EP Express 2022 Advent Devotionals - Week 2
Dear brothers and sisters
Greetings in our Lord’s Name. The Presbyterian Express is very excited to share with you a series of Advent devotion readings written by our very own ministers and preachers. The devotions run from Mondays to Fridays, starting on 1st Dec and ending on 24th Dec. They will be sent out in 3 weekly batches.
May you be blessed as you walk with the Lord and during this Christmas season.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Elder Phoa Luh Sy
ADVENT DEVOTION DAY 8 – 12th Dec
Title: God in the Flesh
Passage: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." (John 1:14a, ESV)
Many things that God did remain a mystery. For example, we would never understand how a virgin could give birth to a child or how God could become a man. The answer lies in the mind of God alone. Yet, the truth remains - Jesus did become like one of us!
What was He like in human form?
Once, I saw a painting of Mary gently removing a wood splinter from the finger of her young carpenter son! When John says the “Word became flesh,” he was referring to a flesh and blood Jesus. One author described Him in the following words…
“Angels watched as Mary changed God’s diaper. The universe watched with wonder as the Almighty learned to walk. Children played in the street with Him…He may have had pimples...He may have been tone-deaf...It could be that His knees were bony. One thing’s for sure: He was, while completely divine, completely human.”
(Max Lucado, Chronicles of Christ - God Came Near)
As a man, Jesus was in every aspect like us, except He was without sin. By taking on flesh, the Son of God was perhaps more human than some of us! He had a full set of feelings and emotions and displayed His physical weaknesses and limitations.
The God who calls us to a relationship with Him came to walk with us and share our pain and suffering. Isaiah 53:4 says He “took our infirmities & carried our sorrows.” Some of you may be going through a difficult time right now. Surely, our God knows and understands your pain as He had been there as He Himself had suffered...perhaps more than we will ever suffer in a lifetime!
While it is impossible to fully understand how God could become fully human, it is possible to understand why He became human - so that He could take our place on the cross. Sin demands punishment by death and Jesus came to die on our behalf. He came to save us!
Indeed, there’s no greater joy at Christmas than knowing Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him!
Thank You God for sending your Son into the world to live and die for us. May our response today be that of deep gratitude and confident trust in Your love that never fails. Amen!
Rev Goh Yong Kuang
Glory Presbyterian Church
ADVENT DEVOTION DAY 9 – 13th Dec
Title: Light of Life
Passage: John 8:12–20
What does Christmas look like post pandemic? Orchard Road is already lit up well before Christmas. For the first time since the pandemic, we see lights: dazzling lights adorning the malls and streets and the steady glow of candlelight during the season of Advent in some churches. The Bible includes numerous references to light. As you read these verses, think about how Christ has been a light to you in the three years of COVID and what kind of light do you need this Christmas season.
In the fullness of time, God fulfilled His promise to send His own presence and light which would offer redemption to a dark and sinful world. On the night Jesus was born, the sky lit up and an angel declared before the lowly shepherds: “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
Here in John 8:12, Jesus makes a powerful declaration about Himself - “I am the light of the world.” There is nothing we need more in this world today than light for our path. People are walking in darkness and “whoever walks in darkness does not know where they are going.” (John 12:35) Many people do not know where they are going; they have no idea of what is ahead. But the man who has light can see what is on his pathway.
The Bible begins and end with light. God’s first word called forth light within the primeval darkness (Genesis 1:3). At the end of the ages, the new heaven and earth will not need the sun or moon, for the glory of God will be its light and (Jesus Christ) the Lamb will be its lamp (Revelation 21:23). This Christmas, let us praise and thank God for His indescribable gift of “Light” to redeem our dark and troubled world. Jesus truly is the light of the world. He brings us light and life and when we put our trust in Him we can walk in that light in every area of our lives.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your Light. The Christmas lights remind us that You are the Light of the world. Help us to reflect Christ’s light to the world around us. In Jesus' Name, amen.
Rev Tan Cheng Huat
Hope Presbyterian Church
Advent Devotion Day 10 – 14th Dec
Title: Don’t Think About It!
Passage: Matthew 6:25-34
Even as we are just coming out of the pandemic, it seems like we are heading into a recession.
There is a passage in the gospel of Matthew that many Bible translators title "Do Not Worry" - Matthew 6:25-34.
For instance, the NIV translation says in Matthew 6:25 "...do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear."
If you go back to the original language in Greek, it could mean 'do not worry' or 'take no thought'. The KJV translation puts it this way: "...Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on." Matthew 6:25 KJV
In other words, "Don't think about it".
