The Senior Bridges Podcast
ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #25 — ”Death Shall Be No More”  Revelation 21:1-4

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #25 — ”Death Shall Be No More” Revelation 21:1-4

December 25, 2021

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #25 -- "Death Shall Be No More"  Revelation 21:1-4

OUR STORY

"The word 'Advent' means 'Arrival' or 'Coming.' Naturally, we use the word 'Advent' around Christmas, since Christmas is the time we celebrate Jesus' Birth -- God Coming to earth.

"But traditionally, Advent is meant to have a dual focus. The First Focus of Advent is backwards, looking to Jesus' Coming at Christmas. The Second Focus of Advent is forwards, looking ahead to Jesus' Future, Glorious Return!

"These two 'Advents' only make sense when considered together. What God began in the Birth of Jesus, He will Finish when Jesus Comes Again! God's Kingdom, Inaugurated by Jesus' Life, Death, and Resurrection, has not yet been completely Fulfilled. As some have helpfully put it, God's Kingdom has both 'already' and 'not yet' elements to it.

"The First Advent, Christmas, highlights this 'already/not yet' tension. In Christmas, we see God Taking a Radical Step to End Injustice and Death, NOT by Defeating them outright, but by Entering a World in which He would Experience them Personally. Only by doing this, could He Hope to Bring People like Us, Riddled with Injustice and Death ourselves, Back to Him. In Jesus, God is Already Doing the Work of Reconciliation!

"God's Work, however, is NOT YET FINISHED. Hence, the Second Advent: What Jesus Began in His First Coming, HE WILL FINISH in His Second Coming! He WILL RETURN, bringing Perfect Justice and Wholeness with Him! HE WILL MAKE the wrong things right and the dark things light. HE WILL Lift our Heads and Wipe Away the Tears from our Eyes! AT LONG LAST, what we ALL LONG FOR WILL COME TRUE: 'God Himself will be with them...and Death shall be no more' (Revelation 21:3-4).

 "In Jesus' First Coming...God Came to Be With Us. And a Second Coming is on the Horizon, with the Exact Same Promise: GOD WILL BE WITH US! As we LONG FOR that Return, we extend an Invitation to EVERYONE around us. Our Neighbors are LONGING, too -- for Justice, for Wholeness, for Healing, for Hope.

And that which they LONG FOR has a NAME! HIS NAME IS JESUS! EMMANUEL! GOD WITH US!"

REFLECT

The Christmas Season is drawing to a close, but the Beauty of Christmas -- God's Presence With Us -- is meant to be ours Year-Round! What would be different if YOU TRULY BELIEVED God was With You? REMEMBER: IN CHRIST, HE IS!!


ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #24 — ”Emmanuel, God With Us”  Luke 2:1-7

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #24 — ”Emmanuel, God With Us” Luke 2:1-7

December 24, 2021

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #24 -- "Emmanuel, God With Us"  Luke 2:1-7

THE STORY OF JESUS

"We don't read the Name "Emmanuel" once we move beyond the Birth Narratives about Jesus. And yet, the whole of Jesus' Life flows from that Name. "Emmanuel," God With Us.

"Jesus was Born like us -- Vulnerable, Weak, and Dependent on His family. He needed His mother's milk to stay alive. He needed swaddling cloths to keep His Body warm. In His Perfect Humanity, He needed others to care for Him. Just like us.

"Jesus lived like us, enjoying life's pleasures and enduring life's moments of tedium......Jesus suffered like us......Then Jesus did something you and I haven't done. Something very human, but still very foreign. He died.

"Humans die. We all know this. But we haven't done it yet. Don't skip past that irony: Jesus has experienced  something universally human -- but that we living humans haven't gone through yet. That's a bit ironic -- and a lot Comforting. Because even in His Death, Jesus Died as God With Us.

"And then, remarkably, Jesus did something utterly unlike us: He Rose from the Dead! This is something we've never seen. But we will! The Apostle Paul refers to Jesus' Resurrection as the 'Firstfruits,' a Promise of a Future Reality (1 Corinthians 15:20) Joining Jesus in His Death, we will also Join Him in His Resurrection Life! Jesus Became like us so that we could Become like Him -- Alive Forever!

