Cross and Flame - Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame).

Advent Devotionals

As we draw closer to Christmas Day, enjoy reading devotionals written by members and friends of Wheatland UMC.

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 Devotion by Kathy Ingram
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
This reading relates to the children of God calling upon Him for forgiveness after turning away from His grace and mercy. We often go about our daily lives without thanking God for showing forgiveness and grace when we stray or become indifferent .When times get tough, we call on Him and ask that he grant mercy and help get us through the hard times in our lives; but we forget to thank him for the days that are easy to get through. As Christians, we get lax in our daily prayers of thankfulness. We tend to wait to call upon his name when life gets hard and we need the comfort of His love.
Prayer: Our gracious Father, help me to be the best servant I can be every day and to remember to give thanks daily, not waiting until the going gets tough before seeking comfort in You. Amen.

Isaiah 2:1-5 Devotion by Jody Harris
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
Isaiah shows how in the return of Christ the Lords Church will be established as the one and true Church above all others, and all others will then turn to His Church. They will come to learn more of Him and to be taught to walk in His Light. He will Bring Peace to all nations and War will exist no more. This is also an Instruction to Us to be more open to learning to live peacefully with all Peoples and study the word of God and walk in His Light. And have hope for what is to come.
Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank You for this Insight into the Glories of The Second Coming. Help Us to understand and be worthy of thy Gifts and to walk in Your Light! Thank You for showing us that there will truly be “Peace On Earth And Good Will Toward Men” and help Us to remain Hopeful for All Thy Blessings in Heaven. Amen.

Isaiah 64:1-9 Devotion by Kathy Priester
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence — as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil — to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.
It’s that feeling at the back of my throat, that unsettled gnawing at my soul when I know I am not doing the right thing. But, I fight against the feeling; I ignore the gently pushing toward the right thing to do. Why? Is it so hard to do the right thing? Am I so intent on doing it my way, because it feels better than doing right? I hope not, but I believe that is the case over and over again.
I am going to try harder to listen to the nudging of the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to me, to lead me in the right direction. I will strive to really listen – to be silent – to be aware of my surroundings. I will get off the hamster wheel of life, and be aware of the wondrous world of nature around me and the people God puts in my path. And, I will not be surprised when the path I am directed down is new and different and maybe even scary, for I will trust that God is my guide. I am open and willing. Use me, God. Point me in the right direction.
Prayer: I pray that I will hear God’s direction for my life, each and every day, and not just when it’s convenient for me. I pray that my eyes will really be open to the direction God has for me and that I will not hesitate to go as I am directed. I am looking forward to life’s new adventures with God as my guide. Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Devotion by Tara Emerson
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind – just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you – so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Pardon the statement of the obvious: This present world is not peaceful – politically, militarily, societally, and in the hearts and minds of so many people. Reports of unrest appear almost immediately via our internet. Paul’s initial letter to the church in Corinth was written within 25 years of our Lord’s resurrection, where already many problems had arisen in the congregation. But in these verses Paul, once a relentless destroyer of Christians, extols the only source of peace and grace – our Father and his Son. Peace comes, a peace past understanding, in the midst of enormous difficulties. His grace sees us through because we know “this world is not our home, we’re just a-passin’ through.”
Prayer: May a sense of this peace and grace cover you this season. Amen.

Matthew 24:36-44 Devotion by Millie Scales
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
Awaiting the coming of the Lord, awaiting death is another. You will rejoice, but only in the Lord. Amidst the general transience of things around us, what is not transient is to walk in the will of God.
If only this were remembered, there would be no sinners. But, it is not remembered, only when we acquire a mind set on remembering. With the help of the all-healing grace of God, we will meet the Lord prepared.
Prayer: Seek the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit and make it fruitful. Amen.

Isaiah 40:1-11 Devotion by Brenda LaGard
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.
We may sin and fall short of God’s expectations of us, but He does not hold that against us for long. We may sometimes need to be punished. According to this passage, we are grass and flowers that fade in the course of time. Unlike these things, we can reach out to God and ask for His forgiveness. The Lord will not forget us. He will forgive us.
The Lord God wants to take care of us. He will gather us to him and protect us from harm – even the harm we bring on ourselves through our sins. The Lord God is there to lead us back to His care.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us not to forget how much You love us. Keep us in Your care always. Amen.

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 Devotion by Warren Stewart
1 LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin. Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the manifestation of attributes listed in Psalm 85. He is God’s favor extended to man and the payment for our sins. He is God’s peace extended to man. In Luke 2:13-14, the heavenly host cried out, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” shepherds in the fields witnessed this on the night of His birth.
He is also our salvation. His steadfast love, His faithfulness, and His righteousness are some of the additional attributes of our Savior.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son, the greatest of all possible gifts to mankind. Make us constantly aware of all You have done for us through Your Beloved Son Jesus. Amen.

