A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com
Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com
We have been following “The Story” for the last 14 weeks, but for the next three, we will take a short recess and enjoy Advent, remembering Jesus’ first coming into the world in the flesh and also looking forward to His return one day soon. This three week break also puts our reading in the story such that our reading in The Story will coincide with the events of Easter as those dates roll around. So I hope you enjoy this short interlude as we enjoy the Christmas season together.
The term advent came into being in the 12th century. This Middle English word means the arrival or coming of something. The church soon adopted it as the description of the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, this year from December 3rd through December 24th. We use those four weeks to celebrate not just His coming, but to anticipate His return. That’s what Advent is all about. Something that arrives or comes.
As I prepare this podcast, I just celebrated my 41st anniversary. We spent the night as a “stay-cation” on the Riverwalk here in San Antonio. We enjoyed the lights, watched the people, ate great food, and reminisced about the last 41 years together. The time helped us remember our times together on other anniversaries. Gatlinburg, where we spent our honeymoon and several anniversaries, Germany, New York, and a host of other places. It made me remember a lot of anniversaries we spent apart because of deployments, field training, and travel at the Army’s demand.
We also thought about the future, though. The past helps lets us enjoy those fun times we’ve had together. We can live those good times over and over in our minds. But living in the past doesn’t help us much except to translate failures into lessons so that we don’t repeat mistakes and turn those lessons into more than knowledge. We can turn experience into wisdom as we mature and make the future better for ourselves and others as we share wisdom. So we talked about the future.
The younger crowd probably thinks in different ways about the future than those of us who are retiring and we who are retiring probably think differently than those who have been retired for awhile. Now Carole and I think about how we can live close to all of the grandkids. Of course, that would mean convincing our kids to live closer to each other in a mobile society. We think about health and downsizing and how much activity we can really do in a day before we launch out on one of those high adventure vacations. We talk about budgets and what will happen to pensions and Social Security and health insurance in the future now that we dip into it so much more than we did in the past.
But something we talk about so much more than we did a few years ago is just how close Jesus’ return feels to us. Earthquakes in Delaware? When did that become commonplace? Record numbers of hurricanes? Uncontrolled wildfires and flooding all around the world? You can blame it on global warming if you like, but you can also read about these things in Matthew 25 as Jesus warns of the catastrophic natural events that will occur before His return.
So as we read the papers and listen to the news and reporters seem so bumfuzzled about why things seem so crazy around the world, we just wonder how soon Jesus will return. We read the prophets and see the visions they saw happening all around us. I know, others have said the same thing for centuries, but as I read God’s word and recognize the earth is going through something like birth pangs to usher in a new heaven and new earth, It seems to me the labor pains are getting pretty intense. I’m not sure the labor can get much more intense before this new heaven and new earth come into existence.
So this Advent season we look at the future and recognize the earthquakes won’t diminish but will increase in the coming months or years. The floods will not stop, but rather the hurricanes will become more violent and more people along the coastal plains, major rivers, and 100, 500, and 1000 year flood plains will be at risk. Wildfires will continue to ravage areas plagued with continued drought. Violence from terrorism, racism, political divides, will only increase.
All of that sounds pretty bleak as we peek into the future and ask what it will be like. But it also means Jesus is coming soon. It means the end is near and we will join our Savior. We will be with Him forever when He comes to take His bride home. His desire has always been to live face to face with us in a personal, intimate relationship. The Story, His word, bares that out. As we look to the past and see His actions, His mercy and grace toward us, we recognize the love He has toward us and catch a glimpse of the plan He has for us in the future.
However, we must choose to get on the path to which He directs us. We cannot expect to live with Him eternally by choosing our own way, our own path. We must follow Him to His garden of Eden. We must follow His precepts and principles. We must obey. What are His commands? They are easy to remember, love God and love people. That’s it. Do those two things and all the others fall into place.
Here we are. The second week of Advent. Looking back and celebrating the arrival of Jesus, the One who changed everything. In fact, He changed the world so much that almost every nation recognizes Christmas as a special day of celebration, whether or not they are a Christian nation. It is an international, global holiday. The calendar turned because of His birth. He was and is the God/Man who came to save us.
Advent is also a time to look forward to His arrival. He said He would come again. All the signs are coming together to indicate He might come pretty soon. All you need do is read the paper and listen to the news, compare it to what He said would happen just before He comes and you’ll see the time is right for His return. This Advent season, take time to celebrate. Remember Jesus came to bring life and light to a dead and dark world. He did that in a spectacular way. But we can also remember He will come again to finish the work He said He would do. He will come again to take us to the place He is preparing for us. A place where we can be with Him face to face forever.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.