Waiting on God

A Daily Devotional for Advent 2019

Written by Members and Friends of Christ Lutheran Church, Quincy IL

Faithful, Peaceful Waiting

Written by Bonnie Scranton (2014). Posted in Waiting on God

Tuesday, December 24

“And be like those who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.”

Luke 12: 36

Waiting?? Keeping my lamp lit?? For those of you who know me – my type AA personality and ever impatient self – I forever fail at these commands. But thankfully, I am truly blessed in this life with an excellent role model, if I would just follow her lead more consistently.

Velvet and I became fast friends as the only two Protestants teaching in a Catholic school in New Mexico. Today, 43 years later, Velvet is still up at 5 every morning with her coffee, her Bible, and her devotional materials. And I find reassurance in knowing that I’m among those for whom she prays daily. Everything Velvet does in life is done to the glory of the Lord. She epitomizes Luke 12: 35-36, to the point where there was a time in my earlier days when I thought she was a bit of a “religious fanatic.” What I now realize is that Velvet simply matured in her faith way sooner than me. For her, being dressed for action and keeping her lamp lit while waiting for Christ’s return is what she does best. For me, it is still a work in progress. To say the least, Velvet has found a peace in life for which I am still searching!

Father, I know how easily I become distracted, forgetting to keep my lamp of faith lit while waiting for your return. Help me to do better – to find peace in the promise of your birth and resurrection and gladness in this time of waiting. Amen.

Light Shines in the Darkness

Written by Daune McCulloch (2014) 1939-2019. Posted in Waiting on God

Monday, December 23

“It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Isaiah 25:9

During the Advent season it is so spiritually uplifting to reflect on the ability to wait and hear God’s word in our hearts giving us peace and understanding. I like to remember all the good things God has given me when I’ve been patient and faithful and have let the Holy Spirit guide me. Then I sense a darker time when our family experienced the sadness of losing a child. My other three children were blessed with patience for their little brother and were happy to wait for God’s way and just love and care for him as long as we had him in our lives. We always spoke of Jay as an angel from God because it made us content to wait for the next chapter in our lives.

When he was called from the earth to live with our Savior, it ended the waiting and yearning to hear what plans were in store for the future. The brand new pastor in our church did not know our family and was just out of seminary. It was his first funeral. His opening words impacted our lives as he referred to Jay as an angel of God. My other children’s eyes grew wide with awe. At that particular moment in time, we knew the waiting was over for him and he would forever rest in the arms of God.

After this bleak time, light shone again with the renewal of life when God blessed us with another child. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. We remember the fulfillment of His promise of eternal life at Christmas with the birth of Jesus Christ. So, once again, faith, patience and our waiting for all the good things promised to us in life is such a tribute to our Living God.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessings you give us daily by allowing all the fruits of the Spirit to flow into our daily life, especially patience to wait on your terms. Thank you for allowing us to recapture the birth of our Lord Jesus every year, and celebrate the wonderful joy of life it brings to us. Amen.

The Seeds that Help Us Grow

Written by Jeff Rasche. Posted in Waiting on God

Sunday, December 22

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

Galatians 6:9

It is a special joy to observe the harvest this year; remember the unrelenting rains and flooding this spring? In spite of having to wait, rush or replant, the farmers didn’t give up. Because they were so determined to get that crop in the ground, think how many people will now be fed!

When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he was old. He had to dictate most of this letter, but shortly after today’s verse he seized the pen himself and wrote, “See what big letters I make as I write to you now with my own hand?” I love his determination and zeal, in spite of his age and physical condition! He just could not stop proclaiming Jesus to the world—distance, persecution, age, physical hardships—nothing could stop him from continuing his work to the best of his ability, even if he could only write a sentence or two of this letter himself.

It is easy to give up, feel tired or overwhelmed, or wonder whether our efforts will make much difference. But faith, hope, and love are still seeds that produce an eternal and abundant harvest! Even when Jesus was on the cross, who could have blamed him for feeling discouraged and giving up? Yet, it was then that he cared for the needs of the criminal on the cross next to him! And when God saw this world of sin, rather than destroy it, Jesus came to save it! As for us, “let us not grow weary of doing good.” God didn’t wake us up today for nothing. Even when our hands are too old and tired to plant a whole field, let us still seek a way to get at least one more good seed in the ground.

