DAILY DEVOTIONS

22 nov 2021

Image by BAYC 7739

A shoot will come come up from the stump of Jesse; from His roots a Branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.

Isaiah 11 : 1 – 2a

Both Jeremiah and Isaiah speak of a time coming and a root of Jessica or his son David and they both speak of the One, Jesus, who will show us the way, the truth, and the life. This is one of our Lord’s many promises which flow from the love of God, who is the God of immense love and His gracious promise to all His people.  God is committed to fulfilling all His promises or covenants.  John Wesley, the founder of the early Methodist’s revival, states that the reading above is a promise for Jesus to carry on David’s lineage.  Jesus will and did  fulfill the promises to Israel and Judah of a Messiah who would come to save ALL His people.  This is God’s gracious gift of hope to us and all creation. God promises and acts within the messy chaos of the world then and now by sending Jesus the Christ, God’s own son, fully human and fully divine.

He comes today into our world of chaos of the Covid pandemic, which has affected the whole world, to bring us hope, forgiveness and LOVE.

Jeremiah said, “ the time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah.”  This is the message  and promise for the season of Advent.

Image by Alexander Schimmeck

Prayer:

We know, Lord that LOVE is coming this Advent.  We acknowledge that this love came to all the world with the birth of Your Son Jesus, through the sharing of His life, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection with us.  We pray that He will continue to show us the way, the truth, and the life as we prepare for His coming again.  We praise You Lord for sending Your Son, Jesus, to be our Saviour.  Amen

Amen.

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23 nov 2021

Image by Joaquín

Show me your ways, Lord,
   teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
   for you are God my Savior,
   and my hope is in you all day long.

psalm 25:4,5

A man walked into a store seeking a product with which he was familiar. He looked in the appropriate section of the store, but could not find the item. He enquired of an assistant who immediately took the item from the very shelf where the man had been looking. The man did not recognised the item, because the packaging had changed. It did not have the familiar look the man had expected. That is what happened when the long-anticipated Messiah arrived. The people did not recognize Him, because He did not meet their expectations. People had been conditioned to expect a royal figure, a David-like figure, who would lead Israel into battle, defeat the Romans. One who would assume the throne and restore Israel’s former glory. Instead they received a humble baby, born in a manger, who would walk among them and by His presence give them glimpses of God. The Messiah would tell them that the Kingdom of God was already present among them and in them. John the Baptist came ahead of the Messiah to point out the differences between what they were expecting and what God was sending. John the Baptist reminds us that God breaks into history and into the lives of people with God’s gift of love. In Jesus God opens God’s heart to us. Jesus comes to bring to us God’s love, forgiveness, grace and mercy. Jesus comes to call us out of darkness into God’s marvelous light

Image by Darren Lawrence

Prayer:

O Lord , as we begin the season of Advent, prepare our hearts to receive the One whom You are sending.

Forgive us for all the times we have failed to see You in our midst.

Forgive us for the times we have doubted Your presence.

Forgive us for the times we have failed to help others find their way.

Forgive us in the name of Jesus, the One who is coming.

Amen.

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24 nov 2021

Image by Austin Neill

Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalm 139:7-10

The inner relationship between the Father and the Son has existed from all eternity Col 2:2,3,9
In the reading Jesus speaks of his unique relationship with his Father and His desire to embrace us in our weakness and our weariness. Jesus alone is able to reveal His Father and the true nature of God. He shows us what God is really like when he says  "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9)
How terribly sad that the religious leaders were blind to the revelation of God's Love Grace and Mercy which  were standing right in front of them. Their own pride and arrogance alienated them from the One they needed the most. Their claims and trust in their own superior knowledge of God, left them outside the intimate knowledge of God in Jesus Christ.
Jesus calls for a humble heart. For humility and faith that trusts in God and depends on God.
God's delight is in communicating His grace to the humble in heart who have a childlike simple faith in Him. Only those who are willing to receive it can understand the good news of Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 1:21-31
The good news of love, compassion, grace, mercy, forgiveness and an invitation to find our rest in Him, to bring our burdens to Him, to refresh our souls in Him and remain in His presence.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28:30

Image by Jonathan Borba

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, we thank you for being our Saviour.

For revealing the Father to us.
We thank you for your love that never lets us go.

For your invitation to all who will listen.
We bring to you our burdens and that which makes us weary. 

We confess to you our sins and our weaknesses  and we thank you for your forgiveness. Help us to trust in you O Lord,
to walk in faith and obedience with you. We thank you for the peace and joy we have in you!

Amen.

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25 nov 2021

Image by Daniel Olah

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

John 1:1,2

As we prepare for Advent, we read this well-known prophecy about the coming of God as His Son, Jesus, becoming human, yet remaining fully divine.  This reading from Isaiah describes a people who are walking in darkness, but they have seen a great light.  One needs to read verses 6 – 7 several times to let it really soak into our minds and hearts.  These two verses describe the character of Jesus, born into this world as a helpless baby, but who grows to live a life which drastically changed the whole personality and life of the Jews and later the entire world.

Advent is a time of yearning to dispel all the darkness around us and yet to prepare for the glorious birth of Jesus the Christ / Messiah.  The Messiah would shine a light into all the ugliness of the then world and now into our current world, which is affected by the Covid pandemic, corruption, violence, and poverty.

Isaiah emphasizes God’s comfort for all people.  He portrays a God who loves His people dearly and longs to save them.  God offers hope and love to all who are hurting.

Advent is a season to remember that Jesus has already come.  It is a time of rejoicing as we hear God’s promises to be the Emmanuel, God with us and to enfold us with His love and peace.

Image by Benjamin Voros

Prayer:

Heavenly, loving Father may this Advent season be a time of coming home to the best of who we are.  May the eyes of our hearts see your radiant light.  Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may come to know You better.  May Your glory be made known anew in our hearts as we prepare to celebrate

Your coming to earth as Your Son Jesus. 

Amen.

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26 nov 2021

Image by Stefan Widua

You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.

Psalm 85:1-2

The Hebrews have been in exile in Babylon for almost 50 years. The prophet Isaiah prophesies the imminent return of God’s people to the promised land. Isaiah speaks confidently about God liberating and restoring God’s people and fulfilling God’s promise of new life and peace, but the people had to wait for God to act. Advent is a season of such hopeful waiting. It is a hope grounded and rooted in God’s love for God’s people. As God’s people we experience a different kind of exile. We wait expectantly for the end of the COVID pandemic. We hope that the numbers of infection will decrease. We pray that the days of activism against violence against women and girl children, in particular, will be more than mere words, but will bring a change in attitude and behaviour. The prophet Isaiah declares that the people’s waiting in a foreign land is about to end. God will lead them home this time not through the wilderness, but on a highway built across the wilderness. God’s breath is breathing new life over creation. God is at work regardless of how things may appear. Just as the Hebrews waited for a time to return home, so Advent leads us to the moment of God’s coming among us in Jesus. Jesus is the One to lead us home to God’s heart.

Image by Al Soot

Prayer:

Lord, we come before Your throne of grace,

not trusting in ourselves, but in Your marvelous and gracious love.

Your coming among us in Jesus proclaims the undeniable reality of Your love that will not let us go.

Instill in our hearts Your grace that transforms the ordinariness of life into the extraordinary made

possible by Your presence among us through Your Holy Spirit.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Amen.

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