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Friday, Dec 8 | NOW

Editor's Note

About the author:
 Dave and his wife Joan have been members at ZPC for more than 30 years! Dave is currently a sitting elder (but just through this year) and also serves on ZPC's Mission Commission. 

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of waiting, mystery, redemption, and incarnation. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

Waiting | Psalm 31:13-16

For I hear the whispering of many-terror all around!

as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hand; 

Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

Let your face shine upon your servant save me in your steadfast love.

As we look at Psalm 31, at first we might be thankful that we don’t live in some parts of the world where there are daily imminent dangers, such as in the Middle East. Certainly when Christ was born it was also a time of great dangers. But today we fortunately do not face the kind of dangers faced in the Middle East. Instead we each are faced with many other dangers and perils–sometimes of our own making.

Dangers like materialism, individualism, comparisons, competition, and selfishness seem to be battling with our very soul. But perhaps an equally large danger is the difficulty to live in the NOW. NOW is the only thing we have. We can only love our family, our community, others–NOW. We can only wait–NOW. It is meaningless to dwell in the past; and to try to live in the future is only a figment of our imagination created by our ego. Live in the NOW, wait in the NOW. We can wait in anticipation, but live for NOW–this moment, this day. We can place that gift under the tree for later, but today hug your spouse, your child, your parent–NOW. Really look into the eyes of another person and see this wonderful creation–NOW.

When I see and hold a new creation, such as a new grandson, I can only marvel at such a creation. When we wait with anticipation the celebration of God’s son, the promise of what will be at that birth is indescribable.

God is with and in each of us NOW. Don’t look past NOW. NOW is the only time we really have.

Trust God NOW–it’s all we have; and that is more than sufficient! 

Activity

Take a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line down the center of the page. On the top of the left column, label it “NOW–acts and thoughts.” On the top of the right column, label it “Future or past acts and thoughts.” During your day keep track of your thoughts and actions and place them in the appropriate column.

Prayer

Thank you God for your steadfast love. Help me to learn to live in the NOW. Help me to understand that you are with me NOW. Help me to see your love in another person’s eyes NOW. Help me to be patient to wait in you.

Amen

Posted by Dave Gall with

Thursday, Dec 7 | What are we waiting for?

Editor's Note

About the author:
 Tim and his wife Heather have been involved at ZPC for a number of years. They have one daughter in high school and one daughter in middle school. Tim serves as ZPC's facilities manager and when he's not working at ZPC you might find him performing as a musician in local venues (see picture).  

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of waiting, mystery, redemption, and incarnation. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

Waiting | Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his Kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 

What are you waiting for? What future do you see for yourself, your family, your career? The nation of Israel was waiting for God to fulfill his promise of a deliverer, someone who would remove a secular government from their lives, vanquish their enemies, and place them in their rightful place in the world. They had built a paradigm of what this deliverer would look like, but they were 180 degrees off! They were waiting for a powerful military leader to carry the day. While waiting, they built specific expectations and prepared themselves (heart and mind) for what this deliverer would do. In anticipating a military leader, they removed themselves from a focus on sharing the love of the God who is Love. Theirs was an attitude of being the “spiritual elite” instead of recognizing the fact that they were an undeservedly blessed people.

The Israelites were waiting for power, might, and even vengeance. Instead, when the Savior arrived, they found humility in the form of an infant, love in the form of Christ’s open arms, and grace in the form of the King of Kings sacrificing everything on the cross for our sake.

What are we waiting for? In working toward our goals, are we aware that God is always bending our work toward where he wants us to be? Are we ready to have our lives changed in unexpected ways? Have we truly placed our futures in the hands of our Savior?

Activity

Write down a goal or dream that is important to you. Under this goal or dream write down how Christ might turn this on its head and take you on an unexpected path. Next, write down how you hope you would react to such a change. Finally, ask the King of Kings to help you be ready when he guides you down a road you never expected, and to embrace it knowing that he is with you always.

Prayer

Lord, I am ever grateful that you have created me to be the unique person I am, and that I am uniquely designed to do the work you have planned for my life. Please help me to constantly be waiting on you to take me down an unexpected path to do the work you have prepared me to do.

In your precious name,

Amen. 

Posted by Tim King with

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