2018 Advent Devotional #3

When we think of the Christmas story, we can sometimes feel like we “know it all”. We’ve heard it all before, every year in the days leading up to Christmas—the angel appearing to Mary, the journey to a lowly Bethlehem stable, the unimpressive shepherd visitors. But this past Sunday Pastor Tim reminded us that it is a powerful thing in history when God tells us things that only God could know! Who but God could have known that this baby was going to be born, of a virgin nonetheless? Who but God could have known which family to place the human baby Jesus in so that he would fulfill the prophecies concerning the Messiah’s lineage? Only God could know! The people of Israel were waiting for a Son of David to come who would be in the lineage of the great liberator and conqueror King David. They were waiting for an earthly kingdom. They thought they “knew it all”, how the Messiah would one day come. Yet little did they know that Jesus would usher in far more—an eternal kingdom! Only God could have known that the people needed more than just a human earthly king…they needed a heavenly king to rule and reign forever! They needed a King who was also the Son of God!

This week, reflect on what you know about the Christmas story. If you have kids, ask them to tell you the Christmas story themselves, in their own words. In thinking about this story, make sure that you aren’t missing the most important part: that this baby really was the Son of God! Listen to the song Prince of Heaven by Hillsong and consider how powerful it is that this “babe wrapped in a cloth is the incarnate Word of God.” How could you worship Jesus AS GOD this week? How can you trust that only God could know exactly what we need, just as he knew we needed a King that was also the Son of God? Ask yourself who around you needs to hear this truth: that God is all powerful and all knowing, and knows exactly what we need—a Savior King, the Son of God, Christ the Lord!


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2018 Advent Devotional #2

In the midst of a world filled with scandal, it’s easy to feel like God has abandoned us. David experienced this feeling, as Pastor Tim pointed out in Psalm 88:14-18. Even Jesus seemed to be more of a scandal than the solution the Jews were hoping for, making them feel that God had abandoned them. But even when it feels like God is far away, God never leaves and we can trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense. “When we go through scandal and still don’t turn away, God honors our love.” This week, reflect on the ways that God has been present amidst the darkness in your life. Have you remained joyful, loving, and obedient to God in these times? Think of someone in your life who is currently experiencing a “personal scandal” or dark place. How can you encourage them this week that they are not alone—that God can work even in the scandal? Consider writing them a note of encouragement, sharing a testimony of God’s presence in your own life with them, or simply giving them a small gift to remind them they are loved. If you have kids, let them be a part of this and remind them that we can rejoice because God is always with us.

 

Pray this prayer adapted from the close of Pastor Tim’s sermon this past Sunday.

 

“Lord Jesus, I want to trust you, even when the lies of the enemy fill my head. I want to trust you even more than usual when the enemy convinces me there is no solution or hope in the scandal. Help me keep believing and walking in obedience. I believe you will never leave me. Help my unbelief when I get low. Amen.”


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2018 Advent Devotional #1

Until your sin has been imputed* to the back of the suffering servant Jesus Christ, He can never be your King.” –Pastor Tim McClellan

Yesterday Pastor Tim taught us about a King named Jesus who came to rule but also to serve. While we take part in His royal inheritance when we choose to follow Christ, we also “inherit” his mission to humility and servanthood. This week, re-read Philippians 2:1-11 and reflect on how Christ the King came to serve mankind. How can you and/or your family step out of your normal routine to serve someone around you? Take an afternoon to volunteer at St. Martin’s, or see if an elderly neighbor needs help with any chores or yardwork. Offer to clear someone else’s tray when you go out to eat, or simply take time to listen to a friend in need. Use this as an opportunity to reflect the servanthood of our King Jesus.

*laid upon, attributed to

 


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