Today is Sunday, the 27th of November, 2022, in the first week of Advent.
May the peace of Christ fill you with joy today!
28 days until Christmas!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! (Psalms 119:36 ESV)
Father, as my heart, mind, and soul are drawn into Your Word, this morning, I pray for what this verse from Psalms asks. Incline my heart toward Your Word, and not toward any selfishness.
Lord our God, dear Father in heaven, we thank you that we may be your children, led by you. We thank you for guiding us in times of grief and never forsaking us. Now, as of old, you are with us, Lord our God, and you show us the way in every situation. Protect us in this present time, and grant us strength to go on patiently even when our lives hold much suffering and distress. We thank you for your guidance and rejoice in your help for our time. Reveal your hand in power, for soon, very soon, your right hand will change everything. Amen.
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:8–9, NIV
Today I am grateful:
- that we have been given the right to become children of God (John 1:12)
- that our God is with us, just as He was with His people of old; and that we are, in Christ, as close to the Father as Christ, Himself is
- for the compassion the Lord has on us, His children, that He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103)
- that I know the Lord, who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth
- for the great “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 11-12)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
(Galatians 2:20-21 ESV)
A Psalm of David. Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you. For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah. Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble! And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant. (Psalms 143:1-12 ESV)
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Psalms 103:13-14 NIV)
My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Ezekiel 37:27 NIV)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)
Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD." (Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV)
"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (Psalms 46:10 ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)
I’m sitting here, this morning, in a sort of meditative silence. I’m struggling to find words to put on this “page,” to express what I am feeling. The Scriptures may have to speak for themselves.
The season of Advent is finally upon us. It is a season of waiting, as we begin to “wait” in expectation, on the celebration of the birth of Jesus. This is not a “biblical” season. In fact, we are never expressly commanded to recognize or celebrate that birth, anywhere in Scripture. The only thing that the Bible really tells us to commemorate is the death of Christ through the Supper or Communion.
Nevertheless, we celebrate Christmas, with great joy. We understand (at least most of us) that Jesus wasn’t really born on December 25. And, frankly, I don’t believe that He minds that we celebrate it then.
But what do I know?
There’s that phrase. We say that a lot. It’s a sort of admission that I might be wrong about something.
This hearkens back to that verse in Jeremiah 9. I believe I have focused on this, recently, but here it is again, today.
What do you know?
That reminds me of a famous line from Game of Thrones. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” I always loved that line.
And, truly, if we don’t know the Lord, who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, we know nothing, right along with Jon Snow.
I believe I know Him. It has been a lifelong journey, and it continues until I no longer walk this earth. Someday, I will know Him fully, even as He knows me, if Paul knew what he was talking about.
Do you know Him?
Father, I pray that all would know Christ, and, through Him, know the Father. I am grateful for the hymn in Philippians 2, that describes how Jesus didn’t hold on to His own divinity, but poured Himself out for our sake. I thank You that You have drawn me into relationship with You, that I might know You. I desire to know You more and more.
I am looking forward to a worship service, this morning, that heralds the beginning of Advent, Father. I pray that we will lift our hearts to you in glorious worship, today. May all glory be given to You, in all the earth.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us Your peace. (Agnus Dei)
Grace and peace, friends.