Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Morning Advent Reading - Isaiah 40:3-5 American Standard Version

The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of Jehovah; make level in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain: and the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Evening Advent Reading - Luke 1:76-79 American Standard Version

Yea and thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High:
For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to make ready his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people
In the remission of their sins,
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
Whereby the dayspring from on high shall visit us,
To shine upon them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death;
To guide our feet into the way of peace.

Mid-afternoon Advent Reading - Psalm 29:11 American Standard Version

Jehovah will give strength unto his people;
Jehovah will bless his people with peace.

Embracing the Prince of Peace

Today, reflect on the title given to Jesus in Isaiah 9:6, "Prince of Peace." In Him, we find a peace that surpasses understanding. Extend this peace to others by supporting our mission. A small contribution can make a big impact in sharing the message of the Prince of Peace.

Mid-Morning Advent Reading - Proverbs 16:9 American Standard Version

A man’s heart deviseth his way;
But Jehovah directeth his steps.

Morning Advent Reading - Isaiah 32:17 American Standard Version

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and confidence for ever.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Evening Advent Reading - Matthew 3:1-3 American Standard Version

And in those days cometh John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, saying, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of through Isaiah the prophet, saying,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Make ye ready the way of the Lord,
Make his paths straight.

Mid-afternoon Advent Reading - Psalm 27:1 American Standard Version

Jehovah is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
Jehovah is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

A Tranquil Start to the Week

As we begin the week, let the glow of the second Advent candle remind us of the Peace that Christ brings. In the midst of busyness, take a moment to embrace His tranquility. Your donation, even the cost of a cup of coffee, supports the spreading of this message of Peace to those who need it. 

Mid-Morning Advent Reading - Proverbs 16:7 American Standard Version

When a man’s ways please Jehovah,
He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Morning Advent Reading - Isaiah 26:3 American Standard Version

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 11 American Standard Version

Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. For therein the elders had witness borne to them. By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God translated him: for he hath had witness borne to him that before his translation he had been well-pleasing unto God: and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him. By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith even Sarah herself received power to conceive seed when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised: wherefore also there sprang of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of heaven in multitude, and as the sand, which is by the sea-shore, innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own. And if indeed they had been mindful of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city. By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yea, he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; even he to whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence he did also in a figure receive him back. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a goodly child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he looked unto the recompense of reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were swallowed up. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient, having received the spies with peace. And what shall I more say? for the time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, waxed mighty in war, turned to flight armies of aliens. Women received their dead by a resurrection: and others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tempted, they were slain with the sword: they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves, and the holes of the earth. And these all, having had witness borne to them through their faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 118:28 American Standard Version

Thou art my God, and I will give thanks unto thee:
Thou art my God, I will exalt thee.

Beyond the Tinsel: Unwrapping the True Gift of Hope

As we gather in the warmth of fellowship, I extend to you a heartfelt welcome, grateful for this precious time together in the name of our Savior. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, adorned with twinkling lights and festive cheer, let us, with intentionality, carve out a sacred space to reflect on the profound meaning of Christmas.

In a world often consumed by the frenzy of consumerism and the quest for the perfect gifts, we stand united in the knowledge that, as Christians, we have already received the most extraordinary gift of all—the miraculous birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Beyond the glittering packages and holiday melodies, let our hearts resound with the timeless refrain: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11, NLT).

As we navigate through the hustle of finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones, let us not lose sight of the unparalleled gift we have already received—the gift that transcends time, the gift that brings eternal joy and redemption to our lives. Christmas is more than a season of festive decorations and exchanging presents; it is a sacred reminder of God's ultimate expression of love.

Let us, together, pause amid the holiday rush to reflect on "the reason for the season." In the midst of the tinsel and wrapping paper, let us unwrap the layers of our hearts and rediscover the profound truth that Christmas is about the birth of hope, the advent of love, and the revelation of God's grace.

May this Advent season be a time of deep reflection, as we immerse ourselves in the story of the Nativity—the story that changed the course of humanity. As we light the first candle, the Candle of Hope, may it ignite within us a flame of gratitude for the greatest gift we have ever received.

In this sacred space of reflection, as we consider the immeasurable gift of Christ's birth, our hearts are naturally drawn to the radiant flame of hope that flickers within the first candle of Advent. As we dive into the significance of hope, let the words of Romans 15:13 resonate in our spirits: "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit" (NLT).

