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FC: Stir up Your power, Lord, come. | An Advent Devotional by Dr. Marshall Thomas | Stay alert all your communal life focused on God through Christ Jesus | Commissioned by the 7 Arts Foundation in cooperation with Modern Masterworks Gallery, TIS and a gift from Colossal Concepts Management

1: AN ADVENT DEVOTIONAL Dedicated to Ruth E. Anderson, AiM on the occasion of her birthday Copyright 2011 by Dr.Marshall Thomas | All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. | All original artwork and graphic images by the author; reproductions made available by TIS. | Layout by the author | Techne by Mixbook. XI11 Release.

2: AN ADVENT DEVOTIONAL a thomas illustration studio edition of a a modern masterworks gallery book www.modernmasterworks.net underwritten by 7 arts foundation www.7artsfoundation.org and with a gift from colossal concepts management http://colossalconcepts.weebly.com exclusive worldwide management for TIS and Dr. Marshall Thomas Printed and bound in the USA Distributed by the Friends of the 7 arts foundation Gibson House | 14 Azalea Texarkana, TX 75503 Previewer: Rev. Robert Franek Thos. Illustration Studio F: 309.343.7574 | AN ADVENT DEVOTIONAL FIRST EDITION Permissions | Inquiries Originals, prints and scans are available for study by fellow scholars. Contact Colossal Concepts Management Chicago: 773.234.1880 Bulk copies of this book are available from Modern Masterworks Gallery. Contact: 646.389.7431 Customized and personalized special editions of this book are available from the publisher, Father Ambrose Press http://fatherambrosepress.weebly.com All profits from the sale of this First Edition text are assigned to the Trinity Endowment Fund. Father Ambrose Press: All Profits to Charity Other books by Dr. Thomas include POSTER ART | COMPLINE | THE WAY OF THE CROSS | THE BOOK OF HOURS... | WHITHER THE SONG POET... 10 others

3: AN ADVENT DEVOTIONAL is a private reflection and prayer book that may serve as a primer to the celebration of the Advent season, a mysterious, rich and wonderful period of intense anticipation that sirs the church each year. The Christian communities of faith that read and reflect, pray and gather throughout Advent are diverse; they are often members of a denomination or similar body that centers its communal worship life and imagery around liturgical practices. Please invite others to join with you as you offer dedicated time and muted energy, talents and gifts in glowing meditation. May your renewal focus cast light upon a powerful journey through prayer and scripture as it illuminates the smoldering heat of the faithful preparing to receive the gift of the Christ child - the Messiah.

4: Stir up your power, Lord, come... Understand this: had the owner of the household known when a thief was coming to rob her, she would have stayed vigilant and not let her house be attacked. Therefore, you must also be prepared, for the Son of Man comes at an unexpected hour. --- MATT. 24: 43-44 Would that we knew the hour of our death, for then all would be ready - wills made, all affairs in order, families prepared, our spirits tempered for the inevitable. The right prayers would be said and our final covering would be our gift to our loved ones and our sacrifice to our God. Would that we live humbly - that is, see ourselves as God sees us in God's plan in God's mysterious faith journey with us. To stay alert is to be alive in Christ: for Jesus comes again; we know not when... Let us pray: Stir up your power, Lord, come to remind us of your presence - your daily gift, made plain in Christ's sacrifice for us. Help us receive the focused lives You gave us - lives of faith and uncompromising, unconditional love, now and always. Amen. | THE FIRST WEEK IN ADVENT MATT. 24: 37-44 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT ONE FIRST SUNDAY

