Tag Archives: Christmas

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 4

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. -Matthew 3:7-9, KJV

It is not enough to come from a Christian (or Jewish) home.

With Jesus’ first Advent, it was mostly the religious leaders who refused to change, because they “knew it all” about faith.

As we await Jesus’ second Advent, it is not enough to have grown up in church or attend church regularly. It takes repentance and a willingness to actually listen to the teachings and commands of Jesus, to show love and compassion to others and commitment to God’s truth.

Do not trust in your ancestry or upbringing. Do not rely on the faith of your parents, siblings, or friends. Turn to Jesus for yourself, and believe.

Saving God, do not let me rely on my own knowledge, skills, or history. Give me a passion for You, Your Word, and Your Church.

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Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 3

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. -Matthew 3:5-6

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With repentance comes confession. Even in the time of Advent, when we look forward to the coming Messiah, we must remember the importance of confession:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. -Romans 10:9

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. -James 5:16, KJV

As we prepare for the Messiah, it has to include the preparation of our hearts, as we confess our sins to God and to others and are baptized.

God in Heaven, we have sinned against You. As we confess, we thank You that You are faithful to forgive.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 2

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” -Matthew 3:2

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John’s primary message while baptizing people in the Jordan River was to repent.

Repent literally means “to change your mind.”

Stop thinking the way you do! Stop only thinking about what this world says, and think biblical thoughts, heavenly thoughts! Realize Jesus is Lord of all and Savior of the world!

You may think you are a good person, or that your good deeds will outweigh your bad deeds. But God says you do not understand how much help you need, how great a chasm separates us and Him.

The message of John and all of Jesus’ disciples is “Change your ways! Turn to God! Repent and believe!”

We cannot come to Christ unless we are willing to change.

Great God, thank You for leading us to Your Son. Continue to conform our minds to Your will as we bring others along.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent

Welcome to the second week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the second week of Advent is about preparing ourselves for the coming Messiah, with John the Baptizer being our model. This is when our focus turns from the promises to fulfillment of Messiah. Obviously, there is a connection between each week, as we begin by looking out our need for the promised Savior, and then we move to finding the truth of the living Savior.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. -Isaiah 40:3, KJV (see Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4)

John was prophesied centuries before either he or his cousin, Jesus, lived. John is also the final of the Old Testament Prophets. He was the last to prophecy the coming Messiah before Jesus began His ministry.

He was an ascetic – someone who separates from society in many ways through denying comforts and desires, including diet and habits, for religious purposes. (See Numbers 6 to understand more of John’s asceticism, known as the Nazirite vow.) He seemed pretty crazy and weird, but he laid the groundwork for the Messiah.

What did this mean?

He called out sin, decried fame, and [literally] pointed to the Lamb of God, the Messiah.

As Christians – believers in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus – we are likewise called to point to the Savior. We are to prepare the the way for His return and encroaching Kingdom.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
-Matthew 28:18-20

How are you pointing others to Jesus?

Good Lord, give us a passion for sharing the Good News of Jesus – to call out sin, love people, and glorify Your Name.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 7

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. -Isaiah 1:18, KJV

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As we finish out the first week of Advent, we look back at Isaiah. He was able to hear directly from God that He was coming to wash away all of our sins.

The irony of this is that God calls our sins scarlet – dark red – and will be washed white as snow and wool, and this by the washing through His own blood. His red blood washes us whiter than snow.

And He says, “Come and talk to with me about it. I will show you your sin and need for a Savior, and then I will show you how you can be cleaned and saved.” (A slight paraphrase of the verse above.)

The Prophets looked forward to the coming Messiah, and we can point the world today to that Messiah who is come and will come again.

Lord, thank You for washing us clean. Give us Your words and wisdom to share this good news with the world.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 6

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. -Zechariah 3:8-10

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The great news of Zechariah is that the Branch of Jesse, the descendant of David, the Servant King of Israel, would be coming to His people, and in a single day He would manage to remove all the sins of His people.

Through this Branch, all people will be able to come together in peace and love, living by the fruit of the Spirit in all facets of life and relationships.

This is not simply some feel-good story, but the source of the peace we celebrate at this time of year.

It is also the hope that we will one day see this fulfilled completely. It will be fully realized when our Lord returns to reign on Earth for eternity.

Lord of hosts and Righteous Redeemer, thank You for taking our sin upon Yourself and reuniting humanity with You. Guide us in bringing Your Kingdom to this world.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 5

The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
-Deuteronomy 18:15-19, KJV

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As we continue through Advent season, we look back on what one of the greatest prophets (Moses) foretold of the coming Messiah.

The Hebrews were afraid of seeing God, and rightly so. They were still rebellious in heart, and they were afraid of dying at the sight of their Lord and even at hearing His voice.

Yet, God reminded them through Moses that He is their Savior, and one day One would come, a fellow Israelite, who would be their greatest Prophet who spoke directly from the Father.

The One who was in their midst as a burning pillar of fire and column of smoke would one day confront the sin of Israel and the rest of the world. If we refuse to listen to the words of this One, God will hold us accountable on the day that He returns. But instead of a column of fire, all that things will burn on His return, making all things new, except those who reject Him.

His first coming was the rebuke with forgiveness. His next coming will be in full judgment.

When we trust in the Lord, we no longer fear death. His birth led to our new life.