Longing: An Advent Devotional
Overland Park Church of the Nazarene
Friday, December 16th
As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:
Eternal God, You are the Author of creation and the Maker of time itself.
All things that were created, You made. All things that exist, You know.
Forgive our impatience, we pray. Forgive our forgetfulness and our worry.
By the power of Your Holy Spirit, help us to live as people sure of Your promises.
Use us to prepare for the day when Your Kingdom will arrive in its fullness.
Grant us patience today, Lord, even as we continue to wait.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come.
How Firm a Foundation
(#689 in Sing to the Lord)
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in God's excellent word!
What more can God say than to you hath been said,
to you that for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Fear not, I am with thee; oh be not dismayed!
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of woe shall not thee over flow,
for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply:
the flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake!'
GROW: James 5:7-10
Today is December 16th. If you have children in your home, you may be reminded every day that Christmas is drawing nearer. Perhaps you have already attended some Christmas parties or other themed event. At this point in Advent, it becomes even more difficult to maintain the seasonal attitude of anticipation. Indeed, in our age of two-day shipping and instant gratification, “waiting” seems almost obsolete. But as December 25th draws nearer, it is all the more crucial for us to resist the temptation of rushing toward Christmas. Advent still has much to teach us. Be still and wait upon the Lord.
Faithful waiting is a major theme in the letter of James. Writing to people who desperately long for justice, the author urges patience and endurance. James even employs an analogy to make his point: “The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.” Farming has changed a lot over the last two thousand years, but despite our advanced methods of irrigation, agriculture is still heavily dependent upon rain. We can plant all the seed in the world, but without water, nothing will grow. James says the “waiting” we do as Christians is similar. We should do our work faithfully but, in the end, we must patently wait upon the Lord to bring it to completion. Our salvation is dependent not on our own efforts, but on the faithful grace of God.
Throughout Scripture, God’s people are urged to remember God’s acts of faithfulness in the past as a way of encouraging their trust and hope in the future. Name a time in your life when you have seen God’s faithfulness. Write a short letter of encouragement to your future self. Write something to remind you of God’s faithfulness in the past and to reassure your faithful dependence upon the Lord into the future.
To some extent, it is difficult for us to embody patience today because we have largely forgotten the Christian practices which encourage it. Fast today, as an act of patient service to the Lord. If you are able, deliberately give up a meal and instead spend your time in prayer for those who do not have enough food. If skipping food is not physically possible for you, then offer up some other part of your life (technology, television, etc.) as a sign of your trust in God’s faithfulness and your dependence upon His provision.
— Pastor Travis Caldeira