Category Archives: 2014 Advent Devotionals

Advent Devotion // December 24th, 2014

Read Isaiah 9:2-7

Isaiah spoke of the light that God would send to lead his people from the darkness into the light of redemption. A child would be born to open our world and provide light, to show us the way to salvation. We are offered that new life in the Spirit thanks to the birth of a tiny baby, grown into a man, who was willing to die for our sins.
How easy it is to get caught up in the frenzy of the season with the bright twinkling lights on the houses and the gifts and all the other hoopla that distracts from the true light – Jesus Christ the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace who was sent to show us the way to everlasting life. Jesus is our Hope, our Foundation, Our Light in the darkness, the most wonderful and cherished gift we could ever receive.
This Advent let us focus on the promises made in Isaiah and fulfilled with the birth of the baby, Jesus. Share the light of Christ with all we come in contact with, not only this holiday season, but every day.
Prayer:
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your most precious gift – your Son so that we may walk in the light of salvation. You lift our burdens and promise us a new life filled with your love. Let us go forth in this world with Christ’s light shining. Give us the wisdom and the words to share this most wonderful gift with all we come in contact with; let us be an example of your love and a light to lead others to You. Amen

Written by Peg Buckley

Advent Devotion // December 23rd, 2014

Read Luke 1:26-35

Many of us have given birth to children. We consider them all a gift from God. My husband and I have had four babies. Although each one was happily welcomed into our family, none of the pregnancies was announced to me by an angel.

The angel Gabriel was a special messenger of God. His name is mentioned only four times in the Bible: two times in Daniel and two in Luke. Each time he delivered an important message from God.
His message to the Virgin Mary was “rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” But when she saw him she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

Then the angel said to her “do not be afraid for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in our womb and bring for a Son and shall call his name JESUS”.
The angel continued telling Mary about Jesus, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest… He will reign over the house of David forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end”.

Mary said to the angel “How can this be since I do not know a man?”
The angel answered and said unto her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy one who is to be born will be called the Son of God”.

Because we have received Christ into our hearts and called Him our Lord and Savior we are all a part of His kingdom that has no end.

Written by Elynor Smith

Advent Devotion // December 22nd, 2014

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

Advent Devotion // December 21st, 2014

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” -1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV

In today’s Scripture the Apostle Peter paints a beautiful picture of the grace of God. Here he describes five glorious truths about God’s people: they love Christ, they believe in Him, they rejoice in Him, through this they receive the salvation of their souls, and they experience all this even though they have never seen Him.

These truths should just absolutely blow us away, especially when we consider that we are born with the fallen nature of Adam and in that condition we don’t understand or seek after God (Rom. 3:11). That without the Spirit we don’t accept the things from His Spirit but consider those things foolish. (1 Cor. 2:14).

Loving, believing, and rejoicing in Christ, receiving the salvation of our souls and experiencing these things despite the fact we have never seen Him is only possible by His loving initiative. We belong to Him because we were chosen by Him (Eph. 1:3-14). We love Him only because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). In the name of Christ Jesus and by the Spirit of our God we have been washed, sanctified, and justified (1 Corinthians 6:11). And we have the promise that God will bring the work He began in us to completion on the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6). God accomplishes all these things for us.

What joy this should bring over us, and inexpressible joy, as we see through the words written of the apostle that joy is a result of God’s gift of salvation. Yes, we all know and have experienced times of sin and great difficulty that have unfortunately “robbed” us of this joy. But let us, like David in Psalm 51, plead with God to restore the joy of salvation. Let us remember the blessedness of knowing God through Christ so that nothing we experience in this life would diminish this joy.

Written by David Riddle

Advent Devotion // December 20th, 2014

Read Psalm 16:7-11

7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.[d] 8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being[e] rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.[f] 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16 is known as “THE GOLDEN PSALM, and such a title is most appropriate, for the matter is as the most fine gold.” (Spurgeon) It is written by David but is clearly one of the key messianic psalms as quoted both by Peter and Paul in the New Testament book of Acts. In Peters first great sermon in Acts 2 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Next Paul quotes Psalm 16:10 in Acts 13 and says in verse 36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. Ainsworth calls Psalm 16 “David’s jewel, or notable song.” We are so very blessed to have this promised messiah who we celebrate during Advent explained to us so clearly by scripture itself.

In verse 7 we would then see that even the “Wonderful Counselor” Jesus (Isaiah), blessed or praised the Lord for his counsel and understanding. Once again we can follow the example of our Lord and Messiah in humbly seeking the Lords guidance for our lives. Similarly we are reminded that true stability comes from keeping the Lord as our focal point “I shall not be shaken” verse 8.

True joy or gladness comes only through Him. My whole being rejoices – physical, spiritual included – what an amazing promise for us should we grasp on to this truth of the Lords plan for our security in verse 9.
Do you fear death? Jesus was the first of the resurrected and was not abandoned – verse 10. We follow Him not only in death but most amazingly in the resurrection. John 11:25, “25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” Do we need any more clarity than this?

Finally, verse 11 is almost like the finishing touch. Jesus, first in “preparing a place for us” offers direction, pleasures and joy, not the worldly kind but the heavenly, with the hope of being forever in eternity with our Savior and Lord. Let us not take this lightly but cling to these life changing truths that bring true peace and hope.

I highly recommend and have drawn from Spurgeon’s “Treasury of David” in preparing this devotional. It is available online.

