Philippians 1:3-6 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
“There is a wonderful old prayer attributed to the sixteenth-century sailor Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596). He prays that when God leads us to undertake any great piece of work, he will also remind us ‘that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same until it be thoroughly finished, that yieldeth the true glory.’
[Paul] knows that when the gospel message of King Jesus does its life-changing work in people’s hearts this isn’t just a flash-in-the-pan ‘religious experience’ that might then fade away with the passing of time. If there is genuine faith in the risen Jesus, this can only be because the living God has worked, and what God begins, he always finishes. Having begun the round-the-world journey of the work of salvation, God is going to complete it.” (Wright, NT. Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. P. 82-83.)
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for our churches. Thank you for the joy that you give to us in partnership in the gospel. Thank you that you, who began the work, will complete it in us. Fill each of us today with your Spirit, to walk in confident trust and obedience to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with You Hold it All Together by Maverick City x Upper Room (click here).
Zechariah 3:8-10 “‘I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.’
Zechariah 4:6, 10 “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the LORD that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?”
“The ‘seven eyes of the LORD’ may also be translated the seven ‘springs’ of the Lord. But once again, as we did in 3:9, we opt simply for the concept of completeness in the number seven. God’s eyes scan the earth, going to and fro in an act of completeness – an act that points to His omniscience. He, the Lord, will see when that final special capstone is laid, for He sees all. Therein lies [a] reason why we must not belittle or demean the day of small beginnings, for one small work or one small worker plus God is always a majority.” (Kaiser, Walter. The Preacher’s Commentary. Micah – Malachi. Kindle location 6098.)
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that it is not by might, nor by power, but by your Spirit. Today, help me not despise the day of small things, but join with you in the work you are doing. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and empower me to do the things you have called me to do, to love you and to love others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with The Lord is My Salvation by Keith & Kristyn Getty (click here).
Luke 2:13-14 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
“Glory should be given to God in the most exalted of ways, while on earth one should see that this child means peace for those ‘on whom his favor rests.’ The picture of being a person of God’s favor was a Jewish way of saying that someone was numbered among God’s chosen people.”
(Bock, Darrell L. The NIV Application Commentary. Luke. p. 85)
John 11:51-52 …Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
John 12:20-21, 23-24, 32 Now there were some Greeks… They came… with a request… “We would like to see Jesus.” Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds… And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
Prayer: Jesus, thank you that you came to bring glory to God and peace to your people. Fill us with your Spirit today, that we would walk in that peace with you. And Lord, we pray for those who do not yet know you; we ask that you would send harvest workers, filled with the Spirit of Christ and the message of your gospel. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with Glory to you in the Highest (O Come Let Us Adore) by Matt Redman (click here).
“One of the most famous Christmas scenes in the Bible is the announcement to the shepherds by an angel that the Savior is born (Luke 2:11–14). The angels are sent to make something crystal clear: the Son of God has come into his creation to display the glory of God and to reconcile people from alienation to peace with God. To make God look great in salvation and to make man glad in God.
So when we come to John 12, there is no surprise when we hear Jesus praying that this would actually happen at the most important point of his earthly life, namely, his death and resurrection. That God would in fact be glorified in the rescue of sinners.” (Piper)
John 12:23-24, 27-28 “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Prayer: Let’s pray as Jesus taught us:
Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor your holy name.
May your kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted
and protect us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with God, You’re So Good by Passion (click here).
Let’s read aloud together the following passages, reading and prayer:
John 1:14 (NIV) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:10, 11-14 (NLT) He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
“The most glorious thing about God is that he is so completely, fully self-sufficient that the glory of the fullness of his being overflows in truth and grace for his creatures. He doesn’t need us. And therefore in his fullness he overflows for us. Such is the grace we receive at Christmas.” (Piper, John. The Dawning of Indestructible Joy (p. 28). Crossway. Kindle Edition.)
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the fullness of grace and truth – unfailing love and faithfulness – that you have poured out upon us in Jesus Christ. By your Spirit, fill our lives again today. May we overflow with your grace and love for others that they may know your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with Emmanuel by Chris Tomlin (click here).