Advent 2020

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Advent Devotion for Tues. of Advent 2

Devotion for Tuesday after the 2nd Sunday in Advent (12/8)

2 Peter 3:1-13

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” 2 Peter 3:11-13

The Christian life this side of glory involves a lot of waiting. What sort of people should we be while we wait?

St. Peter tells us: We should be living lives of holiness and godliness. He does not say that we should live lives of holiness so that we may be saved; in this whole chapter Peter is obviously addressing people who, through faith alone, are already Christians. We Christians are to be holy and godly while we wait for Christ to return in judgment and glory.

So what does that look like? Go to church and bring the grandkids. As far as it depends with you, be at peace with all. Be generous with everything, and if anyone asks why you’re generous, tell them it’s because Jesus Christ has been so generous to you. Learn solid hymns by memory and sing them when your heart is feeling down. Defend your neighbor’s office, body, wife, belongings, and reputation. Don’t fake happiness, but also don’t let the troubles of this world steal your joy in Christ Jesus. Show up to work and do your job. Get to know your neighbors and invite them to church so you’ll see them in the Resurrection.
And above all, look hard for the signs of worldliness in your own life. What do you love more than Jesus? Cast it out – it is better to enter the kingdom of Heaven without it than to burn along with this world. The world to come, which our God is preparing for us, is a far better reward than all the money and power in this one. So don’t get distracted – keep your eyes on the life of the world to come, where righteousness dwells.

O Lord Jesus, while we wait for Your return, deliver us from worldliness, protect us from the devil’s lies, and forgive us our sins. Amen.

 

These Advent devotions are from the devotional, "Now, At the Last, and Unto Eternity," by the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Shared with permission. Find out more about Brothers of John the Steadfast at http://www.steadfastlutherans.org

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (“The Holy Bible,” English Standard Version®), copyright ® 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Advent Devotion for Thurs. of Advent 2

Devotion for Thursday after the 2nd Sunday in Advent (12/10)

Psalm 103

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;

the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—

with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

Psalm 103:13-18

There is much to wail about in this life. Our kin and friends die, we run out of money, our health is taken from us, work is frustrating, and people are angry and fickle. There is much for us to wail about – so wail about them to God. Take your complaints, your worries, your fears, and your troubles to your God in prayer.

And when you wail to God, wail to Him as to a father. That is, you are not wailing to Zeus or some unknown god who may or may not listen, may or may not bless. You are taking everything that burdens you to the very God who made you and redeemed you with the blood of His Son.

He will have compassion on you; He will hear and answer. His love is with you and will be from everlasting to everlasting. He will not leave you or forsake you, He will not harbor His anger forever, and He will not treat you as your sins deserve. And if His will is to chasten you and purify you so you learn to trust in Him and let go of your idols, suffer His chastisement with patience, knowing He works all things for your good.

Almighty Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give us the faith and patience to endure all earthly afflictions, that on the Last Day we may enter Your eternal kingdom of joy, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

These Advent devotions are from the devotional, "Now, At the Last, and Unto Eternity," by the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Shared with permission. Find out more about Brothers of John the Steadfast at http://www.steadfastlutherans.org

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (“The Holy Bible,” English Standard Version®), copyright ® 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Advent Devotion for Wed. of Advent 2

Devotion for the Wednesday after the 2nd Sunday in Advent (12/9)

Matthew 25:31-46

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” Matthew 25:34-40

Jesus gives us a good picture of the final judgment: The Son of Man gathers all the nations together and then separates them as a shepherd would cull his flock. Then the King, who is also the Son of Man, will announce the good works of those on His right who are headed into the Father’s kingdom, and announce the sins of those on His left who are about to depart from Him.
But wait! Aren’t we saved by grace through faith, and not by works? Of course! But read these words carefully: The Son of Man does not weigh good works against sins, and then pronounce judgment. Rather, he separates the sheep and the goats first (the Bible says this is on the basis of faith), and only then does He announce the works.

