Anticipation

Perhaps you too recall times when you were a wee one and you were waiting for a certain day to arrive when something amazing was going to happen.  Could have been a hopped for present at Christmas or the first day of school.  From a very young age we learn how to appreciate waiting for things we have little to no power over nor of the outcome or making the calendar move any faster towards the expected day.  Some of us learn it well, and others?   Well, they don’t ever get really good at the waiting thing and subsequently life can become very frustrating because so much of our life is an unknown.

Needless to say, when we are in school and later married or pregnant we are once again stuck in the continuum of anticipation.  Stress can be off the charts for us as we impatiently wait for the expected end.  Unless we have learned to bask in the season of anticipation with joy and inquisitive expectancy we will be so very miserable. Not a good way to live our lives.  These incredible gifts are given to us from God to enhance our lives and nurture our sense of Love from the Father that is directly connected to the wonderful unexpected gifts God has coming our way. We like to think that we are somehow in control of our own lives and we aren’t.  God is the author and finisher.  He is the beginning and the end.  He is the alpha and the omega.  He is everything.

Everything.

Do we dare trust Him like that?  Are we confident in who He is so that we can get all excited about the anticipated events and gifts falling into our lives?  Are we willing to open up our imagination large enough for us to have God’s anointed gifts fall into our laps?  How hard is it for us to push over the boulders that are in the way of the stream that is pouring out from the Lord and yet has become a trickle once it gets to us.  The obstacles aren’t very obvious and the source is unseen so that even if we wanted to know how much should be pouring out we couldn’t figure it out.  Once again, we have to trust the Lord as to how much or how long or how powerful or how magical our outcomes are going to be.  We just have to be sure to not fill in the wonder with our limited thoughts.  We are so small minded.

So human.

But again I ask, do we look at the days of December as days of anticipation for the Christ child?  Is that something we could do or is it all so Silent Night and Santa Claus to the point that Jesus is missing from the picture?  He is missing from so many pictures but He really shouldn’t be missing from this picture.  It’s all about Jesus and His birth into this world.  It’s not about presents and trees and Santa Claus and elves.  How do we sort out all of the hoopla and uncover the baby in a manger? I think it’s tough.  He has to wrestle against the temptation of sleep and the temptation of doting on our families who have a tendency to take away our time with the Lord.  Subtle and simple.  It’s often very easy to fall into the arms of our families love and rituals during the holidays.  We don’t even realize that Jesus was secondary until after the season is over. Then what?  We can’t have a Christmas do-over.

It is just like it is with any other relationship.  We have to invest in it. We have to choose to make it a priority.  We can’t just expect Him to do everything.  His love is shown to us in so many ways and ours is no different.  We have to show Him our love in how we live our lives.  How I look at it is like this; at any moment, if Jesus decided to manifest in the flesh into my world that there would be nothing about how I live that He couldn’t step into.  That could feel a little invasive and yet those parts of our lives that are really private were given to us by Him and we should not be embarrassed.  We are His beloved, a very intimate term of endearment.

So as we count down to the  1st of December let us take our time and enjoy that sweet anticipation of our Lords miraculous birth. Let us keep the pace slow and sweet so that we are blessed with Gods love and presence throughout the days and nights and we don’t lose sight of who the season is really all about.

Isaiah 9:6-7 –For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

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Sitting on The Fence

I’m not one of those who breaks out the Christmas lights on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  I don’t go shopping on Black Friday or set in front of the computer on Cyber Monday.  Nope.  I am from one of those families that always put up a real tree two weeks before and took it down 2 weeks after the 25th.  It was traditional and simple and magical to me.  So sweet. Not too much/not too little.  Not the mad rush and bustle which wears the worthy exuberance of the season to literally put people into the hospital.  Sad really.  Then I worshiped with the Lutherans.  They’re season is very deliberate.  It is advent; the season in which we sit in anticipation of the Christ child’s birth.  We have to wait.  We can decorate but it’s all about meditating what it means for the Christ child to be born unto us – a world lost in sin.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I need to be slowed down.  I’m in a hurry to get things done like I might just run out of daylight before the task is completed. When if I would just slow down and enjoy the task – whatever it is – I would be delighted to find joy within the mundane tasks of life.  So putting that sweet savor into the mix of the Christmas season has given me the ability to enjoy Jesus in a very fresh and raw way throughout the month of December.  It takes my eyes off of all of the other things that can be such an enormous distraction to us.  Gifts and money and food and people and, and, and…

The enemy wants to pull us down and away from the beauty of Jesus’s birth. Anything he can do to bring us away from the Lord and celebrating Him.  The enemy wants us to be more worried about the things and less worried about the reason for the season.  It is a strange time that we can misuse for the Kingdom so easily that before you know it, the season is over and were trying to find our traction in January snow.

Many choose one side of the fence to live on at Christmas.  Decorate before December or decorate after December 1, 2017. I’m neither way.  Both are just fine with me.  I choose nothing but Jesus and Him born in a manger, living, dying and rising to sit at the right hand of our Father in heaven. We are gifted a really great opportunity to bask in all of the glory of the Christ.  It’s such an incredible gift because Jesus deserves our full and undivided attention and worship.  How do we pass up an opportunity like this?

Mos people miss the opportunity because they don’t even realize that it’s right there in front of them.  So used to the ritual of it all we just go through the motions trying to recreate some great memories from childhood or younger years.  God is so good and He is such a gentleman.  He won’t push us into doing things even though He will place people in our path that can give us the instruction or direction that they need to go deeper or dig further into our faith and into the best relationship they will ever have in life.  They don’t know because no one has introduced them in the way that will be enriching and forward moving.