"Jesus' Birth was the Beginning. But His Death wasn't the End. In fact, even His Resurrection wasn't the End. His Birth, His Death, His Resurrection -- ALL of them are just the First Pages of the Story God intends to Write. A Story He will keep Writing Tomorrow! It's a Story of Redemption, Justice, Beauty, and Life! A Story where God Takes all the Wrong and Makes it Right, all the Darkness and Makes it Light! A Story of God Who Came to Be With Us, Who Overcame Death for us, and Who Invites us to Live With Him Forever!

PRAY -- AND SING!

Pray these lyrics as you sing them out loud:

Joy to the world, the Lord is Come! Let earth Receive Her King; Let every heart prepare Him Room, And Heaven and Nature Sing, And Heaven and Nature sing, And Heaven and Heaven, and Nature Sing!

Joy to the world, the Savior Reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains Repeat the Sounding Joy, Repeat the Sounding Joy, Repeat, Repeat, the Sounding Joy!

No more let Sins and Sorrows grow Nor thorns infest the ground; He Comes to Make His Blessings Flow Far as the Curse is found, Far as the Curse is found, Far as, far as the Curse is found!

He Rules the world with Truth and Grace And Makes the Nations Prove The Glories of His Righteousness And Wonders of His Love, And Wonders of His Love, And Wonders, Wonders, of His Love!


ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #23 — ”The Very First Christmas Gift”  Matthew 2:9-12

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #23 — ”The Very First Christmas Gift” Matthew 2:9-12

December 23, 2021

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #23 -- "The Very First Christmas Gift"  Matthew 2:9-12

THE STORY OF THE WISE MEN

"Gift-giving is probably the most common element of Christmas today. Christian or not, most Americans give and receive gifts on December 25. But we don't find any gifts in the Bible stories about Christmas. That is, until we meet the enigmatic Wise Men.

"We don't know much about the Wise Men. About all that we know is that they had positions of influence (hence "Wise Men"), that were extremely rich (hence lavish gifts), and that they came 'from the East.' Beyond that, they remain largely shrouded in mystery. Were they Kings of some sort? Consultants to a Foreign King? Priests maybe? And did they come from Persia or India or Ethiopia or Arabia? Or from all of these places?

"The Bible keeps us in the dark about many of the details we might most like to hear -- details like these. Instead, we are told merely that these mysterious men made a long journey to worship Jesus......So, why does this matter?

"The Arrival of the Wise Men reminds us of God's Purpose in Salvation. In many of the other stories, Jesus is hailed as Israel's Coming King. He is the Son of David, Come to Deliver His People. But the Wise Men remind us that Jesus Came for MORE that just Israel. As Simeon said when he met Baby Jesus in the Temple, this Child Came to be not only 'Glory to Your People Israel' but also 'a Light for Revelation to the Gentiles' (Luke 2:32).

"The Birth of Jesus blasts apart the Dividing Lines we are used to. How could it not? This is God Himself, crossing the Greatest Divide we could ever imagine -- the Span of Heaven and Earth, Holy God and Sinful Humanity. If God, through Jesus, was crossing THAT Great Divide, it only seems right that His Arrival would knock down a few other Dividing Walls along the way!

"Jesus Came to earth to Heal what Sin had Broken! That includes the Chasm between God and Humanity. That includes the Chasm between one Nation and another. Jesus Came to Heal BOTH our Vertical and our Horizontal Brokenness!......The Wise Men recognized this!......They knew a New Light had dawned -- not only for Israel but for the whole world, and for THEM!

"The Wise Men are known for the Great Gifts they brought. Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh. But they would be the first to tell you that they did not GIVE the first Christmas Gift; they RECEIVED the first Christmas Gift. That Gift is Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, the Only One Who could Reconcile us to God. And to one another!

PRAY

"O God...Look with Compassion on the whole Human Family; Take Away the Arrogance and Hatred which infect our hearts; Break Down the Walls that Separate us; Unite us in Bonds of Love......that, in Your Good Time, ALL Nations and Races may Serve You in Harmony around Your Heavenly Throne......"

AMEN


ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #22 — ”An Unlikely Success Story”  Matthew 1:18-25

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #22 — ”An Unlikely Success Story” Matthew 1:18-25

December 22, 2021

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #22 -- "An Unlikely Success Story"  Matthew 1:18-25

THE STORY OF JOSEPH

"We Western readers are drawn to biblical stories that reinforce our cultural myth of success: Work hard, be clever, and with a little bit of luck, you'll win in the end!

