Prepared?

We’re going out of town. There’s so much to do: a little car maintenance, hold mail, pack, clean, repack, check the weather, find the tire chains, pack again. And drive.

All this work for a few days to be with family. So worth it.

By the time you read this, all this preparation and experience will be completed. But there is always something to prepare for and experience.

Christmas is coming. There’s so much to do: a little heart maintenance, hold back, decorate, clean, redecorate, check the calendar, find the Advent wreath, decorate again. And shop.

All this work for a few days to be with family. Again, so worth it.

As we approach the Christmas season, take some time to prepare. Remember that Christ has come, and will come again. Reread the Christmas Story, the Prophesies, the Expectation, the Fulfillment, the Excitement. Pause.

Don’t let the world’s plans take Christ’s place in your heart. Make room for Him. One way we try to do this is by joining in the season of Advent. We take some time in the dark of the evening to light a candle, read the scriptures, and pray.

There are many useful Advent devotionals—some short, some long—all designed to help us prepare as we look back to Jesus’ first coming and look forward to Jesus’ second coming.

O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. [The Book of Common Prayer, The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Day]

How will your “heart prepare Him room” this year?

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Are You Thrilled?

My favorite church service of the year is coming up. It is such an encouraging time together. We gather together to share what God has done, is doing, and will do in our lives. Let me share Psalm 92 to get the thankfulness flowing.

A psalm A song to be sung on the Sabbath Day.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High.

It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, accompanied by the harp and lute and the melody of the lyre.

You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.” (vv. 1-4 NLT)

Matthew Henry writes this about Psalm 92: “It is a privilege that we are admitted to praise the Lord, and hope to be accepted in the morning, and every night; not only on sabbath days, but every day; not only in public, but in private, and in our families. Let us give thanks every morning for the mercies of the night, and every night for the mercies of the day; going out, and coming in, let us bless God.”

Are there times when you don’t recognize God’s blessing and mercy? How about when you recognize it but it still doesn’t grip you, not for long anyway. That happens to me and it frustrates me. “God, you just knocked my socks off, and I’m still not full of joy!” Those are the times I need to really look at my heart. What’s in the way? Is there something I need to turn over to Him? Where else do I need to give thanks?

I sometimes think that our Combined Thanksgiving Service isn’t long enough.

If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. (Psalm 40:5b NLT)

I guess I’m right. And thrilled.

Thank you. Thank whom? Thank You!

Mmmm. Can you smell Thanksgiving dinner yet? Can you hear the doorbell ringing, announcing the arrival of your family who traveled through busy airports and highways to be with you on this wonderful holiday? You can barely hear the football game over the din of the excited voices exclaiming how big so-and-so is getting, long hugs, “Oh my, you look great!”, the cluttering of baggage in the entry way.

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