Saturday, December 3rd

 

Longing:  An Advent Devotional

Overland Park Church of the Nazarene

Advent 2016

Saturday, December 3rd

 

CONNECT

As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:

Opening Prayer

Loving Father, we await your coming and restoration through the Spirit in the hope of Jesus Christ. We humbly pray that you would forgive us those moments where we have lost sight of who you are. Open our eyes to look for you in expectation, and help us to live faithfully as we follow you. Amen.

Hymn

Open my eyes, that I may see 

glimpses of truth thou hast for me; 

place in my hands the wonderful key 

that shall unclasp and set me free. 

Silently now I wait for thee, 

ready, my God, thy will to see. 

Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine! 

 

Open my ears, that I may hear 

voices of truth thou sendest clear; 

and while the wavenotes fall on my ear, 

everything false will disappear. 

Silently now I wait for thee, 

ready, my God, thy will to see. 

Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine! 

 

Open my mouth, and let me bear 

gladly the warm truth everywhere; 

open my heart and let me prepare 

love with thy children thus to share. 

Silently now I wait for thee, 

ready, my God, thy will to see. 

Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!

 

Open my mind, that I may read

More of Thy love in word and deed.

What shall I fear while Thou dost lead?

Only for light from Thee I plead.

Silently now I wait for thee, 

ready, my God, thy will to see. 

Open my mind, illumine me, Spirit divine!

GROW:  Matthew 24:36-44

    Matthew frames this passage as a response to the disciples’ questions about when Jesus would tear down and restore the temple. They wanted to know when Jesus would be doing the revolution part of what they expected the Messiah to do. When would he and they finally be recognized? They saw the injustice and oppression against them, and they wanted to know when Jesus defend them.  When would he tear everything down and put it back together the right way?  When could they find peace in their homeland instead of invasion and oppression?

    Jesus’s response here is unexpected too. Instead of explaining how short-sighted they were or outlining a plan, he responds by telling them that things will get worse before they get better. They must hold constant vigil in following him. Their faith and ours is not about outlasting evil, sin, and death. It is about following Christ with our eyes open.

    As we see pain and evil around us, it is easy to find ourselves longing for something different, wishing that God would just fix it. It is tempting to follow the example of the disciples in our weariness and simply want rest and peace. In this season of Advent, this passage prompts us in all that we do to have eyes that see and ears that hear what God is doing. We are prompted to be actively seeking where God might be working in and around us.

SERVE

Take a moment in prayer and ask God to open your eyes to see his work in the world, even in this season of expectation. Advent is about longing, but not inactivity. Look for a way today that you can “keep watch” by engaging with the restoration that God is already doing. This may mean praying with someone who is hurting, giving of resources or time to someone in need, or acting out of compassion and forgiveness toward someone who can be difficult to get along with. May God open your eyes to his revolutionary restoration today.

—Pastor Rachel Shald