Advent week 3

[Psalm 85.] LORD, thou was favorable to thy land; thou didst restore the fortunes of Jacob.   Thou forgave the iniquity of thy people; thou pardoned all their sin. [Selah]  Thou withdrew all thy wrath; thou turned from thy hot anger.   Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away thy indignation toward us!  Will thou be angry with us for ever? Will thou prolong thy anger to all generations?   Will thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee?  Show us thy steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.   Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his holy ones, to those who turn to him in their hearts.   Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.   Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.   Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.   Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.   Righteousness will go before him, and make his footsteps a way.

[John 3.] A discussion arose between John’s disciples and a Jew over purifying.  And they came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him.”  John answered, “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven.  You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.  He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full.  He must increase, but I must decrease.”

[Heb 10.] when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings thou have not desired, but a body have thou prepared for me;  in burnt and sin offerings thou have taken no pleasure.  Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,’ as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” (Psalm 40).  When he said above, “Thou have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings (even though offered according to the law), then he added, “Lo, I have come to do thy will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.  And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…  For you have come to the Holy Mount and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of the murdered brother.  See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  His voice then, shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens” (Haggai 2). This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. [Heb 12.]

[James 5]  Be patient, therefore, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain.  You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  Do not grumble, brothers and sisters, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors.  As an example of suffering and patience (obedience), brothers and sisters, take the OT prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Advent 2016. week 2

[Luk 21] But before this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony.

[Mal 3] Then those who revered the LORD spoke with one another; the LORD heeded and heard them, and a record was written before him of those who revered the LORD and thought on his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as one spares their child who obeys them. Then once more you shall distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. For behold, the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.” [Mal 4:1-2]

Advent 2016 week 1

[1Pet 3] 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of God’s family, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing. … Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God. [1Pet 4:1-2]

[Isa 1] Hear, O heavens and earth; for the LORD has spoken: “My people have rebelled against me. …  offspring of evildoers, who deal corruptly! They have forsaken and despised the LORD, the Holy One; they are utterly estranged. … I have had enough of offerings, blood of animals. “When you appear before me, you trample my courts. Bring no more vain offerings; the calling of assemblies–I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Even though you make many prayers, I will not listen because your hands are full of blood. Make yourselves clean; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. …It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come.” [Isa 2:2]

[Isa 45] Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to the merciful Gentile ruler, “whose right hand I have controlled, to subdue nations before him and unarm kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: I will go before you and level the mountains, and break the doors of bronze and cut asunder the bars of iron, For the sake of my servant, my chosen, I call your name, I surname you, though you do not know me. … that people may know I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I am the LORD. Let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the LORD have created it.”

[Isa 55] “Come, every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy good sustainance without money or price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not fulfill? Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; …Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous one their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, our God, for he will have mercy and abundantly pardon. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways and my thoughts higher than your ways and thoughts. so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

[Isa 64] O that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down, that the nations might tremble at thy presence! From the oldest times no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him. Thou meet them that joyfully work righteousness, those that remember thee n thy ways. Behold, thou was angry, for we sinned; which we have a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our good deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf – our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one that calls upon thy name, that strives to take hold of thee; for thou have hid thy face from us, and have delivered us into our iniquities.