A Prayer for a Life of Thanksgiving

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“How good it is to give thanks to the Eternal and to praise Your name with song, O Most High;  To speak of Your unfailing love in the morning and rehearse Your faithfulness as night begins to fall.” Psalm 91:1-2

Lord,

I adore You, how I love You. Cherishing who you are I offer worship from the depths of my soul to You. I treasure Your living  Word. Your beauty surpasses all words. Magnificent creator. Author of Salvation, through Your sacrifice beyond human comprehension You have brought me by Your blood, calling me Your beloved child. In You I  have everlasting life. You constantly poured out countless gifts beyond what I deserve, furthermore, far beyond what I deserve. All honor, glory, power, and praise belong to You now and forever more. Blessed be Your glorious name.

The to-do list dictates my time. My emotions wildly running dictate my reactions. My pain dictates my thoughts. I hurry- thought scattered- overwhelmed-depleted. Senselessly rushing another day without ever savoring a moment. Neglecting the gifts you have bestowed on me; I take so much for granted. I do not understand the depths of each gift and many I cannot see. Lord Jesus, have mercy. Forgive my ungrateful heart and lavish on me Your stunning grace.

Thank you from the depths of my soul for providing for me. I praise You for my relationship with You, Your Word, and Your character. Thank You for creatively and compassionately knitting me together and for the purpose You formed me for.  I praise You for this season of life. Thank you for investing in me, loving me, and forgiving me. I praise You for the blessings I neglect to see, those I am unable to understand, and the ones I have acknowledged, though not enough.

Enable me to slow down… to pause and reflect on Your goodness. Help me to recognize and say thank you for a few gifts. Fill me with thanksgiving every moment of every day. Let me live by Jesus’ example offering a gift of thanksgiving to You in the midst of unspeakable pain. Allow my thanksgiving to bring glory to Your holy name.

Amen

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A Life of Thanksgiving

Elegant snowflakes dance through the air as November makes a grand entrance. Many people begin to think about the holiday season approaching. The stores are full of ideas and holiday movies are plentiful. Thankfulness creeps into each mind. Even so, people do not give the gift of thankfulness enough thought.

A thankful heart is a joyful heart, furthermore, it opens the door for an abundant life. Thanksgiving is not merely a holiday but a way of daily life. Stopping in the middle of the day to give thanks enables people to slow down.

There are many individuals who give an example of a thankful heart in Scripture like Job, David, and Paul. The prime example being Jesus. I never stopped and took note that before so many miracles, Jesus gave thanks to God. Before the feeding of the five thousand Jesus gave thanks, before speaking to the crowds Jesus gave thanks, and before raising Lazarus from the dead Jesus gave thanks. Undoubtedly, we should follow this example.

Plesant emotions are not a prerequisite to giving thanks. In fact, it is vital to a soul to give thanks during the trails in life. Ann Voskamp shares how Jesus did this the night He was betrayed, “In the midst of what seems a mess, in the tripping up and stumbling down of all hopes” Jesus gives thanks.

Life is bathed with pain. This is why it is vital to learn to give thanks in the middle of each struggle. A few seasons of intense chronic physical pain has personally, changed my perspective in what I give thanks for. Furthermore, I know I cherish things that most young adults do not. There have been times the pain breaks the pain scale. It shoots, stabs, deeply aches, and burns moving me to tears with an occasional yelp. This type of pain is the type that one cannot ignore. In the middle of the intense pain, I can barely whisper thank you, Lord, for holding me now. Thank you, Lord, that You are faithful, You are stronger than any trial, thank you, for getting me though this second, and thank you, for who You are.

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God is waiting to do awe-inspiring things in your life, precious friend as you pause to give thanks. Your thanks is an act of worship and it is an offering. Though this simple act, you will receive the joy of the Lord and life abundantly.

I want to share with you a simple Bible reading plan for the month of November inspired by thankfulness.

Copy of Thanks Giving Flyer Template

I have been reading A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I am only about halfway through. Yet it has impacted my understanding and perspective of thanksgiving. If you are not familiar with this book, let me share a few things. Ann has a journal in which she records, beautifully one thousand reasons she is thankful. I am in awe of this discipline, even more so that she pauses in the middle of what she is doing to record something she is thankful for.

