Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year of Praise Awaits Us

 

17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness
and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

—The words of King David from Psalm 7:17

 

In a few short hours, we will have turned another page in history. An old year will have slipped away. A new year will have begun.

What kind of year will 2013 prove to be? Neither you, nor I, know the answer to this question. A lot can happen in 365 days—that’s 8,760 hours or 525,600 minutes, or 31,536,000 seconds. Some of the things that happen during 2013 will seem like good things. Other things that happen during 2013 will seem like bad things.

Actually, we really can’t identify whether something is truly good or truly bad until we’ve gained the perspective of the passage of time. Often, things that seem bad, in the long range, prove to be not so bad. Similarly, some things that seemed very good at the time, when looked at through the looking glass of history seem not so good after all.

Few things are certain. One certainty we can cling to: the faithfulness of God.

As King David wrote in the Scripture verse at the beginning of this blog post:

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness…

So, allow me to boldly suggest that we focus our attention on the God who loves us. Let us join in singing praise to Him for His righteousness—especially since He has given us His righteousness through the precious blood of His Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:

 

 

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

As we begin a new year, we pause to lift our hearts and voices in praise to You, O God. Your righteousness establishes us on firm ground. You have given us a sure foundation of forgiveness for our sins through the shed blood of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

During the times of trials that may await us during this new year, and also during the times of great joy, we do not want to forget that Your loving arms surround us. You protect us with Your great unfailing, undying love.

Keep us ever mindful of Your Presence in our lives. Grant us a full measure of Your special blessing. We thank You for the reality that Your love for us remains unshakable. And, we thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

“The Days are Coming…”

 

5 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
        “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
   a King who will reign wisely
        and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
        and Israel will live in safety.
   This is the name by which he will be called:
        The Lord Our Righteousness.”

—The words of the Prophet Jeremiah from Jeremiah 23:5-6

 

Impatient…Distraught…Anxious…Anticipating…all these words describe the angst of waiting. We have spent the last four weeks celebrating the anticipation of the Incarnation of God’s only Son, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time, we continue to wait in eager anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ. We long to see the fulfillment of His coming to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

We need to remember—as best we can—that God’s chosen people, Israel, had waited for thousands of years for the coming of Messiah. We have now waited over two thousand years for Christ’s return. And still, we wait.

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

At this Christmas, in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve, may our hearts remain watchful while we celebrate the reality of Immanuel—God with us.

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

We praise You, O God, for the gift you have given us in the birth of Your Son. That You would deign to send Him from heaven to dwell on the earth: fully God, yet fully man.

May we always sing: “O come to our hearts, Lord Jesus. There is room in our hearts for Thee.”

Thank You for Your loving and tender care. And, thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

“God bless us, every one!”

 

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
        and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

—The words of the Apostle Luke from Luke 2:13-14

 

May God grant each one of you a most blessed, peaceful, grace-filled celebration of Christmas 2012.

Please allow me to share with you a spectacular version of the “Carol of the Bells” from the University of Mobile Orchestra, directed by Mr. Steve Dun. The song begins with the Chamber Singers playing handbells and singing the opening section of the piece. Then, to step it up several notches, the orchestra and two guitarists take the spotlight. A drumline takes the piece to its final plateau. I hope you enjoy this video:

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

For over 55 years, I have had an intense interest in multitrack recording. When I was twelve years old, my father saved a little bit of money each week for over a year until he had accumulated enough money to buy me a stereo reel-to-reel tape recorder. I used that recorder until it wore out, producing multitrack recordings of my own. Part of the reason that I became such a dedicated fan of The Carpenters stemmed from their elegant use of multitrack recording techniques, where Karen and Richard supplied all the various vocal parts for their numerous recordings.

With today’s technology, this production technique has become so much easier. Here’s an absolutely delightful Christmas carol that demonstrates the use of multitrack technique. Each of the vocalists was recorded independently while listening to the principal track laid down by the lead singer. I hope you enjoy this unique a capella arrangement.

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

Merry Christmas!

Photo of Christmas Card

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Precious Father, we ask for Your special blessing on this Christmas Day. May You grant us an abundant outpouring of Your loving kindness and tender mercies. May You cause us to celebrate with great joy the birth of Your Son, our Savior. May we also look with eager anticipation to the return of our Great King Jesus.

We praise You, O God, for we acknowledge that everything we are and everything we have comes as a precious gift from You. We bow in humble thanksgiving before You. And, we thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, December 24, 2012

“Let the little children come to me!”

 

15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

—The words of Luke the Evangelist from Luke 18:15-17

 

Literally tens of thousands of individuals have offered commentary on the horrific tragedy that occurred on a clear Friday morning, December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Though the victims have now been laid to rest, we must not cease to pray for their families and for the healing of the community, the state, and our nation.

