Daily Dose, Nov. 30: Advent

  Do not remember against us the iniquities of our ancestors; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake. (Psalm 79:8-9) To the leader. Of the Korahites. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah (Psalm 46:1-3) Sometime around 1984, our family of four took a rafting trip on the Nantahala River in North Carolina. My parents opted for the simple raft rental, foregoing any expert advice or guidance. My older brother and I were along for the ride, trusting that Dad knew what he was doing and would ably guide our little raft down the rapids all the way to safety. It didn’t take long for my brother and I to realize that, for all the things Dad DID have experience with, guiding a river raft wasn’t one of them! We found ourselves going down rapids sideways; we continually drifted to the edge of the river and into limbs, bushes and overhanging trees; we didn’t know when or where to paddle. To all of this, my Dad offered a confident and resounding “We’re OK. We’re OK.” I’m not sure if he was trying to reassure us or convince himself! We didn’t know we needed a guide until…we needed a guide. We didn’t know we wanted someone to rescue us until…we were in need of rescue. Jesus is our guide and our rescuer. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t draw close to him because they don’t realize their need for a guide. They aren’t aware that they are in need of rescue. Romans (Chapter 5) reminds us that God reveals his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us WHILE WE ARE STILL SINNERS. God can always see around the “bend in the river” in our lives. God knows our hearts and our motives before we ever act on them. God knows our temptations and weak places before we ever fall into their snare. And God sends a guide. A rescuer. A deliver. And his name shall be Emmanuel -- God with us. The deliverer has come! He’s in the raft with you right now! You may think you’re doing just fine, but a day will come when you find yourself drifting into danger. Will you listen to Jesus’ instructions for you and trust that he knows the way to safety better than you? -- Rev. Brad Greene