This post is the second in a series adapted from Anticipating His Arrival, a family Advent devotional by Rick Brannan. We will be posting one devotional a day through Christmas.
Isaiah 64:1–4, 8–11
Would that you would tear the heavens and come down;
the mountains would quake before you,
as fire kindles brushwood,
the fire causes water to boil,
to make your name known to your adversaries,
that the nations might tremble from your presence.
When you did terrible deeds which we did not expect, you came down;
the mountains quaked because of your presence.
And since ancient times they have not heard,
have not listened,
no eye has seen a God except you;
he acts for the one who waits for him…
Yet now Yahweh, you are our father;
we are the clay and you are our potter,
and we all are the work of your hand.
You must not be exceedingly angry, Yahweh,
and you must not remember iniquity forever!
Look! Behold, now! We all are your people!
Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and beautiful temple, where our ancestors praised you has been burned by fire,
and all our precious objects have become ruins.
What is the relationship between the Lord (Yahweh) and the people?
Response: The people claim the Lord (Yahweh) as father (v. 8). The image of clay (the people) and a potter (Yahweh) is used to reinforce this.
Why would Yahweh be angry?
Response: Because the land is in shambles (vv. 10–11). The holy cities are empty. Jerusalem is desolate. And the temple, the very house of the Lord, has been destroyed.
How does this relate to joy during the Advent season?
Response: The people expect the Lord to return and bring salvation to the land. They call upon him to rebuild the temple, to annihilate their enemies, and to exalt his people to their proper place. Though the situation is dire, they rejoice at the thought of his return, which will restore the world to how it should be. We should exhibit the same joy at the thought of his second coming.
For more Bible study resources, browse the Logos Christmas sale.
This post is the first in a series adapted from Anticipating His Arrival, a family Advent devotional by Rick Brannan. We will be posting one devotional a day through Christmas.
As Christ’s arrival draws closer, a natural consequence is joy. When the thing we have been waiting for gets closer and closer, joy increases. [Read more…]
This year is the 200th year anniversary of the beloved Christmas hymn “Silent Night.”
Originally written in German by Joseph Mohr, the song has been sung in Christmas worship for two centuries all around the world.
Enjoy this story of its origins from Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions, then use our keyword suggestions below to find a beautiful background for the song in Faithlife Proclaim. [Read more…]
Devotional books are excellent tools to fire up your spiritual growth. Whether you’re a longtime Christian, a new believer, or just investigating, devotionals offer biblical insights in short readings to refresh your soul.
This excerpt has been adapted from C.H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. In each devotion, Spurgeon offers two short meditations on Scripture—one to read each morning and another at the end of the day. In today’s morning reading, Spurgeon reminds believers how Christ’s presence in our lives brings hope and joy in the midst of trials. [Read more…]
Happy Easter, from all of us at Faithlife. Enjoy this Easter meditation on the power of Christ’s resurrection by Charles Spurgeon.
Is all the extravagance surrounding Easter a distraction, or are Christians right to give it the special attention they do?
Let’s avoid the culture wars of the Easter Bunny, Cadbury eggs, and egg hunts, and simply speak to what happens in most churches on the morning of Easter Sunday: we go all out.
Going all out for Easter
The music is typically a notch or two more elaborate than normal. The sermon is noticeably more refined and passionate. And everyone seems to dress in their very best Sunday best.
Many churches even decorate specifically for Easter Sunday. The church I attended in college used decorations to heighten the contrast between Good Friday and Easter. In the Good Friday service, red roses with thorns lined the aisles to communicate suffering. On Sunday, white lilies replaced the roses to communicate resurrection. It was a beautiful, artistic way to remind us that in the Christian faith, life comes through death.
Churches seem to love pulling out all the stops for Easter, but is all the pomp justified, biblically?
Why is Easter special?
The apostle Paul says of the resurrection, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14 NIV). Without the resurrection, there is no Christian faith.
A few verses later, Paul declares how all of history pivots on the resurrection:
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. (1 Cor. 15:20–24 NIV)
It is only because of the resurrection that anyone can move from corruption to restoration—only by Jesus’ work is Adam’s undone and a new creation secured.
Easter is the day we set aside to celebrate this truth. It is a day we dedicate solely to the central tenet of our faith: Christ is risen. (He is risen, indeed!)
As such, a certain amount of pomp is more than justified—it is encouraged.
Let the bright pastels, the pressed suits, the church choir, the full band, the near-perfect sermon, and the however-else-you-mark-it-special commence.
In the church I most recently called home, we recited the Apostles’ Creed weekly. But on Resurrection Sunday, we added a twist:
On the third day, he rose again
On the third day
—the third day—
On the third day, he rose again
If you have a hand in putting together Easter Sunday at your church, have it at. Add your twist. You still have a couple days to prepare elements that draw unique attention to the reason for our faith.
One easy way to do this is with free, beautiful Easter media (such as the image featured in this blog). Get a free bundle of 600+ pieces of Good Friday- and Easter-themed church graphics. Start a no-risk, 30-day free trial of Faithlife Proclaim to get your bundle (no credit card required). Get the bundle free now.
This post originally appeared on the Faithlife Proclaim blog.
This guest post by Elizabeth Vince is excerpted from Moment with God: A Devotional on Every Biblical Book.
Childhood lessons about the consequences of bragging have stuck with me. As I learned about humility and modesty, I became afraid of being seen as conceited. When presenting myself at a job interview, I was hesitant to speak of my successes. I was especially careful when I talked about my faith or told people about God. I didn’t want to offend their beliefs. I didn’t want to come across as a know-it-all Christian.
For a limited time, everyone in the Logos Bible Software Faithlife group can access Rick Brannan’s Anticipating His Arrival: A Family Guide Through Advent.