The Gift of Provision

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.“ – Luke 2:6,7 Today, as we draw closer to Christmas, I have a thought I want to share — God always provides sanctuary for us. Even our beautiful church building here at Shepherd’s Grove is a place of rest and divine provision when we come to worship. Like shelter on a rainy day, a sanctuary reminds us that we have a safe home in the Lord.   Interestingly, as we ponder the arrival of Jesus, we see that part of the miracle was God providing protection and a safe place for His Son to be born. Though His birthplace was less than glamorous, the manger in which our Lord

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Heavenly House Cleaning

“When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling.” – Luke 19:45 We’ve been learning a lot about Jesus being our home and our soul being His home. Thus, knowing that we are the Holy Spirit’s house, we shouldn’t be surprised if and when He does some spring cleaning. Interestingly, the story of Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple is also the story of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. While the crowds had just finished hailing Him Hosanna and affirming that He was their King, He rode immediately to the temple — or the Jewish people’s house — and started turning over tables. Though we don’t know what the throngs thought of this commotion, His actions demonstrate the truth that we can’t call Christ our Lord (or boss) if we don’t acknowledge His right to reorganize some things in our lives.

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God’s House

“And as he taught them, he said, ‘Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” – Mark 11:17 Did you know that ancient Jews didn’t call the temple the temple? This description was given later, but in Jesus’ day, it was simply known as “the house.” Just like people, God has a dwelling, and though His permanent residence is in Heaven, He chose a particular location in which to contain His glory in Old Testament times. This means that the Spirit of Jehovah lived at the temple, and it belonged to everyone who followed Him. It was the center of Jewish life, and it was the place where the hurting, broken, and outcast could find safety and experience His heart. This is precisely why it upset Him so much when the money changers turned

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Sons and Daughters of God

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1 If we know Jesus, we’ve been adopted into the family of God and nothing can take that from us. I once heard a story about a young girl who was in the foster care system. She was constantly being bounced from house to house, because any time she did something wrong or got out of hand, she’d be sent back and placed with a different family. After enduring great instability for so long, she finally found her forever home, and her new parents made it clear that no matter what she did, she was not just a well-behaved guest — she was their daughter. They assured her that even if she behaved poorly, though she might be reprimanded, she would not be

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A Visit From God

“The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.” – Genesis 18:1,2 Yesterday, we discussed creating a hospitable place for Jesus in our hearts and lives. Interestingly, in Genesis 18, there’s an account of Abraham doing this very thing, only he had the honor of welcoming the Lord in the flesh. Taking the form of three men, most likely God and two angels, they appeared to him outside his tent in the heat of the day. Once he realized who they were, he ran to them quickly and bowed down low. Although ancient Middle Eastern culture was known to be hospitable, his

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