Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord / An Advent Devotional

In all my Christian life I don't recall celebrating the Advent Season.  I think I have an awareness of it from my family's Anglican heritage but I knew nothing of it.  When my church asked me to contribute to the annual Advent Devotional Calendar I was honored but shook as well.  I had to first find out what Advent was and then see the scripture verse given in that light.  As simple as the task may have seemed it was a little tough for me, I'll admit.  I had to look at the scripture with new eyes and honestly that took some prayer on my behalf.  So please find below the results of my efforts.  It holds a number of first.  First devotional I've written as well my first writing for Advent!

Zj (age 6) made this angel for me for my 50th birthday! She is wearing
 a crop top  and leggings in  case you are wondering.  In her left hand she is holding
 flames of fire.  It hangs above my desk. 

In this beautiful season of Advent, we celebrate a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. 

Often, we see the persons in the Bible as larger than life mythical characters that do no wrong and we forget that they were individuals who answered the call to love God with all their heart and love their neighbor as themselves.  The power of their accomplishments for Kingdom of Heaven being directly tied in their commitment to love.  John 15:1-17 outlines a peculiar transfer that happens between God and his people when they submit their will unto Him which enables them to accomplish what we interpret as larger than life feats.

One such character was John the Baptist.  John was one who helped prepare the way of Jesus’ ministry. John was so enveloped in his love for God that he allowed himself to be empowered to step out of the scope of normalcy.  John looked different, spoke different, ate different, dressed different and his conversation was different.

When the authorities of the time inquired who he was his response was

am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias ~ John 1:23

John spoke with boldness that he discerned his call to be that of one who prepared the way for Jesus and he gave his life over to his call.

Jesus Christ is coming again! Hallelujah!  And as we ponder the immensity of this season and look forward to His return let us also take time to self-reflect by asking a few quiet questions in our hearts.

Have I prepared a way for Christ?

Has my family prepared a way for Christ?

Has my faith community prepared a way for Christ?

Prayer:  Lord may your transforming love lead me to prepare your path.


Scripture: Matthew 11:2-11
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces.Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’[b]
11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Hymn: Watchman, Tell Us of the Night #97

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

My First Day

Today, was my first day.

I showed up, not as Mommy or Wife, but as Gina.  And although it was the mommy and wife roles that helped to process me to bring me to this day, Gina showed up today to stake her claim.  I've been wife for 20 years and Mommy or trying to be a Mommy for almost 10.  Today I began to sketch out the new imprint that I will embody.

First day of Seminary.

Zj had prayed for me. She said she had hoped that if there were any bullies, at my school, I would have the words to make them get away from me.

Isaac kissed me goodbye and handed me my specially prepared lunch.

I had so many emotions and swirling. I’m I good enough? Can I do it?

I got emails and text messages from loved ones affirming my ability and faith in God. Thank you!

Even people I had recently met since orientation took time out to wish me well on my first day.

I was nervous.

First up on deck was my dreaded Hebrew class. I studied in advance so I was prepared as best as I could.

As I sat in class my thoughts tried to betray me with insecure words. I shooed them away with

I am great
I am brilliant
I have courage
God is with me
It’s my time
I belong here

The professor began the class singing to us in Hebrew. We had no idea what he was saying but it was so beautiful. Tears welled in my eyes and I worshiped in my heart.

He repeated and then asked us to sing it back to him. When we finished he let us know what we had just sung. It was the opening verse to to Book of Genesis .

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."  ~ Gen. 1:1

He continued to lecture using podcasts, poems, art and various other informants to communicate about the language and how there is no better age than now to be able to understand what this small group of people who encountered the God of the Heavens experienced.

He talked about the privilege of such an opportunity and its importance in the scope of current events and I was enlightened.

As we dove into into the work I felt inspired and capable. Dr Professor just lifted the learning of Hebrew from a very difficult chore to something ethereal.

I’m aware that it is going to be hard moving beyond my depth but it will be priceless in the end.

Today was my first day and it was worth it.