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SBC Advent Devotional

Dec 03

Advent - December 18: Real Love

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 12:44 PM by Shiloh Baptist Church

December 18: Real Love

 

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us.  1 John 3:16

 

If we want to know what love is, we look to a person, not an idea. We direct our attention and affection to Jesus who, as Paul says in Romans 5, demonstrates love by dying for us. But the demonstration begins long before Jesus’ death and resurrection.

 

It starts with Jesus’ sacrifice of self and home. He gives up everything to come to earth. He sets aside his power and takes a form that tires, hungers, and mourns. Jesus wraps himself in our oh-so-weak flesh and blood.

 

He shows love, too, in his conversations with people. He always relates to them as individuals. For example, how he treats Nicodemus differs from how he speaks with Peter and the disciples. And, while Jesus deals harshly with the Sadducees and Pharisees, love reigns there, too—love does not let sin go unchecked. It confronts the wrong so that the person can repent and be restored to a right relationship with God.

Jesus embodies love, and if we want to know what real love is, we must look to him. He doesn’t merely speak of love; he acts it out in the breaking of bread, the washing of feet, the dying upon a cross. He exemplifies the words John spurs us toward, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). 

Dec 03

Advent - December 17: Wonderful Counselor

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 12:38 PM by Shiloh Baptist Church

December 17: Wonderful Counselor

 

And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. Mark 10:16

 

Jesus spent a lot of his time on earth teaching. However, he wasn’t just a teacher. He counseled, too. He sat with the people, listening and ministering to their physical and spiritual needs. He broke the bread, multiplied the fish, and blessed the children.

 

But Jesus uplifts typical counsel to wonderful heights, a fact we see illustrated in his interaction with the rich young man. When the man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus looks at him and loves him (Mark 10:17-22). Jesus gives guidance knowing it won’t be heeded. He loves the rich young man, knowing he won’t be loved in return.

 

Jesus acts as counselor, yes, but he is the Wonderful Counselor. His words are trustworthy, true, and filled with love and compassion. When he asks us to sacrifice something, we can trust he knows what he’s doing.

 

We can rest, too, in the knowledge that he knows us, inside and out. He doesn’t simply offer words; he sits with us in our struggles and heartaches. He is a good, good counselor, and when he speaks, he speaks with loving kindness and truth. 

Dec 03

Advent - December 16: Simple Pursuit

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 12:25 PM by Shiloh Baptist Church

December 16: Simple Pursuit

 

When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” Psalm 27:8

 

We find Simeon and Anna at the temple in Jerusalem. These two elderly people claim a simple, profound pursuit: They have followed the Lord all their lives. The Bible calls Simeon “righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). Anna has served, prayed, and fasted in the Temple since her husband died years and years ago (Luke 2:36-7). She, like Simeon, looks for the coming Messiah.

 

And they find him, or, to be more precise, Jesus finds them. Joseph and Mary bring the infant to Jerusalem to present Jesus to God and to offer a sacrifice. Simeon takes Jesus into his arms and bursts into prophecy (Luke 2:29-32, 34-5), in a fashion similar to Elizabeth’s and Mary’s praise songs a chapter earlier (Luke 1:41-55).

 

When Anna approaches the baby Jesus, the same thing happens. She speaks the truth and gives thanks to God. She can’t keep quiet; she speaks of Jesus to “all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

 

Simeon and Anna might not have expected to ever see the Messiah with their own eyes, but they hoped to. Anna and Simeon sought him with all their hearts, and God arrived on the temple steps. He introduced himself to Anna and Simeon in such a strange, glorious, and beautiful way: He let them hold his Son, the Savior of the world, in their arms and speak of his great name to all the people gathered there.