Prepare for the Season of Christmas by reading the story of Jesus
Take the journey with us...
and invite your friends and family to come along...
as we read the Word and grow together.
Advent Reading Plan:
Week One: November 29th - December 5th
Matthew 1 - 7
Week Two: December 6th - December 12th
Matthew 8 - 14
Week Three: December 13th - December 19th
Matthew 15 - 21
Week Four: December 20th - December 26th
Matthew 2 - 28
We will be posting devotionals a few times a week so check back often.
Advent Reading - The Gospel of Matthew: Matthew 1
Wednesday in the Word - HOPE
Advent Reading - The Gospel of Matthew: Matthew 3
Advent Reading - The Gospel of Matthew: Matthew 8
This time of the year is filled with busyness, plans, things to do, and all in the hopes of having a great celebration on Christmas. We want to make sure we get all the gifts together, send out our cards, buy all the ingredients for the things we are cooking/preparing. It is easy to get swept up into it all, and forget what the most important thing is to, put the “first things” first. Following Jesus!
As Jesus is going around Galilee transforming lives with his message that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and freeing people from sickness and demonic oppression, people are compelled. They are caught up in his message and realize there is a reaction required from them, and that response is to become a follower.
When Jesus tells his disciples to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, two people approach Jesus and ask to join his group of followers, but Jesus challenges each of them. He realizes that in this life there are going to be obstacles to following Him, and the question is, “How are you going to respond to those obstacles?”
To the first he tells them there is no guarantee of where we will sleep. There are no certainties where we are going. Right now in life, a lot of the certainties that we felt we had have disappeared, yet to Jesus’ followers he says to them, are you willing to follow me despite the uncertainty?
To the second, he challenges his commitment to his family. While there is a lot of debate whether his father is actually dead, Jesus is saying commitment to me is greater than commitment to your family. Sometimes in life we can put people and things before Jesus. We however, need to get our priorities straight, and realize that he must be our priority.
Now when he travels with his disciples to the other side, it isn’t a smooth ride, rather he leads them into a storm. A storm so great they thought they were going to perish. However, they all forgot WHO was with them. Upon awakening, Jesus silences the storm to sleep, and the disciples ask, “What kind of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
In this season of following Jesus, we need to remember who we are following. The one who can silence every storm. The one who is leading us, and whether it is through the storms of life, or into uncertain situations, HE IS WITH US!
Wednesday in the Word - Peace
Overview of Matthew 1 - 13
Overview of Matthew 14 - 28
Countdown to Christmas with the Christmas Story
Countdown to Christmas - Monday: Matthew 1
Thoughts on todays reading…
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17)
As we read through the first verses of Matthew’s Gospel we are presented with a long list of names, some we can hardly pronounce while others evoke the great stories from Israel’s past. Through this list of names Matthew is attempting to guide us through the story Israel, with all of its twists and turns, and see the guiding hand of their God.
Israel’s history for Matthew can be summarized through three important seasons. From their founding under Abraham, to the inauguration of the reign of the kings with David, and their eventually disobedience to the God who loved them, which led to their exile under the Babylonians. These three seasons marked three important periods in their history, that without highlighting them, we couldn’t understand their story and where we are at now.
Because now, we are at the time of the Messiah. Jesus Christ, of Nazareth has been born, he has arrived on the scene, to end the period of exile, and begin the reign of the Messiah that was long awaited in Israel’s Scripture. God has been guiding them to this climactic moment, when God himself (1:23) would come to save his people from their sins and establish himself as the King they had hoped for.
This year we have all had many twists and turns in our lives. But through all of the peaks and valleys we have the the promise of Hope that Israel was waiting for. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, always!
Also remember to think forward and make time to be with God and sit in His presence this week.
Countdown to Christmas - Tuesday: Luke 1:5-25 & 57-66
Thoughts on todays reading…
Yesterday we read about the family tree of Jesus and it began with Abraham and Sarah, an old couple that had no hope of a family. But through the faithfulness of God’s promises Abraham became the father a nation, the very great grandfather of the savior of the world.
Today we pick up the story with another childless older couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth, who had been hoping and praying for a child. An angel comes to tell Zechariah that their prayers will be answered and instead of rejoicing at this news Zechariah is filled with fear and disbelief. How often do we have the same response?
During Advent we embrace the time of waiting, the in-between time, the time when we are anticipating with hope.
As we countdown to Christmas this week take some time to reflect on the story of Zechariah & Elizabeth, and Abraham & Sarah and take hope in the faithfulness of God.
Take a few moments to write down what you are hoping and praying for right now so that you can look back in the years to come and rejoice in God’s faithfulness.
As you live in the in-between rest in the promises of God.
Countdown to Christmas - Wednesday: Luke 1:26-56