11 God has shown us how kind he is by coming to save all people. 12 He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world. 13 We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. 14 He gave himself to rescue us from everything that is evil and to make our hearts pure. He wanted us to be his own people and to be eager to do right. 15 Teach these things, as you use your full authority to encourage and correct people. Make sure you earn everyone's respect.
As Christians, we should be looking for the glorious appearance of Jesus. We should be excited about it! The central idea of the sermon was this:
If Christ is truly the Lord of our lives, we should be looking for Him with excited anticipation.
As I sat through the message, I felt completed convicted. I felt so convicted, I almost did not take communion. I don't share excitement about Christ's return with anyone; nor, do I hardly get excited about it on a daily basis. How sad is that? Our guest pastor, used a great example of feeling excited to see someone appear. He described the excitement he felt on his wedding day, as he was waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle - that is the kind of excitement I want to feel for Christ.
The one who has spoken these things says, "I am coming soon!" So, Lord Jesus, please come soon!
Thankfully, there are a few ways to help build my excitement for Christ, and his return. And, quite frankly, these suggestions will help anyone deepen their relationship with Jesus.
First, we should spend time in prayer. Just like any relationship one may have, in order for it to flourish; there must be communication. My relationship with God is no different. Communication is prayer. Prayer is communication. Prayer is a daily occurrence. God doesn't care what I say, or how I say it. He'll understand. My prayers do not need to be perfect. He gets me. And, when I cannot pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede for me. One thing I do need to "work on," is my listening skills! I oftentimes do not sit silently, waiting for the Lord to speak to me.
God's Spirit doesn't make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father.
In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don't know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words.
The next thing we should do is prepare ourselves by knowing about God. Spending time in God's Word will help us know Him on a deeper level.
Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God! It's from Him. The Bible will build our excitement, to get to know Jesus. The more we know Him, the more excited we become. Having a place to spend time with God, your "supplies" (Bible, notebook, highlighter, etc...), and possibly even a set time will help make this a routine. It will be awesome to see what God will reveal to me each day!
The last thing to help build up your excitement for the Lord, is to make your time spent with Him a priority. This is absolutely the biggest struggle for me. I usually try to have my quiet time while the kids are at school, or napping. But, realistically, something else always takes precedence. What a horrible thing to admit - but, it's so true! I rearrange my schedule to exercise, watch a favorite TV show, or see a friend. Can't I do the same for God?
You will worship me with all of your heart, and I will be with you.
I have felt the Lord tugging at my heart strings a lot lately. I feel myself wanting to be closer to Him, lean on Him. I pray that today's message will encourage me to deepen my relationship with Jesus. He's calling me in closer, I just have to answer.
*Translations by Contemporary English Version Bible