What Is Advent?

10389133_423507684465031_9016953425129766019_nI would like to take this opportunity to share with all of you the meaning of advent. Too many times everyone seems to be so busy with the shopping, baking, presents, parties etc. we simply do not take the time to slow down for the season of Advent, What is advent it is a time four weeks before Christmas that we take the opportunity to invite God into the season before we get to Christmas Day.                                                               The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was. So where did the season of Advent come from? Here is an attempt at a partial response — going back to the sacred Scriptures and to the early centuries of the church.

First, recall that the building blocks of Advent — its images, stories, memories, promises, songs, and hopes — are already present in the Bible. The rich images of the prophets Isaiah and Amos are there. The stories of John, Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, and John the Baptist are found in the Scriptures. There are Israel’s memories of exile and the hope for a day when God would restore hope, justice, and rulers in the line of David. There you find the songs: Mary‘s song, Zechariah’s song, and the psalms of lament, anguish, and hope. The vision of a new heaven and a new earth is there. Jesus’ call to be alert because we don’t know the day or the hour when the Son of Man will come is there. Paul’s and Peter’s words to believers awaiting the return of the risen Lord (the second coming) are there. All of this was there by the end of the first century. It was only a matter of time until the churches in various places began to find ways to weave these elements into their worship and into the ways they kept time together’s promised by his first coming.

What Is the Advent Wreath?
The Advent wreath is a circular garland of evergreen branches representing eternity. On that wreath, four or five candles are typically arranged. During the season of Advent, one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services.

Each candle represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
The lighting of an Advent wreath is a custom that began in 16th-century Germany among Lutherans and Catholics. In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24.
Symbolism of the Advent Wreath Candles
Set on the branches of the Advent wreath are four candles: three purple candles and one pink candle. A more modern tradition is to place a white candle in the center of the wreath. As a whole, these candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world.
Each week of Advent on Sunday, a particular Advent candle is lit. Catholic tradition states that the four candles, representing the four weeks of Advent, each stand for one thousand years, to total the 4,000 years from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior.

On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14, NIV). So each week from now through the Sunday before Christmas I will share with you what each candle means and what color that Christians light on that day. You can also purchase your own advent wreath or even make one for yourself. So friends lets not rush this beautiful season of Advent let us journey together to find out what is all the fuse is about during this season, and why God had to send his one and only son Jesus into this world to be able to save his people from their sins.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

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Let Everything That Breathes Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150.pngPraise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power, praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise his with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.                                         Psalm 150

Sacrifice thank offering to God. Tell of his works with songs of joy!  Bearing your circumstances bravely even thanking God for them, which is the highest form or praise. God has been training you and I in the discipline of thankfulness for a long time. Yet we at times still find it hard to thank him for our own suffering or for others we know who are suffering. Sometimes we are able to do this, and when we do, we find that we become closer to God our Father. Thanking God for adversity requires a deep level of trust in his goodness, his mercy, and his love. People who are leaning on their own understanding cannot achieve this depth of trust. As you look to the scriptures to Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. We are learning to endure our circumstances bravely with thankfulness and we have experienced personal benefits from this. But there is more–much more! Your grateful acceptance of adversity has major repercussions far beyond ourselves :in heaven as well as on earth. Besides having Power to weaken spiritual stronghold of evil, your sacrifice of thanksgiving rings bells of joy throughout heavenly realms. On earth, our patient endure of suffering seeds out ripples of good tidings in every-widening circles to strengthen and encourage God’s people. So in every and all circumstances in your life or in mine we should always Praise the Lord!

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Brokenness

Isaiah 54-1.pngI know that some of you as you are reading these words that I have written, you are feeling broken within your heart. There are so many reasons that through out our lives that we feel this way, and one way is when you put your trust in someone or something instead of God and I too am guilt of this one. Too many times you open yourselves to trust another thinking that they have your best interest for you that you will not get hurt and somehow in the end we truly do .And when we do get disappointed or crush inside I know that all I want to do is run away to never be found again. I truly want to give up and not go forward why because as humans we are afraid of being hurt over and over again.  As I was going thru the different scriptures that I have highlight I come across these words from the book of Isaiah 54: 10 Through the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Once I read these words than read them again, I cry out to the Lord why Lord what have I done to be hurt in this way once again. My heart knows that through my brokenness I can draw closer to God. I am able to open up to him and simply pour out my heart knowing that he does understand my pain. His compassion for me is overflowing, and when I do open myself up to the Risen Lord his peace will fill my spirit that transcends understanding. I need to stop trying to figure everything out on my own. Instead, I need to lean on him, letting my head rest on his shoulders, and while I am resting I need to know that he will be watching over me and all that concerns me. I need to continue to trust in the Master in the depths of my being where he lives in union with me. Jesus healing work in me is most effective when I am trusting him. As I read these words more than once from Isaiah I need to remember how he has compassion for me. No matter how desperate my circumstances can be, the one thing I can always count on is Jesus unfailing love for me.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Broken Dreams & Broken Promises

Psalm 42.jpgIt has been a difficult day my Lord to say the lease, because when others seem to have forgotten you and what you long for is someone to reach out to say I do care, and truly mean it. For someone else who seems all they want to do is to judge you and you seem to say to yourself, they are not walking in my shoes to understand this deep pain of mine. So I open up your scriptures to read the following words that seem to ring so true for me today.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”. These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the “Mighty One” with shouts of joy and praise, among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me, therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls, all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt  me saying to me all day long, “Where is your God.?” Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Dear Lord

Help me in this holy time, at your feet, to pour my soul out to you. Enable me to be transparent. I surrender every burden, fear, question, and emotion. Empty me of myself. Free me from all the clutter in my heart and mind. Consume me with Your Spirit now and everyday of my life.

