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

Advertisements

Having A Grateful Heart Everyday

HebrewsTherefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and to worship God acceptable with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”                                                       Hebrews 12-28:29

We spend most of our days running around and trying to accomplish everything on our to do list. But, the one important thing on our to do list is having a grateful to God for all of his blessings he has bestow on us.

slow-down-take-a-deep-breath-whats-the-hurry_-why-wear-yourself-out_-just-what-are-you-after-anyway_-but-you-say-i-cant-help-it-im-addic.png

A thankful attitude open windows of heaven through which spiritual blessings fall freely. All that God requires to be able to rain those blessings down upon us is our gratitude! It seems such a simple choice, yet we stumble over it almost everyday of our lives. Let God help you become more grateful as you can received bountiful blessings through those openings into eternity. As you go about your day, keep these things in mind. Throughout the Bible, God repeatedly command thankfulness because it is vital to our well-being, since God is our Creator, Savior and King. When you thank God we acknowledge how much he has done for you. This attitude brings joy both to us and God. Giving thanks is similar to priming a pump with water so that it will produce more water. Since thankfulness is one of the spiritual blessings that he has bestow on us, it will increase along with others when we prime God with thanksgiving. Remember that God is a God of all grace. When we fail in our endeavor to be thankful, simple ask him for forgiveness. As we freely receive this priceless gift-thinking about what it cost God, his only son on a cross for you and me. Look up to God and see spiritual blessings cascading down upon us through heave’s wide-open windows.
Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Heart of Worship

 

Romans 6.pngIn the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourselves to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and offer every part of yourselves to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.      Romans 6:11-14

The heart of worship is surrender. Surrender is an unpopular word, disliked almost as much as the word submission. It implies losing, and no one wants to be a loser. Surrender evokes the unpleasant imagines of admitting defeat in battle, forfeiting a game, or yielding to a stronger opponent. The word is almost always used in a negative context. In today’s world we are taught early in our lives to never give up, or never give in. so we don’t hear much about surrendering. If winning is every thing (like in sports), surrendering is just unthinkable. We would rather talk about winning, succeeding, overcoming, and conquering than yielding, submitting, obeying and surrendering. But to surrendering to God is the heart of worship. It is the natural response to God’s amazing love and mercy. WE give ourselves to him, not out of fear or duty, but in love, “because he first loved us”. True worship bringing God pleasure–happens when you give yourselves completely to God.  Offering yourselves to God is what worship is all about. This act of personal surrender is called many things, consecration, making Jesus your Lord, taking up your cross, dying to self, God wants all of you, not just part of you, he wants all of you. Everybody eventually surrenders to something or someone. If not to God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to dear, or to your own pride, lusts or ego. You were designed to worship God, and if you fail to worship him, you will create other things (idols) to give your life to. You are free to choose what you surrender to, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice. If God is going to do his deepest work in you, it will begin with this. So give it all to God, your past regrets, your present problems, your future ambitions, your fears, dreams, weaknesses, habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Put Jesus Christ in the driver’s seat of your life and take your hands off the steering wheel. Don’t be afraid, nothing under his control can ever be out of control. Mastered by Christ, you can handle anything. I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

 

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Treasures in Heaven

Matthew 6a.pngDo not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you us darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Matthew 6:19-24

These words come to us from Jesus himself, and it reminds us what we should be focusing on everyday. Too many times we get caught up with making money, and more and more, why because we want the bigger homes, cars, fancy vacations and simply we just want to hold on to whatever we can. In the midst of it all we begin to worship an idol which is call the idol of money. Many might be saying is that so bad and my answer to you is yes it is. If you go back to the book of Exodus which is in the Old Testament in the twenty chapter the second commandment from God to his people which is you and me is this, You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. There is a difference in working to take care of yourself and support your family and becoming a workaholic, because everything you see, you what and you will do anything to get it. Jesus is telling his followers of then and us now that we need to first Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you, it is also a children song that we teach the children in Sunday School or during Vacation Bible School.             Seek Ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Alleluia,  Ask, and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you. Alleluia. We need to remind ourselves each day that God already knows what our needs are even our wants, however we need to seek him and trust he will take care of his children, that is what a parent lovely does for his children. Remember the more stuff that any of us have does not mean we will be happier when we get them. You are created in God’s imagine and we need to have a Walk with God to come to know and love him for who he is, and then we will come to have true happiness that money or stuff can not buy us.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