The description is as follows, “Drawing heartbreaking beauty out of the simplest of details, Ann Voskamp invites you into her grace–bathed life of farming, parenting, and writing–and deeper still into your own life. Here you will discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of living that is fully alive, and a way of becoming present to God that brings you deep and lasting joy.”

In addition, I would like to invite you to record at least ten things you are thankful for during the remainder of 2017. As you read the Scriptures and record your list of blessings take time to also reflect on the character of God.

Rebellious Worship

Rebellious worship, those words don’t seem to fit together. Except for, of course, in my case. I find it necessary as the Holy Spirit moves me to be rebellious in my worship.

You see, I have several chronic illnesses, one of which is Hyperadrenergic Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Professionals are advising individuals with POTS to avoid singing. Generally speaking, I follow advice to a T. However, there are times in worship, I am rebellious. Personally, singing allows me to connect with God and worship Him in an extraordinary manner.

Worship is more than a song, therefore there are many alternative ways to worship God. No one style is better than another. Never the less, music holds a special place in worship. Perhaps this is because many admirable Christians worshiped this way; such as King David, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and Jesus.

I have been singing praises to God for as long as I can remember. Some of the times I had been most filled with Christ joy was during worshiping Him through singing. I have many lovely memories, which I cherish, singing praises to the Lord with friends as an adolescent.

It is a struggle for me today to sing most times. It is hard to get adequate air to reach certain notes or to get enough air when rests are scarce. At times, I have a dizzy spell. The focus though isn’t my physical limitations, but the righteousness of my Lord. The physical combat, for me, is no reason to stop singing praises to God. I believe He knows my heart and the struggle I endure. I also know without a doubt that my worship is pleasing to Him.

Giveaway

Prayer should be as natural as breathing to the maturing Christian. The principle is so simple yet we complicate it and allow ourselves to become intimidated. Prayer is a stunning way to intimately connect with Christ. Nothing in the world can replace it.

There are plenty of excused not to pray yet none truly valid. We do not need more than a few seconds, an education is unnecessary, and you cannot do it wrong.

At times, we hit a roadblock in our prayer lives, which simply could be from maturing. You wouldn’t expect a toddler to live on only milk, similarly, as a maturing believer, you may need to find a way to go deeper. You might need to renew it.

I am passionate about prayer furthermore, teaching others about it. I believe it is something we never cease learning about. A few months ago it was mentioned several times that I should write another book. Someone soon added to the suggestion that it should be a prayer book. After praying I was certain that this was the direction God wanted me to go for my next book, “Honest Moments With God: Thirty Days of Prayers That Allow You to Grow Closer to God’s Heart.”

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Thirty days of beautiful and unique Scripture-based prayers. Each prayer is complimented with Scriptures that enable you to grow closer to Christ. Also includes five devotionals, a worship playlist, and fifteen Scriptures to inspire you to write your own prayers. I am confident that God will use this small book to do amazing things and to bring His name glory.

“My soul is dry and thirsts for You, True God, as a deer thirsts for water. Why am I so overwrought, Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me, my God.” Psalm 42:1 & 11

God,

Increase our soul’s thirst for You, the Living God. You have seen the tears cried behind closed doors. The ones in the dead of night. You understand the heartbreak of shattered dreams. The depth of the effects of broken relationships.

People mock me and question my faith. Asking where You are in my time of need. They question Your goodness. Question how You could allow suffering. I will remain unshaken, firm in Your promises.

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.

Direct me in Your precious love. Renew my hope day by day. You are my mighty protector. I rejoice in Your sovereign name. I have witnesses Your goodness all the days of my life. I extol Your Majestic name.

Amen

I thought that it would be fun to do a giveaway! The winner will receive a PDF copy of my book “Honest Moments With God: Thirty Days of Prayers That Allow You to Grow Closer to God’s Heart.”

Entering is super easy. Pick a question/prompt from the list below and respond in the comments. Don’t forget to share with your friends, the more the merrier. The winner will  be announced September 28th, 2017.

