Readings: December 13, 2015, 3rd Sunday of Advent

All readings from the Message Bible  © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Zephaniah 3:14-18a

Sing, Daughter Zion!  Raise the rafters, Israel! Daughter Jerusalem, be happy! celebrate!

God has reversed his judgments against you and sent your enemies off chasing their tails.

From now on, God is Israel’s king, in charge at the center. There’s nothing to fear from evil ever again!

      God Is Present Among You

Jerusalem will be told: “Don’t be afraid.   Dear Zion, don’t despair. Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you.

Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.

  • Philippians 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, /revel/ in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.       

  • Luke 3:10-18

The crowd asked John the Baptist, “Then what are we supposed to do?”

“If you have two coats, give one away,” he said. “Do the same with your food.”

Tax men also came to be baptized and said, “Teacher, what should we do?”

He told them, “No more extortion—collect only what is required by law.”

Soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He told them, “No shakedowns, no blackmail—and be content with your rations.”

The interest of the people by now was building. They were all beginning to wonder, “Could this John be the Messiah?”

But John intervened: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”

There was a lot more of this—words that gave strength to the people, words that put heart in them. The Message!

 

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