Tuesday, December 4, 2018

New Life with Advent

The Rutledge Advent tree with the original home made symbols.
These reflections are a result of 25 years of celebrating Advent as a family. As the years passed the verses, symbols and thoughts developed into what you now see here. I hope you are blessed by what we as a family have enjoyed for so many years.

This 2018 repost of these devotions starts HERE. 

The original symbols are family made. Sometimes by Bev or myself, other times they were done by the children, and other times a combination of the two.  Cheree and I have taken the originals and improved them digitally, but they remain basicly the same.

The original reflections were written in December 2006. They were later translated to Spanish by John and revised by my son-in-law, Vicente Diaz. A final Spanish review and revision was done by profesora Maritza del Socorro Guerrero Tellez.  

The original 2010 Spanish posts can be found HERE.

Several years passed and I revised and recorded all the Spanish reflections into one minute thoughts to be played on the radio the 31 days before Christmas.

Let us not forget the reason for the Christmas season, the remembrance of the birth Jesus of Nazareth, God incarnate. May He forever live within us and be seen without, where ever we go.

Below is listed the 31 day sequence with verses. 

Merry Christmas

November 25 - He was… In the Beginning: John 1:1-5
November 26 - He is… Creator and Sustainer of the Universe: Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:3
November 27 - The Creation of Man: Genesis 2:7, 15-25
November 28 - The Fall of Man: Genesis 3:1-13
November 29 - The Promise of a Messiah: Genesis 3:15
November 30 - The Sacrifice of Isaac: Genesis 22:9-12,16; John 3:16
December 1 - Prophet’s Trumpet [A prophet Like Moses]: Dueteronomy 18:15-19
December 2 - The Snake on a Pole: Numbers 21:9; Isaiah 53:5; John 3:14
December 3 - The Righteous Scepter: Numbers 24:17; Hebrews 1:8
December 4 - Born of a Virgin: Isaiah 7:10-14; Matthew 1:23
December 5 - Prince of Peace: Isaiah 9:6
December 6 - The Belt of Righteousness and Faithfulness: Isaiah 11:5
December 7 - The Shepherd King: Ezekiel 34:23-24
December 8 - The Servant King: Isaiah 42:1-4
December 9 - A Light for the Nations: Isaiah 42:6-7; 49:1-7; Luke 2:30-32
December 10 - The Lamb of God: Isaiah 53:4-8; John 1:29; Revelations 5:5-14
December 11 - The Spirit of the LORD Is Upon Me: Isaiah 61:1-3
December 12 - The Shoot of Jesse, The Branch of Righteousness: Jeremiah 23:5-6
December 13 - The King of Peace: Zechariah 9:9

December 14 - He is Building His Temple: Zechariah 6:12-13; Revelations 21:3; 2 Corinthians 6:16
December 15 - The Alpha and Omega: Revelations 21:6; 22:13; Isaiah 41:4
December 16 - I Send My Messenger: Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3-5
December 17 - The Announcements: Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25
December 18 - Mary’s Song, The Magnificante: Luke 1:39-56
December 19 - His name is John: Luke 1:57-80
December 20 - Born in Bethlehem: Insufficient?: Micah 5:2-4; Matthew 2:1
December 21 - She Laid Him in Manger: Luke 2:1-7
December 22 - The Shepherds: Luke 2:8-20
December 23 - The Wise Men: Matthew 2:1-12
December 24 - Jesus, The Best Present Ever: Romans 6:23; 5:17
December 25 - The Star: John 8:12

The Star

John 8:12; 1 John 1:5; 2:8; Revelations 22:16; 
John 1:9; Psalm 119:105  

The Star led the wise men from a far a way place to the house where Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus were living. It was their faithful guide. Jesus, the bright morning star, is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Following Him and His direction, we will always make the right decisions and find the correct way.

The key? Keep the Star in the top place in your life, the first priority, the deciding factor, the ultimate guide. You’ll never go wrong. 

Prayer: “Bright and Morning Star, shine on me. Illuminate my life with your understanding and wisdom. Guide me into your truth for living. I will follow you where ever you lead.”

The very first post: He Was in the Beginning
Next post: Our Advent Tradition
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Jesus: The Best Present Ever

Romans 5:17; 6:23; John 3:16 
The most dynamic aspect of Christmas is the exchange of gifts. Watching a small child giggle and smile as she gives gifts to others and rejoice as she opens hers will touch the heart of any parent. Giving is the essence of Christmas.

