G.I.F.T. 12-11-16

 Growing In Faith Together   

 December 11, 2016

 TODAY'S TEXTS
 Isaiah 35:1-10 
 Psalm 146:5-10 
 James 5:7-10 
 Matthew 11:2-11




GATHERED BY GRACE
Isaiah announces that the desert shall rejoice and blossom. Jesus points to signs of God's reign: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear. We wait with patience for the coming of the Lord, even as we rejoice at his presence among us. We pray that God would open our eyes and ears to the wonders of Christ's advent among us.                  -Sundays and Seasons, Augsburg Fortress 2016

Discuss in your household or small group: 
* Isaiah gave the exiles a vision of God’s future to sustain them in their disappointment and struggles. What vision of the future keeps you going?
* How does life change when you start taking seriously that "the way things were" or even "the way things seem to be now" is not the same as God's dream for what the people called church are called to be and do? Where and when have you seen the promises of God brought to fulfillment? 
* Where do you see the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, etc.? 

DAILY BIBLE READINGS
These readings are related to the Sunday readings. M-W reflect upon the past Sunday’s readings and Th-Sa prepare for the next Sunday.  Try to take time each day to read the assigned Bible passage.
Sunday  Matthew 11:2-11
Monday  Psalm 42:9-11
Tuesday  Jude 17-25
Wednesday  Zechariah 8:14-17
Thursday  Psalm 146:5-10
Friday  2 Peter 3:11-14
Saturday  1 Samuel 2:1-2
Sunday  Matthew 1:18-25

Next Sunday:  Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25

PRAYERS FOR THE WEEK 

For the Week: 
Help me to be patient in my waiting.

Throughout the Day: 
Stir up my will that I may walk in your way.

A Blessing to Share: 
May you be ready to welcome Christ into your heart.

For mealtime say responsively: 
Strengthen your hearts: The coming of the Lord is near.

November Meal Prayer:   
      Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest,
And let your gifts to us be blessed.
      Blest be God, who is our Bread.
      May all the world be clothed and fed.
Amen

FOR FURTHER REFLECTION  

Devotional Practice: 
Isaiah describes the joy for all creation as God restores the relationship with God’s people. Amazing transformations will take place; blind will see, the desert will blossom, sorrow will be no more. Take time to consider how you can share Isaiah's vision of joy with others. Then write your own prayer of Advent joy.

Advent Ritual: 
You will need 5 candles for the season. You can use a wreath or simply use the candles. 
Read Isaiah 35:1-10. Today the prophet Isaiah describes a world where even the desert sings, rejoices and blossoms. God, in whom we rejoice, prepares our hearts for the coming of the Lord. We light the candle of joy as we rejoice in the coming birth of Christ, our Savior. Light three candles. 

SCATTERED TO SERVE
 Is there a way you can bring joy to another this week? Think of those listed in Matthew 11:4-5; what word, act, or touch of healing can you give in Christ’s name? Visit an older person; take cookies to someone who is grieving a loss; invite someone new to the community over for a meal.

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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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