Category Archives: 2012 Advent Devotionals

Advent Devotion for December 24, 2012

December 24, 2102 Today’s Reading is 1 John 4:9-10

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. “ -1 JOHN 4:9-10

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

This is the heavenly song, sung by angels; yet it’s not just a heavenly song, because it speaks of “peace on earth,” But what does that look like? Nearly every day, we are confronted with world news that speaks of terrorism, war, and violent crime. What was meant by this peace that the angels sung about?

The theologian, John Calvin makes the point that the peace which is being spoken of is not a peace between men, but that there is now peace with God, “on whom his favor rests.” We read in Ephesians 2:3-5 that “we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.” In other words, man was not at peace with God, but subject to God’s anger, yet in the coming of Christ, those were the objects of wrath, can now be at peace with God. They can be forgiven, justified, saved by grace through Christ.

Notice also that the source of peace is not our good will toward God, it is His good will toward us.

1Jn 4:9-10 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Have you experienced Peace with God? If not, why not accept the gift of His Son Jesus as the one who saves you and forgives you of your sin, purifies you, and brings peace into your life.Then let us together sing the words of the angels,“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Devotion written by Pastor Jamie Cupschalk

Advent Devotion for December 23, 2012

December 23, 2102 Today’s Reading is Isaiah 9:6

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -ISAIAH 9:6

People everywhere are concerned about the future and many will spend much time and money trying to know it, or even have some control over it. This well known verse is a prophecy of the coming Messiah; fulfilled by Jesus when He came to earth. Although it is a single verse, it is filled with who God is and what He wants for His children.

God’s gift of Jesus was planned well in advance. Jesus didn’t just happen to come to us by chance. Don’t we do the same when we have certain people in mind for that special gift that we just know they should have? Jesus is unique among all people; God gave us a one-of-a-kind gift. His name is Wonderful because He is Wonderful. As a Counselor, He brings God’s perspective to us like no earthly counselor can. Mighty God and Everlasting Father are typical references to God we can find elsewhere, but here they also apply to Jesus, the Son. We are shown the relationship between Father and Son, and can find security in the understanding that when Jesus came to us He brought the Deity of God with him. The world may be filled with unknowns, with conflict and with trouble. During this season we welcome the Prince of Peace as a reminder that God is still managing our world as we live faith-filled lives. The gift of Jesus answers our needs as well as our wants… the perfect gift!

Devotion written by Dennis Cesare

Advent Devotion for December 22, 2012

Today’s Reading is Psalm 16:7-11

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” -PSALM 16:11

What is TRUE joy?

Cookies. I love grabbing a that circular piece of heaven, placing it in my mouth, and biting down to hear that fabulous crunch. What a sugary delight! Now that’s joy, right?

Or is it the feeling I get when I plop down on the couch next to my hubby after a long day of work, the baby sleeping. Or, better yet, seeing a plethora of money in the bank after all the bills are paid! Now that’s real joy.

It’s so easy to let our feelings trick us into thinking that joy comes from food, or circumstances, or money, or other monetary excitements. But what happens when there’s no money in the bank or food in the table, when the baby won’t sleep, and the circumstances surrounding seem bleak? Can we still experience joy?

Psalm 16:11 shows us that true joy is found in the presence of the Lord. But don’t wait til you’re scrambling around in a pit of despair to try to find that joy. Psalm 16:8 instructs us to keep our eyes on the Lord always. Practice finding joy in the Lord everyday. Meditate on His words and promises, praise Him for the little miracles, rest secure knowing he will be there when all else fails.

What is one thing you can thank the Lord for today?

Devotion written by Robin Thompson

Advent Devotion for December 21, 2012

Today’s Reading is 1 Peter 1:1-9

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” -PETER 1:8-9

Seeing is Believing, Right?

In our culture, seeing is believing. We rely so much on our five senses of the natural world of perception. We are bombarded by images 24/7 and we test things by whether or not they stack up to what we can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel to be true. But this is not the case when it comes to Christ. Peter tells us that even though we have not seen Christ, yet we still have faith, and therefore we are filled with joy because we are saved by this faith.

