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advent

Advent – Joy – Glorifying and Praising God

Luke 2:20 (ESV)

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
 

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Posted by on December 23, 2008 in advent, advent, family worship

 

Advent – Joy – Let Us Go

Luke 2:15-16 (ESV)

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2008 in advent, advent, family worship

 

Advent – Peace – They Were Filled With Fear

Luke 2:8-9 (ESV)

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.


Just short thoughts today.

Last night, when I was sleeping in my son’s room to make sure he wasn’t coughing up a lung, I was worried.  My son had never been sick before, and his coughing sounded like that of a crusty old sailor.  In the dark of the night, I lay there with my eyes closed – praying, meditating, reflecting.

Out of the darkness, a hand clasped my arm.  Yanked from the deepness of my thoughts, I blearily opened my eyes to discern what was going on. 

It was my wife, who, in spy-like form, had crept to the bed.  She thought I was looking at her.

I can sympathize with the shepherds.  Here they were, keeping watch over their flocks by night.  And then boom – out of nowhere, a startling display of the glory of God is suddenly shining around them.  And I don’t think that it was just because they were startled.  They were stunned at the radiance of God’s glory.

However, as we’ll see soon, God wasn’t trying to make them afraid; he was coming to announce peace.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2008 in advent, advent, family worship

 

Advent – Faith – A Just Man

Matthew 1:18-19 (ESV) *

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 


Most likely, Joseph took his relationship with God seriously. He was “a just man,” who put God first. So when his virgin fiancée appeared to be defiled, he likely wished to quickly end the relationship, so as not to be involved with someone who would hold him back in his relationship with the Lord. It wasn’t about embarrassing her or reacting out of anger – “unwilling to put her to shame, [Joseph] resolved to divorce her quietly.” Of course, he didn’t know the whole story. But in faith, he acted to keep his faith in God pure and unhindered.

Soon, however, his faith was going to be stretched and broadened even more…

*Please note the change in the Scripture reference. I had it wrong on my original post regarding the daily passages.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2008 in advent

 

Advent – Faith – Let It Be to Me According to Your Word

The Annunciation, as depicted by Henry Ossawa Taner (1898)

Luke 1:34-38 (ESV)

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”  And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.  For nothing will be impossible with God.”  And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  And the angel departed from her.

As Mary’s mind (and heart) tried to wrap around this news, she was confused.  She didn’t doubt that all of this would take place (“how will this be”) but rather was curious as to how, since she was a virgin.  Her asking this doesn’t show a lack of faith but a lack of understanding.  So, as Gabriel filled her in – “the power of the Most High will overshadow you” – he also gave an example of God’s power – “Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived.”

Mary then stepped out in faith.  What a huge, exemplary step that was!  Surely she must have felt the weight of what was to come.  Surely she knew the snickers that would be muttered behind her back.  Surely she knew the accusations that would be made about her conduct and her character.  Nonetheless, in faith, she stepped out and said, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  Oh to have a faith like that, a faith that surrenders our own reputation to the Lord and rests in his!

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2008 in advent, advent, family worship

 

Advent – Faith – She Tried to Discern

Annunciation by Fra Angelico (1387-1455)

Luke 1:26-33 (ESV)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.  And the virgin’s name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Besides being understandably shocked at an angel appearing in her living room, she was equally as perplexed.  She was troubled, but I don’t think it was at the “the Lord is with you” part.  Rather, she must have been confused why this shiny guy was saying she was favored.  She must have had a million guesses at why he was saying she was favored over other people.  “Why me?”

And as Gabriel went on, Mary’s mind must have sparked with each familiar reference to the prophesies within the Scriptures.  She must have thought to herself, “Is he going where I think he’s going?  Me…the Messiah…wow.”

But what faith this took!  First of all, when ole Gabe showed up and she was freaked, she could have hightailed it out the door.  However, in spite of the fear, he hinted at the fact that he had a message from God; she wanted to hear it.  Knowing that God was with her, she stuck around to figure out how she was favored, learned that she would conceive and bear a son, and that that son, though he would be her son, would, in reality, be called the Son of the Most High.

Sometimes trying to discern what the Lord is talking about is labeled as being anti-faith.  It is thought that we should accept it without understanding it.  Truthfully, there are things that we’re never going to understand.  But trying to discern what the Lord wants from us is what we should do, in spite of trepidation or how stupid it seems.  We should roll it around and chew on it for awhile.

Mary, Did You Know?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know, that your baby boy has come to make you new?

This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Did you know your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know, that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?

When you kiss your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God.

The blind will see

The deaf will hear

The dead will live again.

The lame will leap

The dumb will speak

The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Did you know that your baby boy will some day rule the nations?

Did you know, that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?

This sleeping child you’re holding, is the great I AM.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2008 in advent, advent, family worship

 

Advent – Faith – The Assurance of Things Hoped For

Creation of Light, by Gustave Doré (1832–1883).

Hebrews 11:1-3 (ESV)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it people of old received their commendation.  By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2008 in advent, advent, family worship