Daily Bible Reading:
Monday, December 10. Read Zephaniah 1:2-4. 1) Advent begins in darkness as we wait for the Lord to come in glory. We wait. 2) Zephaniah doesn’t sound like an Advent text, but it is. It starts in darkness. What is God saying to his people in today’s text? 3) What group of people does He condemn in this passage?
Tuesday, December 11. Read Deuteronomy 26:16-19. 1) This text is what Moses said to the Israelites before they invaded Canaan. The text gives a good understanding of what God’s plan for Israel was. 2) What did God command them to do? What did God promise would happen as a result?
Wednesday, December 12. Read Luke 1:46-55. 1) This is Mary’s song of praise regarding her pregnancy as the mother of Messiah. 2) What kind of life does Mary predict? 3) Who do you think will be surprised by the new era of things?
Thursday, December 13. Read Micah 4:6-8. 1) Micah said that a day was coming when war implements would no longer be relevant (verse 3). 2) That day has obviously not come yet. What will life be like when that day does arrive?
Friday, December 14. Read Isaiah 35:1-10, 1) What is the mood of this text? 2) What picture does Isaiah paint here? 3) What people will most enthusiastically welcome the events of this text?
Saturday, December 15. Read Zephaniah 3:14-20. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer of the Week:
Dear Father, this Advent we want to be reminded of your promises. We don’t want to dwell on the frightening and noisy events happening around us – political, social, and global. We know that you are at work, and we know that the petty voices all around us are nothing more than that – petty. Give us hope and confidence in you. in Jesus’ name, I pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
In Heavenly Love Abiding
by Anna Letitia Waring, 1850
In heavenly love abiding,
no change my heart shall fear;
and safe is such confiding,
for nothing changes here:
the storm may roar without me,
my heart may low be laid;
but God is round about me,
and can I be dismayed?
Wherever he may guide me,
no want shall turn me back;
my Shepherd is beside me,
and nothing can I lack:
his wisdom ever waketh,
his sight is never dim,
he knows the way he taketh,
and I will walk with him.
Green pastures are before me,
which yet I have not seen;
bright skies will soon be o’er me,
where darkest clouds have been;
my hope I cannot measure,
my path to life is free;
my Saviour has my treasure,
and he will walk with me.
Devotional Article of the Week:
The Power of Hope
Don’t underestimate the power of hope
by Tim Archer
There’s a story that tells of a woman who volunteered with the school district in a large city. Specifically, she was helping tutor children who were forced to miss school due to illness. One day she was given a name and a hospital room number, with this written instruction from the teacher: “We’re studying nouns and adverbs in his class now, and I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.”
When the woman arrived at the hospital room, she found a young boy who had been badly burned that was lying in great pain in the bed. Overwhelmed by the sight of this boy, all she could do was blurt out, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.” After working with the child for a time, she left feeling foolish. What good were grammar lessons to a boy in his condition?
However, her visit had a tremendous impact on the boy. Before seeing the tutor, the boy had been slowly deteriorating. After her visit, he seemed to find his will to live, working with therapists, eating meals, responding to treatments. Later the boy explained, “I had just about given up, assuming I was going to die. But when this teacher came, I realized that I was going to be all right. They wouldn’t send someone to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?” What this woman shared about grammar was of relative benefit to the boy. But the hope that she brought to his life made all the difference. It saved his life.
Is the story true? I don’t know. Is the lesson true? Without a doubt. Hope is a powerful thing, giving us strength at times when nothing else can. They say that as the famous atheist Jean-Paul Sartre drew close to his death, he fought against despair, insisting that he would die in hope. But he also acknowledged, “Hope needs a foundation.”
God provides hope. He is the perfect foundation for our hope, the one that will never fail. Hope built on God and His promises need never fail. I am convinced that this hope, more than any other, can change lives and provide a sense of meaning in this world. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Almost three thousand years later, it’s still true.