Crescent Hill Baptist Church
Advent Devotional Booklet - 1977
Bill Amos (Hope)
........Wendell Arnett (Peace)
...................Blanche Goetzman (Joy)
..............................Harriett Conn (Love)
A Christian Family Prepares For Christmas
Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas. It is not to be confused with the celebration of Christmas or the commercial and secular activities of the pre-Christmas season. Advent has traditionally and historically been a celebration of Christians in the church as well as in family and private devotions. Southern Baptists have been very hesitant and often slow to join other Christians around the world in some of the traditions of the Christian Church and its celebrations of important Christian events.
Advent is becoming more a part of Crescent Hill and our preparation for Christmas. We are becoming more aware of its place of importance in our personal preparation for the celebration of Christ's birth.
Advent means "to prepare" and this preparation has a two-fold meaning. One is the preparing for Christmas 177 and the other is the preparing for Christ's second coming. The two colors of candles represent solemness and royalty, in the three purple candles, and in the one pink candle. Our preparation should be a very serious time for preparing and rededicating ourselves in anticipation of Christmas and in the second coming of Christ. Joy, too, is important during this preparation because we are celebrating the fact that Christ has come and we are soon to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. The Advent wreath is made of greenery which is the symbol of Christian growth. The circular form represents eternity.
Our goal is that as we celebrate Advent that this devotional booklet will help and your family in preparing for a centered Christmas and to assist you in gathering some fresh insights and rekindling old commitments as we make ready for that holy night.
Today the first purple candle on the Advent Wreath is lighted. With its glowing light we are reminded that HOPE is what has sustained us in our belief that Christ is coming again.
About the Writer
Nov. 27-Dec. 3 HOPE
The writer for the first week of Advent is Rev. Bill Amos. Rev. Amos is administrator of the Kentucky Baptist Board of Child Care. He has been a member of Crescent Hill Baptist Church since 1969. He has served our church in many ways. Currently, he is a deacon and is chairman of the finance committee.
There are two children, Leisl and Douglas. Bill has several hobbies, including boating, camping and woodwork. The excellent job he did on this week's family worship material is evidence of another of his hobbies-- writing.
We thank Bill Amos for taking the time from his busy schedule to write these Advent devotionals on "Hope."
Sunday, November 27
GOD WITH US
READ Isaiah 7:14
As you stand and look at a flower beginning to reveal its fullness from the tight expectation of a bud or feel the coolness of the breeze caress your face, you surely must be aware of the power of God in this world. It is also His purpose for us to know that power in a personal way.
The prophet Isaiah spoke very plainly of God's coming. He chose to use the word "Immanuel," meaning "God with Us." His prophecy points out that the God of power, the God of creation, was coming to really be with us in the flesh. His coming would be such that the reality of His presence with us would be unmistakable.
Prayer: Our Father, as we can know and see evidence of your power-in the beauty of nature, help us to be reminded that through Jesus Christ You are indeed with US. Amen.
Monday, November 28
PROPHECY OF HOPE
READ Isaiah 11:1-9
It seems sometimes that the world is filled with evil and things that hurt. The day in which the Prophet Isaiah lived was really no different. In the midst of a time with trouble, oppression, division and human need on every hand, the prophet sings out with beauty and clarity that there is hope.
From the setting of family life that was both important and easily understood, Isaiah points to a time of hope that will arise "out of the stem of Jesse." The thing that makes this so real and exciting is that the spirit of God shall rest upon him.
When this Hope is recognized and followed, it affects not only our lives but, more importantly, the way we live with one another.
Prayer: Dear Father, no matter how bad we think it is, help us to remember that in You there is Hope! Amen.
Tuesday, November 29
READ Isaiah 53:1-6
It is a natural and normal thing to want to be accepted. Sometimes we work really hard at the task . . . sometimes too hard. There is nothing quite so frustrating or sometimes as painful as being rejected. This is especially true when we have worked extra hard at gaining acceptance.
God surely must understand our feelings. The prophet Isaiah foretold that this
would happen even to Him in the person of His son, Jesus Christ. However, knowing that rejection was a part of His coming did not stop Him. It has not stopped His loving us to this day.