 

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Happy Monday

Happy Monday, precious friends! Monday’s don’t have the best response in our society as we tend to focus on the negatives instead of the positives of the week ahead. Monday’s might not be your favorite day, but it is a lovely reminder that you have been blessed with another week of opportunities. Yes, there are plenty of struggles you will encounter and things you would prefer not doing but there are many positives of a new week. Pause to take in the simple treasures of life. Greet this new week with your beautiful smile and open arms. You will have victory over this week. You will be a blessing to a number of people. You, my friend, will thrive.

From Honest Moments With God:“My soul is dry and thirsts for You, True God, as a deer thirsts for water. Why am I so overwrought, Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me, my God.” Psalm 42:1 & 11

“My soul is dry and thirsts for You, True God, as a deer thirsts for water. Why am I so overwrought, Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me, my God.” Psalm 42:1 & 11

God,

Increase our soul’s thirst for You, the Living God. You have seen the tears cried behind closed doors. The ones in the dead of night. You understand the heartbreak of shattered dreams. The depth of the effects of broken relationships.

People mock me and question my faith. Asking where You are in my time of need. They question Your goodness. Question how You could allow suffering. I will remain unshaken, firm in Your promises.

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.

Direct me in Your precious love. Renew my hope day by day. You are my mighty protector. I rejoice in Your sovereign name. I have witnesses Your goodness all the days of my life. I extol Your Majestic name.

Amen

 

 

*More prayer blog posts, resources, and printables coming soon be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss anything.

Holy Thursday

 

The washing of feet occurs multiple times in the Gospels, furthermore, in Biblical times, this was common. In this song, it is believed that Mary Magdalene is the woman washing Jesus’ feet. Some time later, it is witnessed in Scripture that Lazarus sister, Mary washes Jesus’ feet. Lastly, Scripture records the tender moment that Jesus compassionately washed His disciple’s feet.

There are plenty of overlapping details and each has details that make it unique from the other feet washings in Scripture. One of the disciples proclaims Lord if you only knew who was touching you as well as the horrifying sin in her life. He was more aware of the depth of her sin than she ever could be.

Sin is a focal point for each foot washing story. Holy Thursday, Jesus is with His disciples. Jesus was aware when He cleanses the disciples that He was about to take on the sins of the world unlocking the power of Salvation. Even so, He put on a garment of humility as His heart’s sorrow increased for all He was about to endure; not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

“Jesus, knowing that He had come from God and was going away to God,  stood up from dinner and removed His outer garments. He then wrapped Himself in a towel,  poured water in a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His towel.

Simon Peter (as Jesus approaches): Lord, are You going to wash my feet?

Jesus: Peter, you don’t realize what I am doing, but you will understand later.

Peter: You will not wash my feet, now or ever!

Jesus: If I don’t wash you, you will have nothing to do with Me.

Peter:  Then wash me but don’t stop with my feet. Cleanse my hands and head as well.

Jesus:  Listen, anyone who has bathed is clean all over except for the feet. But I tell you this, not all of you are clean.

Jesus is lowering Himself to servanthood as an example for His beloved children.”

John 13:3-10 The Voice Translation

Each person is in desperate need of the cross. In need of forgiveness, mercy, grace, God’s love, and salvation. Jesus lowered Himself not only to servanthood but to a horrible unexplainable death on the cross. Regardless of what anyone does, we will never fully comprehend this sacrifice on this side of Heaven. May we strive to understand it better consistently.

Numerous examples are displayed by Jesus for us in Scripture, however, none of them are natural or easy. To live in His footsteps requires us to surrender ourselves to Him, to be connecting with Him, and to have His Holy Spirit.

“Now tell me why do we gather together in His name, Are we like the ones who merely watched, Tell me is that why we came, Are we like this sister, Do we truly enter in, In spirit and in truth, Have you come to worship Him? With your hands, are you touching him, And with your heart are you loving Him, And with your hands are you holding on to His, Then the source of life was right there in your hands.” Touching Him by Ray Boltz.

 

Ponder these lyrics in your precious heart as you reflect on each aspect of the Holy Week story. Come to the Lord, in spirit and truth; laying every sin and burden at the foot of the cross. Be transparent with Him in prayer. He knows your every thought, sin, and desire but wants to hear from you and connect deeply with you. Allow The Souce of Life to renew your heart.

