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Advent 2020: The Son of God

He disables sin.

Christmas Eve. It’s here! We’ve journeyed a long way, even though it may seem like the time flew by.

Today we celebrate the eve of the birth of the Babe in the manger, the Son of God, the Son of Man, God-Incarnate, Jesus.

As you celebrate this night before Christmas, take time to focus on the steps of the spiritual discipline of Advent. Invite those with you into the conversation.
Meditate. Share your thoughts on the need for Jesus in your life.
Examine. Ask each person present to consider what is in their hearts this Christmas Eve: Emotions. Thoughts. Desires. Invite them to speak openly.
Build. Take a survey of those with whom you gather to discover different ways to stir up excitement for Jesus at Christmas and all the other days of the year.
Be. Open up a Bible. Read a portion of Jesus’s birth story out loud. Ask God to open hearts to the joy of Christmas.


Read December 24: The Son of God Appeared

Photo by Jan Romero on Unsplash

Reflect.

What did you hear in today’s Joy to the World devotional?


Jesus came into the world to help us stop sinning.

John Piper, Joy to the World

Sometimes, we view the Christmas story as unconnected from the work Jesus came to do: Disable sin.

We make a big to-do of His arrival in the manger, but the reality is He quietly appeared. Hardly anyone noticed.

The Bible doesn’t tell us much about Jesus’s life as a child or young adult. The next time we hear of Him, He’s all grown up and undergoing baptism in the waters of the Jordan River. He enters ministry by fighting off temptation. Then He begins teaching, healing, and working miracles as He forms fellowship with a band of brothers.

The Babe in the manger seems far removed from the Messiah on the cross.

John Piper wants to make sure we connect the whole story and see the Babe in the same light as Christ: The Lamb of God. The Savior of the world. The King of kings.

Why do you think we need to see the incarnation of God, from baby to manhood, as an integral part of His mission on earth?

Do you tend to compartmentalize Christmas from the cross? His resurrection? His return?

Today think about how you handle the whole story of Christ. Examine your attitude toward Jesus’s birth, life, crucifixion, resurrection, and return. Are they a single epic written on your heart? Or do you view them as individual accounts?

Ask God to open your eyes and heart to the full story and purpose of Jesus. Be prepared to let go of old attitudes and make way for a fuller perspective to take hold.

Because God’s children are human beings — made of flesh and blood — the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil who had the power of death.
Hebrews 2:14 NLT

Photo by Eugene Zhyvchik on Unsplash

[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]

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Advent 2020: Light in the Darkness

Stand firm with Jesus.

Four days left in Advent. Five until Christmas. The daylight hours continue to decrease while the hours of darkness increase — until tomorrow. This year December 21st is the first day of winter, the day marked by the fewest hours of light and the longest night of darkness.

Spiritual darkness presses into our lives daily: sin, bad moods, discord in relationships. Today consider Jesus as Savior, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace. Let Him bring light into your darkness.

Find a passage in the Bible to speak to your current battle with darkness. Memorize the Word God gives you. Let Him shine the light of truth to dissipate the dark.

Stand firm against the forces attempting to extinguish the light in your life.


Read December 20: Christmas Solidarity

Photo by Cris DiNoto on Unsplash

What captured your imagination in today’s devotional?


Christmas is a call to go on strike at the assembly plant of sin.

John Piper, Joy to the World

Sin is the work of Satan. Its sole purpose is to bring spiritual darkness into the world and break our relationship with God.

Where are you standing in relation to what John Piper calls: Satan’s business?

Are you an active contributor to the sins coming off the enemy’s assembly line? a part-time employee? or a protestor picketing at the gates?

We all sin, yet Satan is a devious business manager. The lies he weaves into the world make us think we are doing good, or at least what is tolerable, as we blindly contribute to the darkness.

Today, consider whether your thoughts, words, and deeds contribute to the darkness in the world or bring light.

You’ll need God’s help. Ask Him to bless you with discernment and eyes to see things accurately. Ask Him to reveal the lies you’ve been believing and replace them with the light of truth.

“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”
Matthew 6:22-23 NLT

Photo by Sebastian on Unsplash

[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]

December 5

[Today’s post is in addition to the December 5 devotional reading in The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper.]

You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. … The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

1John 3:5, 8

Our sin. Make this personal and love him for it. Take the very personal words of the apostle Paul and make them your own. “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). This is how he destroyed the works of the Devil and rescued us from our sin. Don’t leave Christmas in the abstract. Your sin. Your conflict with the Devil. Your victory. He came for this.

– John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 24*

Jesus came to bring light where there was darkness. In the world. In His church. In His people. In your heart.

Consider how He has brought light to your life since He came into your heart.

Consider the places in your heart that are still dark. Do you protect them? deny them? abhor them?

Give Him permission to reveal, restore, and redeem your darkness and bring you into the light.

Lord Jesus, let me not forget You came on a mission to destroy sin in the world and in me. Work in me a deeper understanding of the eternal nature of Christmas. May I be changed by Your entrance into the world, not just this Advent, but for every day following.

[Feature Image Photo seen on blog by Josh Boot on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 4

[Today’s post follows the reading of the December 4 devotional in The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper.]

Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:45

Open your heart to receive the best present imaginable: Jesus giving himself to die for you and to serve you all the rest of eternity. Receive this. Turn away from self-help and sin. Become like little children. Trust him. Trust him. Trust him with your life.

– John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 22*

Have you ever considered Jesus as one who serves you? What does it mean to you?

How can relying on yourself keep Him from helping you?

And sin. What sins do you find more appealing than Christ serving you?

Father God, You care for Your children in so many ways. Open my heart to embrace my need for You. Open my mind to understand trusting You means letting You serve me through Jesus. Grow me to be Your obedient child.

[Feature Image Photo on blog by Greg Weaver on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.