Prayer: 0 God of love, help us to learn to accept ourselves so we can accept You and Your redeeming love. Amen.
Wednesday, November 30
GOSPEL OF HOPE
READ Isaiah 61:1-3
A young boy stood looking up at the beautiful sanctuary building. Never before had he seen anything quite like it. He turned to his teacher and said, "If this is where God lives, He sure is too good for me."
Because of our many beautiful church houses, we sometimes forget that Christ came to deal with those people whose houses, families or lives are not things of beauty to be admired.
The prophet Isaiah dramatically underscores who it was that Jesus came to live among and just what the focus of His mission really was.
Prayer: Our Father, help us really to believe that You came for us and want to love us just like we are. Amen.
Thursday, December 1
THE LIGHT OF HOPE
READ John 1: 9-13
One of the most beautiful aspects of the darkness of night is the beauty of the morning. We do not usually, however, consciously think of it in these terms. If you have ever watched the blackness of the night transcend into the lightness of day, you always will be impressed.
God in his eternal concern is aware of the darkness of this world. Further, it is clearly His intention that we should not live in such darkness, but rather learn to walk in the light. The writer of John's gospel beautifully points out the clear sense of hope that comes from
living in the light.
Prayer: Oh God, help us to believe that You want us to be children of light and not of darkness. Amen.
Friday, December 2
READ Matthew 11:2-6
John was a really good friend of Jesus and His family. He had been given a special task to do by the Father. At no time did John let anything distract him from his task, which was always that of pointing to the coming of the Messiah.
It takes an unusual person who can consistently stay on the track of his task. The writer of Matthew's gospel tells how from prison John was trying to be sure that those who followed him would learn and recognize Jesus whom they should follow.
Prayer: Our Father, thank you for men like John who helped point people to You. Help us to learn to do the same. Amen.
Saturday, December 3
THE HOPE OF GLORY
READ Colossians 1:23-27
Perhaps you know something of the feeling that comes from needing something and thinking that you know just what it is you need. After a long time of waiting, you finally are able to get that thing you need. Instead of a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment, there begins to crop up feelings of being unsatisfied, of wanting all over again.
The writer of Colossians speaks specifically to this abundantly human trait. His point is both clear and well-taken. Only in Jesus Christ do we find real fulfillment and meaning. Only in Him is our sense of hope realized.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for making away and giving to us the really good gift of Jesus. Amen.
On the second Sunday in Advent two purple candles are now lit. The ever increasing light given off by these candles symbolizes the fact that Christ said, "I am the light of the world." Not only was He the light of the world but was the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
About the Writer
Dec. 4-10 PEACE
Wendell Arnett, writer for this week, is a retired staff member of the Courier- Journal and Louisville Times, having served there for thirty-two years. During that time he has painted biographical portraits of many famous people from the sports, business, and professional fields. Included have been such notables as Artis Gilmore (basketball player), Colonel Harland Sanders (Kentucky Fried Chicken), and Deane Chandler Davis (former governor of Vermont). Wendell paints these portraits on topgrain cowhide in full color.
The Arnetts have been members of our church since December of 1945. Mr. Arnett has served as a deacon here. Wendell and Leila Katherine have two daughters and one son-- all married. We appreciate the contribution the Arnetts have made to the life of our church.
Sunday, December 4
PRINCE OF PEACE
READ Isaiah 9: 6-7
The birth of a child is a great event. I was overseas in World War 11 when our first child was born in 1944. I remember receiving the cablegram announcing his arrival. How excited I was to hear about his birth and to see him when the war was over, thirteen months later! Most young married couples are thrilled at the expectation of a baby. What will it be? What shall we name it? What will it become? The main thing, though, is that-we are going to have a new addition to our family, a child is to be born.
Isaiah the prophet had this in mind when he wrote these verses. A child was expected who would be a Prince of Peace. The kingdom that Isaiah spoke of was not an earthly kingdom, as the Jews thought. He was speaking of a different kind of kingdom, one that would be ruled by this Prince of Peace.
Prayer: Our Father, we pray for those in power--our President and the kings and rulers of countries throughout this world that they might have wisdom and understanding to keep on striving for peace in our time. Amen.
