Here to Give, Not Receive

Good morning! Today is Saturday, the eighteenth of December, 2021, the third Saturday of Advent.

May the peace of Christ be with you!

Day 23,291

Only seven days until Christmas!!

C is in the breakfast nook, wrapping more presents. I have a small pile in the study, that I will be wrapping Monday and/or Tuesday. There are a few things that have not been delivered, yet, most of which should arrive sometime today. But there is one item that may not make it before Christmas. No big deal, but it might affect the usefulness of one or more of the other things.

I have let time get away from me, this morning, so I need to get moving with the devotional.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Open, Lord, my eyes that I may see.
Open, Lord, my ears that I may hear.
Open, Lord, my heart and my mind that I may understand.
So shall I turn to You and be healed."
(Traditional)
You make known to me the path of life; 
in your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the joy that I feel in Your presence
2. that You have made know to me the path of life
3. for the beautiful people with whom I work at the Hurst Public Library
4. for the gifts, talents, and resources I have to give to this world, all of which came from You
5. that You care about what is in our hearts, not what is on the outside of our bodies
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, 
keeping watch over their flock by night.
(Luke 2:8 ESV)
"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)
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 1:14 ESV)
He said to them, 
"You are from below; I am from above. 
You are of this world; I am not of this world."
(John 8:23 ESV)
They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 
As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 
(John 17:16-18 ESV)
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, 
God making his appeal through us. 
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 
(2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV)

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ADVENT – DAY TWENTY-ONE

INVITATION

I pause during this quiet moment, pondering the joy of the Lord, the mission I have on this earth, and the path that He has shown my feet.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him
 who brings good news, 
who publishes peace, 
who brings good news, 
who proclaims salvation, 
who says to Zion, 
“Your God reigns!” 
(Isaiah 52:7 WEB)

BIBLE SONG

Praise the LORD.

 Praise the LORD, my soul. 

I will praise the LORD all my life;
 I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 
Do not put your trust in princes, 
in human beings, who cannot save. 
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
 on that very day their plans come to nothing. 
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, 
whose hope is in the LORD their God. 
(Psalms 146:1-5 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. 
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I read these passages again, somewhat slowly, I look for words and phrases that catch my eye or move my heart. I linger over them, repeating them, praying my thoughts, desires, needs, and feelings to the Lord. I enjoy His presence, this morning.

Father, there are several things that catch my eye, through the various readings, this morning. I wonder, along with Rick Hamlin, from Daily Guideposts, what those first shepherds looked and smelled like. We attend our Christmas musicals in our finest garb, smelling all pretty and stuff. But I’m pretty sure those shepherds didn’t stop to take a shower and splash cologne on before they made their way to the stable where their salvation had been laid. I acknowledge, Father, that it is the heart with which You are concerned, rather than the outward appearance.

I ponder, also, the truth that I am in this world to give, not to receive. You have gifted me (along with all the rest of Your children) with resources and talents to be shared. I need to focus on what I can give to this world, not what I can get out of it. The same is true when I come to worship You. What can I give You? Too many times, we approach Your throne with the idea of what we can get from You. Help us to think, rather, on what we can give. But may we also remember that everything I have to give came from You, to begin with.

And as I continue to praise You, as long as I live, I will open my mouth with songs of joy. I will rejoice always, and pray without ceasing. I will be thankful in all circumstances, continuing to be an example of gratitude to those around me, not that I can be noticed, but, hopefully, to direct them to You. Help me not to quench the Spirit in any of my ways. Also help me to reject all kinds of evil, and to test the spirits.

I pray for unity within Your Church, Father.

"Jesus,
Prince of Peace:
I've lost my childlike wonder and stuffed the emptiness with Christmas busyness and sappy sentiment.
Remind me of the miracle of Christmas,
that You not only assumed a human nature but a real human soul;
You were fully human.
Fill me with renewed wonder that You came to save me wholly,
body and soul.
Amen."

BLESSING

“Blessed be the Lord, 
the God of Israel, 
for he has visited and redeemed his people;"
(Luke 1:68 WEB)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May God himself, the God of peace, 
sanctify you through and through. 
May your whole spirit, soul and body 
be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.