DEC 18 / Sunday | “Which Jesus?” Message Series – Read Luke 12:6
Overview: Are animals part of the Christmas story, like: the shepherd’s sheep, Mary riding on a donkey, critters in the manger, Rudolph and his reindeer buddies, etc., or do they play another role?
19 / Mon – Animals in the Christmas Story | Read Luke 2:4-7, 15-20 / Matt 2:1, 9-12
The Christmas story is full of animals from nativity scenes to Away in a Manger. Mary rode to Bethlehem on a donkey. Cattle were lowing in the stable. Shepherds brought their sheep and the wisemen arrived on camels. Would you be surprised to know none of these animals are mentioned in the biblical account of Jesus’ birth? Maybe that’s not important but it is significant how God loves animals and uses them to bless people. So what animals have been a blessing in your life?
20 / Tue – Animals in the beginning | Read Genesis 1:20-28
Yes, Jesus loves animals. In the beginning, every sea, sky and land animal was created by God. He blessed them and gave them into Adam’s care (Gen. 2:19-20). They were preserved in the ark. After the flood, God’s promise to Noah was also a promise to the animals (Gen. 9:8-16). He still claims them as his own (Ps. 50:10-11). Anyone who loves God will also love his creatures and treat them respectfully. How are you being a good steward with the animals he has placed in your life?
21 / Wed – Conversation with a donkey | Read Numbers 22:21-35
Throughout scripture, God has used animals to help in accomplishing his plan. Balaam was heading down the wrong road until God opened his donkey’s mouth to speak. This illustrates how God will do anything and everything to let you know when you’re going against his will. Maybe you have never had an animal chide you, but has God ever used someone, you thought was a dumb as a donkey, to give you a message? If so, did you listen? What happened as a result?
22 / Thu – The birds | Read Genesis 8:1-12 and 15-17
When the ark settled on top of a mountain, Noah released a raven that did not return, indicating the floodwaters had receded to expose dry land. Next he sent out a dove which brought back evidence that vegetation was now growing, a prerequisite for releasing the animals. Both birds provided important information. What unlikely sources has God used in the past to help you make wise decisions? Have you thanked him recently for those occasions?
23 / Fri – Far-reaching consequences | Read Rom. 8:18-25
Paul tells how sin not only wrecked human beings but also the animals and the rest of creation. It’s sobering to think how the decisions we make impact the physical world, not just the spiritual realm. Looking around, where have you seen evidence of this? How does the truth contained in scripture diminish the helplessness you might feel in the face of devastation happening in the natural world? What can give you hope (v.24-25)?
24 / Sat – God says | Read Luke 12:6 / Isaiah 11:1, 6-9 and 65:17, 25 / Rev 21:1-4
God has utter purity of character and is the sum of all moral excellence. He is good. His limitless understanding, power and presence are reality. He is not daunted by the things that devastate us. He cannot lie. He always keeps his promises. Isaiah’s words are fulfilled in the future pictured by John in Revelation 21. Everything will be made new. Redeemed, restored, renewed and perfected. And in the meantime, can you rest in who God is and believe what he says he will do?