DAILY DEVOTIONS

29 nov 2021

Image by Evgeni Tcherkasski

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

John describes Jesus as the light driving out darkness 
Even though its only at the beginning of his gospel, John gives the reason for the coming of Jesus and also how it will end.
“That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.”
Amidst the great deal of darkness in this world, the light of Jesus Christ shines bright. He who experienced all of the darkness, even death itself and was not overcome, now dwells in us as God’s Spirit.
As followers of Jesus, we still live in a world where darkness seems ever-present. Especially during this time of Covid where families and loved ones are separated by travel bans, during this time of disease and death, where corruption and greed are at the order of the day, in a world run by and for those in power.
But at times when we feel overwhelmed, we remember and hold onto the words of truth in John 1:5 
“That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.”

The resurrection of Jesus allows us to have faith that, in the words of Frederick Buechner, “the madness and lostness we see all around us and within us are not the last truth about the world but only the next to the last truth.”

During this time of advent, as believers and  followers of Christ, we reflect on how the light of Christ has penetrated into the darkness of our world. And how we,  as light bearers of Christ can be the light to others, especially those in need

Image by Thomas Kinto

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You arr the Light of the World,
During this Advent season, may we not ignore or fear darkness, but help us see the same light that came into the world 2,000 years ago still shines in us today. When we grow weary, strengthen our hearts. When we feel despair, encourage us through community and your words, And where there is darkness, lead us to be light. 

Amen.

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30 nov 2021

Image by Johannes Plenio

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Psalm 84:11-12

We are moving into one of the busiest seasons of the year. Many will be busy with planning and shopping and preparing to spend time with family and friends. Let us not forget that for other this season can be a season of loneliness, hurt and despair. The story of Christmas is about God who reveals God’s love for all, including those who live on the margins of society. The amazing story of Christmas is almost as if God turns God’s full attention to a broken world. In this nation the pain of families who lost loved ones due to COVID as well as those who live with the pain of having lost women and girls to femicide and murder. Advent leads us to a deeper understanding of God’s love for the broken and wounded. Jeffery Smith suggests that it is this canvass of despair, pain, violence and darkness that God paints a picture of God’s love in Jesus. Jesus comes to proclaim God’s steadfast love for all creation. God’s love is a gift given to us despite our shortcomings and failures. In and through Jesus, God call us into a partnership to care for the broken and wounded and to be a vehicle of God’s love, grace and mercy.

Image by michael podger

Prayer:

O Author of love, life and hope,

Forgive us for our short-sighted faith .

We have given in to despair and have been content with our own accomplishments.

Empower us to live through a faith that is anchored in the love, grace and hope

which is ours in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

For Christ lives, God loves and forgives and hope abides.

Amen.

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1 Dec 2021

Image by M. DiFulvio

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; And the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be call Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9 : 6

The Old Testament has several prophecies predicting that our God would reveal Himself, through a descendent of David to live among us and teach us wisdom when we needed it; comfort when times are difficult; healing when we are ill; protection for the just and faithful ones; love and grace in great abundance.

Jesus fulfilled these prophecies.  When He came, He was fully human and was also fully divine.  He came to us in humility, born is a rough stable, into a family who had no great wealth, but they had a love of God the Father and trusted Him fully.

Jesus’ teaching fulfilled the promises of the prophets.  We know that we can turn to Him for guidance and direction in our lives.  We can ask Him to show us His will and He does.  He leads us gently along His paths.  But He requires obedience from us; a positive response to follow Him.  He requires of us to offer prayers frequently, both for ourselves and for others and the world around us, and of confession for our sins.  We will find His answers to us when we study His Word, the Bible.   He shows Himself in unexpected ways and in people we meet, along the way.

Image by Max Beck

Prayer:

You Father showed us Your light in the life of Your Son, Jesus.  You promised that In You there was no darkness. Continue to shine Your light upon us.  We praise and worship You for accepting us as Your sons and daughters and for promising us eternal life through \

Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen

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2 Dec 2021

Image by Gayatri Malhotra

Zechariah said, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,”  ---- “to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet

into the path of peace.”

Luke 1 : 68 + 79

Zechariah was praising God for his son, John, who was conceived late in life to his wife, Elizabeth, and himself.  God had revealed to him that John would prepare the way for the Son who was to come soon.  He would call for repentance of sins and a turning back to the Father God.

Paul thanks God for every time he thinks of the people of Philippi when they are acting in charitable ways.  He does not thank them, but thanks God for the lives they are leading following the Gospel of Jesus, as coworkers with Christ.  He praises God for the knowledge that the work He, the Lord, began in their lives He will complete as they continue their walk with Him. 

There is an enormous difference between the life deeply rooted in prayer as compared to a life without prayer.  Paul says God’s love for us and our love for Him leads us, as a Christian community to lift our neighbours up to the Lord in prayer and to share our joys with others and with our Lord through prayer.  The more time we spend with our Lord in prayer the deeper our knowledge of God will grow.

God’s grace enables us to be sharers and receivers of all that is holy and Godly.

Image by Gary Bendig

Prayer:

Almighty Father, Your Son came to us in humility as our Saviour.  He offered us a possibility to change our lives, through Your love and grace, through prayer, Bible study, by caring for others and being followers of Christ’s ways.  Give us grace to turn toward Your light, the light of Jesus Christ.  We praise You for His coming to us with love and grace.

  Amen

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3 Dec 2021

Image by Wes Hicks

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.

I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.

Psalm 85:1-2,8-13

We are given this season of waiting as a gift. For in waiting, we are all invited to hear God’s glorious promise of love. In waiting we are allowed to grieve absent loved ones and lament unfulfilled hopes. All the while, God is waiting with us – waiting for all to hear God’s tender, to perceive God’s constant presence, and to accept God’s steadfast love. In this season of hurriedness and impatience, Peter’s words fall like the water of a soothing fountain: “ Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.” (2 Peter 3: 15 NRSV). God is in no hurry to force us into a realm of love and peace that we are not prepared to accept and embrace. God awaits the day when we (all) will hear and believe: : “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together.” (Isaiah 40: 5).

Image by Benjamin Davies

Prayer:

O God of love, You have a good work in us.

Let our love for You, For each other and for Your world overflow more and more.

Help us to be faithful disciples who will be pure and blameless,

on the day of Your return.

For Christ our Lord’s sake.

  Amen

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