O God, save us from thinking that we are too old or tired to serve you. Let us see the opportunities to do your work today, and everyday. Amen.

Be Still

Written by Helen Pagel. Posted in Waiting on God

Saturday, December 21

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10

Be still! What a stark command. Historically, one written in ancient Middle East where cities were built with high walls for a defense – even though they were impenetrable. So the Psalmist describes one – God, who is a sure defense. God is our sure defense! Psalm 46 was the basis for Luther’s Reformation hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God!”

This verse has long been most beloved to me when I have been faced (often suddenly) by circumstances in which I call on resources beyond my own or from friends and relatives. For examples – my next move in work, as a volunteer, or more recently when my grand nephew, suddenly and seemingly inexplicaably died overnight – such times when the “why” questions arise and I ask, “What is God up to here?”

So Psalm 46 is one of trust-knowing that God will provide an answer to how I can accept a situation and find ways to continue life knowing that God will provide the strength to do so.

Why not read the entire psalm and meditate also on Luke 17:20-37 where Jesus says how to live abundantly?

Gracious God, grant me to accept your blessings of love and strength daily. Amen.

You Can Always Find Time

Written by Sue Reeder. Posted in Waiting on God

Friday, December 20

“I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.”

Psalm 69:3

God has given me the gifts of time and patience. Back in March of 1989 I found myself raising two children, working full time, making sure homework assignments were completed, cleaning house, etc. There was little time left over for me to do anything I wanted to do, let alone give of my time and talents to God.

When our oldest son turned 16, we bought him a used car. All was going well until two weeks after he started driving this car. At 9:45 p.m. on a Friday night we received a phone call that there had been an accident. Just outside of our subdivision, David went to pass the car in front of him and over corrected coming back into his lane. His car rolled over and one of the boys in the back seat was ejected. As we sat in the ER at Blessing Hospital, we heard the boy’s mother cry out and were informed this young man had passed away.

Until this tradgedy happened, I felt I had little time to devote to God. Shortly thereafter, I was invited to be a menmber of Altar Guild and the Worship Ministry team. Somehow, I found the time to get everything done at work and at home and was able to start my journey of service to the Lord.

Heavenly Father, when I cried out for help, you were there to hold me up. Thank you for being patient with me and for helping me to find the time to serve you so that I can give honor and glory to your name.

Talking with God - What a Gift!

Written by Sherry Beckenholdt. Posted in Waiting on God

Thursday, December 19

“O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

Psalm 5:3

What a gift from God that we can talk with Him freely, especially in the morning! I have found that morning is my best time for talking and listening to God. I often think of the following words from the hymn, Let Us Break Bread Together, which says, “When I fall on my knees, with my face to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me.”

Our heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask. Blessings come our way but not always as we might expect. We might be facing a physical injury, illness, personal loss, or hardship. I believe that being thankful daily, no matter what we are facing, is the key to waiting for God’s blessings and answers. Through His gift of prayer, we learn to wait, inwardly watch for, and recognize the guidance we have been waiting to receive.

Others verses that affirm the value of waiting are Psalm 91:5 which states, “When he calls me, I will answer” and James 4:8 which says, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”

As David says, let God “hear your voice” and “watch” as His blessings come to your grateful heart.

Dear Father, allow your Holy Spirit to help me patiently wait for blessings and guidance each day. Amen

Watching for the Open Door

Written by Tafi Lathrop (2014). Posted in Waiting on God

Wednesday, December 18

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.”

Isaiah 30:18

Blessed are all those who wait … and while we wait … we serve. You know when these moments occur – the kind of moments where you have that feeling to take action and help someone in even the smallest way.

Years ago, as I entered the grocery store on a very busy Saturday, a young mother and her two children were waiting outside with a cart of groceries. I went ahead with my shopping, which took a while. As I left, that same mother stood with her children waiting. The infant in her arms was not happy; but the mother just kept trying to calm her down. As I passed her I said Hi and engaged in conversation with her. She was waiting for a ride. I know it had been almost an hour so I asked her if I could give her a ride. She graciously accepted.

