Daily Devotion for December 4, 2016
Second 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.
Who freed us from our sin,
Who loved us all, and shed his blood
That we might saved be.
Sing holy, holy to our Lord,
The Lord almighty God,
Who was and is, and is to come.
Sing holy, holy Lord.
Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein.
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below.
For Christ is coming, Is coming soon.
For Christ is coming soon.
E'en so Lord Jesus quickly come,
And night shall be no more.
They need no light, no lamp, nor sun,
For Christ will be their All!
For Unity in Sunday Worship
Father of mercy, your love embraces everyone, and through the Resurrection of your Son you call me and all who pray with me into your wonderful light. Dispel our darkness and make us a people with one heart and one voice, forever singing your praise, in Jesus, the Christ, our Lord.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh my God, you know my weakness and failings, and that without your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others'. Grant me, therefore, the help of your grace, according to my particular needs this coming week. Enable me to see the tasks you will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and let me set my hand to these tasks with the vigor and joy of one with whom you abide. And if I should face trials, suffering or failure, I pray that your hand will lift me up, and I may be refreshed. In the name of Christ, I pray,
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Father in heaven, creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon me and receive my heartfelt gratitude for all that you have done for me and for those I love. Thank you for all the grace and blessings, both spiritual and temporal, you have bestowed upon me, my loved ones, and this community of prayer: Our faith and religious heritage; our food and shelter; our health; the love we have for one another; and the lives of our Lord and friends.
Dear Father, in your infinite generosity, please grant us continued grace and blessings during the coming day. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, your only son, who has saved me from death.
All through this day and in the week to come, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.
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.
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He could live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart. What about the Christmas gift He sent you in Bethlehem; not to mention that Friday at Calvary.
~ Joe Gatuslao
Isaiah 24:1-6 (ESV)
Judgment of the Earth
Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
Burning of Sodom (detail), Corot
The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word.
The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish.
The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.
Notes on the Scripture
Well, this isn't exactly a rosy cheerful Christmas message. But Isaiah, who predicted the coming of a Savior with astonishing alacrity, fully appreciated what was at stake, and had no compunction about expressing it. To appreciate Christ, we must appreciate fully what He saved us from.
This grim prophecy from Isaiah foretells the future of the physical world, and of the physical humans who inhabit it. Our bodies will die some day. No matter whether we are priests or lords or servants, whatever our station in life has been, our lives as physical human beings will end. And just as we will become old and our bodies will become weak and sick, the earth will become desolate and eventually be “empty and utterly plundered.”
Knowing the certainty of the pain of death, we can appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us. Our joy at the birth of Christ, which we celebrate three weeks from now, is as great as our understanding of our future without Him. We are, indeed, safe to hang fragrant wreaths and bask in firelit comfort, for we have been rescued. Christmas is not only a time of joy, but a time of relief.