The Advent Season Is Here: The Light Shines Into The Darkness…
It is very easy for this period, November to January to go by without any real reflection of the purpose and promises of God. Our preparation and celebration of Thanksgiving; the availability of once in a lifetime bargains on Black Friday and cyber Monday; vacations and other travels, decorations and celebrations for the holidays and Christmas; New Year celebrations and the recovery needed from these, can eclipse all the focus that one might want to place on those elements related to the Christian Faith. Unfortunately, even the church that should be keeping the meaning and significance of Advent before us often gets caught up in the frenzy of programs and events which serve our interests and satisfy our own desires.
We see more secularism than sacredness during this season. There must be some deliberate effort on the part of the community of Christian believers to keep the sacredness of our faith as the central focus during our celebrations. This we seek to do by observing an old tradition of the Faith, the four Sundays of Advent. Let me be quick to say that there is no biblical record of this observation. But the history of the church reveals that at some time in the early years of the Church, persons who repented of their sins were taken through a period of preparation before they were officially received into the church. It was a period of prayer and fasting which culminated sometime in January. As we can see, the focus was an internal one, the preparation of the heart and spirit.
One of the men who is referred to in Scripture who was waiting for the coming of the Messiah was Simeon, (Luke 2:25-35). He was in the temple when Joseph and Mary brought the Baby Jesus for the rituals to be performed. In his praise to God Simeon stated that his eyes had seen the Lord’s salvation which was a Light of revelation for the Gentiles and the glory of God’s people, Israel. Will you see Jesus the way Simeon saw Him this Advent season? We are going to be seeing various arrays of lights this time of the year. But the only true Light is the One who takes us out of our own darkness and places us into His glorious Light.
The Light will never go dim. From His entrance into the world when the Word became flesh and lived among us until the day we see Him or return with Him in the clouds of heaven to restore all things according to His purpose, we are assured that anyone who follows Him will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life. Jesus is the Light of the world.
In keeping with our theme for the year, Working Out; Winning Others, we are focusing on winning men during the month of November. This is in no way even suggesting that men are superior to women. Actually, December of this year we will be focusing on winning women. January will be devoted to winning children and youth.
As we begin this special emphasis, it is my wish that every man will receive the love that God has for him. I know this might not even be an easy concept due to the fact that God is described as a male and many of us men are not comfortable with the idea of being loved by another male. But if you can forget the emotional element of love for a while and look at the caring aspect, it might make a difference. What I am trying to say to you my brother is that God cares for you. You matter to God. He desires the best for you, and has made provisions for you to actually have that quality of life that will bring you the greatest joy.
God has actually demonstrated His love for us by offering His Only Son, Christ Jesus to be the sacrifice who has made it possible for us to have peace with God and the peace of God. By receiving the gift of His Son, we also became the recipients of eternal life. No doubt you have been a hard worker and that is very commendable. Perhaps you have been looking at all the things you have acquired and you have a great sense of satisfaction because you have worked hard to obtain them. I applaud you for that. You have set a great example for others by being diligent and disciplined to provide for yourself and others. God is now calling you to rest for naturally, after all this hard work, He knows that you are tired. He invites you to come to Him and receive His rest. It is a rest that will restore every area of your life. You may not realize it, but just as constant use wears out machines, we humans, get worn out too. And we are not able to renew ourselves. God wants to renew you. Truth is, you are longing for this renewal with your entire being.
I have experienced His healing. He has mended my brokenness. He has been assuring me that despite my failures, He is always faithful. He loved me in my state of brokenness. He did not abandon me to the desires of those who wished and planned for my ruin. I am resting in His unconditional love. I invite you to trust Him to do the same for you. Whatever may have been the contributing factors to your hurts and pain, Jesus, your Savior is waiting to lavish his healing love on you. You will never be the same. I urge you to enter into a covenantal relationship with the real Lover of your soul. There is no greater love. Will you receive the Father’s love today?
I would like to hear of your decision. Please call me or email me. You are my brother; I want to journey with you. I want to share your joy. If I can be of any help to you as you commence this relationship with God, please let me know. God is love.
The Restoring God: He Restores My Soul
Psalm 23 is perhaps the most well-known Psalm in the Bible. It has been a source of comfort in times of grief and sorrow and a source of reassurance in the provisions of Jehovah for his children. In it the psalmist speaks of Jehovah and the special relationship that he shares with Him. The comprehensive care offered by Jehovah to His sheep is unmatched. Only He could care in this way. I’d like to ask you to think with me about the state of the individual that makes restoration of the soul necessary.
There are many craftswomen and craftsmen who are restoration specialists. They restore automobiles, furniture, houses, jewelry and a host of other things. I always like to see the before and after pictures of the restored objects. Many products are advertised as being excellent for restoring objects. Without being sure that the pictures we are shown as the before and after of the same objects, we purchase the product with confidence that we will get the result “as seen on TV”. Oh the surprises and disappointments many have had!
With the daily demands of life, we naturally experience “wear and tear” physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, psychologically…everywhere wear and tear. We make our regular visits to our physicians and specialists who keep us abreast of our physical conditions and administer the necessary therapy to keep us in top condition. We take vacations to rejuvenate us. There are products that are marketed as being able to rejuvenate us if we use them as part of our daily bath/shower routine. How ready are we to admit that there is the need for spiritual restoration and renewal? How honest are we regarding our own spiritual state? How can you tell that there is the need for spiritual restoration?
The need for spiritual restoration is as natural as the need for physical restoration. Our daily time of sleeping, eating, and exercising helps to restore our bodies. To deny ourselves of food, rest and exercise is to bring on sickness. The same is true regarding spiritual restoration. Denying ourselves of that which is essential to spiritual restoration will certainly lead to spiritual disease and spiritual death. A diseased soul lacks the strength and ability to defend itself against the contaminating elements that we encounter daily. I suggest that the Presence of Jehovah is our best option for restoration. David stated that Jehovah was with him and that the house of the Lord would be his permanent home. To dwell in the presence of Jehovah is our guarantee of the restoration of the soul. The overall care that is received, whether it is the food from the lush green pastures, the cool refreshing springs, the sumptuous table spread, or the anointing with the oil or the provision of righteousness, all contribute to the restoring of the soul.
A restored soul is a grateful one. A restored soul is a humble one. A restored soul is always mindful of the goodness and mercies of Jehovah. Those of us who have experienced the blessings of continuous restoration are patient with others as they go through their difficult times, which result in spiritual exhaustion and drained emotional tanks. We extend hope to them because we know what they are going through… because we just left there. The Shepherd has His keen attention on each sheep. Not one escapes His notice. The restoration of the soul entails the total person. Only the Good Shepherd is capable of doing this. The restoration of our souls is His delight. He waits for you to come to Him. You will not be disappointed. He delivers on His promise: “I will give you rest…you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30).
[google-drive-embed url=”https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5hbuLufOqBnbmV0UDBBMENLclE/preview?usp=drivesdk” title=”Behaviors Are Changed By Believing What is Taught..docx” icon=”https://ssl.gstatic.com/docs/doclist/images/icon_10_word_list.png” width=”100%” height=”1200″ style=”embed”]
[google-drive-embed url=”https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5hbuLufOqBnVmtIZjl0X0JqUTQ/preview?usp=drivesdk” title=”The Whole Truth.docx” icon=”https://ssl.gstatic.com/docs/doclist/images/icon_10_word_list.png” width=”100%” height=”1200″ style=”embed”]