Today is Sunday, the 4th of December, 2022, in the second week of Advent.
May the peace of Christ be with you today!
21 days until Christmas!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules. (Psalms 119:43 ESV)
Lord our God, strengthen our hearts today through your Word. You are our Father and we are your children, and we want to trust you in every aspect of our lives. Protect us on all our ways, and grant that we may always watch and wait for the coming of your kingdom, for the future of our Lord Jesus Christ. Keep us from becoming confused by present-day events. Help us to remain free, that we may serve you and not be led astray, no matter what happens in the world. Grant us your Holy Spirit in everything, for without your Spirit we can do nothing. Help us, and accept our praise for the many ways you have given us help. Amen.
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Revelation 3:10–11, NIV
Today I am grateful:
- for a good Night of Worship, last night
- for travel safety for loved ones
- for the future grace that we hope for, in Christ Jesus
- that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14)
- that, after all these years, and all of my flaws and failings, God still has a use for me
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
(Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV)
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
(Ephesians 1:15-21 ESV)
Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD! (Psalms 150:1-6 ESV)
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 NRSV)
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6 NRSV)
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
(Matthew 1:23 NRSV)
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
(Acts 1:4 NIV)
Advent is a season of waiting. We begin the second week, today, and the theme of the second week is “peace.” But we continue to wait. We are not, as the disciples in Acts 1, waiting for the “gift my Father promised,” as that gift has been bestowed.
Yet we continue, as Scripture demands from us, to wait on the Lord. We have the Holy Spirit, and we have the presence of Jesus Christ with us, constantly. But we wait for the Lord to work that out in its fullness within us.
I was moved by another Daily Guideposts reading, this morning, describing how intensely we need Jesus in our lives. We don’t just need Him when we are tempted; we don’t just need Him when we are challenged. We need Him all the time, every minute of every hour of every day.
I remember an old hymn (I’m old, so I remember a lot of those).
I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord; No tender voice like Thine can peace afford. Refrain: I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee; Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee. I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby; Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh. I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain; Come quickly and abide, or life is vain. I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will; And Thy rich promises in me fulfill. I need Thee every hour, most Holy One; Oh, make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son. (Annie S. Hawks, 1872)
And here’s a quote from Lynne Hartke’s reading in Guideposts, today:
“I need Jesus at home with me in the planning of parties. Jesus hanging out as I shop. Jesus with me as I pay bills. Jesus lingering in the kitchen during Christmas baking. Jesus breathing peace into all of the details of an overloaded calendar. Jesus, God with us. With me.” (Lynne Hartke, Daily Guideposts 2022)
Father, I confess my constant need of Jesus. I confess that there are times when I forget this, and I allow my human emotions, fears, and anxieties, and even lusts to overcome. But You have overcome. Jesus, You have overcome, so that we might overcome. And by Your blood and by Your Word, we can overcome, as well.
Thank You, Father, for all of this. Help me to wait on You. Help me to rest in what You have already done, and in what You have yet to do. Help me to be patient in waiting for You to continue what You have begun in me.
I need You every hour.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.