Category Archives: 2013 Advent Devotional

Advent Devotion for December 24th, 2014

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. –2 Thessalonians 3:16

2 Thessalonians was written by Paul and he was directly talking to a people that were under persecution for their beliefs, being deceived by false teachings, and we’re being disobedient to divine commands.  One of the ways Paul was teaching them was by bringing a message of peace to these people who were experiencing persecution.

Is it hard to imagine peace right now in your life?  Have you lost a job, lost a loved one, been on the bottom of some gossip or persecution?  Maybe you are your own worst enemy and you attack yourself about your appearance or how you act?  Not to sound like an info-mercial, but if this does describe you then there truly is good news.  In psalm 46: 1-3 (read it) there is great truth that should challenge you today.  In these 3 verses we are challenged through poetic allusion to put our trust completely in The Lord no matter how serious life gets.  The use of mountains and earth are to symbolize strength.  We are being told that even if the most strong of earthly elements were to start shaking and slipping, we can trust in the lords provision.

As advent ends and we usher in a new year, make it a resolution to have more trust in The Lord.  Find joy in the suffering, find peace in the insanity, and have joy as your Christmas gift from The Lord for all of 2014.

“The Lord of hosts is with us, The God of Jacob is our stronghold.” Psalm 46: 11

Written by Kevin Gallagher

 

Advent Devotion for December 23nd, 2013

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.  – 2 Corinthians 13:11

This verse is explaining how much easier things are when done as a whole, in peace through Christ. Those that seek full enlightenment must first reach a spiritual peace with the Lord. In His doings we can live together in peace. This verse tells how we must encourage one another, be of one mind, and live in peace. While being in one mind with thoughts and encouragement of the Lord, we can live in peace together.

Written by Nevin Beasley

 

Advent Devotion for December 22nd, 2013

For to us a child is born,   to us a son is given,    and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 New International Version (NIV)

The bible has many names for Christ our Lord but one that I love is the Prince of Peace. Within the past year, I have experienced the hospitalization of both my grand fathers one had a heart attack and the other had a stroke.

While they were in the hospital I learned the importance of being patient. I learned to pray in ways I never prayed before, and to remain calm in times where I’d normally turn to stress or anxiety. Basically I learned the peace that the Lord has for me and all of us.

God has give us many reasons not to panic or be uneasy throughout the bible. He has promised us to never give us more then we can handle on our own (I Corinthians 10:13). He has promised to always be at our side in times of need (Deuteronomy 31:6). He also promises us that he will give us the strength we need to overcome (Daniel 10:19).

So the next time a situation comes up in life that causes you to feel uneasy, anxious, or stressed just remember that we have a Prince of Peace that will always be there for us in times of need.

Prayer:
Prince of Peace, thank you for your love and for your many blessings. Please help us, through our relationship with you, to accept the peace you offer us. Remind us of your presence in our day to day lives. Amen.

Written by Josh Johnson

Advent Devotion for December 21st, 2013

Read 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

In this verse it says “you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” To me that is saying that if you take in knowledge God provides you can have a life filled with joy and pleasantness. Also it is saying that following principals established in the bible lead to a better, more joyful life now, and in heaven at the right hand of God.

Written by Star Beasley

 

Advent Devotion for December 20, 2013

“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.”  1 Peter 8-9

It’s that time of year again.  As the weather gets colder, and the days shorter, families around the world ready themselves for the inundation of wrapped gifts and artificial cheer that is Christmas. Children are busy adding to their ever-growing wish lists, and parents are bustling about looking for last-minute deals, hoping that they can once again buy their way into their children’s hearts.  It seems that nowadays, the thing on everyone’s mind is perfection.  The perfect clothes.  The perfect house.  The perfect Christmas.  The perfect life.  We find ourselves so wrapped up in the glamour of wealthy lifestyles and television families that we forget who we are as Christians. We spend Christmas each year commemorating God’s perfect gift to his followers (and no, it wasn’t an iPad).  God sent his beloved son to be slain at the hands of a fallen race.  Our savior, Jesus Christ, made the decision to suffer – and die – to a people who rejected him. His crucifixion is a constant reminder of how much God loves us, his invitation to eternal happiness in heaven. That is where true joy comes from. True joy derives from the knowledge that God’s love for us never fails, not how perfect our family looks on Facebook.