The sheep (the believers) have only good works to be announced, because all their sins are washed away from them. The goats (the unbelievers) have only sin to be announced, because without faith it is impossible to please God. The sheep are surprised by their good works, because they did those works without the expectation of reward – they knew they were saved through faith alone.

Lord Jesus Christ, pour out Your Holy Spirit on us by Your Word, that you may speak those wonderful words of blessing to us on the Last Day. Amen.

 

These Advent devotions are from the devotional, "Now, At the Last, and Unto Eternity," by the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Shared with permission. Find out more about Brothers of John the Steadfast at http://www.steadfastlutherans.org

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (“The Holy Bible,” English Standard Version®), copyright ® 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Advent Devotion for Mon. of Advent 2

Devotion for Monday after 2nd Sunday in Advent (12/7/2020)

Isaiah 65:17-25

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” Isaiah 65:17

We Christians know that our Lord does great things for us now and blesses us now (chiefly, the forgiveness of sins), and yet there are high and great blessings (chiefly, the Resurrection of the Body) that have yet to be delivered. It has historically been a temptation for Christians of all times to look for their redemption chiefly in political terms or in worldly success and power. Even as Jesus told the Apostles about how He was going to send the Holy Spirit and they would be sent to preach, they couldn’t help themselves: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Each time that Christians look to this world for their hope, they are sorely disappointed.

If there is anything certain about the greatest and most powerful empires in history, it is that they do not last forever. Each one rises and declares itself unconquerable – and each one is conquered or simply falls apart. We see the decay within ourselves, too. Our bodies begin to wear out. Our minds are not as sharp as they used to be. Our soul is weary from fighting against the flesh and the devil.

The Lord comforts us in our weariness – our hope is not in this world at all. Instead, He is preparing for us a kingdom which will never fall or wear out.
“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:26-29).

Lord Jesus, sustain us in the faith, that we may endure to the end and receive that unshakable kingdom which you prepare for Your saints. Amen.

 

These Advent devotions are from the devotional, "Now, At the Last, and Unto Eternity," by the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Shared with permission. Find out more about Brothers of John the Steadfast at http://www.steadfastlutherans.org

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (“The Holy Bible,” English Standard Version®), copyright ® 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Advent Devotion for 2nd Sun. in Advent

Devotion for the Second Sunday in Advent (12/6/2020)

Luke 21:25-36

Jesus said “For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” Luke 21:26b-28

One of the most important parts of being a Christian is understanding how to perceive the world in the right way. We have learned, for the most part, to trust our eyes to know what the world is like. Today, Jesus tells us what we will see: “signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world” (Luke 21:25-26). This year, we have seen the world fall apart around us in ways we would have found difficult to believe just a year ago. The familiar question for us, then, is what does this mean?

Things we once thought were permanent and unshakable are crumbling into dust all around us – what does it mean? The devil will lie and tell us it must mean that God is coming in terror to destroy us, or maybe that He has simply forgotten about us and chosen not to bless us. This is why Jesus gives us these words of comfort today. He says that when you see these supposedly unshakable things falling to rubble, do not despair. Do not give up hope or think that your God has abandoned you. Quite the opposite, Jesus says; He is coming for your redemption.

One Day, Jesus will return in great power and glory, but this is not a cause for us believers to fear. This is, in fact, why we Christians take up our cross and follow our dear Master. Just as surely as Jesus rose after He died, so we too will rise out of our own graves and out of the ashes and dust of this decaying world to live with Him in eternal joy.

Lord Jesus, prepare our hearts with Your Word, so that, in faith and Christian hope, we await Your coming with joy. Amen.

 

These Advent devotions are from the devotional, "Now, At the Last, and Unto Eternity," by the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Shared with permission. Find out more about Brothers of John the Steadfast at http://www.steadfastlutherans.org

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (“The Holy Bible,” English Standard Version®), copyright ® 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Advent Devotion for Fri. of Advent 1

Devotion for Friday after the 1st Sunday of Advent (12/4)

Matthew 24:36-44

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37

The end of the Antediluvian (pre-Flood) world and the end of our world will be similar in many ways. Jesus says that the last days shall be like the days of Noah. The days of Noah didn’t look so bad. Sure, there was violence, but there was also great technological advancement. Cain was progressive; he built the first city and his descendants also made technological leaps and bounds. Lamech’s three sons were like the Steve Jobs of the ancient world. One refined animal husbandry. Another revolutionized music. The third discovered metallurgy. Life wasn’t the obvious cesspool the movies make it out to be.

