Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Revelation 4:11 NIV
In [Jesus Christ] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John [the Baptist]. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.
John 1:4-11 NIV
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Welcome to An Advent of Growth, this year’s journey through the Advent season with His Own Heart Ministries. We’re so glad you’ve chosen to join us! Advent is one of our favorite seasons as it’s a time when Christ-followerslook with expectant hearts toward the coming weeks that carry us steadily toward the twenty-fifth day of December – when we recognize with humbled, joy-filled hearts the incarnate or physical birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Not overly familiar with the celebration of Advent? Dr. Ryan Reeves, professor for Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, gives a wonderful and simple overview of the season that you’ll enjoy reading here. As he points out, the joy of Advent involves so much more than looking backward into a manger in Bethlehem; it also affords us the opportunity to celebrate the string of unfathomable events set into motion by this very Birth – events like the promised and permanent atonement for sin through Christ’s death and resurrection at Calvary (see Luke 22-24), the promised arrival of our Guide – the Holy Spirit – first delivered to the original Twelve Apostles in the Upper Room after Christ’s ascension (see Acts 2), and Christ’s promised rule and re-creation of the world set to begin at the dawn of His second coming detailed (see Matthew 24:30-31).
Think for a moment about the magnitude of both of these promises. Christ has already delivered on the former promise, and all indications are that we move closer and closer to seeing the latter promise fulfilled with each passing day. Now, possibly more than at any time since His birth, Advent should be a truly exciting time for the followers who anxiously await Christ’s final return! Is it any wonder that the Apostle John deemed our LORD to be “worthy of glory, and honor, and power” in today’s passage of Scripture?
With these thoughts in mind, I am bursting with excitement at the thought of our journeying together through the 2019 edition of this exciting season in the coming weeks!
Let’s turn our attention in this first post to John the Baptist.You and I have more in common with this man than we may think. The son of Elizabeth – who was a cousin to Mary the mother of Jesus – this John received the divine, God-given assignment of announcing the arrival and purpose of the ministry that would ensue with the first coming of Christ to earth.
In a very real way, today’s Christian is assigned a similarly important task by God. It goes without saying that the Light to whom today’s Scripture refers is Jesus Christ, the very Son of God. Simply put, He is Light who provides the path that leads us to God the Father; there is no other way, no alternate GPS route. But just as John was called “as a witness to the Light” that would permeate the world’s darkness some 2000 years ago, we likewise to serve as witnesses of Christ’s presence from the here and now until
- a) He calls us to our heavenly home; or
- b) He returns to earth at His second coming.
In Greek – the original language in which the New Testament was written – the root word associated with witness is synonymous with someone who bears record of, someone whoreflects something.The implication here is as astounding as it is humbling. Think of it: Jesus chooses you and me to serve as the conduits through whom His light – His truth– is reflected outward and into a dark and flailing culture.
– Copyright 2019, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All Rights Reserved.