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6: Stir up your power, Lord, come... That day the branch of our Lord will prove beautiful, glorious - the fruit of our land will be the pride of excellence, the glory of the survivors in Israel. And it shall pass to them left in Israel who remain in Jerusalem that they shall be called holy, God's people in the holy city of Jerusalem. --- IS. 4: 2-3 These verses place the faithful people of God in our Lord's book of life, fulfilled by proofs, by testing. The spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning are all part of God's plans to complete the order of the universe. The glory of God is our defence. Our sanctuary is what God builds in each of us, a perfect covering by day, a retreat by night, a refuge against all storms. We are a divine remnant, dwellers in God's perfect gathering, reformed and reforming, receivers of a secure land in the kingdom Christ was born to redeem. Let us pray: Lord, we thank you for your protection, your healing, your guiding hand, your provision for us. We are saved by grace - a coda in Your everlasting testimony to Your ways. Amen. | THE FIRST WEEK IN ADVENT IS. 4: 2-6 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT ONE FIRST MONDAY

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8: Stir up your power, Lord, come... He delivers the needy when they plea, the poor, those with no helper. God has pity on the weak, the needy; the Lord saves the lives of those without... precious is their blood in His sight. ---PS. 72: 13-14 Advent - the time of waiting, a season when we pray for stirring, arriving. Some sit quietly and wait. Others respond to the needs of the many who need aid, assistance, comfort around the block, around the world. Our faithful share - we deliver, we bring, we contribute, we visit, we pray, we respond, we attend to many or to a few. This is waiting, this is God's doing - a habit flexed and released so we are prepared for the salvation gift that had been in God's heart and mind to do since creation - loving us in the unity of spirit that is Christ, the child, the savior of our world. Let us pray: Lord, You stir us this Advent to wait out Your destiny made known. Help us be the tireless waiters, the servants You need to bring -Your hope to the disenfranchised, the poor, the needy, the scorned, the self-absorbed. Amen. | THE FIRST WEEK IN ADVENT PS. 72: 7-8; 12-14 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT ONE FIRST TUESDAY

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10: Stir up your power, Lord, come... The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. ---PS. 23: 1, 5 Advent anticipates the mass or service we celebrate in the presence of Christ. We mimic our Lord's elaborate work while preparing our memorable tables for the season of Christmas. Our wonderful feast time honours the newborn and promised Christ, a gathering around signs, symbols, expressions of perfect love beyond comprehension. God prepares the ultimate table for us every week for the glorious renewal meal eaten and drunk in the communion of the Holy Spirit. We are served the feast of feasts that we may be filled to serve as voluptuaries in the thralls of faith. Let us pray: Lord, our shepherd and banquet convener, mediator and provider, lead us, lead us, lead us. Amen. | THE FIRST WEEK IN ADVENT PS. 23 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT ONE FIRST WEDNESDAY

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12: Stir up your power, Lord, come... Not everyone who says to me., "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven. ---MATT. 7: 21 Our Advent hymns, some familiar, others emergent, touch heart and head as we prepare, by Grace, to receive the gift of the Christ child and family. This is the mediator, counselor, Prince of Peace made known, incarnate for all who accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. Some of us know these things because God's order and the Lord's story is in the bible. Others of us know and receive these storied things because God defines reality for us, God connects us to what part of the mind of Christ we can know, God prompts our praise, thanks and dedicated commitment. "Where meek souls will, receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in." Here, in candle-lit focus, where our measure of Grace resides this season of exquisite anticipation, is our sure Peace. Let us pray: Lord, help us receive the glimmer, shine and smoke of every Grace-filled image that we may prepare to welcome the King of Kings, the giver of Grace and Peace. Amen. | THE FIRST WEEK IN ADVENT MATT. 7: 21; 24-27 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT ONE FIRST THURSDAY

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14: Stir up your power, Lord, come... The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? ---PS. 27: 1a Advent casts its towering shadow over a world lost in its tacet acceptance of an uncaring, unfeeling universe, which, by definition, we traverse as the vulgar sum of our needs, wants and cravings. We who are stirred by the season's expressions of light and salvation can live triumphant, victorious in this cold arid universe facing head-on the threats and dangers of victim-hood and the paralysis and ennui of being only struggling organisms. Jesus faced all obstacles, everything including death without compromise, without condition. That baby in a manger knew the strength and light of being part of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Let us pray: Lord, God, thank you for sending Your Son to be born the example of unity with You. Help us accept and use the courage of our convictions, to revel in the conduct of a sent people, receivers of Your promise and masters over all that assaults us, mind, body and spirit- Beyond bookish images, a life in Christ. Amen. | THE FIRST WEEK IN ADVENT PS. 27 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT ONE FIRST FRIDAY

