Sunday, December 5, 2010



    How would you prepare for God? What kind of cleaning would you need in your life? Would you be frantically cleaning toilets, porches, and floors to give the appearance of a clean house? Would you have to remove certain movies from the DVD stand or music from your CD tower to avoid embarrassment? Would you stifle your temper to prevent angry outbursts? Would websites you normally visit have to be erased from your "internet history"? Would you wash your car? Would you keep God away from your friends? Would you feed him certain food? How would you prepare for God?

    Matthew 3 says that John the Baptist was "preparing the way of the Lord." The Scripture refers to him dressing in camel's hair, eating locusts and preaching in the boonies. He preached a simple message, " Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He exhorted people to " bear fruit worthy of repentance." He baptized with water for repentance. There seems to be a trend here. A life of repentance is a life of preparation. We are returning (the literal meaning of repent) to God to prepare from him to return. We don't repent to gain favor in God's eyes. We repent because we know he is returning and we must prepare for the new world he is creating. How are you preparing for God?

Friday, December 3, 2010

“Stay Awake”


        As a little boy, Christmas was the most anticipated day of the year. I looked forward every year to the new stuff I was going to receive. Often, I would stay awake all or most of the night just waiting for 7 am when my parents said it was ok to start opening presents. This was a time of great joy! Oh, the birth of Christ was in the back of my mind too. But at age 8, the birth of the Savior took at least second place to a new bike or video game system.

I couldn't wait to see what presents my parents and friends had gotten for me. Some of the gifts were great, like the aforementioned bike. Others were of the sock and underwear variety. Nevertheless, the joy of Christmas was a day to look forward to every year.

Many Christian tribes (or the churchy word denominations) celebrate the season known as Advent, a time to anticipate the arrival of the Savior. I like that! Just as the nation of Israel was anticipating the arrival of the Messiah, Christians ought to be anticipating the second arrival of Jesus. I come from a background where the focus of the second coming of Christ is judgment. This leads to a sense of dread and fear, dreading the day it comes and fear that we will not be worthy once he arrives.

The reality is that without Christ, we are not worthy. He is our righteousness. Jesus, in answering the question about when he was coming again, said we should, "keep awake, for we do not know" the day when he is coming. What does that mean? We should anticipate his coming and prepare for it. We should look forward to it. We should be aware that the day is coming. But I believe that our awareness should not be like the awareness we have about April 15th, dreading the fact that we have to pull out the old calculator and render unto Caesar! Every day should be like Christmas Eve, anticipating with joy that he will come again to make all things new, to right the wrongs of injustice, abuse, and poverty. "Keep awake…The Lord is coming!"