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Saturday, Dec 9 | No longer a slave

Editor's Note


About the author: Lori, her husband Greg, and their 2 daughters, have been members at ZPC since 2015. Lori loves serving (and cooking!) as a ZPC Deacon, writing as a parent contributor to USA Today, and running her party planning business. 

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of waiting, mystery, redemption, and incarnation. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

Galatians 4:4-7 | Waiting

“You are no longer a slave, but a son.” These words from Galatians 4:7 make my heart cry out in relief every time I read them. Across our landscape this year, I see those “enslaved” by sorrow due to grieving a death, a divorce, awaiting a reunion, or a miracle. The Advent season can be a very difficult time for those already exhausted from waiting. Paul’s letter reminds us we are not slaves to earthly circumstances, but rather we are God’s children, just as Jesus is God's son.

The arrival of Jesus means God fulfilled his promise of making us a permanent member of his family. Those who are suffering can turn to Galatians 4:6: To show you that you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, the Spirit who cries out, “Father, my Father.” 

What comfort! I can cry out “Father, my Father!” and he will meet me with the promises of Jesus! I am a child of God, and cherished beyond measure; never alone or without purpose.

So while the Advent season means we await the celebration of a miracle, for those hurting, it also represents the deliverance from waiting for eternal mercy and love. God has such tremendous plans for our lives: And since you are his son, God will give you all that he has for his sons. (Galatians 4:7) This verse gives me the strength to journey forward, and the hope needed to rebuild after times of loss. The Advent season is not just a time of waiting. It's also a time to celebrate that because of Jesus' birth, all waiting has an end.

Please join me in sending love to those who may be waiting through hard times this season:

Activity

  1. Think through your personal contact list and find friends or family members who may need comfort this holiday season. Send them an extra card with a prayer or drop a small treat in their mailbox. Let them know they are in your heart this Advent season, and acknowledge they are waiting for comfort, which can be found in this season of God’s promises. How can you add your twist to it, letting them know just how very special they are to your life?
  2. What is your favorite winter item? Warm socks? A fun hat? Soft gloves? Purchase a new one and donate that item for someone in need. Attach a note that includes a prayer of the warmth of God’s promises while waiting for his Son's birth. Comfort sometimes comes in very small bundles of joy. ;)
  3. Check in with the Zionsville Food Pantry and ask what their greatest needs are this season for those who are facing challenges.

Prayer

Dear Lord our Father,

Thank you for this season of waiting. It reminds us to reach out to those in a season of suffering, and invite them into the warm love of God’s family. Please bring me enlightenment to whom I may share this good news. Please stay with me, Lord. Stay with me during my own challenging times, and teach me how to shine with your love, no matter my circumstances. Please grant me patience when my own seasons of waiting creates discomfort. I especially thank you for the hope this season brings, and show me how I may bring this hope to others.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Posted by Lori Fulk with

Friday, Dec 8 | NOW

Editor's Note

About the author:
 Dave and his wife Joan have been members at ZPC for more than 30 years! Dave is currently a sitting elder (but just through this year) and also serves on ZPC's Mission Commission. 

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of waiting, mystery, redemption, and incarnation. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

Waiting | Psalm 31:13-16

For I hear the whispering of many-terror all around!

as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hand; 

Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

Let your face shine upon your servant save me in your steadfast love.

As we look at Psalm 31, at first we might be thankful that we don’t live in some parts of the world where there are daily imminent dangers, such as in the Middle East. Certainly when Christ was born it was also a time of great dangers. But today we fortunately do not face the kind of dangers faced in the Middle East. Instead we each are faced with many other dangers and perils–sometimes of our own making.

Dangers like materialism, individualism, comparisons, competition, and selfishness seem to be battling with our very soul. But perhaps an equally large danger is the difficulty to live in the NOW. NOW is the only thing we have. We can only love our family, our community, others–NOW. We can only wait–NOW. It is meaningless to dwell in the past; and to try to live in the future is only a figment of our imagination created by our ego. Live in the NOW, wait in the NOW. We can wait in anticipation, but live for NOW–this moment, this day. We can place that gift under the tree for later, but today hug your spouse, your child, your parent–NOW. Really look into the eyes of another person and see this wonderful creation–NOW.

When I see and hold a new creation, such as a new grandson, I can only marvel at such a creation. When we wait with anticipation the celebration of God’s son, the promise of what will be at that birth is indescribable.

God is with and in each of us NOW. Don’t look past NOW. NOW is the only time we really have.

Trust God NOW–it’s all we have; and that is more than sufficient! 

Activity

Take a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line down the center of the page. On the top of the left column, label it “NOW–acts and thoughts.” On the top of the right column, label it “Future or past acts and thoughts.” During your day keep track of your thoughts and actions and place them in the appropriate column.

Prayer

Thank you God for your steadfast love. Help me to learn to live in the NOW. Help me to understand that you are with me NOW. Help me to see your love in another person’s eyes NOW. Help me to be patient to wait in you.

Amen

Posted by Dave Gall with

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