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16: Stir up your power, Lord, come... Moreover the light of the moon shall be like the light of the sun, the light of the sun will shine sevenfold. ---IS. 30: 26a Advent rewards those of us who wait through difficulties, darknesses, perils. The full promises of God crush adversity, for the idols attached to mere rationale and reason turn empty or shallow by turns in their eternal light. God's word to us is darkness vanquished and healing beacons shining in unimagined brightness to blot out all shadows of evil. The coming of the Christ child is our hope, our steadfast and certain encouragement, our reward in this generous bath of light that is the cascade of faith in unity with God through Jesus. All our trials are raked with the rays of perfection that is to begin with a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. Let us pray: Lord, Heavenly Father, we lift up praise to You that Your promises were all fulfilled in the coming of Christ, His life, death and resurrection. Just as His family overcame much to see His destiny begin, help us know how to be patient as Your witnesses. Amen. | THE FIRST WEEK IN ADVENT IS. 30: 19-21; 23-26 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT ONE FIRST SATURDAY

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18: Stir up your power, Lord, come... For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. ---ROM. 15: 4 This powerful verse comforts, encourages and inspires the faithful observing Advent in mind, body, spirit. The order is secured in our diligent and planned service - so like many an undertaking worthy of the work of the people. We are exhorted to follow the rubrics of the liturgical course of Advent just as we are coaxed and lifted up to live in harmony with one another by striving to be in one accord in Christ. We wait, ever patient, to be stirred and are richly rewarded with a discipline and a path that shapes who we say we are. Let us pray: Lord, help us receive open eyes to see You clearly, open minds to know You deeply, open hearts to serve You freely, open ears to hear You tenderly. We wait upon You, encouraged by Your daily word and example for us. Come, Lord Jesus... Amen. | THE SECOND WEEK IN ADVENT ROM. 15: 4-9 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT TWO SECOND SUNDAY

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20: Stir up your power, Lord, come... Whether is easier, to say, "Thy sins be forgiven thee.", or to say, "Rise up and walk?" But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins... ---LU. 5: 23-24a Advent reminds us that the bible is God's immortal story, that life is God's work for which we are co-missioned. God's power, ever-present even in the promise of the incarnate Christ and even in the womb of Mary, is the perfect gift. Word and action are one - and Luke's account makes it clear that God's power flows through Christ to all those who become His faithful disciples - those who share in the Lord's mission, those who take a stand with Christ in the presence of healing, forgiveness. Let us pray: Lord, help us receive the clean hearts and minds, the empowered spirit which comes only by, because and through Your perfect gift - Jesus Christ. Amen. | THE SECOND WEEK IN ADVENT LU. 5: 17-26 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT TWO SECOND MONDAY

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22: Stir up your power, Lord, come... So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.. ---MATT. 18: 14 Advent stirs us with a parable familiar and loved by children. The Matthew story reminds us we sometimes need safety in numbers, and we always yearn for the comfort, care and stewardship demonstrated by the Good Shepherd. As we stray, so our God brings us back to the communal, Grace-filled fold. We are reminded that our work as sent Christians is to nurture those in need or peril. We are reminded of baptismal promises for the rearing and the welcoming of all the baptized. We, like sheep, are searched out and called for in God's time, God's care, God's house, God's world to fulfill God's holy purpose. Let us pray: Lord, we are all Your children, part of Your family called to ministry on earth as in heaven. Thank You for cherishing us, nourishing us, refreshing us as we wait, in faith for all You would have us serve to Your eternal glory. Amen. | THE SECOND WEEK IN ADVENT MATT. 18: 12-14 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT TWO SECOND TUESDAY

