"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." ~ from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

Sunday, November 27, 2011

ADVENT SEASON BEGINS ~ 1st Week


PROMISES and PATIENCE
 
Come, O Lord.

"As we begin Advent, we light one candle in the midst of all the darkness in our lives and in the world.  It symbolizes our longing, our desire, our hope.  Three “advents” or “comings” shape our desire.  We want to be renewed in a sense that Jesus came to save us from our sin and death.  We want to experience his coming to us now, in our everyday lives, to help us live our lives with meaning and purpose.  And we want to prepare for his coming to meet us at the end of our lives on this earth. So, we begin with our longing, our desire and our hope.


“Lord, the light I choose to let into my life today is based on my trust in you.  It is a weak flame, but I so much desire that it dispel a bit more darkness today.  Today, I just want to taste the longing I have for you as I go to the meeting this morning, carry out the responsibilities of my work, face the frustration of some difficult relationships.  Let this candle be my reminder today of my hope in your coming.” ...

Every night this week, we can pause briefly, and we can give thanks.  We can be aware of how that one, small candle's worth of desire brought light into this day.  Going to bed each night this week with some gratitude is part of the preparation for growing anticipation and desire."
Come, Lord Jesus!  Come and visit your people.  
We await your coming. Come, O Lord.
~ by Creighton U. Online Ministries, 
Catholic daily Advent Guide online 


I have chosen the evening to pause and reflect, but you can do it morning, noon, evening meal or bedtime alone or with your family. At"Desiring God" with the ministry of John Piper, Jonathan Parnall shared an Advent guide from the Village Church, TX, which has given me the theme I chose to begin this Advent season: Promises and Patience (but somehow they have 5 weeks).

"Perhaps we could ask a different question each night, or ask about examples from the day.  
  • How am I getting in touch with the longing within me?  
  • How did I prepare today?  
  • What does it mean to prepare to celebrate his coming 2,000 years ago?
  • How can we prepare to experience his coming into our lives this year?
  • What does it mean for us now, with our world involved in so much conflict? 
  • How are we being invited to trust more deeply?  
  • How much more do we long for his coming to us, in the midst of the darkness in our world?  
  • In what ways can we renew our lives so we might be prepared to greet him when he comes again? "
My "advent" time will be divided between the two guides! (a little Catholic, a little Christian gospel centered) as we focus our eyes and our hearts on Jesus Christ and eagerly await His return. 

READINGs: Genesis 22:1-14; and Ecclesiastes 3:11; 
"Promises and Patience" ends their first one after reading Genesis 18 about Abraham and Sarah with:

"...There is no more powerful expectation than patience in the promises of God, for He has provided the Lamb, and the Lamb is the coming King..."

POWERFUL WORDS! 
[read them again and let them sink in as you soak in Him]

These are the words that impressed me the most as they recounted the life and promise of Abraham's life:

... "Every promise, every dream and sleepless night rushed to the brink of Abraham’s sight as he prepared to sacrifice his beloved only son. 

None of us escape this pain, this fear that if we love something enough God will take it away from us, as if He is vengeful and plays games with His children. We trust the object of our expectations and set our expectations too low when they were meant to be occupied by Him, after all. What good thing would the Father withhold from us if He has given us His only Son? What more could capture our hearts than the Savior Himself and the knowledge that He died bound that we might live free?" ... 

Village Church Advent guide includes questions for personal reflections as well.  They also include a "Family Devotion" with questions and an appendix with Family Activities! So FAMILY...

Here is the only question that I'll leave you (and I) with to ponder:

Why is it hard to be patient when waiting on God's Promises? 

How can we fight this impatience?

"Each day there is a choice of where to place HOPE ..."

Let us light the first candle of
HOPE


This first week of Advent centers on the Hope that comes from the announcement of Christ’s birth and the expectation of His certain return

... another great resource available is from
WORLD VISION
[World Vision shares the lighting of candle,
a gift giving, and video clips]


By giving to those in need, we live out the true meaning of Christmas—Christ coming into our world to “preach good news to the poor … proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

*this is not the video clip from World Vision

I invite you to experience a deeper meaning
this Advent
"a time set aside to prepare"
(my definition)
for HIS Coming
Jesus' Arrival
[I've given you many choices here, and 
don't forget the one I shared in today's SOS also]

Let's seek Him with all of our being!
Holding on to God's Promises 
with 
HOPE
and
patience







4 comments:

  1. Dear Peggy, Thank you for the beautiful, inspiring and challenging post with many thought-provoking and important questions. Praise God that His light completely overcomes the darkness of the world. Just as a tiny candle fills the darkest cave with its light, His love shining through us can brighten the saddest heart. May His light be our hope this Adent season and until He comes again!

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing this sis, love you.

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  3. "Why is it hard to be patient when waiting on God's Promises?"...I think it is hard because in every other aspect of our lives, we are dealing with our senses...we see, hear, or touch something and know it is real and happening...we think we have control over it...God's promises require faith and believing in the unseen...so we have to totally turn control over to Him...

    "How can we fight this impatience?"...we can fight impatience by using those same senses and focusing on what they reveal...we can see God in the world around us...and His works done through other people...we can hear Him by studying His word and listening for the still, small voice...and as far as touch...well, sister, when you grab hold of God's hand...and He touches you...there is NO denying He is real...and waiting on the unseen and eternal is way better than having the temporal right now...

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  4. Why is it hard to be patient when waiting on God's Promises?

    Here's what I think happens with me. When I know that God can do anything He wants, but I am left waiting for Him to act - then I start to doubt His goodness. Does He really care? The subtle creeping feeling that God is "withholding" something from me makes me feel impatient.

    How can we fight this impatience?

    Well, for one thing, we can rely on fact and faith - instead of our feelings! We can remember the faithfulness of God in the past. And we can believe in His trustworthiness for the future. God's love bought us HOPE on a cross - and His promises arch over our entire lives. If we take our eyes off of this world, and firmly focus on God's heavenly perspective, we will learn to wait patiently in expectation of what we do not yet see. That is the definition, the challenge, and the joy of faith!

    GOD BLESS!

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Bless you for your visit and encouraging words! I thank you and I am humbly blessed by YOU and the time you spend with me... Peace, "Mazmagi" Peggy

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