Luke 1:14-17 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
In this season of advent, we wait and prepare for the Lord’s coming by daily being set apart for the Lord. The language of joy, delight, and rejoicing is associated with God’s salvation, and that is what occurs when we live for the gospel. Therefore, as John exemplified, may our lives also speak and welcome God’s salvation wherever we go. May there be an increase of joy, delight, and rejoicing as we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord.
Lord Jesus we thank you that all your promises are yes and amen. We pray for a greater experience of joy and delight in our hearts as we live set apart for the gospel. We pray for a revival in our personal times, in our corporate experience, and in the ministries we are engaged in. Amen.
Luke 1:11-13 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John
In the above passages, we are shown how Zechariah waited and prepared for the Lord’s coming—and that was in prayer! What have you been praying for recently that resonates with the very heart of God?
We are not sure what Zechariah was praying for—but he was praying such prayers that all of heaven heard. Perhaps he was praying for a child at his old age, or he was praying for the promise of the Savior to come. One thing we can infer from the passage is that Elizabeth’s barrenness wasn’t just about this couple’s personal issues, rather it speaks of the very barrenness that was going on not only in their lives, but also in whole world—the spiritual barrenness.
Today, let’s pray together for God’s salvation and rescue to come to our generation. Let’s pray that our spiritual barrenness will be turned into an outpouring of His presence. Pray for a revival in your personal devotional lives.
Luke 1:5-7 5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Do you hear the echo of the OT in the passages above?
The reference to Zechariah and Elizabeth’s old age and their barrenness echoes the very experience of Abraham and Sarah. By this reference, we are taken to the very heart of God’s promise of salvation and covenant, which began with Abraham and Sarah. This shows how the promise of God’s blessing and salvation is now going to be fulfilled with the coming of Christ.
We wait and prepare for the Lord’s coming in this way, by being assured that God’s promises are never thwarted, prevented, frustrated, or delayed. As it says in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Today spend time in prayer, recounting the Lord’s promises, and being assured that the Lord is not slow in keeping them. Worship with the song (click here) Yes and Amen by Matt Redman.
Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
“I often eagerly anticipate birthdays, special outings, and holidays. The excitement grows, and then the day arrives. Sometimes I enjoy the event as fully as I expected to, but sometimes the event falls short. Either way, the special occasion passes by; and we’re left with memories — and maybe some photos. The day cannot be relived. How different is the expectation of the coming of Christ! Through many generations his birth was foretold by prophets, and yet when Jesus was born there were no widespread celebrations. In fact, the inn had no room for him. But some shepherds and wise men, Simeon and the prophet Anna (Luke 2:25-38) quietly celebrated him from the first. Later, others recognized Jesus Christ as the long-expected Messiah and went out to preach the good news.
Today we also look forward to Christmas as we celebrate Jesus’ birth. But when Christmas Day is over, the reality of the Incarnation and the promise of eternal life continue. Each year the Christmas season comes and goes, but what we are really celebrating endures for all eternity! (Upper Room Devotionals: 12/11/16)
Today may we worship in thanksgiving knowing that the source of great joy for all the people has come—Jesus the Messiah.
Lord we thank you that our celebration of your coming is not confined a yearly reminder, but a daily reality that we live in. You came, you died and rose again! Today we rejoice with greater joy, for you have brought us salvation and blessing. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song Joy To The World (click here) by Chris Tomlin
Luke 1:29-30 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
“Every Advent season I pray to know the Lord more deeply as I read the Christmas story. This year I was struck by the variety of emotions surrounding that first Christmas. Surprise: Mary asked the angel, “How will this be?” (Luke 1:34) when she was told she would be pregnant as a virgin. Rejection: The inn held no room for the soon-to-be savior (Luke 2:7). Fear: The angels often began their message, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:10). Joy: Angels told the shepherds to expect great joy (Luke 2:10). Uncertainty: “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19) because she did not know their full implications.
And all of these emotions are summed up in Jesus, Immanuel, “God with us.” Because Jesus Christ took on human form, he experienced every thought and feeling we have. And then he covered each with his love — offering forgiveness and salvation. Christ became fully human and experienced every emotion so that we could come to truly know God’s love. (Upper Room Devotionals: 12/16/17)
What was the angel’s response to Mary when she was greatly troubled? How does this bring joy and comfort?
Lord Jesus, you are Immanuel, God with us! We thank you for being with us through life’s issues, and that you invite us to walk and participate in your work. During this season of Advent, we thank you that it is your constant and consistent love that bring us hope and joy. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song Hearts Waiting (click here) by Matt Redman.