2 Peter 3:8-15a Devotion by Beverly Martinez
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him.
“Advent” means coming – I never knew this before! Peter is telling us to remember that everything happens in GOD’s time, so we don’t know when “it” will happen. He is giving us time to get ready for the second “coming,” to repent and be prepared. We must be patient, and should live every day like it is our last, without sin and loving one another. Then we can look forward to the day that God has promised, as He will be pleased with those living peaceful, pure lives, and everything will be made new after being destroyed by fire and melting away.
Don’t get discouraged, but focus on living your life according to God’s will, count your blessings, continue to give praise and thanks to God in all things, knowing that the day will come!
Prayer: Dear God, help us every day to remember that you love us and that we should love others the same way. Remind us too, that we are nothing without you and to give praise and thanks every day so we will be prepared, as we patiently wait for the second “coming.” Amen.

Mark 1:1-8 Devotion by Hank Jones
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
These verses mean a great deal to me for they announce the “good news.” As promised by God, the Son of God is coming. Jesus is the Messiah who is empowered by God’s Spirit. If we accept Jesus as our Savior and are baptized, our sins are forgiven. To me the good news is at the heart of who God is and who God wants us to be – disciples who spread the word of God to others. This is very powerful for me in that it came at a time when the people of God were going through very difficult times and were experiencing desperation, despair, and hopelessness.
In a way, I liken it to what we see all around the world today and in our own country. It has caused me to reflect on words I read many years ago by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness.
Only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate.
Only love can do that.”
That is how I view the “good news.” Then as now, God brings to us the good news that by following his word we receive the light and the love that not only give us individually the hope and strength to persevere but to spread His word to others so there truly will be “World Without End” for all.
I will keep trying my best to follow God’s word for it brings me the hope and inspiration I need to keep going every day and to help others whenever I can.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for bringing us the good news. Help us to follow your word and live our lives as you want us to. Give us the strength to persevere through difficult times and to spread your word to others so all may find salvation in You. Amen.

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Devotion by Etheleen Lengyon
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. For I the LORD love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the LORD has blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
For those being bullied, or oppressed: Do you need some good news to come your way? Anyone with a bully invading their peace needs some good news such as, the bully has ceased being an irritant and therefore, attending any daily function is no longer dreadful! With the irritant gone there is an atmosphere of freedom and joy in participating in wholesome learning and social activities. Being able to relax without having to defend yourself; being able to breathe deeply without looking over your shoulder is a welcomed outcome of being relieved of the depressive nature of being around a bully of every type! The worrying and dreading – gone! Replaced instead with the sense of safety and an anticipated great future!
When I read this scripture, I think about a Savior coming to set things of life into the right order as God would prefer them to be. Jesus will come to make right the wrong in lives everywhere! The smallest and the greatest of burdens are released. Life is full of indescribable joy. Everyone who is being oppressed may say loudly and with confidence that God loves so much that whomever earnestly calls out to Him is given favor; and so may you say to God, release these burdens and that which depresses me. ‘Activate the power of Jesus in my life and I will live in your promised victory!’
Prayer: Holy One, the true Savior, of whom the prophets foretold many years ago. Touch us now so that your blessings impart to us. Then allow your blessings which flow through us to flow outward to others who may be the oppressors, for they also need you to be alive and active in their lives! Amen.

Psalm 126 Devotion by Dr. Jacquelyn Minor
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
TV shows like, “This Old House,” and “Extreme Makeover – Home Edition,” fascinate their audiences by taking run-down houses, and renovating them into something amazing and valuable! All the labor, frustration and setbacks make the outcome seem almost impossible. Then slowly, there is a transformation. Restoration has a way of captivating us.
My first taste of restoration was at age 8, when my mom taught me to polish silver. At first, it looked horrible – brown and black, and not at all something fit for guests. Hours later, the table was adorned with beautiful, sparkling platters and bowls that bore almost no resemblance to the ugly dishes we started with. The transformation was unbelievable!
As we move through the Advent season, transformation and restoration will slowly, but surely, happen all around us, and if we pause, we will see God in the midst…in our homes, in our relationships, outside in nature, and inside our hearts. If we allow Him to complete His work, in His time, we will experience the joy of restoration described in Psalm 126.
In our Christian walk, waiting for God’s restorative hand often means a period of waiting and working faithfully. Even in difficult times, our weeping cannot stop us from sowing. The advent – the season of waiting – is perhaps the most powerful time in all of the year, bringing us into a deeper experience of the power of waiting for what God has in store, and the joy that comes when we yield ourselves to experience His plan. This is the joy of restoration expressed in Psalm 126.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, you are glorious and mighty. Open my eyes to see You at work in my life. Help me yield my will to your transformative, restorative power, and be glorified in my life. And as long as I have your breath in my lungs, may my mouth overflow with praise for your greatness. Amen.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 Devotion by James Minor, Jr.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
You know, few things are exciting as getting bills in the mail. They fill you with so much emotion. Joy, peace, love, happiness a fantastic sense of awe. Now true, this might come blanketed in thoughts of anger, frustration, bitterness and resentment but it is there that I meet my Savior.
When I step back and consider, an electricity bill means I had lights on last month and was able to see around my home. A phone bill means I was able to initiate and receive calls and texts from friends, family and loved ones. A city utility bill means I had water to cook and clean with and that the city sent people by to pick up the trash from my residence. And a rent or mortgage bill means I had a roof over my head and a place to enjoy all of the provisions made for me. So for me, one additional gift that would come with Christ was perspective.
In announcing the Messiah, we were offered the understanding that our hope doesn’t rest in us completing the work assigned and the results aren’t even our responsibility. He would provide the provision to see His plans to come fruition and it becomes my privilege to rejoice, pray and give thanks.
Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me and planning more for me than I can understand. Help me to trust you and lean into your perspective more this and each day. Amen.

