Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter

   
 
Thursday
Dec212017

Christmas Day Devotional December 25, 2017

Lyrics

Born unto us this day a Saviour
Gifted from heaven to a manger
The hope of the world
A light for all mankind
All of the earth rejoice
It's Christmas time

So lift up your voice and sing out His praise
It's Christmas
Born is the King, rejoice in the day
It's Christmas
Make a joyful sound
It's Christmas
Let His praise resound
It's Christmas

Goodwill to all the earth
And peace divine
All of the earth rejoice
It's Christmas time
It's Christmas time

So lift up your voice and sing out His praise
It's Christmas
Born is the King, rejoice in the day
It's Christmas
Make a joyful sound
It's Christmas
Let His praise resound
It's Christmas

YouTube link to "Born Is the King (It's Christmas) by Hillsong

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf6OoAZbAQg

Today's Devotion

Christmas is quite different for us this year. No lights hung around the windows, no decorations or stockings on the fire place. We threw up a little “second Christmas” tree that we have for something to put the presents under - if nothing else, more than a token gesture toward not letting Christmas decorating escape entirely.

Every Black Friday, it’s been a tradition with us to start decking the halls, so to speak, while listening to B.E. Taylor’s Christmas albums all day. A couple years ago, while 39 weeks pregnant with our son, Rhett, we spent two full days decorating our apartment from all angles on Black Friday, because we knew we wouldn’t be up for it after our baby was born a week later. It was so important to get those decorations up and make our home feel and look like a place where Christmas could happen.

But we didn’t get a chance to do that this year, because our baby, Lucy, was still in the NICU at that time. And well, decorating for Christmas while not even knowing if she would be home by the 25th wasn’t that appealing. Plus, our son, Rhett, it still too young to even know what’s going on. So we decided to use our energy elsewhere and skipped the huge decoration event this year.

Many people would say that we haven’t prepared for Christmas because we haven’t done any of the requisite garland stringing and tree hoisting needed to transform your home into a decorated Christmas space.

But we would counter that we have prepared for Christmas as much as we ever have this year. Everyday of the Christmas season this year, we’ve tried to focus on the amazing things that Jesus has done through his birth and entrance into this world. If you’ve been following this series of devotions, we hope you’ve been doing the same as well.

And even without all the decor surrounding our home, I don’t think we could imagine any greater blessing than to be able to spend our Christmas together humbly as a family of four. Lucy did come home in time, December 11th to be exact.

Many might think we don’t have all the aesthetic markers of a great Christmas, and yet, this is our greatest Christmas. God has spoken, moved, healed, and gifted us profoundly this year. There are few lights twinkling in our home, but the light of Jesus is the most obvious element of the season this year for us.

As we leave you to enjoy your Christmas day, we simply challenge you to one question - what can you do to look toward the light of Christ today on Christmas?

It might be stopping for prayer you might not have otherwise made time for. It might be making a phone call to a friend or relative who would be surprised to hear from you. You might throw together a quick gift for a neighbor who doesn’t know you very well. Or you might ask for forgiveness and look for reconciliation with a relative or visitor you’re spending the day with that needs addressed.

Christmas is special. It’s the day we celebrate Jesus entering our world. Just think of all the things that Jesus has done for you. And pass it on - act like Christ today.

What might you do to be more like the man we celebrate today?

Prayer

God, I pray that this Christmas be unlike any other - that your light and goodness prevail and be seen in unexpected, never before experienced, ways. I pray that all the people in our lives will be touched by your compassion, and be drawn to perhaps a little more than before, because of the enormous witness of your light in the world. God, thank you for your Son, and giving yourself to us, that we might all find new hope and life through you. There has never been a gift greater than that of Jesus, and we celebrate and worship you today. Amen.

-Alexis and Aaron Waid

Thursday
Dec212017

Advent Devotional December 24, 2017

Lyrics

Oh holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices

Oh night divine, oh night, when Christ was born

Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother

And in His name, all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy, in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine, oh night, when Christ was born
Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine

Christ is the Lord, O praise His name forever
His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine, oh night, when Christ was born
Oh oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine

YouTube link to "O Holy Night" by Lauren Daigle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yPhAKvQNNE

Today's Devotion

Every time I hear this song, tears stream down my face as I hear and sing the phrase “fall on your knees.” Why? Because this is our Lord, the Lord I love and that came as an innocent babe and brought humanity back to him through his innocent death and amazing teachings. And here he is as a helpless baby, laying in a manager.

To sit and think about Jesus Christ, tears should form, because Jesus coming as a human, let alone a baby, is an unbelievable reality. We all should fall on our knees, every single day at the startling fact of who Jesus Christ is and what he has done for you and me.

I want to provide you the opportunity to prayerfully reflect on the last stanza of this song. Use it as a prayer today as you prepare your heart for the coming King:

“Christ is the Lord, O praise His name forever

His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim

Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices

Oh night divine, oh night, when Christ was born

Oh oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine”

Yes, Christ is the Lord and we will praise his name forever! His power, glory and love are abundant and evermore. So fall on your knees and worship our King, for he is worthy, worthy indeed!

