Advent – Expectations

Lesedauer 2 Minuten

Advent has begun, a time of great expectation. We are preparing for Christmas and doing our best to make it as beautiful as possible. We decorate, bake biscuits, decorate the Christmas tree, buy gifts, look for recipes for the perfect Christmas menu and we want to have a good time with the family.

We also expect a contemplative, peaceful and harmonious time in which we can pause and come to rest. This year the Advent and Christmas season could be different from what we expect. The Christmas markets have been canceled, social contacts are restricted, large Christmas celebrations are canceled, travel is not allowed.

But what is really important? What is the Advent season actually about? Advent comes from the Latin and means “arrival”. We are preparing for the arrival of Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate on Christmas night, and Advent also indicates the future coming of Christ.

“Prepare the way for the Lord” Isaiah 40: 3

Jesus is at the center, his arrival is the center of the Christmas message. With this in mind, I would like to organize the Advent and Christmas season. Remind me consciously that Jesus is looking for a place where he can arrive. Already 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were looking for accommodation where they could stay. Many people turned them away until they finally found a place in a stable. There Jesus was born and Mary put him in a manger. God makes himself small, he was born in poor circumstances. God comes close to us humans and shows his love. He gives himself.

Even today Jesus is still looking for a place where he can arrive. He is on the lookout for people who will accept the gift of his love, who will open their hearts to him so that he can move in there. He is not expecting a decorated Christmas tree, gifts, or Christmas menu. What he wants is encounter and community, he wants to arrive in you and me. It is he who bestows us with his unconditional love, with his light, with his hope, with his consolation, with his joy, with his grace and with his peace.

“Behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people” Luke 2:10

“Because a child is born to us! A son has been given to us! He will take control. He is called “Wonderful Counselor”, “Mighty God”, “Eternal Father”, “Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9.5

This year in particular, in which this world needs new hope and new light, is the opportunity for the Christmas message to become increasingly important, for many people to become more conscious of it, to think about it and to go in search of God. When I think of the Christmas story, the three wise men from the Orient come to my mind. The Bible calls them magicians, a combination of scientists, philosophers and astronomers. They were looking for the truth. They looked for Jesus, asked questions, they observed and did everything they can to get answers and thus achieved their goal.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For whoever asks receives; and whoever seeks will find; and whoever knocks there will be opened. ”Matthew 7: 7-8

“Then you will seek the Lord your God. And you will find him if you ask about him honestly and with all your heart ”Deuteronomy 4:29

Unshakeable

Lesedauer 2 Minuten

Mountains are fascinating. When I explore the mountains in which I live, I am always amazed. On summer hikes I can see the majestic high hills, let my eyes wander into the distance from above and enjoy the wonderful view. I enjoy the mountain meadows, clear lakes and deep valleys. The peaks are covered with ice and snow. After a day in the mountains, I feel a little closer to heaven.

In the Bible we often read that people meet and experience God on the mountains. Even Jesus walked to the mountains to pray and to find rest.

The size, mass and height of the mountains are enormous. They stand before me irrevocably and immovably. It is impossible to move such a mountain, it has its permanent place. It is stable over many millions of years.

Here is a short story: “Once every thousand years – only every thousand years – a bird comes to a mountain. He sits on top of the summit. There on the rock this little animal whets its beak with a short, quick movement. Then the bird flies away again. When the whole mountain is scuffed, only a second of eternity has passed. That is consistency. “

In the Bible, in Isaiah 54:10, the Lord our Merciful says:

“Mountains may remove and hills may sway, but nothing can shake my love for you and the covenant of my peace shall not fall.”

What a wonderful promise. God’s love for us is even more permanent and unshakable than any mountain on earth. No matter what happens, mountains should shake, God’s love lasts forever and cannot be shaken. God is the eternal rock, the ground on which we can stand safely. His fidelity is irrevocable and his grace never ceases. We can build on him, we can rely on his word. He never abandons those who love him.

This verse strengthens my hope, my faith and gives courage in uncertainty and difficulties. May difficult situations burden me, no certainties, changes happen in my life, his love for me is that which remains and cannot be shaken by anything, come what may. God has made a covenant of peace with us. Through Jesus Christ, who came to earth as a human being to pay for our debts and who gave his life for us, we have peace, forgiveness and access to God.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

At the end a psalm:

My Help Comes from the Lord
1 A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 121

Confidence

Lesedauer 3 Minuten

What does the word confidence mean? Confidence is the firm belief that something positive will happen, the feeling of a strong inner belief that tells me that it will always go on, even when something is not good.

If you look at current world events, the future prognoses are not good, many people feel less confident and worry, displeasure, perplexity and fears want to spread.

Today I would like to encourage everyone who is currently in a difficult situation, be it due to the coronavirus or other circumstances that want to rob you of the joy of life.

Are you afraid of sickness?
Are you unsure how to continue economically?
Do you have existential fears?
Do you feel isolated, alone, lonely, do you lack social contacts?
Are you worried about the future?
Do you feel a great insecurity?
Are you sad, depressed?

