Saturday, December 3, 2016

Advent Journal Day VII: Awake And Alive And Full of Hope

Hope in the Lord’s Forgiving Love.

Psalm 130 A Song of Ascents.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His Word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities (Psalm 130: 1-8 NASB).

Again, a Psalm of Ascent sung by those going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival of the Lord. Those pilgrims were alive with joy and hope in the God of Israel; we have the same hope—we too should be alive in joy in celebrating the season. In my daily creating of a thanksgiving theology, I seek to be more awake and alive to Him and His presence. I am not awake or alert enough to Him. Christ warns us to not sleep concerning His coming:

Therefore, be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming (Matt. 24:42 NASB).
I am also moved by an older wiser sister in the faith:

Contemplating Jesus Second Coming stirs me to watchfulness. His parables warn against the dangers of a spiritually sluggish life (see Matthew 25; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 12:35-48). Watching is more than staying awake; it is anticipation and faithfulness. The One my soul loves may come today to gather me to himself. That hope motivates me to be ready, vigilant and diligent, prepared. I must cultivate a watchful spirit.”[1]

I don’t want to just know that Jesus is coming; I want to be awake and alive and about His business so that when He comes, He will find me faithful. I have a lot of work to do.

I need to test my heart and see how awake and alive I am for Christ. It is one thing to celebrate His arrival over two-thousand years ago; it is another to worship Him all year long. How do I cultivate a thanksgiving theology, throughout the year? How can I cultivate a grateful heart three-hundred-sixty-five days—not only for certain celebrations? I asked my heart a few questions; maybe you can too:

Do my eyes fill with tears and my heart with love when I recount how Christ revealed Himself to me and saved me from the miry pit of sin I was drowning in—do I share that story with others? Am I overwhelmed with love and awe as I remember that He is God incarnate, that He died and raised up again into New Life for me? Am I filled with wonder when I hear the voice of God speak to me from the pages of the Holy Writ and into my heart? Am I undone like the woman with the alabaster box at His Love, Grace, and Mercy as He lovingly accepts my worship—the lowly sinner? Am I ready if He knocks on my door today?

As we come to the end of the first week of Advent—igniting our hope in the Lord and in His coming, and enter into the second week of preparation, reflect on the above questions. Are you awake and alive? Ignite your hope in the Lord and look for His coming; the Advent we celebrate now and the one we look forward to. We have the same hope in Christ's Second coming, where He will interrupt our chronos with a glorious kairos. Angels pronounced His birth at the first advent and the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God (see 1 Thess. 4:16) at the second. Rest in the Hope of His coming; the Hope that He came once and the Hope that He will come again. Prepare for His coming and be ready.

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne. 

Charles Wesley

To read the entire Advent Journal click here: 

My Scribbling...

[1] Jean Fleming, Pursue The Intentional Life (Carol Stream, IL: NavPress, 2013), 147.

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