Posts Tagged ‘ Christmas ’

Preparing Your Heart – The Third Week of Advent 2019

We are continuing the series originally posted five years ago!

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It is now the third week of Advent! (See the last two weeks’ devotional thought here (and here) and here (and here).)

Again, Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old“

. . .

“for my eyes have seen your salvation
    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 1:68-70, 2:30-32, ESV

The first part of the quote is from Zechariah, John the Baptist’s dad, at John’s birth. The second part of the quote was said by Simeon, an old and devout man, when he saw the baby Jesus at the Temple.

These two men knew that the Lord’s salvation was at hand. If you read all of chapters one and two of Luke, you can see that even they did not understand His plan of salvation. They were on the right track, but they were not aware of how things would unfold.

The Lord had come, Emmanuel, God with us, and he brought salvation. It was first brought to Israel, the Jews in Jerusalem in particular, and then it spread to “all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) over the past 2,000 years.

What most everyone then did not know was that first the Lord would bring spiritual salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the repairing of the relationship with God and humanity; the physical redemption from all enemies is still to come.

Let us remember that salvation has come, but we await our salvation from the pain and evil of this world (see Romans 8). We do not understand fully how it will all happen, but we know Jesus will return!

May we not get caught up in the knowledge we have and miss the signs of His coming. May we remember that we are not home yet, and we await our coming Savior. May we bring as many as we can to all of this knowledge of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father!

Preparing Your Heart – The Second Week of Advent 2019

Once again, this series is a re-post from five years earlier, with some additions by me.

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It is now the second week of Advent! (See last week’s devotional thought here and here.)

Again, Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-14, ESV

It is important for us to remember that God’s people, the Israelites, those who painstakingly preserved the written Word of God and pursued righteousness, failed to recognize Him when he came to them quite literally in the flesh.

Jesus said just three chapters later, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:23). Our culture today is largely spiritually dull, even in many churches.

Ask yourself, “Would I recognize God if He approached me today?” Seek His face in prayer, Bible reading, and the fellowship of believers. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. Too many missed Him the first time around. Seek the living Lord! Have faith that He is returning soon!

“For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 16:7b, ESV

Preparing Your Heart – The First Week of Advent 2019

This originally posted five years ago (and then again two years ago with the longer ending found here) but sometimes it is good remembering some things!
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It is the first week of Advent!
Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

“If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last.”
Job 11:13-20, ESV

In the passage today, Job’s friend Zophar is offering his friendly advice. May we remember that the only way these words are true is if we turn to the Lord and let Him make us clean and righteous!

Wait for the Lord;
     be strong, and let your heart take courage;
     wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:14

Preparing our hearts requires waiting patiently for God. We cannot hurry Him.

Patience leads to peace, because we have a hope found only in God as revealed in Christ and through Scripture.

Then we can more fully turn to Him!

VerseD: Luke 2:13-14

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 2:13‭-‬14, ESV

Some teach angelic beings do not sing, or at least not anymore, since The Fall.

Is it too much to think they may have at the birth of the Son of God?

Regardless, they worship Jesus. May we join with them!

VerseD: Matthew 1:21

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21, ESV

Trust the promises of God. Like Mary did, we can trust that the One who saves is returning!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – My Hymns & Songs – 12/09/2018 – Faithfully Coming

Continuing our journey through the songs and hymns that have had an impact on my spiritual life, we now turn to another of those famous Christmas carols.

O Come All Ye Faithful

Lyricsd

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God’s holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

A few thoughts …

In all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be too easy to forget to stop and worship our King.

We must remember that this is a time of joy. Our Savior has come!

Some may get caught up in the materialism. Get past it.

Some may get caught up in the idea that angles do not sing. I like what some teach, that they did sing at Creation (Job 38:7) but stopped singing at the Fall. However, perhaps they did sing at the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:13-14), for God joined His Creation to save sinful humanity.

Regardless, let us come together and adore our Savior and King!

Christmas Fasting

In this most amazing season of Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of the Savior and King, it is a good idea for us to fast. However, when you read that, your mind no doubt specifically thought about food, and while that type of fasting is the most common, and has it’s benefits both physically and spiritually, it is not the kind of fast to which I’m referring.

I’m referring to the type of fast of which the Lord says:

Is this not the fast which I choose, to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”   Isaiah 58:6-7 NASB

So what is the fast that the Lord chooses? It is has two aspects: The first part of the passage can be interpreted in it’s simplest form as the importance of forgiveness (see Complete Forgiveness). This is extremely applicable in it’s own right, however, it’s the second part that is the focus of this article, and that is generosity. We must be generous, not just financially, but with whatever resources the Lord has given us, and if necessary, yes, to go without a meal or two so that someone who doesn’t have the means or ability to feed themselves can eat. This is the spirit of Christmas…the spirit of giving and forgiving.

How and what are you willing to give, to the point of going without it, this Christmas Season so that you may provide it for someone else?

About Jesse Walker

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