Advent Attitudes

ADVENT WREATH - SHARON BAPTIST“For the coming of the Son of man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. And they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away. So shall the coming of the Son of man be. Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:37-42

The four week period before Christmas in the Christian church calendar is known as Advent. The purpose is to underscore and celebrate the Advent-or soon arrival- of the Christ child at Bethlehem. Denominational churches throughout the world, particularly liturgical churches, will recognize this season with special services and programs.

This is certainly a fitting recognition of a great historical event. But our purpose here is to center your attention upon an Advent period not restricted to four specific weeks out of the year, but unrestricted and constant in these last days. It is the Advent of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to claim His Bride; and then, after a short season, the return to earth with that Bride to establish His great Millennial Kingdom.

What a day that will be! This time He will not arrive as a baby; He will not be despised, accused, beaten, spit upon and finally brutally murdered. He will be in full regalia as a conqueror, His royal insignia shouting, “Behold, the King of kings and Lord of Lords –before whom every knee will bow!” We are now in the Advent season of His soon return. Do you believe that? If we accept the reality of that statement, it is incumbent upon us to develop and maintain a spiritual attitude that points in that direction. Remember, the scriptures tell us that He is coming for those who are expecting Him. That translates to believing that He is coming, and will appear at any moment!

To help us develop that high level of expectancy and preparation, we are listing thirteen “Advent Attitudes” with applicable scripture references. Read them, study them, absorb them, until they become an integral part of your walk of faith.

1 – Believe His coming: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 This is not a fad or a theory, but a reality and vital part of our faith. This is not a simple statement, it is a promise. All of the promises of God are yes and Amen in Christ Jesus!

2 – Pray for His coming: Matthew 6:10, Revelation 22:20 Intercession for His coming motivates us to a deeper commitment to holiness and service.

3 – Love His coming: 2Timothy 4:8 “…to all those who have loved and longed for His coming.” Are you caught up in the madness of this world, or does the Advent of His coming cause you to fall deeper in love with Him?

4 – Preach His coming: 2 Timothy 4:2,1 The soon return of our Lord for His Bride is a vital part of the message we must declare.

5 – Watch for His coming: 1Thessalonians 5:6 Part of our faith walk includes being awake, sober and full of expectancy.

6- Expect His coming: Romans 6:19,23 Here the Apostle Paul urges us to eagerly anticipate His soon coming, and to welcome the first indication of it.

7-: Mark 13:35; Titus 2:13 The word “looking” as used in this text carries the double meaning of separation and expectation. Re: Hebrews 12:2

8- Wait for His coming: 1Thessalonians 3:5 The margin here reads “…the patience of Christ.” Patiently our Lord awaits the Father’s signal to come after His Bride. We are to manifest that same patience here on earth.

9 – Do not despise His coming: 2Peter 3:3,4 This may sound like a strange statement, but scoffers abound today. Many who professed belief in His coming are cynically asking, “Where is He?” Some do not believe in the Rapture and reject any approach to prophecy. That is “despising” His coming.

10 – Hasten His coming: 2Peter 3:12 Literally translated this reads “expecting and hastening”.

11 – Live in the power of His coming: 2Peter 1:16 The confidence in the soon return of our Lord is not just a spiritual luxury, but a source of real power for daily living and life.

12 – Live His coming: Philippians 3:20 It is not sufficient for us to grasp this truth – it must grasp us!

13 – Be unashamed at His coming: 1John 2:28 We saints must never be ashamed of this truth, or be a shame to it. On that day, many Christians will meet Christ with a saved soul, but so ashamed of their non-works of “wood, hay, and stubble” that they will feel like shrinking away in shame.  We would rather hear, “WELL DONE, MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. ENTER IN TO YOUR REWARD!”

Happy Advent!
A Merry and Blessed Christmas!

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God Needs Our Prayers

And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”
(Ezekiel 22:30)

 

 

Have you ever wondered, or asked yourself, why such a thing as prayer exists? When you consider it in the natural, prayer takes on the element of mystery. Does God need our help? After all, just His Word created everything that exists. Could He not speak the Word again and accomplish any purpose He wished? Why does this verse indicate a dependence upon man? We know He is God – Almighty God. Does He really need man’s involvement?

The text scripture above was spoken by God through the great prophet Ezekiel, at a time when the nation of Israel was deep in rebellion, idolatry, and apostasy. They had forgotten the God of their fathers, and had aligned themselves with the false gods of the heathen around them. They were living oblivious to the fact that the day of reckoning was looming in the distance. In accordance with God’s justice at the time, they deserved to be destroyed, but here we see God trying His level best to avoid administering just punishment upon His people. He longed to spare the Israelites the judgment they deserved, but it seemed He was helpless without man! He said, “I searched…” That means He extended considerable effort to find a man – just one man, who would stand between Him and the nation and pray on their behalf. And you can feel the sadness in the words, “…but I found no one.”

And so again the question emerges. If He wills, why can’t He just do it, prayers or no prayers? The fact is, from the beginning of creation, God put man in charge of the earth, and He always lets man have a say in what happens here. He lets man choose to accept redemption, and he lets man choose to ask for His intervention in human affairs.

It’s clear that God waits for man to “make his move,” and will not overstep His place in the covenant agreement. That’s why, in His Word, He so often invites us, entreats us, urges us, and even begs us to pray! In Matthew 7:7, the literal translation carries within it a sense of urgency. “Ask, I ask you to ask; seek, I entreat you to seek; knock, I urge you to knock!” And in Matthew 9:38, He pleads with us. “…pray that laborers will be sent forth into the harvest fields.” He is theLord of the harvest; the laborers are His, and yet we are urged to pray reapers into the fields.

At this point we must note one vital point in the program of prayer. God categorically promises to answer! He has bound Himself to answer. His promises to answer prayer are so sweeping that we virtually have a “blank check” signed, “In My Name … Jesus.”

And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And we know that if He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked fromHim.” (1 John 5:14-15). Here is a sweeping promise from God Himself with no qualifications or built in hedges. The entire concept of prayer on God’s part is watertight. There is no fine print. Through the medium of prayer He invites redeemed man into full partnership with Him in governing the affairs of the earth. God Almighty makes the decisions and the responsibility for administering these decisions has been placed upon the Body of Christ – His church.

That is why a prayer-less church is automatically a powerless and ineffective church. God invented prayer for a purpose, so that we who will someday co-reign with His Son Jesus can receive on-the-job training in overcoming. Through prayer we enforce Heaven’s decisions in the daily affairs of man. That is how God planned it, and it simply will not work any other way.

The great John Wesley once said, “I am convinced that God does nothing except in answer to believing prayer.” We are discovering that Wesley spoke with heavenly wisdom.

 

© Ted Pavloff 2007

Artwork: © Jim Sutton, gospelgifs.com