Observing the season of Advent is to wait with expectancy. Advent is derived from Latin and means "coming". Both as we wait to celebrate again the birth of our Savior and the waiting for the second coming of our King. As with most seasons of waiting I often find myself "bored", frustrated in pride that I cannot control the timing, impatient at the "wait".
We often think of waiting and preparing our hearts as being “still”. Sometimes thinking that waiting means no action. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Preparing our hearts and being still requires intentionality. Intentionally, setting time aside to spend with the Lord, asking Him to reveal what He wants us to see.
Each week of Advent focuses on a theme within the story of Christ Jesus. HOPE, FAITH, JOY, PEACE. We at Bridge to Thrive have been sharing our thoughts on each of these topics in preparing our hearts, lives, and ministry to be in alignment to His calling in preparation of His coming!
HOPE. The old testament books of the Bible speaks prophesy of the coming Messiah. God’s people were waiting for hundreds of years, yet through the prophets they had hope. While they waited, God’s people were sharing the stories. Their people led out of slavery. The great cloud and tower of fire. The many prophesies woven like a golden thread throughout the old testament. The book of Isaiah, one of the most prolific prophets, contains many messianic prophesies. One example is in Chapter 11, giving people hope that the Lord would again become a dynamic presence in this world.
This season what are you hoping for? Rest in Him, read his word -what did his word say about what you are hoping?
FAITH. As we celebrate again the remembrance of Jesus birth, we are reminded of the faith of Mary and Joseph. How through faith individually they each had to carry out their roles in His story. As I have wrestled with the word and concept of faith in my life, many days I was feeling a lack of it, a feeling of empty inside. I believe this empty feeling is from not being in the Word of God our daily bread. Then He lovingly reminded me that faith is NOT a feeling. Faith is stepping out, trusting, even when we don't know how He is going to work it out. (Virgin conception of the King of the World…) Faith is not works. It is rest. It is trusting and letting go. Stepping where He sends you, going when He says go. Waiting and resting when He says no, not yet. One of my favorite promises in trusting in God, is that He will complete what He has started in me. That's what I remind myself when I fail at things in my humanness.
Where and what is your faith in during this season? Test your answer and see if you have been investing your time in that faith? While faith is resting in His will, we are still called to walk in our callings. To step towards God's calling you must step away from your comfort, but faith means you still have to take the steps.
“Never let the fear of failure talk you out of Faith. You can have faith, or you can have control but you can't have both.” – Andy Ziegenfuss, Pastor Passion Community Church Blue Ash, Ohio.
JOY. A baby leapt, announcing Jesus birth before he was even born. Healer. Teacher. No longer slaves. Death defeated. Sin no more. A “helper” (the Holy Spirit) that is better to have within us than it was to have our Savior walking the earth. Stop and think about that for a moment. His greatest gift is inside of each and every believer. Now there is something to rejoice over! Joy is within you, it is a fruit if the Spirit. If you haven’t unwrapped the gift of our savior, open your heart to Him today! Get in to prayer and listen with a softened spirit, open heart and ask Him into your life,
PEACE. Think about the times you have felt the most peace in your life. I would guess that it was a time when “all was well” in your soul/your spirit. When you had done what you could do then let go of control, placed your hope and faith in God to work it all out for His glory. When we are “holding” on our hands are clenched, closed. Open them sweet sisters! Allow God to join you this season, yoked together, for any burdens you are carrying.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
My prayer for each of you is that this season of waiting, your preparations are focused on becoming more of His light in the dark world, JOYfully preparing for His calling and purpose as we wait in expectancy for His coming celebrations Dec 25th, 2018, and His return.
Peace be with you.
Gina Ellis, Bridge to Thrive