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24: Stir up your power, Lord, come... Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, learn from me, for I AM gentle, humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, My burden is light. ---MATT. 11: 28-30 Advent's familiar verses give us warrant to share the gospel message as the gift for all the ages presented to everyone who waits upon the Lord to receive God's unconditional, uncompromising message of discipleship. Such outpourings become the work of the people in company with Christ. And, the ensuing flood of love, redemption and forgiveness is one viral message that demonstrates its unparalleled concentration of lightness, its unmistakable humility, its remarkable delight. Let us pray: Lord, as we wait upon those You send us and prepare the way for us to serve in Your name, help us accept Your invitation, Your gathering, Your many ways of reaching and approaching those in our weary path. May we be content in Your ways. Amen. | THE SECOND WEEK IN ADVENT MATT. 11: 28-30 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT TWO SECOND WEDNESDAY

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26: Stir up your power, Lord, come... For I the Lord, thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, "Fear not; I will help thee." ---IS. 41: 13 Advent verses lend us comfort and cheer in their reminder that the Christ child comes to saves us, to protect us. That message is presaged in Isaiah's words rendered unto God and shared with humankind, a verse that gives us pause as we re-focus our energies and time away from career and personal struggles to engage in waiting for Christ's birth and ultimate sacrifice. For we are reminded in gesture, sign, emblem, vision, mark and illustration the closeness of God to our daily lives: a prayer, a knowing nod, a gracious smile, a heartfelt hug, an honest word - all reflecting the proximity of Grace in our lives. As we grow in God's embrace, we can wait in remembrance the signs an angel foretold that a saviour is born unto us, a beacon of God's eternal presence with us - Emmanuel. Let us pray: Lord, thank you for holding us close, in the palm of Your hand, knowing our renewal, our present is the family of God. Amen. | THE SECOND WEEK IN ADVENT IS. 41: 13-20 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT TWO SECOND THURSDAY

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28: Stir up your power, Lord, come... Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. ---MATT. 11: 19b Advent stirs our entire life to action - waiting upon the Lord, all God's people served. The baby Jesus is about to grow into a man who is to stand accused of gluttony, drunkenness, consorting with tax collectors and reveling with sinners. Christ's enemies, even those who failed to have Him killed as a child, reviled the miracle worker, reeked spite, and hurled rebukes His way the older he became. The question is, Which generation has not considered Jesus an obstacle? For there is evidence we have not progressed far as a people from the ways of the pharisees, the covetous rulers and the vulgar gatekeepers of old. To be wise in our post-modern ways takes study, careful words, considered imagery and a leading of the Holy Spirit to side with the Christ child in faithful discipleship. Let us pray: Lord, help guide our acceptance of who we say we are in Christ - loving, open-hearted children of God, favoured to live our whole lives in Christ's care. Amen. | THE SECOND WEEK IN ADVENT MATT. 11: 16-19 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT TWO SECOND FRIDAY

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30: Stir up your power, Lord, come... I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exalt in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness... ---IS. 61: 10a Advent addresses the Christmas story in ways a storyteller captures our imaginations with rhythms, pauses, images and a commandment that lead up to the point of the drama... and then takes us beyond where reason and narrative prudence would allow. For this is no ordinary story - Advent is about combat with commercial versions of Christmas, a season that lasts as long as consumers will shop; it is a truth for the faithful who want to and need to believe in something bigger than themselves and their often arbitrary notions of when Thanksgiving ends and Christmas begins. Advent is about our whole being accepting what transforms us by the transfixing events of a Saviour's humble birth bathed in glory. Let us pray: Lord, we decorate our lives in many exulted ways; may we accept God's simple, overpowering gift of salvation begun with the birth of Christ in a manger. Amen. | THE SECOND WEEK IN ADVENT IS. 61: 9-11 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT TWO SECOND SATURDAY