Written by Liam Fleming

 

Advent Devotion for December 19th, 2013

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

I have the privilege of having experienced this passage first hand. On August 15, 2011, Gavin came into the world. We did not know about his diagnosis of Down Syndrome prior to his birth so it came as a shock to us to learn of it 5 minutes after he took his first breath. To be direct and honest, Billie and I struggled with this news. In so many words, the best way to describe our feelings is to say we had to mourn the loss of a “perfectly healthy” child first, before we could rejoice in the fact that we had another son and a welcomed addition to our family. We never rejected him, not even for a moment, but we stalled in accepting this hard truth that our little boy had a disability.

We did a lot of research right away and most of it was very helpful, but some filled our hearts with worry. About 2/3 of children born with Down Syndrome have a heart defect and most end up needing open heart surgery before they are 2. Some have severe liver and/or kidney problems. Down Syndrome can also lead to higher risk of leukemia or early onset dementia later in life. These were some of the things that really scared us in the first 24 hours of Gavin’s life. After many tests, and prayer, Gavin’s vital organs were perfect and his heart may have a tiny whole in it, but it is considered “insignificant” by the leading pediatric cardiologist at CHOP. All of the major worries, were gone. God gave us a peace that passes all understanding and with that came joy, naturally.

I remember as a teen and young adult, I prayed to God daily and ask for things like patience and wisdom. With my first born Killian, God granted me patience. I had a very narrow-minded view of life as a parent. I learned to slow down and teach my child but also learn from him. With Gavin, God granted me wisdom. I now have a more panoramic point of view on things and see a “bigger picture” type of view of life as a parent. I’ve become a more tolerant and mindful person. He’s taught me how to love but love unconditionally and without judgment. He’s taught me to enjoy life and everything in it and to, at the end of the day, shut my mind off and just smile. He taught me “people first language”- to see the person first, and then their traits/abilities/disabilities/faith/etc. Gavin is just learning to speak. He’s taught me to be a better person without having to tell me anything. With this, comes joy. True joy.

Things like driving a new car gives me “joy”, or the Eagles will win a tough game and I’ll feel “joy”. To me, that’s good, but it nonsense compared to the real joy I now know and it’s because of the lesson our Lord has taught me through my children and through the blessing of my child’s diagnosis. Gavin’s disability will surely bring struggles and maybe he won’t grow up to be the school football captain, but I didn’t either. His diagnosis is a blessing because he’s made me a better person, a better husband, and a better father. He lights up every room he’s in with his infectious smile and just spreads God’s unconditional love and true joy to everyone he encounters. When I was younger I thought I was happy. Now, I KNOW I am happy.

Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Written by Matt Machinsky

 

Advent Devotion for December 18th, 2013

Read Zephaniah 3:14-20 

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

One of the most frequent commands in the Bible is “sing unto the Lord” or “praise the Lord.” This entire passage tells us to praise the Lord for his wonderful deeds and for delivering us from our trials. But this verse in particular should bring great joy and comfort to our hearts. We all know God is with us, but I think sometimes we forget that he will never ever leave us. The Lord God, the king of the universe and creator of all things, is always by your side. He will not hesitate to save you. Now, this does not always mean that he will save us in the way we think we ought to be saved. God will deliver us and mold us and shape us however he deems fit, but we can always be certain that he will be there to catch us when we fall. Our great God even rejoices over us and loves us more than you could ever imagine.

Having the Lord God in our midst indirectly fortells the Messiah and the coming promise that we will be able to share with him and of the love and joy and singing that he will bring. So this Christmas season and time of Advent as the word “Joy” is displayed throughout familiar Christmas carols and glittery ornaments, take that word to heart and reflect upon it because we of all people have much to be joyful about, especially during this season.

Written Wilfredo and Laura Hernandez

 

 

 

 

Advent Devotion for December 17th, 2013

Read 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

I’m thinking about fleece throws and fleece jackets and my favorite slippers.  I love getting comfy and cozy by wrapping up in a fleece blanket.  It’s a simple pleasure to come home after a long, difficult day and take off my shoes and slip into my new luxurious slippers.  And now that the weather has turned really cold at night, I love snuggling in my favorite chair by the fire, covered in fleece, dog in my lap, cat on my shoulder.  Simple joy.  Great Comfort.  For an hour or two the tough times, the sorrows, the conflicts of life are forgotten.  Or at least put aside.  A brief period of Refuge.

You have to read all of Psalm 5 in context to know that David in conflict with Saul and his army.  Again.  David ends up not fighting Saul or his men.  Instead he flees, allowing God to intervene when the opportunities arise. So his trust was in God for his care in his situation. When we trust in Christ during tough times, it helps us have a deeper faith, a deeper love for God and others, and even to enjoy more confidence and joy in life!  Trust in Christ helps build character.

