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Friday, November 30, 2018

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"Be on Guard... Be Alert at All Times"

These are the words that make Advent so special for me -- it is a key theme in my life both as pastor and as a follower of Jesus. I seek to keep my eyes, my mind, my heart open to the winds of God's Spirit. I seek out creative opportunities through the blessing of community to contend with the worries (anxieties, fears, discouragements) that appear almost daily.

I hear Jesus reminding us that God is about doing new things. Watch... be on guard... be alert... you will again be surprised by God's presence and activity. I think of the many changes in my life during some 38 years as a pastor: God regularly making a "new me" and offering some amazing surprises -- thanks be to God.

We pray for God's direction as we discern the work of God's Spirit. It's Advent -- a most blessed time as we are on guard, watching and seeking to be alert at all times.

Patient God, we rejoice in the manifold ways in which you do new things in our lives and our world. This Advent, help us to watch, to be vigilant in our search for your next new surprising gift. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Paul A. Herpich, '08
Retired, Liverpool, N.Y.

Luke 21:25-36 (NRSV)

25 "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 Then they will see "the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
29 Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees;
30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.
31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.
33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34 "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly,
35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.
36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.