Monday, December 15, 2014

Message from Margarita Llanes, High School Teacher

This is a season of time when I am most joyful. I want to let the word of God express what is in my heart:

“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done.” Psalm 40:5

“You make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. How great are your works, O Lord, how profound your thoughts!” Psalm 92: 4-5

You have indeed made “everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

“Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.” Nehemiah 9:5

“I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.”  Psalm 86:12

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17

Monday, December 8, 2014

Message from Keith de Laet, Middle School Teacher

I’m writing this devotion on Friday, December 5, and I will warn you in advance that this probably is not your typical pre-Christmas devotion.  There are a lot of things to look forward to with Christmas and all that it brings, but that isn’t what is on my mind.  I am preoccupied with something else at this point in time, something that probably seems a little odd to other people.  I am preoccupied with the fact that December 7th will fall on a Sunday this year, just as it did in 1941.

Ever since I was in high school, December 7th has had a special fascination for me.  I was in our high school band and every December 7th we would board the bus and head to the state capitol to perform patriotic songs in front of the anchor from the U.S.S. Arizona.  There were speeches, songs, more speeches, testimonies from people who were directly involved, and other such things that really got me to think.  What was it like for those individuals who were, more than likely, looking forward to their own Christmas celebrations, to witness first-hand the radical transition from peace to war?  The world changed in a radical way for the United States that December, and yet Christmas came that December 25th just as it had in the past.  Prayers were certainly different that Christmas and worship may have been more intense, perhaps in some way we were pressing into God with more dedication than usual.

So I have been thinking about that and about just how quickly our plans, ideas, and commitments can be changed by the events of life.  Sometimes our plans come together just like we think they will, and sometimes plans change for better or worse.  To me, that accentuates our need to place ourselves in the unchanging, unwavering hands of God.  Please don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that Jesus came at Christmas and I hold dear everything that means for us as believers.  One of those things I cling to is Jesus’ statement, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  (Matthew 28:20)  There have been many times in my life when that promise was the gift I needed the most.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Message from Carly Bate, Elementary Teacher

I recently spent some time reading 1st and 2nd Kings, along with Deuteronomy. At first it was depressing to read about how all these kings ruled Israel and failed in so many ways. They broke so many of the stipulations God had laid out for his nation in the book of Deuteronomy. Manasseh burnt his son as an offering (2 Kings 21:16); Solomon loved many women, set up an Asherah pole, worshiped an Ammonite god named Milcom, and built a high place for Chemosh, a Moabite god (1 Kings 11); Saul disobeyed God and let Agag live (1 Samuel 15:8). And the list goes on and on. All the kings of Israel failed. Not one of them was perfect.

This led me to reread Revelation where I read about a perfect king (chapter 19) who is called Faithful and True.  He will judge the ungodly and rule with an iron scepter, but he will also make all things new  (chapter 20) and will give his bride, whom he made pure and flawless, a beautiful new city where sin is no longer reigning. He will wipe away every tear, get rid of death, and remove mourning, sadness, and pain.

This brought comfort to me. Even though all the kings failed, God is our eternal king who will some day come back and rule with truth and grace. While we celebrate the Christmas season, we celebrate Jesus’ first coming, but his second coming should also be on our minds. I love the song “Joy to the World” because it captures Jesus’ second coming.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders and wonders of His love

             In the midst of the commercialized craziness, remember Jesus and why he came, but also remember to live a life that is full of daily repentance and obedience to Christ, and that is ready for Jesus’ second coming where he reigns as our perfect, just, loving king.