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Advent: Day 24

December 24: Read Luke 1:38,46-50   “I am the servant of the Lord.” Once Mary had the assurance and the promise that nothing was impossible with God, she willingly risked reputation, probably even her life, and accepted the challenge of being the human instrument needed to cradle within her the Son of God. Mary had the capacity of servanthood. H...

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Advent: Day 23

Advent: Day 23 Read Luke 1:34-35 “Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be?’” Sometimes, the challenges we face in life feel impossible. Regardless of what some say, this is true even when we are trying to walk close to the Lord and in the light we celebrate at a time like Advent. Even in the midst of our questions and doubt, he who promi...

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Be an Advent Gift of Encouragement

For most of us, Advent is not a season of peace. It’s an extraordinarily busy, often stressful season. That is not necessarily a bad thing. The first Advent was certainly anything but peaceful. It began with a contemplation of divorce, was accompanied by numerous confusing, unplanned detours, and was consummated in a stable of desperation. The Prince of peace brought a ...

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Advent: Day 22

December 22: Read Luke 2:8-20 “There were shepherds out in the field,keeping watch over their flock.” God chose the shepherds to hear the gospel proclamation first. He sent the angelic choir in all of its majesty and splendor, to herald the good news. He provided a way for Joseph and Mary to get the child to the exact place where Old Testament prophecy...

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Advent: Day 21

December 21: Read Luke 2:1-7   “She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” When God looks into our lives, all of the business of our days, rushing to malls, fighting traffic, meeting deadlines, hurrying off to parties, cooking, baking, wrapping...

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Advent: Day 20

December 20: Read Luke 1:26-30 “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” If God broke into human history once again as he did at the birth of Jesus, would he find us “favorable?” Mary’s own testimony, recorded for the world to see, is phenomenal. What made her favorable to God? We might imagine several character tr...

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Advent: Day 19

December 19: Read Matthew 2:19-21 “Herod died.” Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there is something about the name of Jesus. In God’s sovereign plan, he provided a way of escape for his son on more than one occasion. This is because God’s plan is greater than man’s, and greater than Satan’s. His plan for your life is greater than any other to...

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Advent: Day 18

December 18: Read Matthew 2:16-18 “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertainedfrom the wise men.” God has a plan, but Herod’s plan was to end the life of Jesus be...

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Advent: Day 17

December 17: Read Matthew 2:13-15 “Behold, an angel of the Lord appearedto Joseph in a dream.” Joseph’s mind must have been clear and clean, for God spoke to him in dreams. This clarity allowed him to be effective and aware in protecting his vulnerable family. Ask God to do a miracle in cleansing the hearts and minds of his people. Media influences such as ...

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Advent: Day 16

December 16: Read Matthew 2:12   "Being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way." After worshiping Jesus, they returned another way. Real worship accomplishes this. To worship is to become vulnerable to the sovereignty of another. Real worship effects personal change. You cannot have a real encounter with ...

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O Come Again, Emmanuel

Although the author of O Come, O Come Emmanuel ambled into history as “anonymous,” his poignant song has traveled from 12th century monasteries to modern-day hymnbooks. The mournful melody juxtaposed with the lyrical command to “rejoice” may strike some as peculiar, but for Christians, the song reaffirms our heart’s deep desire for Christ&rsqu...

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Advent: Day 15

December 15: Read Matthew 2:11 "Going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold, and frankincense and myrrh." Advent reminds us that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. God loved and gave! It has also been sugegsted that the tradition of giv...

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Advent: Day 14

December 14: Read Matthew 2:9-10 “When they saw the star, they rejoicedexceedingly with great joy.“ Interruptions come our way so often, we learn to expect them. Opposition comes once in awhile, and we learn to ignore it. Sometimes the temptation to change our focus seems like the right thing to do. The Magi heard the king, but then they went on their way. Wh...

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Advent: Day 13

December 13: Read Matthew 2:3-8 “Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.’” Two biblical principles emerge from this passage: ...

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Advent: Day 12

December 12: Read Matthew 2:1-2 “We ... have come to worship him.“ Why do you worship the Lord? Make a list and place on it all of the reasons you find to worship Jesus. Your answers may include: He healed the sick. He fed the five thousand. He walked on water. He died for my sin. He rose from the grave. Not one of those reasons mattered to t...