But the church was nearly gone. Even though Noah was a preacher of righteousness, all but eight souls did not listen. Even though the ark was being built, a visible manifestation of God’s wrath and His grace, most mocked and jeered. People were driven, not by the sanctity of the marital estate, but by foul and sinful lust.

And so it is in our day. Preachers are often ignored or ignominiously made into a chaplain of our foul culture. Our world is full of technological growth apart from God. People live like married people when they are not married, a sign of unholy lust.

As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Even though Christians are attacked as being hopeless and backward rustics, even though the world scoffs at the warning, Jesus is coming back.

Jesus’ coming is very comforting for us Christians because our Lord is lovingly discerning. The text says that two women will be working at the mill. It took two to grind grain: one to feed the mill, the other to rotate the stone. Jesus doesn’t reject both because of their proximity; there is no “collateral damage” with our Lord. No, the faithful remain; it is the unbelieving who are washed away.

While we cannot predict our Lord’s coming, we take comfort that, in these days of Noah, our Lord is returning. He shall rescue His sheep and the goats shall be taken away.

Lord Jesus, in these days of Noah, give us strength to endure and to watch for Your blessed coming. Amen.

 

These Advent devotions are from the devotional, "Now, At the Last, and Unto Eternity," by the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Shared with permission. Find out more about Brothers of John the Steadfast at http://www.steadfastlutherans.org

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (“The Holy Bible,” English Standard Version®), copyright ® 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Advent Devotion for Sat. of Advent 1

Devotion for Saturday after the 1st Sunday of Advent (12/5/2020)

John 16:29-33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

The purpose of Christ’s second coming is not to establish a millennial kingdom on earth. Christ tells us in Scripture that Christians shall suffer in this world. Those who are blessed are those who are persecuted for His name’s sake. Those who belong to Christ carry their crosses. It is through many necessary tribulations that we enter the kingdom of God. The “rapture” as many evangelicals teach it isn’t true; believers will not be spared tribulation in the world. Nor should they try, for it is only those, coming out of the great tribulation, who have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb.

Christ tells us plainly, “In the world you will have tribulation.” Christianity doesn’t make your earthly problems go away. Jesus isn’t some sugary soporific, which lulls you into a dreamy never-never land. The disciples had tribulation. They scattered and left Christ alone. They were afraid. The wrath of the Jews and the persecution which followed didn’t go away after Jesus’ resurrection; it actually intensified!

So, how did the disciples endure? How do we endure? “But take heart, I have overcome the world.” Jesus, by His death and resurrection, has overcome the world. The world may give us a scornful smile or a red frown; it makes no difference. The worst thing that can happen is that they kill us. And anyone who loses their life for Jesus’ sake will find it.

You see, that’s what Jesus’ second coming is about. It is about the resurrection of the dead. On the last day, all the dead shall be raised. And those who suffered here with Christ shall reign with Him in glorified bodies. Those who laughed now shall weep then, and those who murdered the saints shall receive their just reward. Their bodies too shall last forever, but it shall be a torment, for their worm will not die and their fire shall not be quenched. Christ has overcome the world by His resurrection. We share in that overcoming now by faith and we shall overcome at last in our own resurrection.

Lord Jesus, You have overcome the world. Continue to comfort us with Your words, so that we might have peace. Amen.

 

These Advent devotions are from the devotional, "Now, At the Last, and Unto Eternity," by the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Shared with permission. Find out more about Brothers of John the Steadfast at http://www.steadfastlutherans.org

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (“The Holy Bible,” English Standard Version®), copyright ® 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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