Jesus Christ,

I am constienly amazed when I read the Scriptures of Your precious life. Help me to continue to know You fully and to pursue You in my daily tasks. Open the eyes of my heart this Holy Week. Soften my heart. Give me a deeper understanding.

I am like the woman in the song a sinner from birth so unworthy of Your love. At times, my sinful nature takes over. I make dozens of excuses for my sins. I confess that I have not obeyed Your commands, I have not kept You first in my life, I have lacked compassion, I have been selfish, and much more. I cry out, Lord have mercy on me! Extend Your amazing grace. Lavish Your forgiveness onto me. Make me pure once more. Enable me to turn from my sinful nature.

The concept of Your completely free love can be hard to understand. My good works would never have been good enough, but You do not require them for my salvation. My countless mistakes are as far as the east is from the west in Your Sovereign eyes.

I surrender all I am to You. I do not want to merely watch I need to enter into Your Holy presence in spirit and truth. I desire to reach out, touch Your hand, and walk with You daily. I want to love You with all my heart. Move my heart in a new way as I reflect on the Easter story. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all that You have done for me. I love you.

Amen

Palm Sunday

Shortly before Palm Sunday Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and was anointed by Mary of Bethany. These are emotionally packed events. The emotions become more intense as we know in Holy week.

Palm Sunday is a joyous day, but the joy is short-lived.  The majority of the people gathered are worshiping. Their hearts are consumed with joy, as a result, they praise God out loud. Yet, Jesus wept as He entered with sorrow because Here knew what events were about to unfold. Compassion, love, sorrow, and so much more consumed Jesus’, heart. “Only Jesus wept that day, while Jerusalem prepared to throw a party” (Liz Curtis Higgs, The Women of Easter. Page 82).

 They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their coats on the colt’s back, and then sat Jesus on it. As Jesus rode along, some people began to spread their garments on the road as a carpet. When they passed the crest of Mount Olivet and began descending toward Jerusalem, a huge crowd of disciples began to celebrate and praise God with loud shouts, glorifying God for the mighty works they had witnessed. Crowd of Disciples: The King who comes in the name of the Eternal One is blessed! Peace in heaven! Glory in the highest!

Pharisees (who were in the crowd):  Teacher, tell these people to stop making these wild claims and acting this way!Jesus: Listen—if they were silent, the very rocks would start to shout!When Jerusalem came into view, He looked intently at the city and began to weep. (Emphasis on weep mine)

Jesus:  How I wish you knew today what would bring peace! But you can’t see.  Days will come when your enemies will build up a siege ramp, and you will be surrounded and contained on every side. Your enemies will smash you into rubble and not leave one stone standing on another, and they will cut your children down too, because you did not recognize the day when God’s Anointed One visited you. Luke 19:11-44. 

It is assumed that Jesus’s “Women disciples” were present on Palm Sunday. They would be gathered here for Passover anyway. Never just glance over a passage in Scripture because you have read it many times. Always take

Never just glance over a passage in Scripture because you have read it many times. Always take the time to digest the Words asking the Lord to open the eyes of your heart. There is always something you can learn.

Jesus was busy Holy week, yet He took time out to spend with God. We should be committed to doing the same this week. Take time to read the Holy Week stories from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday in each of the Gospels. Additionally, take some extra time in prayer and at the Lords feet.

Youversion has some free Holy Week plans. Furthermore, John Piper offers some excellent FREE Holy Week Books. Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy Morning & Evening Meditations for Holy Week. “Holy Week is not an obligation. It is an opportunity.

In the chaos of our increasingly fast-paced and hectic society, the annual coming of Holy Week each spring is a reminder to pause and ponder, to carefully mark each day, and not let this greatest of all weeks fly like every other.

It is a chance to walk with the church throughout the world and throughout time as she accompanies her Bridegroom through the eight most important days in history. And it is an opportunity to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affections for, the highest and most timeless realities in the universe.

We have assembled a team of eleven pastors and scholars to walk us through Holy Week as we walk together with our Lord. This collection of short meditations includes readings for each morning and evening from Palm Sunday to the triumph of Easter.”

