Sunday Devotional: “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”

“It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.”

These are the words to the Christmas hymn “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”. It is a few weeks away from Christmas and this time leading up to it is good to reflect on the hope of the birth of Christ.  Right before the birth of Christ, there was restlessness.  There was doubt.  When was the messiah coming?  Will the messiah ever come?  But the angels had good news to share that the messiah had indeed come and broke out in song about it.

Today, some 2,000 years later, we struggle.  There is a lot of suffering in the world.  Sin is condoned and affirmed in all types of ways and places.  We wonder when will the messiah come back.  But just as Jesus came the first time that first Christmas, He will come again.

So we keep hoping and keep waiting. And we sing of when the Prince of Peace will bring ultimate peace to the world.

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Sunday Devotional: Hebrews 6:13-20

“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater to swear by, He swore by Himself:

I will indeed bless you,
and I will greatly multiply you.

And so, after waiting patiently, Abraham obtained the promise. For men swear by something greater than themselves, and for them a confirming oath ends every dispute. Because God wanted to show His unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath,  so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us.  We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.  Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:13-20)

Promises.  When God makes a promise, He delivers.  He is always faithful to deliver.  We may have to wait for His timing but God is faithful.  We see here in Hebrews the writer talk about God’s promise to Abraham.  God’s promise was fulfilled in full to Abraham.  Likewise, when Jesus came, God’s promise of redemption was fulfilled.  And someday Jesus will return just like was promised.

Whether you are going through a season of waiting (like I am) or you’re about to enter that time, remember God’s promises.  Remember God’s faithfulness.  We have a hope in Jesus.  We have an anchor that secures our faith.  Let us continue to trust and be faithful in the wait and trust in the promises that God has given to us.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 147

“Hallelujah!
How good it is to sing to our God,
for praise is pleasant and lovely.

The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;
He gathers Israel’s exiled people.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
Our Lord is great, vast in power;
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord helps the afflicted
but brings the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
play the lyre to our God,
who covers the sky with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
and causes grass to grow on the hills.
He provides the animals with their food,
and the young ravens, what they cry for.

He is not impressed by the strength of a horse;
He does not value the power of a man.
The Lord values those who fear Him,
those who put their hope in His faithful love.

Exalt the Lord, Jerusalem;
praise your God, Zion!
For He strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your children within you.
He endows your territory with prosperity;
He satisfies you with the finest wheat.

He sends His command throughout the earth;
His word runs swiftly.
He spreads snow like wool;
He scatters frost like ashes;
He throws His hailstones like crumbs.
Who can withstand His cold?
He sends His word and melts them;
He unleashes His winds, and the waters flow.

He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and judgments to Israel.
He has not done this for any nation;
they do not know His judgments.
Hallelujah!” (Psalm 147)

In times of discouragement and suffering it’s important to remember a psalm like this one.  It reminds us again of who God is and what He has done/is doing.  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  He is abundant in strength.  He brings peace where peace is needed.  He takes care of those who are His.

We have so much to be thankful for even in the midst of trials and tribulations.  This week let us be reminded of this so that we can share with others the hope that we have.

 

Sunday Devotional: Revelation 22:20-21

 “He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.”

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” (Revelation 22:20-21)

These are the last words written in the New Testament.  The apostle John wrote these words while sitting in exile on the island of Patmos.  With all the struggles and the persecution that the church was facing at that time, John had hope.  Because he held firm to the belief that Jesus was returning.

We as part of the church today hold that belief as well.  We also know that God’s timing is not the same as our timing.  We do not know the exact day or hour but Jesus has promised He will return.  And as we go through living our lives and following the calling that God has for each of us individually and collectively, we echo the words that John wrote here: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

This week, let us cling to that hope.  Let us in the midst of hardships and struggles cry out to God.  And let us share the hope that we have even in the midst of suffering.  Jesus is coming again.

Sunday Devotional: John 16:31-33

“Jesus responded to them, “Do you now believe? Look: An hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”  (John 16:31-33)

Jesus always made it a point to tell His disciples how hard the road would be in following Him  He never sugarcoated it.  It was a path of struggle and pain and loneliness.  But it was all worth it because of who it was they were following.

Here as the days were drawing closer to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, Jesus tells them of what was to come.  Even in the midst of turmoil, Jesus brings peace.  Even in the midst of suffering, Jesus brings hope.

I’m reminded today of all the heartache and struggles that these words still resonate.  Even though there is immense suffering in this world, we can take heart.  Jesus has overcome the world!  So as we endure the trials and tribulations of this world, let us keep on the path of following Jesus.  Let us be courageous in following Him.