If you are looking for a solid devotional for this year, you can’t go wrong with Oswald Chambers’s classic My Utmost for His Highest. Get the app and always have it on your commute and at work with you!
Looking for a way to make your commute to work and back home a sacred place in 2016? This commute liturgy will walk you through the process of dedicating your hands to God for the day, inviting Him into your daily work and preparing you for being on mission with God. It will also take you through a process of evaluation on the way home, allowing you to review that day, ask for forgiveness, and pray for those you interacted with during your day.
Buy and download it now at A New Liturgy.
This is a great read: Finding God on the DC Metro
Shepherd of Israel, may Jesus, Emmanuel and son of Mary, be more than just a dream in our hearts. With the apostles, prophets, and saints, save us, restore us, and lead us in the way of grace and peace, that we may bear your promise into the world. Amen.
Advent Devotional Week 4: Love
Read: Luke 2:21-38
“Coming up to them at that very hour, she [Anna] gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
At first glance, Anna did not seem positioned well to make any substantial difference in the world. Born into a family and tribe considered obscure and of little consequence in Israel’s history, she became a young widow and never remarried. Like anyone in her circumstance, she grieved what she thought would be and embraced the unknowns of the future. However, Anna rose from her circumstances and devoted her life to serving God, allowing her to witness and proclaim the arrival of the Messiah.
Love may be felt through our emotions, but it is proclaimed through our actions. A life devoted to God reflects a soul that loves Him. Although the unexpected will come, we must allow the pain to transform into a space from which a prophetic voice will rise. Anna’s life of dedication positioned her not only to be present for Jesus’ arrival, but also to recognize His presence. God uses seemingly ordinary times of devotion to position us to recognize Jesus and to develop a prophetic voice to proclaim His presence. Anna had a voice among the people. They knew her and trusted her because of her faithful devotion to God throughout the years.
As you faithfully live a life devoted to God in your community, He will strategically position you to proclaim Jesus at times and in places when others don’t recognize His presence. God’s love is not simply information to pass on to others but the source from which all you do flows. Allowing the love of God to transform your painful circumstances will draw others into experiencing God’s love for themselves.
“Here is Love” by Brian Johnson
O God of Isaiah and John the Baptist, through all such faithful ones you proclaim the unfolding of future joy and renewed life. Strengthen our hearts to believe your advent promise that one day we will walk in the holy way of Christ, where sorrow and sighing will be no more and the journey of God’s people will be joy. Amen.
Advent Devotional Week 3: Joy
Read Luke 2:8-20
“And they went with hast and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.”
The shepherds resided in their field like any other night. Unknown to them, this night would change everything as heavenly beings invade their common, ordinary space, blurring the lines of heaven and earth forever. The shepherds had a decision to make. Do they remain afraid of the happenings around them, or do they trust God’s message and accept His invitation to find the Savior now present with them in the world?
Advent is about waiting for the coming of Christ. However, perhaps this advent, in a fear-drenched world, God waits on us to come—to decide to move past fear and embrace the reality of Jesus’ presence in the world despite the anxious surroundings. God once again chooses to draw us, common people, into what He is doing on the earth. Do we stay in the familiar place, full of fear hoping for normal to return? Or do we trust God and look for His presence around us, allowing our fear to turn into joy so others can encounter Jesus and experience transformation?
Joy does not come about because all is right in the world. Joy results from an inner confidence that what God has declared will come to pass. When we choose the message of joy over our instinct of fear, we prophetically declare what will be. However, this requires that we watch for and respond to the divine-earthly entanglement in our ordinary settings, allowing any fear that arises to transform into joy because of God’s presence with us.
“Hymn of Joy” by Chris Tomlin
Laboring God, with axe and winnowing fork you clear a holy space where hurt and destruction have no place, and a little child holds sway. Clear our lives of hatred and despair, sow seeds of joy and peace, that shoots of hope may spring forth and we may live in harmony with one another. Amen.
Advent Devotional Week 2: Peace
Read Luke 2:1-6
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David … to register with Mary.”
Reluctantly, and slowly, Joseph and Mary set out on the road to Bethlehem to be counted in Caesar Augustus’s census. Caesar was like no other Roman leader. He appeared to have transformed an empire engulfed in the strife of civil war into one of peace. Called “the savior” and “the living god,” he brought the “good news” of peace. God’s people, who felt the heaviness of Rome’s taxation and cruelty, knew true peace meant more than a lack of conflict or war. It meant a completeness, a wholeness, that Caesar could not dictate. God alone would supply peace in the humble form of a baby.
God has a habit of working in hiddenness. True peace would not come about by the spectacle of earthly empires, might, and wisdom, but in a seemingly insignificant town through a meek couple willing to bring Jesus into the world. Humanity longs for peace to transform the world. Peace, however, does not bring transformation. Jesus transforms, bringing peace—bringing wholeness.
Daily we watch the chaos of the world around us and yearn for peace, but our human systems do not bring peace—Jesus does. Unjust systems change as He transforms the people who create and execute them. It is easy to watch circumstances bigger than us play out and cry, “we need peace!” However, what about our own space—our family, our neighborhood, our coworkers, our town? These are the ordinary, seemingly insignificant, realms that Jesus impacts through us that ultimately affect and shape the larger arenas.
Ponder: Where do you see a lack of peace (wholeness) around you?
Prepare: Before leaving for work, for school, or to run errands around town, sit before God in silence. Turn from any worldly systems you might be looking to for peace and meditate on Jesus.
Pray: “Father, open my eyes and heart to the small places where Your presence needs to reside. May I live out the wisdom and love of Jesus so peace can be known today.”
“A Light” by The Brilliance
“Do You Hear?” by Chapel Springs Music featuring Josh Wesley
Unexpected God, your advent alarms us. Wake us from drowsy worship, from the sleep that neglects love, and the sedative of misdirected frenzy. Awaken us now to your coming, and bend our angers into your peace. Amen.
We invite you to follow week 1 of Chapel Springs’ Advent devotional here
Below are a couple songs to accompany your Advent journey this week, along with a piece of art to contemplate that relates to this week’s devotional.
This piece of modern art reflects the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth in Luke 1.
“Come To Us O Lord” by Young Oceans
“O Come O Come Emmanuel” by Chapel Springs Music, featuring Michaelah Faith