Monday, December 5
TIDINGS OF PEACE
READ Isaiah 52:7
In 1860 the PONY EXPRESS was formed to carry the mail across the west from St. Joseph, Missouri to San Francisco in less than half the time ever recorded. The eighty young men forty starting east from San Francisco; forty starting west from St. Joseph, Missouri) were messengers not always of good tidings of peace but messages from loved ones, of business, disasters, and sometimes of death. How exciting it is to read the adventures of these daring young men rushing their horses at breakneck speed through all kinds of weather and dangers to bring these messages!
As the Pony Express served so greatly in the 1860's, so the Prophet Isaiah was saying how great and wonderful to see a messenger come running, bringing good news.
And the good news, says to Zion is: the news of peace he "Your God is king."
Prayer: Our Father, as the world searches for peace, through the United Nations, and through our ambassadors for peace in the Middle East, we know that there never can be a lasting peace until the world is Christian and the Prince of Peace comes again. Amen.
Tuesday, December 6
DWELL IN PEACE
READ Jeremiah 23:5-6
In I Kings 2:1-3 David is getting old and he realizes that his time on earth is short. He says to Solomon his son who will ascend to his throne, "Be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man, And keep the charges of the Lord thy God-9 to walk in his ways . . ." Solomon did ascend the throne. He asked the Lord to bless him and give him wisdom and understanding rather than riches. The Lord made him the wisest ruler that ever governed a people.
The Prophet Jeremiah was not talking about a political ruler like Solomon when he said, "The time is coming when I will choose as king a righteous descendent of David," but about Jesus of Nazareth. The Jews, of course, thought that he was talking about an earthly king who would reign and bring peace and prosperity and a land flowing with milk and honey.
This king that Jeremiah speaks of will be called "The Lord Our Salvation."
Prayer: Our Father, help us to seek wisdom and understanding by reading the Bible and trying to live by its standards, and to look forward to the day when wars shall cease and the Prince of Peace shall reign supreme. Amen
Wednesday, December 7
GIFT OF PEACE
READ Micah 5: 2-5
He crowned himself Emperor of the French and created an empire that covered most of western and central Europe. He was the greatest military genius of his time. He was born in a little obscure village called Ajaccio on the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. From a small village he rose to the heights. Napoleon was victorious through most of his great campaigns, but it was the tiny snowflakes falling on his mighty armies as he moved closer to Moscow that made him return to Paris in defeat. Although there was quite a contrast in the character of Napoleon and Abraham Lincoln, the latter also was born in an obscure place. However, Napoleon sought only personal glory while Lincoln thought of serving others.
In this chapter of Micah, the writer tells about a great ruler that shall come from the smallest town in Judah, a ruler who will bring peace and not a sword. He will rule his people with the strength that comes from the Lord. The people over which he rules will live in safety because the people all over the earth will acknowledge his greatness.
Prayer: Our Father, help us to so live that we shall live with him in peace and safety, free from the ills of this world and its sorrows when Jesus comes again to rule over his kingdom. Amen.
Thursday, December 8
PEACE ON EARTH
READ Luke 2:8-14
The Basque is the name of the people who live on the slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain. They are mostly shepherds who tend their flocks. Many of them have moved to America to herd sheep. There are groups of them in the mountains of Montana and Wyoming. They remain for months on end with their sheep, guarding them night and day as the sheep graze the slopes. They are usually alone but have their trusty sheep dogs to help them guard the sheep.
Luke tells us that it was to the shepherds like the Basque that the angels came bringing the good news of Jesus' birth. I am sure that if a bright light suddenly shone into the eyes of the lonely Basque shepherds it would have frightened them, too, as it did the shepherds of Judea when the angels appeared to them. The angels told them not to be afraid, for they
brought them good news.
The good news for us is that at Christmastime we celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior.
Prayer: Our Father, as the shepherds of old heard the good tidings of the birth of Christ, we too are grateful for a Savior who was born at Christmastime and who brings salvation to all the world who believe in him. Amen.
