Monday, December 5, 2016

Rejoice in God's gift

Rejoice in the Lord your God! ~ Joel 2:23a (NLT)

Let us praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to help his people and has given them freedom. He has given us a powerful Savior from the family of God’s servant David. ~ Luke 1:68-69 (NCV)

KEY IDEA:
Rejoice in God's gift of a powerful Savior.
PRAYER:
Lord, I want to honor you for all your gifts -- above all that of Jesus, your only Son, whom you sent to be our Savior. I don't deserve a Savior -- especially since I am such a screw-up. But perhaps that's the point. You are so generous that you give broken and self-centered people what they don't deserve. You give us a powerful Savior who frees us from captivity to sin and brokenness. That is worth a joyous shout -- and perhaps even a Christmas carol. Amen.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Peace from the Lord

The Second Sunday of Advent

The Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace. ~ Numbers 6:26 (CEB)

I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace... ~ Romans 15:13 (CEV)

KEY IDEA:
God is the source of hope, peace, and joy.
PRAYER:
Lord, thank you for showing your face -- for smiling at us -- at me. I am more blessed than I will ever realize. If I will stop worrying about my reputation, put my own way of doing things away, and turn to you, you will fill me with hope, peace, and joy. That is my goal. I pray in the name of Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace. Amen.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

God is good

No doubt about it! God is good— good to good people, good to the good-hearted. ~ Psalm 73:1 (MSG)

Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people... ~ Luke 2:25 (CEV)

KEY IDEA:
God is so good that he is worth waiting for.
PRAYER:
Good God, I'm standing with Simeon -- waiting in confidence that you are going to save creation -- including the capstone of it all -- the people. At least I want to stand with Simeon. Sometimes my knees are weak and I trip and fall. I get distracted and I forget about the waiting. But you started the new creation rolling with the arrival of Jesus. And he was so faithful to us through his teaching and sacrifice. I'm counting on him to steady me and hold me up as I wait. And as I wait, I am trusting in him to transform me into a good and good-hearted person so that I can add to his honor. Amen.

Friday, December 2, 2016

At peace

I sleep and wake up refreshed because you, Lord, protect me. ~ Psalm 3:5 (CEV)

Peace be with all of you who are in Christ. ~ 1 Peter 5:14 (NLT)

KEY IDEA:
There is a sense in which we live at peace because of the Lord's care.
PRAYER:
Caring God, thank you for watching over me -- even during the darkest hours of the day. I take so much of what you do for granted. And that casual attitude can eat into my sense of peace. Keep reminding me that you are right here with me. I know that I can get through anything because I'm connected to Christ Jesus. He is my protector -- my peacemaker. Amen.