Third Day of Advent

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Romans 13:11-14 NIV

“The hour has come”

These words written by the apostle Paul over two thousand years ago still speak to us today.

He was writing to the church in Rome to encourage them to live their faith, to make their actions match their words. They were to live each day in great expectation of Jesus’ return.

If we are to understand just what Paul meant by clothing yourself with Jesus Christ then we need to go back and read the preceding verses in the chapter:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary o submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

This is why you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Paul begins the chapter with their relationship with the government. Ouch!

What has that to do with living my faith?

According to Paul it has everything to do with our faith walk.

If we trust God with our souls, then we must trust Him with our lives.

That means He controls every aspect of our lives: our relationships, our careers, our health, our finances, and yes, our government. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be involved. What it does mean is that we learn all that we can. We pray about the events going on in our world. We ask God for direction for our part in His plan. And then we follow where He leads us. We obey the laws passed by our representatives unless the law goes against God’s law. God is our final authority. As our final authority He will put into power those He wants in power for His purpose.

If you want to see what obedience to God’s plan looks like read the story of Joseph in Genesis. (Chapter 37-47)

At age seventeen Joseph dreamt that he would rule over his family. His brothers were not impressed. They were jealous because their father favored Joseph. They allowed their animosity to grow and one day the opportunity came for them to get their revenge and they sold him to slave traders. He landed in Egypt where he rose to a prominent position in the household of one of Pharoah’s officials. Then he was falsely accused and imprisoned. When he interpreted Pharoah’s dreams Joseph was released from prison and put in charge, second only to Pharoah. When famine was over all the land his family came to Egypt looking to obtain grain. Long story short Joseph’s dream was fulfilled and he was ruler over his family and all of Egypt. Joseph knew that what his brothers had meant for evil God had used for good.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Paul writes of the debt of love we owe. A debt that is never paid in full because we can never out-love God.

Our world needs to see Christians living their faith; answering anger with understanding, hate with love, words of abuse with words of acceptance. We stand firm in our faith trusting God to keep us in every situation.

For we know that God can bring good out of any situation for those who love and serve Him.

The times we live in are difficult but also very exciting because every day we are another day closer to Christ’s return. We are seeing scripture come alive in the events taking place in the world today. Keep looking up!

Second Day of Advent

This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In the last days the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be established as chief among the mountains;

it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.

He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.”

The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Isaiah 2:1-5


Are we there yet?

How many times have we heard that question from travelers impatient to reach their destination?

Isaiah speaks of “In the last days” and many today are asking, “Are we there yet?”

How close are we to those last days?

I don’t know.

I do know that we are closer today than we have ever been.

But the day Isaiah talks about has not yet come for sin abounds.

Isaiah calls to us – Let us walk in the light of the LORD!

Keep looking up for you know not when the LORD will return.

Let us be found faithful.


Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people:

but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Isaiah 60:1-3 KJV

We light this candle as a symbol of Christ our Hope.

May the light sent from God shine in the darkness to show us the way of salvation.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

On this first Sunday of Advent was light the candle of HOPE. We find ourselves desperately in need of hope after two years of total upheaval of what we think is “normal.” We are in a dark place. We are fighting a virus that is here to stay if we are to believe the scientists, ever evolving and affecting our lives. We are experiencing economic trauma with costs rising every day. There is political unrest in our country with a divided people and no compromise in view. The heavily populated east and west coast areas believe the country should go in one direction, while the more rural areas of the country believe just as strongly that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Our southern border is wide open and our citizens find themselves under attack with no one in authority acting to bring them relief. Russia is attacking Ukraine, China is threatening Taiwan, North Korea is testing nuclear missiles, and the tensions build. These are added to the everyday frustrations real people face in their real everyday lives – a flat tire on the car, the washing machine breaks, a sick child, a broken relationship, and the list goes on. Life’s pressures keep building.

What are we to do?

Who are you depending on?

If I didn’t believe in a loving God who cares about every detail of my life I would be in despair.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross, so that the relationship that was broken by sin could be restored. Jesus died, the debt was paid, and everyone who accepts his payment is saved.

This season of Advent reminds me that God saw a world in darkness and sent His Light.

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by Him:

and without Him was not anything made that was made.

In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.

(John 1:1-4)

Jesus died on a cross, but He did not remain in the grave. He lives!

And Advent reminds me of His promised return.

And after He had said these things.

He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going,

behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.

They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?

This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven,

will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.

Acts 1:9-11

Behold, He cometh with clouds;

and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him:

and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.

Even so, Amen.

Revelation 1:7

For the LORD Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,

with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:

and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,

to meet the Lord in the air:

and so shall we ever be with the LORD.

I Thessalonians 4:16-17

Jesus said we would live in a word with trouble. The final battle has not yet been fought. But while we live in a world broken by sin we are not without hope for God sent us His Holy Spirit to guide us, to encourage us, to empower us, and to keep us.

Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.

(John 14:1)

Peace I leave with you,

my peace I give unto you:

not as the world giveth,

give I unto you.

Let not your heart be troubled,

neither let it be afraid.

(John 14:27)

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.

In the world ye shall have tribulation:

but be of good cheer;

I have overcome the world.

(John 16:33)

And so, as we light the candle of HOPE this day

 we stand in the light of God’s love

trusting in the promise of Christ’s return

to take us to live with Him in heaven for eternity.

The marketplace is empty

No more traffic in the streets

All the builders’ tools are silent

No more time to harvest wheat

Busy housewives cease their labors

In the courtroom no debate

Work on earth is all suspended

As the King comes thro’ the gate

Happy faces line the hallways

Those whose lives have been redeemed

Broken homes that He has mended

Those from prison He has freed

Little children and the aged

Hand in hand stand all aglow

Who were crippled, broken, ruined

Clad in garments white as snow

I can hear the chariots rumble

I can see them marching throng

The flurry of God’s trumpets

Spells the end of sin and wrong

Regal robes are now unfolding

Heaven’s grandstand’s all in place

Heaven’s choir now assembled

Start to sing “Amazing Grace”

O the King is coming

The King is coming

I just heard the trumpets sounding

And now His face I see

O the King is coming

The King is coming

Praise God, He’s coming for me

On this first Sunday of Advent I invite you to listen to this song by the Gaither’s and to reflect on God’s gift of a Savior, Jesus Christ. His coming as a baby in a manger gave hope to a lost world and His coming again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords will set right what sin attempted to destroy.