He’s Coming!

Anticipating the arrival of a loved one is a joyful time, isn’t it?  A Christian’s heart has the possibility of that joy every moment of every day…and at ‘Christmas time’ we have an open door to discuss that joy!  Are you ready to grab the moments that come your way?While we’ve never been part of a church that liturgically celebrated Advent, it is our family tradition to prepare our hearts in the days prior to Christmas. I wanted to share some of that with others this year.

We live in a world that has so secularized Christmas that its original intent is often obscured.  We must not let that happen to our own celebrations.  While the reality is that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th anyway, the world gives us an open door with its Christmas celebrations.  Even the secular world turns its eyes to God in this season.  Let us use the world’s preparations to proclaim the love, grace & mercy of Jesus Christ that more might be won to the Kingdom.

burning candle animated gif pic

When we fix our hearts and eyes on Truth, it flows into our days…and people see the Word in our walk.  That is how it ought to be.  When we celebrate richly, others will take note.  Today begins the Advent Season for this year.  In the midst of busy-ness, consider how young Mary welcomed God’s interruption of her life plans.  A young woman, betrothed to a man….and told by God she would soon be carrying the Messiah in her womb.  That was an ‘interruption’ that was likely to cost her impending marriage–and quite possibly her life.  But Mary’s response was “Be it unto me according to thy word.”

“Mary’s faith is a wonderful example for us.  Rather than resentfully looking at her pregnancy as unfair and embarrassing, she understood that she had been uniquely blessed by God.  John MacArthur, Jr.

Throughout the week, pause each day to refocus on the blessed truths of the One who is coming…

Monday          Luke 1:35-38               Heart Focus:  Obedient Submission to the will of God

Tuesday          Jeremiah 29:11-13     Heart Focus:  Trust in the plans of God

Wednesday    Proverbs 16:3,9          Heart Focus:  Enjoy the story God is writing for you

Thursday        James 4:13-15             Heart Focus:   Let God give you the details as He wills

Friday             Psalm 37:4-7                Heart Focus:  Be rooted & joyful in the love of God

Saturday         Luke 1:39-41                Heart Focus:  Loving others is loving God

As we celebrate this season, may we keep in the front of our minds that Jesus is coming again!  He will not be coming as a vulnerable baby–but as the conquering King.  Let us do all we can to encourage others to prepare Him room.  See you next Sunday!

lion lamb

 

Thank you for the Candle  Best Animations !

Be JOYFUL Always!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  Be joyful always.

Maybe your heart is saying, “Really?  Joyful?  My parents fight; someone is always mad at me.  My dad never acts like I matter.  I can’t do the work I’m expected to do.  I never do anything right.”

Or maybe your head voices sound like, “Nothing I do is every enough.  The bills never end.  Something always needs—or at least wants—something more than the money allows.  The house is a disaster.  I don’t remember what joy feels like.”

Yet the words stand.  Be joyful always.  It is part of our Christian identity.   Joy is a character trait that should be found in every Christian!  Like many aspects of faith, joy is the result of deliberate action.

The actions that lead to joy are found in the next two verses.

  • Pray continually.
  • Give thanks.

Pray continually.  Put those mountains that block your joy into the hands of Jesus and walk into the presence of God!  Trust that Jesus will move them aside and clear the way to the life God desires for you.  Joy comes from the presence of God.  When we allow the stuff of life to keep us from the beautiful presence of God, we fall short of His desire—fall short of the joy of the glory of God.

Give thanks.  Thankfulness is as natural as breathing when we rest in the presence of God.  Do you remember when you have been in His presence…really seeing Him and feeling Him as the Word describes Him?  All powerful.  Supreme Authority.  God of Love.  God of Comfort.  Holy.  Just.  Righteous.

Thanks flows from a heart that sees and rests in Him.  And THAT is the essence of the last verse:  the will of God for you in Christ Jesus!  Jesus came that we would have abundant life.  JOY is the flavor of that life.

God’s desire is for you to have joy in Christ Jesus.  If your life does not taste like joy, talk with one who spends time in the presence of the GREAT GOOD GOD of Scripture.

Sun will Rise!

Some days the hurts of the world–and the sin that causes those hurts–darkens my view of God.  This morning was one of those days.  That is always a time to chase God hard.

There is so much joy in simply taking the time to seek the face of God.  He faithfully reveals what blocks our view–if we seek Him.  The truth for me is that I get in the way…or rather, sin in me gets in the way.  Seeking Him means humbling accepting my failings. It isn’t about the sin I am seeing in others.

The sweet admonition the Father led me to this morning is in Malachi:

Set your heart to honor my name.

When I fix my eyes on the stuff of this world and allow it to interfere with giving holy awe to the King of Kings, I dishonor His Name.  God is not uncaring or inattentive.  He is on the throne and working out great good.  Malachi reminded the children of God that the covenant of life and peace calls for reverence.

There is a companion admonition to this that God gave me this morning:

Let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.  Zechariah 7:10b

We are all impure in this world.  None are righteous.  Christ gave Himself for the Church and is busy bringing it to maturity.  At the last supper, Christ said he would not drink of the fruit of the vine until He drank it new in the Kingdom.  We can and need to fellowship with Him as individuals all the time, but there is a glorious fulfillment of the Kingdom coming.  He is the vine; our lives produce fruit.  He is waiting until the fruit is ripe; who am I to do less.  As we drink of the fruit in this life, we are to remember Him.  His purposes.

My prayer is that this restores YOUR view of the Lord as it did mine.  As I wrap out and head out to enjoy the day, I leave you with this promise and a video to encourage you to leap and frolic for the King is on the throne!

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

 

Another Name you know well: LIFE

Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father but through me.”  John 14:6

Nature Walk, Marla Reyes-McDavis (flickr.com)

Nature Walk, Marla Reyes-McDavis (flickr.com)

As LIFE, Jesus is the way we find God.  From conception to the death bed, there is LIFE.  Jesus Christ is life.  Faith sees HIM in every detail of life.

Oswald Chambers says the “natural becomes spiritual through obedience.”  A life of faith does not mean we live in a wacky, spiritualized version of ‘real life’–it means we seek reality–LIFE–Jesus–in the midst of our days.  Faith is the substance of things not seen but faith is lived out in the nitty-gritty of every day.

Look at Life.  Enjoy Life.  Celebrate Life.  And remember, Life is Jesus Christ, the way to the Father.

My Song – full of joy

Jesus says He came that our joy would be full.  We need to sing a song of joy to this hurting world that is starved .  God and Christ are joyful–not mindless mirth but abiding joy that knows the depths of grief as well.  Scripture uses the metaphor of

Tristan Martin, Flickr.

Tristan Martin, Flickr.

“Song” to describe our God.  Isaiah 12:2 and Exodus 15:2 are a couple places to soak in.  These words from John Piper convey the beautiful complexity of the song we sing when we live in the joy of God.

Indomitable joy does not mean there is only joy.  Was he then divided, torn between joy and sorrow?  Can an infinitely glorious soul be troubled?  Yes, troubled but not torn and disunited.  Christ was complex but not confused.  There were divergent notes in the music of his soul but the result was a symphony.

Sing of the King who loves with passion and paid the price to deliver us from pain, won’t you?!