"If we're looking at the whole narrative of the Bible, that pattern doesn't always hold water. But it completely bursts to pieces when we consider Joseph. Unlike many of the biblical heroes before him, his story doesn't end with vindication or victory.

"Joseph's story, captured here in the Gospel of Matthew, flips the camera away from Mary (where Luke had it) and points it to the engaged husband. It's the same moment of uncertainty and fear we saw in Mary, but from unsuspecting Joseph's perspective.

"Joseph responded to Mary's pregnancy graciously. He assumed -- as any of us would have -- that Mary had started an affair with another man. Rather than publicly shaming her for this (which was common) he attempted to undo their engagement discreetly.

"Joseph wasn't seeing the situation like God was seeing it, so God Sent an angel to clarify. But the angel didn't rebuke Joseph for his plans. He did, however, give Joseph a little more perspective. She wasn't cheating Joseph. That's God's Baby! In fact, it's God Himself! To his credit, Joseph responded much like Mary: He believed God for the Miraculous!

"Joseph experienced ALL of the difficulty with none of the Glory! And yet, Joseph's story is a Success, a Reminder that even if everyone thinks you're a fool, when you have God's Approval, you've got Enough! In fact, Joseph had MORE THAN God's Approval! For as many years as he lived as a father, Joseph had God's Unique  Presence right the're under his roof -- 'Emmanuel,' God With Us!"

PRAY -- AND SING!

Pray these lyrics as you sing them out loud:

Silent Night, Holy Night! All is calm, all is bright. Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child. Holy Infant so tender and mild, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Silent Night, Holy Night! Shepherds quake at the sight. Glories stream from Heaven afar; Heavenly Hosts sing "Alleluia!" Christ the Savior is Born, Christ the Savior is Born!

Silent Night, Holy Night! Son of God, Love's Pure Light. Radiant Beams from Thy Holy Face. With the Dawn of Redeeming Grace, Jesus, Lord at Thy Birth, Jesus, Lord at Thy Birth! 

 


ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #21 — ”A Beautiful Promise and an Unknown Future”  Luke 1:26-33, 38

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #21 — ”A Beautiful Promise and an Unknown Future” Luke 1:26-33, 38

December 21, 2021

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #21 -- "A Beautiful Promise and an Unknown Future"  Luke 1:26-33, 38

THE STORY OF MARY

"For a long time, our cultural depiction of angels has been a bit too soothing. If given the option, most of us would say we'd welcome a visit from an angel. But whenever angels show up in the Bible, people respond with such immediate horror that they assume they're about to die!

"This fear isn't just a response to the angel's appearance, either. Sure, it often starts that way, as a gut-level terror at seeing a brightly glowing creature with a voice like thunder. But even after the angel leaves, the fear often doesn't; because what  the angel leaves behind, while not as loud, is usually just as unsettling.

"Mary's angel left her with two things -- a Beautiful Promise and an Unknown Future. The Unknown Future, in fact, was the result of the Beautiful Promise. We are more familiar with the Beautiful Promise: After centuries of Watching and Waiting, God was FINALLY Sending His King! God was Coming to earth to STAY! And He was CHOOSING to do it, miraculously, through Mary!

"Mary's situation was one of a kind. But while none of us are asking ourselves how to handle a Miraculous Virgin Birth, I'll bet most of us are asking a question much like Mary's. We're in that Final Mad Dash toward Christmas. We're singing songs. We're sipping hot cocoa (even if it is 65 degrees, as it often is where this author lives). We're looking forward to some much-needed time off work. Still, as Joyful as the Holiday Season can be, in the back of our minds we wonder, 'Will we be okay?' What gave [Mary] Comfort and Courage was the Promise of God and Presence of God. This Child would be the Promised King!

"None of us has ever heard a Promise quite like Mary heard. And yet, we share a lot in  common with Mary: Our Futures are unknown to us; God's Actions in our lives are nothing short of Miraculous; God's Promises are often as troubling to us as they are Beautiful. And at Christmas, we wonder, 'Will we be okay?' The Answer? GOD IS NEAR TO US!.......THAT is the Promise and the Comfort of Christmas! GOD IS NEAR! 