Love to the Uttermost ““Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, ends on Easter Sunday, and aims to focus our attention on Jesus as he displays his love to the uttermost (John 13:1). ”

 

Have a blessed Holy Week, sweet friends. I am hoping to post at least once more this week.

Lent

Lent at times is overlooked. The beauty of the season is taken for granted. By no means in general, is this intentional but with the jam-packed schedule and at times a lack of understanding it is easy to sweep under the rug.

Recently, I heard lent described as depressing. It was explained as a valley. Furthermore, as muck. Yes, there is weight to lent, but there is much beauty. “Lent is a time of remembering, of revisiting the familiar scenes in Scripture and discovering what God wants us to learn this year” (Liz Curtis Higgs).

Lent is for forty days, not including Sunday’s for a basic overview of lent check this out. Many people give something up for lent or commit to doing something. One of the main goals is to reduce distractions so that the person can grow closer to Christ. Another goal is to become lost in Christ love. That His love is on someones mind almost always.

The roots of lent stemmed from the idea of inspiring new Christians to develop a walk with Christ before becoming baptized. Though it quick evolved to a church family tradition. “Though Lent is still devoutly observed in some mainline Protestant denominations (most notably for Anglicans and Episcopalians), others hardly mention it at all. However, there seems to be potential for evangelicals to embrace the season again,” Ted Olsen from Christian History.

While lent is not directly taken from Scripture, its roots are deeply rooted in it. The number forty is seen frequently throughout Scripture. Additionally, we witness Jesus withdrawing from people to spend time alone with His Heavenly Father.

There are amazing studies to assist in growing closer to the Lord in lent both free or a book you buy. This lent season I read The Women of Easter by Liz Curtis Higgs. I am also reading Zip it and Reading the Bible Supernaturally by John Pipper. I also do Bible plans through YouVersion which is a free app.

There are priceless studies, but Scripture is sufficient to grow in the Lord. Some stories you might consider reading for this lent season include but are not limited to raising of Lazarus (John 11), Mary and Martha’s story (Luke 10:38-42), the Woman who washed Jesus’s feet (John 12), Palm Sunday, and the Crucifixion story (Starting around John 17).

Worship is an element of lent as well because worship should be a part of everything we do. “Our ultimate goal in reading the Bible is that God’s infinite worth and beauty would be exalted in the everlasting, white-hot worship of the blood-brought bride of Christ” (John Pipper). We should honor God in all we do. Enjoying His glory and goodness.

I hope this give you some direction and inspiration for your lent journey this year.

Romans Worldview

This was originally an essay on Romans for New Testament. It has a decent amount of applicable information, therefore, I wanted to share on here. I hope if you take the time to read this that you will learn something.

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The way an individual perceives the world is known as his or her worldview; furthermore, worldview influences many different aspects of life, such as discipleship, relationships, critical thinking, and decision-making. Beginning in childhood, the worldview is being altered continuously. Christ and the Bible are two things at the core of the Christian worldview. The Biblical worldview is founded on the Bible. It is an essential building block to uncovering the biblical worldview. Furthermore, Romans chapter eight teaches about the existence and attributes of God, creation, sin, salvation, ethics, and eschatology.

Romans analyzes origin from the formation of the world to the creation of humanity. Paul highlights humans’ sinful nature that started shortly after the creation of the world. In addition, the focus is on God’s existence from the beginning. Creation provides evidence of God’s existence. Additionally, creation reflects God’s nature enabling us to know Him intimately. God understands the complexity of the mysteries in nature. Furthermore, He sustains it. Every molecule of creation brings honor and glory to God.

God is too great to be fully comprehended by humans, while mysteries still remain through Romans people gain a deeper understanding of His character. The characteristics highlighted in Romans are also viewed in other books of the Bible. First, the reader sees that God is Righteous. Numerous times in the Bible individuals see that God is wrathful and some view this as intimidating. Fear of the Lord is an asset. On the other hand, people find comfort in the fact that God provides justice as well as judgment. God is truth. His word is true. He remains faithful never breaking a promise. Furthermore, God is mighty possessing eternal power. There is nothing too great for God to do. His power leaves people in amazement. Paul also describes God as divine. In addition, He is immortal. God always was and always will be God. He is eternal. God creates life. He is the source of life. God is love, furthermore, He demonstrates His love to His people in amazing ways. He gave His only son to die in the place of sinners. God is sovereign over every detail. Despite the fact that God hates sin, He is merciful. Nothing is hidden from God. He is wise. Providing excellent counsel. In addition, He provides hope, even in the darkest seasons of life. The book of Romans provides a small glimpse into God’s character.