Amen

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Changes Within

Ephesians 2-aOnce you have excepted Jesus’ invitation to become your Lord and Savior you will begin to see changes within yourself. As Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handwork, created in Christ Jess to do good works, which God prepared in advance.

Since you have joined God’s royal family, he has brought much light into your world. However, this is only like the first gleam of dawn compared with the full light of the day that awaits you and me and all who walks on the path of righteousness. We need to understand we always need his help to get us through each and everyday of our lives. There is no righteousness apart from Jesus, but he has already secured this glorious gift for us through his completed work on the cross. As you begin your own journey with Christ by spending time with him, thru reading the scriptures, you will begin to see things in a whole new life. The things you once desire from this world you don’t care to do any longer. You begin to see other’s the way Jesus sees them with compassion, and with love. Over time we begin to stop judging others the way we did at one time, just because they are different from you. You see when you read in the Old Testament 1 Samuel 16:7 “The Lord does not look at the things people look at, people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Believe me I am glad he looks at me heart, because at times I seem to do what I shouldn’t do, and God knows deep down within my soul the woman he has created me to be. This is why it is so important for us to continue to read God’s word on a daily basis and not just when we feel like we should. You just don’t know it as of yet, you and I are on a quest to know Jesus more and more with each passing day. Long before we began a believer, Jesus was working to reveal himself to us. Jesus placed experiences in our lives that exposed your deep need to know me.  At times when I shared my journey with someone I say I feel as thro I am a vacuum being suck into something, and that something is to go deeper and deeper of my understanding of the Risen Christ. Even after we begin to trusted Jesus as our savior he continues to pursue our heart, which was divided by him and worldly goals. When we finally begin to seek Jesus with our whole hearts he simply rejoice with that. We have tasted his goodness and we want more. God allows suffering in our lives so that we can learn to trust him even more than we have ever done. God’s goal for each of his children is to become so convinced of his goodness that nothing can shake our trust in him. Then, our soul will be deeply satisfied as with the richest of foods.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Brokenhearted

Psalm 147.jpgSo many times in our lives we have a broken-heart,rather it is from a relationship such as friends, marriage, children, a job, or any kind of a situation and anything that involves another person (persons) that has left us feeling broken inside. For me when I am going thru those difficult times where it seems the world is crashing down on me I have learn to open the word of God and I begin to search the scriptures and begin asking God for directions and to easy the pain that I feel deep inside of me, even when I myself do not fully understand everything. This is when I open to the book of Psalm where King David had written many of the chapters in Psalm.

Praise the Lord, How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The builds up Jerusalem, he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of stars and call them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power, his understanding has no limit. The Lord sustains the humble but cats the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with grateful praise, make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds, he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.            Psalm 147:1-11

I do not know or can I truly understand everything that happens to me or the people I have come to know and love. But this I do know is that God knows and sees all, he knows how many hair strands that is on our head, their is nothing that has happen or will happen that he doesn’t know about. His unfailing love for his children is so hard for us to even comprehend, I can see all around in my own life his love for me as his own child, and for that I continue to Praise His Name. When I realize that my heart has become broken even for a short while ( a season) I begin to sing Praise of Worship to God and God along, so that any problem and all my problems seems to be so small, and when I do this my Joy for God once again returns to my soul.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friend

Meditation in the Morning

Holding.png

 

I Am                

There’s no space that His love can’t reach

There’s no place that we can’t find peace

There’s no end to Amazing Grace

Take me in with your arms spread wide

Take me in like an orphan child

Never let go, never leave my side

I am

Holding on to You

I am

Holding on to You

In the middle of the storm

I am holding on

I am!

Love like this, oh my God to find!

I am overwhelmed what a joy divine!

Love like this sets our hearts on fire!

I am

Holding on to You

I am

Holding on to You

In the middle of the storm

I am holding on

I am!

I am

Holding on to You

I am

Holding on to You

In the middle of the storm

I am holding on

I am!

This is my resurrection song

This is my Hallelujah come

This is why to You I run

This is my resurrection song

This is my Hallelujah come

This is why to You I run

There’s no space that His love can’t reach

There’s no place that we can’t find peace

There’s no end to Amazing Grace

I am

Holding on to You

I am

Holding on to You

In the middle of the storm

I am holding on

I am

Holding on to You

I am

Holding on to You

In the middle of the storm

I am holding on

I am

Holding on to You

I am

Holding on to You

In the middle of the storm

I am holding on

I am!

I am

In the middle of the storm

I am holding on

I am!

The storms in our lives can be very, and I mean very painful, and today early this morning thru my own tears of disappointment in human beings, these words I have sung many times before flood my mind. As I ask the why questions we all seem to ask sometime during our own life, why my Lord. Have I disappoint people in what I have done or perhaps of what I have said. The words in scriptures that have come to me more than once are as follows.

Then Peter came to Jesus and ask Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22) If we feel the need to ask forgiveness from God why then is it so difficult for humans to forgive one another. Why do we feel that it is okay to judge someone knowing we are totally far from perfect and we all have fallen short in so many ways. I praise God that he is a forgiving God especially with all of my faults and the many sins I have committed in the past or will in the future. I only wish people in general in all walk of life, would find it in their own heart to forgive each other.