The primary reason for Christmas is to remember the birth of Jesus. Through Jesus, God’s abundant grace to us, we receive forgiveness and righteousness. Jesus’ life and sacrifice was the first "Christmas gift"; generosity began with Father God. Eternal life was the best gift ever given.

Prayer: “Father God, thank you for the gift of righteousness and eternal life. I want to share it with others.”

Next post: The Star
Previous post: The Wise Men

The Wise Men

Matthew 2:1-2 

To the poor and despised shepherds and the rich and intellectual wise men, God’s message was the same, a King is born and a Savior has come. Worship him, Christ the Lord.

Our life, our possessions and our worship are precious gifts; let us place them at Jesus’ feet like the wise men brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh before Him. The great cost of time, money and effort is minimal in comparison to His gift of grace, forgiveness, and salvation. Let’s worship Jesus as King and Lord.

Prayer: “My Savior and King, I worship you and place my life, my possessions, and my desires at your feet to be used in your service in the manner you desire.”

New post: The Best Present Ever
Previous post: The Shepherds

The Shepherds

Luke 2:2-20 

The shepherds acted instantly on the angels’ song and that rocked their world. They went to Bethlehem to see what God had spoken to them: the baby lying in a manger. They shared their story with Mary and Joseph, they told all they met about the child, and they returned to their sheep “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.” Their lives had been forever changed. 

The shepherds were transformed because they acted on the revelation God sent them. They changed the world because they shared that revelation with others. What an awesomely simple story!

Prayer: “God of the Heavens, speak to my life and transform my world. I praise your name for all you have done in me. I am your willing messenger.”

Next post: The Wise Men
Previous post: She Laid Him in a Manger

She Laid Him in a Manger

Luke 2:4-7; Job 8:7; Zachariah 4:10  

“Who dares make light of small beginnings?” Jesus was born in a stable, laid in a manger, lived in Nazareth and died on a cross. Nothing indicated he would be of great influence, but he is the most influential man of all times.

Insignificant? I don’t believe so. God lived on earth as a man, so he could redeem us from sin. Maybe it was a seemingly poor and unimportant beginning, but the eternal result is unbelievably marvelous, wonderful, and awesome. The King of kings’ earthly debut started with a stable as his castle and a manger as his throne. The impact was eternal.

Prayer: “King Jesus, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. May I present you in a worthy manner to those around me.”

New post: The Shepherds
Previous post: Born in Bethlehem

Born in Bethlehem – Insignificance?

Luke 2:4-7; Micah 5:2-5

It doesn’t matter how insignificant you might feel or if others notice you, God knows you and sees your impact. Bethlehem was small and unimportant, yet God took note and sent His Son there to be born. Because of that birth, the world knows of Bethlehem and her Son, Jesus the Christ. 

As we allow God to be birthed into our lives, He will impact others and we will have a place in eternity’s history. As we allow God to move in us, He will bring security and peace to our sphere of influence and to the ends of the earth.

Prayer: “Almighty God, thank you for noticing me. Fill me with your Spirit and move through me to bring security and peace to my world.”

New post: She Laid Him in a Manger
Previous post: His Name Is John

His Name Is John

Luke 1:57-80 [versículos 62-67 and 37] 

Given a second chance Zechariah confirmed “John” as his son’s name. In this moment, the Holy Spirit came upon him and he prophesied greatness over his son’s life. Although not a believer at first, being mute for nine months left Zechariah a lot of time to think. He understood and agreed with God’s promise.

Let’s not wait for a second chance to believe and obey. Listen, believe, receive and act in faith, today. Begin with promises in the Bible and continue on with the promises He makes as you meditate on His Word. Declare his goodness, agree with the promise, and walk in the power of His word.

Prayer: “God of the Impossible Promise, I will believe and act on your promises. Speak to me today.”  

New post: Born in Bethlehem
Previous post: Mary's Song

Mary’s Song - The Magnificant

Luke 1:46-55 

Elizabeth and Mary rejoiced together as their offspring cheered the goodness of God. Elizabeth honored God’s blessing in Mary while Mary praised Him. In their mothers’ wombs, cousins John and Jesus celebrated each other. John delighted in his Lord. What a party!

Mary sang of God’s favor. She gloried in God her Savior and proclaimed His greatness as “the Mighty One.” She exalted Him mentioning the “scattering of the proud” and remembering His blessing over Abraham and his family. What a beautiful song of praise!

What blessings present and past provoke worship in your heart?

Prayer: "Good and merciful God, I thank you for your blessings. Thank you for my life and my family; for provision and protection; and for your goodness and salvation." 

Next post: His Name Is John
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