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 🙂

“Speak Low if You Speak Love”

In Shakespeare’s play “Much Ado About Nothing,” Don Pedro says to Hero, “Speak low if you speak love,” and that’s the thought God also placed in my heart this morning. Don Pedro is bidding Hero to lower his voice, and it’s sound advice to all who speak of love. Love is serious and lowering the voice is an indication of the importance of the subject at hand. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I have to laugh as I think of the way love is distorted and twisted on the day. It reminds me of Santa Claus and Christmas. The intentions are great, but love gets lost in both translations:)

God also reminded me of a favorite poet and poem this morning. I used to have my students memorize “A Word is Dead” by Emily Dickinson to help them remember the importance of spoken words.

A Word is Dead by Emily Dickinson

A word is dead when it is said, some say.

I say it just begins to live that day.

Pastor John reminded me this week that the message from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 is a lot about the way I speak. I hadn’t thought of those passages in that way before, but his message and God’s lesson this morning helped me see the importance of the way I speak about love. I breathe life into each word I speak, and those words take on the life I give to them. So, I should heed the words of Don Pedro in “Much Ado About Nothing” and speak softly and seriously when I speak love. My heart is deeply touched with a tender “I love you” whispered softly in my ear. There is nothing more precious than hearing that Christ’s precious love is for me, and it is best to speak softly when I speak of His love to others and be mindful that I will give life to those words of love.

Valentine’s Day becomes much like Christmas Day as we lose the meaning of both occasions in what becomes a scream fest of who got the most and best flowers, candy, diamonds, presents, etc. The irony is that both St. Valentine and St. Nicholas were humble men with extraordinary meekness who would literally shudder to think of how their names are used today. This Valentine’s Day, try speaking low when you speak love. True love needs nothing more, and try the same strategy in your witness of Christ’s love to the world. Turning the volume down and using a fewer words are what make my loving and praying like His.

Light Hearted

My heart is light, and that’s a new sensation for me. I am learning and growing in ways I never could have imagined on my own. God placed John 3:21 in my path last night, and it blessed beautifully.

“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” NASB

The beautiful verses before this one command a great deal of attention, and I love them dearly; but this one set my heart free. I know I’ve read it many times, but as I read it last night, it seemed I’d never heard it before. God’s Word is alive and often catches me off guard. It never ceases to amaze me, and I love that about it.

Truth is the heart of love. I was brutally honest with God last night, and He placed the comforting words before me. Truth brings me to the Light where I can be His vessel. Peace came as my soul settled and left me in a sweet puddle at His feet. He lets me cry out, and when I do, I always find myself empty and ready to be filled.

I slept like a baby for over ten hours after a cup of warm camomile tea and a hot shower. Truth brings out my deepest feelings, and that includes my deepest fears. God catches each tear, feels each fear, and calms my heart and soul with His presence. The service yesterday morning and an afternoon of Christmas baking was very therapeutic:) Preparations for the sweet gathering with family on Christmas and thoughts of time with Mylah and Lillyann today lulled me to sleep. I could feel mama’s presence as I settled into bed, and my heart breathed a sweet sigh of healing release.

Being light headed is not a good thing, but being light hearted is a wonderful feeling. It’s like floating. I had to smile as I drifted off to sleep because I knew I was experiencing true self-differentiation. I wasn’t fused or confused any more. Tethers were gone. The truth set me free, and it was the most exquisite feeling I’ve ever felt. I want more of it, and I know the way to get it is to practice the truth, come to the Light, and let God manifest His deeds through me. Amazing:)