Return to Bible Devotional > Scripture Prayer > Mini-Worship
Dec. 13 -18, 2021
Take a few deep breaths and center yourself and quiet down
Entering the presence of God
( M) Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
(W) Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.
(All) Shout aloud and sing for joy, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you. (from Isaiah 12:4-6, NIV)
God of our salvation, your presence brings joy and life. My weariness is gone. My fears flied away. My worries disappeared. You are my strength and my song. Thank you, my Savior.
Isaiah 12:1-3; Luke 1:39-55 (NIV)
In that day you will say:
“I will praise you, LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,from generation to generation.51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,just as he promised our ancestors.”
Thoughts to share and to ponder
Worshiping other gods and goddesses stirred up God's wrath toward the Israelites. They were taken by foreign powers. They experienced shame, scare, disasters and exiles. They were depressed and confused. They truly suffered a lot. God, through many great prophets, kept telling them that "in that day,” they would have God's favor and grace again. They would be free and rejoice again.
But, when would God turn his face toward them and forgive them? Many generations passed by. How long would they wait? Was their waiting simply a wasting time? Why was it so long? Oftentimes, in their anxiety and loneliness they found comfort and hope from the old prophecy. Yet, after all, prophecy was still a dream- a good dream. How would this dream become a reality? How would they be able to get rid of sin, to receive God's forgiveness, to be accepted in God favor? Who would be the savior God had promised? Did God forget them?
Elizabeth and Mary were two lucky women who were chosen to peek into this mystery to come. Indeed they were the most impossible choices. Elizabeth was in her very old age. Mary was a young virgin who just got engaged. Each received her impossible specific mission by angel. Each personally experienced God's creating power. They were in shock and in joy, though they were in God's overwhelming favor. Imagine, they met together and stayed together for 3 months. They shared their unexpected but undeniable experiences. They talked about the mission they received. They pondered and reflected what the prophets had said. They pictured what kind of moms they would become. They found confirmation from each other. They found support to each other.
The reign of God lifted them up to the most blessed state. The river of joy ran to them and flew out of them. They could not help but praise even they did not know "how" the thing would develop in coming days. The Holy Spirit convinced them and revealed to them a little bit understanding as to what was to come. What they understood were - 1) God's mercy would be real to them. God would remove anger and wrath toward them. 2) The salvation which God promised them long ago would become a reality. Their people would find satisfaction. They would find justice and righteousness in their existence. They would be free to rejoice and rejoice. 3) The saving power would change, reverse, restore and work in their existence. They would be brought to a wide and comfortable place from a narrow and distressed place. They would be very happy. In one word, they foretasted what God's salvation would be alike and what God could do when His reign came.
Later, Jesus came. He accomplished God's salvation plan on the cross. He made much clearer about what God's salvation plan was. God wanted to save us from sin and to allow us to partake his very life. He would include all people in all tribes and all nations. He wanted to save our entire person: body, soul and spirit. He wanted to save us from the past, present, and the future to eternal. We post-Easter generation of Christians are the people who taste the joy of God's salvation. Sin lost its grip on us. We are forgiven. We are accepted into God's own reign. We find that there is the fullness and joy of life before God.
Yes, our world is still groaning for redemption. We are still inflicted with many sins, sickness, and bondages. We are waiting and expecting for the returning of Jesus when God's reign will be consummated. Much like Elizabeth and Mary, we do not know complete picture about the things to come. What we can learn from them is that we will walk in trust and obedience to believe in God's promise and to live faithfully in the process. The small portion of joy we have tasted now will become full, complete and permanent in that day. We will completely surprise what God has prepared for us.
This season is a joyful season. It is joyful not because we are expecting many gifts. It is joyful because that a savior who can remove our sin and can forgive our sin has come from God. We are again reminded that the most precious gift of love and life we have longed for has come. Rejoice! Rejoice in God your savior.
Where do we find joy of life? What blocks our joy? Take a moment to exam our own hearts and ask God to restore the joy of salvation to us.
Jesus, thank you that you found me and drew me into your gift of salvation. I have been able to taste that deepest joy in my life. You are my Savior and the dearest lover. May you send the Holy Spirit in this season to touch many unhappy people and to draw many to the well of your salvation. May the joy of your people become your witness to the people around them. I pray in your name.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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