Tag Archives: Faithfulness

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent

Welcome to the third week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the third week of Advent is about the joy and peace we find in the Messiah, with Mary, the mother of Jesus, being our example. We finally begin to see the the connection from seeing our need for a Savior to discovering and sharing the news of that Savior to beginning to see some of the rewards of following the Savior.

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And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. -Luke 1:38

But those rewards rest on our response to what God has done.

(This is not to claim that we can do anything to earn salvation. This is also not the place to have a major soteriological debate [hash out matters and merits of salvation, i.e. over Calvinism, Arminianism, and the like]. Please enjoy the thoughts today, and head over to the Proverbial Thought Extra Facebook page if you want to dialogue with us, or you can leave a respectful comment.)

Contrary to what many teach today, God will give us more than we can handle. It encourages us to rest in Him, trust that He knows what He is doing, and let His power flow through us by the Holy Spirit.

Case in point, young Mary – who is yet to be married to Joseph at this juncture in the story of Christ – is told she is to carry the Son of God and give birth to Him.

Think about it: a young female, not yet married, in a society that limits what women can do with a religion that shuns the sexually impure, being told she is about to be pregnant. She is risking being ostracized by family and friends, thought a liar and a slut, and severely limiting her prospects for the future.

And how does she respond to this news?

“I am the Lord’s servant.”

How willing are we to be willing to the call of God?

We do not have to carry the baby Jesus to term, but we are tasked with carrying His Gospel to a fallen world.

We do not have to risk being labeled liars, but we risk being ridiculed for believing a man is God in the flesh, was killed, and came back to life.

We may not have to risk family and friends thinking we are crazy and abandoning us …

Actually, yes, we do.

Such is the cost of believing in and following Jesus. It may even cost us our lives.

If we want to find the joy and peace that comes with following Jesus, we first must be willing to actually follow Jesus. With all that it may cost us.

Emmanuel, thank You for coming to save us. Give us the resolve to pursue you throughout the world, or even to our literal neighbors and family.

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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.


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 1st Week of Advent – Day 4

But thou, Beth–lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. –Micah 5:2, KJV

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Did you know that there is only one reference in the entire Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) that mentions where the coming Messiah would be born?

Yet it reminds us that God takes care of all of the details, even to the smallest piece.

Micah reminds us that, though we are often faithless and destitute, out of the House of Bread (Bethlehem) would come the faithful Bread of Life (Jesus – John 6:48) who will be lifted to the highest place in the highest heaven.

Micah longed for His coming, as we long for His return.

Faithful Father, fill us with the life of Your Son, the faithful One who redeems and satisfies.


Being Fruitful and Ready

Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured. -Proverbs 27:18, KJV

I could not help but think of Jesus’ parables here.

First was the fig tree He cursed in Matthew 21, which is a reminder to us that our Lord is coming and expects to find fruit of repentance and love in our lives.

Then are the parables of the virgins and the talents in Matthew 25, which are reminders to stay ready for His return and use the fruit He has planted in us, to not be lazy or unprepared. He has given his expectations and commands, and we are to be doing those things (read Matthew 28:18-20 for our shared mission).

Finally, Jesus finished chapter 25 talking of those servants who follow His will: those who care for the Masters house and other servants. If we think He is not coming soon and begin mistreating each other, it will show we are not His true servants and deserve the same punishment as those who were never a part of His household.

May we be found faithful and ready when our Lord returns!


My Presumption of Tomorrow

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. -Proverbs 27:1, KJV

As I write this, it is the day before this posts online.

That seems rather presumptuous of me to assume that you are reading this the next day (or farther in the future).

The thing is, I am not sure anyone is reading this. For all I know, before anyone gets the chance, the Lord has returned and brought the world as we know it to an end.

However, this is scheduled for a Sunday. Therefore I continue this by encouraging you to get to your local church and worship God through song, hearing the preached and taught Word, and enjoying fellowship with other Christians. (If you went on Saturday, cool.)

In terms of being confident you are reading these words, though, I explain my presumption.

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
James 4:13‭-‬15, KJV

Do you not see that James and Solomon were in agreement? But James explains Proverbs 27:1 in more detail.

To explain, I presume people are reading these words because I trust that God is in control. At the very least, I have obeyed His command to expound on scripture. At best, I have done so to your benefit in Christ.

Maybe no one is reading these words, but, if the Lord will, you are.

I do not boast in any skill I have or that I know you are reading this.

No, I boast that the Lord has spoken, has sacrificed Himself for me and for you, and He has risen to glory. And He is in control.

And I shall continue as long as it is called Today. For Tomorrow (capital “T”) shall be with the Lord, and all boasting shall cease, for He is fully present with us and all sin and rebellion and fear is gone.

Lord willing, you are there, too.


This Ain’t No Prosperity Gospel

Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain. –Proverbs 25:14, KJV

In Acts chapter 5, we hear of Ananias and Sapphira. They were the couple in the fledgling Church in Jerusalem who joined in the spree of selling property and laying the proceeds at the Apostles’ feet.

They are notable for being the people who said they had given everything from the sale, but in truth they held some back. The issue was not keeping some of the money for themselves but lying to the Church and, more importantly, the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit struck them dead for it.

Why, and why is this so important?

First, God was protecting His young Church. He did not want Christ’s Bride defiled immediately after the betrothal.

But He wants people who sow real seeds of blessing. Not to help those in power or receive something in return. Not to make themselves look better in the eyes of other people.

No, (and if you will allow me to get a tad allegorical) God wants His people to give gifts that can rain down and blow across the harvest field of souls.

He is not as concerned with someone’s personal prosperity as with the prosperity of His Church, that she can grow in meaningful number and relationship with Him.

If you boast of your giving of time, money, and resources to the mission of the Church, but that contribution is not as big as you imply (if at all), then you are stealing from and misrepresenting the witness of God and abusing His bride.

God may want a joyful giver, but He would rather you be an honest person who never helps than one who boasts of what in truth he has never done.