Thursday 8 December 2022 – Advent

Luke 1:34-35

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.

“But how will this happen?” – this is a type of universal question that anyone might level at the Spirit of God. How can God save? How can God restore? How can God deliver on the promise of eternal life? How can God do the impossible? “I am a virgin”. The circumstances of reality seem to push back against God. But the Spirit of God is of the miraculous. It brings healing, restoration. New life. Reality usually only says: “no”. Reality only speaks of impossibility whereas the Spirit of God overcomes the impossible. The Spirit of God goes around the impossible. The Spirit of God confounds all circumstances to defeat the impossible.

Thank you, God, that your spirit always speaks life into the impossible circumstances that surround us. We worship you and celebrate Christmas with the hope of the impossible come true in Jesus, Amen!

Written by Sam Stewart

The YouVersion reflection for this passage is at https://www.bible.com/en-GB/reading-plans/23240-christmas-gods-rescue-plan-realised/day/4


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Wednesday 7 December 2022 – Advent

Luke 1:30-33

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be in Mary’s position, to have an angel visit you, tell you these words, and then have to reckon with what would come.

Up until this point in the Bible, we don’t know much about who Mary was as person – what she liked, what she hoped for, her strengths, her character. Yet we can determine that who she was found favour with God, that she was open to His voice and that she was willing to follow Him. What would follow for Mary was probably greater, richer, wilder than she ever imagined, and in this Advent season we can be grateful that she was open to the calling of God on her life, to carry and bring a saviour into the world. 

Thank you, God, that we don’t have to be great to find your favour, rather you look for a heart that is humble and open to you. Help us Lord to be willing to follow you! Amen. 

Written by Madelaine Tarasenko

The YouVersion reflection for this passage is at https://www.bible.com/en-GB/reading-plans/23240-christmas-gods-rescue-plan-realised/day/3

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  1. Florence says:

    Thanks God for His only son. If Jesus wasn’t born. We never have Christmas. Jesus is wonderful gift from God to us. Amen. God bless you multiple. Amen ❤️

    Reply

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Tuesday 6 December 2022 – Advent

Deuteronomy 9:25-26

25 I lay prostrate before the LORD those forty days and forty nights because the LORD had said he would destroy you. 26 I prayed to the LORD and said, “Sovereign LORD, do not destroy your people, your own inheritance that you redeemed by your great power and brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

God’s special people had been constantly rebelling against him (Deuteronomy 9:22-25). They have done everything their own way,  not trusting and not obeying God. They have been living out of a relationship with God and quarreling with one another, and it is a mess.  Moses, in verses 25-26, pleads with God to remember that these rebellious people are his special possession – people who he saved from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the Old Testament, there are a number of prophets who intercede on behalf of God’s people. They ask God to remember past merciful actions and so continue showing love and kindness towards them, despite their brokenness. God graciously does every time. These acts of grace climax when God sends his only son Jesus into the world.  Jesus, the Messiah, came into this world to bring healing to our brokenness. Jesus came to set things right between us and God, and us as people. This advent as we remember that Jesus came to set things right, let us humble ourselves and seek forgiveness from God and others and take steps towards healing, through the love of JESUS.

Dear Father God, you are merciful and kind. We thank you for Jesus and the beautiful healing found in and through Jesus’ loving kindness. Please heal us and make us whole and use us as vessels of your love to bring your goodness into this world around us. Amen

Written by Zoe Stewart 

The YouVersion reflection for this passage is at https://www.bible.com/en-GB/reading-plans/23240-christmas-gods-rescue-plan-realised/day/2.


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Monday 5 December 2022 – Advent

Micah 5:2-4

2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” 3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. 4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

What stands out to me in this verse is the comparison of the insignificant Bethlehem to the very significant birth of Jesus (v2). God chose a small, quiet town as the starting place of the most history-altering event, hope-filled event. It reminds us that it is not based on our significance or merit that we are chosen by God either. Rather, God reveals his own mercy towards us through this. What great joy it is that we are able to experience Jesus who stands for us, shepherds us, strengthens us, and whose greatness reaches the ends of the earth (v4).

