December 7 Devotional

Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer: To the God who pursues. Our world is groaning around me and my heart groans with it. So many tears and questions, so many stillborn children, so much cancer and divorce, so many orphans and so much poverty. Closing my eyes doesn’t make the wailing stop; doesn’t turn the grief into joy. I hear your Spirit groaning with me, taking the cry of my heart to your throne. Hear our groans. Have mercy on us. (A Heart Exposed by Steven James)

Scripture Reading for the Day: Romans 8:18-30

Reading for Reflection: Ultimately the season of Advent is a season of groaning; the groaning of our hearts and the groaning of our God. It is the groaning that comes from a deep longing for all to be as it was intended. Thus, it is a season where we fully recognize and embrace our sadness and frustration that all is not as it should be, rather than attempting to escape, avoid, or deny it. The world has gone terribly wrong, it is filled with decay and death, suffering and sadness, sorrow and pain, and yet, in the midst of it all, God meets us in a beautifully mysterious way. He meets us in a way that we couldn’t be met otherwise - making this groan both a trust-filled embracing of where he has us, as well as a deep yearning for so much more - for deliverance and restoration; healing and wholeness.

Therefore, Advent is a season in which we watch and wait. It is a time in which we are filled with hope and with longing - hope that our Creator will finally intervene, and longing that he will enter into this world and set everything right once more; restoring all things to their creation intent.

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Hugo and Jackie are from South Africa and have two children, Marlena and John. Hugo has been the leader of a media ministry and has also been providing oversight to the PALM ministry (Preparing Arab World Leaders for Ministry) for the last few years. Their mission is to engage young people of the Arab world through new media to facilitate church planting movements in partnership with local churches. Pray today for a newly launched magazine-style satellite television program hosted by a Saudi believer.

Bethany Christian Services is a global organization caring for orphans and vulnerable children on five continents. They manifest the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting and enhancing the lives of children and families through quality social services such as adoption, family support, foster care, pregnancy counseling, refuge services and infertility. Pray today for the staff who are dedicated to facilitating adoptions.

Closing Prayer: Loving God, the earth moans, in need of your healing. Help me be a peacemaker today—one who carries your vision and takes the small actions that contribute to healing for the world. Amen. (The Uncluttered Heart by Beth A. Richardson)