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Archive for December, 2013

Splendor Made Simple

In talking about the coming of the Messiah many, many years before his birth, the prophet Isaiah said this:

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.  Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.  The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.

We often think of the glory or splendor of God being flashy and shiny.  We think of mighty strength and magnificent power – and we are correct to do so.

But don’t miss the splendor and magnificence of God’s selfless act of love.  The creator of the universe became a little baby – self-emptied and completely humble.  That is splendor in the most simple form.

Praise be to God for loving us that much!

Be blessed today.

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Steps in Waiting

Waiting.  No one really enjoys waiting.  The very thought of it makes my “get it done” tendencies crawl.  But unfortunately, waiting is a part of life.

When we think of waiting on God, the concept takes on a different nuance.  We began this discussion yesterday.  How do we approach waiting on God to come?  This season of Advent is about waiting in anticipation for the coming of the messiah.  The reality is that we often find ourselves waiting on God.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as we wait.

1.  More times than not, God is at work right in front of us but we just aren’t paying attention.  So in our minds and hearts we are becoming impatient with God when all the while God is actively at work in the situation.  We need to learn the basic truth about waiting and that is that it is a constant reminder we are completely dependent upon God.  When we remember this fact, we take our eyes off our situation long enough to see God at work.

2.  God does not operate on our time frame to teach us something.  It could be something about ourselves or something about God and how God works in our lives.  Again, waiting reminds us of our dependence.

3.  Other times, our focus may be so skewed that we are waiting on something that will never happen.  Several years ago, I had a doctor’s appointment.  As is my normal approach to any given day, I crammed as many things into my schedule as possible so that I walked into the doctor’s office just in the nick of time.  I had my To Do list with me and a book to read just so that I would not have any down time while I waited.  I rushed in, put my name on the sign-in sheet and then found a seat in the waiting area (we should take note – they actually call it a “waiting” area).  20 minutes passed and no call.  30 minutes of waiting and I began to see people who came in after me being called back into an exam room.  My frustration with the wait was mounting.  Finally after 40 minutes or so, I approached the counter, and luckily before I grilled the receptionist, I made a very revealing discovery.  I was in the wrong doctor’s office.

In my haste and hustle, I had gone to the wrong building and signed in to see the wrong doctor.  I could have waited there all day but would not have seen the doctor.

Sometimes, we are waiting on something that just isn’t going to happen.  Our focus can become so self-centered that we fail to see God moving in other ways.

So what can you take away from my ramblings?

1) Seek God above all else.  

2) Wait patiently with expectant anticipation.

3) Look for meaning in the wait.

4) Remember God is in control.

5) Trust.

God is active in the day to day.  God is at work in your life – all around you.  God loves you more than words can express and human cognition can understand.

So wait with assurance.

Be blessed today!

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The Depth of Waiting

Yesterday I took a look at Advent and the idea of waiting.  You can read what I said here.  But as we think about waiting, we must acknowledge that each of us come at this discipline of waiting from different experience, and even more relevant to my thought today, with different things pulling on us from different directions.

Some come to this time of year with happiness and excited anticipation.  The thought of Christmas and Jesus’ birth turns an emotive response of sheer enjoyment deep within.  The lights, the sounds, children’s faces beaming all add to the scene.

Others come to this time of year with sadness.  This season is a reminder of loss.  This season is especially hard for those who have lost someone close this past year.

Still others come to this season with dread.  There is no sense of anticipation – only a resolve to “get through it.”

So waiting takes on a broader significance when we think about this season in this way.

But let me add a layer to this mystery of waiting.  We celebrate advent as a time of waiting for the coming messiah.  The reality is that all of us experience waiting on God – waiting for an answer to our prayer – seeking a sense of divine presence – looking for hope in seemingly hopeless situations.  We each have experienced waiting.

Tomorrow, we will look more deeply at this mystery and offer thought on the significance of waiting in our spiritual progression.

But until then . . . wait.  Isaiah 40 says those who wait on the Lord will experience renewed strength.

Wait on the Lord today.

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It’s About Waiting

The Christmas season is upon us.  If you have made a trip to Walmart you have seen the decorations – in fact, that has been possible since August.  I love this time of year.  I enjoy the gatherings of family and friends.  I look forward to the music and caroling.  Hot chocolate, food, football.  All the sights and sounds of this season bring a smile to my heart.

But the most important part of this season is the celebration of the coming of God to the world.  This year, I challenge you to begin Advent with clarity.  The word advent is actually from the Latin word – adventus – which is translated “coming.”  The purpose of celebrating Advent is to celebrate the “coming” of Jesus to live among us.

The season of Advent begins four Sunday’s before Christmas Day and continues through the month of December, culminating on that sacred day – the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth.

It is a season of anticipation – of waiting.

Few of us enjoy waiting.  I must confess, waiting is not my strong suit.  I live at break-neck speed most of the time.  My shoes show the wear pattern of someone in a hurry – or so I have been told by more than one shoe repairperson.  Waiting takes me out of my normal pace.  It forces me to pause and sometimes stop.

Advent is about waiting.  Waiting for the coming messiah to be born.  Waiting for God to arrive.  It is in our waiting that we are reminded that we are not in control.  It is in our waiting that we truly begin to look for God.

I talk to people everyday who are waiting.  Waiting for healing.  Waiting for answers.  Waiting for relationships to mend.

Waiting . . .

Remember that waiting forces us to look outside ourselves.  Waiting reminds us that everything is in God’s time and in God’s control.  Waiting reminds us that God is God and we are not.

So this Advent season, remember to focus on what is of primary importance.  God loved us so much that he sent his one and only son to become one of us.  With the people of old, we anticipate his coming.  We wait for his revelation.

Praise be to God!

He is coming!

So we wait with anticipation!

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