Advent 2016: Watch & Hope

hope

Advent began this past, Sunday November 27. This year of Advent, now more than ever, our focus is to WATCH and HOPE.

“No one knows when that day or hour will come. Even the angels in heaven and the Son don’t know. Only the Father knows. “When the Son of Man comes again, it will be exactly like the days of Noah. In the days before the flood, people were eating, drinking, and getting married until the day that Noah went into the ship. They were not aware of what was happening until the flood came and swept all of them away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes again. “At that time two men will be working in the field. One will be taken, and the other one will be left. Two women will be working at a mill. One will be taken, and the other one will be left. “Therefore, be alert, because you don’t know on what day your Lord will return. You realize that if a homeowner had known at what time of the night a thief was coming, he would have stayed awake. He would not have let the thief break into his house. Therefore, you, too, must be ready because the Son of Man will return when you least expect him. “Who, then, is the faithful and wise servant? The master will put that person in charge of giving the other servants their food at the right time. That servant will be blessed if his master finds him doing this job when he comes. I can guarantee this truth: He will put that servant in charge of all his property.
(Mat 24:36-47)

We frequently pray for God’s Kingdom to come; “Yes, Come Lord Jesus, Messiah, Come…” as we should. But it is odd that if this is our desire, our call, our hope, why do we struggle with actually living out these words every day moment-by-moment. How do we redirect our hearts and minds on the coming of Lord Jesus, Y’eshua, Isa al Masih? The inevitability of His return is certain.  But I wonder if we truly live expectantly? Do our daily choices demonstrate the hope and belief in Christ’s return?
Most likely, we are not ready to meet Christ. We do not live an Advent life, nor if truth be told, might we even be a bit frightened to meet our loving Y’eshua face to face? Not ready. So how can we change?

In church last Sunday, we were reminded that it was the first day of Advent and we celebrate Hope. But there is much tragedy, pai and suffering, abounding selfishness and narcissism, greed, hate, and wars upon wars in the world. How is hope relative to this? Here is an excerpt from the worship prep section of Discipleship Ministries:

The world is a terrifying place. We like to imagine that it is not. We like to think that at least our private homes are safe places and that we can protect ourselves and our families from thieves breaking in…

We like to believe airports are safe places. But when major international airports become targets for suicide bombers, even with all the additional security measures that are now in place at all airports around the globe, we begin to wonder if it isn’t better just to stay home…

We like to think we can protect ourselves from early death through healthy living: keeping our weight down, exercising regularly, eating the right foods, and getting annual physical checkups. But then cancer or Alzheimer’s Disease or a stroke or heart attack, or an accident, breaks into our world. And suddenly we are forced to confront the fact that we don’t have much control even over the preservation of our own bodies. No matter how healthy we try to be, the fact is we are all, every single one of us, going to die. And none of us knows the day or the hour when…

So, when we read these words from Jesus on the First Sunday of the new Christian Year, the First Sunday in Advent, where he implores his disciples to:

“Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Matthew 24:42-43

I can’t help but feel that I’m being put on notice. And I am struck that this ominous warning comes every year at the beginning of the season of preparation for Christmas. It seems out of place. And yet, there it is…

WATCH & HOPE
watchThe hope created by and in Y’eshua’s first coming has changed us and given a glimpse of what it will be like living in a perfect world. Y’eshua, God in flesh, came to earth to live and die and live again to bring this hope. He being God, knew no sin or evil became sin by taking ours on Himself while on the cross. This is the reason we have hope. Yes, good and bad times will fall on all people. We all can count on storms and trials in which we will suffer greatly. And yet, the difference between a Follower of Y’eshua, a disciple of Isa al Masih and a non-Follower is that Messiah forgives when we repent and then promises to walk with us through the hard times as well as spend eternity with Him. Hope for living today and Hope for tomorrow as we Watch expectantly. That word Watch is an action verb, so there is more to Watch than just standing and looking. Y’eshua set the task of watching, hopefully this way:

Mat 28:19-20 So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

So, what are we missing here…? If Y’eshua is our salvation and He completed the work of making us right before God by being our sacrifice, which He did and He was, why are we still not ready? We are not ready because we do not live His mission of bringing others back to Himself, to God. Our job is to point people to Him and intercede on their behalf. This is the way to live out His return.

In the book of Revelation, God tells us that when Y’eshua does return there will be a great multitude of people standing before His throne. We must share this promise with others. We must invite them to the celebration so they can be blessed and reunited with God.  “For God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die, but will have eternal life” (John 3:16)

“Advent is the season that is not so much about how we “get ready for the babe in the manger,” but rather how we get ready for the end of this world as we know it…”    Richard Eslinger, Discipleship Ministries

Father God and our Lord Jesus Christ, show us how to live expectantly, awaiting your return. Teach us to pursue you, as you pursued us. Write Your words of life on our hearts and lives so much so that we can do nothing but share Your love with others, and so, Your Kingdom will come.  Teach us to live in HOPE as we actively WATCH for Your return.

Advent


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