We loaded our groceries in my car and the four of us were on our way. I drove as she pointed out the directions. We pulled in the back of this house and unloaded her groceries. I added a few more items in her bag for her as well. I carried the bags while she held the hand of her small child and carried the infant.

I knew this house was no ordinary home. It was well equipped for many people and the kitchen was so big and organized! We said our good byes and she tried to give me money for the ride, which I didn’t accept.

A few weeks later I happened to be driving down the same street in front of this house. In looking as I passed, I saw a sign that read ‘Madonna House.’ I think of this every time our church supports the food pantry and smile. I often wonder if she was waiting for me as I wait for Him to guide me to help others.

Dear Lord, help me to feel your presence as I wait for your guidance to do your will. Thank you for your trust in me to make a difference in the lives of others. Amen.

Take Courage

Written by Katie Rupp. Posted in Waiting on God

Tuesday, December 17

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

In our modern world we do a lot of waiting. We wait in the check out line, we wait for the traffic light to change, we wait to connect to the WiFi, we wait in the doctor's office, and we wait for the coffee to be ready. David, however, is calling us to wait for the Lord. He provides no clue as to how long we will need to wait; but, he does say we will need to be strong and have hearts of courage.

As a youth in Confirmation class, I could not understand why courage was needed to wait for the Lord. Courage is needed when you are afraid and go forward even though afraid. Why would I be afraid of a loving God? Age does bring some clarity and now I can recognize many times when I waited, in fear, for the Lord to answer a prayer. One of the strongest memories is that of being a young wife waiting for five long years to become pregnant. Each month brought the fear that the answer would be no. Yet, each month we waited with courage in our hearts for that one sweet answer of yes. We were jubilant when that yes came.

Strength and courage are needed when waiting for the Lord. It takes both to stay faithful to the belief that God will provide all that we need and to trust that his plan is the best plan for our lives. It also takes courage to patiently wait, rather than rushing forward to find our own solution.  I continue to be strong, with courage in my heart, and wait for the Lord because I trust that the wait will be more rewarding than rushing forward without my God.

Lord, Strengthen my resolve and give me a courageous heart as I wait for you to guide my life and to use me to fulfill your purpose. Your will be done. Amen.

Who’s In Charge Here???

Written by Trish Santos. Posted in Waiting on God

Monday, December 16

Are there any among the false Gods of nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things.

Jeremiah 14:22

There are times I am a super patient person, I actually enjoy sitting in traffic and use it as my reflection time, I can go over that same math problem five times without losing patience with a child...but then, I admit it, at times I can be a bit of a control freak...I want things done now and I want them done my way. One of my mom’s favorite saying was, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” Can’t we all be this way at times?

When Jeremiah wrote this, he and his people were in the middle of a drought. It had lasted for three years and they were desperate for help. They were at the end of their rope, and finally turned to God for help. I’m no farmer, but I think we can all remember a time or two in our lives when we felt this way.

My first time was when Summer was three days old and the doctors told us she probably would not make it through the night, and if she did, it would be a long recovery which would cause her life long problems. Thankfully it didn’t take me three years to realize I had no control and needed to hand it over to God. Realizing God was in control of the bigger picture allowed me to focus on the smaller things that I had more control over and helped me get through that rough patch.

There have been other rough patches and many times that I forget who’s in charge and stress and worry over things I can’t change. I think at times we all forget that God knows the plan and he loves us so much that he can handle most of the burden and we need to trust him enough to let him.

This verse reminds me of the serenity prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the knowledge to know the difference. Amen.

A Glorious Dawn

Written by Jim Trutwin (2014). Posted in Waiting on God

Sunday, December 15

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

Psalm 130:5-6

This time of the year I enjoy spending part of my free time sitting in a tree on beautiful fall days. I’ve been a bow hunter for 29 years and have often waited in the morning darkness, watching as the rising sun wakes up and transforms the landscape. There are so many glorious things that happen during the dawn’s early light. The other morning, I watched in awe as in the shadowy light a massive owl silently flew down, down from its perch high in a tree, to snatch up what was probably a tiny mouse scampering through the leaves below. In the early morning light, I’ve watched as coyote, coon, possum, rabbits and other creatures have walked by, so close to my tree stand I could see their whiskers.