"Not only do we Serve the Same God as Mary but we have the Same Word of Comfort. In the midst of Confusion and Fear, Jesus says to His Disciples -- AND TO US -- 'I will NOT leave you as orphans; I will Come to you." (John 14:18)

REFLECT

What aspect of the Future is most Unknown or Frightening for you? What does the Story of Christmas do to change that Unknown?


ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #20 — ”The Sunrise of Christmas”  Luke 2:25-32

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #20 — ”The Sunrise of Christmas” Luke 2:25-32

December 20, 2021

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #20 -- "The Sunrise of Christmas"  Luke 2:25-32

THE STORY OF SIMEON

"Luke includes several stories that the other Gospel-writers omit, especially surrounding the Birth of Jesus. Simeon doesn't appear anywhere else in the Bible, but his Christmas appearance provides a perfect example of watching for God while we wait on God.

"The text uses the word "waiting" for Simeon, specifically that he was "waiting for the Consolation of Israel" (Luke 2:25). Like many of his fellow Israelite believers, Simeon was waiting for God to Send His Promised One -- a King like David, a Liberator like Moses, a Prophet like Elijah. The longing that Simeon expresses ("Now I can depart in Peace!") implies that Simeon had been waiting for this Promised One for a very long time! Most scholars conclude that Simeon was a very old man at this point.

"The text doesn't use the word 'watching' for Simeon, but Simeon's actions show it. Given the Promise that he would see the Coming Christ (a word meaning 'Anointed One' or 'King'), Simeon responded by returning to the Temple, day after day after day. He became a 'Righteous and Devout' man, not because he was attempting to curry God's Favor, but because he wanted to be READY when God Entered the Scene.

"There are 2 ways to Wait: One is Passive and the other is Active. Passive Waiting doesn't Keep Watch. Active Waiting does......What transforms Waiting into Watching is Eager Anticipation, the Promise of something Good and Beautiful around the corner......This was Simeon's life. He Waited and he Watched for YEARS, perhaps DECADES, for this King!......And then one day, he saw Jesus, and he KNEW Him because of the very Hope he had in his Time of Waiting!

"Simeon's life was one long night of Watching and Waiting! But like the Watchmen of the Psalms, Simeon kept his eyes Trained on the Horizon, Looking For the Coming King! Because of his Vigilance (and God's Grace), he got to see the Sunrise of the King that many others missed!......Christmas is the Promise that Something Good is On the Horizon! As Tish Harrison Warren writes, 'The Believer's Constant Posture is to lean slightly forward in anticipation. We Wait For God to Act, to Set Things Right, to Show Up and Work, whether that Work is Surprising and Miraculous or a Quiet Change of Tides.'

"Keep Waiting. And in your Waiting, Keep Watching. The Sunrise of Christmas is Coming!"

PRAY

Keep Watch, dear Lord, with those who Work, or Watch, or Weep this night, and give Your Angels Charge over those who sleep. Tend the Sick, Lord Christ; Give Rest to the Weary, Bless the Dying, Soothe the Suffering, Pity the Afflicted, Shield the Joyous; and all for Your Love's Sake.

AMEN


ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #19 — ”God Picks People We Least Expect”  Matthew 3:1-6

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #19 — ”God Picks People We Least Expect” Matthew 3:1-6

December 19, 2021

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #19 -- "God Picks People We Least Expect"  Matthew 3:1-6

THE STORY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

"God often picks people we least expect. In fact, He delights in it! So where we would choose people with Potential, Power, and a Proven Track Record, God seems to go the other direction. He Chooses barren women (like Elizabeth) to bear children. He Chooses racist men (like Jonah) to take His Gospel to other nations. He Chooses Sorrowful people (like Jeremiah) to become Prophets of Hope. He Chooses unloved people (like Leah) to become Emblems of His Compassion. He Chooses murderers (like David) to become Objects of His Scandalous Forgiveness.

"God doesn't pick good people or wise people or healthy people, for the simple reason that there are none. If God picks any of us, it's an Act of Sheer Grace!

"Sometimes, though, God really sets about to make this plain. Perhaps He knows how difficult it is for us to accept that God Chooses those we least expect. So every now and then, He picks someone whose life is so radical it makes people do a double-take -- like John the Baptist.

"Everyone knew John would get people ready for the Coming King. Still, I have to imagine many of them were surprised at how he began doing it. Living in the wilderness and eating bugs tends to catch people off guard.

