Advent Devotional 2019 – Day 1

Advent is a time when we prepare our hearts and our homes for the celebration of Jesus’ coming to live amongst us. This is not just an historical event but also one that commands a personal response. God literally sends His Son from Heaven to Earth as a gift to us. What an extravagant act of love! This is Emmanuel – God is with us.

How will you personally prepare your heart this Advent season and in the lead up to Christmas? How is this Christmas different from those you have celebrated in the past?

Read Isaiah 9:1-7.

Isaiah’s prophecy in Verse 1 is describing the first region which was taken into captivity during the Assyrian invasion in 734-733BC. This same region was the first to enjoy the ministry of Jesus as He worked amongst the poor performing miracles. His ministry reversed the curse that was over that region.

God chooses the places in our lives where we have suffered shame and disgrace and hopelessness and His light breaks out in these areas.

How have you found this to be true in your own life?

Isaiah 9:2 (TPT) says this:

Those who walked in darkness
have seen a radiant light shining upon them.
They once lived in the shadows of death,
but now a glorious light has dawned!

Can you remember the moment when you first met Jesus? The darkest things in us will be bathed in His glorious light. How did His light change your life…it could be in the area of a miracle or healing, the sense of having been lost but now being found or being taken on a pathway from brokenness to wholeness?

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) reads:

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Which of these titles for Jesus do you most relate to?

The Hebrew word for peace is shalom and it includes the concept of “wholeness, prosperity and success”.

In what ways has Jesus brought this kind of peace into your life? How can you share that same peace, that same sense of wholeness with others in this season?

Prayer for today:

Thankyou Lord that your light has changed our lives forever. We open our hearts afresh to you today as we welcome the new thing you long to do in us.

Advent Devotional 2019 – Day 2

Some families choose a beautiful live tree to take home and decorate at Christmas time. Some families bake together or create a piñata for Christmas day. What family traditions are important to you as you prepare for the Christmas season?

Read Mark 1:1-8.

Mark’s Gospel begins by announcing the beginning of the wonderful news about Jesus, the Messiah, the anointed one.

How would you describe this wonderful news and the effect that Jesus has had on your life to an unsaved friend?

What does this passage tell us about Jesus? What role was John the Baptist to play?

Mark 1:3 (NIV) says this:

‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’

The Passion Translation puts it like this:

“Prepare your hearts
for the coming of the Lord Yahweh,
and clear a straight path
inside your hearts for him!”

This is a great translation of this verse.

In what ways can you clear a straight path inside your heart for Jesus today?

What weightiness or distractions do you need to give to Him in order to do this?

Prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, we thank you today that your coming in to the world was such good news. We choose to clear a straight path in our hearts for you as you speak to us and lead us and lavish your love on us today.

Advent Devotional 2019 – Day 3

Have you ever experienced a miracle in your life or in the life of a loved one?

How did it change your faith? Who did you tell?

Read Luke 1:26-38.

Imagine yourself as Mary as you read through this passage.

What emotions would she have felt? How do you think you might react if an angel were to appear to you with a message from God like this one?

Luke 1:35-37 (TPT) reads like this:

Gabriel answered, “The Spirit of Holiness will fall upon you and almighty God will spread his shadow of power over you in a cloud of glory! This is why the child born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your aged aunt, Elizabeth, has also become pregnant with a son. The ‘barren one’ is now in her sixth month.  Not one promise from God is empty of power, for nothing is impossible with God!”

What miracles are described in this passage above? How do they inspire you?

Luke 1:37 is one of the greatest promises in the Bible.

Not one word from God will ever fail; not one promise from God is empty of power; nothing is impossible with God.

What words has God given you as promises? If they are still to come to pass, how can you stand on those promises today?

Prayer for today:

Thank you, Father God, for the example of Mary to us today. Help us to have the same servant hearts. We are so thankful for the power of your promises and that nothing is impossible for you!

Advent Devotional 2019 – Day 4

Do you remember being a small child and waiting for Christmas morning to arrive? How hard is it to wait for something now?

Read Matthew 1:18-25

In the same way that Mary must have experienced the full gamut of emotions when the angel appeared to her, Joseph (an honourable but ordinary man) must also have felt a range of emotions.

As you read through this passage, what differing emotions do you think Joseph would have felt?

