Great Plains Daily Devotional for 12/5/2018

Today please be in prayer for

Fremont First UMC
Missouri River District
Gretna UMC
Missouri River District
Omaha Hanscom Park UMC
Missouri River District
Humboldt, NE UMC
Table Rock UMC
Missouri River District

Today's Lectionary Text

Isaiah 1:24-31 

Therefore says the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel:
Ah, I will pour out my wrath on my enemies,
    and avenge myself on my foes!
I will turn my hand against you;
    I will smelt away your dross as with lye
    and remove all your alloy.
And I will restore your judges as at the first,
    and your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
    the faithful city.

Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
    and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together,
    and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
For you shall be ashamed of the oaks
    in which you delighted;
and you shall blush for the gardens
    that you have chosen.
For you shall be like an oak
    whose leaf withers,
    and like a garden without water.
The strong shall become like tinder,
    and their work like a spark;
they and their work shall burn together,
    with no one to quench them.

Today's Devotional

I have several family and friends who get excited this time of year. It is the season of the Christmas movie. It is the season where girl meets boy; love occurs in the midst of a beautiful, perfect, and well-timed snowfalls; loved ones return home on Christmas morning; Santa/the town/the family business is saved, and the perfect mysterious package arrives in the nick of time. In the end, the viewer is left with a sense of well-being, and happiness. Christmas movies exist where all is right in the universe – a stark contrast from the Isaiah reading.  

Isaiah is not issuing a warning. He is pronouncing judgement. God has found the people selfish, prideful, self-indulgent, and greedy. Restoration will not come without great pain and loss, “For you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, and like a garden without water.” In Luke 11:29, Jesus would tell the crowds that they are “an evil generation.” Isaiah and Luke remind us that we ourselves live in a world of great trouble.

While we may not find ourselves living in the perfection of a Christmas movie we do, however, find ourselves in the season of Advent. This is the season in which you and I are called to take an honest look at ourselves and the world. We are called to confess that all is not well. During Advent, we are invited to turn our hearts and eyes toward God and see again what is coming. The angels will again announce that “to you is born … a Savior,” and Mary will once again give birth to her vulnerable child in the midst of darkness, poverty, hunger, oppression and death (Luke 2:11-17). Emmanuel will again lay helpless in a manger, risking all to remind us that God is with us (Matthew 1:23). We are invited to prepare the way for what God will do yet again, for God will not leave us as we are. God is not done with us.

-Rev. Quentin Bennett, Retired

Prayer for Reflection

Come quickly Lord Jesus! Shine your light into our lives, and give us more than a sentimental hope. Amen.   


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