Jesus sums up this passage with this verse in Matthew 6:33 that many of us are familiar with: "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
If your relationship with Jesus is your number one goal, if worshipping Jesus is your number one focus, He will take care of everything.
How do we put that into actual life application?
I must confess that I do struggle with anxiety at times. Whenever I am away from Singapore, I think about whether things are okay at home or in church. And sometimes, after taking an extended break from preaching, I wonder whether I could preach as well as before. These are real experiences I have to combat, therefore, I need these words from Jesus: "Don't think about it."
For those studying or working, you might worry whether you could ace that exam or keep your job during an upcoming recession. Jesus is saying, “Don’t even think about it. Come and sit at My feet, and I will take care of everything else. Make Me your number one focus, and I will give you clarity about what to study or do with your job.” He does that but often not in the way we envisage it! So many times, I have seen God's blessings coming from some unusual places and unlikely people when I put my trust in Jesus.
There is only one thing you need to think about – Jesus.
Lord Jesus, help us make You our number one focus. Thank You that when we spend time with You, You will take care of everything in our life. Amen.
Rev Henry Wong
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Advent Devotion Day 11 – 15th Dec
Title: God’s Grace is for the Lowly
Passage: Luke 1:26–38
Mary was among the lowly. She was young, in the awkward stage between childhood and womanhood. She was likely around 14 when she was betrothed to Joseph (v27). Betrothal lasted a year and while they were legally considered married, they did not live together.
Mary was a poor, uneducated peasant living in a small country town – Nazareth. It was considered a backwater kind of place, ulu in Malay, far from Jerusalem, the centre of power.
Mary was also a female in a culture that was patriarchal; women were looked down upon and discriminated against. From a merely human perspective, Mary was insignificant. Kent Hughes calls her “a nobody in a nothing town in the middle of nowhere.”
Yet Mary was given the greatest honour that any woman has ever been given. God did not choose a daughter from a rich and influential family. He chose Mary instead to bear His Son. Twice the word ‘favour’ was used on Mary. Angel Gabriel said to her, “O favoured one” (v28) and shortly after, “you have found favour with God” (v30). Grace is undeserved favour.
Mary was the recipient of God’s grace. God can give us the same kind of grace that He gave to Mary - to bear the presence of Jesus wherever we are, even when we feel small and insignificant, overlooked by the world.
What joy it must have given Gabriel to announce this mystery for the very first time, declaring that Jesus is the Son of the Most High God (v32) and He was coming into our world. His entrance was nothing short of a miracle. The virgin birth is a very important in the doctrine of salvation.
Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit (v35). Thus, Jesus was born perfect. He came into our world fully divine and fully human. Because of this, Jesus was the second Adam who by His perfect obedience to the Father, died in our place to atone for our sins, something you and I cannot do for each other because we are equally sinful.
Let’s praise God for His perfect wisdom in bringing to fruition His salvation plan in the second Person of the Trinity!
If God could perform the miracle of the virgin birth, then He is quite capable of handling all the difficulties of our daily lives. What are the cares of your life which you can cast on Him?
By the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, I want to echo what Mary said, “Have it your way Lord, not mine – I am ready to do your will.”
Rev Lee Kien Seng
True Way Presbyterian Church
Advent Devotion Day 12 – 16th Dec
Title: The Uninvited Guests at the First Christmas
Passage: Luke 2:8-14
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!
The shepherds hastened to go to Bethlehem to see the new baby boy, the Messiah, just as the angel told them to. Little did they know that Joseph and Mary had to deal with some logistical issue: not only was there no inn for them to stay, but their only available accommodation was in a stable! Would Mary have expected God to arrange for her a comfortable place to stay, with a midwife just next door? After all she was carrying God’s son!
Exhausted from the long and tiresome journey to Bethlehem and after having just delivered a baby, Mary and Joseph badly needed to rest. The last thing they would expect was to entertain some uninvited guests who had come without notice. Did Mary and Joseph ask the shepherds to come at another more convenient time? No, Mary and Joseph welcomed the visitors! God sent these poor shepherds to Joseph and Mary when our Lord was born. God also sent other uninvited guests, wise men from the east, to visit Mary and Joseph and pay tribute to our Lord Jesus.
Here is question I would like you to ponder as Christmas approaches - who is God sending to you this Christmas? Is it your neighbour next door? Or your colleagues at work or someone you know who is hurting? Will you be like Mary and Joseph who though exhausted, welcomed the shepherds? Will you also welcome people into your homes or church to share with them the reason Jesus was born?
O Lord, in this season may we boldly share Christ, the very reason for Christmas to those You bring along our way. And may we warmly share Your love by welcoming them into our church and homes. Amen.
Rev Razo Vasa
Bukit Batok Presbyterian Church