Light in Uncertain Times

Gretchen Torres

Read: Isaiah 9:2-7 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light . . . (v. 2) The devotional you are reading today was written months ago, during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a time of fear and anxiety, and my concerns about my family’s health and well-being are very real. We are fighting a strong and invisible enemy, and we have no idea how long we will have to wait before we return to …

Advent Longings

Chuck DeGroat

Read: Psalm 122 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity. (vv. 6-9 NIV) Our Advent longings are shaped by our needs. Yet, many of us remain disconnected from our needs. A …

Increasing and Decreasing

Jeff Munroe

Read: John 3:22-30 He must increase, but I must decrease. (v. 30) There was an old-time baseball manager who once said of his team, “I managed good but boy did they play bad.” That’s the opposite of how leadership should be measured. What matters is not the brilliance of the head but the tone of the body. Great leaders take the spotlight off themselves. John the Baptist illustrated this in these verses. A question about purification quickly devolved into a …

A Fresh Start

Jill English

Read: Luke 22:31-38 Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start. (vv. 31-32 MSG) Most translations render this passage with language about Satan “sifting Peter like wheat.” What does this mean? Typically, I …

Don’t Hold Back!

Andy Bast

Read: Isaiah 7:10-14 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” (v. 12) In the spring of 2009, I lost my job as a high school music teacher. My district was closing several schools, and I happened to be one of the newest people hired. I was “last in, first out.” My wife was pregnant with our second child, and we were pretty worried. I remember praying for a new job …

Joy and Sorrow

Kristen Deede Johnson

Read: Psalm 126 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! (v. 5) During Advent, we are deeply aware that we live in between Christ’s coming for the first time and his coming again. In this “already, not yet” time, we know that Jesus Christ came to begin his reign and invite all to become children of God, even as the world does not yet fully reflect his kingdom and many do not recognize God as Father. …