Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent Week 2

The first candle was the prophecy candle. It reminds us that God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do.

This week we look to the second candle. The second candle on the Advent Wreath is called the Bethlehem candle. It is a symbol of the preparations being made to receive and cradle the Christ child.

Luke 2:1-7

“the census comes at the exact time to get a virgin to Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy with her delivery.” -John Piper

As we look at the preparations God made in sending His son to redeem us, we have to see that these preparations didn't end in the manger, or on the cross but He is continuing to bring things in preparation for others who will come to know Him personally!

2Corinthians 5:21, Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:6

These verses reveal to us that God sent His son as the sacrifice for our sin, but they also show us that the work God does in our life to redeem us and restore us and prepare the way for His Son does not stop at the moment of salvation. These verses are a reminder that God uses everything in our lives for a purpose - to make Himself known among the nations - and that what he begins in us, He will be faithful to complete.
“The question is not what God could do, but what he willed to do.” -John Piper

God could have sent His son in all his glory, but chose to send Him in humility. As we look at the Bethlehem candle we are reminded of this. We are reminded that God has a plan and it is far better than anything we could come up with, but it is also far beyond our ability to comprehend!

Matthew 3:1-12 allows us to see John the Baptist preparing the way of the coming Messiah. In the same way that God used John the Baptist to prepare the way for Christ, He uses us to prepare the way for what He will do in those around us.

As we get closer to Christmas we should look expectantly toward what God will do, but also look back gratefully at what He has already done. He has shown up in our lives in amazing ways, in circumstances we could never have pieced together no matter how hard we tried.

As we watch these candles burning we are reminded that not only is God who He says He is and does what He says he will do, but He has a perfect plan for our lives. He is the one making the preparations we must simply follow after Him!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Today begins the Advent Season! I am so excited about this! Zeke and I are doing our own Advent family worship times and I just wanted to share what we did tonight for the first night. I am hoping to share what we do for each Advent Sunday, maybe some in between too! The whole purpose for this season is to focus our attention and affection on Jesus Christ our Savior. That is my prayer in posting this.

"Lighting a candle is a simple yet profound act. It is a testimony to the power of light over darkness. Even the light of one candle can reveal our faces as we stand near the candle. As we light the candle, we begin our journey to Christmas, a day of joy and celebration. 
The first candle on the Advent wreath is called the Prophecy candle, it opens the period that anticipates Christmas and remembers those who first spoke the promise of the coming Christ child."

For 400 years the people had no one who came to them bringing a message from God. Think back through all the prophets God had sent to them over the years, then for 400 years He seemed to be silent! 
Then, just like lighting even the smallest flame expels darkness, Jesus came and through the cry of an infant, they heard from God once again. And this time not through another man, but from God in the flesh.
Just as with the prophets, there would be some who would reject what He said, but others who would believe and follow. 
The first candle is a reminder to us that God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do! 
Prophecies had been made about this great King who would come one day, but then silence fell, and with silence, probably some hopelessness, but praise God He always keeps His promises! So on that dark night, just as He had spoken through the prophets, the Savior King came! 
One light. It may not seem like much. Just like one infant crying doesn't seem like much, but with God all things are possible, and we can have confidence that He will complete what He has started.
So as we look back, we also look forward. One day, that infant, our Savior King, will come again, but this time as our conquering King! We may not know all the details surrounding His return, but we know that just as sure as He aid He would come before and He did, He will do it again! We can celebrate with Hope! Not wishful thinking hope as our society knows it to be, but absolute certainty Hope, based solely in the fact the God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do!

"But there will be no  gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he  brought into contempt the land of  Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he  has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people  who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of  deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with  joy at the harvest, as they  are glad  when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as  on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us  a son is given; and the government shall be  upon  his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful  Counselor,  Mighty God, Everlasting  Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the  Lord  of hosts will do this." (Isaiah 9:1-7 ESV)