Saturday, December 17, 2016

#advantageousadvent Day #21 God, shine your light

As we pass each day into the heart of winter, the light of day grows darker. Our time of light and clear vision seems to become more and more challenging. The Psalmist writes to God the Creator of all things - of light, and matter and most importantly, love. This God is not one that disengages with the darkness of our world, but sent his son, Jesus Christ, to  become Emmanuel, "God with us". While the atmosphere of our days literally becomes darker as we approach Christmas Day, the light of Jesus is something that will never leave us or forsake us.

What we see with our physical eyes, does not give us the whole picture and light of what God is up to. No matter what darkness - physical or otherwise - we face, the light and love of Christ is always present. In our tears, our scorn - we can always turn to our God, who always hears our prayers and lights the day's and night's of our lives.

PRAYER:
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for hearing our prayers, helping us in the conflicts we face, and bringing the light of Jesus; our hope, our joy, our peace and our love.
Amen

Psalm 80:1-7
 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock!
Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2     before E′phraim and Benjamin and Manas′seh!
Stir up thy might,and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God; let thy face shine, that we may be saved!
4 O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry with thy people’s prayers?
5 Thou hast fed them with the bread of tears,
    and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 Thou dost make us the scorn[a] of our neighbors;
    and our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts;let thy face shine, that we may be saved!

Friday, December 16, 2016

#advantageousadvent Day#20 Who am I?


Ian Eastman writes: “Who am I?” “Where do I fit?” “Am I capable of love?” These are some of the central questions of life. The gentile Christians in Galatia struggled with the idea of being second-class Christians because of their ancestry. Saint Paul in a letter explained that “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children” (Galatians 4:4-5 NRSV). Good news for them—and us. We need not worry about measuring up or being good enough. New life is a gift of God, not an achievement of our efforts.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

#advantageousadvent #19

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 2 Samuel 7:1-17; Galatians 3:23-29

To me these verses remind us that God is always with us and He has a plan for each and every one of us.  The law helps us to know right from wrong but no matter how hard we try we always fall short.  But God is always there to forgive us.  We are all God's children whether we are rich or poor, young or old, Jew or Gentile.

Judy Lind

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

#advantagousadvent Day #17 St. Lucia Day

#advantgeousadvent For December 13th by Karin Flynn

Ezekiel 47:1-12, Psalm 42, Jude 17-25
Today Scandinavians celebrate St. Lucia's Day. The eldest daughter in the family usually plays the part of Lucia.She brings the symbol of light to come as she wears a crown of candles and brings coffee and rolls to her family early in the morning on one of the darkest nights of the year. The song she sings translates into, "Santa Lucia, thy light is glowing, through darkest winter night, comfort bestowing."
During the dark days of Advent as we wait for the light of the world how can we bring light and comfort to others? As we wait let us take comfort in these verses... From Psalm 42 "I will put my hope in God and once again I will praise him my Savior and my God." and...Jude 21 "Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life."
Dear God, Thank you for giving us the light of Jesus Christ who shines through our darkness. Amen

Monday, December 12, 2016

#advantageousadvent Day #16 Waiting

 Psalm 42; Isaiah 29:17-24; Acts 5:12-16

Today's focus is on Psalm 42.

It’s the season of Advent; the season of waiting.  There are many things we wait for in life – we wait for dinner to cook; we wait for the days’ work to be done so we can go home; we wait for the bus; we wait for love.  Sometimes the waiting seems endless; we feel that prize at the end of the wait is never going to get here.  We get impatient, even angry sometimes while we wait.  We may feel sad.  The writer of Psalm 42 was waiting for God.  Verse 1 says: “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”  This season of Advent is a season of longing.  We are longing for the birth of that little baby who is our Lord and Savior and who gives us hope.  Some of us fill that time by going to church each Sunday and celebrating the waiting.  Some of us fill the time with Christmas shopping, decorating and baking.  Others don’t have much to fill that time with – they are sad and afraid, maybe waiting alone for Christmas.  Perhaps that is more of us than we care to admit.  We worry about our families, our finances, our world in general.  But then Christmas Eve comes, we go to church and we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the light of the world.  As we light our candles and sing “Silent Night,” we feel the hope surge within us.  We, too, follow the star and find hope at the end of it.   Verse 11 says: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”

Keep hoping in God my friends, for Christmas is almost here.

Darcy Whitney

Sunday, December 11, 2016

#advantageousadvent Day #15 Glitter gets everywhere

Earlier this morning in worship, my church celebrated the third week of Advent with the youth of the church telling the story of the birth of Christ. As you might imagine, there were wise men, angels, Innkeeper, King Herod, Mary, Joseph, a star, some stable "animals" and three sister shepherdesses led our shepherds. In addition to all the familiar parts of the joyful storytelling was singing, clapping and glitter...lots and lots of glitter.




Apparently in all the movement and telling of this nativity story, a great deal of glitter from our costumes left a trail all over the sanctuary, fellowship hall and out the doors and into the parking lot. After service had ended and I headed up the main stairs to turn off all the lights, little glints and glimmers of glitter caught my eye and I thought, "Glitter gets everywhere!"

Indeed it does. 

Yes glitter can be difficult to get up off the carpet and it travels home with you on the bottoms of your shoes because glitter is persistent. 

While there is a time to break out the vacuum and clean up all the glitter, for the moment I am encouraged by seeing it here and there. I love how it makes its way into all the rooms we live and travels with us wherever we go. On this third week of Advent, when we might be feeling a bit weary with all our preparation for Christmas, we need a dose - I need a dose - of persistent, glittery, joy. I need to be reminded that in the midst of challenge and conflict - the joy of Jesus is with me even now. Th joy of Christ is the light that goes with me everyday. It is a light in the darkness. It is hope when we feel helpless. It is like the persistent glitter from Christmas program angel wings - and  it carries us in joy to the day we long to see...Christmas morning, because..."glitter gets everywhere!"

Prayer: Jesus help us to hold on to your light and hope this day - and even when we think we are in the dark, remind us that you stick with us like glitter. You are always lighting our path and leading the way with light. Amen


James 5:7-10
5:7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.
5:8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
5:9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!
5:10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.