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Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday - The Second Week of Advent

As I read today’s scripture readings, I was filled to overflowing with joyful expectation of the New Year to come.  I can just feel the excitement and wonder that the shepherd’s as well as Mary and Joseph must have been feeling as the chatter in that stable bounced off the walls and tinged the atmosphere with high anticipation of God’s plan for mankind.   I can also appreciate the peace and joy that the holy couple must have been enjoying as they finally were with people who understood their plight and the excitement of what lay ahead for them.
I can only shake my head in question as I think of all the Christian friends and family who looked at us like we were crazy, ignored us, or just said nothing as we exclaimed how we were highly expectant of seeing the results of the Word that we have been speaking over my wife come into fruition.  Mary and Joseph most likely faced similar situations as they talked about what they had heard from the angel of the Lord concerning their immediate future.  But that night in that lowly stable all of that frustration ended as they saw the Word that had been spoken unto them!
Let me ask you a question today.  Are you highly expectant of seeing the fruition of what the Lord speaks to you through His Word?  Do you have an anticipation building up inside of you as strong as that which was displayed by Mary, Joseph and the shepherd’s?  If not… maybe it is time to ask yourself why!  I would encourage you to put your expectors on as you read today’s Advent story.  It may just change your outlook on the New Year that is just around the corner!

Excitement and Expectation!
Friday, the second week of Advent
Today’s Readings: Luke 2:15-20 / Luke 4:16-22

I can’t help but sense the excitement that must have prevailed in that tiny stable when the shepherds arrived in order to “see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” (Luke 2:15 NKJV)  When the angels returned to heaven the shepherds were left with a burning expectation of the word that they had just received.  You’ll notice that there were no misgivings of what they had heard.  They didn’t say “let us go and see if this thing be true.”  No, there was no doubt in their minds that this supernatural intervention of God was true and had, in fact, taken place!  God’s rhema Word spoken to them through the angel had stirred them up and they were ready to go see it and spread the good news to all who would listen!
Can you imagine the unity and fellowship that was experienced between Joseph, Mary and the shepherds?  For the first time in a year or more, Joseph and Mary could share freely with others who could fully understand all that had occurred to them!  I bet everyone was talking at once, sharing their experiences, their feelings and their thoughts on the future events that would come from that night’s activities!
Luke 2:19 says that Mary “kept” and “pondered” everything that they talked about in her heart. (NKJV)  How important it is for each of us to ponder, consider and weigh the word that God gives to us.  Vincent’s Word Studies explains that the term “kept” is “a very expressive verb” implying as Robertson’s Word Pictures says, that “she kept on keeping together all these things.  (that) They were meat and drink to her.”  Just like Mary, we need to keep the Word alive and fresh within us.  God’s Word builds expectation and excitement is us, just like it did with our cast of players on that night in Bethlehem many years ago.
The shepherds reacted to the overwhelming event by returning to their flocks “glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.” (Luke 2:20 NKJV) They were bursting with glee and could not contain themselves!  Verse 18 states that all “those who heard it marveled (or were amazed) at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” (NKJV)  The Word that was being shared that night was different than most people had ever heard before.  Some thirty years later, the people would respond identically to the Word that Jesus shared as He began His public ministry! (See; Luke 4:16-22)
We should always be in a place where God’s Word amazes us!  Jesus said that “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 English Majority Text Version)  When He said they are life, He was talking about “Zoe” life, which in the original Greek refers to “the absolute fullness of life!” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions)  When we read or hear the Word of God, our spirits should jump with excitement as we look forward with glee to the expected fulfillment of that Word in our lives!
Take some time this weekend to keep and ponder the thoughts of the atmosphere of excitement and expectation that prevailed in and around that little stable after the birth of the Christ child.  As you do, allow yourself to become overwhelmed with His love for you and be like the shepherds who clearly saw that “Everything happened the way the angel had told them,” (Luke 2:20 God’s Word ©) or like Mary who was assured by the angel Gabriel at the very beginning that “No word from God shall be void of power.” (Luke 1:37 ASV)  Remember Hebrews 13:8 profoundly declares that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (God’s Word ©)  And if He was faithful to His Word for those back then, He will do the same for you and me today!  Have a super weekend.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

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