’s hearts. Their hearts needed to be ready for the Kingdom of Heaven. 

John the Baptist Proclaimed, “Prepare the Way…”

John the Baptist called out to the people to repent and to turn from their sin and to be baptized as a sign of their repentance. This created an environment for Jesus to enter this world and preach His message of the Kingdom of Heaven. He had a new message that the world would not like, but John prepared many hearts to be open to that message. 

Are you preparing the way of the Lord in your own heart?  

Points to Ponder 

Prepare the Way - God With Us
  • Just as the transcontinental railway was prepared from both ends that met in the middle, God and man have a part to do. God did the work of salvation and His Spirit woos us towards Him, but we must open our hearts to Him and make room for Him. How do we open our hearts for Jesus? (1 John 1:7-9,  Proverbs 28:13) 
  • Hebrews 12:14 tells us that “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.” If there is sin in our lives, God cannot come in but if we repent of our sins and turn to him and away from our sin, we will be cleansed and the Lord can then enter in. (1 John 1:9
  • How do we make room for the Holy Spirit to come? (John 14:15-17Acts 1:14;2:1-4Romans 8:5-10Ephesians 4:20-32

Prayer

Father,

May Your Spirit open our hearts to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Because of His death on the cross, we have been set free from sin; we have been renewed and redeemed. And by the grace of God, we can live victoriously. May our humility allow the Holy Spirit to lead our lives not just in times of trouble, but every day as we proclaim Your Gospel.

We understand that our human abilities are limited, so we put our faith in You. We rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to move us according to Your will. Continue to transform us so that we can pattern our ways to the life of Christ. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we shall walk in You and with You for Your glory.

In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen. 


Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

Let’s sing together…

God Promises to Comfort Us

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

God’s Promises to Comfort Us

comfort ye my people Isaiah 40
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Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-3 

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Click here for entire passage.  

Our Fear of Punishment

My young son’s lips began to quiver as his daddy caught him in an act of defiance. He knew there would be punishment to pay. “Wait until we get home”, his father whispered in a low voice. The sternness in his voice made our son keenly aware that this was serious. But then there was the waiting. Just thinking about the trouble that he would be facing made it worse.

Finally, we made it home. He was so repentant, hoping for a reprieve, but punishment had to be given.  Our hearts ached and we all cried. Handing out punishment was not enjoyable, but we knew that letting him off the hook was not the best way to teach him a lesson. We were learning there was truth in “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”. Afterward, we took him in our arms assuring him that we loved him and that he was forgiven.  

The Hope of Comfort

As a musician, when I read Isaiah 40, my mind goes to the lyrics from Handel’s Messiah. “Comfort ye, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people.” That smooth tenor voice pleading with God’s people to be comforted. He was there; He had a plan; their sins were forgiven.

Think about how sad God must be because of our sin. Oh, how He wants to reach out and hold us in His arms and say, “It’s okay. I have paid the debt. Don’t be troubled. You are set free from your sin.” 

And here again, is that preposterous promise. After Jesus came and paid the price for our sin, he left us a Comforter to be with us. When we repent, we are forgiven. And now we have the Holy Spirit within us to be our daily comforter, our advocate, our counselor. And we can sing as Handel did, “Hallelujah!” 

Points to Ponder 

  • What was God’s promise from the beginning, after the fall of man, to now? (Gen. 3:15, 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 11:1-3, Isaiah 53, Romans 16:20, Revelations 22:3-4 )
  • After Jesus came to earth, He told the disciples that He would have to leave so that the Comforter could come. Why was it better for the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to come than for Jesus to be here on earth with us? (John 14:16-18)
  • If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit now lives within us. How and why does the Holy Spirit comfort us? (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Romans 8:18, 26-27, Ephesians 3:16)

Prayer 

Dear Holy Spirit, 

You are God in us, and I praise you because you are holy. Thank You for dwelling in our hearts. Thank You for comforting us in our time of trouble. Teach us how to comfort others that they may also know You. Open our eyes to Your Truth. Help us to see more clearly and follow You more closely. 

