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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel

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2 Samuel 7:1–5, 8–16 • Psalm 88(89): 2–5, 27,29 • Luke1:67–79

John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited his people, he has come to their rescue and he has raised up for us a power for salvation in the House of his servant David even as he proclaimed, by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times, that he would save us from our enemies and from the hands of all who hate us.  Thus he shows mercy to our ancestors, thus he remembers his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham that he would grant us, free from fear, to be delivered from the hands of our enemies, to serve him in holiness and virtue in his presence, all our days.  And you, little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him.  To give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, this by the tender mercy of our God who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

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How shall we prepare ourselves to welcome Jesus as our King this Christmas? A king can rule only when the people give him authority to reign over them.  Jesus will be our king only if we invite him to rule over us by placing our whole lives under him, leaving no area of our lives outside his kingship and holding nothing back from him. We must make the decision to follow him, obey him and serve him with all of our hearts. Do you want Jesus to reign in your life?  What areas of your life do you wish to place under his kingship?

Use these precious days before Christmas to ask the Holy Spirit to show you any areas that you need to place under his rule.  Jesus is coming. Welcome him with great joy! Jesus longs to be your king. Invite him to reign over your life!

Jesus was born to deliver us from the dominion of darkness and to transfer us into the kingdom of light (see Col 1:13).  He inaugurated the kingdom of God: 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Matt 4:17).  Using many parables he teaches us about the kingdom of God.  He insists that only the docile and humble can receive the kingdom:

Jesus you were born to be my Saviour and my King I invite you to be my King and to rule over my whole life.


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The Root of Jesse

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Isaiah 11:1–11
 
1 And a rod will go forth from the root of Jesse, and a flower will ascend from his root.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and piety.
3 And he will be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. He will not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears.
4 Instead, he will judge the poor with justice, and he will reprove the meek of the earth with fairness. And he will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and he will slay the impious with the spirit of his lips.
5 And justice will be the belt around his waist. And faith will be the warrior's belt at his side.
6 The wolf will dwell with the lamb; and the leopard will lie down with the kid; the calf and the lion and the sheep will abide together; and a little boy will drive them.
7 The calf and the bear will feed together; their young ones will rest together. And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 And a breastfeeding infant will play above the lair of the asp. And a child who has been weaned will thrust his hand into the den of the king snake.
9 They will not harm, and they will not kill, on all my holy mountain. For the earth has been filled with the knowledge of the Lord, like the waters covering the sea.
10 In that day, the root of Jesse, who stands as a sign among the people, the same the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulcher will be glorious.
11 And this shall be in that day: the Lord will send forth his hand a second time to take possession of the remnant of his people who will be left behind: from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Ethiopia, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
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Our goal, destiny and purpose

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field and sky with figure

Luke 21:34–36

Jesus understood the human: condition with all its weaknesses, inclinations and peccadillos. He counsels us to be careful or our hearts will be weighed down with three things: dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and ‘that day’ will close unexpectedly on us like a trap. The day the Lord was referring to is the day of his coming, the day of judgement but also the day of our death. We know for sure that these things will come upon every person who lives on the face of the earth (v. 35).

Since the beginning the Christian faith has encouraged the idea of keeping watch, being vigilant and in constant prayer in anticipation of the coming of the Lord. In this we are united to our brothers and sisters in the Jewish faith, who pray and long for the first coming of the Messiah in glory and honour. We pray for Jesus’s second coming, for we believe he is the promised Messiah, and returns in glory and honour after securing our eternal salvation.

However, truth be told, if we can resist being dissipated and drunk, most of us succumb to being overwhelmed by the anxieties and cares of life. When this happens, we  are easiiy  confused, lose clarity and are consumed with the things of this world. The real challenge for all of us is keeping our goal, destiny and purpose to the forefront of our minds and hearts.

What is our goal, destiny and purpose? To be with God, to share in the joy of heaven, to know the resurrection life – these are the end realities for which we long and pray and which one day will be a reality. For sure we need to strive, for sure we need to apply ourselves and work, but more, much more than this, we need to turn humbly to the Spirit who helps us in our weakness.

Tomorrow the season of Advent and Christmastide begins and we enter a time of waiting, longing and hoping as the liturgy makes present to us the events, the drama and the grace of Jesus’s first coming, while looking forward to his second, his return in glory but also to his coming into our lives in a new, exciting and dynamic way.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. With eyes of faith we see his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father full of grace and truth.

Chris 

From Bible Alive

 

 Apocalypse 22:1—7 •  Psalm 94(95):1–7 • Luke 21:34–36

 

 

 

 

Photograph ©2020 threeshoes photography

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