Hope is not merely a fleeting wish or a distant dream; it is a confident expectation, a steadfast assurance that God's promises are true. To capture the essence of hope, consider these profound words: "Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness" (Desmond Tutu). In a world that often grapples with shadows, hope becomes the beacon that guides us through the darkest nights and lights our path with the promises of God.

As we explore the Candle of Hope, let us delve into the transformative power of this virtue. Join me in illuminating the corridors of our hearts with the radiant glow of hope, understanding its true value in the tapestry of our faith.

In the rich tapestry of hope, we find threads woven with the concept of expectant waiting—a theme beautifully encapsulated in the scripture from Isaiah 40:31 (NLT): "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Picture a scene where hope intertwines with patient anticipation, much like a quiet wilderness echoing the promises of God. In this spirit, let me share with you a poignant story—a narrative that mirrors the ageless truth of Isaiah's words, a contemporary tale of expectant waiting.

In the bustling heart of the city, where the rhythm of life beats steadily, resides a young couple, Alex and Jessica. They navigate the challenges of modernity, anchored by their unwavering faith and trust in God's promises. Despite facing the complexities of fertility treatments and the strains of a fast-paced life, they hold onto the belief that God's timing is perfect. One ordinary day, as they faced the trials of their journey, an unexpected message of hope arrived—a passage from Isaiah shared by a friend: "Fear not, for the Lord has heard your prayers. In His perfect time, a seed of promise will be sown, and you shall reap a harvest of joy." With expectant hearts, Alex and Jessica embraced the promise, navigating the seasons of waiting with a hope that transcended the contemporary challenges. Their story became a testament to the transformative power of trusting in God's providence. Much like Alex and Jessica, our lives are stories of expectant waiting. The Advent season calls us to mirror their unwavering faith as we anticipate the fulfillment of God's promises. As we light the Candle of Hope, let us embrace the beauty of patient expectancy, knowing that in God's perfect time, our hearts will soar on wings like eagles.

Reading from Psalm 33:20-22 (NLT) - "We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him, our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone."

Amid the tumultuous currents of life, we find solace in the Psalmist's timeless words, anchoring our hope in the unwavering presence of the Lord. As we navigate the complexities of our daily existence, it is inevitable that shadows will cast themselves upon our paths. Some Christians may believe that they will be miraculously snatched out of dark moments, while others may feel there is no hope in the midst of hardship. However, it is through these tough times that we witness the true meaning of hope. Before the birth of Jesus, we walked in constant darkness with no hope. When that small child came into the world, hope in its truest and purest sense entered our lives. It is precisely in the heart of our struggles that we grasp the depth and significance of this hope. As we stand at the threshold of uncertainty, let our hearts rejoice in the trust we place in His holy name. As we immerse ourselves in the Advent journey, may the Lord's unfailing love envelop us, and may our hope be firmly anchored in Him alone.
Reflecting on Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) - "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

In the rhythm of our daily lives, we often find ourselves at crossroads, grappling with uncertainties about the future. The comforting assurance emanates from the words of the prophet Jeremiah, echoing the divine declaration that the Lord knows the intricate plans He has for each of us. It is a promise not of disaster, but of goodness, and a future that unfolds under the tender wings of hope. As we traverse the landscapes of our individual journeys, let us cultivate hope as a resilient companion, walking hand in hand with the awareness that our steps are guided by the Creator of the universe. The Advent season beckons us to embody this hope, embracing the unfolding chapters of our lives with the understanding that God's plans, though mysterious, are always rooted in goodness. In the stillness of prayer and the sacred moments of reflection, may we find the courage to entrust our futures into the hands of the One who holds the master plan, allowing hope to blossom and flourish in our hearts.

As the gentle glow of the Candle of Hope illuminates our hearts, we stand at the culmination of our Advent reflections, immersed in the profound significance of this season. The birth of Jesus emerges as the truest and purest form of hope for a world shrouded in darkness, echoing the sentiments of Psalm 33:20-22 (NLT), "We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him, our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone."

The story of Alex and Jessica serves as a contemporary testament to the transformative power of hope in the face of adversity. Much like them, we navigate the complexities of our modern lives, holding steadfast to the promise that, in God's perfect time, a seed of promise will be sown, and we shall reap a harvest of joy.