The season of Advent again reminds us about waiting. We are waiting for the dawning of a new Light. Jesus promised he would return to awaken and transform this world into something far more glorious than anything we’ve experienced. On that glorious morning, Jesus will transform this world in a far more glorious way than we have ever experienced with the dawn’s early light. He will make for us a new earth and a new heaven.

So ask yourself this Advent if there’s something you find worth waiting for. Then think of those special waiting times during Advent. Maybe even plan to do such enjoyable waiting, all the while remembering that what’s really worth waiting for is still coming one glorious morn.

God of Creation, fill us with hopeful anticipation of that day you will make all things new. When all we see is darkness, remind us of your wonderful light. Wake us up and open our eyes to your presence here and now, and give us a vision of that glorious future you have promised. Amen.

I Wait Here, Lord

Written by Shelly Crane. Posted in Waiting on God

Saturday, December 14

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”

Psalm 62:5

I woke up, snow had fallen, it was shining brightly. Glistening so bright. I say as I always do, thank you God for giving me this day. It’s going to be a great day.

What can I do for you today? I’m thankful for my children, my husband, my job, my church, my home. It’s unfortunate that people get caught up in endless, selfishness, guilt and greed. We should look out for one another. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)

Then my heart starts racing. Can I do this? Can I get up? Anxiety is wanting to take over. I don’t want it to God. Talk to me God. I feel all alone, I need you. I look at myself and Satan tells me I see ugly. You tell me how so beautiful I am. I love you, Lord. I wait here Lord in silence with the hope of a great new day, to expect something great to happen to me today.

Lord thank you for life every day in Jesus name. Amen.

Have Patience and Faith

Written by Sue Hobbins. Posted in Waiting on God

Friday, December 13

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.”

James 5:7

My mother reminded me many times as I was growing up that, “Patience is a virtue”, one I did not possess. As I have gotten older, I understand what she was saying, but still find it difficult to be patient.

I grew up on a farm in central Illinois. One thing you learn about farming is that patience is a necessary part of the occupation. This year especially, farmers waited for conditions to improve so seed could be planted, chemicals could be applied and wet spots would dry so replanting could happen. There are some fields along the Mississippi in Missouri that are still underwater as I write this devotion. Will that farmer plant that field next year? Will he say, “Why bother after all of the problems experienced last season?” No, if the field is dry next year, he will plant.

My dad farmed for seventy years. Some of those years were disastrous, some were excellent and many were average. Every spring, we looked forward to planting season and the hope for seeds to sprout and beautiful plants to appear. There was not a time when hope and faith were missing from our lives, along with patience in planning and waiting.

Our lives on the earth are temporary, much as each growing season is on the farm. We are here to practice patience, pray and endure until the coming of our Lord. This is our time to sow and tend our crop so that it may be pleasing to the Lord.

As we wait during this season of Advent for Christ’s birth, will you take time to experience the longing and expectation that God’s people felt as they awaited the birth of a king? Have patience and faith that God’s word will be fulfilled.

Dear Lord, we ask your blessing on us this day as we sow and tend your crops on the earth. We patiently await your coming this Advent season. Please help us to slow down in our daily lives and really understand for whom we wait. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

God Knows the Plan

Written by Matt Futhey. Posted in Waiting on God

 Thursday, December 12

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” 

Micah 7:7

As we approach the season of the birth of Jesus Christ, let’s take a moment to relax and pray. I know it’s hard for some people to do this with all of the stresses everyday life brings. Time will pass, but one thing that will not pass is that our Lord and Savior will be there for us. I want to share with you something that has changed in my life in the last year.

