Ready or Not….

Matthew 24:36-44 is a vivid reminder that Advent is about Christ’s return. Whether I’m ready or not, He’s coming back. That isn’t about gloom and doom but rather about joy beyond anything I can imagine. The season of Advent leads to a celebration of Christmas. I used to wonder why Advent didn’t come after Christmas in the Christian calendar, but I see now that it’s important to think about my own readiness when it comes to Christ’s return. Listen to what the scriptures say.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” NASB

Folks have taken this scripture and twisted it into what they wanted it to be. The part about the Son not knowing was actually taken out at one point, and many have come up with a timeline and even an exact date when Christ will come. The not knowing is a vital part of this passage. If I knew, then I could do what I normally do and get ready right before He arrives. Live the way I want, do what I want, not mess with my mess until an hour or so before His gets here.

There is a commercial that comes to mind when I read this passage. A woman receives a formal invitation telling her that her heart attack will be arriving in two days. I’m not sure what I would do to get ready for a heart attack if I knew it was coming, but I think I would be more serious about my eating and exercise habits. Christ’s coming is a wonderful occasion, but would I change the way I live and love if I knew He was going to show up in two days? Of course I would!

When Christ enters my life, my world does end; and that’s a good thing. I no longer am alone. I’m loved in a way I cannot imagine. I have the beautiful assurance that no one can take me from God’s loving presence. When Christ comes back, many will not be prepared. It is sobering to think that not everyone will share in the love meant for each and every one of us. That humbles me in a way that makes me want to share His love more than ever before.

Christmas reminds me that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son to dwell among and be one of us. It is love that defies description, and that is exactly why some refuse to believe and accept it. I pray that as I focus upon Christ’s return, I will be like a child at Christmas time waiting and watching and ready to be swept away by His amazing grace, peace, joy, and love. I also pray that I will invite others to have the same expectant joy and wait with me.

Our children and grandchildren watch and wait for Santa during this season of the year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they trusted us to give them what was good for them? Both my little granddaughters ask me to get them a toy Bolt, and both asked me to get one for her sister. I was touched that they thought of one another and immediately found two of the sweet super dogs and let them have them as soon as they arrived in the mail. I know that God also loves it when I ask for something for someone else. Tyler learned early on that he got much better presents when he let us decide. I wish I would truly trust God to give me what He knows is best for me.

I’m afraid I am like a spoiled child far too often when it comes to waiting and watching for God. Childlike wonder falls by the wayside and selfish wants invade my wait. I love this picture of little ones watching and waiting together for Santa. Unlike a child waiting for Santa Claus to come down a chimney, I don’t know when Christ is coming. I do, however, know that He loves me more than I can imagine. That fills me with expectant joy and makes me want to get ready to greet Him. My heart can be like these little ones if I live my life filled with eager anticipation, knowing that Christ is coming back and that it could be today!!

Ready and Waiting :)
Ready and Waiting 🙂

Something to Think About

Photo credit All Good Thinking
Photo credit All Good Thinking

Philippians 4:7-8 are perfect verses for Advent because they set my mind and heart in the right direction and promise peace when I dwell where God wants me to dwell. My mind wanders toward worry far too much of the time, but these verses center my heart and mind and fill me with peace.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” NASB

Here are the words from verse eight found in various translations. I find that when I dwell on things which are

True

Honorable

Right

Pure

Excellent

Praiseworthy

Lovely

Fine

Good

Reputable

Authentic

Compelling

Gracious

Best

Beautiful

Admirable

Just 

I find myself filled with the peace promised in verse seven.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NASB

Photo credit  About Midnight
Photo credit
About Midnight

Advent is a beautiful season meant to focus my heart and mind upon Christ’s return. I can think of no better way to prepare for that wonderful day than keeping my heart and mind fixed upon those things in verse eight so I can dwell in the peace promised in verse seven.

“The Way We’re Made”

As I was reading Isaiah 2:1-5 this morning, I was struck by the way The Message translated verse three. “He’ll show us the way He works so we can live the way we’re made.”  The scriptures begin the readings in year A of the Revised Common Lectionary. I’ve decided to use the lectionary in a new way this year. God has been bidding me to take a new direction, and Isaiah’s glimpse of God’s path of peace is the perfect place to start. I suppose God knew it would take time for me to make up my mind, so He started working on my heart a few weeks ago.

Advent is the perfect time for new beginnings. Four years ago, I began using the lectionary as a guide for my study of God’s Word. I was working in a church office and teaching a high school class on Sunday mornings, so I followed Pastor John’s messages and found myself doing research on the passages outlined in the Revised Common Lectionary. I love the way the passages complement one another, and I love the mix of old and new testament scriptures. I began in year C and came full circle this month as I finished off year C for the second time.

As I begin the three-year cycle for the second time, I plan to look at each scripture and let God show me the way He works so I can live the way I’m made. That statement continues to strike a chord in my heart because the journey is all about finding God’s way and being who He made me to be. God knew there was no better place for me to begin than in Isaiah. He knows how much I love the prophet’s poetry. No one helps me see God’s vision better than Isaiah.

Isaiah 2:1-5.

“The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.

Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

Advent begins a new year in the church calendar, and I begin a new year in my journey. I know God has amazing plans and pray I will keep to His path, walk in the light, and be who He made me to be. His Son’s precious love sheds light along the way, and His Holy Spirit is a wonderful guide and traveling companion. I look forward to all God has in store as I look at His Word in a new Light.

Christ's love lights the path.
Christ’s love lights the path.
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