Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent Family Devotions Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Beautiful Bride

Prayer:  Holy God, thank You for sending Jesus to make us holy. Amen.

Scripture:  Revelation 21.1-4
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

     Brides are supposed to be beautiful... beautiful hair, beautiful make-up, and especially a beautiful dress! But what if the bride is ugly? What if she is dirty? What if her dress is torn? What if she is mean and disrespectful? What groom would want to marry her?

     Last night at our Advent service, Seminarian Martin Dressler talked about an ugly bride. But he wasn't talking about a particular woman. The Bible calls the church, the people of God, a "bride." This "bride" isn't very beautiful. She is sometimes mean. She sometimes ignores God and does as she pleases. Instead of loving God she sometimes loves the world. 

     This bride is not lovable, but God truly loves her. God sent His Son to marry her, to clean her and make her beautiful through His forgiveness. He loved her so much that He gave His life for her when He died on the cross. 

     Jesus rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven. But the Bible says that He is coming again. He's coming again to claim His bride and to take her to heaven. 

     When you feel guilty and ashamed because you haven't been a beautiful person in all your thoughts, words, and actions, remember that God still loves you and always wants to come to you and to make you beautiful again. 

Prayer:  God of love, help us to be Your beautiful bride in all of our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Hymn:  "Comfort, Comfort Ye My People"

Click here for the melody.

Comfort, comfort, ye My people,
Speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness,
Mourning 'neath their sorrows' load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for them;
Tell her that her sins I cover
And her warfare now is over.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon,
Blotting out each dark misdeed;
All that well deserved His anger
He no more will see or heed.
She hath suffered many a day,
Now her griefs have passed away;
God will change her pining sadness
Into ever-springing gladness.

Hark, the Herald's voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Bidding all men to repentance
Since the Kingdom now is here.
Oh, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet Him
And the hills bow down to greet Him.

Make ye straight what long was crooked,
Make the rougher places plain;
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits His holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o'er earth is shed abroad,
And all flesh shall see the token
That His Word is never broken.

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