On the Advent of Advent

And I said to them, “Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on…” (Ezekiel 20:7a)

We are a few days away from the beginning of Advent 2017. It starts on December 3rd, the first Sunday of Advent.¬†As we focus here on “looking unto Him,” we take note that if we are fixing our eyes on Him, we are unfixing our eyes on what is not Him. And there is so much that is not Him. Many of us have filled our eyes, hearts, and lives with what is not Him. Advent is a time to close our eyes to it all, take a deep breath, and look to Him.

One of the first things I notice (with the Spirit’s help) in averting my gaze away from detestable things is how detestable they really are. It reminds me of the various piles and messes I walk by in my home every day. After a while, I get used to them and they become invisible. Only when I clean them up do I realize how much energy these piles stole from me. I think I’ve added steps to my Fitbit every day just walking around them!

I have some cleaning up to do in my life. The physical piles around me are a small thing; the spiritual messes within me are much more significant. The verse above says that I not only fixed my eyes on detestable things, but I feasted on them. I fed my soul with poison. I consumed toxins that I should have cast away. Casting away is not casual either. The sense the phrase gives is of one throwing something as far away as possible in a big, dramatic gesture accompanied by some kind of involuntary grunt.

Isn’t it amazing how God is always interested in your welfare, in you being and doing better, even through difficult days? His commitment to you overcoming everything you need to overcome never wavers.

When I’m not looking to Him, I’m not seeing His love or His provision. I’m missing out on His mercy. When I do look to Him… finally… I see the miracle the Magi sought, the wonder that captured the hearts of the shepherds, the subject of the lyrics of every song sung by angels… right up to this very minute.

 

Returning for Advent

Isaiah 45:22 (KJV)

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

  • This is the verse that Charles Spurgeon heard in a small country church on a wintery Lord’s Day which altered the course of his life. It is the verse that God used to assure him of his salvation. Upon hearing it simply expounded he realized he could do nothing to save himself; all he needed to do was to look to God. God would play the part of God in his life and do all the saving through the complete work of Christ. Just look and be saved. He looked. How about you?
  • Just to update whoever who reads this, I’ve intentionally pulled away from engaging with this blog and all social media since the first day of Lent (Ash Wednesday) 2017. I’m returning now about a week before Advent 2017.
  • I hope your Bible reading has gone well. I had to pull back from my aggressive plan and simplify, but I am on track to complete my 23rd year of reading through the Bible. It is a sweet foundation and a perpetual fountain for me. On a funny (or at least peculiar) note, Shannon and I had our whole family’s DNA tested this year, but we used Ancestry.com¬†instead of 23andme.com. Weird huh? After all that.
  • So, I’ll be changing the name of this blog shortly and using it for offering my annual Advent devotional.
  • The devotional this year will take its title and theme from the verse above (Isaiah 45:22). “Looking to Christ During Advent” is my (rather ordinary) working title.
  • The weekend after Thanksgiving is usually the start of Advent, but not this year. This year (2017) Advent begins on Sunday December 3rd.
  • Consider how you and your family will set apart Advent as a special season. We like to set up a wreath and use candles. We light the candles pertinent to the week each night for dinner. It’s always exciting each Sunday when an additional candle is added to the cue for the week. And, of course, the lighting of the Christ candle in the middle on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is the highlight. How could it be anything else?
  • Here’s a link explaining what Advent is (from an apologetics viewpoint)… https://youtu.be/osUN4PQqK1M