Vance Perry, a master of multitrack recording techniques, has created a video to express his own tribute to those who died needlessly in Newtown. On this Christmas Eve day, let us watch, remember, and pray:

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Father, this horrific tragedy has caused a great sadness to settle over our land. We stand in shock and amazement at what has happened to these dear children and the adults into whose care their families commended them. In Your great mercy and love, be pleased to reach down and provide a comfort that only You can provide. For You, O God, have watched Your own Son die on a cruel cross of Roman torture, giving His life a ransom for many.

Even as You comfort these families, this community, this state, and our nation, we ask You to send a great, sweeping revival across our land. Yes, once again—as you have done in days gone by—we ask You to send Your Holy Spirit wih great power to irresistibly draw men, women, boys, and girls to Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We thank You that You are the God of All Comfort. And, we thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

 

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
        and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
        and thick darkness is over the peoples,
    but the Lord rises upon you
        and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
        and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

—The words of the Prophet Isaiah from Isaiah 60:1-3

 

Today, I conclude the theme I began in three previous Sunday blog posts. Over the years, my wife, Shirley, has written hundreds of Calls to Worship for the various churches where she has served as organist. Here is the Call to Worship for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

 

Advent Candle with Three Candles Lit

Advent deals with both the first chapter and the last chapter of the greatest story ever told.

And, like any story, we want to know the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why” of the story.

On this fourth Sunday of Advent we ask: “When do these things take place?”

As we light this fourth candle, we are reminded that the “When” of Advent is now.

May the love of Advent come into our lives, as once again we remember the young maiden who said, “Let it be unto me according to Your will.”

O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

 :

I invite you to join me during these final hours of Advent to celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth as a baby in Bethlehem’s manger and also His coming to earth again at the time of His much-anticipated Second Coming.

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

We celebrate the birth of Your Son. What a miracle! We simply cannot comprehend the depth of Your love for us that You would send Your only Son as the One to pay the penalty for our sin.

We also wait in humble anticipation, Dear Father, for the return of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth. We long for Him to come quickly and receive us into the fullness of Your Kingdom.

Please help us during the season of Advent to fix our minds and hearts on the eager anticipation we feel for both of these most holy events. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, prepare our minds and hearts to receive Your joy, as we await the Day of Celebration.

Thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas from My Alma Mater

 

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

—The words of the Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

 

I hope you will enjoy this video Christmas card from my alma mater, Houghton College. The Houghton College Choir sings a passage from “Lux Aeterna” with video graphics produced by Houghton alumnus, Wesley Dean, from the Class of 2010.

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

May the Eternal Light, the Lord Jesus Christ, shine brightly into your heart this Christmas.

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Thank You for sending the Light of Your Son’s Presence to fill our hearts with joy. And, thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

“What happens when I die?”

 

25 Jesus said… “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die…”

—The words of Jesus from John 11:25-26

27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

—The words of the writer of Hebrews from Hebrews 9:27-28

 

Questioning Child facing left

Daddy, “What happens when I die?”

A surprising number of children have asked this question in the course of the past week following the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Children aren’t the only ones asking this question. Many adults wonder, usually silently to themselves, what happens when they pass from this life. Perhaps this video will provide some food for thought in formulating an answer:

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

I hope that this video will cause you to begin to think through the answer to this question: “What happens when I die?” As you think about this, remember the words from the Scripture passages at the beginning of this blog post. God waits to welcome you to His Kingdom in and through the precious blood of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Thank you for the assurance that we need not worry about what lies ahead of us once we pass from this life to the next. Jesus has paved the way for us with His own precious blood. He has paid the penalty for our sin. He has become our righteousness.

Thank you, Loving Father, for this unspeakable gift. And, thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Third Sunday of Advent

 

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

—The words of the Prophet Isaiah from Isaiah 7:14

 

Today, I am continuing the theme I began in two previous Sunday blog posts. Over the years, my wife, Shirley, has written hundreds of Calls to Worship for the various churches where she has served as organist. Here is the Call to Worship for the Third Sunday of Advent.

 

Advent Candle with Three Candles Lit

Advent deals with both the first chapter and the last chapter of the greatest story ever told. And, like any story, we want to know the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why” of the story.

On this third Sunday of Advent we ask: “Where does the story take place?”

As we light this third candle, we are reminded that the “Where” of Advent is here.

May the joy of Advent come into our lives, as once again we remember that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

 :

I invite you to join me during these weeks of Advent to celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth as a baby in Bethlehem’s manger and also His coming to earth again at the time of His much-anticipated Second Coming.

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

We celebrate the birth of Your Son. What a miracle! We simply cannot comprehend the depth of Your love for us that You would send Your only Son as the One to pay the penalty for our sin.

We also wait in humble anticipation, Dear Father, for the return of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth. We long for Him to come quickly and receive us into the fullness of Your Kingdom.