As we conclude our time together, let us stand firm in His grace, knowing that the plans the Lord has for us are plans for good and not for disaster, giving us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT). The Advent journey beckons us to cultivate hope as a resilient companion, to rejoice in the trust we place in His holy name, and to embrace the unfolding chapters of our lives with courage and expectancy.

May the light of hope continue to shine brightly within each of us, not only during this Advent season but throughout the coming year. As we carry the essence of hope into our homes, communities, and beyond, let us be living testimonies to the transformative power of the birth of Jesus—the truest and purest form of hope that has graced our world.

In the days ahead, let us stand firm in His grace, anchored by the radiant promises of hope, and may the peace, love, and joy of Christ fill our hearts abundantly.

May our lives reflect the brilliance of these Advent candles, illuminating the world with the transformative power of the Gospel. Let our celebrations be a testimony to the enduring hope, peace, joy, and love found in Christ alone.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:10-11 American Standard Version

Remove not the ancient landmark;
And enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
For their Redeemer is strong;
He will plead their cause against thee.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ezekiel 16:60 American Standard Version

Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 30:18-22 American Standard Version

Thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I will turn again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have compassion on his dwelling-places; and the city shall be builded upon its own hill, and the palace shall be inhabited after its own manner. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me; and I will punish all that oppress them. And their prince shall be of themselves, and their ruler shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is he that hath had boldness to approach unto me? saith Jehovah. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 118:27 American Standard Version

Jehovah is God, and he hath given us light:
Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.

Cultivating Hope in the Advent Season

As we embark on the Advent journey, the first candle we light represents Hope. In the midst of a world seeking light and direction, our hope is anchored in the promise of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Let's explore key passages from the Bible to deepen our understanding of the profound hope we have in Him.

1. Isaiah 9:2-7 (NLT) - The Promise of a Coming Savior
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. 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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

In this passage, Isaiah foretells the birth of Jesus, the Light that dispels the darkness of sin and despair. Reflect on the titles given to this coming Savior and consider the hope found in the promise of His arrival.

2. Romans 15:13 (NLT) - Source of Hope
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul reminds us that our hope is not wishful thinking; it's grounded in the trust we place in God. Take a moment to reflect on the hope that comes from trusting in God's faithfulness and the role of the Holy Spirit in filling us with confident hope.

3. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) - God's Plans for Hope and a Future
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Even in challenging times, God assures us of His plans for our good and a future filled with hope. How does understanding God's plans impact the hope we have in Him? Consider the role of trust and patience in awaiting His promises.

4. Psalm 33:20-22 (NLT) - Patient Hope in the Lord
We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him, our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.

Psalm 33 encourages us to place our hope in the Lord, our ultimate source of help and protection. Reflect on the idea of patient hope and how trusting in God's unfailing love can sustain us in challenging times.

As we ponder these Scriptures, may our hearts be filled with the hope that comes from the promises of God. Let this week be a time of cultivating a deep and abiding hope as we anticipate the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:9 American Standard Version

Speak not in the hearing of a fool;
For he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Peter 3:8-13 American Standard Version

But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Kings 3:10-14 American Standard Version

And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern justice; behold, I have done according to thy word: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there hath been none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee, all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 118:26 American Standard Version

Blessed be he that cometh in the name of Jehovah:
We have blessed you out of the house of Jehovah.

Beacons of Hope

As the week concludes, let's be beacons of hope for one another. Extend a hand by donating the cost of a premium beverage to ensure the Good News reaches those who need it most.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:8 American Standard Version

The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up,
And lose thy sweet words.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 26:9 American Standard Version

With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee earnestly: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Galatians 6:10 American Standard Version

So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 118:25 American Standard Version

Save now, we beseech thee, O Jehovah:
O Jehovah, we beseech thee, send now prosperity.

Nurturing Seeds of Hope

Just as a seed holds the promise of a flourishing plant, hope carries the promise of a brighter future. Support the growth of hope by contributing the cost of a premium beverage to share the Good News.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:6-7 American Standard Version

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye,
Neither desire thou his dainties:
For as he thinketh within himself, so is he:
Eat and drink, saith he to thee;
But his heart is not with thee.

Morning Scripture Reading - Numbers 6:24-26 American Standard Version

Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee:
Jehovah make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
Jehovah lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.