|“So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Living in the light is not a theological and philosophical game. It is concrete: behave decently; abandon drunkenness, sexual immorality, dissention and jealousy…stop thinking about how to gratify your sinful nature. Clothe yourself with Jesus Christ instead. How do we practically live this “changed life”? How does this image of “clothed in the Lord Jesus Christ” help us to live in the light? Lord, I change my clothes every day, help me to change my life and be clothed with you.|
|“Understanding the present time…for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” The waiting of advent is sometimes seen as a hard exercise of patience. Paul calls us to understand the time…”waiting” is not a waste of time or a sleep or slumber. It involves understanding God’s time and living in light of that time. It’s time to wake up and live in the light. What does it mean to wake up and live in the light? Are you living in the light? Light of the World, may we live in your light this day and always. Amen.|
|“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” How can everything, every word and every deed become a “giving thanks” to God? What is the connection between doing everything in Jesus’ name and giving thanks? Can I live a life of thanksgiving in everything, not just during Thanksgiving feast and special times of thanksgiving? How can I foster a life of thanksgiving in everything, all the time? Thank you Heavenly Father, Thank you Christ, the son, Thank you Holy Spirit! Amen|
|“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” Gratitude reflects another aspect of “thankfulness”. What is the connection between gratitude and having the “word of Christ dwell in us”? Why do you think gratitude and thanksgiving are so often connected with music and song in the scriptures? How often do you find yourself singing? How well does your church sing? Teach us to sing, sing, sing; Lord Jesus!|
|“I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. For this will please the Lord more than sacrifices…” People will say they want to live lives that please God. Many think this is done by doing some great thing for God. What if fostering a more thankful heart would bring greater pleasure to God? Why is singing and thanksgiving more pleasing to God than sacrifice? Is your life and ministry characterized more by thanksgiving or sacrifice? May my heart overflow with thanksgiving to you O God, my mouth be filled with songs of praise.|
|“Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous…who are upright in heart!” Psalm 32 suggests there can be no joy and gladness where there is hidden sin and rebellion of heart toward God. What is the connection between joy and gladness and righteousness and uprightness of heart? Does joy and gladness characterize our lives as Christians and Christian leaders? Let us learn the lesson of Psalm 32 O Lord and so discover joy and gladness. Amen.|
“Do not be like the horse or the mule…” The horse and mule are characterized as “having no understanding,” and stubbornly unwilling to come on their own without devices that control them. In contrast, the Psalmist suggest that forgiveness and blessing come to those who “understand” their humanity and sinfulness and willingly trust in the loving, merciful God to love and forgive despite any personal unworthiness. Humbling, yet freeing. What parts of my life look more like the horse or mule? I trust in
you Lord Jesus, I come to you for healing and forgiveness.
|“in whose spirit is no deceit…” Our temptation after sin, like Adam and Eve, is to hide, to be silent, to cover up, to blame others, to lie. Blessing comes not to the one with a sinless image, but rather to the honest, the humble, the truthful who confess their sins to the Lord and thus receive his forgiveness. Why do I keep going back to hiding? What can I do to help myself and others learn to be honest with God? I have sinned against heaven and earth O Father, but I throw myself upon your gracious love that is beyond all I know.|
|“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” The Psalmist surprises us; are sinners, transgressors, mistaken, rebellious people blessed? Are not the happy, joyous and blessed those who do not sin at all? How are transgressors and sinners blessed? What makes the blessing? How does the sinner; how do I, find this blessedness? Our Father in Heaven, forgive us our sins and open us to your blessings of forgiveness and loving relationship with you. Amen.|
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Those who pray this prayer stand with Jesus in Gethsemane knowing that to choose God’s will and live God’s way on earth may not bring about all the results that we anticipate or find easy. We are asking God to supply all we need to be faithful through the circumstances we face, with the hope of God’s full deliverance and redemption of the world. As we live for you in the world, Lord Jesus, grant all that we need to live for you in the world.