Please help us during the season of Advent to fix our minds and hearts on the eager anticipation we feel for both of these most holy events. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, prepare our minds and hearts to receive Your joy, as we await the Day of Celebration.

Thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, December 14, 2012

That the Whole World May Know...

 

2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
        though you are small among the clans of Judah,
   out of you will come for me
        one who will be ruler over Israel,
   whose origins are from of old,
        from ancient times.”

—The words of God through the Prophet Micah from Micah 5:2

 

Renowned television producer Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, will soon bring a 10-hour epic miniseries, The Bible, into homes across America in the spring of 2013. To give you just a taste of this magnificent production, here’s a video clip that features CeeLo Green singing “Mary Did You Know?”—a particularly appropriate song for this season of Advent and Christmas:

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

You can read more about this fabulous new miniseries at the following link:

http://thebible.publishpath.com/

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Father, we ask You to bless the screening of this miniseries. May Your Holy Spirit use this as a tool to reveal Yourself to countless tens of thousands of people across our land. May He draw these ones irresistibly into Your mercy and grace.

May the telling of the story of Your Holy Word bring hope, joy, and peace to many. Thank You for such opportunites to proclaim Your truth. And, thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It’s All and Only About Jesus

 

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
        and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

—The words of the Apostle Luke from Luke 2:8-20

 

What does Christmas really mean?

Looking at the television, as I write this blog post, it appears that Christmas in 2012 means:

  • Protestors from one side of an issue punching protestors from another side of the issue and tearing down the tent they’ve pitched to protect themselves from the elements.

  • A masked gunman shooting shoppers in a Portland, Oregon, mall; killing two shoppers and himself.

  • Christians right to celebrate Christmas assailed at every turn by those who would not even think about similarly attacking people of the Islam religion.

  • Politicians of all stripes unable to abandon their ideology and solve real problems.

  • A lack of genuine leadership on the part of leaders who advance only their own agenda without considering the effect on the people they supposedly serve.

  • Some of the most hateful, demonizing comments hurled between opponents in virtually every arena of life.


  • A nation of people who will camp for four days outside an Apple Store to get the latest gadget, but would likely seldom, if ever, attend church on a regular basis.

  • A wholesale attempt to marginalize people of sincere Christian faith because they choose to earnestly follow Scripture, rather than bend to the ever-downward spiral of our nation’s culture.

And, as I said at the beginning of this random list, these are but a tiny sample of what I observe in one hour-long news broadcast.

Shall I become a Jeremiah and lament the loss of the nation I grew up in as a boy? Shall I hold my tongue lest I offend someone? Shall I live in fear that writing the wrong words at the wrong time will leave me vulnerable to criticism and disdain?

I honestly don’t know the answer to those questions. I do know that Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with the items on my list above. The one and only true meaning of Christmas resides in the very name: “Christ” and “mas”—the birth of the Christ.

Mary and Baby Jesus

The word “Christ” is simply the Greek equivalent word for the Hebrew word “Messiah.” And, just as our Jewish friends continue to wait for the coming of the Messiah, we Christians celebrate His first coming as a baby in Bethlehem of Judea and wait with eager anticipation for His second coming as a conquring King.

Christmas is all and only about Jesus: Christ’s Mass—the birth of the Christ or Messiah. No matter what Christmas has come to mean to our selfish and self-aggrandizing culture, it remains the celebration of the birth of the deliverer of mankind from the shackles of sin.

Shawna Edwards sings a song that seems most appropriate to this theme:

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

May you set aside every distraction this Christmas and focus only on the One whose name this celebration bears: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Just a few moments of watching television reveals how desperately wicked our nation has become. Our hearts are sickened by the violent speech and violent actions that we observe.

More than at any other time in my lifetime, Precious Father, we need a great outpouring of Your peace, joy, comfort, strength, grace, and faith. Please hear our prayer and help us. Please grant us a strong sense of Your Presence this Christmas through the indwelling power of Your Holy Spirit.

We thank You for keeping us safe from the horror around us. And, we thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Second Sunday of Advent

 

9 You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. 11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

—The words of the Prophet Isaiah from Isaiah 40:9-11

 

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, over the years, my wife, Shirley, has written hundreds of Calls to Worship for the various churches where she has served as organist. During the coming weeks of Advent, I will share four of those Calls to Worship with you. Here is the Call to Worship for the Second Sunday of Advent.

 

Advent Candle with Two Candles Lit

Advent deals with both the first chapter and the last chapter of the greatest story ever told. And, like any story, we want to know the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why” of the story.

On this second Sunday of Advent we ask: “What is the story about?”

As we light this second candle, we are reminded that the “What” of Advent is the miracle of God taking on human flesh.

May the peace of Advent come into our lives, as once again we remember “What” the season is about.

