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Topics: Women, Women in Ministry

Advent: Week 3

December 16, 2013

Counting the days cover


By Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from the Advent devotional by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. Every Monday that leads up to Christmas we will be posting an excerpt from this encouraging devotional. If you would like to purchase one for your family, you can do so here at Amazon.

December 16

Read: Isa 35:1-10

Thoughts for Parents:

I’m in the mood for some good news. Aren’t you? My life isn’t really any different from yours. I have to get up in the morning and try to figure out how I’m going to get all the stuff done that I need to get done with what I have at hand. I have to figure out how to care for my husband, my kids, their kids, my aging mother, my friends and the folks in the church who need me. I have to figure out how to do the work God’s given me to do. Then I look around at my resources and I see just what you see when you look at your resources: There never seems to be enough of the right stuff to accomplish the work I need to do. And then, of course, there’s the problem of my sin. I simply don’t know how I’m going to have the wherewithal to do what I need to do when I need to do it. I need some good news.

Here it is: The good news is that for those who trust in the Savior, an everlasting joy is promised. A day is coming when there will be more than enough of everything and all my desires for sin will have been transformed into love for Him. I’ll see the burning sands of this sin-riddled world transformed into cleansing, life-giving pools; I’ll watch the “thirsty ground” change into springs of water. All the places where dangerous adversaries used to find shelter will be transformed into the river of God’s delights (Psalm 36:8).  This is God’s doing!

How will this happen? How will we get to this oasis? Our Savior, Jesus the God-Man, has paved the way on this Highway of Holiness. He cut the road out of the rocky ground; He covered it with the stones of His good works, cementing them together with His blood. He’s made it all the way past Calvary, that haunt of jackals, and paved the road right into the throne room of God for us.

I love how the ESV translates verse 8b, “It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.” Okay, that means I qualify. It means that even in my foolishness, weakness and sin, I and all who believe will finally and, at last, find the gladness and joy that had always been out of reach.

Thoughts for Children:

Have you ever wanted a special something so badly that it is all you ever think about? I am sure that right now you have a few things in mind that you really, really want for Christmas. Have you ever gotten a present that you had been asking and asking for? Remember how good it felt to open that present, tear apart the wrapping paper and see the very thing you wanted inside the box? Remember how happy that gift made you? Funny thing is that happiness goes away. Maybe it takes a week, or a day, or maybe even just an hour, but all of a sudden you want something else to make you happy. Do you know why you feel that way? Because God made you so that nothing would really make you happy but Him. Our hearts are only meant to be completely joyful because of Him. He is the only thing big enough to make us forever happy.

While we are here on earth we still have to try and remember this truth. We forget that God is our happiness. But one day, “unending joy will crown us, happiness and joy will overwhelm us.” When we get to heaven nothing will be able to take away the joy that is our crown. Happiness and joy will be all we know. Every time you feel sadness you can remember this, one day all the sadness will be gone and we will only have smiles forever.

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