Written by Darrell Proctor

Advent Devotion // December 19th, 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 // December 18th, 2014

Read Psalm 30:11-12

I will not be silent

Since I was a young child I’ve been a part of the worship whether children’s choir, adult choir, or the worship band. The importance in singing my praises to God was always impressioned in me by my parents and church family.

In verse 11, David is talking about turning his wailing into dancing. To me wailing is something someone does out of extreme pain, or from being very upset. He describes removing his sackcloth, which in the context of biblical times and the Old Testament it was in mourning or repenting. Though we live in a broken world with devastation and loss, it is important to remember that God is sovereign and faithful. With all this hurt we might think we cannot be so joyful but the Lord my God is loving and steadfast and is deserving of praise. We can be sensitive to the hurt of our day without being silent. I will not be silent, I will sing my praises to the Lord… forever.

Lord, thank you for giving me the ability to praise You with joyful noise. Please help me to praise You unending and not be silent because You deserve it. Amen.

Written by Josh Johnson

Advent Devotion // December 17th, 2014

Read Zephaniah 3:14-20

Vs. 17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

What part of your faith touches you the most? God’s mercy, His faithfulness, forgiveness, grace, love, peace? For me I would have to say HOPE. A simple word that brings the motivation to go on when the days are dark, a gift from the Lord that keeps me from giving up in despair. A word that brings meaning and purpose to my life.

Zephaniah is a short book, but like many of the prophetic books is filled with God’s judgment on His people Israel, the nations around them and eventually on all of mankind. Forsaking the Lord, idolatry, child sacrifice, unjust killings, arrogance, treachery – kind of sounds like the world we live in does it not? And His judgment was terrible to behold: Mighty Assyria demolished, Beautiful Babylon destroyed, the Holy City of Jerusalem leveled, the Israelites killed or scattered to the four corners of the world. And then, in the midst of all that, a promise in chapter 3. He would preserve a remnant that would do no wrong, that with meekness and humility would trust in the name of the Lord. He would turn back the enemy, remove all sorrow, never again would there be fear. He would bring the remnant of Israel home and that would include all of us that believed. Home. Hope.

Two thousand years ago shepherds on a hill were given a message of hope and gathered by the manger to look on God incarnate, the little one who would fulfill God’s promises and bring light to a dark world. Wise men traveled hundreds of miles to look on the face of a young child who brought hope. Years later thousands would gather on hillsides to hear the young rabbi in their midst who brought hope and the disciples would become mighty men of the gospel spreading that hope to the world.

Thank you Lord for this time of year when we are especially reminded of your light, your love and your HOPE!

Written by Karen Witt

Advent Devotion // December 16th, 2014

Read Psalm 5

For me the ultimate luxury would be to wake up in the morning, be handed a cup of coffee, and just stay in bed until I felt like getting up. Perhaps I would use this time to do what David does. Spend time talking to God. How long could that take? 5 minutes? 15 minutes?
But if you are like me, you jump at the alarm clock and start taking care of all the things that need to be taken care of, get out the door and get to work. Those 15 minutes seems to have gotten lost.

Wouldn’t it be nice to honor God at the beginning of the day, and set the tone for an entire day dedicated to God? Psalm 5 shows David coming to the Lord in the morning and receiving the strength and joy he needs to make it through the day against many adversaries. For David, his adversaries were numerous. Kings have many enemies. I’m pretty sure I don’t have a lot of adversaries. But I sure seem to have a lot of adversity.

I’ve gotten into the habit of doing my journaling and praying at night. It’s the last thing I do before I go to sleep. The cats are fed and curled up somewhere. The bird is tucked in and quiet. And the dog is stretched out beside me on the bed. There is absolutely nothing else I have to do. There are no distractions. It’s been the perfect time for me, although I admit that some nights I’m so tired there’s not a lot of effort going into the process.

If you have not been setting time aside each day to pray, I encourage you to join me in turning back the alarm clock. Get up 15 minutes earlier than you normally would. Take care of what you absolutely have to take care of and then go into prayer and meditation. David’s prayers were not just his words but also his meditations. Meditation is the best preparation for prayer, so prayer is the best result of meditation. Meditation and prayer should go together, (Ps. 19:14).. I’ll be trying this with a cup of coffee. If that doesn’t work, as soon as you open your eyes, thank God for waking you up. Then ask God for the strength you need to make it through the day against any adversity and to remember to take joy in the little miracles you will encounter that day.

Written by Deb Ford

Advent Devotion // December 15th, 2014

I find it interesting that Mark begins the Gospel story in a very different way than the other three writers of the Gospel. Matthew and Luke begin with the stories surrounding Jesus’ birth and the account of his life. John starts the story of the Gospel in the beginning with the Creation of the world and of man. Mark starts the Gospel with the focus on the “Good News”. I appreciate this account of the Gospel because if focuses on the life of Jesus as a servant starting with prophecy. Mark begins the Gospel with the prophet Isaiah speaking of John the Baptist being a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I like this opening because it shows how even before the ministry of Jesus, we (Christians) are called to be messengers and servants of the Lord just as we are today. The questions we face today are the same as John the Baptist faced in his day: Are we willing to be used as servants? Are we willing to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus to our friends, colleagues and neighbors?

Lord, thank you for the fulfillment of the prophets of the Old Testament through the works of John the Baptist and ultimately through Jesus. Father, please use my life to allow others to come to know You and to know the Good News Your Son gives to all who believe. Please use me to be a servant in the lives of my friends, acquaintances, and family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Written by Barry Campbell