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32: Stir up your power, Lord, come... Be patient, then, brothers until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient she is for the autumn and spring rains. You, too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. ---JA. 5: 7-8 Advent cannot be hurried any more than the farmer can coax fast outcomes for her plantings. The Advent result is in enormous hands and reliant upon the fullness of God's time. The work is finished in God's perfect sight; we can accept it - live accordingly, or we can rebel and realize the futility of thinking things have to go our way in our timeline. Impatience is not all attributable to our immaturity in faith; it is likely a case of 'seeing a thing is forgetting the thing seen.' We help plant conclusions and then focus on the obstacles to growing. This is the fruit of anxiety sown with ignorance covered with conceit veiled in pretenses. Let us pray: Lord, byGrace, help us accept the faith seeds that nourish our walk in Christ and wisdom to see blossoms or fruits in seedlings. Amen. | THE THIRD WEEK IN ADVENT JA. 5: 7-10 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT THREE THIRD SUNDAY

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34: Stir up your power, Lord, come... And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. And when He was come into the temple , the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto Him as He was teaching, and asked, "By what authority dost Thou these things? and who gave Thee this authority? ---MATT. 21: 22-23 Advent is a time of preparation for the questions we ask and for the questions God asks of us. We rarely obey anything blindly, without questioning sources, pedigrees and legal standing. Yet, we are often less tough on ourselves, less apt to protect ourselves from our cynicism and wariness. When dealing with God's ways, we can trust and have the faith of a little child, or we can doubt the firmness of the ground beneath our feet. Let us pray: Lord, help us accept the foundation of faith, trust in You alone through Christ Jesus. And, let us know what conforms to Your word, will, thoughts and actions, so we may approach Your gifts in righteousness. Amen. | THE THIRD WEEK IN ADVENT MATT. 21: 23-27 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT THREE THIRD MONDAY

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36: Stir up your power, Lord, come... Yea, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve with one consent. ---ZEPH. 3: 9 Advent focuses attention on the God of action words and provocative imagery - two elements of Advent which are inseparable. Words that warn conjure up images of death, destruction for those who would rebel, who arrogantly refuse to accept correction, who ignore prophets, who mistrust God, who avoid true worship. For unfaithful paths lead to ruin. Can we wait on God's discipline? Can we hope, trust, listen, see and fearlessly stand humble in the countenance of an advancing Christ? Can we find unity as the people of God, strengthened for service, One Body in the Kingdom? Let us pray: Lord, bless us as we accept how to utter Your rare words, generate Your special presentations, witness to Your unique ways, and stand connected to Advent's narrative mystery, a comfort amidst what we grasp so little, what Your Son reveals so much. Amen. | THE THIRD WEEK IN ADVENT ZE. 3: 1-2; 9-13 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT THREE THIRD TUESDAY

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38: Stir up your power, Lord, come... He answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise up, the poor receive good news. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me. ---LU. 7: 22-23 Advent reminds us that Christ had a heart for the ascetic John the Baptist and those deputized into service with the prophet. Christ gives testimony, attribution and applause to John and then reminds us that even the least in the Kingdom of God are greater than the revered forerunner of Christ. His praises and lauds are balanced by quiet remonstrations for those who prefer luxury and the soft life, a reminder for us of the simple beginnings into which Christ was born. Let us pray: Lord, tho' we are not rustics, we are humbled nonetheless that You accept us, by Your Grace, into Your heavenly kingdom even as the least in the realm are venerated, loved, saved. May we walk emboldened in Your perfect embrace, blessed to be free of care about ailments, impediments, death. Amen. | THE THIRD WEEK IN ADVENT LU. 7: 18-23 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT THREE THIRD WEDNESDAY