God, thank you that while we were still sinners you sent Jesus to bring us salvation. Please help us to recognise your mercy in our lives, to not think it is based on our own efforts or accomplishments that we have a relationship with Christ, but rather through your great love and mercy. Amen.

Written by Ps. Andie Molteno

The YouVersion reflection for this passage is at https://www.bible.com/en-GB/reading-plans/23240-christmas-gods-rescue-plan-realised/day/1

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Sunday 4 December 2022

Proverbs 5:1-23

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. 2 Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned. 3 For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. 4 But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. 6 For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it. 7 So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say: 8 Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house! 9 If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved. 10 Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. 11 In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. 12 You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! 13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.” 15 Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife. 16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? 17 You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers. 18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. 20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman? 21 For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. 22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. 23 He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

My first impression was that the values and warnings outlined in this proverb are so removed from modern society, with its “open” marriages and high divorce rate. However, in fact when unfaithfulness is concerned, the warnings are just as vital today.

This proverb is a chance for a heart check-up. Unfaithfulness is a matter of the heart. The wisdom Solomon shares in this confronting proverb is really focused on the heart – the heart which is the source of the evil and the heart which leads us astray. In Matthew 15:19 Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality…” Lust takes control as the heart rules our actions.

The effects are the same as in Solomon’s day. Let’s not shy away from this truth. The result of unfaithfulness is damage – to our heart, to the lives and hearts of others, to trust in relationship, to families. The result is damage to our reputation and honour (Prov 5:9), and trouble in the house of God. (v 14.) All for the sake of some sexual gratification which was fleeting and meaningless.

No wonder faithfulness is included in the 10 commandments. It is a recognition that this will be an area of struggle for all of us. God cares about how we treat others. He cares because he made us to be in relationship and in his image. This is especially portrayed by marriage which is the joining of 2 people to become “one.” Each person is to treasure the other with all their being, just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). Just as Solomon poetically describes in verses 15-19, this is a precious relationship to be cherished, to be characterised by love and respect on the part of both.

Unfaithfulness Solomon warns is an example of us trying to fool others when in fact we are fooling ourselves – but there is no fooling God. So, at the end of the day, unfaithfulness comes between us and God as well.

Holy Spirit – you alone can convict me of the need to repent lustful thoughts or actions. Help me to look into my heart and confront the corrupting influence of lust. Build up the love and respect in my marriage today as I listen to you. Amen

Written by Claire Moore


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Saturday 3 December 2022

Proverbs 4:20-27

20 My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. 21 Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, 22 for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. 23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. 24 Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. 25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. 27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

Have you ever asked the question, ‘what is God’s will for my life?’ At some point I think most of us have, it’s a big question. This passage helps to answer that question in an everyday way.

Verse 23, ‘guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it’. If we are walking in God’s ways, that is living out His word, keeping our heart and mind focused on things eternal – this is the path for our feet – this is the way to live our best life and God’s will for our lives.  We will be walking in wisdom and have gained understanding to what this life is all about. This whole chapter talks about the path we are to walk on through life … choose the one that will bring you life and health, chose wisely, chose the way that God the Father would have us live, by the guidelines he has given.

Father God, thank you that you have given us your wisdom on how to live this life. I pray that I will always keep my heart soft toward you and your Word. Help us to continually choose your way and not the ‘way of the evildoers’.  Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson


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Friday 2 December 2022

Proverbs 4:10-19

10 My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. 11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. 12 When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble. 13 Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life. 14 Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers. 15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving. 16 For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day. They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble. 17 They eat the food of wickedness and drink the wine of violence! 18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over.

Here we see a picture of diverging paths in life. One – the way of wisdom – is a straight, stumble-free path that leads to a long, good life. The other is a path that leads to destruction. The problem is that the second path is a very slippery slope.

