Are you considered the last-minute giver? This question may come with bad connotations, perhaps you are thinking of someone who waits until the last minute to buy a gift for someone without any real thought or reason for why the gift is given. Perhaps you know of someone who is a last-minute giver and you experienced their style of giving this Christmas. On the other hand, however, these bad connotations don't have to always stick to the person. Maybe this person takes so much time and energy considering what to give that it almost always seems like a last-minute thing. You don't recognize the energy and effort, the thought and trials it took for this person to buy you a gift. Perhaps you have experienced this type of person and giving as well.
Thankfully when it comes to the gift of salvation, God is not a last-minute giver. He knew before the creation of the world that he was going to send his son to die for humanity on the cross. He understood we are his created beings and what it would require of him to save us. This act of God and the foreknowledge he had gives me great comfort. It reminds me that God knows how everything is going to play out, for the small to the great. You may play a role in the activities of God, but you don't have to worry about your lines or what you have to do. God knows before the event or action ever takes place.
Should this cause us to change our giving style? It doesn't necessarily have to. What it does for us, however, is reminded us all once again that no matter who we are, we are here because God has plans for us. His plan does not depend on your abilities, skills, or even understanding. His plan calls for us to allow him to work in us for his glory. This may seem wrong to our earthly thinking brains, in order for us to accomplish a task we need to know the background. Has God ever shared the details with his people about his plans and has our thoughts, ideas, and objections ever changed the main mission? We all know the answer to those questions and the answer is no.
So whatever category of a person you characterize yourself as, it doesn't matter to God. God knows your place in his plans, not only for your life but also for his world. We can be thankful that the gift of salvation is and never has been a last-minute gift; instead was a gift that was planned before the creation of the world. Wouldn't you rather be a part of the plan that has the backing of God and the workings of the Trinity then be a part of any man-made plan? I know I would. I pray that God will give us all humility and willingness to be a part of his plan when we are called to do so. I will go in the with the knowledge and trust that God has all things worked out and that his plans are not last-minute decisions or based on whims. I will go as part of God's plan with the understanding that he is continually working and leading and that he is in control of all things.
The Wheeled Worshipper
As 2020 comes to an end, and we look for better and brighter things in 2021, it is good in these moments to reflect on what God has done. We have seen His Sovereign Will and Plan in all its fullness play out in the year that was and how God has used this year as a season of preparation for what is to come.
In 2020, our theme was to keep our eyes on Jesus no matter what. Throughout the year, that call of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus was tested in countless ways that many, if not all of us, were unprepared for. But now in this coming year of our Lord 2021, we are being prepared in Christ and in faith like never before.
We see this theme come alive as we continue in the first chapter of John's gospel for our family visiting text this year. I would encourage us all to read John 1:19-28 as John continues to point others to Jesus. He does so prepared for their questions with something to say about himself and something to say about the Lord Jesus.
It is the prayer of the Council that you would also be as prepared to speak of the Lord Jesus to the waiting, watching, and often wandering world; the world that is looking for direction; the world that is looking for answers; the world that needs you to be prepared for the second advent of Christ to earth just as you have celebrated his birth.
It is in the certain hope and joy of the truth and grace of Christ that prepares us in heart to go to the world of doubt. It is the love and peace of Christ that prepares us for the wars and battles that will be fought. It is the Sovereignty of our Father's Will that keeps our spirits high and our hands at work. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit within us that gives us the strength and wisdom to endure personally, as the Church local, as the denomination drawn in, and as the Church universal.
For all that we are prepared to do is to make the Name and Kingdom of Christ known. That is our mission. That is our task. That is what we are being prepared for in Christ Jesus, our Savior, our Brother, and our King.
Be prepared in 2021 for His work!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in the Lord!
Another election season can be added to the history books. I don't recall every being part of an election that hd so much going on at one time. As always, candidates won and lost and some races were too close to call and had to go to runoff votes. Also, there always seems to be the case that as voters, we are definitely sure our candidates will win. How could they not? They seem to stand on the right side of things and will get the most done if elected. For one part of the country that dream dies as we see another person get elected. We recognize and understand that we will have four years until we get the opportunity to vote again. So, what do we do in the meantime between now and 2024?
There are many things that we can do including getting involved in politics at the local and state level, either by volunteering or running for office. I encourage those who feel led by God to take the opportunity to at least explore entering into political office. As Christians, I think that there are three things that we can to. These things are not hard to do, in fact I think we all can do them. The three things I think that we can do as Christians is pray, educate, and vote
Prayer is important in all areas of life including politics. We have the right and the privilege to pray to God, and we can ask him for his wisdom to guide our politicians, no matter their side of the aisle. We can pray to God knowing and believing that he has the best interests of America, and he will use whomever to accomplish his purposes. It may no seem that way, but we know that God can use anyone. We can pray that he will continue to guide our nation in these next four years.
We can also educate ourselves about the issues and new candidates for office. That way when we do vote we can be informed on the issues and the people in our government. This doesn't just apply to presidential races. It can apply to every race and opportunity for new policies and things that are implemented by the government. We can also educate our senators and representatives, so they are aware of things that are happening in our state and can better serve us. Giving these government officials feedback is important so that they can help make not only our state, but the country better. I would think that would be something we all would want.
Then we have to take the opportunity and vote. When we have prayed about the candidates running for office, educated ourselves on who they are, what they stand for; we can take that to the polls and vote, believing that God is in control. Again, these are not groundbreaking and life-changing things to do. Instead, they are simple steps that we can take as Christians to be the best citizens that we can be as we exercise the privilege of voting. Ultimately, God is in control, and we can be his representatives here on earth. I pray that God can use all of us through the privilege of voting to make his world more Christlike.
The Wheeled Worshipper
As we enter the Advent season this year, we will be studying from the first chapter of John's gospel for our AM series. In this chapter, John takes us all the way back to the beginning of time when it was only the Lord Triune and nothing more.
In the grace of design and the love for beauty, John says the creation was called into being by the three persons of the Godhead. There was light, and John declares there was darkness that could not understand the light. In other words, sin came in. Sin came in by the actions of creatures less than God who were convinced that they could be god without Him.
They chased the darkness until in their darkness people could no longer understand the light. Even when Advent occurred, the earth people were unwilling to see him. They were unwilling to hear him. Eventually they killed him. Not because he wasn't kind enough. Not because he didn't love people enough. No, Jesus died at the hands of sinful men because in Jesus was the light of glory that they could not understand. For darkness cannot understand light. Darkness cannot understand truth. Darkness cannot understand advent.
Yet, John says to the darkness of the world, darkness came. As vs. 14 reads, "The Word became Flesh and made his dwelling among us." Christ came in their way to show the grace and truth of God, as God residing in the flesh of man.
That is why this season of the year feels different to our minds, our hearts, and our souls. This is a season of waiting. A season that God has designed amidst the garland and bows, candles and carols, gifts and sweets, to be a time for us to be made aware again that the God we serve is the God who lives.
Our God is the active God of the past as we hear the prophecies of his coming. He is the protector of the present with the presence of his Spirit as our daily guide. He is the preserver of the future where the anchor of our faith resides as we await the final advent to dawn and never set.
As we look for that final day where we will see the Lord Jesus in all Glory by the side of the Father, we are invited in this season to come and wait. To come in expectation and hope. We come into this season desiring to be disciplined and changed by the sights, lights, and the songs, and that we would be ready for the ultimate gift of our Savior Jesus who came that we would be saved.
Come in preparation this year for the coming of the King whose second advent is near even as we celebrate His first advent in the past. Come this year and give Glory to the King that your heart would sing.