Advent Devotion - Day 6


December 2, 2022

Join us through this special time of Advent as we dive deeper into the Word of God. Each day, we will pray and reflect on a different passage from Scripture. Daily Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, and reflections are written by our church staff.

Opening Prayer:

O almighty God, by the birth of your holy child Jesus
  you gave us a great light to dawn on our darkness.
Grant that in his light we may see light.
Bestow upon us that most excellent Christmas gift of love to all people,
  so that the likeness of your Son may be formed in us,
  and that we may have the ever brightening hope of everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

The Book of Worship 1965, ALT. (277)

Scripture Reading:

Acts 13:16-25 (NSRV)

16 So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:

“Fellow Israelites[a] and others who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 For about forty years he put up with[b] them in the wilderness. 19 After he had destroyed seven peoples in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance 20 for about four hundred fifty years. After that he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’ 23 Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised; 24 before his coming John had already proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his work, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the strap of the sandals[c] on his feet.’

Isaiah 30:21 (NRSV)

21 And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”


Have you ever looked back on a moment and thought:

  • “Was that the Holy Spirit speaking to me?” 
  • “Did God lead me down this path?”
  • “How did that teacher, leader, friend, coworker, spouse, parent, or sibling know exactly what I needed to hear at that moment?”

The answer is: God is constantly pursuing us! He loves us and longs to have a relationship with us. And He will guide and direct us whenever we stray, or when we need a nudge in the right direction. Some people say they can literally hear the voice of God, but most people receive their messages from God through prayer, scripture, or through God speaking through other people in their lives.

I want to share a story with you about a conversation Eric and I had last week with a young waiter (named Chris) at one of our favorite restaurants. We had just sat down for lunch when Chris came to take our order. I noticed an interesting charm on a chain around Chris’ neck, and I asked if it had any significance. He sheepishly shared that the charm was a reminder to him to put God first, but he wasn’t sure he was doing a very good job of it, because nothing was going right in his life. Eric began speaking truth into the young man – sharing his own struggles in his early 20’s – and reassuring Chris, “it gets easier; I promise.” Eric asked Chris if he had a church home. Chris nodded, thanking Eric, and said he has been attending church services with his mother and has recently made some Christian friends that are helping him make better choices.

We were almost finished with our meal when Chris came back to our table with a HUGE grin on his face! He thanked us both, again, for talking to him about his faith journey and, pausing for a moment, asked, “Do you think God sent you to me today to reassure me that I am on the right path and to give me hope for my future?” My eyes welled up with tears of joy! I do believe this young man has a bright future ahead, with the full Armor of God guiding and protecting him every step of the way! And thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to be a witness to your never-ending love and support, and for opening our eyes when we may not be able to see for ourselves the great work you are doing in our lives.  

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the redemptive story of the Apostle Paul meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul (Saul) was on his way to Damascus to arrest all of the Christians, but Jesus had another plan in mind for Paul. Jesus wanted Paul to preach the Good News to the Gentiles – the people that Paul despised the most. Paul saw the light and was transformed by God – from a persecutor of Christians to a preacher for Christ (read more in the Conversion of Saul). After that, Paul devoted his life to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Paul traveled many miles to share the story of Jesus, and he had a gift for relating to his audience.

In Acts 13, Paul is speaking to Jewish leaders in the synagogue in Antioch. In order to connect with the Jewish leaders, Paul began by retelling Jewish history and the Covenant God made with Abraham and David. After he had their attention, he then shared the good news that “God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised” in the Covenant (Acts 13:23).

Later in Acts 17, Paul is speaking to Greek philosophers in Athens who worship an “unknown God.” They would not relate to Jewish history, so he began the story of Jesus by first, sharing what he had witnessed in their city and complementing them by saying, “how extremely spiritual you are in every way” (Acts 17:22-23).

After connecting with the people of Athens, he then began pleading with them to turn away from their idol worship and look to the one true God, “because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

The Lord God can use any of us to share his redemption story. We don’t have to be scholars to be disciples of Christ. Moses had a speech problem, but God used him to lead a nation out of exile. Jeremiah told God he was too young to be a prophet, but God used him anyway. Paul was a Pharisee on a mission to arrest all Christians, but God had other plans for him. Whether you are a rabbi speaking to Jewish leaders in a synagogue in Jerusalem, or a gentile having lunch at your favorite burger joint in Oklahoma City – God can use you right where you are to share the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Daily Challenge:

When was the last time you talked about Jesus with a stranger?
Have you shared your salvation story with a friend?
Do you speak openly about your Christian walk?

I challenge you this Advent season to be open to the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit to step out of your comfort zone and find a way to share Jesus with someone new!
Today's reflection is written by:
Heather DeShazo

Director of Communications
Church of the Servant
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