I often wonder what it would be like if we lived when Christ was here on Earth… would my faith be different? Stronger? But then I am reminded of Thomas, who lived alongside Christ on a daily basis but claimed that he would not believe unless he put his hands in Christ’s wounds, (John 20:28-29) but when he did, Christ said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”

If Thomas was there and struggled to believe, and there were so many that lived in the time of Christ that did not believe, then what makes me think that I would be able to see Christ for who and what he truly was. Would I believe? I am thankful that Christ has provided a way for us through the Holy Spirit to know him. He has given us the faith to believe in spite of our lack of using our five senses. Even though we have not seen, heard or touched, it does not mean he is not real or that the Gospel isn’t true. We are able to have faith, and therefore, joy in our salvation from our Lord, because he did not simply live and die. He lived, He died, and He is risen! He is not simply a memory, He is alive today and working in the hearts and lives of those who believe. And because He lives, He gives us an unspeakable joy through faith.

Devotion written by Kathy Buck

Advent Devotion for December 20, 2012

Today’s Reading is Psalm 30:8-12

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” PSALM 30:11-12

The Psalmist, David, concludes Psalm 30 with an expression of gratitude and joy: possibly following God’s act of mercy. As recorded in 1 Chronicles 21, David’s sin in ordering a census of his fighting men, has resulted in God’s judgment against Israel. Upon God’s premature withdrawal of punishment, David’s wailing is turned to dancing, and he is filled with joy.

As we journey through the season of Advent, we are reminded that we, along with the world in which we live, are sinful and deserving of punishment. Because of the gift of God’s Son, who paid our debt, our wailing is turned into joy. Words alone may not adequately express our exuberant joy in God’s gift: but we may forever sing His praise and dance with joy

Devotion written by Carol Holmes

Advent Devotion for December 19, 2012

December 19, 2102 Today’s Reading is Zephaniah 3:14-20

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” -ZEPHANIAH 3:17

What a beautiful image, our God, a mighty warrior who saves us rejoicing over us with singing! Though this book is written to the wayward people of Judah at a time when King Josiah was calling God’s people to return to Him, it is something we can all relate to. We too at times have gone astray. We too have sought others and other things over our God.

And yet here stands our mighty God, the King of Israel in our midst, the Lord who has taken the judgments against us (vs 15) through the blood of His son, Jesus Christ. What a blessing, what a gift, that we who have gone our own ways, who have rebelled against the one who loves us the most, who can do nothing to save ourselves can receive the gift of Jesus.

As we prepare for Christmas, consider the helpless baby in the manger we celebrate that is the Mighty Warrior who saves you. Know that through Christ God takes great delight in you, find forgiveness in his love, and cherish the joyful moment as he rejoices over you, His child, with singing.Let us also look forward to the coming day when His Kingdom comes, when He will deal with oppressors (vs 19) save the lame and gather the outcast. May we find great joy in that day and may we bring a foretaste of the coming Kingdom through our joy and love in Christ today.

Devotion written by Janine Fleming

Advent Devotion for December 18, 2012

Today’s Reading is Psalm 5

“But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.” –PSALM 5:11

Many people know me as being someone who used to really looooooove coffee. (Understatement of the year) I would go out of my way… Journey through any wilderness in order to get that one thing that would make me so happy… Coffee. Some of you are reading this and identifying immediately. I want to ask you to stop and fill in the blank… If I am having a bad day, and am really upset, _____________ will always make me feel better. The world is a place that would love to get us tangled up in its coils andput us in a bad mood. In our bad moods we turn to the silliest things to make us feel that sense of happiness… That sense of joy.

Sometimes we can have some truly bad days. When those days come it sometimes feels like there is nothing that can help you. Yet, it is important to always remember that God has never left you. Before the beginning of time God knew you and you were a part of His plan. God knit you together in your mothers womb and knows the exact amount of hairs on your head. God is truly sovereign and if you remember that, then you will always remember that He has never left you. Take joy in knowing that He loves you so much that He sent His only son to die on the cross for you. When you are having a bad day, sit down and think about things through the eyes of eternity. Is your problem so big that it is something God cannot fix or bring you through? Take some time to consider all that God has done and find joy in him. When days are bad, pray and read and spend time with Him. God loves you, find Joy in Him.

