December 18, 2022 Christmas Devotional - Week 4
The final part of Fishhook's devotional resource is here for you. Merry Christmas!
Wow, Christmas week is actually here.
In ministry, we work for months getting ready for Christmas, but it can still feel surreal when it finally arrives. And that realization leads to all kinds of things from joy, to worry and stress.
Just know, the Fishhook team is praying for you this week!
That's one of the main reasons we've created this devotional, to help you slow down, be present to God and others in a hectic season.
Now, let's dive into the final part of our 4-week devotional journey to slow down to be with God.
Follow along with the five day devotional below—or if you'd like to download the resource, you can do so at the bottom of the page!
Week 4: Joy to the World
Day 1 – Make Room
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare him room
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Have you ever watched one of those home-makeover shows - the ones where they want to transform the place, but there is too much clutter to do anything with it? This is the principle that applies to our lives and our relationship with Jesus.
Romans encourages us to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice,” and to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In order to be transformed, the first step is the sacrifice. It’s giving up parts of ourselves that clutter the rooms of our heart and mind and distract us from being able to hear and obey the Lord.
- What is one thing that is cluttering up your life that you could remove to make room for Jesus this Advent season?
Day 2 – Everything Points to God
Let heaven and nature sing…
…while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”Reflect
Do you ever take time to just sit and observe the world around you? Do you ever let your mind wander and contemplate the intricacy and beauty of the world around us - the way trees produce fruit, the way birds know exactly where to go, the vastness of the stars in the night sky? This exercise can’t go anywhere except contemplating who we are, why we’re here and where it all came from.
God created it all to point to Himself and to cause us to wonder about life. In the same way the world around us declares the glory of God, our lives should also declare the glory, grace, mercy, love and forgiveness of God. Psalm 150 implores “everything with breath” to praise the Lord!
- How does your life - your words, actions and interactions - proclaim the glory and the story of God?
Day 3 – A Lifted Curse
No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”
Jesus coming to earth over 2,000 years ago was the fulfillment of a promise made to Abraham where through his family, redemption would come to all people. This redemption would not be a social or political redemption, but it would be a redemption of the sin condition we are all inflicted with that separates us from God. When Jesus rose from the grave, sin and death were defeated, and direct access to the presence of God was made available for all people.
Today, consider taking some time to reflect on the goodness of God and all he has done.
- A simple exercise is to write done some of the significant ways God has broken the curse in your life - places where you used to be in bondage. Then mark them out as an act of remembering and praise.
- Are there other areas that you need the Lord to spiritually mark-out of your life? Write these down, mark them out and remind yourself of God’s forgiveness, grace and freedom!
Day 4 – A Different Kind of KingdomLyric
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever”
If you were asked to name a just and good government, could you name one? This doesn’t seem like something that’s a reality in our world. Our country is great, and seems to genuinely try for this, but it’s corrupted by people - every government is. Long before Jesus came, the prophet Isaiah penned these words describing the Kingdom that Jesus would come and establish.
Jesus’ Kingdom is one of peace, justice and righteousness. That’s quite the contrast from what we experience! Here’s the amazing thing: As followers of Jesus, we are called to live in this Kingdom now! We are to be ambassadors who represent and reflect life in this Kingdom today (2 Cor. 5).
What is one way your perspective of the world might change if you look at it through the lens of being a citizen of the Kingdom of God?
Day 5 – Say It Again!Lyric
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What are you most passionate about? What’s the thing you could stop and talk about forever? Is it a team, your family, your work, your hobbies? Paul, the writer of Philippians encourages us to direct our passion - our worship - toward the Lord.
Make your celebration of Him be on repeat in your personal life and with others. God deserves this because he is holy, but in His kindness, He created worship to transform us as well. Rejoicing in the Lord is the first step to experiencing the peace of God!
- Where do you see the goodness of God in your life today? Celebrate this by talking about it with somebody as an act of worship.
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Written by Justin Langebartels