Advent DevotionalsThe Advent season focuses on expectation and serves as an anticipation of Christ’s birth in the season leading up to Christmas. Daily devotional are posted below and on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Celebrate the Moment – December 25
ONE BIRTH CHANGED EVERYTHING!
Around 360,000 new babies are born into this world every day. Can you imagine all the celebrations that are taking place right now over all these newborn children? Then consider that the majority of human beings also celebrate their birthdays each year, that’s a huge amount of birthday celebrations going on each day! Births and birthdays are extremely important to all of us. But out of the billions of births that have taken place in the history of the world there was one birth that changed everything and that is why we celebrate Christmas – it’s the birth of Christ.
The Christmas story reveals the most amazing of truths: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)
In the Christ child is the embodiment of God’s divine glory, grace and truth. Who would have ever thought that the grace and love of Almighty God would be demonstrated in the birth of a tiny vulnerable child? From the cradle to the cross, everything Jesus did was for our benefit, he was born for us, he lived for us, he died for us, he rose for us, and now he lives evermore to intercede for us. Jesus is God’s gift to mankind! — Rob Barnes
Celebrate the Moment – December 24
Isaiah prophesied about Jesus that he would be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). Later, in the book of Matthew, we read that Immanuel means “God with us.” (Matt 1:23)
Jesus was God in the flesh, a physical and exact representation of the Father. He walked on earth; he laughed, cried, was tempted, and prayed just like all of us. He touched and healed and preached a radical message of love, humbling himself into human form to be sacrificed on our behalf. Through Jesus, God was among us.
When Jesus defeated the power of sin and death and ascended to heaven, He sent His Spirit to live within us. The Holy Spirit is our friend, our guide, and our counselor. He leads us into truth, reminding us of who we are and who Jesus is. He counsels us when we are confused and gives peace when we are afraid. He empowers his people to see the kingdom of God come, and the will of God done. By the Holy Spirit, God is within us.
The Father’s plan has always been for us to be in constant communion with Him. He sent His Son to remove sin, and to show us what the Father is really like. He then sent His Spirit to be our guide so that we are never alone. The Holy Spirit is our daily proof that God is still with us! He is on our side! He is for us!
Think about Immanuel today: Jesus walked among us, The Holy Spirit lives within us, and Father God is for us.— Kurt Barnes
Capture the Moment – December 23
The Coxen family has had many special Christmas moments and traditions throughout the years. Special vacations, Christmas lights, count downs, and the list goes on. One special moment happened many years ago. Our three boys were opening their last present together. Inside was a clue that led them to many clues throughout the house. The boys were having a wonderful time working together to decipher each clue. Eventually, the last clue led the boys banging on pots and pans to our neighbor’s house. The boys had to sing a Christmas carol before receiving their last clue which lead them back home to their gift under the Christmas tree. The boys had a special evening they would never forget. Christmas traditions are fun and something we always look forward to year after year. However, it has been important to our family to include Christ in our traditions. For many years, we received a coffee cake from Grandma Kemper next door. We would place a candle in the middle of the cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus. I’m sure many of you have special traditions to keep Jesus in the center of your Christmas celebration. It would be great if you would share a comment of a Christ centered tradition that has captured some special moments for your family. — Randy Coxen
Capture the Moment – December 22
If you really know me, you know I have an activity list that keeps me pretty busy. I love to be with others, create, make things work or balance and I have a wide variety of interests! But as good as that is, busyness can also be a pitfall. The verse in Luke 2:51b has always been special to me….”And His mother treasured these things in her heart”. As a young mom, I recognized the importance of treasuring moments. I’m so thankful for our great family memories, but they came about from stopping to enjoy the moment with each other. At Christmastime, I have two things I do to prepare my heart to treasure the moments on Christmas Day: I wake up before everyone and prepare a light breakfast, light the candles and tree and turn on Christmas music so when everyone gets up there is a peaceful, joyful mood already set. I also make sure I stop myself in the midst of all the craziness that follows and intentionally look at each member of my family, my mind is reflecting on the year of growth, the adventures, the hopes for each one. Actually, I do this more and more with other events too. It builds my heart, my faith in God, my hope to treasure these moments. The Hall Family wishes you many moments of Joy this Christmas!”— Michelle Hall
Capture the Moment – December 21
Of course we all know that Jesus is God and as such He is eternal. Essentially that means that He lives outside of time. When it came time for God to reveal Himself to Moses, He didn’t call Himself the always have been or always will be, He called Himself the I AM. He’s the God who is here in the moment.