Devotion written by Kevin Gallagher

Advent Devotion for December 17, 2012

Today’s Reading is Romans 15:5-13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -ROMANS 15:13

As we go through life, grow older, gain experiences, live, we go through rough patches. During these moments, when we feel like hope is lost, or we want to give up, we feel abandoned or betrayed. This isn’t the case. Our God doesn’t abandon us. He stays with us through everything, He’s there when we need him at all times. During the rough spots, the dark days, the broken moments, if we just look to God, and trust that He has everything under control, we will be filled with peace and joy. Knowing that God has a plan for every waking moment of our lives brings one great comfort and hope, so we know that things will get better, because God loves us. He always will.

Dear God,

I pray that you will take my life into your hands. Please, whatever thing that I’m worried about, whatever is burdening me, please take it all, and give me peace in knowing that you have a plan for me.

In your Son’s gracious name,
Amen.

Devotion written by Alison Wooten

 

Advent Devotion for December 16, 2012

Today’s Reading is 1 Chronicles 16:7-31

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” – 1 CHRONICLES 16:31

Sitting on my couch after a major storm (hurricane Sandy), and I am supposed to talk about joy! Many are not experiencing joy at this time due to their circumstances; in fact that is exactly what most people base their level of joy on – circumstances.

As you read this passage from 1st Chronicles you might want to notice 2 major themes, we are to gather together to praise the Lord for who he is and what he has done and we are to look back and recount the great things he has done. This praise requires action on our part – we give praise, sing to him, remember, give glory, proclaim, ascribe and tell – this is one of the major reasons we come together in church – to encourage each other with the Joy of the Lord and the many benefits we receive from him. Then we can turn and go out to a world that does not have that Joy and share!

When we look ahead we can be filled with fear and uncertainty because we simply cannot know what may happen and what could go wrong. But when we remember and recount we then see that God has a plan and we can then rejoice vs. 31.

This passage makes it clear that they “gave” praise to God and celebrated the great things he had done for them. “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts, vs. 9

Turn around and first see how God has changed your life, your perspective. We have hope because of the coming savior and we rejoice – together!

Devotion written by Darrell Proctor

Advent Devotion for December 15, 2012

Today’s Reading is Ephesians 3:7-21

“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” –EPHESIANS 3:17-19

Could you imagine loving someone as wide, long, high, and deep as Jesus Christ loves you? The purest, deepest love that I can think of is that of a mother’s love for her children, especially a newborn. The amazement we feel when we hold the tiny person in our arms, we feel as though our hearts will burst with all the love we have for that baby. Yet this love pales in comparison to the love of Christ. Paul tells us that in order to grasp the concept of how much God loves us, we have to be rooted in Christ Jesus, established in His love through the power of the Holy Spirit within our hearts. This love that fill us to overflowing is not just for me and you, it is for ALL of God’s people.

So what does it mean to “be rooted and established in love”? To understand, we can look at other areas of our lives to see where we might establish roots. For example, we can be rooted and established in our communities or our families through our investments of time and energy. We get to know the people around us and care for them, talking with them, and sharing our lives with them. We can also become rooted and established in our jobs, especially after we spend extensive amounts of time working with the same group of people growing together and sharing experiences. In both examples, the one aspect that stands out is the amount of time we spend on the endeavor. Therefore, to become rooted and established in love, we must spend time with the One who taught us to love, learning about Him, talking to Him, and sharing Him with others around us. We must dust off our Bibles and read them and learn the meaning of the passages and messages God shares with us in His word. We must spend time worshiping Him, praising Him, and praying to Him, sharing our lives with Him. In this manner we will become more rooted and established in Him, allowing us to understand the depths of His love, and thus naturally sharing His love with all of His people.

Lord, I pray for the sustainability and consistency of you in my life. Help me to become rooted and established in you by developing a relationship with you in which I invest my time and energy in learning more about you that I may share you with others in my life.

Devotion by Jennifer Riddle