December 26, 2014
Irma and Larry W. (2007)
So many circumstances can steal our happiness. We disappoint ourselves. Family and friends sometimes disappoint us. Or they move away – or worse, they are sicken and die… Jobs disappear, the economy plunges, prices rise, health fails, dreams collapse, rudeness rules, terrorists succeed---- or even just the ordinary annoyances and irritations of everyday life frustrate us.
But real joy cannot be touched, for it is the gift of the gracious, compassionate, loving God – whom Jesus Christ reveals. In spite of any circumstance, the gift of Joy sustains us—Scripture assures us “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”
Think of it – no matter our failures, our sins, we do no bear our guilt, our embarrassment or regrets. For they are “buried in the sea of His forgetfulness.” The human fear of death and the unknown future is banished, for Jesus himself said, “Do not let your heart be troubled. I will come and take you to myself so you will be with me.” The grief and despair we know because of loss, of bitter disappointments, or fear… all are overcome by the inviolate promises…. Who would not have amazing, unfailing, unbelievable joy with such assurances! Read them; believe them! We have the very Word of God! In Isaiah 43:2, “…this is what the Lord says—Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, …”
Caroline Z. (2007)
What Joy has Jesus Brought to You?
Marilyn K. (2007)
Jesus has brought much joy into my life in the form of happiness and love of my family, friends and church family. I also feel joy and security knowing that Jesus is by my side all the time, especially when I am scared. I also feel joy and grace. I know it is very cliché to wonder, "What would Jesus do?" But I do feel that Jesus is always beside me, guiding my words, thoughts and actions.
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Greetings! This year's Advent devotions combine contributions from past years, interlaced with current contributions.
Introduction by the late Irma Ward, Pastor Emeritus:
"It is the prayer of those who have shared their Advent thoughts with you that this Holy Season will bring you a deepening sense of His presence. The One whose name is Emmanuel, God with Us!
Every page is personal witness of this fact, that in Christ we are encouraged, supported, comforted, challenged, forgiven, redeemed, blessed. Here are Scriptures of special meaning to persons in our fellowship; an intimate opening of hearts, a sharing of joy and pain, of promise and fulfillment. Some meditations are written by young children, others by youth and young adults, still others by mature and senior members of our fellowship. Each one reminds us we are one body, bound together in His love.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, we have beheld His Glory. (John 1:14)"