Saturday, December 18, 2021

Readings:
Psalm 80:1-7
Isaiah 66:7-11
Luke 13:31-35

Nothing Except...
 
Hello friends.  
 
We can do nothing apart from God.   
God is the source of our hope and our every breath.
 
John 15:1-11 NASB
Jesus Is the Vine—Followers Are Branches
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 
 
It is so easy to get caught up in all we will do in this and any season.
But what if we reminded ourselves that nothing except what we do for Christ will last.

While we await His return, what if we committed to make an eternal difference?
 
C.S. Lewis said: “ All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.” 
 
One of my favorite parts of the birth narrative of Jesus is that of Simeon and Anna. Their testimony is about being faithful and committed to the hope which God had promised.
 
Luke 2:21-38 NASB
Jesus Presented at the Temple
21 And when eight days were completed so that it was time for His circumcision, He was also named Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
 
22 And when the days for their purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord: “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what has been stated in the Law of the Lord: “A pair of turtledoves or two young doves.”
 
25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
 
29 “Now, Lord, You are letting Your bond-servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples:
32 A light for revelation for the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
 
33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and as a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
 
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She did not leave the temple grounds, serving night and day with fasts and prayers. 38 And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak about Him to all those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
 
I don’t know where you are this Advent 2021. I don’t know if you find yourself in a place of joy or overwhelm. God will meet you wherever you are and remind you that Jesus came not just once, but Jesus is coming back again to restore all and usher in the new creation. And guess what. That includes you and me.  
 
May our lives be living sacrifices for God. I invite you to listen to Refiner by Maverick City. The song can be found easily on YouTube.
 
May the Holy Spirit find you surrounded in community, planted in the vine, and bearing much fruit.
 
Because the Holy Spirit is faithful, so will I.

Tosh Jenkins
Ministry Intern, Huntersville UMC
14005 Stumptown Rd.
Huntersville, NC 28078
(704) 875-1156
3910 North Highway 16
Denver, NC 28037