Even though we will live for eternity right here and now we are pretty caught up in and even consumed by the reality of time. We look to the future and remember the past which can both be good things as long as they don’t have too great an influence on us. Sadly, many people are controlled by regret from the past and/or paralyzed by fear of the future. The truly regrettable result of this is that we are never really in the here and now and by not being in the moment we often miss what God is doing and wanting to do.
Just before His crucifixion, Jesus lamented over the difficulty and destruction that Jerusalem would encounter. He said they would come “Because you didn’t recognize the time of your gracious visit from God.” Luke 19:44 (CEB)
Jesus, the answer to all their needs, was right there in the middle of their situation. Because they were defined by the past and controlled by a misconception of the future they missed their “Gracious visit from God.”
Let’s not be like that this Christmas. Capture the moment. Live today in the presence of the I AM. — Jeff Davidson
Capture the Moment – December 20
Who isn’t delighted to face a sparkling tree on Christmas morning, with beautifully wrapped presents gathered at its foot? We all love to soak in the children’s glistening anticipation, the grateful smiles of appreciative loved ones. Face it, we love gifts, both giving them and receiving them. On the other hand, we may grow very uncomfortable, especially as we age, with the materialism that overwhelms and wearies this season. It’s easy to develop some stoic cynicism toward this whole gift-centric event. But really, isn’t GIFTING the central message of not only Christmas, but of life itself? God gives to each one of us, every day, all day long, incredible gifts that we did nothing to earn and will never deserve: the very breath that sustains us, beautiful creation that surrounds us, meaningful communities that enfold us, guaranteed help that carries us when the journey is rough, an eternal salvation that infuses us with hope. Jesus is the God of Gift, the God of All Grace and All Graces. We need to unwrap, receive, all that He offers, and return to Him our gift – our heartfelt thanks. Everyday. Especially on Christmas morning when we remember that He gifted us Himself.— Trish Ambrose
Capture the Moment – December 19
This is Christmas. A time of celebration, of gatherings, of giving, and of feasting. Each of these moments are full of expectation and anticipation that keep the emotions saturated. As the years pass, I have found it increasingly challenging to keep the moments simple and focused on what really matters, the here and now. There are so many traditions that I enjoy, but they don’t define my Christmas celebration. I am convinced that God loves new things and wants to give new and outrageous gifts to His children. After all, it was God who shocked the expectant world by bringing the King of Kings in adverse circumstances as a vulnerable baby. My prayer is not to miss the unexpected move of God this Christmas by living in the past or anticipating the future.
Lord, I celebrate this moment you have given me. I receive your gift of life, the love of family and friends, and the joy of your presence. It is just a glorious mystery that the creator of heaven and earth would send His son in human form to live amongst us to show us the love of the Father and ultimately sacrifice himself for our sins. Oh come, Emanuel and dwell with us in each moment of this advent season. Amen — Kim Visser
Capture the Moment – December 18
This year I am noticing that I crave the presence of God more and more. The meaningful moments I get to share with Jesus are creating a desire to be more present in myself and my relationships. I am enjoying the realness of life instead of living in a superficial, on the surface, day to day comparison with others. I long for meaningful, quality moments and when I experience these with God and others, It’s the most satisfying gift that I could have ever received at that moment. Singing Christmas Carols out loud. Playing checkers with my daughters. Taking walks by the river with my husband. Hugging my adult son with overwhelming warmth and love in my heart for him. Cooking warm meals for my family. Accepting myself right where I am at in this life is healing my soul and allowing me to capture the meaningful gift of today. — Denise Dahlberg
Capture the Moment – December 17
“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30-32)
A baby born in an animal stable to a young teenage girl. We romanticize this picture but it must of been terrifying for Mary and Joseph. I remember the birth of our first child. We were just kids really. Watching Margi struggle through a long difficult labor was the most intense and terrifying experience. Yet as we held our newborn baby our hearts filled with thanksgiving and expectations for the future. That is the nature of hope, to look to the future with an expectation of good things. I think Mary and Joseph lived their lives with hope in their hearts. They could not see the whole journey laid out for them, but they had hope. The promise of God sustains, it causes us to look to the future with courage, faith and expectations of God’s grace working in our lives. — Steve Tipton
Let Go of Worry – December 16
The dictionary definition of Worry: “to afflict with mental distress or agitation, make anxious; to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret about things of what or could happen in the future”.
