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Watching Attentively for Christ’s Return

DEVOTION – ADVENT

Do you ever read to the bottom of a page and then double back to the top after realizing you didn’t absorb any of it? Or have you ever been at the wheel of a car and encountered the unsettling realization that you’ve been rather inattentive while driving? If so, then you are familiar with the phenomenon known as “zoning out.” It’s a frequent occurrence for many of us. The trouble with zoning out is that you can easily miss important information.
We often think of Advent as the season of preparation for the Messiah’s birth, but adjacent to this is another important Advent theme: watching for Christ’s return. Jesus Himself describes this watching, “It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning.” (Mark 13:34-35) His point is obvious, isn’t it? Our Master, Jesus, is coming back. His return could easily come tomorrow, or even later today! Read More »Watching Attentively for Christ’s Return

Advent Is for Expectation

COVER STORY – ADVENT

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” 

as the old song goes. We see it all around us: lights and decorations, Christmas songs, Christmas shopping, and the planning of Christmas events. Even without a calendar, you would know that Christmas is coming soon.

You may be surprised to know the situation was somewhat similar leading up to the first Christmas. Of course, there were no Christmas decorations or music, but Daniel had given some very specific prophecies so that people who paid attention would know that the time was coming soon. That explains why, as Luke records, “Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, . . .” (Luke 3:15) It also explains why there were several people who claimed to be the Messiah at that time. The people were in expectation of Messiah’s coming soon. They were looking for him and testing the various claims.

Isn’t the same true for us?

We have been given many prophecies, many signs that Christ is coming soon. We, too, should be in expectation of His coming. Therefore the Apostle Paul urges us,

“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
(Romans 13:11-14)Read More »Advent Is for Expectation

Prepared by John the Baptist

We are in a season that involves a great deal of preparation. We prepare our homes and our church buildings with decorations for Christmas. In northern climates, the local hardware stores offer “winter survival [or preparedness] kits.” Such kits are suggested for a driver who might become stranded in his car during a blizzard.

Such preparations are external. The “winter survival kit” includes blankets to protect our bodies from the bone-chilling cold. Our Christmas decorations are hung to make our homes and church buildings appear more beautiful.Read More »Prepared by John the Baptist

“Seconds” Can Be Good or Bad

“Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).

Our family enjoys disc golfing. Over the years and the courses that we played, we developed the practice of allowing each player one “mulligan” per course—one second chance to replay a tee shot. The benefit, obviously, was that if you had a bad tee shot, you got another try at it; the downside was that you had to accept the result of the second throw, even if it was as bad as (or worse than) the first.Read More »“Seconds” Can Be Good or Bad

ADVENT AGAIN

Advent is a season of preparation for Christians. Consisting ofthe first four Sundays of the new church year, it is the season during which we prepare to celebrate the birthday of the incarnate Christ. Each year we observe this season by preparing ourselves with prayer and contemplation of the historical fact as well as the significance of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.TheConcertofAngels1534GaudenzioFerrari

The season of Advent prior to the birth of Jesus lasted 4,000 years–through the whole Old Testament period, from the time the first promise Read More »ADVENT AGAIN

The Voice

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
(Isaiah 40:3-5)

In a current television talent show celebrity judges are facing away from the stage when the contestant begins to sing. When they are impressed by the voice they hear, the judges hit the button that turns them around to face the other direction.Read More »The Voice