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40: Stir up your power, Lord, come... ...He will rule your people with justice and govern the poor with righteousness. ---PS. 72: 2 Advent puts the protection of political capital and social capital into high relief. Christ comes to reign because God established the order for the universe. That Trinitarian order is one that overcomes warfares, slaveries, famines, oppressions and cowardices that are part of the exploitative humanist-led rebel landscape that distresses or re-positions most of us. That high relief image includes a picture of the second coming of Christ, the leveling of communities built on cunning, guile and political tactics and strategies. Christians are empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring relief to the victims and the unknowing, the deceived and those who wink at the illusion of human power and might. Let us pray: Lord, divine ruler with justice in righteousness, servanthood in salvation, whose reward is certain, whose strength is perfection, lead us as we reach out to others in Your glory, majesty and holiness. Our realm is shaped in the sacrifice of Jesus, the Saviour. Amen. | THE THIRD WEEK IN ADVENT PS. 72: 1-4 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT THREE THIRD THURSDAY

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42: Stir up your power, Lord, come... When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. ---MATT. 1: 24 This Advent verse reminds us how close Jesus came to being raised by a single parent, the blessed Mary, acceptor of the incarnate Christ. For in this unique case, Joseph does not simply obey the Lord's angel, he accepts that God's way is the focus of his life and that of his family. To marry his betrothed went beyond reason; there had never been, nor would there ever be another instance of incarnation in the womb. Joseph's action is faith revealed. This is going beyond doing what was right. This was recognition that God's ways are our ways if we receive them as done. Human conduct conformed to righteousness - Joseph's legacy. Let us pray: Lord, help us accept our work obedient in your ways; and, in that countenance, Your life-giving words, thoughts and actions reveal You to a world bent on serving gain, advantage and impious power. Help us say 'yes' when You lead us victorious cradle to cross-shadowed grave. Amen. | THE THIRD WEEK IN ADVENT MATT. 1: 18-24 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT THREE THIRD FRIDAY

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44: Stir up your power, Lord, come... For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. ---PS. 71: 5 Just as Joseph's confidence and oneness with God lent him acceptance of an angel's command, so we, too, have every need met in the unity that is the life in Christ. Our duty and delight is waiting upon the Lord God Almighty, our sovereign, our refuge, our provider. Our walk in faith is assured, for what we know is true in the constancy of God's love for us, God's covering over all that is significant in His sight. Let us pray: Lord, You chose us, to be with us, King of Kings, to let us know who we are in Your midst: disciples, worshipers, servants, stewards, teachers, musicians, a royal priesthood, partakers in Your Son's inheritance, ministers of every stripe, every Godly calling. May we receive who we are in Your care, Your peace, Your dominion, in the embrace that is the life in Christ in unity with You and the Holy Spirit. Amen. | THE THIRD WEEK IN ADVENT PS. 71: 3-6 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT THREE THIRD SATURDAY

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46: Stir up your power, Lord, come... And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. ---HE. 10: 10 Advent casts light upon the new covenant about to be launched. This babe in a manger is to grow up to be sacrificed to gain free and complete forgiveness for all. That truly is waiting on God's plane of wisdom, revelation. The peace that passes all understanding is won by a violent, cruel death, a knowing demonstration that assures us our liberty in Christ has a great price. Outcomes are set in motion from day one: The peace that was, is and shall be forever in God's way is made plain: Die to self to live, as Christ did. Let us pray: Lord, help us discern the peace that is the sacrifice of Christ. May we accept the joy of Your forgiveness as we live in the grip of death overcome, life everlasting, in the sanctity of Christ illuminating what was predestined, generations of faithful Christians bathed in rays of salvation's warmth, comfort. For this, we light candles, we thank You. Amen. | THE FOURTH WEEK IN ADVENT HE. 10: 5-10 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT FOUR FOURTH SUNDAY

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48: Stir up your power, Lord, come... And blessed is she who believed there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord. ---LU. 1: 45 Advent adds miracles that happen to ordinary persons so they are part of the greatest story ever told. We learn of their trust, faith and willingness to accept what was ordained for them in God's perfect plan. And, too, we learn how to receive what God has for us when we cannot fathom the whole picture on any level whatsoever. We see God's love at work. We believe it and so we work our lives around it, sometimes through it. We learn how to trust with reservoirs of deep faith through Elizabeth and Mary. We see God's promises fulfilled, and yet we linger in doubt, we clutch ignorance as tho' it were the only part of being human worth throwing back in God's face. Let us pray: Lord, work through us, beacons on shoals of miracles ready to happen. Thank You for examples of people ready to accept miracles as done in Your name. Blessed are those who trust You and Your ways. Amen. | THE FOURTH WEEK IN ADVENT LU. 1: 39-45 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT FOUR FOURTH MONDAY