Maybe it feels like God is far away, maybe you don’t feel him anymore, he is silent and doesn’t seem to hear your prayers, you feel empty and hopeless. You are plagued by doubts whether God means well for you.

God wants to meet you in the midst of all the difficult circumstances. He goes with you and carries you through. You can bring your suffering to him and complain, hand it over to him, he helps us let go of it step by step. He comforts you. He is the God of all comfort.


Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercy and God of all consolation, who comforts us in all our tribulations, so that we can also comfort those in all tribulations with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted from God ”2 Corinthians 1: 3-4

It is he who can give you hope and confidence again, who brings light back into the darkness.

Without God you could despair and despair about some things, but hold on to the fact that in the end he has a good plan, that he knows everything and holds everything in his hands. Choose to believe that God can make all things good and make something good of everything.



“But we know that for those who love God, all things serve for the best” Romans 8:28

God sees you even if you don’t see him
God hears your prayers even if you don’t hear him right now
God’s love envelops you, even if you don’t always feel it

God is “Immanuel”, which means “God with us”. Nothing and nobody can separate you from his love. Hold on to God’s promise, God’s word. He is with you all the time, especially when you are in the dark valley.


For I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor powers nor authorities, neither present nor future, neither high nor low nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. “Romans 8.38-39

Hold on to his hand and let him lead and guide you.


“You surround me on all sides and hold your hand over me” Psalm 139: 5

Believe in the God who works miracles. Your belief in him is more than a feeling. It is a firm confidence in what you hope and a non-doubt of what you do not see.


“God is our confidence and strength, a help in the great needs that have hit us.” Psalm 46: 2

“For you are my confidence, a mighty tower from my enemies.” Psalm 61: 3

“With God is my salvation, my honor, the rock of my strength; my confidence is in God. ”Psalm 62: 7

Hope in him always, dear people, pour out your hearts before him; God is our confidence. ”Psalm 62: 8

“But it is my joy that I stand by God and put my confidence in the Lord” Psalm 73:28

“He will cover you with his wings, and your confidence will be under his wings. His truth is a shield and a shield. ”Psalm 91: 4

But the LORD is my protection; my God is the refuge of my confidence ”Psalm 94: 2

Dealing with difficult people

Lesedauer 4 Minuten

We meet a wide variety of people on our journey through life. Everyone is unique, everyone has their own peculiarities, their values, their life experiences, their behavior. Sometimes it is easy for us to establish a relationship, the feeling is right from the start, we feel a sympathy and connection with the other. We understand each other when we have similar interests, when we have experienced similar things, when we find characteristics of ourselves in the other. Often it is also the opposites that attract us, we recognize positive qualities in people that we don’t have, and the other way around in us, so that we complement each other perfectly in the relationship.

However, there are also encounters with people who seem difficult to us, where we often don’t know exactly how to deal with them. These can be people who hurt us, people who constantly nag and whine, people who like to blaspheme or poke at others, who make others small, can get quick tempered or angry, people who steal our energy, etc. These people have behaviors that cause us problems and that we find difficult to deal with.

How can we deal with it without letting ourselves be led to negative actions, without being influenced by them, without making ourselves vulnerable and open to attack?

The best and most effective method and strategy we have as children of God is the love of God within us. The Word of God challenges us to meet everyone, whether friend or enemy, with this love.


“Accept one another as Christ accepted you” Romans 15: 7


“You have heard that the Law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ [14] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, Love your enemies. [15] Pray for those who persecute you. 45 So act like true children of your Heavenly Father. Because he makes the sun rise for bad and good and sends rain for the just as for the unjust. 46 If you only love those who love you too, what is special about it? Even the corrupt tax collectors do that. 47 If you are only kind to your friends, how do you distinguish yourself from other people? Even those who do not know God do that. 48 But you shall be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect. ”Matthew 5: 43-46


We can try and learn to see everyone with God’s eyes, without judging. We should be aware that everyone is a creature of God and that God loves everyone. God always makes a distinction between man himself and his behavior. God hates sin, but loves the sinner.

“But God proves his great love for us precisely by the fact that Christ died for us when we were still sinners” Romans 5: 8

If we meet difficult people in a friendly, loving manner, with a smile, we can radiate God’s love within us and make the other think about his behavior.

To see fellow human beings through God’s eyes means to be interested in them, to question the background of his behavior. Why did man react one way or another, why did he behave like this? We should try to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and understand them before we judge. The other could have had negative experiences himself, be hurt himself or have a bad day, etc. Nothing justifies that he belittles or insults other people because of it, but knowing the motives does help us to not take his behaviour personally. Often the behavior of the other has nothing to do with us.

Injured people hurt people

What we can still do when we encounter difficult people in our eyes is to ask ourselves what we can learn from them and what the respective situation wants to show us. It is also possible that the other person reflects behavior to me that I don’t like about myself and that I should change.

“As one grinds iron through iron, so one man grinds another’s character” Proverbs 27:17

We ourselves have flaws and weaknesses that can be difficult for others.

