Below are devotions for each day of Advent. (November 29 – December 24) During Advent, we encourage you to slow down and take time to reflect on what the season of Advent means. Each day Pastor Denise will publish a new devotion, based on the displayed scripture verse . Click on the date to read the devotion for that day. It will appear in a drop down box. Visit this page each day during Advent to read the devotion for that day. Devotions are not published before the date in question, but you can view devotions for past days. ~ Enjoy!
I recently turned 51, and I had a couple of people call or text me "well wishes" on my birthday joking: "It's all downhill from here..." These playful, sobering jabs at my age do give me a reality check. It's very tempting to feel dread at the thought of getting even older as the years continue to pass.
The scripture verse above reminds me that each passing year should be a reason to feel hope. To feel strong and encouraged and hope in the Lord. We are children of Hope - God awaits our arrival in Heaven, our forever home. We have great hope because of Jesus! We will live with our Father in our forever home, reunited with all of the people God has blessed us with.
Let's be filled with Hope this day! Amen.
I've recently started to take my health a lot more seriously. My husband and I are trying to make better choices with what we're eating and we've started running again.
I will start running, and I'm out of breath and feel like I need to stop about every minute. I'm sure I'm all red in the face when I'm "running". The thought of being able to run a long distance and not feel tired or weary sounds wonderful, but it's not something that you can fake. You are either trained for it or you are not. Right now - I am definitely not. Not even close.
There are many parallels from our physical lives to our spiritual ones. Our Methodist founder, John Wesley would often ask his church goers "How is it with your soul?" He understood the importance of practicing your faith. Spending time with God in prayer (praying and waiting quietly for God to answer), spending time in His Word, and acts of service were (and are) critical to our spiritual well-being.
Friends, God wants to fill you with Hope today. God wants to activate Hope in us right now. Spend time with God today (right now) and pray. Be inspired by Hid word. Make it a daily habit. And be amazed at how God with strengthen you in. your spirits. Amen!
Friends, my prayer for you in this moment of. prayer is that you take great comfort in knowing that you belong to God. You are a son or a daughter of our Father in Heaven who adores you, and created you for this moment in prayer.
My God fill every part of your heart that you've been tempted to stuff with some other things. The the riches of his glorious inheritance you have as a child of God is more precious than anything this world has to offer.
Trust is born from Hope. We hope in a God who is eternal and His love for us never fades. Hope in God never ceases to grow - but overflows into all we are and do. We grow in our love and hope in God, and our trust in Him grows secure as He is our all in all.
Trust in God today, my friend - the God of real Hope!
I remember playing hide and go seek with my brothers for hours and hours on warm summer nights. We used to go camping for weeks and at the camp grounds there were lots of fun places to hide away from each other. The best places were up in a tree. If you could keep yourself quiet - it was the best to look down on your poor brothers looking all over for you - never thinking of looking up.
God is always looking to lift us up and protect us. I pray that you know in your heart that God is your Father, and your great protector. If you call on Him he will always guard your hearts and lead you out of trouble.
I remember my youngest son was running a race - it may have been his first road race. We were watching him and my older son run. He was running in around the middle of the pack. They went around a bend and ran past a wooded area. When they rounded this area we were amazed to my son was in first place! We were surprised, and a little suspicious that he really shouldn't be in first place. He ran past us and we asked him where he ran, and sure enough he cut through an area that wasn't part of the coarse and without knowing it - cheated. We sent him back to re-run the area he bypassed so he could finish they race honestly. He stills laments about how we made him lose that race.
It's so easy for us to take the eyes of our hearts off of Christ, and find ourselves heading down trails we did not want to go. Feeling things about others that we know aren't where God wants us. Questioning God's presence in our lives and that He cares for us.
Life is so much better when we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and we are following our Good Shepherd. The good news is - even if you feel you on on the wrong path you just need to call on God for help. Jesus promises us He is always faithful to find us and lead us back where we belong. Amen.
Are you impatient, like me? I try to present myself as carefree and patient - but the truth is I can be a very impatient person. I like to know what's ahead - and I like to plan for any challenges that might come up.
The older I've grown, I've learned (and I'm still learning) the beauty in trusting God's timing. I've learned that God can do such amazing things in our lives, and there is such room to grown spiritually during times of waiting on God's timing.
"Waiting on the Lord" - is allowing God to be in control. When we allow God to be in control of - everything, we start to see our lives and the lives of those around us more as God sees us. We grow in our love and faith in God when we put our growing trust in Him into practice. We begin to see the eternal value of God, our creator and the people created in His image. We grow in our trust that God's timing is good. Amen.
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews[a] on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing the praises of your name.”
10 Again, it says,
“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”
11 And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples extol him.”
12 And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
in him the Gentiles will hope.”
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.
My prayers for you today are that you might find joy in God's peace. I pray that your soul will find endurance and encouragement, and from this place let God's Spirit lead you to opportunities to love others as Christ calls us to love. May the hope you have in God's presence overflow in every aspect of your life. ~ Amen!
3 Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
May our Father's light and faithful care surround you in this moment. May the God of love fill your heart with deep peace. Know that God loves you, and will answer your prayer. God is leading us through this present darkness and will lead us home to be with Him.