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Advent: Day 11

December 11: Read Matthew 1:24-25 “He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” Without obedience, there would have been a very different ending to the story of Christmas. Joseph did what he was told. Plenty of room for question, but instead, he simply offered obedience. If obedience replaced pride, fear, and replaced laziness, God could change our...

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Keeping the Heart in Our Christmas Traditions

I made spritz cookies the other day — those beautiful cookies that look like Christmas trees and taste like almonds and butter, sprinkled with colored sugar on top. For those of us of Scandanavian or Germanic background these cookies have been a holiday tradition for generations. However, spritz cookies are also notoriously difficult to make. The butter in the dough (an...

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Advent: Day 10

December 10: Read Matthew 1:22-23 “They shall call his name Immanuel(which means, God with us).” With grace and dignity, many who have suffered greatly and survived cancer, remark that the name, Immanuel (God with us), had taken on a deeper meaning to them. Hopefully, you will never have to experience anything so tragic and threatening as cancer to di...

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Advent: Day 9

December 9: Read Matthew 1:18-21 “The birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” Notice Joseph tried to intervene and take care of the situation quietly and discretely. What if he had succeeded? It would only have taken ...

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Advent: Day 8

December 8: Read Matthew 1:16-17 “…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. So allthe generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations." Take a mo...

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Advent: Day 7

December 7: Read Micah 5:2-5 "O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me  one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." Here is one more evidence that God keeps his word perfectly. It is a promise, actually a prophecy concerning the birthplace of our Lo...

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Advent: Day 6

DECEMBER 6: Read Joel 2:28-29 "In those days I will pour out my Spirit." Here’s yet another promise kept by God. He keeps his promises to us because he is faithful and true. As you experience this time of remembering God’s promises, allow his Spirit to search your heart. Be faithful to deal with everything that the Holy Spirit brings to the light. Following ti...

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Advent: Day 5

DECEMBER 5: Read Jeremiah 31:31-34 "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel." The Old Testament is a road sign pointing toward Jesus. It points to God’s promises for you and me. Here is just one of them which God has already fulfilled in the birth and life of Jesus. Wouldn’t it be a grea...

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Advent: Day 4

DECEMBER 4: Read Isaiah 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” This was the text for one of Jesus’ first sermons. It almost cost him his life. His entire ministry can be seen as an investment in human need. What can be said about your personal ministry? How many needs will...

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Advent: Day 3

DECEMBER 3: Read Isaiah 9:6-7 “His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” We celebrate the season of Advent because God has entered human history in the form of a man. Never before and never since has humanity had a greater hope than in Jesus. When you are confused, discouraged, or brokenhearted, h...

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Advent: Day 2

DECEMBER 2: Read Isaiah 43:1-5 "I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior... I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King." The gospel is: “I am accepted through Jesus, therefore I obey.”Religion is: “I obey, therefore I am accepted by God.” So th...

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Advent and the Incarnation

Advent is my yearly reminder to sharpen and deepen my understanding of the incarnation. So in this spirit, this is the first in a series of four Advent posts related to the incarnation. What Is the Incarnation? The incarnation refers literally to the in-fleshing of the eternal Son of God—Jesus becoming human. The doctrine of the incarnation says that the eternal se...

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Advent: Day 1

DECEMBER 1: Read Isaiah 11:1-2 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him. (Isa. 11:1-2) Have you ever picked up a piece of grass or a plant and seen the roots? Usually they are hidden but they are very important to the life of a plant or tree. Often we speak of o...

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Kids' Advent Reading Plan

Kids' Advent Reading Plan: Jesus Storybook Bible Advent is a season of anticipation and preparation. The word advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means coming. We wait with anticipation as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. As we wait, we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. We have a lot to be excited about. During this season we are celebr...

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What Is Advent?

As we begin our Advent series "He Has Come", we have provided resources to help your family celebrate and worship during this season. Copies of both our adult devotionals and "Jesus Storybook Bible" reading guides are available at the Sunday connect area. You will also be able to access the daily devotionals here, on our blog. Below is a short introduction to the Adve...

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