“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.’ ”
Do you find yourself following the same paths most days? I think about my daily routines and the worn paths that come with it each day and I wonder if I lose the bigger picture in my ordinary routines. The voice crying in the wilderness invites us to deviate from the ordinary and to make a path for the Lord. Not just a path, but to make that path straight. At it’s most literal it tells me that I need to make the most direct connection to the Lord that I can in all that I do. Does my daily routine include a straight path to God, am I taking time this Advent season to prepare the way, do I hear the voice crying in the wilderness? It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of the holidays rather than expectant waiting, to be easily annoyed by the mess and clutter of decorating, baking, and wrapping instead of dwelling in the joy that is shared in the receiving of the preparations, and to lose the path when we can’t see beyond the one next thing on the schedule. It’s time to remember that our path to the Lord is only a winding, twisting and turning mess when we let “things” get in the way of our relationships, especially our relationship with God. During this season of Advent, change up your path. Take time to hear the voice in the wilderness and let it direct you to the hopeful, joyful, and peaceful path that guides us into relationship with the Lord our God.
“The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”
Many men and women aspire to power. They want political positions, corner offices, titles and authority. When you meet them they usually have grand offices, wear expensive clothes and have people around them that clue you into their power. Yet, our Lord and King, Jesus, cuts a very different figure. We see him bloodied on a cross, attended by no one except for the soldiers who put him there and they mock him. Jesus teaches a lesson that history has not yet learned. The powerful are called by Jesus’ example to be humble, to be approachable, to be servants. Look around for those who display these qualities and you will find leaders worth following. We are called to follow Jesus and those who are like Him.
“Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
It’s all about focus. There are so many things we want and need in this life. But this promise from Jesus, helps us prioritize. If we seek first the Kingdom of God, everything else will be given to us as well. When you put the things of God first in your life it’s amazing how everything else finds its proper place. I’ve noticed then when I tithe I don’t stress as much about my finances as when I don’t tithe. I don’t think that’s because I have fewer bills or more money, but rather because my heart is right. It’s the same when I am diligent in prayer, or serving, or loving others. The rest of life comes into a kind of focus that allows me to weather the ups and downs better. Striving for God’s kingdom first produces a kind of contentment and peace in our souls. That peace helps us see clearly how God has provided and trust in God when things get hard. May God guide us this week to strive for his kingdom!
This is the official blog for First Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Each week we’ll post the devotional thoughts of our pastor as well as announcements from the life of the church. In addition you’ll find videos, sermons and other material to strengthen your faith. Here at First Lutheran we exist to equip people to become fully committed followers of Jesus. We hope this content helps you become just that.