Some of us may be giving the impression that we are kneeling at the altar of sacrifice, when in reality we are affixing our name tag to the base of our own pedestal. How, you ask? Do we honestly have kingdom motives in mind when we build personal empires of social media, when we encourage others to follow our every tweet as we hope to build a name and a following of influence for “His glory?” Kingdom influence and favour is a gift and a grace of God, not a self-generated internet ego-stroker. Self worth and self esteem come from being loved and from being in the presence of someone who loves us.
As we head into a new year for 2013, may we consider how and why we use social media. Rejoicing, praising and keeping in touch with friends is one thing, blatant bragging and puffing up is another. Let us honestly ask ourselves if we need to raise the bar and set some new standards or boundaries for this new year. John 3:30 reminds us that “He must increase but I must decrease”, which is a difficult road to navigate at the best of times, and especially if our laptops become misguided pedestals for our egos. T. Long
In terms of the world, peace is defined as someday when there will be no more conflict. Personal peace is not that simple. We expect our lives to be full of conflict, trials and challenging circumstances everyday. But there is a peace that is greater than ourselves and beyond this world. The story of the Christmas baby Jesus does not end like a song with him “sleeping in heavenly peace”. The story continues beyond the song as the baby becomes the Prince of Peace and offers the way for us to make peace with God. A peace that holds our feet on the Rock when all else sinks, and anchors our soul when all else is swept away. A peace that speaks to our spirit during the storms of life and says, “Peace Be still.” This is not for some day in the future. This is here and this is now for all who embrace their King, just as Mary embraced her baby on that Christmas night so long ago. T. Long
Our spirit and soul desperately search for it and may temporarily be satisfied with a fleeting imposter, but joy so true, so pure, so unshakeable, unmistakeable and incomparable can only be found in Jesus. The miracle of Christmas is finding Jesus in the manger and entering our world. The miracle of Joy is finding Jesus at the door and entering our heart. Joy to the World…..repeat the sounding joy! T. Long
Hope waits for a promise that is not yet fulfilled. Hope watches for a star that has not yet appeared. Hope walks to a place that is not yet known.
The wise men were on a journey of “not yets” long before they ever arrived at their destination. But it was also a journey of hope because they believed they would find what they were searching for. We find Hope when we are hoping to find Him. The second candle at Advent reminds us that He is the Hope not only of our destination, but also of our present journey. Like a star, He lights a path for us to follow, and His rays of hope penetrate deep into the “not yets” of our hearts.
As we light the candle on our wreaths this First Advent Sunday, we join with Christendom today and from centuries past to enter a season of meaningful and joyful devotion. Together we freshly reflect on the glorious mystery of God Incarnate, the Holy Christ Immanuel – God with us.
At Advent, we remember that without Him we are cold and empty stables. We humbly offer Him the straw of our lives. We ready our hearts and prepare Him room. We invite a King to find a resting place in our lowly mangers, and to come and warm our hearts again with new-born wonder and amazement. Come Lord Jesus. T.Long