December 22, 2010
This week of advent, we light the candle that represents the peace that brings us into commune with God through Jesus His son and His Holy Spirit. We celebrate our completeness in Christ and realize that all we need we find in Jesus. Let us meditate on these thoughts as we read the scripture today.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. ” (Isaiah 9:6–7, ESV)
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” ” (Luke 2:8–14, ESV
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. ” (Colossians 2:9–15, ESV)
Let us celebrate the birth of our Savior and let us realize that he came to this earth to offer us peace with God and may we share that peace with those who have not experienced it.
December 14, 2010
This week’s reading comes from Luke 1:47-55. It is Mary’s joyful declaration of the blessings of God. Imagine a young woman just filled with the presence and Spirit of God. She is overflowing joy. God Himself has visited her, and chosen her to be the Mother of His only conceived Son. Talk about a calling, she was filled with gladness.
Luke 1:47-55 (Message)
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
The Messiah was promised to Israel from the very beginning of their existence. At the time God filled Mary’s womb it had been 400 years since Israel had a prophet of God. After a long history of legalistic religion and foreign domination, the Lord’s Messiah was conceived. God, Himself was coming near to His people. It was to be a new beginning. Our lives in Christ are filled with the same promise. He still promises to give us purpose, joy, victory, and even exceedingly abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine. Take joy today, knowing that in your own spiritual deserts and barren wastelands the promises of God will be fulfilled. He will accomplish His purpose in you. He will show Himself a warrior, a savior, a Father, a friend, and a Righteous King on your behalf. Remember the unconditional love of God displayed in sending Jesus to redeem us from our sins. We are indeed, bursting with God-news!
Questions to prayerfully consider…
How has God brought joy to you in a time you felt discouraged?
Take some time to thank God and take joy in the blessings God has given you this year. Even if you are in a time of struggle, let God remind you of the way He showed up in your life this year. Rejoice in His presence!
December 14, 2010
This is love
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth
The Word became flesh
Christ Himself born a baby crying in a manger
The Word, who spoke in the very beginning
In a body of flesh and bone, muscle and tendon
Christ made his dwelling among us
He stooped, came near, vulnerable, glorious, humble
taking on the very nature of a man
The Word became flesh
God condescends. Comes near, so near.
Jesus, God incarnate, they held his hands, touched his face, saw the purity in his eyes, deep, glorious eyes
The Love of God made known
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (Jn. 15:13)
Jesus, in a bed of hay, Jesus on a dusty road, Jesus on a wooden cross, Jesus, King Jesus laid down His life for His friends.
Celebrate today, the Love of Christ coming near to you.
Celebrate today that Jesus still comes. He meets you in the place of your greatest need. He comforts you in the place of your deepest longing.
Jesus comes to you today. He is calling your name. Jesus is meeting you now, right here in the everydayness of life.
This is love, that Jesus came down from Heaven for you. He put on flesh and bone for you. He walked a dusty road for you. He died on a splintered tree for you. Jesus, rose from an rock clad grave for you.
Live in the love of God. Celebrate today! The love of God has filled your hearts. And so we say, Come Lord. Come again.
This week ask God to fill you with wonder at the mystery of His love expressed through Jesus putting on flesh and dwelling for a while among us.
December 2, 2010
I Samuel 1-2
Despair, hopelessness, disheartenment, despondency, depression, distress, anguish, unhappiness, defeatism. Most people in their lifetime will experience at least one of these emotions. There is so much in our world today that drives us to a breaking point. When we reach our breaking point, we realize that we are missing something. We have either never discovered true hope in Christ, or we have wavered and left our hope.
We learn by Hannah’s example in I Samuel 1, that we all doubt and need our hope to be renewed. During this process, we realize how much we truly need God. Hannah was in distress because she had a moment where her hope was shaken. When Hannah turned to God, she found true hope. God gave her the faith to be able to walk out the journey he sat before her. As soon as she left the temple, we are told she is was no longer sad. Her promise had not yet been fulfilled, but she was given a new hope, faith to push forward. She used this hope in her everyday life. It wasn’t a one time experience. It wasn’t a wish fulfilled. It was a lifelong belief that God would be faithful to her. He met with Hannah and she communed with God.
During this advent, Let us celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Also, let us celebrate the Hope He has given to live out the path He has set before us, and let us anticipate Jesus’ return.
Have you found true Hope, Jesus?
John 14:6, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9, I Corinthians 15:1-4
Are you applying Hope that God has given to you to everyday life?
Hebrews 11(examples of those who had hope and faith)
If not, how are you wavering?
Are you anticipating Jesus return?
I Corinthians 15:50-58
December 2, 2010
“And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. “There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed.” (1 Samuel 2:1–10, ESV)