FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
“We are facing one of the principles of Yahweh’s modus operandi. When his people are without strength, without resources, without hope, without human gimmicks – then he loves to stretch forth his hand from heaven.”
– Dale Ralph Davis
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Luke 1:46-55
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus - Advent
Come Light our Hearts - Advent
Jesus Thou Joy of Loving Hearts - Grace
Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder - Response
Joy to the World - Communion
Doxology - Old 100th
The Bible Project:
As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos that summarize in a few minutes one book of the Bible.
This week check out the summary of Ezra-Nehemiah.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
For those of you looking for an Advent devotional to read this year let me suggest this one to you!
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Merciful Father, forgive us the sins of our tongues—for deception and untruthfulness in our dealings with others; for resentment, coldness, impatience, and ill temper. Forgive us for the sins of our eyes—for impurity in our glances and imagination; for pining after more beauty, comfort, status, and wealth than you have given us. Forgive us the sins of our hearts—for hard-heartedness toward you and our neighbors; for pride, self-absorption, self-pity; and above all for rebelling against you and doubting your love. Father, transform us by your grace to live wholly for your glory. Take away our mourning and replace it with songs of joy, for it is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - 1 Samuel 2:1-11
1. God is Unique (vv.1-8)
A. In His Power (vv.1-3)
B. In the Application of His Power (vv.4-8)
2. God is Faithful (vv. 9-10)
A. To His People (vv.9-10a)
B. Through His Anointed (v.10b)
The Heart of the Message
Hannah's song is a beautiful outpouring of praise to her God from a woman who had spend most of her adult life in longing. Hannah, though deeply loved by her husband, was unable to have children, and was teased every year by her husbands other wife who had many children. In the height of her distress, Hannah poured out her heart out to God for help and promised that if He would give her a son, she would dedicate Him to God by having him serve in the temple. In the end, God heard her cry, opened her womb, and gave her a son, Samuel. Samuel would be Israel's last great prophet, and the one through who God would anoint His future king.
Hannah's song of praise at Samuel's arrival illustrates two very important truths about God's character. First, God is utterly unique. In distress and in praise, Hannah proclaims that God is the only God, and the only possible source of good. Despite what talents, resources or family status a person might have, no one has anything that did not come from God. Therefore, the self-confident would be wise to humble themselves, returning their trust to God alone, and the confidence-less would be wise to look to God for their strength. As God is constantly seeking to make Himself known to His people, He applies His uniqueness by lowering the strong and raising the weak so that everyone will know that true strength comes from trust in God.
Second, God is not only utterly unique but also utterly faithful to His people. While Hannah longed for a child, God knew that Israel longed for a king to lead them in righteousness and trust in God. God's gift of Samuel to Israel was a sign that God was finally on the move again to fulfill His promise of protecting His people. As the
What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
Where in your life do you feel that God is against you? How does the death, resurrection and intercession of Christ challenge those feelings?
Where is living for Christ's sake difficult in your life? Where is it a joy? Where does this passage challenge you to grow?
As you ponder the infinite love of God in Jesus, how are you prompted to respond to Him? What does it make you want to tell Him? What new possibilities does it open up for you?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 49. Where is Christ now?
A. Christ rose bodily from the grave on the third day after his death and is seated at the right hand of the Father ruling his kingdom and interceding for us, until he returns to judge and renew the whole world.
He raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.