Advent Meditation Third Wednesday Thursday

Prayer

God of hope,
you call us home from the exile of selfish oppression
to the freedom of justice,
the balm of healing,
and the joy of sharing.
Make us strong to join you in your holy work,
as friends of strangers and victims,
companions of those whom others shun,
and as the happiness of those whose hearts are broken.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Scripture

Galatians 3:23-29

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Meditation

We are still in the process of getting our Permanent Residence Visa for Australia.  We still haven’t transferred our driver’s license over to an Australian one yet.  It is not required until you are a PR.  In many ways we still sound, act and have identification as a person from the United States but if someone ask me,  “Where are you from?”, I answer very freely, “Fremantle.”  That is usually followed up with, “No, I mean really?”

I am a US citizen with US citizen id but my heart longs to be identified as Aussie.  This is not to say I dislike my US identity, but I believe God has called me to Fremantle and I should have my identity rest here.

We, having been moved into Christ by grace, find our identity in Him alone.  In the in between, the now and not yet, there are plenty of identities that via for to rest upon us.  Some are self-imposed and others come to us from the world around us.  Many of them are good and true identities.  Some are destructive and lies.  But all of them should be built on or burned away from our Truth Identity.  That we are in Christ and not just as an individual but as a body; that my particular-ness is joined together with others to be the One.  In the end everything else will pass away except for Christ and our placement in Him together.

Advent Meditation Third Tuesday

Prayer

God of hope,
you call us home from the exile of selfish oppression
to the freedom of justice,
the balm of healing,
and the joy of sharing.
Make us strong to join you in your holy work,
as friends of strangers and victims,
companions of those whom others shun,
and as the happiness of those whose hearts are broken.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Scripture

Jude 17-25

 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They[a] said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment[b] stained by the flesh.24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time[c] and now and forever. Amen.

Meditation

In the in between, the now and not yet, we can find ourselves sitting at a place of scoffing.  Not about others or really questioning God as a being that is present.  We can scoff at the Love of God, the Faith He gives, and our place in His family.

Yes there are those who scoff and pursue their own passion.  How convicting and correcting it is when we see that our passion is a distrust of God or and over trust of our own goodness?  Faith is given to us by God, Prayer is His language, He keeps us from stumbling even when we stumble.  He presents us blameless with great joy.

God receives all glory not in spite of our inadequacies and actions but through them He reveals His majestic grace and mercy, truth and justice, peace and hope.

We also receive a call to save by snatching and show mercy with fear.  When we are firmly planted in God’s family, seeing our truth self as His child we want to go grab those who are doubting who their truth self is and we show mercy to those who haven’t discovered who they are yet.  We are cautious not to get enamoured again by the false self that seeks its own passion.  We show mercy and we pursue God.

Advent Meditation Third Monday

Prayer

God of hope,
you call us home from the exile of selfish oppression
to the freedom of justice,
the balm of healing,
and the joy of sharing.
Make us strong to join you in your holy work,
as friends of strangers and victims,
companions of those whom others shun,
and as the happiness of those whose hearts are broken.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Scripture

Acts 5:12-16

 

Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Meditation

Alright, healing in the street, powerful shadows, signs and wonders regularly done by the apostles. It seems daunting if this is more than our history, the history of the early church, and a primer for what we should be doing as the church today.  I don’t think it is a strategy guide for us and how to be in this world.  I do think the apostles were empowered by the Holy Spirit to do these things.

The thing that caught me in reading this passage was that people were bringing people out so that even the shadow could fall on some.  Is that how people respond to Christians today?  Are we seen as the place of healing?

In the in between, the now and not yet, we cannot allow ourselves to be against.  We need to be present in the world as a healing balm for the afflicted.  Part of that is recognizing that there is a sickness but not running from it.  We push in and become the people and place for those in need of healing to come.  We also realized that we are sick and the Father heals and healed us in order to make us shadow healers.  The power of Christ is healing hurt, brokenness, and despair through our presence in the world.  We are people who are for people and for them to be whole

Advent Meditation Third Sunday

Prayer

God of hope,
you call us home from the exile of selfish oppression
to the freedom of justice,
the balm of healing,
and the joy of sharing.
Make us strong to join you in your holy work,
as friends of strangers and victims,
companions of those whom others shun,
and as the happiness of those whose hearts are broken.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Scripture

Isaiah 35:1-10

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.[a]
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Advent Meditation Second Saturday

Prayer

God of timeless grace,
you fill us with joyful expectation.
Make us ready for the message that prepares the way,
that with uprightness of heart and holy joy
we may eagerly await the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Scripture

Luke 3:1-18

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,[a]
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics[b] is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.”14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.

 

Meditation

Expectations are meant to be broken.  We can try our hardest to set the right expectations and inevitably they will fall short.  How that special date will take place.  What we get for birthday or Christmas.  We set our expectation and prepare.  If our expectation is met then it means we probably had to low of expectations.  If they are not met than we have reason to complain.

Often, in the in between, the now and not yet, we hope for something that will take us out of our doldrums;  out of the day to day living that seems to slowly take our life away.  We build out in our expectations what that could be.  A new adventure, a new relationship; if you are religious a new service for God and we build it up to the point that the expectation cannot be met.