Worry begins in my thoughts and I am ashamed to say I have wasted so much energy being fearful. Recent life changes have brought things full circle and are challenging me. I have a history of Gods faithfulness, so why do I worry about what could or may happen. Not a question, just a statement.
I am a visual and hands on person and over time I have started practicing gratefulness, rehearsing Gods promises and remembering what He has done for me every day, all day long. Realizing that the glass half empty is the same as the glass half full. It’s all perspective. As the season of Christmas is upon us I am challenged to keep myself in check, and prepare, but not put energy into what might be but look for the small things that are.
One Bible quote I love is, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
And when life is really challenging I rehearse Jeremiah 32:27: Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?
May this Season of Blessing be a true blessing to each of you..— Margi Tipton
Let Go of Worry – December 15
Funny thing happened while trying to write this little devotion about letting go of worry, I began to worry. What will people think about my writing? What if I say something wrong? I wasted 5 days worrying and getting nothing done. Truth is I have wasted a lot of time in my life worrying and it hasn’t done any good. The good comes when I choose to take my thoughts off of things that are in the past or future, or what other people might think, and focus my thoughts on the Creator of all things.
My God is omnipotent. That means He is all powerful. He spoke everything into being, from nothing. All things; every particle, every organism, every breath we take are sustained by him. Nothing is too difficult for him! (Jeremiah 32:26-27) He is with us and He is capable of anything!
My God is Love. (1 John 4:7-10) He made me because he loves me and wants a relationship with me. He wants good for me. He feels the same way about you! If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Worry will come, but instead of letting it waste my time, I will choose to let God have it and gratefully take his strength.
— Ellen Marshall
Let Go of Worry – December 14
The “God Jar” sits on my bedside table, next to the futuristic nightlight Grandma Sibyl gave me. A former mayonnaise container, the God Jar is filled with scribbled-upon post-it notes, all double-folded. ”God, you will let me fail tomorrow,” and, “God, you won’t help my son with his problem,” say two, worries I had at some time in the past. Two more say, ”You will help our boys find jobs that use the gifts you’ve given them,” and, “You will heal our friend from this sickness.” These were from Kim, who writes hers as affirmative prayers. I write my worries as fears, realizing as I write them that they are absurd! I know God’s word; there’s NO WAY He is going to let his children fail! And so the lid goes back on the God Jar, and the worry is given over to Him. — Bruce Visser
Let Go of Worry – December 13
Throughout Scripture, God instructs His people not to be afraid but to receive His peace. In Judges, Gideon feared that he would die after being visited by an angel of the LORD. The LORD, however, said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid.” (Judges 6:23). In response, Gideon built an altar to the LORD, calling it The LORD is Peace (Yahweh Shalom).
After Jesus’s birth, the shepherds living in the nearby fields were terrified when an angel of the Lord appeared to them. The angel said, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:10, KJV) because the angel was bringing the Good News that a Savior had been born. Immediately afterwards, “there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men’” (Luke 2:10-14; emphasis mine).
