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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

IN PREPARATION

 


 

The Christian world is busy preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We bring pine trees into our homes and decorate them with lights and ornaments, we string colorful lights, or white lights made to look like icicles, on the outside of our houses. Some arrange a nativity scene in their front yard. Others will put a big star on the roof, or a Santa and reindeer, and there may be a snowman on the front porch to greet visitors.

The silver star hanging on our tree was made by my father in 1918 when he was five years old. We have several ornaments made by our children that we use as decorations. We’ve also gathered some ornaments while vacationing over the years. Our tree isn’t about being beautiful and perfect; it’s about being us, a tree of memories. We have a traditional Swedish smorgasbord on Christmas Eve with meatballs, cheeses, sausage, a rice dish called Groot, pickled beets, baked brown beans and Swedish Limpa bread – if I can find it. I often make a big pot of green pea soup. Cookies are a must.

Everything is special. . .it’s like God saves the best for the end of the year, waves a magic wand and the world is transformed into a more gentle place. Because Jesus Himself is a gift to us and giving symbolizes our love for one another, we spend a lot of time shopping for just the perfect gift to put a smile on someone’s face. And, we remember that we serve our King by serving one another.
All this preparation should be expected. After all, we prepare for most everything in one way or another, things that aren’t nearly as worthy as our Lord’s birth. The Bible speaks often of preparation.
 
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Matthew 25:34

There comes a time when we believers discover that we are a child of God and accept His son Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but God has always known who we are, since the creation of the world. He has blessed us with the gift of faith. The best gift of all. We all want to give this gift to others, our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, everyone. Alas, only God can bestow this gift, so we need to walk in faith believing in what we can’t see. We can trust the character of God – “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” I John 4:16.

God is so interested in what we do to reflect His love, that He has prepared ‘good works’ for us in advance. Ephesians 2:10 says He leaves nothing to chance. A “good work” that He has planned for me is helping a group of veterans in our local detention facility to be inspired to write. They all have a story to tell, a poem to write, and thoughts and feelings to share. They are a great group of men that I’ve come to know and respect. I pray for their success and the ability to overcome their problems. I see no way they can do that without a relationship with God.

I am a volunteer who teaches ‘creative writing’, but I took advantage of the Christmas season to talk about the birth of the Messiah. I know God has His children there  in jail who will respond to His message. I brought in some Christmas cards for them to send to their families last week. This week they gave me a precious ‘card’. Actually, just a piece of white paper. One of the inmates had drawn a beautiful picture of a cat, (he use to work for Hallmark as an illustrator) and they’d all signed this, many expressing gratitude. I was so very touched. I’m sure they bless me more than I bless them.

The Lord has prepared a special place for us. This is where we’ll be with Him for all eternity.

“In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14: 2 – 4. 

Do you know what Jesus is doing right now? If you are a believer, He’s preparing a place for you. He knows it’s important to be prepared.
 
I thought of this verse today when my husband and I were at his cardiologist’s office. The cardiac procedure that he’d had three weeks ago may have been a failure. He has ‘ventricular arrhythmia’ and has a device implanted in his chest to help his heart keep an even rhythm. He needed more help so they did a treatment called ‘ablation’ and it didn’t work as well as they’d hoped.  He has a sick heart. I know he will be here with us until the very minute the Lord has determined it’s time to go and be with Him. What peace there is in knowing that we’ll be spending eternity together in the Father’s house.  For those who are prepared, we can’t even imagine how wonderful it will be.
"No eye has seen,
 No ear has heard,
No mind has conceived
What God has prepared for
Those who love him.”
I Corinthians 2:9 

 Is it any wonder, knowing this to be true, that we go a little crazy at Christmas?  A baby boy was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago who came to change the world. He came to change each one of us. He has promised to mold us into vessels for His use – He is the potter, we are the clay – Romans 9. Christmas is not just a ‘holiday’, it’s a holy day. Be prepared, He will come like a “thief in the night” - I Thessalonians 5:2
 
           Be of good cheer and sing a ‘joyful noise unto the Lord’. We'll be doing that this week at one of our local shopping malls when we gather with many others for a 'flash mob' performance of Christmas carols.

Thank you Lord for your daily presence, your love and careful preparation. Help us to walk in faith believing in what we can't see and trusting you to work 'all things together for good' because you love us.