I remember as a young girl trying to cross a stream. The rocks which led down looked dry and safe, but in fact, they were extremely slippery. One step and I bumped down the rocks and ended up in the water below, my clothes wet and stained with moss and mud. The writer’s warning sounds like those rocks. Don’t even take one step on the path to evil because you may not be able to stop. He says, “avoid it” and “turn from it” – don’t go anywhere near that path!

Instead, follow the way of wisdom. How do we do that? In this passage, a good father is giving instruction on wisdom to his child. Our good Father God also gives us wisdom. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we are told that all scripture is useful for ‘’teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” So, I should be reading the scriptures to get wisdom. James tells us that we should not just read the word, but we should do what it says. So, I should be reading and doing. James also says to pray for wisdom. So, I should be reading the scriptures, doing what they say and praying for God’s guidance in all that I do. It can’t get much clearer than that.

Father, thank you that you give us clear instructions for life. Please help me to read, learn, understand, remember, and apply your wisdom.

Written by Megan Cornell


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Thursday 1 December 2022

Proverbs 4:1-9

1 My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment, 2 for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions. 3 For I, too, was once my father’s son, tenderly loved as my mother’s only child. 4 My father taught me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. 7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. 8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown.”

As a parent, I have seen the glassy look in my children’s eyes as I try to impart what I perceive to be a valuable life lesson. In an age where we can instantly access all information maybe this is a life lesson on the difference between knowledge and wisdom. The author here refers to wisdom interns of a relationship, one that is lifelong. The challenge for me is to always be asking ‘What is the wisdom here? What is God teaching me? How can I incorporate this into my life?’ Anyone can access information, but knowledge does not in itself make me wise. We have to work at taking the scripture, sermons, teaching and life lessons and with the help of the Holy Spirit mature those things into wisdom. Like making a cake- all the components are necessary in the right amounts to get the desired end result. 

Father God, help me to see and understand those things you are teaching me. Stir up in me a thirst for those things I need to be wise. Help me to be prepared to have my character shaped so that I may be a blessing to others and bring glory to your mighty name. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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Wednesday 30 November 2022

Proverbs 3:31-35

31 Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways. 32 Such wicked people are detestable to the LORD, but he offers his friendship to the godly. 33 The LORD curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright. 34 The LORD mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble. 35 The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!

When Jesus gives us the message of loving God and loving people (Matthew 22:37-40) we see this in practical ways in our passage from the book of wisdom: not following in violence, perversity, wickedness, or mockery. We know these things rot away at the fabric of society and that people and families suffer because of these oppressive traits. The opposite traits hold loftier virtues: gentleness, righteousness, and humility.

We may see people gaining advantages in life by their wrongdoing, but we hold firm in the life to come when this world comes to an end, and God’s justice and judgement are dispensed. To requote the adage: don’t pursue short-term gain for long-term pain.

Lord, may we love what You love and detest that which You detest. Help us to have a heart that echoes Yours and make You known wherever we go. We thank You for your grace, love, mercy, and justice. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. In your precious name, Jesus. Amen

Written by Sven Bessesen

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Tuesday 29 November 2022

Proverbs 3:27-30

27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. 28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” 29 Don’t plot harm against your neighbor, for those who live nearby trust you. 30 Don’t pick a fight without reason, when no one has done you harm.

The first time I read through today’s passage, it seems very simple: Do good, don’t do harm. Especially to your neighbour. Got it. 

But as I spent time on these short few verses, I began to be challenged. Where do I withhold good for selfish reasons. Where could I have been more generous of spirit? Where should I have been more patient? Where could I have given more time to someone in need?

Sure, I can justify myself, I had other priorities that were more important! I can’t possible sit and listen to everyone’s problems! I could go on, but making excuses doesn’t get me closer to the heart of the Almighty. 

If I listen to Him and I’m honest with myself, I know that today’s passage is actually a huge challenge to stretch and grow in goodness and self-control.

Written by Ps Justin Ware

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