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Advent 2020: Conclusion

Continuing the journey.

Christmas 2020 is now in our rearview mirror. It’s the day after, the joy all spent, and now clean up begins. Memories will remain, some a short while and some lifelong, depending on our experiences.

As we wrap up our time with John Piper in Joy to the World, let’s consider what we will remember beyond Advent 2020.

Read Conclusion: My Favorite Christmas Text

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What is your takeaway from the Conclusion of Joy to the World?

We are called to join Jesus in this conscious self-humbling and servanthood.

John Piper, Joy to the World

Jesus made Himself nothing to serve others. He made a way to set us free from sin and death.

With pure freedom and joy, Believers lay down all illusion of independence and pride to follow Him.

As we leave Advent 2020 behind, let us consider continuing the spiritual journey we began in Joy to the World. Because the truth is, we live life in a season of Advent, a season of waiting. We are waiting for Christ’s return, His Second-Coming when He will make all things right.

Practicing the steps we learned this Advent is a means to help us prepare our hearts and spirits for Jesus’s return: Meditate. Examine. Build. Be.

Meditate, think about, contemplate your need for Jesus in community and personally. Consider all the ways you depend on the blessings He pours out each day and the hope you have in His promises. Ask God to remind you of your need.

Examine, check, inspect your heart and attitude toward Jesus. Look for signs of joy in Jesus and willingness to serve humbly. Consider how much of your life is also Christ’s life. Ask God to show you what you cannot see in yourself.

Build, fashion, construct habits to form an attitude of anticipation and excitement for His return. If you are not looking forward to His coming back, consider the underlying reasons. Ask God to reveal barriers in your heart. Sometimes construction projects begin with clearing out and tearing down obstructions. Cooperate with God as He works to change your attitude.

Be and live in the Word of God. Make it a daily priority in your life. Learn all you can about Jesus, from Genesis to Revelation. He is not only the Reason for Christmas but all creation and beyond. Get to know your Savior and find joy in your current waiting. Ask God to guide you to the specific Scriptures you need in each season of life and open yourself to His teaching by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today consider how you can establish these steps as a foundation for your spiritual journey.

Do you envision a daily, weekly, or monthly time to walk through these steps?

Who can you invite to join you on the journey for encouragement in the current waiting?

Ask God for the inspiration and faith to continue preparing physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally for Jesus’s return. Ask Him to guide you to light, truth, and joy, joy, joy!

For thus says the Lord… You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:10, 13 ESV

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Blessings for the new year and beyond.

Grow Team

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Advent 2020: Opposition

Troubled by Jesus.

Building excitement and anticipation for Jesus’s presence in your life and His ultimate return to earth is thoughtful work.

Fashion is another synonym for the word build. It means “to mold into a particular character by influencing or training” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).

Molding, building, transforming takes imagination. We must form a clear mental image of our end goal, in this case, an attitude of joyful expectancy for celebrating Jesus.

Creating a blueprint in our mind returns us to the first step in our spiritual roadmap: Meditate. Today, consider how being mindful of your need for Jesus can help build a sense of excited anticipation in your life for His promises.

Read December 9: Two Kinds of Opposition to Jesus

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What in today’s devotional causes you to think differently about Jesus? about Christmas?

Jesus is troubling to people who do not want to worship him, and this creates opposition against those who do.

John Piper, Joy to the World

Indifference or opposition? Wonder or excitement? How do you receive Christ and His good news of grace?

Are you brought to your knees? Or are you offended?

Consider your heart’s response to the good news of Jesus’s birth, life, death, and resurrection.

What do the everyday details of your life reveal about your belief in Jesus?

Ask God to uncover any hidden opposition to Jesus and His good news of grace rooted in your heart. Ask Him to show you how to remove any barriers — hostility or indifference — keeping you from finding joyful excitement in Jesus.

“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. …”
Luke 2:34-35 NLT

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[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]

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Advent 2020: Supernatural Wonder

His star rose.

Yesterday we considered building excitement and anticipation for God’s presence in our lives and Jesus’s return in the future. A synonym for build is forge.

Forge can mean “to move forward slowly and steadily” or “to move with a sudden increase of speed and power” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).

In our spiritual journeys we generally move slowly and steadily. Regular times of worship and a daily rhythm in our walk with God through prayer, study, and obedience, lay the foundation. But there are seasons in our spiritual lives when we forge ahead with extra intensity. Advent can be one of those times.

Be on the lookout for inspiration in building anticipation for celebrating Christmas in your home and for Christ’s ultimate return as you read the devotionals in Joy to the World.

Read December 8: Bethlehem’s Supernatural Star

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What, in today’s devotional, fueled your anticipation of celebrating Jesus?

What is plain concerning this matter of the star is that it is doing something that it cannot do on its own: it is guiding magi to the Son of God to worship him.

John Piper, Joy to the World

Do you accept your limitations when it comes to understanding the supernatural ways of God? Or do you spend time and energy trying to figure it out for yourself?

Embrace the unknowns. Just admit: I don’t know.

Trusting God’s hand is in and behind all the events of the world is an act of faith. Believing we can figure out how He does it belittles God’s greatness.

Ask God to bless you with the faith and humility to embrace the unknowns and wonder at His unimaginable unfathomable greatness.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33 NIV

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[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]