Your Daily Advent Devotional
December 20, 2013


Be Fruitful

Daily Psalm

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.
(Psalm 89:14-16)

Acts of Mercy

•Put together a care package for a homeless person or family in need.
•Sort through your closets to donate clothing to a thrift store.
•Pass out gloves, hats, and scarves outside a sledding spot or skating rink.

Family Devotional
Read Ephesians 5:1-2.

Louis Albert Banks tells a story about a man who was spending a summer near the shores of Lake Superior. One day he came upon an old pine that had been blown down by a recent storm. Knowing something about trees, he was intrigued by the huge evergreen lying on the ground. He examined it closely and figured it was at least 250 years old. What impressed him most, however, was what he discovered when he stripped away the bark. It was evident to him that on the day the tree fell it was still growing.

That's the way it should be in the life of the believer. The years pass and our physical strength declines. The outward person perishes but the inner person should keep on developing--mentally, emotionally, and above all spiritually--until the day we die. In fact, the Word of God is quite clear on the subject of growth. God wants His followers to grow and expects them to grow right up until the very end of the age.

When we consider growing into the likeness of God, there are some things that are off limits: We can't become all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. The overlap between us and our creator has limits. That being said, there is still considerable room for growth.

Here are six traits we might consider worth imitating in our pursuit of bearing the image of Christ to our world. First, God expressly calls us to emulate the holiness that is on display as God acts mercifully, justly, rightly, and with no hint of darkness among us throughout history. Second, God's goodness revealed in His acts to put others' interests before His own is an attribute we can develop and demonstrate. Third, to act from a place motivated by love (rather than out of obligation or fear) is what sets Jesus apart. I believe it should set His followers apart as well. Fourth, God has a perfect track record of keeping promises and providing for His people. He is dependable, and our challenge is to reflect that integrity and trustworthiness. Fifth, from walking in the cool of the afternoon, to a cloud in front of Israel, to a baby lying in a manger, God will always be present. We can emulate this trait by growing in our awareness, alertness, and attentiveness to be present in each moment. Sixth, God is on the move and at work. God is missional—creating, relating, reforming, and restoring. Our mandate is to stop working on our thing and be about noticing and joining God at work in our midst.

As we participate in Advent this year, it will be good to keep in mind these traits of God and this high calling to be imitators. It is the hope that this season will be another one of growth as you celebrate the reality that our God has come to rescue, is coming to comfort, and will be coming again in glory.


Almighty Refiner, who purifies your people like pure gold, grant that we might be so filled with your Spirit that our every thought, word and deed would be imitations of your holy presence in our life. Amen.


Excerpted from:

Celebrate: An Advent ExperienceCelebrate: An Advent Experience
Paul Sheneman
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Travel through Advent celebrating how God came, is coming, and will come again! In this 4-week devotional, your family will be encouraged to commit daily acts of mercy where each of you sees a need. And the inspirational messages will help you become ready, fruitful, blessed, and amazed by the season. 96 pages, softcover from Beacon Hill.

Taken from Celebrate by Paul Sheneman Copyright 2013 by Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, Kansas City, MO. Used by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.


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