David does not take matters into his own hands.  David seeks God’s protection, while at the same time is making plans to fight or flight. His trust in God is firm and he shows his joy and contentment.  He takes refuge in God.  And once again he has victory by leaving both the offense and the defense to God.  He turned it over to God.  And he realizes that times of suffering are also times for growth and learning that builds up our faith and future.

The psalm finishes with this picture. The LORD is all round the people that love him. He is like a cover over them that stops people from hurting them. This makes us, the people of God, happy, even when our enemies are near.  The sinful one who seeks evil has no place to go.  Be glad… sing for joy. Because our God is One of Justice, we should rejoice.  We can be assured that evil people who seem to get away with it now will not!

Refuge.  God is the One we can come to.  God is the One we can turn to.  He is our fleece!

Devotional Thoughts

Do you realize that God is concerned with the things that concern you? We need to take the opportunity to be led by God, to see His guidance and direction and go the way that is best. Allow God to lead you and not your pride. Communicate with Him about your enemies and circumstances so you will know what to do. People want to destroy those who love and honor God; they hate Him and His people. But our God is bigger and greater than anything they can conceive of or deliver to us. We are safe in Him. God will judge them by their own actions, so we can take refuge in Him. We can praise God and be filled with joy and contentment for doing so. God will bless those who put Him first and love Him and His precepts.

What can you do to pursue the heart of God and have Him guide you? Focus on Christ and He will see you through it. Will your focus be in people-who they are, what they did, what they may do-or upon God who will carry you and see you through? God is in absolute control-not us, not others. Therefore, we can trust Him

1. What is the first thing you do when something goes wrong?  When your life is falling apart, how can this Psalm help you?

2. God is in control! So, what gets in your way from seeing and feeling this? How does this passage tell us how a Christian can handle adversity, distress, and uncertainty?

3. How has God’s will been a path of safety for you? If it hasn’t, how can you see that there is no safer place in the universe-no better plan than to be in His will for you?

4.  We do not know what the future holds for us, but God does. How does this fact help you wait, and with hope look for what He will do?

5. What can you do so that your past pains or present circumstances will not get in the way of what is really important?

Written by Deb Ford

 

Advent Devotion for December 16th, 2013

Read Romans 15:5-13

Through this scripture passage God is referred to as-God of endurance, God of encouragement, God of Hope, and He is all those and more!

We see His faithfulness, mercy and grace. We serve an awesome God who is continually faithful and abounding in love.

We are called to live in harmony with one another. We were created in relationship (trinity)
for relationship. When we open our hearts to Christ acknowledging our unworthiness and need for our Lord and Savior, then inviting the Holy Spirit into our hearts and live lives lead by God we receive this Amazing Joy inside.

As we prepare to celebrate our Saviors birth, let us reflect on the greatest gift ever given and the Joy that ONLY Christ can bring and may we look forward to spending eternity together.

If you know someone who has never unwrapped the greatest gift ever given, please share it with them this Christmas:)

Written by Stephanie Wiley

 

Advent Devotion for December 15th, 2013

Read 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

Let the heavens rejoice!  I am afraid that I did not get any further.  My mind wandered back to the summer nights along the Maine Coast that often find us looking up at the beauty of the starry expanse above us.  The Milky Way, a brilliant display of creamy brightness, the steady light of a planet or two.  The Little and Big Dipper, the North Star, the arc of meteorites as they flash by.  All a testimony to our God’s creative majesty.  In years past I would often scoop my son’s small body out of bed and carry him out beyond the trees where we could take in the night sky together.  I did not want him to miss such a wondrous display, the millions of twinkling stars above.

Two thousand years ago, other men were out on the hills of Bethlehem, watching the night sky as they tended their flocks of sheep.  They must have discussed the brilliant star that had made an appearance, but nothing could have prepared them for what would happen next.  An angel of the Lord, shining with God’s glory, appearing to them with a wonderful message, “I bring you news of great joy!”  The news of the birth of the long awaited Messiah.  And just when they were starting to take their next breath a great company of the heavenly host appearing with that angel, raising their voices in praise of God.  What a sight that must have been!  What a sound that must have been! How I would have loved to have been there!  The heavenly host, with a wondrous message, set against the backdrop of God’s beautiful creation.

Father, help us to take the time, despite out hectic lives, to wonder at the beauty of your creation and to thank you for your wonderful gift of salvation and love!

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room

And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing!

(Isaac Watts 1719)

Written by Karen Witt