Daily Devotion for November 29, 2015
First Sunday in Advent
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Our Virtual Church this Sunday is another favorite for Thanksgiving season, sung in St. John’s Episcopal Church, Detroit, Michigan.
1 We plough the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God's almighty hand;
he sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine,
and soft refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above;
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
for all his love.
2 He only is the Maker
of all things near and far;
he paints the wayside flower,
he lights the evening star;
the wind and waves obey him,
by him the birds are fed;
much more to us, his children,
he gives our daily bread.
3 We thank thee, then, O Father,
for all things bright and good,
the seed-time and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer
for all your love imparts,
with what we know you long for:
our humble, thankful hearts.
Text: Matthias Claudius, 1782; tr. Jane Montgomery Campbell, 1861
Music: Johann Schulz, 1800
For a Heart Open to God's Word
God, as you gave us the sun to lighten our days, so you have given us your Word to lighten our minds and our souls. I pray that you will pour out on me your Spirit as I pray today, that my heart and mind may be opened to your Word, and that I may learn and accept your will for my life.
Shine within my heart, loving God, the pure light of your divine knowledge; open the eyes of my mind and the ears of my heart to receive your Word, this day and always,
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, I confess that I have sinned against your Holy Word. I pray that you will now fulfill in me and in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
As I travel through the rest of this week, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
Luke 15:18-19 (KJV)
Isaiah 11:1-9 (ESV)
The Branch From Jesse
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra's den, the young child will put its hand into the viper's nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Notes on the Scripture
Today is the first Sunday in Advent — 23 days until Christmas! Our Scripture is a beautiful passage from Isaiah; much of Isaiah foretells the coming of the Messiah.
Advent is Latin for “coming” and we call the days before Christmas “Advent” because we celebrate the coming birth of Christ. He was born as an historical man, a real flesh-and-blood person, to enable us to be born in the Spirit. So in a sense, we celebrate the birth of mankind. For although people were human before, and had souls, the coming of Christ was the fulfillment of our original purpose: to be made in the image of God.
We prepare to welcome the arrival of a unique King into the world, as had been prophesied in Isaiah. We celebrate that the Word will become flesh, in order to give us the hope of salvation, the deliverance from sin. This period is one of excitement and preparation, for we have come to know Christ and what He has accomplished for us.
He is coming to dwell among us, God is coming to walk with us as a man, a simple man, a carpenter, to whom human beings could talk and worship and with whom they could eat. He was born as a humble little baby and the people alive in that time would have seen him, just like any newborn. And we know that He will come again and all who believe in Him will see him in the full glory of His Kingdom.