From this passage, what do we learn about Mary and Joseph and their relationship with one another and with God?

Joseph and Mary receive the promise that Jesus will be known as “Emmanuel” meaning “God became one of us” or “God with us” or “God among us”.

How important in practical terms was this promise to them?

How important is it to remember that God is with us now, spiritually, emotionally and practically?

Prayer for today.

Lord God, we celebrate today that you are with us as and amongst us. Thank you for the gift of Jesus and that He lives and moves through us today.

Advent Devotional 2019 – Day 5

What’s your favourite song? Have you ever been inspired to create your own song?

In this passage today, we read that Mary was so joyful in her soul that she crafted her own song as an expression of her joy

Read Luke 1:39-56. 

Luke’s Gospel is the one that is most interested in the roles of women, children and those who were social outcasts at the time.

What important role do women play in the Christmas story?

Luke 1:41 (TPT) reads:

At the moment she heard Mary’s voice, the baby within Elizabeth’s womb jumped and kicked. And suddenly, Elizabeth was filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit! 

Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist. When the baby, John, heard Mary’s voice he leaped inside of her and Elizabeth was filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.

What do you think is the significance of this?

Elizabeth’s prophecy in verse 42-45 is powerful!

What strikes you about her words to Mary?

From verse 45, we see that Elizabeth recognised that Mary’s faith played an active role in receiving the promise. We could be passive in receiving the promises of God or we can exercise faith and seize the promises with both hands.

Do you have a testimony of a promise that God made to you and the faith you needed to receive it?

Mary’s song in verses 46-55 overflows with joy and praise to God, as she knows her God sees her, a “lowly servant girl” and favour and blessing is on her life. In the same way, God sees us today – no matter how much we may feel overlooked or forgotten, no matter how insignificant or unimportant we may feel in the grand scheme of things.

And just as Mary held on to the promise that those who hunger for God will always be filled, God sees those who are hungry for Him and He promises to fill us today. Praise God!

Prayer for today:

Thank you Lord, for your Spirit, overflowing in us today. We are so grateful for the favour and blessing and mercy available to us today. Help us to walk in it today.

Advent Devotional 2019 – Day 6

What is your favourite sound? How good are you at listening to others?

God is always speaking to us. We hear Him in different ways. Look at the different ways that God speaks to people as you read our passage today – to Mary and Joseph, to Simeon and Anna.

Read Luke 2:22-40. 

What can we do to help us to hear clearly from God, as did Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna?

What prophecies did Simeon make about Jesus? How do you think that Mary and Joseph would have responded to these words.

In Luke 2:40 (NIV) Luke writes about Jesus:

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Jesus was God incarnate, God “clothed in flesh” and sent to live amongst us. We often focus on Jesus’ divinity and so it is sometimes easy to forget His humanness.

In what ways does this verse describe the humanity of Jesus?

Prayer for today:

Today, Jesus, we are reminded that you came to Earth as a tiny vulnerable baby and that you lived amongst us. Help us today to grow in wisdom and strength as your grace is on us too.

Advent Devotional 2019 – Day 7

Have you ever had a narrow escape from danger because of a warning from someone or an instinct or gut feeling or perhaps even a sense of God steering you?

In this passage, Joseph is warned in a prophetic dream to take Mary and Jesus and escape to Egypt because of Herod’s evil plan to kill Jesus.

Read Matthew 2:13-23. 

How do you think Jesus might relate to refugees today based on this story?

Herod was renowned for murdering his own wife and sons. Why did Herod plot the murder of Jesus?

After Herod’s death, Joseph takes Mary and Jesus back to Galilee, to the town of Nazareth. Nazareth was an unremarkable town, unwalled and unprotected with a fairly bad reputation. According to John 1:46, Nathaniel wondered if anything good could come from Nazareth.

The prophets described Jesus at His first coming as “like a root out of dry ground…. (with) no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” He was given the despicable title of “a Nazarene”. So Jesus had very humble beginnings.

How does this truth inspire and encourage you?

In what ways does Jesus’ humble beginnings help us to know there are no limitations in God?

What has God spoken to you recently and what are you expectant of this Christmas season?

Prayer for today:

Thank you God that your promises to your people were fulfilled in Jesus. Thank you Jesus for the gift you are to us today. We welcome you into every area of our lives. Have your way in us today.