O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

 :

I invite you to join me during these weeks of Advent to celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth as a baby in Bethlehem’s manger and also His coming to earth again at the time of His much-anticipated Second Coming.

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

We celebrate the birth of Your Son. What a miracle! We simply cannot comprehend the depth of Your love for us that You would send Your only Son as the One to pay the penalty for our sin.

We also wait in humble anticipation, Dear Father, for the return of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth. We long for Him to come quickly and receive us into the fullness of Your Kingdom.

Please help us during the season of Advent to fix our minds and hearts on the eager anticipation we feel for both of these most holy events. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, prepare our minds and hearts to receive Your joy, as we await the Day of Celebration.

Thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Season of Contrasts

 

13 I am still confident of this:
        I will see the goodness of the Lord
        in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
        be strong and take heart
        and wait for the Lord.

—The words of King David from Psalm 27:13-14

 

The season of Advent brings with it a contrast of emotions and activities. Some feel enormous joy as they anticipate the colored lights, decorated homes—inside and out—the fun of shopping and picking out just the right gift for the special people in their lives, and a general sense of well-being. Others feel a deep sadness as they remember their friends and family who have passed on from this life to the next. The time of Advent has a bittersweet quality. It represents a contrast of emotions.

Advent also represents a contrast of activities. On the one hand it represents one of the busiest times of the year. The crowded stores. The jammed highways. The higher noise level in restaurants. The pushing and shoving as people line up to get the best bargains.

In contrast, Advent also represents a time for true Christian believers of waiting for the coming of Jesus. It’s a double waiting: waiting for the celebration of Christ’s birth and waiting for the second coming of our Great King Jesus. This waiting stands in stark contrast with the heightened activity of the season that we see in other quarters.

The Scripture passage at the beginning of this blog post urges us to “wait for the Lord.” Implicit with that urging is the reality that the Lord Jesus Christ is worth waiting for. His first coming to earth granted us a full pardon for our sins, as He took our sins on Himself and died on the cruel cross of Calvary. His second coming brings to an end all the bitterness of this sin-cursed life we now live and ushers in the fulfillment of Christ’s Kingdom. The second coming completes the cycle that began with Christ’s departure when He ascended into heaven following His resurrection from the grave. It signals the beginning of an eternity with Him—never-ending fellowship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

And still, we must wait. Though I have written about this before, it is appropriate at this season of Advent to speak of Felix Mendelssohn, who composed a magnificent work, “Elijah.” That work contains an equisite soprano/mezzo-soprano duet that expresses what it means to wait on the Lord. I invite you to listen very carefully to the words of this piece all the way through to the end.

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

I urge you to join me in finding some time of quiet reflection during the hustle and bustle of this Advent season. Set aside time in a quiet place to consider the true joy of this season—joy that overcomes even the deepest sorrow—joy that comes from the anticipated fulfillment of the Kingdom of God in our midst. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

We celebrate the birth of Your Son. What a miracle! We simply cannot comprehend the depth of Your love for us that You would send Your only Son as the One to pay the penalty for our sin.

We also wait in humble anticipation, Dear Father, for the return of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth. We long for Him to come quickly and receive us into the fullness of Your Kingdom.

Please help us during the season of Advent to fix our minds and hearts on the eager anticipation we feel for both of these most holy events. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, prepare our minds and hearts to receive Your joy, as we await the Day of Celebration.

Thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The First Sunday of Advent

 

1A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

—The words of the Prophet Isaiah from Isaiah 11:1-5

 

Over the years, my wife, Shirley, has written hundreds of Calls to Worship for the various churches where she has served as organist. During the coming weeks of Advent, I will share four of those Calls to Worship with you, beginning with this First Sunday of Advent.

 

Advent Candle with One Candle Lit

This first Sunday of Advent deals with both the first chapter and the last chapter of the greatest story ever told. And, like any story, we want to know the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why” of the story.

On this first Sunday of Advent we ask: “Who is the story about?”

As we light this first candle, we are reminded that the “Who of Advent” is God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.

May the hope of Advent come into our lives, as once again we remember the “Who” of the season.

O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

 :

I invite you to join me during these weeks of Advent to celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth as a baby in Bethlehem’s manger and also His coming to earth again at the time of His much-anticipated Second Coming.

Will you please pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

We celebrate the birth of Your Son. What a miracle! We simply cannot comprehend the depth of Your love for us that You would send Your only Son as the One to pay the penalty for our sin.

We also wait in humble anticipation, Dear Father, for the return of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth. We long for Him to come quickly and receive us into the fullness of Your Kingdom.

Please help us during the season of Advent to fix our minds and hearts on the eager anticipation we feel for both of these most holy events. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, prepare our minds and hearts to receive Your joy, as we await the Day of Celebration.

Thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.