Monday, December 22, 2014

Advent, Day #22

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son.  And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.  God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.  He came to help, to put the world right again.”

John 3:16-17

Friday, December 19, 2014

Advent, Day #19


If you’re a Christian, you know that Christianity is supposed to be about joy. You probably also know that you’re supposed to experience joy in spite of circumstances. The Bible clearly teaches that joy is available that should make us happy no matter the circumstances. There’s a joy that the deepest trouble can’t put out and, if properly nourished and nurtured, can even overwhelm the greatest grief.
When Jesus prays to the Father in John 17:13, he prays for us—his followers. He says, I pray that “they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” One chapter before, he says to his disciples, “You will rejoice. and no one will take away your joy” (16:22). That’s pretty amazing! He’s talking to the twelve disciples, men who are going to be persecuted. They’re going to be robbed of everything they own, tortured, and put to death. Yet Jesus promises to give them a joy that will withstand all that. Nothing—not disease or persecution or alienation or loneliness or torture or even death—will be able to take it away.
I often wrestle with that concept. I have to ask myself, “Why do things affect me so much? Why is my joy not relentless?” Sometimes I wonder, “Do we have that kind of impervious joy?” I’m afraid not. I don’t think we understand the nature of this joy.
Romans 8 is all about living in a suffering world marked by brokenness. Paul talks about trouble and persecution and nakedness and poverty and how Christians are supposed to live in a world like that. In 8:28–30 he offers three principles for finding joy in suffering. Paul tells us that if we follow Christ, our bad things turn out for good, our good things cannot be lost, and our best things are yet to come. Those are the reasons for our joy.

By: Tim Keller

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Advent, Day #18


Let us pray…..
God of hope,
You call us home from the exile of
Selfish oppression
To the freedom of justice,
The balm of healing,
And the joy of sharing.
Make us strong to join you in
Your holy work,
As friends of strangers and victims,
Companions of those whom others shun,
And the bearers of joy to those
Whose hearts are broken.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Get out your journal and write a prayer to God expressing the joy that your Savior brings to your life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Advent, Day #17


When  we chase after JOY it seems to elude us.
JOY is a byproduct of a relationship; a relationship that comes
changing us!
That will change us forever.

What things in your life bring you JOY?
How does joy differ from happiness?
How can JOY more consistently be a part of your life?

If you have not started a journal yet this would be a great time to start the practice.  Record your ponderings to these questions.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent, Day #16


What an image this passages brings to mind. 
This word alone brings the image of a spontaneous
They could not help but join the angel in singing and praising God.  This kind of celebration must come from
What is Joy?  If it is an emotion evoked by a celebration can we trust in Joy?  How do we have joy in our everyday lives?  Is it a fleeting thing/emotion. This host obviously had reason to have joy; God himself was moving into the neighborhood.  God was at work.  A prophesy long in coming was finally manifesting itself in this tiny baby.   There was much to rejoice in. 
What do we have to rejoice in today?  Does it make any sense for us to continue in joy over an event that happened so long ago?  Year after year we hear the Christmas story told.  We know the main characters all too well  We can probably even quote some of the story from heart.  What does this story mean for us today?  Is it more than just a charming story that is portrayed in manger scenes in people’s yards?  We  can only assume that the host who began celebrating with joy knew this King.  They had a relationship with Him.  This joy was a by-product of this relationship.  They had not gone in search of joy, it bubbled up out of their core being because they knew this baby King and that is what caused them to rejoice. 

It is the same for us.  We do not go searching for joy….it finds us as we celebrate the King who came that night so long ago as a babe in a manger.  Celebrate Jesus the King.  Joy will find you.