We ask for Your comfort and peace today. You know our pain and our sorrows. Thank You for interceding to the Father for us. Help us rest in Your peace today. In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen. 


Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

The Promise of Restoration with God

God’s Preposterous Promise

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

The Promise of Restoration With God

JEremiah 33 restore The days are coming

Scripture: Jeremiah 33:14-16 

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made…‘” Click Here for the entire passage 

As I write this, I am watching video of the devastation from Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas. Thirty-six hours of hurricane-strength winds and ocean water thrown onto the islands. Trees and plant life stripped of all that is green, many flattened to the ground. Water rising to the roofs; roadways and airports underwater. Nothing left but large piles of debris. And this doesn’t touch the loss of life. My heart is sickened. 

I wonder if the Israelites were having similar feelings as they were captured by the Babylonians. How their hearts must have ached to see the beautiful, holy city in ruins, the temple destroyed. After Nebuchadnezzar carried them off to captivity, Jeremiah lamented the loss and destruction. He went to the tribes of Israel to offer hope and to encourage their hearts. 

He let them know that God would leave them in captivity for 70 years, but that God had promised to restore Jerusalem and raise up a “Son of David” who would restore righteousness to Jerusalem. 

God Will Restore

This was fulfilled in part during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, restoring the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. A second fulfillment came through Jesus, the Messiah, who came to bring spiritual redemption to the people.  

Ultimately, Christ will return to earth and establish His Kingdom forever. God will once again live among His people. God with us… that is the preposterous promise for God’s people. 

Today, we have this same hope in Christ Jesus: that He will return to restore the earth to its original beauty. The New Heaven will come down and Jesus will reign on earth. God With us! 

Points to Ponder 

  • Read Jeremiah 33. Describe the devastation of Jerusalem and the God’s promise of a restored Jerusalem. 
  • What hope do we have for our future and what should we do as we wait for the day? Read John 14:1-41 Peter 1:3-9,13-222 Peter 3:13-14 
  • What will make the New Jerusalem more wonderful than ever before? Hint: His name is Emmanuel-God with Us! Isaiah 60:19 

Prayer 

Our God Emanuel, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You for the hope we have in You. We watch expectantly for Your return so that we can live together for eternity.   

In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen. 


Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

Help Restore the People of The Bahamas

My denomination, The Church of the Nazarene, is working to help the people affected by Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas. Consider a monetary gift this Christmas to help. Click here.

on our way back

On Our Way Back to God

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 

“Now may our God and Father Himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.”  

God’s Preposterous Promise Devotional Series for Christmas

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

On Our Way Back to God

When I was single, I longed for days when we could all be together again. I grew up with 5 siblings. There was always activity going on around the farm. But far from home with no family nearby, it could get mighty lonely. Phone calls only made me more homesick. I prayed to be able to see my family again. I prayed that Jesus would allow me to get home to see my family. 

Oh, to be together as a family. My heart often aches because I live so far from my parents, especially now as they are aging. Not being able to check in on them and see how they are doing is difficult.  

Paul wrote the same thing to the Thessalonians. They were like brothers and sisters to him. He desired to be with them to see how their faith was growing. He urged them to keep loving each other as an example and a reminder of how much he loved them. Even more so, how much Jesus loved them. 

One day there will be a great homecoming and all Christians everywhere – and from every time – will be together forever. And even better than that we will be with Jesus. It is God’s preposterous promise… to be with us! 

Won’t that be a glorious day? We will finally be home and together with Jesus. 

Points to Ponder: 

Prayer 

How can we thank you enough, Lord? You have provided a way for us to be with you again. Thank You for sending Your Son to earth to live, die, and rise again to save us from our sins. Guide us in Your truth and cause Your love to increase in our hearts and for each other. Strengthen our hearts as we live for You and keep us blameless in holiness before You when our Lord Jesus returns. In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen.  


Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019