Archive for the ‘Peace & Joy - Advent 2013’ Category

Day 5: Life Makeover

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Isaiah 61 (NIV)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion-

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

a planting of the Lord

for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;

they will renew the ruined cities

that have been devastated for generations.

5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;

foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,

you will be named ministers of our God.

You will feed on the wealth of nations,

and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of your shame

you will receive a double portion,

and instead of disgrace

you will rejoice in your inheritance.

And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,

and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;

I hate robbery and wrongdoing.

In my faithfulness I will reward my people

and make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Their descendants will be known among the nations

and their offspring among the peoples.

All who see them will acknowledge

that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the Lord;

my soul rejoices in my God.

For he has clothed me with garments of salvation

and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,

as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,

and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up

and a garden causes seeds to grow,

so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness

and praise spring up before all nations.

Reflection

When you’re in a situation of prolonged dissatisfaction, what is going to give you real joy? It may be that you keep on failing in a particular part of your life, or that you feel really broken in general. It is hard in this dog-eat-dog world, whether it be today or millenniums ago. The above passage is being proclaimed over a broken people who were exiled from their land by the powerful Babylonian empire. They felt dismal and wretched. In the midst of their brokenness, the prophet Isaiah communicated that their God will send them a savior, and that he will, “proclaim freedom for the captives.” God sent his son the Savior Jesus Christ to, “bind up the brokenhearted,” bestow on his people, “a crown of beauty,” “the oil of joy,” and “a garment of praise.” The level of joy being prophesied when Jesus comes is so amazing that nothing compares to it! And ever since Jesus came two thousand years ago, his people have delighted so greatly in God, for he sets them free, heals them, and carries them through the brokenness of life. This Savior has given ever generation abundant joy!

Responding to the Word

His Presence with us is the abundant joy we read about and experience.  As Christians we are called to live our lives in relationship with the Lord. If there is a difficult situation, an experience of prolonged dissatisfaction, or even dashed hopes in our lives, let’s ask the Lord to come into this situation and bring His Presence. Let’s ask for the Lord to deepen our faith and relationship with Him as we trust Him and walk with Him through these times.

Despite the struggles and difficulties of life, we can still proclaim the good news of great joy to those who don’t know. Out of this abundant joy let’s also respond by offering our lives as living testimonies of what God has done in us and in our churches. Let’s pray for opportunities to proclaim the good news so that others may be saved, set free, healed, and made whole just as we were.

Day 4: Child Celebrity or Savior?

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Day 3: Gloria in Excelsis Deo

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Day 2: Joy to the world!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Day 1: Do you hear what I hear?

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Day Five – Rule in Your Hearts

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Day Four – Peace, the Guardian

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Day Three – The Shoot from the Stump

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Day Two – His First Word Was “Peace”

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Day One – He Shattered the Old Yokes

Monday, December 16th, 2013