The Season of Advent
Daily Scripture Reading:
Sunday, December 4:
With Abram and his wife, Sarai, God begins to reveal his sovereign plan for their offspring. Abram obeys when God tells him to move, and he believes God's promise that he will have many grandchildren, even though so far he has no children. Abram's cooperation with God will be the beginning of blessing for all the families of the earth. Abram was considered righteous because of his belief (15:6) - not because of anything he had done.
We have followed in the footsteps of Abraham, Lord. By faith, we seek to obey you and your call on our lives. The promises you made to him are promises for us. We want to walk in your presence always. Show us the path.
Monday, December 5:
God keeps his promise to Abram and Sarai, and their son, Isaac, is born. Their names change, too, to Abraham and Sarah. Abraham still trusts God, even when it seems that God wants him to kill Isaac. But what God wants is not the son's death, only the father's willing obedience.
You called Abraham to sacrifice, Lord, and he still remained faithful to you. Your will can be difficult for us, but keep us faithful to your call and to the promise - faithful like Abraham.
Tuesday, December 6:
God continues his plan through Isaac's son, Jacob. Jacob is traveling alone, not expecting to see or to hear anything of God. He thinks God is back at home with his parents. In his dream, he learns that God is also traveling with him and that he will continue to do so. Although Jacob often failed in life, God was the ultimate focus of his trust. Later, his name was changed to Israel, which means God prevails.
When faced with conflict, Lord, Jacob often relied on his own resources rather than going to you. Like Jacob, you have told us that you are with us and will keep us wherever we go. Help us to trust in you instead of in ourselves.
Wednesday, December 7:
Jacob had twelve sons, but he has not treated them all alike. He has made such a favorite of his son Joseph that the others are jealous and take advantage of an opportunity to sell Joseph as a slave and pretend to their father that he has been killed. But God is with Joseph even in slavery and brings him to a position of honor, not only for his own sake, but also for the good of the whole family and for the good of the land of Egypt, too.
Joseph was sold into slavery but still you were with him. He would forgive his brothers just as you call on us to forgive those who harm us. Keep our hearts soft. Help us to extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Help us to obey you even though the circumstances in our life might be difficult.
Thursday, December 8:
When the Israelites came into Egypt, they multiplied and grew strong. Pharaoh was afraid the Israelites were becoming so numerous that they would organize and threaten his kingdom, so he enslaved them. The Israelites still multiplied, so Pharaoh ordered the killing of many Hebrew boys. When Moses was born, his mother hid him and he was found by Pharaoh's daughter. She took him as her son, thereby placing Moses in the house of Pharaoh.
Lord, use our lives, as you did Moses' life, to further your plan.
Friday, December 9:
The people of Egypt are not willing to give up their slaves until death strikes within all of their homes. Seeing then that God is serious about freeing the people of Israel, they urge them to be gone in a hurry. When the moment comes, there is not even time for the Israelites to bake their bread. They gather up the raw dough in their kneading bowls and carry it along with them like that.
Father, you saw the suffering of your people and you came to their rescue. Lead us, too, Lord, out of our problems and afflictions. Let us demonstrate our faith in you in visible ways.
Saturday, December 10:
After two months of traveling through the desert, the people of Israel reach Mount Sinai. God summons all Israel, and then speaks to them through Moses giving them the Ten Commandments. The purpose of the ten laws is to show us how life is meant to be lived. Unfortunately, no one fully follows God's laws and therefore, life doesn't work like God intended. Thankfully, the Ten Commandments also point us to Jesus who fulfilled the law for us. He lived the commandments perfectly, yet took our punishment for breaking the law. He gives us his righteousness and enables us to keep the law by placing our faith in him.
You gave your commandments to Moses and the Israelites, and you asked for their love and obedience. Thank you for showing us that no matter how "good" we are, we cannot achieve holiness through our own efforts. If we are going to be allowed into your kingdom, it will have to be through Jesus.
*Resources for Advent reading plan listed below.
*Resources for Advent reading plan:
ADVENT FOR THE FAMILY. Frederick P. and Patricia K. Auman, Fortress Press, 1978.
THE ADVENT WREATH. Debbie Trafton O’Neal, Augsburg Publishing House: Minneapolis, MN 1988.
CELEBRATE THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY. Ellen Javernick, Shining Star Publications, 1987.
CHRISTMAS IS COMING. Oxmoor House, Birmingham, AL 1988.
GROWING UP TOGETHER. Jan Kempe, Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI 1989.
LET’S MAKE A JESSE TREE. Darcy James, Abingdon Press, Parthenon Press, Nashville, TN 1987.
LET’S MAKE A MEMORY. Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson, Word Books, Waco, TX 1983.
TO CELEBRATE. Alternatives, Ellenwood, GA 1987.
WHY NOT CELEBRATE! Sara Wenger Shenk, Good Books, Intercourse, PA 1987.
YOUR CHILD’S TEACHABLE MOMENTS. Wanda B. Pelphry, Moody Press, Chicago, IL 1988.
CELEBRATE! Mary Jane Thompson, VIRTUE Magazine, November 1988, p. 58
THE STRANGER ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS. John R. Cross, Good Seed International, Canada 2003.
THE NIV STUDY BIBLE. Edited by Kenneth Barker, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI 1985