Dawn of the Decade 20/20

We are not only starting a new year but a new decade.  Moving into this new year and decade we should reflect on the decade and year gone by.  Take inventory of the last decade personally and as the people of God.  Where has God brought you?  What difficulties have you been through?  What celebrations have been meaningful?  What relationships brought you joy?  Can you see the hand of God at work in your life over time?  At the beginning of the last decade you had dreams and plans and did those work out?  Did the last decade include a focus on your relationship with Jesus?  Did your plans include following Jesus and seeking his direction?

At the dawn of this new decade we cannot change the past, but we can reflect, repent, refresh, refocus, and revision with an honest look to the past and a hopeful view to the future.  This new year and decade start with the year 2020.  When I think of the date of the year 2020, I also think of writing it this way 20/20.  20/20 is a description of vision acuity or accuracy.  It means at twenty feet away things will look as if they twenty feet away.  If a person has 20/100 vision that person will have to be as close as twenty feet to see what normal vision can see at one hundred feet.

When our eyes are able to see properly, we are able to understand the world around us much more safely.  When reflecting on the past decade, do we see it for what it was and celebrate where possible, repent where necessary, and thank God for the grace that has brought us safe thus far. When we can honest look at the past, we are better able to step into the future with hope.  What hopes and dreams do you have at the start of this decade?  Do they include God and walking with Jesus?  Only Jesus knows the future plans God has in store.

At the dawn of this decade starting in 2020, do we have spiritual 20/20?  Does the year and decade ahead include seeking Christ to lead and guide us personally and as a people?  Proverbs 29:18 cautions us, “where there is no vision, the people perish.”  We must become people of vision.  Looking to an uncertain future trusting Christ to guide and give vision.  It will people of God will cease to be God’s people if they can no long see him and have a vision of Christ’s movement in our midst.

When we do trust faithfully and look longingly, the prophetic words of Joel encourage us, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”  Is it our prayer that God will pour out his spirit on all flesh, sons and daughters, men and women, young and old that they will dream dreams and see visions?

Are we a people of vision, forward looking, and promise filled?  In 2020 and beyond do we personally and as the people of God see with spiritual 20/20?  If not, what corrective measures need to be taken?  In all things remember to be grace filled and graceful in the living out of our faith.  Embrace the words of the timeless hymn Amazing Grace, that reminds us ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

Advent Devotional Wrap Up

This Devotional has been a labor of love and has been part of a personal journey of mine toward the celebration of Christ’s birth.  I want to thank each of you for following this journey with me and hope it has blessed your days as you also anticipate the birth of Christ and look forward to his coming again.  God bless each of you as you celebrate Christ’s love with one another.

Advent Devotional-Wednesday, December 25, 2019 Christmas Day Evening

O Holy Night

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming;
With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand:
So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land,
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend;
He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King! before him bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!
Christ is the Lord, then ever! ever praise we!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!

Words:  Placide Cappeau

Advent Devotional-Wednesday, December 25, 2019 Christmas Day Morning

1 John 4:7-16

Beloved let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

“As he is so are, we in the world” because we are his so should we be in the world.  Be love.

Advent Devotional-Tuesday, December 24, 2019 Christmas Eve

Silent Night, Holy Night

Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child!  Holy Infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night, Darkness flies, all is light; Shepherds hear the angels sing, “Alleluia! Hail the King!  Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.”

Silent Night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light Radiant beams from Thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.

Silent night, holy night, Wondrous star, lend thy light; With the angels let us sing Alleluia to our King; Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.

Words: Joseph Mohr

Advent Devotional-Monday, December 23, 2019

Luke 2:1-20

The account of the birth of Jesus in Luke includes a time in history. A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all should be registered. This was the first census take while Quirinius was governor of Syria. The requirement was that each family had to go to their hometowns to be counted. We have a time in history and the method, which will provide the place of Jesus’ birth. It was a non-religious emperor who directed a census that placed Mary and Joseph at the exact place where Jesus was to be born. There was no room in the inn, and he was born in a manger.

Is there any room in our lives for Jesus to surprise us? Nearby there were shepherds out in the field watching their sheep and an angel of the Lord appeared to them. The best news is shared with them and us; there is “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” For onto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. The sign a baby in swaddling clothes in a manger.

The shepherds went and found things just as the angels told them. They told Mary about the angels. Those who were there wondered about all the things the shepherds said. But Mary, Mary was different she treasured the words of the shepherds. They were also a gift to her a common gift of encouragement and confirmation, and she pondered them in her heart. When they left, they glorified and praised God. Will you glorify and praise God? He is here, He is Lord, He is love!

Advent Devotional-Sunday, December 22, 2019

Angels from the Realms of Glory

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

Refrain

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn king.

Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:

Refrain

Sages leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.

Refrain

Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.

Refrain

Words:  James Montgomery