Sunday, December 2, 2012



Jeremiah 33:14 -16

This is the first Sunday in Advent.  

I love this season, because we developed a family tradition several years ago, of what we call ‘doing Advent’. What that means, is that today I pull out the bought Advent wreath, the candles, which may be mix matched, if I haven’t been able to get the correct advent colors, (have you ever tried to get the right color advent candles the Saturday before Advent? Let me tell you it’s nearly impossible), and our homemade advent additions. These include the artificial leaves we add to fill the wreath out, the last year’s Christmas cards, a hymnal, a children’s book of Advent stories ( even though the girls have out grown them), and of course, the candle snuffer.  Each night we ‘do Advent’. We gather at the table that holds the wreath, light a candle, share our reading, pray for the family whose Christmas card was chosen that night, sing a carol, and of course, extinguish the candle. Everyone takes turns sharing a different role each night. It’s a welcome, microcosmic, foretaste of a time, when ‘swords will be converted into plowshares’. 

For a few years we also lit a Peace, Hope and Justice Candle. I think we’ll do it again this year. This candle, created during the latter years of apartheid, became a symbol of hope, and a sign of the struggle, against this demonic system.  It remains a symbol of the promise in our text, “In those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” V 15. 

So, today we light the candle of Hope, leaning toward the future.  Christ has come, and Christ will come again! He will implement justice and righteousness in our world. Even so, come Lord Jesus, come!

Lord Jesus in this Advent season we eagerly await your coming, with power and great glory.  Fill us with your hope that all darkness will recede into your marvelous Light! Amen.
For more on the Peace, Hope and Justice Candle see:


Saturday, December 1, 2012



Psalm 25: 1- 10

Today let us meditate on this Psalm. Read it aloud several times until you have a sense of what verse, or phrase, or word, God wants you to focus on. Allow that focus to shape your thoughts and prayers. 

I have been captured by the phrase, “make me to know your ways, O Lord”, v 4a. 
Make me to know your ways, O Lord … as I anticipate this Advent season.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord … as I embark on the many tasks of this season. 
Make me to know your ways, O Lord …  as I interact with family and friends. 
Make me to know your ways, O Lord, …. in all I say and do.
O Lord, make me to know, your ways!

This plea acknowledges our inadequacy,  and reflects the deep desires and thirsting, that symbolize this season of waiting.  Let you heart express fully its longings. Write them out on sticky notes, and post them throughout your place of meditation. Then walk about your holy space reading this affirmation,
            Good and upright is the Lord, therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
                He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” v 8 &9

Read it aloud , again and again,  until your spirit embraces this hope.
The shepherds were lead by a Star, we wait to see how God will teach us the way. 

“As with gladness men of old, did the guiding star behold;
As with joy they hailed its light, leading onward, beaming bright,
So most gracious Lord may we, evermore be led by Thee.”  William C. Dix


Friday, November 30, 2012



1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

A few years ago a good friend asked me what she could give me for my birthday. It occurred to me that what I desired most was her prayers, for me. And so we agreed that on the 21st of every month in that year, she would offer me the gift of her intercession. What a generous  expression of her love for me.

In today’s scripture, the Apostle Paul’s love for the church he has planted in Thessalonica, overflows in intercession, “may the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when the Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” 1Thess. 3: 12-13

There is a lot of buzz about gifts right now. Almost every store assures us that they have the best selection of gifts. But in this season, as we reflect on God’s generous gift of love, we can resist the lure of giving only temporal gifts. We can offer our family, our friends, our neighbors, and our community, the gift of intercession. Andrew Murray was correct when he wrote, “True love will pray.” 

Today invite the Holy Spirit to give you a list of people that you can love through Advent, by praying each day for one of them. Your prayers of intercession will be an extension of Christ’s  intercession work in  their lives . This is eternal gift giving.

“Teach me to pray Lord, teach me to pray. This is my heart cry day unto day. I long to know Your will and Your way. Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.” Albert  Reitz


Thursday, November 29, 2012



Luke 21: 34-36

Professional body guards are trained to provide high level security in order to protect people ‘s lives. They are often instructed, at no small expense, in advanced weapons disarming, in anti-ambush and in anti-terrorism procedures, and even in some aspects of psychology. Why all of this preparation? Professionals understand that inadequate training can put a person’s life at risk. 

Our text today, reminds us that high level security is needed, for our hearts. This is no surprise.  For the heart is the source of our physical, emotional, intellectual, and volitional power. It is the means by which we connect with God. It is no wonder that Solomon exhorts us, “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”, Proverbs 4:23. 

 As we await the second Advent, our hearts need to be guarded, against frivolous living that defies the reality of an eternal reckoning. Our hearts need protection from anxiety, for this stands in opposition to God’s complete sufficiency for all of life’s circumstances. Without this kind of security we are at risk, of being unprepared for the Son of Man’s return.  

Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is a well trained body guard, capable of lovingly searching our hearts, and exposing dangerous intruders. It is the Holy Spirit who prompts, and shapes, the practice of prayer, that strengthens us to live with hope, as we await the One who stands at the end of time.

Today let us surrender afresh to the protective care of the ‘Divine Body Guard’.

“Search me , O God, and know my heart;  test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Psalm 139: 23 &24


Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Expectant Living

Luke 21: 25- 28

The news that a new baby is coming, usually awakens great excitement in a family. There is a sense of expectancy that reshapes the way the family lives.  Perhaps a bedroom has to be redesigned, sometimes clothes have to be purchased, or new plans have to be made about work, or travel.  The anticipated birth of a baby brings change. 

Similarly, the signs that precede Christ’s second coming will precipitate a response. For some their hearts will be crippled by fear, “apprehensive of what is coming on the world”. (v 26 NIV). But the text invites an alternative response, one of expectancy. For the Son of Man is coming, with power and great glory.  Therefore our living can be charged with hopeful anticipation. Eugene Peterson says its well, “…up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way! “(Luke 21: 28 -The Message). 

We are encouraged to live into this reality. Jesus is coming again. This assurance generates confidence in the face of life’s many trials. Today your heart may be burdened, but may I invite  you  to make a few small steps of hope. List those things that are burdening you. Now stand to your feet, move to a mirror so you can  see yourself straighten your shoulders and lift your head, then read aloud each thing that is troubling you, ending  each statement with the affirmation, Jesus is coming, Help is on the way! Finally breathe in deeply and slowly breathe out. 

May this classic shape note singing of Coming Again, refuel you with fresh hope today:

Prayer:  May the God of hope, fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may overflow with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Amen!  (Romans 15: 13 adapted.)


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