I can see it just ahead
Advent is much more than looking forward to December 25th, the day we celebrate Christ’s birth. It is about realizing the hope of glory bestowed upon us in Jesus.
When the angel announced to Mary that she was highly favored and that the Lord is with you. It greatly troubled her because her life looked nothing like “highly favored.”
Going from “greatly troubled” to “highly favored” is what Advent is about. We do it by taking the words of Mary for our own:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1:38
The promise of God for us is “Christ in me the hope of glory,” (Colossians 1:27). A hope that grows each day carrying us through sorrow, and troubles, and onto a glorious Christmas forever in Christ.
So we hesitantly count ourselves as highly favored and whisper with Mary—may it be as You have said…I think I am pregnant.
The higher up I go the more insignificant I feel.
No prayer is too small and insignificant that God will overlook it.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7
No request too huge that the infinite power of God will not make it look insignificant.
Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Water flowing around rocks
“Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14
This is actually very reassuring for it means God works in our lives to keep us following Him. He will not stand for our worship of anything else. It also means God is there when we get on our knees and pray.
When I am anxious and ask for help, He is there.
When I am sad and cry out, He is there.
When I feel the pull of temptation, He is there to give me strength.
When I am joyous, He is joyous with me and will guard me from falling into hedonism.
He is always leading me to Himself.
When the world is falling down around me He is my rock, my refuge, and my savior.
In all my ways God keeps me for Himself.
Knowing this brings forth thanksgiving and praise.
I can take a deep breath in His closeness and rest in worship of my God.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent men you save me.
I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:2-4
“For great is Your love, higher than the heavens.” Psalm 108:4
We can’t make God love us less—He died for us.
We can’t make God love us more—He died for us.
But sadly we are free to ignore His love and die for ourselves.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Gazing upon beauty depends on the condition of your mind
There are many things that interfere with my ability to appreciate beauty. Beauty is delicate and easily pushed aside. I can’t do it if my mind is beset by: anger, fear, lust, jealousy, greed, grief, or sadness. These thoughts are brash, consuming, and often out of control in my mind. I need the help of the Holy Spirit to tame them and send them away so I can see the beauty of the Lord. When the Spirit comes and transforms my mind (Romans 12:1-2) He replaces those harsh thoughts with: thanksgiving, gratitude, praise, joy, peace, hope and love. O how good it is to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord (Psalm 27:4).
Crack by crack the glacier recedes
It’s the little cracks that will cause the fall.
One upon another to bring down the wall.
Of themselves hardly a worry,
But they combine to a diabolical fury.
Such great loss from such little things.
Who knew the curse disobedience brings.
Enslaved to follow this eroding course,
What might’ve been is my remorse.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:2 NIV
Little crumbs can become a great meal,
One after another to forge armor of steel.
Of themselves hard to consider,
O the blessing they will come to deliver.
Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24 NIV
Such great gain from such little things,
God tells us the riches obedience brings.
Who knew the glory it would unlock,
A temple to God built block upon rock.
A mighty Humpback whale
As Jonah found out, there is no situation so deep or dark that God’s love is not able to reach.
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” Jonah 2:2
I have no great thoughts,
but I know wonderful revelation is out there.
There are colors to enthrall the eyes still to put on canvas.
There is music that will lift the heart, but awaits a composer.
There are poems to inspire the soul, that remain unreleased.
There is great beauty that will captivate the beholder,
but we have lost our purity to take it in and give it away.
I need clear eyes to see, unstopped ears to hear.
A clean heart to bow before the Lord and receive all he wants me to know.
This gives me hope.
I pause from my daily activities,
and pray for God’s Holy Spirit,
to come upon me,
and make His glory known.
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10
The mountains of Glacier Bay bursting into song.
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Whales spouting in Glacier Bay Alaska
When my soul is downcast,
when my way seems in decline.
I’ll remember a beautiful place,
where Your deep love called to mine.
A place of water and mountains,
of raven, and eagle, and bear,
whales spouting, ice cracking, the breathing
of Your wonderful cold clear air.
A place where I gazed on Your splendor,
and knew Your great love for me.
Giving me hope in my troubles,
That one day in Your presence I’ll be.
Poem by Stephen Hufman based on Psalm 42