Advent Week 1 – Thankful, Week 2 – Give, Week 3 – Behold, Week 4 – Hope

Week 1 Jots from Josiah
Short readings about Christmas Advent from our intern Josiah
Week 1 – Thankful: Thanksgiving turns the corner into Advent
How many people have I prayed for that were blind? Praying that they could see. That God would restore their vision. A lot of people. How many times do I stop and thank the Lord for giving me vision? Eyes to see the wonders of this beautiful world. Almost never! How many times do I keep asking for more when I haven’t taken the time to say, “God, you’ve given me more than enough. Thank you.” I believe God likes to hear us praying for healing. But I also think He loves hearing us say “It is well with my soul. I am content. I am grateful. I love you, Jesus, EVEN in this time of waiting.” It’s a powerful thing when God heals someone. It’s also a powerful thing when they choose to love Him through their trials. Choosing to love the sound of His voice through their blindness. Choosing to love raising their hands in worship even though they are crippled. Choosing to thank him for being their Father, when their father on earth has left. I want my life to be a life of “THANK YOU GOD” rather than “GOD, PLEASE…” I hope that every person I am able to pray for or encourage reminds me of what I have to be thankful for. Today, I am thankful for my sight because a lot of people I met in the country of Colombia don’t have that.
-Jots from our new intern, Josiah. Look for advent articles, pictures, quotes, and verses from a future bestseller.

Week 2: Advent Jots from Josiah – Give
Short readings about Christmas Advent from our intern Josiah
I went with a group of college friends to an orphanage in Chicago this Christmas season. I took a few moments with each gift to write something individually for each child so they knew someone cared and knew their name.

Jesus is telling a story in Matthew 25: 31- 46 that takes place before the throne in heaven. Jesus is talking about how the righteous person clothed Jesus when He was naked, visited Him when we was sick, and gave him food when He was hungry. How can we do something for Jesus? Mary clothed baby Jesus when he was naked. The shepherds visited Him. The wise men gave Jesus gifts. But, this is 2019 and Jesus is in heaven. So what did He mean? He goes on in the passage to explain that whenever we do something for the least of these, it’s like we’re doing it for Jesus. Woah. Does God see the least of these with such valuable eyes when we meet them at their point of need, it’s like we are being a blessing to them and also to God? This Christmas season, I challenge you to consider ways in which you might serve God by “giving” to others. What if we specifically focused on the word “Give.” God “gave” His Son as a little newborn in a barn in order that He might die to save the lives of whosoever will believe. What might we humbly “give” this Christmas?

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothed you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matt. 25:34-40

Advent Jots from Josiah. Week 3 – Behold!
I remember when I first got on a plane by myself to go follow a calling God had for me to be a missionary in Mexico. I was terrified. I had a window seat and I remember looking out the window and seeing the most immaculate and incredible cloud formations I had ever seen. The sunrise reflected on the collections of water vapor, creating fluffy balls of cotton candy. I had no words, but I saw the glory of God revealed through creation and felt a huge peace of mind. The God, who created these clouds and me, is directing where I am supposed to be. My face was glowing as I beheld the wonders of my Creator.

Imagine how the characters in Luke 2 must have felt at the coming of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. I’m sure Joseph had his doubts whether or not Jesus was the Messiah, whether or not Jesus was conceived in the womb through Divine power, and what this would mean. I bet Mary had her worries about what the birth of Jesus might imply for her status in society considering she was not married to Joseph. The shepherds heard the angel voices in the sky proclaiming the glory of God. The wise men had been studying the stars and preparing for this moment for awhile, had the time finally come to see the Child of promise?

Then, behold, the cry of a newborn pierces the night. These characters on the scene, all with vastly different journeys, are standing in the presence of God as a human baby. A sense of awe fills the room followed by a feeling of comfort and reassurance. Everything that had been spoken came to pass. They looked to the King of all the world through a lens of glory and wonder because our beautiful Savior is who does what He says He will. Behold the presence of our Lord! https://www.instagram.com/p/B59MnSOgHKB/

 

Week four advent devotional by Josiah – Jots from intern Josiah

Matthew 1:21-23 • week four: Hope

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,  and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means God with  us).

The dictionary defines hope like this

Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

I remember when I was seven years old and my family took a vacation to North Carolina.  I had wandered further down the beach than I should have and suddenly the ocean waves came tumbling over me. As I was holding my breath under water, grabbing at the sand to pull myself out, I felt hopeless.  I hoped the lifeguard or a Good Samaritan would see me and save me. “This could be it for me.” Suddenly two arms wrap around me and pull me out.  I am face to face with my uncle and am thankful for his saving arms.

Just as I had a feeling of expectation and desire for someone to come and save me, it is clear people in the time before Jesus’ birth had the same hope. It is amazing how even Jesus’ name prophesied He would be a bridge to bring God to earth and be a Savior. I love the way God didn’t just send Jesus without warning, but instilled hope in His people for generations before His birth. A hope fulfilled by God reminds us He is faithful, what He says is true, and He enjoys building our trust in Him.

What are you hoping for from God that requires complete faith? If God can bring a Savior for all of mankind, He can save you from your trouble you are in. Ask Him to fill you with hope for what’s to come.