The Third Sunday of Advent 2018
Have you ever had a secret admirer?
Who is your secret admirer? It can be hard to tell who’s been secretly sending you gifts or romantic messages, especially when he or she doesn’t want you to find out. You will need to use all the clues you can find. Look carefully at any messages or gifts that they have sent you. Ask around to find out who might be crushing on you. Be aware of the people in your life and keep your eyes peeled for potential admirers. Be careful and be patient. Your secret admirer is probably shy at the prospect of talking to you in person, so try to be tactful and respect his or her privacy. https://www.wikihow.com/Find-Your-Secret-Admirer
God is no secret admirer. He LOVES to love you lavishly (1 John 3:1), publicly, extravagantly, unbelievably and eternally!
An unknown love is discouraging, depressing and unrewarding.
God, the One who loves you beyond human capacity to understand, is not a secret lover. He knows you and everything about you.
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you: I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
There is NO DOUBT! God knows you and loves you.
This encourages us to embrace a couple of questions:
- Do I know myself?
- Do I present the self I know to God?
1 Corinthians 13:12 is insightful on love and knowing.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
To be dependent is to only receive. (Creates indebtedness)
To be independent is to only give. (Creates impoverishment)
“Even God who is uniquely self-sufficient lives in the triunity of persons in a full giving that is a full receiving, and a full receiving that is a full giving.” Gloria Patri (2007), Nicholas Ayo, page 52
God is perfectly healthy in every way.
Because He loves to give the gift of making Himself known to you, He also loves it when you give Him the gift of making yourself known to Him.
We are invited into a “know and be known” relationship with God.
“The One who knows be best, loves me most.” Bill Gaither
The Advent Text for this week is Zephaniah 3:14-20.
Verse 17 is the pivotal fulcrum for the experiences and expressions of the other verses.
|3:14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!
3:15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.
3:16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak.
3:17 The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing
3:18 as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.
3:19 I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
3:20 At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.
|We are to sing aloud.
We are to shout.
We are to rejoice and exult with all our hearts.
Why? The Lord has taken away the judgments against you.
He has turned away our enemies.
He is in our midst and we shall fear disaster no more!!!
We do not fear and we do not let our hands grow weak.
We stay strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
What is the Lord, our God, in our midst doing?
He is a warrior who gives victory.
He rejoices over us with gladness.
He renews us in his love.
He exults over us with loud singing.
He removes disaster from us.
He deals with all our oppressors.
He saves the immobile
He gathers the outcasts and exchanges our shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
He will bring us home at the time He gathers us.
He will make us renowned and praised when He restores our fortunes before our eyes.
Because God loves to give the making of Himself known and also loves to receive the making of ourselves known, we respond energetically with King David in Psalm 139:23, 24
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
Thank you, Father God, for loving to make yourself known.
Although I am dependent upon You, I don’t want You to do all the giving. I respond to your gift of making yourself known by truthfully, authentically and openly giving you the gift of making myself known to you.
Although you are independent of me, I don’t want to do all the receiving. Please receive my open and honest making of myself known to you as my heartfelt gift.