Vol. 8-51 – 12-17-2023 – Advent—A Season of Love
A Song of Ascents of Solomon: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved, sleep. –Psalm 127:1-2
Every good gift and every perfect gift are from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. –James 1:17
When you gaze around, do you wonder why others “get” ahead faster, or “get” stuff sooner? Getting what they want (or worse, what we wanted)? Did you notice how personal the verses were? God’s gifts are for you. They come at exactly His right moment. There is no variation, no shifting shadow.
We have seen that we are waiting on God. There is more. We are waiting with God. God was there the whole time. We do not always like the wait. In fact, we rarely look forward to the wait.
Truth: God’s gifts for you will come at just the right moment; and, if you are truly waiting on God, you will not mind the wait. For He is far more dependable than we can ever imagine. His love is more than we can ever imagine.
When we walk beside our great God, we always arrive together on time—His time.
We note in the Scriptures that there is a steady flow of God’s care for us. Through His love. He is the giver of our life and breath. God created all the creatures; He gives them exactly what they need. The Scripture is fairly silent regarding our wants. We make lists for those do we not? Make sure they are known. Put little checkboxes next to them. When we petition God for them, we give Him a schedule. If we could text or email Him, we would include those little checkboxes beside our wants (so He would not miss our wants).
Did you know that there are some who stay up late at night so that they can plan what should come their way in the morning? Especially on our birthdays and for Christmas. Further, if our want is early in the morning, God may often smile and give you the rest you really need; you get to sleep in through the early hours of the morning. So much for the planning.
A tiny sparrow does not fall from the sky without God noticing. He clothes the hillsides with an abundance of beauty—vibrant colors. Just drive through New England in the fall, it is breathtaking.
Yet, we, He says, are His beloved. If that is not a common word in your speaking, it means simply that He loves you, us. Those who are his sons and daughters through faith in Christ. He asks that we trust Him; He has a genuine Father’s heart. He will always meet your need. He will not normally meet your frivolous wants (even though that is not how you would classify most of your requests. You pray for a parking space in front of the doors of that store. You are unhappy when it is not provided. God knows that your body needs exercise, so He provides the opportunity for you to walk reasonable steps.
It is true, by the way, that God will often give you the desires of your heart as He acknowledges your heart’s intent with His gifts.
To the Choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, Your wondrous deeds and Your thoughts toward us; none can compare with You! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told! –Psalm 40:1-5
While you are waiting for Christmas in this Advent Season of Love, have you truly given thought to what you are waiting for? Does it honor the One who sent His Son, Waiting is hard work. It is a huge investment in who we are.
Did you know that for centuries, people sang while they waited for God to send the Messiah? They did. Where does that song come from? And the music that underlies the song? Sometimes we just sing. Not a familiar song, but one from the very center of our lives. From our heart. Well, deeper. From our soul. It is good to sing from out of our souls. We get to hear what truly matters to us.
When we do that, our song is most often regarding what or who we love.
God has a song. It is the gospel. It is the stunning story of sending His Son into the world to lift us up out of our messy, mess. As He does this (did this, will do this), He gives us something to sing about. For the believer, it is a new song. A love song. Well, this is the season.
God takes our soul and the believer replaces the songs of despair with new songs of love and praise—songs for the One who makes us altogether new.
I teach a Community Group at our church. You cannot imagine the joy of doing that. The opportunity of speaking hope. And the opportunities to encourage with the love of God. It is not just during Advent—it is throughout the seasons of life. Community Groups can connect with the importance of our worship. It is because the gospel and worship are inseparably linked.
The soul does not always follow the importance of being in a Community Group (LifeGroup, Bible Study Group, Sunday School) if the only attendance it has is during worship service. Or sporadic in the year. Worship is essential. Community Group is essential to our growth in Christ and ministering to others with Christ’s love.
We do not worship Jesus because we just ought to; we worship Him and give our love and praise to Him because He has brought life to us. As we gather each week for Community Group (where we do more than just study the Scriptures) and worship, we do not have to wait to love our Lord. He is already present. The praise band is not the thing that makes us worship, it calls to our soul to sing praise to the One who rescued us.
Our song praises the One who sets us free—it is His salvation where our song comes from.
Before we understood God’s mercy and grace, we were exposed to His love—what does His love mean for you?