Images of Advent

Most years when December hits and the Christmas season gets underway our family scrambles to prepare well. We don’t want to lose the hope and longing for Christ in the midst of a commercialized cultural moment. So to that end, we have tried a number of different books, guides, and calendars to get our hearts fully engaged in Advent (the month-long reminder and celebration of the arrival of Jesus and expectation of his return). But each year we feel like we have to start over with materials more appropriate for our season of life and worthwhile for our kids.

This year, instead of hunting for and ordering what might work, Stacy set out to write a devotional for our family that would make much of Jesus and instill an increasing sense of hope in our hearts. The result is our Images of Advent Family Devotional.

Image 11-29-18 at 3.43 PMImages of Advent shares Scripture and a simple devotional with questions for the days leading to Christmas. There is also a paper ornament families get to decorate for each day as a reminder of the good news of Jesus at Christmas.

We are excited to freely give print copies to our friends at Reservoir Church this Sunday but for those of you far off we are glad to make the pdf of the devotional available to you to download.

Please feel free to print, share, and enjoy Jesus in the Images of Advent Family Devotional. Click the links to download:

Images of Advent.

Advent Ornaments.

Believing it All

“This I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God…” (Acts 24:14–15 ESV)

Believing in Jesus is not setting aside the voice of the Law and Prophets, all of the Old Testament. No, it is hearing that voice speaking of Jesus. Each and every promise, every interaction between God and man, the burden of the Law, the hope of a coming king, each covenant; it all points to Christ.

Here is Paul claiming belief of it all before Felix and appealing to Rome for safety. This too is our confession as we belong to the Way, as followers of Jesus, we believe everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having hope in God, because we know it reveals Christ.

Moses was speaking of him and every prophetic vision is accomplished in him. It all is meant to show us Christ all the more clearly. And we get to rejoice in every jot and tittle because it is all about our Savior.

How might this impact your life today? Since all of Scripture is revealing Christ, as we read each page we can get excited that Jesus was foretold or a problem uncovered that he would correct. There is no pointless story or boring lineage. It all matters.

Then in the same way we can see his involvement in all things. Jesus involved in all parts of our lives, not just a paragraph in the story but the unifying character that keeps the whole story together. So not only is Esther different to read, but so is your days and weeks and years. It is all playing out under Christ’s control and to bring him glory.

Believing it all is about believing all the more in Jesus. This changes everything and makes all of life worthwhile.

Acknowledged before the Father

“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 10:30–32 ESV)

Sending his disciples out to proclaim the good news, Jesus warns them that violence with come on them as opposition stands in the way. But they were to give without pay what they received without paying. That is something. You can’t buy your way into relationship with God but Jesus loves to gift it to you.

In this gift, in this receiving, the disciples and we who follow their lead, have nothing to fear in life or death. All of the hairs of our head are numbered and we are more valuable than a flock of sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges Jesus before men will be acknowledged by Jesus before the Father in heaven.

You will be presented blameless before the throne as you are in Christ. His righteousness your covering, his word of approval and his acknowledgment your gift. Secured by him, preserved by him.

There really is nothing to fear then. We can proclaim Christ, we an speak of his goodness and grace and be opposed. And nothing can happen that lessens or harms his acknowledgment. Once and for all. Fear not, therefore.