“Why do you see every little splinter in the eye of your fellow man, but you don’t notice the bar in your own eye? 4 How can you say to him: ‘Come here! I want to pull the splinter out of your eye! ‘And you have a beam in your eye yourself! 5 You hypocrite! First remove the bar from your eye, then you can see clearly in order to also pull the splinter out of the eye of your fellow man. ”Matthew 7: 3-5

We can learn from Jesus to love people and to accept them as they are. We shouldn’t pigeonhole people or divide them into different categories based on their behavior. Because if we say from the outset that this person is so and so, we have an opinion about a person that is difficult to get rid of. We form an image from which we can hardly break free, even if the person tries hard. That is why it is so important to let go of inappropriate behavior, to forgive and not to be resentful, not always to look at the mistakes of the other, but to look at his positive traits that discover treasures in the other.

“Love is always ready to believe the best of everyone.” 1 Corinthians 13: 5

“My friends! Let us love one another because love comes from God. He who loves is a child of God and knows God. ”1. John 4: 7


We should never repay evil for evil, but rather

pray for the other “But I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44
forgiven “Rather, be kind and merciful and forgive one another, just as God forgave you through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4.32
Not crediting guilt “Most of all, don’t let up in loving one another. Because “love overlooks mistakes” 1 Peter 4: 8
do not talk badly about the other person, make him badly with others “Who gossips about others, shares secrets; but those who are reliable keep a secret to themselves ”Proverbs 11:13“ Do not speak ill of one another, but have a good word for everyone who needs it. What you say should be helpful and encouraging, a benefit to all Ephesians 4:29
help “but you who really listen to me, I say: love your enemies and do good to those who hate you” Luke 6:27
Do not be malicious “Do not rejoice over the misfortune of your enemy; do not rejoice at his fall! ”Proverbs 24:17
“Always treat people as you would like them to treat you” Matthew 7:12


To implement all of these resolutions and to deal with people as described in these verses is impossible by one’s own strength and willpower. In order to be able to act in this way, we must be filled with God’s power and live from his love. Our natures are weak, but God’s Spirit within us makes the impossible possible if we only trust and believe.

God loves us first

Lesedauer 3 Minuten

Last week during my quiet time with God I came across the above verse in the picture from Jeremiah chapter 31. This verse appealed to me and touched me very much. While reading I felt the heart of God and his great love for us humans. A love that is so much bigger than we can ever imagine, a love that always comes before us, a love that was always there, a love that is not linked to conditions. God’s love is an undeserved love that we cannot earn through our own efforts or good deeds and works. God has always loved us and He will always love us despite our mistakes and weaknesses. Our behavior does not change his love.

Throughout chapter 31 of Jeremiah I recognize God’s love for his people, his longing for people and his desire for community and relationship, he wants to draw people to himself. Despite all sins and despite the fact that people have turned away from God, he wants to be merciful and forgive. He is just waiting for them to turn around, recognize him and turn to him and ask for forgiveness. God wants to make a new covenant with his people by writing the law in their hearts and filling them with the Holy Spirit. This new covenant applies not only to the people of Israel, but to everyone who lives in a personal relationship with God. Jeremiah’s prophecies refer to Jesus Christ, through him we have a new beginning and reconciliation with God. With Jesus the new covenant of God began with us humans.

God fights for the love of every single person, because his nature is love, he is love himself. Looking back at my life so far, I can see traces of God’s love everywhere, it was always there, from the beginning. God first loved me without doing anything for it. Even in the times when I moved away from him, lived without him, I was not aware of his presence, he was there and searched for me and pulled me out of sheer kindness. When I didn’t recognize him, he already saw and knew me. Recognizing and meeting God’s love is the greatest gift in my life, I was able to experience how valuable I am to God and how unconditional His love is. His love for me is so great that he gave his life so that I can have access to my father again and that there is no longer any separation. He took sin (= separation from God) for me and for every person who accepts this gift of grace.

God’s love changes hearts. Because he loves us so much, we want to love too. He gives us the will to pass on his love to our fellow human beings. It gives us the strength to forgive. He gives us his view of people and circumstances. Because we are loved, we want to do good, be generous and compassionate. Because God loves us, we want to love him and live according to his will. Because God loves us we want to please him. Because God loves us, we are valuable.

“Dear Ones, let us love one another; for love is from God, and whoever loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love ”1 John 4: 7-8

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be reconciling for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us so, we should also love each other. Nobody has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfect in us ”1 John 4: 10-12

“Let us love, because he loved us first” 1 John 4:19

“Because Christ died for us at the time when we were still weak. Now hardly anyone dies for the sake of a just one; maybe for the sake of good he dares his life. But God shows his love for us in the fact that Christ died for us when we were still sinners ”Romans 5: 6-8

“But God, who is rich in mercy, in his great love with whom he loved us, also made us who were dead in sins alive with Christ – you are saved by grace – and he has brought us along raised and engaged in heaven in Christ Jesus so that in the coming times he would show the exuberant wealth of his grace through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus. Because by grace you are saved by faith, and not from you: it is God’s gift, not from works, so that no one can boast. Because we are his work, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in it. ”Ephesians 2: 4-10