I graduated from JWCC in 2018 with a certificate in logistics and then took a job in the trucking industry. The first couple of months I enjoyed working there, as the tasks were simple. Then changes occurred work more complex and detail oriented. I started making costly mistakes, second guessing myself, and frequently asking unnecessary questions of my coworkers. I began to pray each and every night, sometimes even in tears about what is wrong with me. In July I was sent home for making too many mistakes. I was devastated and ready to put in my two weeks’ notice. But after talking to my parents and praying, I went in to talk to my supervisor about possibly transferring to another position within the company. She said that she would talk to the owner and get back to me. About a month later I was called into the owner’s office. He explained that the mistakes I had made were very costly, and that this job wasn’t cut out for me. After that, he still checked at one of his other companies, asking if they had a job I could do, and they did. This job is less stressful on me and almost everyone can see a difference in my attitude.

Long story short, if I would not have waited for the Lord to answer my plea I could be working at minimum wage jobs and be exhausted. What I encourage you to do if you have a conflicting or stressful situation is pray and talk to someone (pastor/parent/friend) about the situation. Then listen for the Lord’s answer.

Dear Heavenly Father, as we approach the birth of your Son, please guide us to be more patient with stressful situations that come in our daily lives. Amen.

The Curve Ball

Written by Ruth Dunn. Posted in Waiting on God

Wednesday, December 11

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

What are possible curve balls thrown at you during the Advent season? Is it the stress of: how to get everyone together for Christmas; cleaning the house; meal planning for all the people coming; Christmas decorating; the financial strain; all the Christmas shopping; unexpected illness; anxiety or being overwhelmed with everything needed to be done and not enough time? Or is it loneliness and being by yourself for the Christmas season?

The theme for this season is “The Gifts of Advent”. In Isaiah the Advent gift is “waiting upon the Lord”. What can you do while you wait? Possible actions are: slowing down; immerse yourself in quiet, spending time with God – devotional time; cutting back on social media or decreasing time spent on technology gadgets. (phone, computers, or television)

When you “wait upon the Lord”, He will help you to rise above your concerns with wings like the eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint. The Lord gives you strength to deal with all the curve balls of the Advent season and of life. That is a gift that does not fade with time unlike material gifts you receive at Christmas. It does take trust and belief in the Lord – WAIT.

In this season, may you be at peace by WAITING for the Lord, TRUSTING the Lord, and BELIEVING in the Lord. He will sustain and lift you from weariness to run and fly during Advent season and through life’s journey!

Dear Father: We thank you so much for all of the blessings you give and surround us with especially the birth of Jesus Christ in the Advent season. Help us to take time to spend in our relationship with you oh Lord; to wait and trust in you. Then may we truly find joy and peace in our souls by giving up all our curveballs, cares, and worries to you. In Jesus Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Reflective Waiting

Written by Mary Reeve (2014) 1940-2018. Posted in Waiting on God

Tuesday, December 10

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Psalm 25:4-5

No matter how difficult your trials or what their cause, seek the Lord for His wisdom and trust Him to work for His glory and your good. Whenever I am in a difficult situation, whether it is a health situation, a financial situation, an interpersonal conflict, or whatever else, I try to remember to examine my own heart. Am I in this mess because of my own sin … my own foolishness … my own bad choices? What is the Lord trying to teach me through this difficulty?

Whatever the difficulty, I try to remind myself of my own weakness, my own stupidity. It is sometimes hard to remember that I am dependent on God for every breath I take and every bite of food that I eat. It is easy to try to bluff my way through … to cover up my conflict … to hide from the reality of the situation. It is far harder, and more humbling, to seek the Lord and His wisdom in my daily life. I must learn to cry out for God’s wisdom and truth and not just make excuses for myself.

Advent is the season of WAITING … waiting for the promised Messiah who saves me my from myself.

Make me hopeful, God. I watch and wait for the right time, the right place, the right choice. Keep hope alive in me as I watch and wait. Amen.

We Can Get Through It

Written by Pastor Tony Metz. Posted in Waiting on God

Monday, December 9

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

One of my favorite children’s books is called “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” It’s about a little family that goes on a bear hunt and accidently finds one! As they walk along they sing, “We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re gonna catch a big one, what a beautiful day, we’re not scared!” Along their journey they encounter different obstacles, tall grass, a river, mud, a deep dark forest, and a snowstorm. With each one they sing, “We can't go over it. We can't go under it. Oh no! We've got to go through it!”