1The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
I pray that God awakens your soul this morning and continues to bring you peace. May Jesus, the prince of Peace, fill you with calm and hold you in His presence. The one thing we all seek - to gaze on the beauty of the Lord, is a prayer that God is faithful to answer. May our Father in Heaven be your light, salvation and stronghold. ~ Amen.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
As we all look for hope during this time of uncertainty and fear, as we await the vaccine that will be available to all of us - as we hope for our fears to be lifted...
I pray that we would remember who we turned to in our difficult times and remember that our hope comes from the Lord. May our Lord Jesus light the way in all places. ~ Amen!
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light. ”When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
This scripture was written before Jesus died for our sins and was risen to life again. He was victorious then over all death, and is victorious for each of us right now. Because of this victory we never need to walk in darkness again. Jesus' light is with us, and we can have peace right now because of Him.
Be at peace knowing that you are a beloved son and daughter of God - because of what Jesus has done for us.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.7 Therefore do not be partners with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
I have often thought that a good indicator of our maturity in our faith in God is when the thought of God knowing us completely is no longer a terrifying thought, but becomes a fact that gives us great comfort.
How wonderful - to be loved by God Most High, even as He knows us completely. He knows the strengths He's blessed us with, and He knows what we struggle with - and loves us, completely.
Awake, children of our God on High - for you are known and greatly loved. ~ Amen!
5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
… a chosen people
… a royal priesthood
… a holy nation
... God’s special possession
You are these things! A child of our Father in Heaven, because of Jesus. Jesus has called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Have peace. Be filled with hope and joy knowing that you are all of these things when God sees you. You are so loved by God.
Thank you, Jesus, for your great and perfect love for us. ~ Amen!
1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
I've been thinking often, lately, about how we can be so sleepy - in our souls. How we are so incredibly busy, laser-focused on our agendas and to-do lists - and yet just going through the motions, spiritually.
Let's arise and shine - and receive the glory our Lord wants us to receive in our souls! Awake, my soul and sing - sing His praise out loud!
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
As we look to wake up in our souls - lets pray to have the eyes to not only see God's glorious light in our lives, but share the light of Christ to the dark world around us. As we fix our eyes on Christ, we remember that He is the image of God. As we take on Christ - we too become the image of God!
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
God's perfect love is pure light. When we are filled with this love there is no room for darkness. God is our great comforter, our bright light Because of Jesus, you are a child of the light. You are made whole, You are forgiven and cherished by our Father in Heaven.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
How great is God's love for you! If you were the only person in the world, Christ would have come for you, Hope and love was born some 2000 years ago - and there is a reason why the world celebrates gift giving at this time. Jesus, you are our precious gift, and we receive you with great joy today. Amen!
1 Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
3 A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.[b]
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”
9 You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[c]
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
I love all of the boxes Jesus Christ checks off in the Prophet Isaiah's description of the coming messiah. Jesus, our Lord and King - carry us close to your heart in this moment. Thank you, for being our great comfort and joy.
9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
Dear Jesus, restore our sight, again. Awaken us, and open the eyes of our hearts so we may see you bright light of hope and love.
3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
Dear Lord, make our crooked paths straight during this Advent season. Make us all vessels to help bring all people to see your Salvation through Jesus Christ. Amen.
11 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
I love the picture that this scripture paints, and the promise it gives us. The peace that God wants to lead us to - this is life with God and the hope we have in Jesus, out Good Shepherd. Life with our Father in Heaven is a life of ultimate peace - that all of His creation is yearning for and will enjoy through Jesus the Christ.
14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
17 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.”
Have you ever experienced true forgiveness from someone you may have wronged? Maybe as a child you disobeyed your parents, and they forgave you. Maybe you had said something hurtful to someone, and asked for forgiveness and they forgave you and all was well again.
Imagine this feeling times a million. The scripture above describes God's great love and forgiveness through Jesus - our great Hope and Savior. God forgives our sins - and before Him we are holy, because of Jesus. He looks at us and delights is us. And we can rejoice, because of Jesus.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d] (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
I love thinking about Joseph, and the heart he had. It's really impossible to imagine what was going on in his head, the deep confusion and trouble he must have felt in his heart over Mary and her situation. In the midst of his pain, he had in intention of shaming Mary. He was still going to do his best to save her from the shame of her situation.
God met Joseph and encouraged him to believe what Mary was saying was true, and a miracle. Joseph must have been amazed and in awe, and relieved in a small sense that their shame had been taken away. How wonderful to think of the importance we all play in this life when we are willing to be led by God and obedient to go where he leads us.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Throughout scripture, and especially in Christ's coming to the world - the theme is always "humility is king". God takes the lowliest of people (the shepherds) to share the most important event in human history. Jesus was born - not in a palace, but in a stable alongside the barn animals. Jesus calls fishermen to help him share God's hope to the world.
Don't ever think that you are not qualified or not important enough for God to work in your life and have an amazing plan for you. You are so loved, so precious to God.
14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
On this Christmas Eve - I invite you to remember that Jesus was born tonight - for you. If you had been the only person in this world, Jesus would have still come for you.
Let the love of God, may the power of Jesus' love for you shine through every darkness. Rejoice and step into the love and light of Jesus Christ. Amen!
2 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2 In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Let us rejoice, and walk in the light of the Lord this Christmas Day! Jesus Christ is born! Hope is born, peace is born, love is born!! We are God's people, and our great King is born! Hallelujah!!