Catching up on the Adult & Teen Advent devotions (Days 11, 12, & 13)

Hi there… I don’t know how many (or if any) of you are making use of the Adult and Teen Advent that the Lord and I are working on this season, but if you are, I’m sure you’ve noticed that days 11, 12, and 13 have been strangely silent.  I took my daughter to the doctor on Monday, and ended up back in the doctor’s office on Wednesday myself.  They think that I caught something while in the office with Abigail, and I have been quite sick since then.  I’ve actually been asleep more than awake lately, and my fingers and mind just haven’t had the strength to type until now.  But PTL, it’s Friday afternoon, I’m finally coming out of the fog, and am ready to catch up on the Lord’s Advent ideas for this Adult and Teen plan.  As soon as God gives it to me, I’m hitting “publish” – so it’s hot off the presses. 😉  To God, alone, be the Glory, and may HE have His way with us as we prepare for His Kingly return!

Adult & Teen Advent Devotional.  SmellingCoffee.com/ "Keeping Christ AS Christmas" Facebook Page

 

Day 11

Pour out your People

There are people in our lives that because of our love for them, we want to cling to, control, and never let them go.  Then there are others in our lives that we wish we didn’t have to deal with at all.  There are people we enjoy and desire to grow closer to, and there are those (if we are honest about it) that we hope they get all {the bad} they deserve!  Then there are those people we desperately wish would change because their actions are affecting our lives.  Are you as guilty as I am in thinking that if I could control certain people around my life, everyone else’s lives would be so much better?

A wise woman once taught me something about people that I’ve never forgotten.  She said to draw two columns.  In column one put your name, and in the other column put the names of everyone that you’d like to change or control.   Then she said to label column one “People I can change” and above column two write “People I can’t change.”  Then get busy on column one, and give column two to the Lord.  Because isn’t it true that there is nothing we can do to actually change anyone except to pray for God to have His way in their lives and for them to be teachable?

Pour out your people to the Lord and entrust them to Him.  And while you’re at it, let God have His way with you, bringing the change that He knows you need.  Remain teachable and moldable in the Lord, and leave column two to Him.

“For with God nothing is ever impossible.”  Luke 1:37

Day 12

Pour out your Expectations

Do you have any expectations of what your life should be like by now?  How about expectations of what this holiday season should entail?  Honestly… Are your expectations realistic?  Have you let the media influence your thoughts toward how things should be?  Are you comparing your situations in life with someone else’s?  And please answer this next question with gut honesty: Are you disappointed in God for not working out everything as you want or have planned?

When we place our expectations in anything other than in Jesus Christ Himself, we will end up disappointed every time.  In reality, God most often doesn’t work things in our lives according to what WE think is best.  Instead, He works in ways that HE KNOWS is best – in the long run – for our present and for our future.  For our knowledge and intimacy with Him and for His glory in and through our lives.  For our good and for His glory.

Don’t waste time being disappointed in God because He hasn’t done something according to your plan.  Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that God’s plans are so much higher than our highest dreams can imagine.  Pour out your expectations and your disappointments to God and declare that you will trust Him.  In whatever it is that He has allowed to touch your life, put your hope and your expectations on Him – nothing and no one else, and you won’t be disappointed.  He promises.

“The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.

The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word].”
Lamentations 3:24-25 (Amp)

Day 13

Pour out your dreams.

Different from your expectations (which lend themselves to be both demanding and disappointed), your dreams are those secret seeds planted by God deep within.  They are those goals that you would love to one day accomplish, some lofty and others somewhat attainable.  Your dreams of what could be drive your inmost thoughts and prayers, and are often known only by you and the Lord.  Talking to God about them is one thing, but entrusting them to Him is quite another.

To prepare yourself for the return of the Lord… to be ready for whatever it is that HE has prepared in the future, pour out your dreams to Him.  You can trust Him with them.  As much as those hopes and dreams mean to you, they mean even more so to Him… Because He loves you.  Let God have your deepest dreams and desires to do with as He knows is best.  Then you will be in a position to receive from Him the plans He has for your life, your future, your now.  He will incorporate those dreams given to Him and make your life into something even better than you can imagine.

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”  Jeremiah 29:11 (Msg)

If you missed the earlier post about this year’s Advent focus for me, here are some highlights from that post:

I’m learning that to prepare for Advent is really to actively prepare for the second coming of Jesus.  So… what can I do today to prepare for His return?  According to John the Baptist’s crying out to the world awaiting the Savior, this is the message of Advent: “Repent because the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Matthew 3;2)

 What would you do to prepare for the end of the world as you know it?  Besides the logical physical and financial preparations, I would want to make sure that my heart and the hearts of my loved ones were ready.  Wouldn’t you?  Because when it’s all said and done, the heart is the only thing that will last anyway.

 Advent is a time when we ought to be shaken and brought to a realization of ourselves.  The necessary condition for the fulfillment of Advent is the renunciation of the presumptuous attitudes and alluring dreams in which and by means of which we always build ourselves imaginary worlds… 

If Advent is truly to come again – the Advent of home and of hearts, the Advent of the people and the nations, a coming of the Lord in all this – then the great Advent question for us is whether we come out of these convulsions with this determination; yes, arise!  It is time to awaken from sleep.  It is time for waking up to begin somewhere. It is time to put things back where God the Lord put them.  It is time for each of us to go to work, with the same unshakable sureness that the Lord will come, to set our life in God’s order wherever we can.  Where God’s Word is heard, He will not cheat our life of the message; where our life rebels before our own eyes He will reprimand it.”     Father Alfred Delp, a Jesuit priest, written from a Nazi prison shortly before he was hanged in 1945.  (Watch for the Light, Day 5)

 So with the help of the Lord, I am compiling a count-down (or count-up) list of activities to keep us “alert, vigilant, and industrious” (as J.B. Phillips stated) as we await the return of The King of All Kings, King Jesus.  He won’t come quietly and humbly this next time… No… this next time, He will come in majesty and righteousness and vengeance and justice.  And He expects us to be ready!

Take one a day and work through it, asking Jesus to prepare YOU as you await His coming with vigilance.  I’ll post one each day on the “Keeping Christ AS Christmas” Facebook page.  Feel free to print each day and tuck it in your own Advent calendar.  {Next year, it will be fully written and ready to print and cut apart and use.  This year, we’re basically writing it one day at a time.  }

 This is a serious preparation, a soul-searching Advent.  One not to be taken lightly, it is preparation with Hope – Hope of clean slates and of joy in the midst of difficulty and of unity with the Lord Jesus, both while here on earth or in His glorious Heaven in the days to come.  This is an Advent preparation in which I pray we will be prepared to meet Jesus, both in the here/now and on that blessed day when He comes to take us Home.

“Let us then live in today’s Advent, for it is the time of promise.  To eyes that do not see, it still seems that the final dice are being cast down in these valleys…{but} those who are awake sense the working of the other powers and can await the coming of their hour.”     Father Alfred Delp, Watch for the Light, Day 5

 

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About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com