December 23, Monday

Devotional Thought for Today

“A Place Much Better Than Disneyland”

Psalm 122:1-9

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” 2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! 3 Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, 4 to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. 5 There thrones for judgment were set,the thrones of the house of David. 6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love! 7 Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” 8 For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” 9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

What invitation would cause you to rejoice?  An invitation to Disneyland or to an all-you can-eat Korean BBQ?  

How about an invitation to church?

For Israel, worshiping at the Jerusalem temple was a rare joy.  The people of God cherished worshiping together with all twelve tribes in the place God had appointed.  When they gathered, the people of God would express their gratitude to the Lord. Jerusalem was a place of joy, thanksgiving, peace, and security.

As we reflect on the joy Israel experienced, we are reminded of all that the church is meant to be and also of what the church still has not yet become.  The Psalmist also recognized that the completion of God’s work in Jerusalem had not come yet. Rather than complain, He chose to pray for the peace and security of the city and for the good of his brothers.

Take a moment to pray for your local church this morning.  Pray for peace as the world, the devil, and the remaining sin within believers create selfish conflict and strife.  Pray that the house of God would be as God has meant for her to be.

Prayer: Father, I thank You for the gift of Your Church.  I am apt to complain and judge her, but I know that my brothers and sisters are gifts to me which I do not deserve.  I thank You that You have given me new life through Your church and You continue to grant me grace and joy through her.  I pray that You might strike down the schemes of the enemy that cause strife in my church. I pray that light, grace, and love would reign over darkness, pride, and selfishness.  For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Luke 7


Lunch Break Study 

Read Hebrews 10:23-25: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is one way which we can hold fast to “the confession of our hope”?
  2. According to v. 24, what are we to encourage one another to do?
  3. What shapes our perspective and hope?

Notes

  1. Meeting together and giving and receiving encouragement.
  2. To love and to do good works.
  3. We are to live in light of the second coming of our King.

Evening Reflection

Were you tempted to waver in your hope in the Lord today?  If so, how can you rely on the Body to encourage you? Did you have an opportunity to stir up your brother or sister to love and good works today?  If not, how can you make this a priority during the rest of your week?

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