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50: Stir up your power, Lord, come... ... but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. ---LU. 1: 52b-53 We who are rich in spirit can empty ourselves when we give to the poor, the needy, the unfortunate, the disenfranchised, the lonely, the sick, the dying and the oppressed. We who stand in the shadow of Christ's mercy and goodness, we who are richly blessed, tho' we may have only what we need, we who can give away and go home empty of what the world treasures - reputation by playing it safe, goods and 'toys' for the sake of having, family for the occasional taking-for-granted, food and shelter for us and ours... we, who say we are Christ's own in audacity of faith or belief. Are we the humble? Are we empty enough to be full...? Let us pray: Lord, Your gifts are abundant, and our humility is so limited by our near-sighted view of our place in the world You created. Help us prepare our life of service as servants who live to glorify You - vessels ready to be filled by Christ, always. Amen. | THE FOURTH WEEK IN ADVENT LU. 1: 46-56 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT FOUR FOURTH TUESDAY

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52: Stir up your power, Lord, come... Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great, dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to their children, the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come smite the earth with a curse. ---MAL. 4: 5-6 Advent reaches back in time and place to an Old Testament lesson where the fear of the Judgment Day is tempered with a picture of the prophet Elijah turning hearts to God. So, it begs a question: Why learn about a God who can smite the earth with a curse? Perhaps it is a reminder that the new covenant in Christ overcomes the old covenant's ways. And, too, it may show that God's path is now to be seen as one with Christ, who was at the beginning of all time, all places, all pronouncements now read in the context of 'what was old is new.' Let us pray: Lord, tho' we only glimpse Your ways, we tread lightly and hold toYour promises of renewal and perpetual light. Help us to know how to bridge between our connection to Old Testament trials and our lives soaked in new covenant ways. Amen. | THE FOURTH WEEK IN ADVENT MAL. 3: 1-4; 4: 5-6 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT FOUR FOURTH WEDNESDAY

53: ADVENT EMBLEM IV TIS Collection | Modern Masterworks Gallery

54: Stir up your power, Lord, come... And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins To guide our feet unto the way of peace. ---LU. 1: 76a, 77, 79 Time has no frozen lock on our waiting, our anticipation of the Christ child born to Mary and Joseph so all may be fulfilled in resurrection glory. The raising of the Saviour of the broiling world is about to commence. How do we breathe? How do we bear the sight? How do we bend our ears to hear? What do we bring to this gathering? Who are we in the manger scene? Can we be sent to observe and not act on this special knowledge? Let us pray: Lord, help us accept with thanks our place in Your kingdom. Your 'coming in glory 'surrounded by hosts of angels and archangels' is our confounding but perfect witness, our hope in the footsteps of a child raised to set us free by sacrifice, by choice, by a destiny only comprehended in the mind of Christ. We join those who wait with us, from Hallelujah to Alleluia...Amen. | THE FOURTH WEEK IN ADVENT LU. 1: 67-79 Jesus, have mercy... | ADVENT FOUR FOURTH THURSDAY (Christmas Eve)

55: ADVENT VISION IV TIS Collection | Modern Masterworks Gallery

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Marshall Thomas
  • By: Marshall T.
  • Joined: over 8 years ago
  • Published Mixbooks: 11
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About This Mixbook

  • Devotions, reflections and scriptures to help us stay alert to a life centered in a community of faith.
  • Tags: advent, anticipation, celebration, community, devotional, faith, gift, journey, mystery, preparation, prepare, reflections, repent, season, watch, wonder
  • Published: over 8 years ago