Tag Archives: Advent

Sunday Devotional: Rejoice in the Lord always

Luke 3:15-17

Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Today is the third Sunday of Advent — a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

The term advent is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. The Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. Thus, for Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives — the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

Philippians 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

To rejoice is to gladden; be delighted; and to fill with joy.

Joy is more than happiness. Joy isn’t just a smile or a laugh. It is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart — a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. Joy is something that is deep within and doesn’t leave quickly. Joy comes from God. When we have the joy of the Lord, we’ll know it and so will others.

So on this third Sunday of Advent, despite all the evils that surround us, be joyful.

Have no anxiety at all,
but in everything,
by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.

Rejoice in the Lord always!

Jesus, I love You with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole mind, and with all my strength.

May the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Be pure and blameless for the day of Christ

Luke 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee…
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Immanuel is the Hebrew word for “God is with us”.

Today is the second Sunday of Advent — a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

The term advent is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. The Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, therefore, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives — the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

How have we prepared ourselves for Him?

Philippians 1:9-11

And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Be blameless in holiness

Jeremiah 33:14-15

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.

The term advent is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent — a season observed by Christians as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the incarnation and birth of the Second Person of the Triune Godhead at Christmas, as well as His return at the end of all things.

Did you know that the coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord, had been foretold not only in Jeremiah 13, but elsewhere in the Old Testament? How cool is that! Below are some examples.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Numbers 24:17

there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Micah 5:2

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Jeremiah 23:5

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Zechariah 9:9

behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Zechariah 11:12

So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

Psalm 22:1, 16, 18

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

they pierced my hands and my feet.

They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Psalm 16:10

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

So on this first Sunday of Advent, let us heed the words of St. Paul and make ourselves “blameless in holiness” for His coming.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

May the peace and love of Jesus the Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: The chosen people

Romans 15:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you,
for the glory of God.
For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised
to show God’s truthfulness,
to confirm the promises to the patriarchs,
but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written:
Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles
and sing praises to your name.”

Matthew 3:1-2, 7-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

I am the way
Today is the second Sunday of Advent, a joyous season of preparation for celebrating the birth of Christ at Christmas.
The readings from Matthew 3 and  St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 15 are a reminder that when the Second Person of the Triune Godhead became incarnate as a vulnerable little baby, born to “nobody” parents in a humble stable instead of a palace, He came for all — Jew and Gentile.
Henceforth, all who pick up their crosses to follow Him, are the self-chosen people — the children of the Light. We who choose to follow Jesus are nothing special. Like Him, we are nobodies with nobody parents, born in humble circumstances instead of palaces. But we choose to follow Him, even though He promises only hardship and persecution:

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wants to be my disciple
must deny themselves
and take up their cross
and follow me.”

In contrast, Jews’ understanding of the term “chosen people” is a narcissistic one — that Jews were and remain “chosen” because they are a superior people, better than the Angels and almost an equal of God. For that matter, in parts of the Talmud — the real Scripture of Jews, which supercedes the Torah (or Old Testament) the words of rabbis actually supercede God’s. (See Michael Hoffman, Judaism’s Strange Gods.)
It took a Christian-convert Jew to properly present the real meaning of “chosen people”. From Roy H. Schoeman, Salvation is from the Jews: The Role of Judaism in Salvation History from Abraham to the Second Coming (pp. 20-21):

“The Jews were…to host the Incarnation itself, to be the people among whom God would become man. If God were to be on a uniquely intimate basis with the Jews and eventually to become incarnate among them, they would have to be free from involvement with other deities, free from all spiritual pollution. Hence the severity of restrictions in the Old Testament against any form of idolatry or sorcery . . . . This purity, and the development of virtue and piety among at least some of the Jews, would have to reach its ultimate fruition later in producing an individual of such devotion and virtue that she could give her flesh to be the flesh of the God-man, that she could be His human mother. This individual was, of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
If redemption through the Messiah, when He came, would require a high level of moral behavior, then mankind would have to be prepared for this higher moral standard, too. Judaism performed this function when it introduced God’s morality to man through the revelation of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai.
If mankind were to be able to recognize the Messiah for He was when He came, it would have to be prepared by being taught before hand to expect His coming. Judaism performed this role, too….
God wished there would be a people on earth who would worship and adore the Messiah even before He came and who would fervently pray for His coming. This role, too, was fulfilled by the Jews….
Finally, God would need a people to provide a temporal home for the Messiah when He came and to announce His arrival to the world. This, too, was entrusted to the Jews.”

In other words, God didn’t choose the Jews because they were special. Jews became a “chosen people” not because they were specially wonderful and superior to all others, but because God chose them for the Incarnation of His only Son — a role and mission that should be the cause of humility instead of grandiose narcissism.
In Luke 4:24, 28-30 is a description of Jesus’ first public ministry, after spending 40 days and nights in the desert in preparation:

And he said, “Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place….”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

What murderous narcissistic rage! — an illustration of what we moderns now call the Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Greatest Commandment
Just remember the “neighbor” in “You shall love neighbor as yourself” includes Jews and Gentiles.
May the joy and peace and love of Jesus Christ, our Lord, be with you!
~Eowyn

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