"To get everyone ready for Jesus, John preached a Message anchored on one word: 'Repent.' The word 'Repent' means 'Turn Around.' That was John the Baptist's entire Message. He was preparing people for the Most Unexpected Revelation in history, knowing that if they didn't do a Radical U-Turn, they would easily overlook the Coming King.

"After centuries of Sending Messengers to God's People, God finally Sent Himself! Don't miss that! The God Who Made earth has Come to earth! The God Who Made YOU has Come to Live with YOU!"

PRAY -- AND SING!

Pray these lyrics as you sing them out loud.

Angels we have heard On High, Sweetly singing o'er the plains, And the mountains in reply, Echoing their Joyous Strains.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this Jubilee? Why your Joyous Strains prolong? What the Gladsome Tidings be Which inspire your Heav'nly Song?

Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see Him Whose Birth the Angels sing; Come, Adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the Newborn King.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Gloria in Excelsis Deo!


ADVENT DEVOTIONAL#18 — ”Do You Hear What I Hear?” Matthew 13:13-17

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL#18 — ”Do You Hear What I Hear?” Matthew 13:13-17

December 18, 2021

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #18 -- "Do You Hear What I Hear?" Matthew 13:13-17

THE STORY OF ZECHARIAH

"It is fair to assume that Zechariah, like his wife Elizabeth, also struggled against shame, guilt, and bitterness in the long years of childlessness. But Zechariah was a Priest! So, certainly, he knew enough of God to accept His Good News when it arrived! Surely the Priest in the family would be one of the first ones to recognize what God was up to......Not exactly.

"When the Angel Gabriel told Zechariah about Elizabeth's upcoming pregnancy, Zechariah balked. 'I am an old man,' he said, 'and my wife is advanced in years' (Luke 1:18). Gabriel, who was already well acquainted with Zechariah's age and Elizabeth's conception troubles, decided to help Zechariah listen a little better the next time around. He imposed 9 months of muteness on Zechariah (Luke 1:19-20)!

"Zechariah exemplifies the difference between hearing and listening, a difference that would characterize not only Jesus' Birth but Jesus' Entire Life. As Jesus often said in His Teaching, 'Those who have ears to hear, let him hear.' My translation: 'Everyone nearby can hear My Words, but not everyone will really listen.'

"Just think of Zechariah. As a Priest, he had heard the Biblical Stories of God giving children to previously barren women. God had done it with every one of the Patriarchs, for crying out loud!.....Zechariah had heard all of those stories. It's likely he had memorized all of those stories. But when the hour came, hearing those stories WASN'T ENOUGH to help Zechariah LISTEN to God!

"It reminds me of the popular Christmas Song, 'Do You Hear What I Hear?'......The questions that drive the song rightly capture some of the Mystery of ChristmasDo you see what I see -- a Star, dancing in the night? Do you hear what I hear -- a Song, high above the trees? Do you know what I know -- a Child shivers in the cold? The implication is that many people could have seen or heard these things. But somehow, they missed it!

"When Jesus was Born, the Signs of God were remarkable. But even so, only a few people recognized them. Hearing, many people did not Listen. Looking, many people did not See.

"Zechariah learned to listen to God. When his son, John, was born, God opened Zechariah's mouth, and the first words to usher forth weren't words of frustration for his 9 months of silence. They were words of Praise for God's Saving Work in the world:

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has Visited and Redeemed His People and has Raised Up a Horn of Salvation for us in the House of His Servant David, as He Spoke by the Mouth of His Holy Prophets from of old..."  (Luke 1:68-70)

"Don't skip that last line: as He Spoke by the Mouth of His Holy Prophets from of old. God had Spoken. And now, at last, Zechariah was listening.

"Don't let God's Promises pass you by! Listen to His Word! He is Speaking!"

REFLECT

How well would you say you listen to other people? (Try to think of how other people would answer this for you!) Do you find it easier or harder to listen to God? Why?


ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #17 — ”God Is Coming To Earth To Stay” Luke 1:5-7, 13-14

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #17 — ”God Is Coming To Earth To Stay” Luke 1:5-7, 13-14

December 17, 2021

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #17 -- "God Is Coming To Earth To Stay"  Luke 1:5-7, 13-14

THE STORY OF ELIZABETH

"The Bible uses a stark word for women who were unable to have children:  barren. To be "barren" meant more than an inability to bear children. Barrenness carried shame along with it, as if a woman was not living up to her purpose in life.

