Advent Devotionals and Exercises!  How I enter in…

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The picture above is part of my skinny pencil tree.  It’s filled with olive wood ornaments from Jerusalem.  I wanted olive wood souvenirs when I went to Israel in 2015, but they were pricey, so I decided to get something when I got home. 

It took a couple of years to find something I wanted, but a few years ago, there was a huge lot of olive wood ornaments from a former shop owner for auction on Ebay; and I won the bid!  I got around 150 ornaments for $20 plus shipping.  :).  I love them!  They perfectly fill my 7′ pencil tree!

There are various kinds of camels, shepherds, manger scenes, stars, candles, wise men, donkeys, angels, crosses, roosters, doves, Mary with Jesus.  Like a little girl can get lost staring into her miniature doll house world, I get lost in my tree.  They remind me of that trip, especially our time in Old Jerusalem & in the ancient olive grove just a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.  The walk is about 3000 ft.   

Here is a picture from the photo journal I put together.  I’m looking at Jerusalem from within the grove, standing on the Mount of Olives.  

This is how Christmas hits my spirit now.  For Advent, I think of the sights and sounds of that trip, and enter in, as much as possible, the ancient scene of my promised King’s arrival.  I meditate upon possible feelings and thoughts of my ancient family.  For today, I was thinking about Joseph’s mental wrestling after learning that Mary was pregnant. 

It’s the inspiration for today’s Friend Friday Advent exercise!  Note— Advent exercises started on Monday.  I hope you follow along to listen to all! 

You can read below to get most of today’s devotional and exercise.  And then listen to it, so you can participate in the the prayer and processing not included below, click here-

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Joseph had relationship problems.
As do we.
Joseph reasoned on what to do.
So do we.
He went through the scenarios in his mind and came up with a plan.
So do we.
But God intervened.
Scripture is clear that Joseph honored God and the laws of God, Matthew 1:19.   God intervened in his thoughts.
If we honor God and follow Jesus, God will intervene in our thoughts too!
God sent an Angel of the LORD to cast down the arguments wrestling around in Joseph’s mind.  The Angel came with a message to hold his thoughts captive to Christ.
He told him, it wasn’t what he thought it was with Mary.
He let him know that he was intricately woven into a 700-year old prophecy about the Messiah.
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”  That is found in Isaiah 7:14.
You too are part of an ancient prophecy spoken of by Moses in Deuteronomy 33:3.  “Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction,”
It is you being spoken of in this ancient passage!  You are included in those who bow down at His feet to receive instruction!  Tell people you are in the bible and then show them this passage!  He loves you.  He is holding you in His hand!
The Angel of the LORD also affirmed Joseph as a son of the royal line of David. 
The Spirit of the LORD affirms to us that we are God’s child.- Romans 8:16.
The Angel of the LORD told Joseph, “Do not be afraid…”
The LORD is telling us, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
The Angel reframed Joseph’s thoughts.  He told him to take Mary as his wife, because the baby in her womb was conceived through the Holy Spirit.  He told him that she would give birth to a Son with a capital “S”.  And that Joseph was to name Him Jesus, because Jesus would save His people from their sins.
He saves all who call upon His Name, who by faith, believe.  He can reframe your thoughts today and give you that wisdom you need!

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Let’s pray… (for this part, listen to the podcast!)

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The content is original to the author, Gina Williamson. Used with permission.

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