If our eyes are on the world, worry can easily overtake us. Jesus, however, extends His peace to us just as He did with His disciples 2000 years ago: “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27, NLV). May we experience the Lord’s peace this Advent season.— Anne Saxe
Let Go of Worry – December 12
I used to have a poster that had a frazzled ostrich on it with the caption, “Don’t tell me not to worry….whatever I worry about never happens!” Looking back it was one of those magical thinking mantras that the world promotes. Recently on Christian radio, a pastor stated that worry and gratitude cannot inhabit your mind simultaneously. Anxiety and thankfulness do not coexist. To climb out of that pit of fear and worry, start praising God for the all the blessings you can think of: food, shelter; relationships, His grace, and so much more. I would like to claim it is a “new” thought, but it is not. One of my favorite verses comes from Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand.” (NLT).
Wishing you personal peace this advent season: Praise the Lord!— Joanne Stone
Let Go of Worry – December 11
Jesus says “don’t worry for I am with you”, so let go of all your worries and let God lead you, for His unfailing heart is full of God’s people who do not need to worry. It says in the Bible that God chose His son Jesus to die for us and to leave the worry in His hands. Worry just destroys us so let go of worry. I worry all the time but God spoke to me saying I do not need to worry for I am with you, for I will never give up and never should you as long as you believe. — Alice Finch
Let Go of Worry – December 10
I probably should not be writing this devotional on anxiety. I think I am the Marth of all Martha’s. My life goal is to become like Mary, “She sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he said.” (Luke 10:40.) I think that verse holds the key: “sit and listen”. I started making a list of what brings me anxiety. I realize that I spend alot of time worrying about the past (did I hurt that persons feelings? was that the wrong choice?) and the future (what will happen if . . ., what if I can’t . . ., how is that going to work. . .). In Mark Batterson’s book “ In A Pit On A Snowy Day With A Lion” he says “Spiritual maturity is less about figuring out the future and more about a moment-by-moment sensitivity to the Spirit of God.” Sit and listen. “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” Psalm 25:14. Do I trust that He knows and wants what is best for me? Only He can bring me peace and joy when I am doing what He created me to do. “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4. Sit and listen. God has an adventure for me – one day at a time. Wake up each morning, sit and listen to His spirit and say “Another day, another glorious adventure.” — Brenda Geiger
Sharing the Good News – December 9
“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.” -John 1:16
We are blessed people – blessed because Jesus came into the world, served us, and saved us from our past, our failures, and our hopelessness. How can you bless others this Christmas season? Here is a simple plan:
B- begin with prayer! Who are you praying for? Who do you know that needs to find their way back to God? Commit to pray for this person every day throughout this season.
L- listen! Before you get caught up telling them what you want to say, listen to their hopes, their difficulties, their struggles and their successes. People in our busy culture need the affirmation that comes from having someone simply listen.
E- eat! This one is pretty obvious – but find time to share a meal with others this season. A unique opportunity for relationship exists over the shared experience of a meal together.
S- serve! Always be on the lookout for ways that you can serve others’ needs. Maybe give them a blessing box with something thoughtful inside.
S- share the story! Find ways to share the hope that God has given you. Share the miracle of the Christmas story, the forgiveness that God has provided through Jesus. If you can, invite them along to a church service where they can hear more about God.
Let’s share the good news with others this Christmas season by blessing them. — Cory Walz
Sharing the Good News – December 8
“I’m going to send my messenger, and he will clear the way ahead of me. Then the Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the promise will come. He is the one you want,” says the LORD of Armies.”
The Lord came to save and preserve our souls for heaven. A heaven that we are not deserving of. He forgives our sins and accepts us as we are if we are accepting of this beautiful gift. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, we were all commissioned to enter into the great plan of spreading this good news. In this scripture WE are God’s messengers to bring the gospel to our loved ones. He has included us in His plan as we are His messengers and He our savior. The best part about this is that He sends us the Holy Spirit to help us and he has prepared our way as it says in Luke 12:12, “At that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say.”
What a wonderful and perfect gift He gives us and allows us strength and preparation when we share this news to others.