Friday, December 9
FULFILLMENT OF PROPHETIC PEACE
READ Matthew 12: 18-21
I suppose no President in the history of our country had so many problems, decisions, and enemies as President Abraham Lincoln. He was President of a country divided, and a terrible war was being fought; yet Lincoln had that quality of character as a leader to "keep his cool," so to speak, never to lose his temper, and to listen to the people who needed him most. He was gentle and kind, and he tempered justice with mercy. For instance Lincoln had compassion for the mother who came to him during the war and pleaded that her son's life be spared from the firing squad for falling asleep at his post on guard duty.
Matthew described God's servant Jesus in much the same way. He was kind. He had compassion. He was gentle and not given to argue or loud speeches. Matthew then says "He will persist until he causes justice to triumph; and all people will put their hope in him" (Matt. 12:20-21, TEV).
In the end, all people who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved. But they must believe.
Prayer: Our Father, help us to be kind and gentle, to show that we are Christian in the way we live and treat our fellow man, and in the end to look forward to a life with Jesus in peace. Amen.
Saturday, December 10
LEGACY OF PEACE
READ John 14:27
It is said that the word PEACE means freedom from disturbance, a state of being calm and quiet. When we say that a nation is at peace we mean free from war and revolution. We hear the word so many times today in referring to the Middle East, "PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST." When World War I came to an end, we heard the phrase, "this was the war to end all wars." But did it? No! Then we had World War II. It came to an end with much bloodshed. We do have to have peace in our world, but not the peace the Lord was telling about, "when we shall beat our swords into plow shares and our spears into pruning hooks and nations shall not study war anymore."
In 1927 a bridge across the Niagara River from the United States to Canada was opened. It is called the "PEACE BRIDGE." It has been a symbol of peace between our peoples.
John was saying to us that Jesus gives to us that peace, not as the world gives. He tells us to not be afraid, worried or upset, but that Jesus will come again and there shall be peace.
Prayer: Our Father, we strive for peace in our time and it is right we should, but we know that there can never be peace until people throughout the world know Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.
In lighting the pink candle on this third Sunday in Advent we are showing that Christ has come, and in His coming there was bought "Joy to the World."
About the Writer
Dec. 11-1 7 JOY
Blanche Goetzman (Mrs. R. R.), writer for this week, has been a member of Crescent Hill Baptist Church for forty-five years. She currently serves as program chairman for Baptist Women. The Goetzmans' children--Nancy and John Robert--grew up in our church but are now married and living in other cities.
Mrs. Goetzman formerly taught English at Westport Road High School. She is involved in several civic projects, including volunteer work at Recording for the Blind and at Children's and Baptist Hospitals. She arranges flowers for Locust Grove in the summer. Her hobbies are tennis, swimming, needlepointing, and reading.
We appreciate Mrs. Goetzman's part in this year's Advent worship material.
Sunday, December 11
PROPHECY OF JOY
READ Isaiah 9: 2-3
The people of Pineville, Kentucky, felt all hope for joy had disappeared with the dark ruin heaped on their community in the spring floods of this year. Yet, they could not resist the chance to rejoice in the beauty and light of God's springtime and to celebrate the Mountain Laurel Festival in the bucolic cove reserved for this purpose.
In the Isaiah reading, the prophet juxtaposes darkness and light as the conditions present without the Savior and after his coming to be the Light of the World. Also the imagery of a plentiful harvest and joyous reapers is used as a symbol of Israel's greatness when the Light has come to dispel the shadow from the land.
Prayer: Gracious Father, give us the Light of thy spirit within our hearts to get rid of our anxieties. Help us to spread joy for thy Light has been made known to us. Amen.
Monday, December 12
KING OF JOY
READ Zech. 9:9
Even as the people of Israel expected their Messiah to be arrayed in royal robes, we today expect our leaders to use certain status symbols to gain our respect. President Carter has been more casual in dress and actions than any former president, yet his informal tone has done much to bring him closer to the people.
Jesus of Nazareth was one of us, and the prophet tells us that he is to be called King, Righteous One, and The Victor. The one who would bring victory over sin would not rely on the trappings of royalty as he came riding into the city. The people were called upon to rejoice and to shout with joy as the Savior came astride a donkey. Humbling himself, he would choose to show his humanity in lowly ways. And we will all be joyous, says the prophet, when the King of Joy appears.
Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, thank you for sending a Son whom we can call our King of Joy, since he brought us a message of everlasting love and peace if we will follow his example. Amen.
Tuesday, December 13
STAR THAT LED TO JOY
READ Matt. 2: 7-1 2
The star, with its vivid brightness and golden color, causes us to gaze in awe regarding its place in the constellation. Used as a symbol or emblem by many organizations, the star's five points are significant reminders of the good deeds expected of those who are ruled by its sign.
The Star of Joy appeared to the wise men and led them to look for the newborn King of the Jews. But King Herod was disturbed that another should be called King. On
the wise men went to Bethlehem which the prophet Micah had said would be the place to find the new Messiah. And the wise men's joy was great when they found that the star hovered over Bethlehem, scene of the nativity. These wise men were members of the first organization led by the glory of the wondrous star which had brought them to Bethlehem from eastern lands.
Prayer: Lord of Light, grant that we too may be led by the radiance of the Star
of Joy to surrender our lives to Thee. Amen.
Wednesday, December 14
REJOICING IN THE SAVIOR
READ Luke 1:46-48
In the autobiographical book, Joni, Joni Eareckson relates her experiences of how Christ has used her wondrous story to bring many to know His grace and mercy. As a girl of sixteen, she was injured in an accident which paralyzed both arms and legs. After several years of rehabilitation, she has learned to make remarkable pen and ink sketches with a flair pen held in her mouth. Youth for Christ and Young Life have used her testimony of
the restorative powers of Christ to give her a full and useful life once again.
Even as God is using Joni as a witness, Mary too rejoiced in her God and her Savior who found her worthy to be the mother of the Son of God. Mary's praise of her Lord knew no bounds for her God had taken her, an ordinary young woman, and had given her the honor to be called "blessed" by generations of His people. The everlasting mercy and grace of God are present in abundance for those who rejoice in Him and praise His name.
Prayer: Merciful God, show us how to rejoice and to be thankful that you sent your Son to be our Savior and our Friend. Amen.
Thursday, December 15
FULL OF JOY
READ I John 1:1-4
The scene in "The Last Supper" painted by Leonardo da Vinci shows the disciples as they prepare to break bread and to share the cup with their Lord. It is not a joyous celebration since the time has come for Jesus to leave them, and each is asking if he is the betrayer. But a short time later, John, the apostle, is able to write that he touched his Lord and listened to him speak when Christ returned to the disciples after being briefly with his Father. John's joy is overflowing. He wants us to read his admonitions on sin and then to share with fullness of joy the story of the Redeemer.
Joy is not only a response to the present blessings of a covenant relationship with God but is also an anticipation of a future state when redeemed man (one whose sins have been forgiven) will be able to enjoy the fullness of the presence of God.
Prayer: God in Heaven, help us to repent of our sins and to lean on the fullness of the power of our Lord to cleanse us. Our joy will then overflow in love and concern for others. Amen.
Friday, December 16
GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY
READ Luke 2:8-10
In Louisville, Kentucky, the words "thunderstorm warning" are viewed with alarm for everyone who was in the path of the April 1974 tornado. A recent evening storm caused lights to go out, and concern was felt in many local homes. Even so, the shepherds on the hillside two thousand years ago were filled with apprehension when a great light, similar
to a ball of lightning, brought an angel into their midst. The joyous news from the angel caused the shepherds' fears to be quieted. For the great news was for them, lowly shepherds on a hillside at night tending-their sheep.
Christ the Savior was born that night in Bethlehem, and he came to save us from our sins. We don't need to be prisoners of our sin. The good news of joy is that the penalty has been paid by Jesus when he gave his life on the cross.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to accept Jesus as our Savior and to accept what he has done for us. With this knowledge, we can be free and can turn in our sins to Him. Amen.
Saturday, December 17
THE LORD BRINGS JOY
READ Isaiah 61:10
The beautiful dress of a bride and the usual dress suit of a groom are visual effects of the perfect day when these two will become husband and wife. They have clothed themselves in garments which will stir observers to remark on the joy and beauty of the occasion. Isaiah stated that his Lord has made him so happy that he feels no less elated than a bride or groom on the wedding day. His garments, however, are those of salvation, the saving grace of God, and righteousness, conformity to the will of God. Being truly rooted in the Lord can bring the kind of joy Isaiah expresses.
