Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, December 2. Read Genesis 12:1-3. 1) What did God tell Abram? 2) What promise did he make to Abraham? 3) How should that promise affect us today?
Tuesday, December 3. Read Judges 2:16-19. 1) What role did the judges in Israel serve? 2) What cycle did Israel go through with each judge?
Wednesday, December 4. Read 1 Samuel 8:1-9. 1) What were the people of Israel requesting in this text? 2) What was God’s reaction to this request?
Thursday, December 5. Read Daniel 4:13-15. 1) Who did this dream apply to? 2) What happened to the tree in the dream?
Friday, December 6. Read Romans 11:13-18. 1) What role did the Gentiles fill in regard to the Jews? 2) What metaphor did Paul use in verse 17 to describe the Jews relationship to God?
Saturday, December 7. Read Isaiah 11:1-10. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Dear Father, we live in fraught times. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen corrupt people looking out for their own interests, mislead by mistrust and lies, taking their eyes off you, if their eyes were ever on you. May we not have our hope crushed. May we not believe the lie, but rather hope in the stump that is covered in shoots of life and future. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Lord of All Being, Throned Afar
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1861
Lord of all being, throned afar,
thy glory flames from sun and star;
centre and soul of every sphere,
yet to each loving heart how near!
Sun of our life, thy quickening ray
sheds on our path the glow of day;
Star of our hope, thy softened light
cheers the long watches of the night.
Our midnight is thy smile withdrawn,
our noontide is thy gracious dawn,
our rainbow arch thy mercy’s sign;
all, save the clouds of sin, are thine.
Lord of all life, below, above,
whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
before thy ever-blazing throne
we ask no lustre of our own.
Grant us thy truth to make us free,
and kindling hearts that burn for thee,
till all thy living altars claim
one holy light, one heavenly flame.
Devotional Article of the Week
“From me is thy fruit found.”
— Hosea 14:8
by Charles Spurgeon
Our fruit is found from our God as to union. The fruit of the branch is directly traceable to the root. Sever the connection, the branch dies, and no fruit is produced. By virtue of our union with Christ we bring forth fruit.
Every bunch of grapes have been first in the root, it has passed through the stem, and flowed through the sap vessels, and fashioned itself externally into fruit, but it was first in the stem; so also every good work was first in Christ, and then is brought forth in us. O Christian, prize this precious union to Christ; for it must be the source of all the fruitfulness which thou canst hope to know. If thou wert not joined to Jesus Christ, thou wouldst be a barren bough indeed.
Our fruit comes from God as to spiritual providence. When the dew-drops fall from heaven, when the cloud looks down from on high, and is about to distil its liquid treasure, when the bright sun swells the berries of the cluster, each heavenly boon may whisper to the tree and say, “From me is thy fruit found.” The fruit owes much to the root-that is essential to fruitfulness-but it owes very much also to external influences. How much we owe to God’s grace-providence! in which he provides us constantly with quickening, teaching, consolation, strength, or whatever else we want. To this we owe our all of usefulness or virtue.
Our fruit comes from God as to wise husbandry. The gardener’s sharp-edged knife promotes the fruitfulness of the tree, by thinning the clusters, and by cutting off superfluous shoots. So is it, Christian, with that pruning which the Lord gives to thee. “My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Since our God is the author of our spiritual graces, let us give to him all the glory of our salvation.