Advent Devotional: Saturday, December 28

Amber Nash

Saturday, The Third Day of Christmas: Love
December 28, 2013


Scripture: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22: 36-39

During this holiday season it is really easy to focus on the first commandment that Jesus refers to here. After all, everywhere we look there are reminders of our faith, so it is easy to be reminded of our love for God during the Christmas season. However, the second commandment mentioned here is a little more difficult to focus on.

Advent Devotional: Friday, December 27

Brenda Farmer

Friday, The Second Day of Christmas: Love
December 27, 2013

Last week as I was looking out to the back yard I saw a flurrying of birds.  Many, many birds flying from tree to tree in great haste.  There were robins, finches, bluejays, cardinals and more.
  
Even our pileated woodpecker was hammering like a machine gun on a tree in the back.  
  
I thought of our birdfeeders during the winter and a story that I once read by John Leax.    It is called " At the Winter Feeder".

Advent Devotional: Thursday, December 26

Montee Fowler

Thursday, The First Day of Christmas: Love
December 26, 2013

“Beloved, if god so loved us, we also ought to love one another." 
1 John 4:11

Just to be tender, just to be true,
Just to be glad the whole day through,
Just to be merciful, just to be mild,
Just to be trustful as a child.
Just to be gentle and kind and sweet,
Just to be helpful with willing feet,

Advent Devotional: Wednesday, December 25 (Christmas Day)

Polly Hanks

Wednesday, Fourth Week of Advent: Love
December 25, 2013


“We love him because he first loved us.”  1 John 4:19

Recently I had the privilege to visit the church I grew up in on their 201st homecoming anniversary.  I was flooded with memories as I sat in the remodeled sanctuary.  When I was growing up there we only had the sanctuary.  Now they have beautiful Sunday School rooms and a lovely fellowship hall.  As I sat there I thought of my folks and how active they were in this building and this is where I became a Christian. 

Advent Devotional: Tuesday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)

Tommy Valentine

Tuesday, Fourth Week of Advent: Love
December 24, 2013


The Christmas season doesn’t get too far along before my mind is flooded with memories of Christmases past.  From the time I hear the season’s first Christmas song to the day I put away the last ornament, events from years past come and go through my mind.  Many of them seem like they occurred only yesterday.  

I wonder if Mary and Joseph did the same as they traveled to Bethlehem.  Did they recall previous journeys with family to other villages?  Did they recall stories told by their families?  Did Mary remember the day the angel came to her and said, “Don’t be afraid”?

Advent Devotional: Monday, December 23

Kathleen Brewsaugh

Monday, Fourth Week of Advent: Love
December 23, 2013


“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself”. 
Matt. 22:37-39.

What makes you feel the best?  God’s love!  I walked into the Senior Citizens place to pick up Meals on Wheels.  I was happy and then a gentle man there said, “What are you smiling at?”  I said, “’cause God loves me and you.”.  A funny story can make you laugh out loud but the smile on your face comes from the heart.  God’s love is shown in so many ways.  A young man comes home from Afghanistan and his dog is so thrilled he turns flips and his wife, my granddaughter is so grateful to have him home she watches him while he sleeps and thanks God.  God’s love for us is greater than man can ever imagine. 

Advent Devotional: Sunday, December 22

Rhonda Caldwell

Sunday, Fourth Week of Advent: Love
December 22, 2013   
Light the Candle of Love


“…But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

This is the essence of life. It’s what God commanded us to do (love one another).  But, do we really get it? Do we love only those who are close to us or live and work in our circles? Do we love only when it’s convenient?  Do we understand love beyond our emotions?

Advent Devotional: Saturday, December 21

Dianne Stillwell

Saturday, Third Week of Advent: Joy
December 21, 2013


"$80. That's the cost," I told her. "The American Girl doll bed you want to get her is $80. That is a lot of money! Are you sure you don't want to consider something else? Kelsey would be thrilled with something a little less extravagant."

"No, I want to save my money and get it for her. She would love it and Molly would finally have her own bed!"
So the savings began.

Advent Devotional: Friday, December 20

H. R. Wilson

Friday, Third Week of Advent: Joy
December 20, 2013

Does it seem to you that the past year has been filled more than usual with serious illnesses, mourning the loss of loved ones, economic distress, environmental disasters, wars, political carnage and other woes?  How can one remain stable in such an uncertain and depressing time?  Is it even possible to be joyful?

God has always made it possible for his people to turn sorrow, distress and weeping into joy in spite of the situation.  The Psalmist was aware of this in saying, “In his anger there is distress, in his favor there is life.  Tears may linger at nightfall, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Ps 30:5).

Advent Devotional: Thursday, December 19

Dorothy Coleman Renfro

Thursday,  Third Week of Advent: Joy
December 19, 2013


Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

One day last summer our six-year-old great grandson, Joshua, came running into the house to have lunch.  He had been to Vacation Bible School at his church.  After the blessing was said he looked at me and said,  “Did you know Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins?”  The joy in my heart was so great I don’t remember my reply.

Advent Devotional: Wednesday, December 18

Martha Jett

Wednesday, Third Week of Advent: Joy
December 18, 2013


Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.  Psalm 100:1-2

Music started long before people could read and write to record events in their lives.  The oldest civilized people believed that music had come from heaven and was sent to them by the gods.