In her book, A Gift of Love, Gail Magruder seeks and finds God once again. In the face
of complete crisis in their lives after Watergate, Gail and Jeb Magruder return to a right relationship with Christ She says, "Jesus was born to do the straightening out we couldn't do for our- selves. He had to be here where we are . . . only he was big enough to do that.
Only he could do battle with the evil in us. And only he could overcome it. God loved us that much!"
Prayer: Lord of Joy, help us to realize the perfect love of your sacrifice for us. Amen.
The fourth week of Advent has the theme of Love. God through Christ gave His love for us. Love can only grow as it is shared with others. Paul said that love was the greatest of importance....faith, hope, love...but the greatest of these is LOVE.
About the Writer
Dec. 18-25 LOVE
Worship material for the last week of Advent was written by Harriett Conn (Mrs. David). Mrs. Conn has been a member of Crescent Hill Baptist Church since 1958. She has served in various offices in the church, especially in Baptist Women. Currently she is the
publicity person for Baptist Women.
Among the many interests which have occupied Mrs. Conn's time are her volunteer work in Good Will Auxiliary, Mental Health, and Crescent Hill Women's Club. Her hobby is growing roses. She and her husband also enjoy traveling--a hobby more easily pursued now that Mr. Conn has retired.
The Conns have three children: Sue, Carol, and Brian. They are married.
We thank Harriett for a job well done.
Sunday, December 18
GOD'S LOVE TOWARD US
READ John 3:16
In the familiar O. Henry short story "Gift of the Magi" two people expressed their deep love for each other. It was a Christmas with no money, so the wife sold her beautiful hair to buy a handsome gold chain for her husband's watch, and he sold his watch to buy a lovely comb for his wife's hair. Each sacrificed all they had to show their love for each
The miniature gospel, as it has been called, is not merely a summary. New elements are the love of God for the world and the issue of that love in the gift of His Son. God had only one Son bearing his perfect likeness. He did not spare Him, but gave Him up for us
all . . . . " that whosoever believes in Him should not be lost, but should have ETERNAL life."
Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for the greatest gift of all--eternal life. Amen.
Monday, December 19
COMMANDMENT OF LOVE
READ John 15:12
As the tornado winds lifted on April 3rd, 1974, the first people many of the residents of Crescent Hill saw were concerned Baptist Seminary students. They had climbed over and under debris to check each house along the streets. They did much to console and comfort in the weeks that followed, moving families or helping them make temporary repairs, when needed. They showed their love and were loved in return for reaching out to help.
When there is a flood or fire there are many offers of help and a swell of love for the victims. But months later, have we forgotten? How constant is our love? True love is described in our verse for today. Christ loved us enough to die for us. Do we love Him enough to LIVE for Him?
Prayer: Dear Lord, let thy Holy Spirit touch my heart and make me an instrument of thy love, committing me to a definite goal. Help me to love as I have been loved. Amen.
Tuesday, December 20
BECAUSE WE LOVE CHRIST
READ John 16:27
Do you remember when you learned to drive a car? The excitement and thrill of getting
your permit--but that meant your teacher or some licensed driver would be beside you.
The time goes very slowly, but finally the day of the driving test came, and everyone
stepped aside and said, "We've helped you as long as we can. Now you're on your own."
In John 16:27 Jesus is getting ready to leave so he tells his disciples that when the time comes they will not need him to plead for them--they will have a straight line to God. Because the disciples loved Jesus and believed he was the Son of God. God loves them and will hear their prayers.
Prayer: Dear Father, we're grateful that we can come to you in prayer and that you will
hear us without an intercessory. This makes our prayers more personal and meaningful. Amen.
Wednesday, December 21
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
READ I John 4:7-12
Last summer I attended a funeral where the only survivor was a ninety-four year old mother. The minister was ready to finish the service when he announced there was one song the mother had requested and no music could be found for it. This loving Christian man could not disappoint the elderly woman so he said he would attempt to sing the hymn. He sang all three verses and it was beautiful! There was not a dry eye because everyone there felt the power of that love reaching out to comfort a grieving mother.
