Advent Devotional: Week 1, The Prophets

Advent Devotional, Week 1- The Prophets

 

This week is about the Prophets.  It’s a week to remember that the birth of Jesus and later his death and resurrection was proclaimed thousands of years prior by prophets.  When we start this Advent season, by remembering all that God has done and recounting His faithfulness we will begin this season with joy and expectation for what He still wants to do in the future.

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( NOTE: there are several different meanings assigned to the weeks of Advent in different Christian traditions.  I believe they all hold something powerful and special we can benefit from studying. The facets of Advent we are discussing in this series are ones I am most familiar with studying and also that I felt the Lord was highlighting to share about.)

 

PAUSE: Take a moment to reflect or write down.

 

What is one way that you have seen God be faithful in your life?  Thank Him for it!

 

READ:  Luke 2: 22-37 (NIV)  22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[
d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

 

We’re starting this Advent season by reflecting on 2 members of the Christmas story often forgotten, mostly because they enter the story of Jesus, after the main event…ya know the stable, sheep, angels in the night sky singing part we usually hear about this time of year.  Simeon and Anna, appeared simple and maybe crazy to their peers because they had been expecting, praying, waiting & believing to meet Jesus most of their life.

 

Because they had devoted their hearts and minds to awaiting the appearance of Jesus, they recognized Him the moment they saw Him.

 

The Savior of the universe walks into the room and only 2 people recognize him even though there were maybe a few hundred people around.

 

Why did these two recognize Him?  Simeon and Anna have no noted accolades, Ph.D’s or street cred to add to their names.  We know historically women (specifically widows, had little to no power or influence at this time in history).  The only detail mentioned about Simeon in this passage is that he was filled with the Holy Spirit, probably not something that most of the world cared much about.

 

They recognized Jesus because they had spent their everyday ordinary moments seeking, watching and praying and because of their dedication they were amongst the first to recognize and worship Jesus as the Savior of the World.

 

My encouragement to you today is to be a Simeon and an Anna this Advent season.  Turn your hearts and minds towards watching and waiting with a Holy Expectation for Jesus to show up in the ugliest, hardest and most hopeless places.

 

Sometimes we don’t see Him show up because we aren’t watching, or because we haven’t devoted ourselves to knowing Him well enough to recognize when He’s there.  There is no better time than this season of Advent to do that!

 

The invitation to experience the power of Jesus Christ is available to all of us…nothing special required but a simple yes and a hungry heart!

 

 

These next steps involve hearing God’s voice.  If you feel unsure how to hear His voice or how to know if its Him speaking.  I made you a quick video with 3 simple ways to know how to Hear His voice.  (sorry for the cat meowing in part of this video-lol)  If you feel confident in this area, keep reading.

 

ACTION STEP:  Think about the times you are most likely to check your phone, for messages, the weather, social media ect….maybe its at a stoplight, before you drive somewhere, in the morning, on your break times, at lunch time or when your kids are napping.  

 

Commit this week, to stop and ask Jesus “what are you doing right now?”  before you check your phone.

 

If you hear nothing, maybe pause and ask again.  If you feel a prompting in your heart, maybe a person comes to mind, pray for that person.  Maybe God wants to speak a simple word of encouragement to your heart or a word of direction.  Intentionally make time and space this week to check in with Him, to build a rhythm of being watchful and expectant for Him before checking into all the distractions and noise of our world.

 

SEARCH: your heart before God and ask Him these few simple questions.  Write down what He says!

 

ASK:  God is there anything keeping me from watching, waiting and expecting you to move during this Christmas season?

 

If He says Yes….

 

ASK:  God what do you want me to do with this thing that is keeping me from expecting you to move and distracting me from watching for your presence?

 

Be sure to WRITE THIS ANSWER DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!  ASK:  God, where do you want to show up this Christmas season? Is there something specific you want me to pray and believe for you to do this Christmas season?

 

RESPOND:  With trust and humility surrender and commit to what He has told you to do so that you can be fully engaged in waiting and watching for Him to move this Advent season.

 

SONG:  Holy Spirit you are Welcome Here, Bryan and Katie Torwalt

Friends, I would love to hear anything God speaks this week!  Let me know how your action step is going!

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I am praying for you,

 

 

 

 

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