How alive are you?
How abundant is your life experience in God?
The New Testament starts with the book of Matthew, but the first Gospel written was most likely the book of Mark. It reads, “The beginning of the Good News about Jesus …” It then starts with the ministry of John the Baptist – the one who Isaiah prophesied would prepare people to receive Jesus, the Messiah. John called everyone to repentance – to turn from their sinfulness – their self-referenced, self-promoting, self-protecting and self-justifying lives.
John the Baptist proclaimed a new spiritual season in the Messiah that had two powerful stages:
As we consider the Advent...
What do we do after the big day has come and gone? The big day was overwhelming – either for us or for others, or both. It took all we had, and has left us depleted and empty. The “morning after” the big day is important; it may last for a while, but it starts with a day – and how we handle it matters.
DON’T GIVE IN TO GIVING UP
We are tempted to let the feelings of emptiness rob us of who we are and who we are in God. Remember Elijah, after his biggest day of public confrontation – after his greatest victory – felt like dying. He said to God, “I have had enough, take my life …” (1 Kings 19:4) This is the feeling of “the morning after. Acknowledge it, but don’t give up.
REST AND BE REFRESHED
God sent angelic help to Elijah, and He will often do the same for us. The angel seemed to stand by him; he encouraged Elijah to rest and to eat – to take care of himself and be...
Most of us live in deep fear of being found out. We are scared of people knowing us deeply; our weaknesses, inadequacies, fears, doubts and sin. We are deeply ashamed of our condition. Yet, we all have darknesses – we are all very flawed, and our responses to our conditions are
peppered with brokenness.
Coming clean with who we are and what we have done can feel terrifying … apart from the grace of God. Letting others, God or even ourselves know just how corrupted parts of our souls are raises fears. We are afraid of being judged, condemned – or worst of all – rejected. So, we are tempted to deny or hide our “stuff.” We try to tell ourselves and/or others that we either didn’t do what we did, or that it wasn’t really sin when we did it. We often coat our motives with feigned good intentions. We perform these mental gymnastics because it’s too scary to admit the truth about ourselves … apart from the grace of God.