"A lot has changed in 2,000 years, but a lot hasn't. Sure, we generally avoid the word "barren" today, but the shame remains. Not only for women without children, either. For men and women who remain unmarried into their 30s, 40s, and 50s. For people who struggle, day after painful day, with chronic illness. For everyone who senses that, somehow, they aren't living up to their purpose.

"Many of us can relate to Elizabeth. We feel like something should be different, either in our world or in our own hearts. So we stand before God with feelings of bitterness (God, what have You done?), guilt (God, what have I done?). or both.

"I find it encouraging that God Chose someone like Elizabeth to begin telling the Story of Christmas. The Good News of God's Presence, the Story of Jesus' Birth, begins in a most unexpected place -- in the womb of a barren woman. The very place of Elizabeth's deepest pain becomes the Place God Chooses to Work. Not in spite of her barrenness, but because of it!

"For centuries, God's People had been waiting for God to Come Near to them in a Special Way. To Take Away their Sorrow and Replace it with Joy! To Take Away their Sin and Replace it with Forgiveness! To Take Away the Barrenness of Death and Replace it with Abundant Life!

"And so, God begins with Elizabeth. The life within her acts as a Promise of everything God was about to do! She would receive, in part, what God intended to bring to all of Humanity -- Wholeness, Healing, Joy!

"Elizabeth would not be the one to bring God into the world. But her Miracle Baby would Prepare the Way for Him! Her son would grow up to be, in Jesus' Words, 'the Greatest Prophet ever born of women' (Luke 7:28)...Elizabeth's pregnancy declared, 'God is Coming to earth to Stay!'...What they needed was the Assurance of God's Presence with them, in Difficulty, in Joy, even in Death.

"That is precisely what Jesus Came to Be! Born under Miraculous Circumstances, Jesus would not only Prophesy about God's Presence, He would Embody it! And even though He would never bear a child, He would go on to Live the most Fruitful and Healing Life the world has ever known!"

REFLECT

How do YOU FEEL barren? Where do YOU FAIL to meet the expectations OTHERS have of YOU?

Write out a short prayer, GIVING those expectations TO GOD!

"God, I often feel......"

 

 


ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #16 — ”The Great Disappointment”  Ezra 3:10-13

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #16 — ”The Great Disappointment” Ezra 3:10-13

December 16, 2021

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL #16 -- "The Great Disappointment"  Ezra 3:10-13

THE STORY OF ZERUBBABEL

"Perhaps you've heard the old -- and rather pessimistic -- proverb, 'There are two tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want. The other is getting it.'

"The People of Israel knew this combination of Longing and Disappointment, too. It had been 70 years since they had seen their Homeland destroyed and their families killed. Miles from home, God's People were not only oppressed by their captors but seemingly forgotten by their God!

"So when Cyrus, King of Persia, allowed certain Israelites to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, you can imagine a flicker of Hope rising up within them. Perhaps God HADN'T forgotten them after all. Perhaps it WAS possible to experience God's Presence again. After all, the Temple had been Ground Zero for God's Presence in the Ancient Times. Perhaps He WOULD Come Again!

"The People, led by Zerubbabel, fought against great odds to complete the Foundation. And they Faithfully Dedicated the Temple with the same Refrain sung during King Solomon's Day: 'For He is Good, for His Steadfast Love endures Forever.' But, something was missing......They sang the song, but God didn't Send the Fire!.....They knew this New Building wasn't the Answer to their Nation's Longing.

"What they may not have known was that NO Building would EVER satisfy this Longing! Because what they Longed-for was NOT a Beautiful Building, nor even a Moment of seeing God's Glory on Magnificent Display! What they Longed-for was the Presence of God in their Midst!

"ULTIMATELY, OUR plight is the same. Whether we are experiencing Unfulfilled Longings or Unfulfilled Successes, God Desires to Root our Hearts in something MORE PERMANENT! He Desires to Root our Hearts in HIM!

"ADVENT is a Season of Longing. Whatever else you Long-for this year, KNOW that your Heart is Longing to KNOW GOD and be with Him FOREVER!"

MEDITATE

Give God's Truth the Time and Space to settle in your Spirit.

Advent is a Season of Longing-for God. Spend a minute reflecting on the Longings in YOUR Life. Then ACTIVELY set them aside and Center your Heart and Desire on Being With God.


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