The love of God is love--intelligent, giving. We are under obligations to love one another, since God loves us. Love does what physical sight cannot do; it makes God real to us. Our union with Him brings our love to its perfection.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that, as you love us, we can love one another with self-
giving love--always striving for perfect love. Amen.
Thursday, December 22
PROOF OF GOD'S LOVE
READ I John 3: 1
This verse sets forth the glorious reality of our sonship to God. It is a present reality, not just a future hope; it makes us strangers to the world because they cannot understand our true nature.
Colleen Townsend Evans, author of "A New Joy" describes the loneliest man she knew. He was very attractive and talented--the kind of person who ought to have a lot of friends. It wasn't that way for him. Many tried to reach him, but none succeeded. He was a very
"religious" person who believed in God with all his mind--but not his heart. When he spoke of love, he meant his kind of love--human love, and that wasn't enough. Never knowing what God's love really meant, he couldn't identify it when he saw it in others.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, make us so secure in the knowledge of your love that we may
be able to respond to the people around us--"and they'll know we are Christians by our love." Amen.
Friday, December 23
ROOTED IN LOVE
READ Ephesians 3:14-19
We had no large trees in our yard, so after a year or so, we "splurged" on a thirty year old copper beech. When they delivered it, the tree had a huge ball of roots. We loved the changing colors of its leaves, but one spring we had a siege of caterpillars. They ate every leaf on the shrubs and trees, so we sprayed with a recommended spray. The leaves all fell off and, certain it was dying, we called our nurseryman. "That tree won't die. Didn't you see those roots?" Sure enough, that deep-rooted tree is still our pride and joy, twenty years later!
The extent of God's love is not clear to us, but those who are rooted and grounded in his love have a foundation for understanding that goes beyond mere knowledge. When understanding fails and words are inadequate to describe Christ's love, Christians are able to sense God's presence and to stand in awe of it.
Prayer: Loving Father, as we grow in Christ may we more clearly be able to feel and understand how great your love really is. Amen.
Saturday, December 24
LOVE--A FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
READ Galatians 5:22-23
I don't really know how manners ever got started in this world, but good manners meet a person's inner need to be kind. They are thoughtful gestures that come from a heart motivated by love. To RSVP is a thoughtful thing to do because they can prepare for your arrival. Writing a thank-you note is a kind thing to do-- besides, it feels good to express gratitude. Shaking hands is kind, and it puts us in contact with the other person.
When we are filled with God's love, we sense the human need for a touch of love even before it becomes apparent, and we respond. Our behavior toward others is motivated by His love, not by protocol. We are kindly rather than correct, and not only toward those we feel are "our people" but toward everyone.
Christian character is not merely trying to imitate Christ. Christian character is produced by God's Holy Spirit working in the lives of Christians.
Prayer: Dear Lord, let me be concerned with kindness toward others, and may my actions
and re-actions simply be an overflow of Your love in my life. Amen.
Sunday, December 25
LOVE--A STANDARD OF DISCIPLESHIP
READ John 13:35
John 13:35 is Jesus' farewell commandment to his disciples. To be God's disciples they must have love, one for the other; that quality of love already felt in Christ and so soon to be poured out at the Cross. If love is present, the absent Lord will not be absent after all,
but still living and speaking to all men as His love grips and governs his own. Moreover, the world, confronted by the mutual love of Christ's disciples, will take note that they have been and still are "with Jesus."
In "Love is an Everyday Thing" Colleen Townsend Evans writes "It's rather amazing, when you think about it, that Jesus left the keys of the Kingdom in the hands of a scruffy group of men who hadn't distinguished themselves in any notable ways." Though He had reason to distrust Peter, who denied Him, and others who behaved less than bravely, He continued to trust them. He went to the cross believing in them. He never gave up on them and He never gives up on us. We are just like those well-intentioned but often disappointing disciples.
Love is the Key. Love never gives up. Love believes all things.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to look for the good motives even when they are hard to find. If we have Love we will be trusting. Amen.
Advent 77 © 1977 by Crescent Hill Baptist Church, 2800 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the publisher.
CRESCENT HILL BAPTIST CHURCH
2800 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky 40206
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