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December 1 Devotional

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

Opening Prayer: My God, since You are with me, and since it is Your will that I should apply my mind to these outward things, I pray that You will give me the grace to remain with You and keep company with You. But so that my work may be better, Lord, work with me; receive my work and possess all my affections. (The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence)

Scripture Reading for the Day: Isaiah 35:1-10

Reading for Reflection: Advent is a season of waiting, yes, but it is waiting with a very deep kind of intentionality and openness to receive. There is something for us to do in our waiting; we are to do those things that prepare our souls to welcome Christ deeper into the recesses of our life and being. (Advent: The Courage to Wait by Ruth Haley Barton)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Michael and Kim Essenburg have been serving at Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ), a school for missionary children (40% of student body) and children of business and professional people (60% of student body) that is located in Tokyo. They ask that you pray for effective closure to their 27.5 years of service at CAJ. They begin their 6-month home assignment on January 6. In July, they will start serving at Okinawa Christian School.

YOKE mentors middle school children by building friendships with Christian adults through clubs, camps, and Kid Time (hanging out with kids in their world). Currently YOKE reaches out to over 19,000 students at 26 middle schools located in Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, and Knox counties. Pray today for all of the different local YOKE groups that they may understand the love of Jesus during this Christmas season.

Closing Prayer: O Majestic One, I tend to ignore the songs of the hills and the praise of the peaks and the plains. Sky and sun and desert sand, moon, eclipse, and raging sea, join in the never-ending song. The dancers sway to the silent beat as timeless melodies sweep the canyons and harmonies top the hills. The music throbs with joy and sorrow, rising into a wondrous and daring shout of your praise. How can I so often miss hearing the canticles of the gulls and the worship of the ancient waves when their concert is always in session? You’ve equipped eagles to soar in praise, stars to wander the night, worms to burrow their love, I want to join their song.

Open my eyes to see the earth’s uplifted hands and my ears to listen to it calling your name. Help me to hear the psalms of the galaxies, and the poems of the whispering stars. Help me to hear the worship all around me, the prayers of the sunlight and the pine and the glistening morning dew right outside my window in my own front yard. (A Heart Exposed by Steven James) Notes