House of My God

Psalm 84.jpgHow lovely is your dwelling place Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young, a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs, the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty, listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, O God look with favor on your anointed one. Better is one day in your courts, than a thousand elsewhere, I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord bestows favor and honor, no good thing does he withhold, from those, whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed I the one who trust in you.                  (Psalm 84 NIV)

How I wake up in the morning Lord and praise you for your wonderful love that you have given me. You have given more blessings than I ever really deserve and I thank you Lord. I too would rather be a doorkeeper or anything as long as I am in the House of my God, where I can continue singing Praises to my God and Worship Your Holy Name. When things get difficult for me Lord and thru my tears, I remember to just Praise You. At times my journey is very difficult and I feel as thro I just cannot take another step your, I remember your words from scriptures telling me that You will never leave me, or forsake me, and I praise you. I praise your name through out my day, and when I close my eyes to rest I continue to Praise You and thank you. I  will Praise you in the sanctuary, praise you in your mighty heavens, I will say as King David has written in the book of Psalm, Let everything that has breath praise the Lord, Praise the Lord.

 

The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 23The book of Psalm is a book of poetry which is filled with prayers and songs that express the full range of human emotion. The psalms represent personal journals of the writers’ relationship with God. The thoughts and feelings they express help their readers draw near to the Lord as well. Some of the psalm were used in public worship services.  This chapter in which I am about to share with you was written by King David.

The Lord is my Shepherd——THATS RELATIONSHIP!

I shall not want————-THATS SUPPLY!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures——–THATS REST!

He leadeth me besides still waters————THATS REFRESHMENT!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteous———–THATS GUIDANCE!

For His name-sake———-THATS PURPOSE!

Yea, through I walk through the valley of the shadow of death—–THATS TESTING!

I will fear no evil————THATS PROTECTION

For thou art with me————THATS FAITHFULNESS!

Thy rod and staff they comfort me——-THATS DISCIPLINE!

Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies—THATS HOPE!

Thou anointest my head with oil—–THATS CONSECRATION!

My cup runneth over—-THATS ABUDANCE

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life—THATS BLESSINGS!

And I wo;; dwell in the house of the Lord—-THAT’S SECURITY!

Forever—-THATS ETERNITY!

This version of Psalm 23 was written by an unknown author that I came across around fourteen years ago, and I thought some of you would enjoy reading this.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

Worship

Worship.png

PRAISE THE LORD.                                                                                                                                 Praise God in his sanctuary

Praise him in his mighty heavens,

Praise him for his acts of power,

Praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

Praise him with the harp and lyre,

Praise him with timbrel and dancing

Praise him with the strings and pipe,

Praise him with the clash of cymbals.

Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.

Praise the  Lord                                                               (Psalm 150 NIV)

The book of Psalm is a book of poetry, it is filled with prayers, and songs, that express the full range of human emotions. The psalm represent personal journals of the writers’ relationship with God. The thoughts and feelings they express help their readers draw near to the Lord as well. Some of there psalms were used in public worship services.

 

“The genre of Psalms is Songs and Poetry of all kinds. It is written by multiple authors; David wrote 73, Asaph wrote 12, the sons of Korah wrote 9, Solomon wrote 3, Ethan, and Moses each wrote one (Ps. 90), and 51 of the Psalms are anonymous. They were written over the span of approximately 900 years (Beginning at the time of Moses 1440 B.C. and through the captivity in 586 B.C.).” From Biblehub.com. King David wrote these book while he was King over Israel.

Worship can and is a beautiful thing, when we sing Praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. When we come into worship rather it is on a Sunday morning or any day of the week, we just focus on God and God only. There is a song I learn years ago which is Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus.  Listen to it below, and while doing it try not to think of anyone or anything in your life, sing it to the Risen Lord, overtime when we come to worship time that time will be precious for you and God alone.

 

Grace and peace my sweet friends.