Saturday, December 24, 2011

Almost Christmas

“Are we there yet?” It might be the hundredth time you hear it on your trip/vacation/errand; but the little voice is so sweet, you just have to answer with patience, “Almost!” It’s the innocent anticipation of the blessed destination of the vacation or the trip to Grandma  & Grandpas, or just a trip to the corner store. But that little heart knows that there are good things in store when we get there!
For Mary and Joseph, even a few miles while 9 months pregnant must have begged the same question: “Are we there yet?!”  Even ‘almost’ doesn’t seem sufficient!

We have so many ‘not yet there’s in our life! We live waiting for so many things that are long in coming. But tonight, with Christmas almost here, we will finally get to Christmas for sure.

The special anticipation tonight is because deep in our hearts, we know that getting to Jesus is what this whole life is about. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

He Never Left the Building!

For a world hit by wave after wave of destruction, war and catastrophes, Good news comes! God news! God comes in the outpouring of his spirit, bringing fresh news: the young and old alike will have inspired dreams and visions! As we read the words of the prophet, we get a fresh perspective on our world today, and every day. Today’s news (just like the news a few millennia ago!) seems to be summed up by something like: ‘Where’s God?” “God must be absent!” “I can’t wait till God comes back!” But, truth is, he never left! He, Emmanuel, is here with us, and, he is not through giving us a glimpse of what good things he has in store for us!

The short little book of the Old Testament prophet, Joel, is the inspiration for this blog

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do I Have a Surprise For You!

God’s presence and work in our lives is a blessing under any circumstance! Even the simplest existence is a joy when we are living day to day in his presence! But beyond the blessing of the everyday, is the blessing when the Lord breaks into our everyday with an extraordinary surprise which only he can bring! Such was the case with Mary and Joseph. Surely their everyday walk with the Lord prepared them for recognizing the words of the angel prophesying Jesus birth. Not that this wasn’t a shock! But they were able to come around and see this as God’s work.

I hope that I, and we, can walk so close to God daily, and enjoy the blessing of this simple life enough to recognize the surprises of God as good, even when they come in contradiction of our plans, ideas, and opinions.   

The angel speaking to Mary gave her a big shock, but in just a few sentences, she knew enough about her heavenly father to know that this was going to be good….very good.

 Luke 1:26-38 is the inspiration for this blog post. In these verses, Mary finds out that both she and her cousin, Elizabeth, will be having a child because of a miracle of God. Elizabeth is already 6 months pregnant with John the Baptizer, while in her old age.  Mary will soon be with child (while unmarried) and give birth to Jesus. Both these women were able to recognize this as a work of God to be shared as a great praise.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Message of Life Can Get You Killed?

As Jesus spoke the words of the prophet, Isaiah, it almost got him killed! The message was one of the life, freedom and release of those captive to sin- so what was so infuriating to the religious elite of his day? Perhaps those listening to his words of the prophecy, in the place of worship, hearing the words of scripture that they had heard so many times before, realized that maybe they should have been not just preaching, but living this good news…news of forgiveness and a new start. News of being released from what ails them, release from judgment and condemnation.

Perhaps the contrast between who they should be and who they were so embarrassed them, that they were filled with rage to kill the messenger. They eventually did! But not before he spoke the message of good news, and lived it for all to see.

May we today be messengers of the good news, preparing hearts to meet the Messenger, by letting them know that we believe in their salvation, that his name is Jesus, and it’s a message of life that even our earthly demise cannot kill!

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 is the prophecy of the need to prepare the way for the one to come to release we sinners from our sin. When Jesus read this as the scripture of the day in the Temple,(Luke 4) and let them know that this man in front of them was he; they took him and tried to throw him off a cliff! He got away, for a time, until he later let them kill him, but the message is still alive, and may it be in us!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Expect an Answer!

I’ve got good news and bad news! First, the good news: we’re almost done serving our term! The bad news (like we needed to be told!) is that we all have made choices deserving of being sentenced to a term in our own personal cell of consequences! Knowing our state, and refusing to leave us to our own deserved path, God so loved us that he sent his Son. God knew our track record of choices. And God would not be content to let us remain in separation from him, at least not without offering us the choice of his presence, if we would so choose to believe in him, and live! Jesus is the real, live, answer to the root of our problems.

And we can be as joyful as any expectant parent, because we know what to expect: Jesus to come into our mess, and be our cure, our freedom to begin again, free and loved!

Isaiah 40:1-11 is the inspiration for this blog. The prophet foresees the birth of Christ, bringing the salvation answer to our personal and corporate ‘prison terms’ that we are in on account of our sinful choices.