John 1:6-8, 19-28 Devotion by Edie Combs
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
John 1:6: “There was a man sent from God his name was John.” To me, All Christians are sent by God, to spread his word to all we encounter. Not only in the world, but in our immediate surroundings. By acts of kindness. A young gentleman helped me carry a heavy load, when I tried to pay him, He said pass it on, I am working for THE LORD today. Don’t forget, we were sent here from God, to work for him to bring strangers to him by word of mouth, Praise be to God. It may be a smile, which lifts someone’s spirit, or a few extra dollars at the checkout line for the person who didn’t have enough. Remember we are here to serve the LORD. When we get to the Pearly Gates of Heaven, may we have a group following behind us to meet the Lord. Don’t forget, we work for The Lord every day.

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 Devotion by Pastor James Minor
Now when the king was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you.” But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.
A Sure House: David in a moment of peaceful reflection considered the grandeur of his palace against the simple functionality of the Tabernacle. He had a house of cedar and the Lord’s house was a tent. He felt it was time for an upgrade for the Lord and he was just the man to see it happen. There is great likelihood of being checked by the Lord when we start deciding what we can do for God as if God had finished working on us. God had the prophet to go back and let King David know that it was not his to build a house for the Lord, but rather to know that the Lord would build of him a house forever.
It is an awesome blessing to be able to have your dream house built. Much care goes into finding just the right builder. Then there are floor plans to be decided on and all the fixtures, oh, all the fixtures. There is much work that must go into it, but through it all is the exceeding anticipation of the days and years you will spend living in and enjoying your dream house. The joy received from the expectation of the final results make the labor that goes into it worth it. And sometimes, sometimes some will in a moment of peaceful reflection consider the abundance of their blessings and decide to do something grand for the Lord, maybe a stain glass window or a wing for the church.
It is easy for us like David to forget that God is not finished with us yet. Taking advantage of this time set aside to remember the coming of our Lord gives opportunity for deeper reflection. God said through the prophet that: “the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house.” The promise to David is established in those who seek the Lord; for he is building a house not made of hands and he is the chief cornerstone. That house shall be made sure forever. It will not fall. Though the winds of deceit and malice may blow it shall not be swayed. Though storms and floods of abuse and injustice may rise up it shall not be moved. Amid wars and rumors of wars it shall stand; for, God is its builder. Christ Jesus comes again to those who will receive him. He really does not ask for much space but he does come to rebuild your house. The Lord is coming. Will there be room in you at his arrival?
Prayer: Lord, I give you thanks for your exceeding and marvelous blessing bestowed on me. Grant me the grace to know their place in your house that I may make room for your return. Amen.

Luke 1:46b-55 Devotion by Cathie Green
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
In several translations of the Bible I saw that the word Magnificat is used for the title of this scripture. When I looked up the definition of Magnificat in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary it said the canticle of the Virgin Mary in Luke 1:46-55. This word is reserved just for Mary.
In this song we find Mary humbly lifting the Lord in praise. She talks about how great her Lord is. She’s thanking God for choosing her. When I read this passage I think to myself, “would I be this grateful for God choosing me.” Stop and think, she’s a young teenage girl, never knew a man, and now she’s pregnant. I’m sure she had doubts in the beginning of how this was going to play out but I think her faith is what got her through. One of the definitions of faith is, “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” Mary had faith and believed that God would see her through this and thus rejoiced for Him choosing her to be the mother of His son.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for Mary and for her showing us true faith. Help us to have the same kind of faith that Mary had. Thank you so much for sending your son Jesus Christ. Amen

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 Devotion by Jackie Evans
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
Devotion and Prayer: Brothers and sisters hear this prayer – Let us always rejoice in the Lord, always pray regardless of what happens and most of all be thankful because this is will of God. Let us not hold back the Holy Spirit but keep away from all evil. Brothers and sisters we should always be holy in every way so that we may be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ come again. This is our prayer. Amen.

Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 Devotion by Rachelle Ritch
I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to my servant David: ‘I will establish your descendants forever, and build your throne for all generations.’” Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said: “I have set the crown on one who is mighty, I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found my servant David; with my holy oil I have anointed him; my hand shall always remain with him; my arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him, the wicked shall not humble him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him; and in my name his horn shall be exalted. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation!’
God our Father made a special promise to David. The important promise was that there would always be a king in David’s family, but there was no Jewish King! The army from Babylon and the King of Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar – became king of the Jews. How could this happen?
Think for just one moment, nothing that happens is beyond our God’s control. Ultimately, whatever comes into our life is either sent by our Father or permitted by Him, and that which does not enter is withheld according to His will. That is why David and the other believers felt that God was not going to keep his promise of a king. God makes no promises that he does not keep, as the story goes, Jesus will always be King and He was born on Christmas Day.
Prayer: If we would believe and recognize that God is in control of our past, present, and future, then we will not ever question His faithfulness. Amen.

Romans 16:25-27 Devotion by Pastor Sandi Minor
Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.
I grew up in Progressive Missionary Baptist Church in Sherman, Texas. My pastor was a balding man, who could really preach the word. He ate his first meal at my grandmother’s house and each year at his pastoral anniversary, we heard the story repeated. Whenever he preached, my grandmother would get “happy” and she would weep. However, when the choir sang “Amazing Grace” she moved up a notch from weeping to crying. For a very long time, I never understood why she cried when the choir sang that song.
I moved away from home after I got older and came back to visit on special holidays. I always attended my home church. Rev. McGruder was still bringing an awesome word and Granny was still crying. One Sunday, the choir began to sing Amazing Grace and for the first time I actually heard the words of the song for myself: “I once was lost but now I’m found; was blind but now, I see. It was grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace would lead me home”. The truth of those words had been hidden from me for so long. The tears running down my grandmother’s cheeks was a witness that the mystery of Christ’s coming had been realized by her. I had witnessed her transformation but had not understood it. That day it became real to me. I had grown up, went to college and was now married with children. I rejoiced in my salvation and was faithful in any church I joined. I had been through some hard times and prayed my way through. So much of that time was spent relying on God’s Word, Granny’s Wisdom and God’s grace.
The mystery of some secrets come with a time stamp. Grace is always present because God is ever present, but grace revealed is in His time. Granny knew about grace but its power was hidden from me until I could experience it for myself and be a witness in my own right to God through Jesus Christ.
Prayer: O God of the ages, continue to pull us to you through your marvelous grace. We were once blind but long to see you. Make us witnesses of Your grace and Your goodness in this world so that others may experience grace revealed and come to know You for themselves. Amen.

Luke 1:26-38 Devotion by Jan Cavender
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
This scripture is about more than the miracle of the virgin birth and Elizabeth’s pregnancy. It foretells the birth of Christ. Can you imagine what Mary felt when the angel Gabriel appeared to her? A very young woman, barely past girl hood, engaged to be married, untouched, and told she was to give birth to the son of God. The things that must have been going through her mind! What will my future husband say? Will he still marry me? Will he leave me because I will have a child that is not his? What am I going to do? What will my family say? Will they turn me away? I am going to give birth to the son of GOD! Instead of screaming and running away, she asked, how can this be? And the angel told her “the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you”. He told her of the miracle of Elizabeth, barren and of old age, who was with child. For nothing is impossible with God. A peace must have come over Mary, for she told the angel that she was the Lord’s servant. May his word to her be fulfilled. She had great faith and love of God even at a young age. She could have refused this fate, but she accepted it believing God would take care of her. What if we all had the faith of the young Mary? No matter what adversity we faced, we would have peace knowing that God will take care of us and watch over us. Prayer: With all that is going on in this world, let us have the faith of Mary, and know that no matter what happens, God is watching over us, and will take care of us, no matter the situation, for nothing is impossible with God. Peace be with you. Amen.

Mark 13:24-37
But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.
Reflect on the meaning of this scripture in your life during this Advent season.

Psalm 122
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!” Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem built as a city that is bound firmly together. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.” For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.
Reflect on the meaning of this scripture in your life during this Advent season.

Romans 13:11-14
Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Reflect on the meaning of this scripture in your life during this Advent season.