Advent is the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas when Christians prepare to celebrate Christ's birth, but it is also a time we focus on preparing for Jesus' second coming. The first time, Jesus came as a harmless little baby. But the second time, Jesus will come as a conquering King ready to separate the good from the evil.
Thankfully, God loves us so much and wants us to be ready. That’s why He sent Jesus to first time—to get us ready. Jesus shows us how we need to live and he already atoned for our sins. Aren't you glad Jesus came the first time so we can be ready when he comes the second time?
Mother Teresa said, "Love, to be real, must cost. It must hurt. It must empty us of self."
I see a lot of expressions of real love in our congregation. Real love is 12 people from our church joining with a team from Grace Presbyterian to feed over 100 needy people at the City of Refuge last Monday night. Real love is Kevin Roberts there coloring a picture with a little girl and Tanya Brooker tutoring a child on their math homework before the food was served. Real love is when our church secretary, Angela, can’t sleep at night because she’s tossing and turning in the bed at 3 AM thinking about what we can do with poinsettias to show the love of Jesus—and she comes up with the Poinsettia Challenge.
Real love is Susan Cooksey—a retired teacher—going over to Pleasant Grove Elementary School each week to help out and see how our church can be a blessing to the school. Most people retire and throw their hands up in praise, "I'm done! I don't have to work any more! I've done my time. Now I can sit at home and collect a retirement check." In stead, Susan continues to go to the school and work as a volunteer to help teachers and students, because that's what real love does.
Real love is a Jason and Andrea Denson going through over 2 years of preparation and training and paperwork and praying and hoping and crying and hoping and crying and hoping some more before finally flying over to China to meet their new daughter. Real love is their son, Jace—who’s been the baby of the family getting all the attention for almost a decade—welcoming his new sister into the family with open arms. He willingly shares his family with his new sister.
Real love is James and Mary Greenway taking clothes over to the residents who lost everything in an apartment fire in Dalton this weekend and praying with them to bring peace in the midst of a tragedy. Real love is Amy Harris spurring our church to sponsor 20 families who have a loved one in prison so they will have Christmas presents and leading the youth to host a Angel Tree Party for the families yesterday. Real love is someone from our church going to visit a friend in prison because they’re struggling with addiction and mental illness and they did a terrible thing, but Jesus still loves them so we do too.
Real love is a parent who sacrifices the time, the money, their life, gaining gray hairs through nights of worry and praying and shedding tears of joy and sometimes disappointment. Real love is a spouse who cares for their husband or wife as they slowly fade into dementia. Real love never giving up even when it hurts so bad you just want to die.
He sent his one and only son. He could have and should have come as king treated to a palace and glory with everyone serving him. But Jesus didn't come to be served. He came to serve others. He showed what real love is and he said:
John 15:13 – There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Jesus showed us what real love is. Every day, Jesus laid down his life by the way he served and put others before himself. And ultimately in the end, Jesus literally laid down his life when he died on the cross for our sins. 1 John 4:10, "This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins."
Get Ready and Follow Jesus
Jesus loves us with real love and he want us to love him so we will be ready. Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love me, obey my commandments." And what were his commands? Let me distill it down to 4 basic truths.
A Prayer to Become a Christian
"Father, I'm so sorry for trying to do things my way. I repent. I surrender my life to You. Forgive me for what I've done and help me to follow Jesus from this day forward. Help me to love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And help me to love everyone I meet the way You love them. Show me how I can tell people what Jesus is doing for me. Thank You for saving me! Now help me live for You for the rest of my life. Amen."
If you prayed to become a Christian today, I would like to here from you. Please email me at ReverendChrisMullis@Hotmail.com so I can pray for you.