Daily Devotions
 

Welcome to Good Shepherd’s Daily Devotions Page!

In the church year the season of Epiphany falls between the seasons of Christmas and Lent.  It is a time when we focus on how God’s hope is revealed in Jesus.  In this season we read the stories of the Baptism and Transfiguration of Jesus and the calling of the Disciples.  Each story reveals a bit about who Jesus is, and what his life means for us and our call to be disciples.

Our Devotions for the season of Epiphany have been written by members of the Good Shepherd staff.  May they enlighten and inspire you and light your path to a deeper walk with God.

Pastor Heidi Johns

Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

So far in our Advent devotions we have focused on preparing our hands, homes and hearts for the coming of Christ.  As we enter these final days of Advent we turn our attention to preparing our hopes.  This week we will look at the various characters in the Christmas story to see how each of them played a part in helping to bring God’s hope into the world and into our lives. 

Mary and Gabriel

Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Greetings favored woman!  The Lord is with you!”  Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. Luke 1:28-29

Scripture doesn’t tell us what Mary was doing when the angel Gabriel visited her with these words.  Since Scripture does say, maybe it’s safe to assume she wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.  Perhaps she was taking out the trash or cooking dinner when the angel appeared.   Whatever Mary was doing when Gabriel came, her life would take a new direction from that moment on.  

I suppose there is a longing in all of us to have God’s direction come as clearly to us as it did to Mary.  To hear a voice tell us the right direction to take in some decision we’ve been agonizing over.  To understand how to make some hope we’ve been harboring become realized.  To know for certain how to cultivate that elusive “happy” life we’ve been longing for.  If only Gabriel would pay us a visit with a clear direction from God as we stand at the curb, trash can in hand, and tell us what to do.  Would be nice, right?

Be careful what you wish for.  See, angel visitations are usually much more about God’s hopes than our hopes.  My hunch is that Gabriel doesn’t bring messages about whether or not we can swing that new car payment, or where we should vacation next year, or which path in life will lead to the most happiness.  Angel visitations proclaiming God’s hopes usually mean our hopes could get put on the back burner.  I’m guessing being young, pregnant and unmarried was nowhere to be found in Mary’s hope chest.  Yet that was God’s hope for her.

God’s hopes can be, how shall I say it, inconvenient.  God’s hopes are often costly, at least if we are living a comfortable life.  But God’s hopes are also compelling.  So much so that Mary got on board.  She took the risk.  She got involved in a bigger hope than just planning her dream wedding to Joseph.  She saw that she was being invited to play a role in seeing God’s hope come to life.  

Preparing our hope often means being ready to set aside what we are hoping for, and embracing God’s bigger hope.  Mary expressed God’s hope well when she spoke these words to Elizabeth in Luke 1 

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

This, this is God’s hope.  How might you prepare your hope to match God’s hope that Mary speaks of here?  

If you are reading through Luke this month, today is Luke 21.  Here is the link:  Luke 21

 

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