Such is life. As we make our earthly journey we encounter obstacles that we could never have anticipated. Suddenly we find ourselves on uncharted territory and we can’t go back, we can’t go over it, or under it…there’s only one option: through it.

Have you been there? Are you there now? I have three words for you (actually Jesus does): be…not…afraid. Be not afraid dear friends! You have a God who has been through it with us. You have a God who promises to walk with us, even in the valley of the shadow of death. Today’s little verse, just ten words and three simple phrases gives us everything we need for getting through it.

Rejoice in hope, “Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Romans 5:5.

Be patient in suffering, “All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. All things!

Persevere in prayer, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

We’ve got to go through it, friends, there’s no other way, but we’re going to make it and we have nothing to fear with God by our side.

Dear God, walk with us as we make our journey and keep our eyes fixed on you, no matter what we’re going through. Amen.

He Strengthens Us

Written by Bonnie Cox. Posted in Waiting on God

Sunday, December 8

“Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and our shield."

Psalm 33:20}

The Hebrew word for wait is “quavah” and means to bind together. We get our strength renewed by being bound together or very close to the Lord. In John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you; you will bear much fruit; apart from me you are nothing.” Waiting and being bound together with the Lord strengthens us in our day to day lives.

Jesus never promised us as believers, or Christians, a life without trials or strife. He is our help and strength and shield. When we think of ‘shield’ we think of protective body armor. I personally feel God’s help and strength in my daily ups and downs of this earthly life. He is my constant strength and shield to battle life’s trials.

God is our defense and protects us from unpleasant experiences. We still need to endure these experiences, but he is our help and shield during these trials.

Jesus was our strength and shield by taking on our sins. He died on the cross for us and conquered death so we might have eternal life. The song “In Christ Alone” (by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty) states: Here in the Love of Christ I stand, here in the death of Christ I live, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Dear heavenly Father, may we rely and wait being bound together to you, our strength and shield to determine your will for our lives here on earth and look for our future life eternal with you. Amen.

The Long Waiting

Written by Jerry Spurgeon. Posted in Waiting on God

Saturday, December 7

“For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” 

Galatians 5:5

While I am no theological scholar, I find this verse speaks to me personally. I myself have struggled with the wait. Patience is a virtue, and as I grow in Christ, I learn this more and more. We all wait for the hope of righteousness. The key word for me is the word “faith.” I believe it is instrumental in the Christian faith. Often people say, “Wouldn’t it just be easier if God came down and spoke to everyone?” Or, “If Jesus were to walk up to me then I would believe.” Actually I think he tried this and still people did not have faith.

Fortunately, that’s not how this works. If it were that easy then I feel we would have no reason to strive to make ourselves better people, or better Christians. The other verse that I think of at this point is John 3-16, “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Lord, please give me the faith to sustain me in difficult times. Allow me to continue using my gifts and talents to spread your word and deeds among those whose faith may be weary. Guide us and nurture us so that one day our faith will lead us to the hope of righteousness. Amen.

Waiting for Our Hope

Written by Dan Wilson. Posted in Waiting on God

Friday, December 6

“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Titus 2:1

All the world is waiting. Waiting for December 25…Christmas Day. Some are waiting to tear open the brightly wrapped packages placed under the tree. Some are waiting with joyous anticipation of the gathering of family and friends. Others are waiting with dread for Christmas day. They dread the coming of the day where we should be happy and possess a joyous spirit but yet they painfully miss that loved one who will not be with them at their holiday gathering. That reality steals the joy of the season for them. For each of the above situations, the blessed hope has been sold out to what the world wants us to believe that Christmas is all about.

Blessed hope...

If we can refocus on the words of our text for today...Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Blessed hope. A hope that is blessed hope will not fail you. Too often we build up with our own expectations a scenario that has no basis in reality. A hope that is destined to disappoint us. Blessed hope is hoping and trusting in THE one who is worthy of trust and hope, whose word and promises can be trusted above all else. Trusting in the One who came as an infant laid in a lowly manger, conquered sin and death in order to change our destiny today and for eternity.

Father, help us to keep our eyes on the manger and the coming of Jesus, our God and Savior. Amen.