Happy Christmas Eve, may it be one that you find yourself in awe of just who Jesus Christ is and what he has done for you and this world.

Prayer

God, I pray that we will all fall to our knees in worship of you this season. The majesty and power of your entrance into our world has changed history and each person directly affected by your mercy and grace. God, we look forward to an eternity of praise and exaltation of your might acts, and in the meantime, here and now, we look forward to what you will be doing in our lives moving forward. Amen.

- Alexis Waid

Thursday
Dec212017

Advent Devotional December 23, 2017

Lyrics

The First Noel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep

On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.

Sing praise

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

YouTube link to "The First Noel" by Lauren Daigle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q4ddvOD35s

Today's Devotion

The word “noel” is a French word that refers to the Christmas season. The root of this word is a bit more obscure, though many believe that originally derived from the Latin word “natalis”, which means “birth”. Of course, we also see the influence of this Latin word, “natalis” and its reference to birth in our English vocabulary today, such as the term “prenatal” for a pregnancy, and “neonatal” to describe the care and study of babies.

In other words, at least for the purposes of this discussion, “The First Noel” means essentially, “The First Birth”. Obviously, Jesus was not the first human being ever born, but in regards to the spiritual rebirth that we all experience upon entering into relationship and reconciliation with God, Jesus was the First Birth.

In his birth as a little, innocent baby that couldn’t even hold his head up, Jesus entered the world as a new model for human beings. The Christ child was free from the bondage of Adam’s failure, as Paul reminds us in Romans 5:12, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”

But in Jesus, a new path for human beings was established - the chance for our lives to change drastically and align more with the birth of that Christ child - new life, fresh and clean. This is why Paul also continues his thought in Romans 5:19, “Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.”

Jesus is that obedient person. He experienced that First Birth, and lived it out successfully and with the utmost holiness.

But, what does this mean for us right now? Sometimes these thoughts feel very lofty and disconnected from our daily life - so how can this change the way we act and feel right now?

Put simply, God has created the avenue for a new chance at life, here and now, and eternal. All the things that we might hate about ourselves, or wish that we didn’t do, or carry deep regrets about - we need to know that God has a deep hope and vision that we can put those burdens down and step into the life of rebirth and renewal.

The purity of Jesus’ birth is a representation of the way that we too can experience in the loving grace of God. We aren’t doomed to the failures and mistakes of our past. No, we are destined to be new creatures with new sensibilities and plan for life, serving and worshiping God.

Christmas should be a reminder that we are never lost or forgotten by God, and that God doesn’t simply want us to settle, but instead, we should always strive for a deeper connection and understanding of who God is and what he’s done in our lives. Jesus birth reminds us powerfully of just how much God really loves us.

And he does. He really loves you, even as you read this. He loves you, and he wants you to be his little baby again, and be grown and raised by him into the child he wants you to be.

Prayer

God, I pray that we can all deeply feel your love, and know that there is no weakness or shame in turning to you like a small child. We are lost, confused, dismayed, and usually do not know the right direction to turn. Lord, I pray that we might be able to let go of the pride that keeps us from fleeing into your presence, and instead recognize and capitulate to the reality that without you, we will always be enslaved to doubt and fear. You are amazing, and we praise and thank you for your love and mercy. Amen.

- Aaron Waid

Thursday
Dec212017

Advent Devotional December 22, 2017

Lyrics

Oh, can you hear the angels' song
That rang so sweet and clear
When heaven's light and music fell
And mercy found us here
Glory in the highest
And on the earth be peace

Glory to god, the angels sing

He came to tell the father's love
His goodness and his grace
To show the brightness of his smile
The glory of his face

So, glory in the highest
And on the earth be peace
Glory to god, your children sing

His name shall be called wonderful, counselor
Mighty god, everlasting father
Prince of peace for all eternity, oh oh
His name shall be

He came to lift the weary ones
Give peace and perfect rest
To take away our burdens
And to give a glorious gift
So, glory in the highest
And on the earth be peace
Glory to god, the world will sing

His name shall be called wonderful, counselor
Mighty god, everlasting father
Prince of peace for all eternity, oh oh
His name shall be wonderful, counselor
Mighty god, everlasting father
Prince of peace for all eternity, oh oh
His name shall be

One name above all others
One name that came to save us
Oh sing, his name is, his name is Jesus
One name above all others
One name that came to save us
Oh sing, his name is, his name is Jesus

His name shall be called wonderful, counselor
Mighty god, everlasting father
Prince of peace for all eternity, oh oh
His name shall be, oh oh
His name shall be
His name shall be

YouTube link to "His Name Shall Be" by Matt Redman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML4cawp5TU4

Today's Devotion

I am a big believer in name meanings. My dog’s names are Zoey and Bean, both of which mean “life.” My son’s name is Rhett, which means “passionate.” My daughter’s name, Lucy, means “light.” My name, Alexis, means “defender of humanity” and my husband’s name, Aaron, means “exalted,” but I love to remind him that he’s named after the guy who almost got the Israelites wiped out by allowing the construction of the golden calf :)

And all of these name meanings are true of the people - and pets - in my family. My dogs are full of life and have brought so much joy to my life over the past 11 years that I’ve had them. Rhett is crazy and amazingly passionate, even though he is only 2. Lucy radiates God’s light to everyone who interacts with her. I am a fighter for truth and desperately want people to be free of enslavement to broken ways of this world. And Aaron is always making golden idols! No seriously, he is a very exalted person; people are always drawn to him and he speaks with authority and leads with dignity.

