14-Jan-19 Monday Isaiah 40:1-8
15-Jan-19 Tuesday Luke 3:7-14
16-Jan-19 Wednesday Luke 3:15-20
17-Jan-19 Thursday Malachi 3:1-7
18-Jan-19 Friday Malachi 4:1-6
19-Jan-19 Saturday Psalm 2:1-11
Monday – Isaiah 40:1-8
Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
As a prophet, it is hard to imagine the importance that each of your words would carry. Each word written down, memorialized, carried down throughout history, remembered, recited, repeated by generations past, present, and future. No wonder you would want to get it right. So when Isaiah asks “What shall I call out” in this passage, the answer comes back with a poweful metaphor. Men, and all our words, will pass away, but the word of God will endure the test of time. Therefore the instruction to prophet is simple – let your words be Gods words. Our instruction is the same. Our words carry weight for the people we interact with. We can cut someone down, or make someone’s day with just a few words. Let us strive to have our words reflect God’s words.
Tuesday – Luke 3:7-14
10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
On occasion in our life we can wonder what God wants from us. We mix the messages we hear at church without those we hear in the world, our assumptions, our background noise, and so often we are left with what feels like a laundry list of things we need to do to please God. What I love about the bible is when Jesus, or John, or the prophets are asked the question, “What do we need to do be righteous?” their answers are usually exceedingly simple. If you have 2 shirts, give one to someoen else. Nothing complex there. Jesus’ answer is similar, “Love God and love others.” If we look at our lives, we might be suprised to find that we have spare shirts all over the place. Let people see God through our generosity, as John has instructed.
Wednesday – Luke 3:15-20
16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[b] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire.
John had a penchant for the dramatic. If it wasn’t his dress, the camel skin coat, or his demeanor living out in the wilderness like wild man, it was his fiery rhetoric. John was so passionate about calling the people of God away from their sin and back to God people wondered if he was the messiah that had been promised. But despite John’s fervor, it was nothing compared to what Jesus would bring. It is odd to think that our mild tempered peaceful Lord was being described as bringing the Holy Spirit and Fire. He certainly never communicated that people were unfit to tie his sandals – in fact, he washed his own disciples feet. Nevertheless, Jesus’ kind of revolution is the most dramatic of all. It takes far more self control to be a servant than to be served. It takes far more self control to be a willing servant than it does to bring punishment. It is much harder to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us than it is to seek revenge. In Jesus’ baptism we are called to live this kind of life – one filled with the Holy Spirit and fire for life!
Thursday – Malachi 3:1-7
5 “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.
I feel as if adding anything to this will only detract from the power of it’s message. Just read the passage, allow the word of the prophet Malachi, speaking for God the creator of the world and all it’s myraid people. If we were on trial, would God testify for us, or against us? Are we active in speaking out for those without a voice, or are tacit participants in oppression? Our God is a chain breaker, a captive restorer, a champion of the oppressed. We are his agents in that change. This is what it means to be his hands and his feet. Let God witness that we are a church that does not falter from this call, but wholly embrace our mission to lift up the oppressed and marginalized of the world and be their brothers and sisters.
Friday – Malachi 4:1-6
2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.
It’s important to remember that though this passage in it’s whole can be rather bleak, with lots of burning and trampling, God always has a “but” for his people. But for you who revere my name, there will be healing. The world is often full of burned and trampled souls. We have all undoubtedly felt that way ourselves from time to time. But God is a God of healing and restoration. Just like the sun rises as winter ends and new growth will soon come up from the world, and new baby animals will be born, and new life will spring up all around us, we too go through times of barren and times of restoration. Our task is to remeber God, and revere him, through each phase of our life.
Saturday – Psalm 2:1-11
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
This passage is specifically directed toward those who lead others. If we thought about it, I am sure each of us could find a scenario in which we are required to lead. Maybe it is at our work, or a sporting team. Maybe it is home with our family. For people with the responsibility of leadership over others, an added spiritual burden is added. God wants leaders especially to reflect his commands to those that follow us, because it is when we lead with humility, servitude, self sacrifice, and kindness that we reflect the kind of leadership God shows to the world. It’s a heavy burden to bear, and all to often we search out shortcuts and lean on our own wisdom and intuition. But God is calling us not to shirk from leadership. We are to serve God proudly, publically, and in leadership positions so everyone can see what type of God our savior is through our actions even when the pressure is on. Because ultimately even when we lead, we know that it is God that is in control.