Is That All There Is?

Written by Jim Hobbins. Posted in Waiting on God

Thursday December 5

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”

Psalm 39: 7

Peggy Lee recorded this mournful song at a difficult time in her life. Drugs and alcohol were beginning to consume her so she cried out in a bluesy kind of way “I thought there would be more.” Relying on earthly passions we soon find what seeming joy those sometimes friends brought to our lives quickly dissipates. We see a trinket, a bauble, a new job or new life companion as an opportunity to reawaken our lives. But many of us soon discover those new realities do not erase the emptiness of “Is that all there is?”

Famous men through the ages have succumbed to the same lures, intellectual and otherwise, that pepper our lives. St. Augustine prayed “Lord, grant me chastity, but not just yet” as he moved forward on his personal journey. Poet Francis Thompson made the confession: “My freshness is spending its wavering power in the dust”. Boxer Manny Pacquaio went from playboy to a powerful voice for God. And, of course, there is Saul aka Paul. In every case they finally understood that the temptations of the mortal cannot compete with the eternal pleasures of life with their maker.

Lord, many of us are slow learners. We pray that, with your guidance, the lessons taught by our elders will help us finally get with the program. Amen.

Through Faith and Hope

Written by Tafi Lathrop. Posted in Waiting on God

Wednesday, December 4

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Romans 7:25

We all have busy lives. I myself, continually have many responsibilities that fill up my days. I meet all of these tasks by keeping a very regimented calendar, as I’m sure most of you do. I have to see and plan where I am at the next day, week, month or even into next year. In Romans 8:25, Paul talks about our future as Christians. Through our faith and hope, we know in our hearts and minds that He is always there for us. Faith and hope give us the patience to know what is to come; our eternal glory in heaven.

Many of us have lost loved ones this past year. The days prior to my father passing, he was fixated on a certain part of the ceiling in the hospital. He looked at peace and I could see joy in his face. He could see what my faith knows; that his place in heaven was waiting for Him. It should be on our daily calendar as disciples of Christ to help others see and feel Christ’s love and promise. Even the smallest acts of kindness can make a difference.

Lord, thank you for this day; to help others see and feel your joy; to share our faith and hope as disciples with others; to know that someday we will be with you in glory.

Expectation!

Written by Anita Wall (2014) 1929-2015. Posted in Waiting on God

Tuesday, December 3

“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

Hebrews 9:28

Years ago, the highlight of summer in a small town was the tent meeting of a traveling Evangelist. One summer, when I was about seven years old, I visited my Great Aunt Clem, who lived in DeSoto, MO. A tent meeting was in town and an Evangelist was pulling in the crowds. I saw the posters and heard people talking about what a great speaker he was. It was a dreadfully hot summer and when I asked Aunt Clem to take me to the meeting, she said no – it was too hot. It didn’t seem that hot to me. She said I should stay home. But I just had to go, with or without her permission.

And so I went all alone. It was exciting to hike all the way across town; exciting to be among all the people, and marvelous to be in such a huge tent. The Evangelist was marvelous, too. He shouted, waved his hands and stomped his feet. I’d never seen nor heard anything like his performance. His shirt was drenched with perspiration. His hair and his face were dripping wet. I didn’t want to leave, even when darkness fell. I would have stayed all evening but the Evangelist made up my mind for me. He rolled his eyes and pointed a finger directly at me. “REPENT!” he shouted. “STOP YOUR SINFUL WAYS. ARE YOU READY TO SEE JESUS? HE’S COMING AND HE’S COMING ON THE NEXT TRAIN!”

A train whistle blew. I ran home in double time. My Aunt and cousins did their best to calm me and assure me that we didn’t need to go to the railroad station to see Jesus. Jesus wouldn’t be there.

I’ve never been to another tent meeting. The expectation of Jesus’ return still remains a waiting mystery.

Dear Lord, though we don’t know the day and hour that you will come for us, I pray that I may always be as excited about the prospect of your coming as I was on the evening of that tent meeting. May I look forward with the expectation that something wonderful is going to happen! Amen.

If You’re Looking, He is There

Written by Savana Santos. Posted in Waiting on God

Monday, December 2

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him."