Advent Devotional: Tuesday, December 17

Marie Case Crain

Tuesday, Third Week of Advent:  Joy
December 17, 2013


THAT WAS ME

How are they to call on one in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim?  Romans 10:14

After hearing the concert on October 20, and listening to the music of Phil Quinn, the quartet and the choir, my heart was touched and my soul rejoiced.  How could I have been blessed with such an experience when I was so undeserving and unworthy of this reward?

Advent Devotional: Monday, December 16

Jean Steinhauer

Monday, Third Week of Advent: Joy
December 16, 2013

WHAT CAN I GIVE HIM?

As the choir began to prepare for the Christmas music this year, we began to practice a song called “In the Bleak Midwinter”.  It is a beautiful song based on a poem written by Christina Rossetti for Scribner’s Magazine around 1872.  It was later made a Christmas carol by its inclusion in the English Hymnal in 1904.  As I began to sing along with the CD that Phil always prepares for us to listen to the music, I was drawn to the words of the last stanza ….

Advent Devotional: Sunday, December 15

Maureen Moynahan Elwyn

Sunday, Third Week of Advent: Joy
December 15, 2013
Light the Candle of Joy

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation.  Psalm 95:1

Last Sunday night during their weekly telephone call, I heard my husband’s grandmother telling him how much she enjoyed leading the music at the Senior Citizen’s Center in her hometown. “I don’t sing very well,” Grandma Marge admitted, “but I love to. Singing makes me feel like I am laughing inside.” Seated on the couch within hearing range, I chuckled to myself, because I know exactly how she feels. The very act of singing makes me happy.

Advent Devotional: Saturday, December 14

Summer Quinn, Age 11

Saturday, Second Week of Advent: Peace
December 14, 2013


CAN TODAY GET ANY BUSIER?

When I hear the word, “PEACE” at Christmas-time, I automatically think of the peace present during the birth of Jesus.  A calm, silent, peaceful night.  Then I think of what peace means today.  Everyday a chaotic situation seems to slip it’s way into most people’s lives.

Advent Devotional: Friday, December 13

Keith Stillwell

Friday, Second Week of Advent: Peace
December 13, 2013


On my last trip to Morocco I was asked to lead a session at the church in Rabat on the subject, “Christian Response in Conflict Nations,” such as Syria, Egypt, etc. I haven’t felt any less qualified to speak on a topic since earlier that week when they asked me to say a word of encouragement to the African refugees. Many of these sub-Saharan African students are very close to the conflicts and come from countries, which have experienced much war. Our friend, Andrew, fled to Morocco with his family as a child. His dad worked for the government in his home country, when the leader was assassinated and overthrown. Andrew’s family would have suffered the same fate had they not escaped. So these students know much more about conflict nations than I do.

Advent Devotional: Thursday, December 12

Faye Wilson

Thursday, Second Week of Advent: Peace
December 12, 2013


“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
(Rom 5:1).  “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).

As children of God we have the gift of peace at our disposal at all times.  However, we allow the cares of our daily lives to so consume us that God’s peace seems to escape us.  There are times that we do appropriate that gift of peace and we experience that heavenly peace.  I remember many times in my life when that peace has sustained me.  One such instance comes to mind.  Henry and I very unexpectedly were given the opportunity to fly to Dallas to Expo ’72 (a large Christian gathering).  Some of you may remember that conference.  This was a welcomed blessing for us but I have never felt real comfortable flying.  However, because I was so sure that God had made it possible for us to go, I had complete peace that there was no need for me to be concerned about Him getting us there, even if it was by plane.  It was the most enjoyable plane trip I had ever experienced.

Advent Devotional: Wednesday, December 11

Philip Quinn

Wednesday, Second Week of Advent: Peace
December 11, 2013


On Sunday morning, December 15, our Sanctuary Choir joins with the Danville Children’s Choir to sing a lyrical Christmas song, “Peace, Peace”.  The pure children’s voices begin with a soft middle-range melody, singing, “Peace, peace, peace on earth and goodwill to all...” Then our adult choir joins the children in harmony, singing, “This is a time for peace, joy, and love…” and both choirs continue in musical harmony singing, “Now let us all sing together—of peace, peace, peace on earth.”

As I look at this song, I think that probably the composer (actually the arranger) meant to write it like this—causing the music to “paint” the text.  It clearly displays musically how two different lines can live together harmonically and…in peace.

Advent Devotional: Tuesday, December 10

Sierra Smith, age 15

Tuesday, Second Week of Advent: Peace
December 10, 2013


"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid." John 14: 27

Peace is nothing but a goal to reach in life.  Anyone can find, or have peace, it's just a matter of looking deep into your soul, as well as others, and find what truly matters.  When people think peace, they usually think "Quiet". That would be an example of peace, but it is more than that.

Advent Devotional: Monday, December 9

Evelyn Crooke

Monday, Second Week of Advent:  Peace                              
December 9, 2013

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27

This past summer I visited a nephew who has been diagnosed with extreme dementia.  He can no longer manage his financial affairs or attend to simple household duties.  He struggles with names and places and cannot remember what happened yesterday.  He once taught music on the college level and was Minister of Music in the church he attended.