The Season of Advent
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’” (Mark 1:2-3 NLT)
Morning Reading: 1 Samuel 3:19-20 NLT
As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. And all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord.
Morning Reading: 1 Samuel 7:5-17 NLT
Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the Lord. They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord. (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.)
When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. “Don’t stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered him.
Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way.
Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”
So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days.
Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places. Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah.
Promise-Keeping God: Remind me today of the help You have given me up to this point in my life –
+ You made me on purpose and gave me a future and a hope….
+ You placed me in a birth family and adopted me into Your forever family….
+ You forgave me when I disappointed You and wandered off Your narrow path….
+ You always welcomed me home with open arms and never stopped loving me….
+ You light my way through the darkness and lift me up when I fall down….
+ You guide me through the wilderness and protect me through the storms….
+ You give me Your Word to to teach me what’s true, show me what’s wrong, and enable me to do what’s right….
+ You give me Your Spirit so that I can live in Your presence and fulfill Your purpose for me….
Lord God Almighty: Thank You for the help You have given me up to this point… and Your promise to be with me forever. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who secured Your promises with His life, death, and resurrection. And thank You for Your Spirit who lives in me and works through me. You, O Lord, have exceeded all my expectations – I look forward with joyful anticipation to the future You unfold for me. Amen.
“My Help Comes From The Lord” – The Museum
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. (Revelation 22:20-21 NLT)
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen