We had our new red leather loveseat delivered yesterday so I was able to move our old white leather loveseat into our new study. This room is just about complete now. All I need to do is to put up a few more pictures and other mementoes and then we will have our very inviting place to study God’s Word, read a good book (pay bills!...) or just chill out in!
I was finally able to get the furniture unpacked, assembled and moved into position in the various rooms by dinner time despite the time taken for the delivery and visits by Piper’s new homecare physical therapist and primary nurse. I had to laugh a bit as I went through the house last night looking for the dog so I could feed her dinner. I found her curled up on the couch in the study like it was her private domain.
When I got up this morning an hour before I needed to help Piper up for the day, I brewed a fresh pot of Dunkin’ Donuts White Chocolate Peppermint coffee and headed into the study to enjoy the ambience of the room as I studied the Word of God. The enjoyment of the room was complete when I heard the clicking of the dog’s nails on the hardwood floors in the hallway and watched her come up to me for her customary morning pet and then turn and hop on the couch with a look of pleasant contentment!
As I turned back to my Bible Study program on my laptop, I thought about just how long I have been following this same morning routine. I can hardly remember when His Word became that important to me that I always made sure to schedule time with Him each morning. All I know is that it has been a long term priority in my life that has paid out countless dividends over the many years!
Our Wednesday, the FOURTH week of Advent reading today talks about this same principle! Take a moment before you read today’s Holiday post to think about your priorities in life and then keep them in mind as you meditate on today’s reading…
Wednesday, the FOURTH week of Advent
Today’s Readings: Psalm 5:12, Proverbs 3:1-6, Matthew 6:33, Luke 2:52
Have you ever noticed that there is only one verse in the New Testament that describes the formative years of Jesus’ life? Luke 2:52 concludes the incident that we looked at in yesterday’s Advent reading declaring that Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (KJV) The next thing we read about in Matthew, Mark and Luke is Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist when He was approximately 29 or thirty years of age. There is a seventeen year gap where the only thing we know is that Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”
But when you really begin to think about it, that verse is simply another fulfillment of all the Old Testament scriptures that point to Jesus’ coming into the world that began in that little town of Bethlehem so many years ago. I thought I knew a lot when I went to Bible School after being in the ministry for almost thirty years, but I remember sitting in many of the classes with my mouth wide open in astonishment because of all the things being revealed that I didn’t know! One of those classes was a detailed look into all the Old Testament scriptures that specifically told of or were types and shadows of the coming of the Messiah.
So when you look at it, that verse at the end of Luke chapter two is just one of many that talks about Jesus’ life and ministry. It is also a very important verse for each of us to grab onto this Holiday season, for it describes the key to Jesus’ successful accomplishment of His calling. He grew in wisdom, stature and in favor with both God and man. How did He do that? By studying, understanding and applying the Word. The story of teenager Jesus sitting at the feet of the religious teachers and scholars demonstrates the hunger He already possessed for the things of God and obviously continued to go after throughout the next seventeen years of His life and into His public ministry years.
That one little verse is a gigantic lesson for us to appreciate and follow in our own lives. Like Jesus, it is the key to a successful life for you and me! I’ve often told of the habit I developed early in my Christian walk of making sure that I spend time alone with God at the beginning of every single day. I have made it a priority in my life. And it hasn’t mattered if I had to get up at 2:30 in the morning to get ready for the start of an early day on the job, if I was on vacation or at a Youth camp in the mountains with a cabin full of energy packed teenage boys.
I’ve have come to learn that we humans will always make time for the things that are important for us. That reality has especially come forward in the course of the journey reclaiming my wife’s health that we have been on for six years now. I have witnessed friends and family who seemed to be very busy always have (or make time) to minister to Piper. And on the other hand, I have seen those who repeatedly apologize stating that they were just too busy to stop by and visit her.
I’ve discovered that when I put God and the study of His Word first, that I always seem to have time to complete all the other things on my daily “To Do” list. When we observe Jesus’ adult ministry we notice that He always found time to steal away by Himself to spend time with His Father. I’ve also found out that the more time I spend in His Word and in prayer, the more I desire to be with Him… and like I keep repeating in this blog, that time has given me my strength, fueled my expectations for God’s best and empowered my ability to go on each day especially when Piper’s having a rough day and things in the natural just don’t look too promising.
With all that in mind, I would joyfully encourage each of you to make a fresh commitment this Christmas to spend time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer as this year comes to a conclusion and then onward throughout the New Year to come. You might even want to make it a family project to experience together in 2016.
You’ve probably come to realize that I am an avid note taker and like to place written reminders of my goals in pertinent places around our home. It helps me to remember things when the activities of daily life seem most overwhelming. So again, I would suggest that you ask the Lord for directions today and then write down your plan on numerous "Post It’s" and place them on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror and/or on the dash of your car. Make this Christmas to be extra special as you plan to celebrate His coming, His wisdom and His favor throughout the coming year!
Have a great day and keep asking yourself… “How much time am I expecting to spend with Papa God this Christmas and then throughout the New Year?”