Live Loved: Advent

 This is our fourth week of advent, which focuses on God’s love for us. In addition, our love for Christ and for others. God desires nothing more than your love.  He cherishes who you are today with all your imperfections. “The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.” Zephaniah 3:17. God invites you in to have a deep personal relationship with Him. To live loved every day from here on out. God’s love for you surpasses human understanding it is that complex and beautiful.

The Christmas story is laced with love. Christmas points us to the cross where Jesus displayed His amazing love for us. Jesus lived loved in His ministry. God’s love is evident through Scriptures, creation, and our personal lives. “ This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins” 1 John 4:10.

An element of living loved, is giving love. Christ enables us to love others. You can give love from where you are today. You don’t need to be wealthy or healthy. You only need a willing heart to serve the Lord and to give love to others. He will surely direct your steps. He will deeply bless your words. A hug, words of encouragement, or praying with someone goes a long way.

Additionally, living loved is praise God with a thankful heart for the simple blessings in your life this advent. Worship Him as the shepherds did in the Christmas story with a sincere heart. Mary also praises the Lord for His favor, “My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s name!” Luke: 1:46, 47, and 49.

As Christmas draws near find someone to give love to; someone to encourage. Practice living loved this week. You are a child of the one true King. Reflect on His amazing love, which is evident in your life. Remember times this year that you felt His love and praise His holy name. Consider how you can live loved this advent season as well as in the new year.

God,

We praise you for the gift of Your Son consumed with Your love. For His example of love. Thank you for loving us. Allow us to live loved no matter what events play out in our daily lives. Enable us to give love to others. Let us be a blessing to them. May our hearts forever sing Your praises. Bless these days leading up to Christmas. We love you, Lord.

Amen

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Joy of Advent

All is merry and bright with absolutely no rest in sight. The to-do list has doubled, in oh so much trouble. Going through the motions as frustrated tears construct an ocean.

“I know You’re good, but this don’t feel good right now,” can you relate to that phrase this advent season? Daily adversisty sets questions into motion. Why is this happening? God where are you in this? The heartbreaks you are working through weigh you down. And yet it is time to transpose our focus to joy despite the emotions pulling the opposite direction. Regardless of the gut instinct to curl up and compose a pity party (Though at times a short one is needed). On this side of heaven there will be trouble, but that is not a stop rejoicing card. “Even if the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vines, If the olive trees fail to give fruit and the fields produce no food, If the flocks die far from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls; Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me!” Habakkuk 3:17-18

Thankfully delighting in the Lord is not dependent on our emotions or the events unfolding in our lives. The joy of Jesus entering the world is at the heart of Christmas.  Indulging in Jesus’ presence will flood your heart with Him. He will renew your mind, direction, emotions, and spirit. Furthermore, we find true joy simple in His character- in His righteousness.

The breastplate of righteousness protects our spiritual heart, espically during the advent season. There are numerous fun things to engage in such as movies or holiday parities both laced with temptations. “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” (Proverbs 4:23 HCSB). In order to grow closer to Christ and experience His full joy this advent season we must guard our hearts.

By the precious blood of Jesus Christ you are made righteous. Salvation is secured. We can celebrate this. “The third candle on the Advent wreath is called the Shepherds’ candle. It remembers the first in a long line of people who joyfully shared the good news of the Savior’s birth” ( George H. Vander Weit). Furthermore, we hold on to the truth that Christ will return someday soon. Our candle this week in the advent wreath is pink, which is to remind us that our wait is half over for the return of our beloved Savior.

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How can you put on the breastplate of righteous this advent?

Soverign God,

We rejoice in the birth of Your Son, Jesus Christ. In all He has freely given to us. Consume our hearts with your joy this advent season. We praise You for Your Word. Help us to put on the breast plate of righteousness daily. Equpit us. Provide all that is needed. We find joy in who You are. In Your faithfulness. In Your righteousness. In Your love. We rejoice in all the blessing You have poured into our lives and continue to do. May we remain focused on the heart of Christmas. We delight that our wait will soon be over and that we will spend eternity with You. Draw us closer to your heart this advent season.

Amen.

Advent & The Belt of Truth

The belt of truth relates to advent. Jesus, the truth put on flesh and joined the world as a delicate baby. “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” John 1:9 NIV. Through Jesus, God reveals to us His truth. In addition, His word exposes it. His truth enables us to discern right from wrong as well as almost right from right. Truth is essential to our spiritual well-being.

By putting on the belt of truth we are a reflection of Jesus. Take time from the businesses of the season to go deeper with the one who is the reason for it all. Meditate on God’s truth. Consider how God might burden your heart to be a vessel for His truth to the world. Furthermore, you sweet friend are a light to this world.

Like the belt holds together the armor, God holds together our world. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” Colossians 1:17.

God’s truth sets us free which provides peace that surpasses all understanding.  Despite, not so silent nights Christ’s peace continues to rule our hearts. This peace is not affected by the events or chaos in life. The second week of advent we reflect on the peace candle. We are reminded to slow down. To breath. Basking in His presence. Surrendering all to Him.

As you strap on the belt of truth this advent season and ponder these things in your heart rejoice in the goodness of God.  Praise Him for who He is. Rejoicing in the fact that He sent His only son.“Heavenly Choir: To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God! And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!” Luke 2:14 The Voice

My prayer for you this advent is that you would develop a more intimate relationship with Christ. That He would use the Christmas story to move your heart in a new and beautiful way. That there are many moments are consumed with deep joy and laughter. The Lord would use you as a vessel of truth to others.

Lord,

We rejoice in this stunning Christmas season. Our hearts sing praises for the precious and priceless gift of Your son. Enable us to put on Your belt of truth daily. Give us discernment. Help us to remain focused on Your truth. Thank you for holding together the universe and our individual world. For all the blessings You have graciously given us. Use us to bring honor and glory to Your name. Allow us to be a vessel in the work You are doing in others lives. Use us to bring others closer to You. Fill our hearts with your peace, love, and joy. Allow us to grow closer to you daily. Deeply bless this Christmas season in a new way. Provide all we need.

Amen