Our names mean something. And so do the many names and titles used for Jesus.

In seminary, Aaron and I had to memorize all of Jesus’ titles depicted in Scripture, not just for a good grade, but because they are very important and help us understand just who Jesus is. And Jesus took on many complex and wide ranging titles and roles, which illustrates just how important and all-encompassing Christ is.

A prayer practice for you today is to take one or two of these titles for Jesus and focus on it throughout the whole day. Learn about Jesus through this title today. Ask God to reveal the depth and meaning to you from the title you choose to pray about. Remind yourself of this word by setting an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour or write the name on your hand. See what happens when you think about Jesus through this particular lens today; he might just surprise you through this exercise!

Below are some of the titles for Jesus that you can use for this spiritual exercise.

-      Son of Man

-      Son of God

-      Lord

-      Messiah

-      King

-      King of the Jews

-      Servant of the Lord

-      Teacher

-      Prophet

-      Friend

-      Savior

-      Lamb of God

-      Son of David

-      Word

-      I Am

-      Rabbi

-      Emmanuel

-      Suffering Servant

-      Light

-      Christ

Prayer

Jesus, May I take on this prayer practice of carrying one of your titles with me today. Show me more about yourself through this name. Help me to grow closer to you through this practice. I want to know you more, because you are the only thing worth pursuing in this world. You bring truth and life to me in a purest form. Thank you for everything you have done for me and will do for me and thank you for the complex, complete nature that you are! Amen.

- Alexis Waid

Wednesday
Dec202017

Advent Devotional December 21, 2017

Lyrics

Oh, what mystery, oh, what a love
From heaven to Bethlehem, lavished on us
All who are searching come follow the star
There in the stable the hope of our hearts
Come and see
Christ the King
His Majesty in a manger
Come adore
Christ the Lord
His Majesty in a manger
His Majesty in a manger
He is our ransom and He is our song
Bow down before Him, Messiah has come
All of our longing and all of our fear
Silenced forever, for Jesus is here
Oh come let us adore Him
The Son of God is here
The Promised One, Messiah
The Son of God is here
He is here

YouTube link to "Majesty in a Manger" by Greg Sykes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cyyCpDpfXg

Today's Devotion

From the moment that Adam and Eve hid their shame in the Garden, humanity has traveled through the ages with the question, “Where is God?”

Indeed, for many of us, who have struggled to see the good and purpose in difficult times, we also may have wondered where God waits in the midst of our trial.

The ancient Jewish people also deeply contemplated the question of where God was, and what God was doing. At the time of Jesus’ birth, the lands of the Jewish people had been conquered repeatedly for centuries by rival empires that surrounded them on all sides. The Persians and Babylonians came from the north, then later the Macedonians from the west. Afterwards, factions of the Macedonians, the Ptolemaics from the south and Seleucids from the east, lobbied for control of their land. The Jewish people were then able to obtain a brief 80 year period of independence, but then, only decades before Christ’s birth, the most fearsome empire of all, the Romans, arrived from the West.

Throughout the suffering, turmoil and devastation of their lands, culture, and even their Temple, the Jewish people hoped for and looked to a Messiah, a new kind of king to relieve them of their torment and establish an unconquerable reign of rule and peace.

During much of the turbulent history leading to the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people looked for God’s presence and movement, wondering when God would bring forth this Messiah. The ministry of John The Baptist generated much buzz and excitement in the nation, as the anticipation of the return of prophecy and God’s proclamation to the people.

So when Jesus arrived, proclaiming the message, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near” (Matthew 4:17), there was not an overwhelming response throughout the nation recognizing Jesus as the Messiah - the long awaited presence of God.

A humble servant. Healing, teaching, loving, showing compassion to the sinner and foreigner alike. Jesus was not the crusading Messiah expected to vanquish the Romans. And even in the face of Jesus’ presence, many continued to wonder, “Where Is God?”

God is all around us. Christ ushered his Kingdom into the realm of sin around us. The Spirit resides throughout us and our land. And yet, so many still continue to wonder, “Where is God?”

The problem is never that God has vanished or disappeared. God doesn’t withdraw from us, although God will permit us to feel that way for our own good and growth. No, we’re always the one who fails to see God, or refuses to recognize God as he is, and what he shows us.

God is here. The Son of God has come. The Messiah has arrived. That’s what Christmas represents. The question is simply if we will see and recognize him for who he is and what he is doing around us.

Prayer

God,
Help me to become more aware of your presence always with me, whether I can feel you or not. My life would be drastically different if I could only remember you are with me always. Thank you for your presence and thank you for everything you have done to make this reality possible. Amen.

- Aaron Waid