Lamentations 3:25

We live in a society where we get everything at the snap of a finger. If we want to hang out with a friend, we text them. If we’re hungry, we go to the fridge and get something to eat. Amazon is just at our fingertips, delivering to our door within hours. So it’s really easy to be impatient and get into the mindset of “Well, why can’t I see Jesus working in my life RIGHT NOW?”

But this verse tells us that the Lord is THE MOST constant thing in our life. That there are ways to find the Lord in everything we do, even the small things. If you’re looking, he is there.

I compare being a Christian to being a musician. As a singer, I have to be so patient. I work hard writing and performing every day, and some days I just want to throw my hands up and be like “What am I doing this for? What’s even the point???” But then we play that show and the crowd goes wild, or we finish that song and it turns out exactly the way we wanted it to and it’s like, OH YES. This is why I do it! Because being a musician is a lifestyle, just like being a Christian is a lifestyle.

There will always be moments of doubt, but if you really, really look, there’s a positive that outweighs that doubt tenfold. Growing up in faith helped me learn this balance that I can carry with me in music and everything else I do.

Dear God, help me find the patience and ability to be a good Christian in my life every day. Amen.

Waiting and Resting

Written by Bonnie Scranton. Posted in Waiting on God

Sunday, December 1

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning."

Psalm 130:5-6

I chose this verse for my devotional as it is the basis for the lyrics in one of my favorite choir anthems, “Canticle of Hope“, by Gary Hallquist. When we sing that anthem a sense of calm and peace comes over me. As I think about why this is, perhaps it’s because a soul waiting for the Lord is a soul resting in the Lord. Waiting and resting! Weary of travelling – often times in vain – through this human existence; coming to the end of all my own wisdom, strength, and resources; my uneasy, impatient, sometimes jaded spirit is brought into this resting place of waiting on, and waiting for, the Lord.

And in that same Lord, and in His word, I do indeed put my hope. More so than watchmen wait for the morning. And I know how waiting for the morning feels to a watchman, as years ago while teaching school I worked summers as a security guard on the grave yard shift at an Arizona power plant. There is nothing I waited or hoped for more in that job than the morning!

But now, rather than waiting for the morning, my hope rests in waiting for the Lord. For in the Lord I know there is a love that I don’t fully understand…a love that is truly unconditional; a love that is there even though there is nothing within me that deserves that love. And I wait expectantly until that time when I will fully understand His mercy and His love. Until then, my soul waits,

Dear Lord, as we wait expectantly during this Advent Season for the celebration of your birth, help us to cherish each moment. Help us to love one another each day as you love us. And help us to never give up the hope we have in you. Amen.

Special Thanks

Written by Bonnie Scranton Parish Administrator. Posted in Waiting on God

“The Gifts of Advent: Patience, Hope & Family” is our Wednesday mid-week Advent service theme for this year. Our devotionals in this booklet focus on the patience portion of that theme. After all, Advent is nothing if not a time of patiently waiting. Waiting to celebrate that miraculous birth of the Christ Child and the promise of salvation that it foretells for those who but believe.

Our Advent Devotional Booklet this year is written by Christ Lutheran Church members and friends. Thanks to all of you who contributed – who shared your faith and perhaps your life experiences with each other and our readers. We’re truly blessed by your words and your expressions of faith as we wait patiently for the Lord.  And a special thanks to our secretary, Bree Wingerter, for all her work in putting this booklet together.

We’ve added a few devotionals this year from our 2014 booklet in order to have a separate devotion for each of the 24 days of Advent. Those devotions have 2014 noted after the author’s name. The theme that year was very similar, “All in ‘God’ Time.” Three of the devotions we’ve chosen to include from the 2014 booklet were written by members who now rest in the arms of the Lord. Reading those 2014 devotions written by Daune McCulloch, Mary Reeve, and Anita Wall brought me to tears. Knowing that their waiting on the Lord is done, and that it was not in vain, brings a prophetic and special meaning to what they wrote five years ago.

It is my hope and prayer that the words found in this booklet will touch your hearts this Advent season and that they will be a blessing to each and every one of you.