December 5, 2018 Daily Devotion

The reading for today is Luke 11:32

"The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment of this generation and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater man than Jonas is here."

Jonas had been sent to preach to the Ninevites and to tell them of the Messiah. These people, who did not follow the laws of the Israelites, accepted the teachings and repented. They accepted what Jonas preached to them. The Israelites, however, who followed the law and believed they knew God, did not repent. They wanted big-show miracles as proof. They wanted signs and refused to recognize and accept them when God sent them. Even though Jesus was among them, they could not see who He was. No acceptance; no repentance; no salvation. And there's that word, "Behold," again. It signals to pay attention, for something important is here. "A greater man than Jonas is here." Not coming, but is here now!

I've asked God for a sign many times. My dear friend used to tell me I didn't need a sign -- I needed a gigantic billboard! I seem to look for signs in lots of things but have come to learn that most people are more attracted by the spectacular dog and pony shows than the subtle signs of God here among us, just like the Israelites.

As I write this, fall is upon us. The magnificent reds, golds, oranges abound in the foliage. The form of each individual tree, in its own splendid color, is visible, yet each is conjoined with the others in magnificent harmony. In a very short 1/10th of a mile on the Bent Oak Cutoff, the total canopy of trees forms a tunnel of bright gold as the sunlight beams through the leaves. I want the tunnel to go on and on. In this little stretch, I know in my heart "a greater man than Jonas is here." For me, this is one of His signs. No drum rolling miracle ---or is it? I was so delighted to see several teenage girls and some others taking pictures of my very special "tree tunnel" in its autumnal glory! I don't know what they felt, but I know they noticed.

Where do you feel "a greater man than Jonas is here? Do you have a special place where you feel enfolded by His arms? Do you really notice what you see, or are you too busy? Are you aware of His presence, both within and without?

Most generous and giving Lord, send your Holy Spirit to instill us with the knowledge of your presence every day of our lives. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Sandy Topping

Prayer Concern: Those who feel God has abandoned them.

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