“How can people tell the Good News if no one sends them? As Scripture says, “How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who announce the Good News.”Romans10:15GW — Kendra Coxen
Sharing the Good News – December 7
I have always been a pretty quiet person. I’m not shy, it’s just that I don’t feel the need to talk all that often, which can get in the way of sharing my faith. It was something I used to worry a lot about, like God would be mad at me because I am not running up to strangers and telling them they need Jesus. 1 Peter 3:15-16 helped me to understand why God created me this way. It wasn’t that I needed to change, it’s that we all have different ways of sharing our faith. I love these verses in 1 Peter because it explains my personality and those similar to me in an excellent way. As long as we trust God, there always be opportunities to share our faith, we just have to be ready with an answer for the hope that we have in Christ. — Devin Geiger
Sharing the Good News – December 6
No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness” –Mary Wollstonecraft. Haven’t we all fallen into the trap of thinking that sin was going to bring us happiness only to find destruction and heartache? During this Christmas season let’s remember why Jesus came. 1 John 3:8 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Let us share with those around us, people (who just like us) have fallen into the trap of choosing heartache, what Jesus was willing and able to do for us. God saw our pain and was willing to intervene for our sake, let’s celebrate the why of Christmas! — David Morgan
Sharing the Good News – December 5
It was an awkward and convicting moment. My boss had asked me to pick up and host Dewa from the airport. He came from Chad in central Africa, and had never been to America. It was Christmas morning, a few days later, and we were gathered around our tree to open presents. We’ve always tried to keep our Christmases simple, with as few presents under the tree as possible. We wanted to focus on Jesus, not material things. But my extended family didn’t abide by that conviction and they sent a fair number of presents – which were all under that tree. So, I asked, Dewa, “What do you do in Chad to celebrate Christmas? Do you exchange presents?” He answered, “For 2 weeks each Christmas we travel on foot from village to village, sharing the good news about Jesus, sleeping under the trees.” “Do any of the people in the villages become Christians?” I asked. “Last year, 10,000 people came to Jesus, and each year more come.” I was silent and convicted. I remember Dewa every year during this time. Let’s share Jesus this Christmas! — Rob Ambrose
Sharing the Good News – December 4
As I was thinking about what to share today about “Sharing the Good News”, I thought, interesting that I got that theme, because I am not one to walk around sharing with everyone I meet about Jesus unless it comes up in conversation or someone mentions it. Thinking about this made me think of how I can share the good news, Jesus himself…by the way I live and treat others. Smiling, being kind to people serving us at a restaurant, or cleaning bathrooms at the mall when I happen to be there. People in line at the supermarket, cashiers, friends I run into and even the people ringing the bell at stores, and even at church. People we see every day may need a kind word, a smile, or a “have a good day” from us. We all need to be shown the love of Jesus!
“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:30-32
I will be more purposeful this season to go out of my way to be kind, tender hearted, complement, greet, and smile at those who I meet! Join me in loving people in this purposeful way this season, sharing the Jesus in us with others. – Grethel Alden
Sharing the Good News – December 3
As I have been thinking about my topic “Sharing the Good News,” it struck me that good news always contains hope: news that good has happened or it will in the not to distant future! Looking at what God has done for Daniel over the past several weeks, we have an awesome picture of hope. The Israelites were in captivity in Babylon for only seventy years. Those who read the writings of Jeremiah were able to see that their discipline was only to last a short time (the average life span of a person) and the hope they had was that soon they were to be restored both in freedom and fortunes.
I would encourage you today to put your hope in the promises of God. He made that promise to his people and his promise happened, just as he said! So what do we have to fear? We live in a better covenant and with greater promises. Biblical hope is “confident expectation” whereas worldly hope is keeping our fingers crossed and hope for the best! We have confidence (solid confidence!) that God’s promises will happen because of his great love for us. Romans 5:5 says: ‘And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
So we should be sharing this Good News with all we come in contact with! Let them know that within their lifetime they will be restored to true freedom and unthinkable fortunes, if they put their hope in Jesus! That is why he came!
‘In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”’ Jeremiah 29:10-14. – Gerry Alden