We have a tendency to settle for a shallow friendship with Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit.  We have so much more to enjoy in Him.  We ourselves are our worst enemy when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. It’s a shallow little Sunday thing that doesn’t go deeper than the gospels; that doesn’t open our hearts to the intimacies of Christ.  He is one who captures our tears and holds us in the dark.  His angels have charge over us and He is attentive to us 24 hours a day.  No one can do that in the flesh.  No one.  No one is with us as much as we are ourselves expect Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is trying to loose His spirit over us in a way that only He can give us.

The truth is that our God sent His one and only begotten Son into this world to bring the gospel to the people of the world.  He was crucified for our transgressions and bruised for all of our diseases.  He died, was buried and rose again on the third day, walking this earth for about 40 days until He transcended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father ever making intercession for us.  Through this all promises in scripture are ours in Christ.  We can surrender into Gods care knowing that He is in charge of our provision and our prosperity and our health.  Sickness is not of God.  Poverty is not of God.  We are the ones who keep the best of God from us because we have a tendency to speak lack into our lives.  We speak weakness and inability into our lives.  We are a far more powerful player in the events of our lives than we give ourselves credit for.

What if we just relaxed and allowed our souls to believe the truth?  Where would we be? How would the world be?  Would there be peace if we lived lives of faith radically sold out to the Lord?

Proverbs 17:28 –Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

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The Goodness of God

God is so good.  He supplies all of our needs according to His riches in heaven.  He is always with us even when we move away.  Once we give our lives over the the Lord all bets are off and only God knows what He will do for His children.  We,  as children of the most high struggle with the depth of His love for us.   We struggle against all of the glory that the Lord wishes to pour through our lives showing to His kingdom the incredible love He has for His children.  So often what we are going through isn’t even about us but for the glory of God for others to witness and come into the Kingdom through.  We are so good at thinking that anything that happens to us is about us.  Not so.

We are all vessels that God uses to forward His kingdom in ways that we don’t even realize. The things that we say, how we conduct ourselves, the people we associate with, all aspects of our lives are on display and those aspects are the things that God uses to teach others about His matchless love.  We are the windows into Gods life and love and if we’re not careful we can lead people to get the wrong impression about our Savior and what it looks like to be a believer in Christ. Mahatma Gandhi loved the faith but was turned away by the people he met who were Christians.  How sad is that?  What it suggests to me is that the people we are sending out into the mission field are not ready by all or any standard of Christ.  If we can be Jesus to others that’s fantastic.  If we aren’t then we are giving to the world a false sense of who Jesus really is.

I cant count the number of times that I have been presented with a rendition of Jesus that doesn’t fit who I know Him to be.  It saddens me deeply because there is no reason why we should be given a false portrayal of the Lord b anyone. But that’s the devil.  He is going to do everything he can to steal Gods power in the earth.   If he can do that by using a baby unversed Christian to be a snobby one he’s done a great job.  And he does it all the time.   He counts on our ignorance to fulfill his plan to derail the Jesus in you. When we are introduced to a Jesus that isn’t on solid ground it leaves us with the ability to fill in the blanks and be and do whatever we want to add to our faith that was never given in full. It’s like the people in Acts who had received the baptism of John but had never heard of the Holy Spirit. There’s really no such thing as half saved. Either you are or you aren’t. Simple.

The word gets watered down and twisted up and there are some theories that just became Gospel even though it’s a stretch to back them up with scripture. The enemy loves the false doctrine that keeps us from walking in the solid water of the word. Anything that he can do to minimize the power of the body in the earth is a good thing to him. His hate for us is intense and our thoughts of him are fairly ho-hum. That being the case, we are such easy targets for the devils games.  We will blame our selves or have a pity party about how difficult it is to deal with the attack as if we didn’t know where it was coming from.   We can be so very ignorant sometimes.  Have all of the book knowledge in the world and yet struggle to apply it to our lives.

The new buzz word I hear from pastors is radical. Radical faith.  Radical love.  Radical trust.  Used to be I heard pastors talking about a shift coming.  Shift means change and how many of us were willing to embrace change once we heard it was from God. And now, how many are willing to be radically sold out to Jesus and the Kingdom? What does that mean? Radical passion and zeal and beliefs.  Not normal. Radical.  Don’t care who it is or what they think of us. Radical. Just plain radical – revolutionary, far reaching, visionary, unbridled.

In truth, not very many people on the earth are radical. It’s a rather small percentage of us that fit the bill and yet the church is calling us to have radical faith. Believe the unbelievable faith. Unquenchable zeal for Jesus. Walking so in the spirit that our life in the flesh seems obscure.  Thing is that God wants to shower us with such radical goodness that He’s just waiting for us to surrender to Him.  Not our definition of surrender but His definition of surrender. We’re so good at softening everything and making it so that it’s not really that different or difficult. Surrender somehow means that we are still in control.  Of what?  Either we have surrendered or we haven’t. A minimal surrender is like being luke warm and we know what God does with things that are luke warm…He spews them out of His mouth!!!

It’s an honor and a privilege to be a child of the King of kings. It’s very exciting to be in the middle of Kingdom business no matter what I’m doing. It’s our choice to be a vital part of all that God has going on or just sit by the side lines and watch.  Whatever your choice you will be blessed.

Revelations 3:16 – So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

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