Christ does not meet our expectations, He exceeds them.  Beyond what we could even imagine.  Our human minds, while created and gifted by God, have a tendency to think too small about the divine.  Probably because we imagine our self as the divine; placing ourselves and our expectations on the Throne of God.  God does far and beyond our expectations so we should give Him back His seat.

Advent Meditation Second Friday

Prayer

God of timeless grace,
you fill us with joyful expectation.
Make us ready for the message that prepares the way,
that with uprightness of heart and holy joy
we may eagerly await the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Scripture

Psalm 146:5-10

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
    who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

 

Meditation

In the in between, the now and not yet, it is good to be reminded that The Lord does.  He is active and not passive.  He is pursuing and not receding.  He is creator and not destroyer.  He is faithful and not fickle.  He is protector and not one who abandon.  He is comfort and not disdain.  He is counsel and not contempt.  He is Lord.  Praise His Holy Name.

Advent Meditation Second Thursday

Prayer

God of timeless grace,
you fill us with joyful expectation.
Make us ready for the message that prepares the way,
that with uprightness of heart and holy joy
we may eagerly await the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Scripture

2 Peter 3:1-10

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies[b]will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.[c]

 

Meditation

At the beginning and the end of the American summer of 1998 two global disaster films involving projectile from space slamming into the earth with the potential of wiping out humanity.  Deep Impact and Armageddon book-ended a summer with tales of humanity overcoming impossible odds to avoid an E.L.E (extinction level event) and at the same time revealing the ultimate human pride that we can overcome anything.  We laugh in the face of destruction.  We scoff at the idea of total loss.  We will live forever or at least we all aren’t going out at the same time.

At the same time many of us fear that we might be caught without making amends with a Holy God before He decides to come back.  We have said the sinner’s prayer, acknowledge faith, or whatever flavour of repentance your tribe practises but we are still worried that God is keeping a ledger account and we are hopeful that the good outweighs the bad at the end of the day.

In the in between, the now and not yet, some scoff and some worry and God is patient.  He is not slow as we would imagine. He is patient.  He longs for our salvation.  If you are a scoffer, do not overlook God’s faithfulness to His word.  If you are a worrier, do not overlook God’s faithfulness to His word.  He is patient. We cannot live our lives believing that He will not come again and pursuing our own pleasure.  We cannot live our lives believing that when He comes we will have not done enough or apologized the right way to enter His rest.  He is patient.  Our lives are lived toward Him and His patience pursuit of us.

 

Advent Meditation Second Wednesday

Prayer

God of timeless grace,
you fill us with joyful expectation.
Make us ready for the message that prepares the way,
that with uprightness of heart and holy joy
we may eagerly await the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Scripture

Matthew 12:33-37

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Meditation

Have you ever misspoke?  Have you ever said something and the minute your ears hear it come out of your mouth you wish you had never said it?  Have you ever thought you were having a thought only to find out you had expressed it out load? “Did I just say that out loud?”

We hear or have even said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”  We know full well that words can do much more than hurt.  They can destroy.  They can tear apart our relationships.  The words we say to ourselves can condemn us.  Careless words erupt or explode leaving devastation behind.

In the in between, the now and not yet, we get trapped in our words.  We justify ourselves with them.  We defend ourselves with them.  We position ourselves above others with them.  We build up and tear down.  We whisper the words of shame to ourselves; the lie of our failures.

One word is all that we need in the in between, the now and not yet.  One word, the one who became flesh and dwelt among us; Jesus is our word.  He is the word that does not condemn.  He is the Word that takes our carelessness and replaces it with His purposefulness.  He is the word that transforms our hearts to speak good out of the overflow of His good.

Advent Meditation, Second Monday and Tuesday

Prayer

God of timeless grace,
you fill us with joyful expectation.
Make us ready for the message that prepares the way,
that with uprightness of heart and holy joy
we may eagerly await the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Scripture

Isaiah 41:14-20

Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

17 When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
20 that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Meditation

Most of us reading this live in a land of plenty.  We have what we need when we need it and even more.  We can run to the store when we have forgotten some crucial ingredients for a recipe.  We have the ability to order groceries online and have them delivered right to our front door.  We have plenty.  So it can be difficult for us when we hear talk about needing water, our thirst so deep that our tongue is parched.  It is hard to imagine desolation.

We might feel this type of hunger or thirst in our emotional lives.  We may feel that our relationships leave us dry and we are thirsty for something deeper or real.  We may feel like we are without in our relationship or self.  This is an area where we need to see relief.

A cup of water would be sufficient.  A jug of water would be generous.  Isaiah tells us that God is a God who, “18 I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys.  I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”  He is generous beyond measure.  Those who are thirsty receive more that they can handle.  It seems wasteful to our minds.  Why not just give what they need?

Praise God that He reveals His steadfast love and His power in His provision.  He is audacious in His love for us. Cry out to the one who will over provide.  The one who will give more than you need; He is sufficient and more.

Advent Meditation Second Sunday

Prayer

God of timeless grace,
you fill us with joyful expectation.
Make us ready for the message that prepares the way,
that with uprightness of heart and holy joy
we may eagerly await the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Scripture

Psalm 72

Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!

May they fear you[a] while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River[b] to the ends of the earth!
May desert tribes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust!
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts!
11 May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!

12 For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live;
may gold of Sheba be given to him!
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all the day!
16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;
on the tops of the mountains may it wave;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field!
17 May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in him,
all nations call him blessed!

18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
19 Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Amen and Amen!

20 The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.