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According to Romans, evil entered God’s creation through one man. Specifically, because of the sin of Adam and Eve, the world is flawed. God gave them free will, just as He gives us free will. Humans can choose to love Him or reject Him. There are consequences of sin both on earth and once an individual passes away. First, the wrath of God is poured out. Similarly, judgment is encountered. On Earth, the individual will experience hardships and distress. Hardships and distress can come in many forums. For example, if an individual steals they might find themselves in prison or if a man cheats he might find that his wife leaves him. In addition, Romans says, there is condemnation. Lastly, Romans teaches that the ultimate consequence of sin is death. All humans are sinful, and therefore deserving of death.

Sin is a heavy topic accompanied by heavy consequences, however, Romans reassure individuals that hope is not lost. Righteousness and redemption are freely offered through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, out of His love humans can receive salvation. Paul goes on to explain that faith is vital to this free gift. Furthermore, it is a gift that cannot be earned therefore no one can boast. In addition, Paul speaks of the gift of grace. Through salvation, there is hope for each sinner. Those who receive the gift of salvation receive additional priceless gifts. For example, a peace which surpasses all understanding. Christians are reconciled with God through Jesus. God’s wrath for all humanities sin was poured out during Jesus’ crucifixion.  In addition, Paul explains how the law fits in with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In chapter six, it focuses on the death of sin and victory in Jesus. Additionally, how believers should attempt to live as free people in Christ. “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14, New International Version). Through individuals are free Paul also explains that they are slaves to righteousness. The Holy Spirit is essential to Christians providing sanctification as well as renewed and empowered life. The Holy Spirit lives in believers. Though the Spirit believers are adopted by God, furthermore they are heirs of Christ sharing in suffering and glory. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

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The Bible provides guidelines for how Christians should act morality and Romans is no different. Christians are held to a high standard in general. In Romans chapter twelve, Paul instructs to be transformed and in line with God’s will. There is a popular phrase that Christians are in the world but not of the world and this is illustrated here in Romans. Romans provides instructions of what Christians should and should not think about. For example do not be prideful. On the contrary, the believer should think of himself or herself with sober judgment. Furthermore, they must do everything out of love, honoring others, and practice hospitality. It is essential to bless others even those who do wrong. In addition, Christians are instructed to live in peace with everyone. Christians should also support others as Paul says to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Furthermore, believers must submit to government authorities. Paul reminds individuals that the Ten Commandments are still in place. He urges the reader to not indulge in sexual immorality, debauchery, dissension, and jealousy. People should respect others personal convictions. In addition, they should not cause one another to stumble. Romans 1:18-32 and Romans 12:1-15:13 focus on ethics and morality but do so in different capacities. In Romans chapter one, Paul focuses on humanity in the past, their sinful nature, and emphasizes God’s wrath towards them. On the contrary, in chapters twelve through fifteen Paul offers practical advice on how to live honoring God. In addition, in the second section, Paul discusses the body of Christ and how Christians should interact with people. Both passages highlight God’s authority and goodness. Furthermore, both address the issues of sin. Though extremely different, both passages offer hope in Christ.

Lastly, Romans teaches about hope for humanity and creation. Creation is liberated from bondage into freedom and God’s glory. There is a beautiful hope of eternal life for believers. Life everlasting with Jesus Christ is promised to believers. Nothing in all of the creation is able to separate God’s children from His amazing love. God receives glory and praise from all of creation and from each life. Paul reminds the believer that it is vital to remain in God’s will. God will work things out for His children.

In conclusion, Romans is an essential building block when constructing a biblical worldview. It includes numerous fundamental truths. The reader learns in depth about the attributes of God. In addition, God’s existence and some about creation. Furthermore, in the book of Romans Paul examines the issues of sin and salvation. In addition, practical advice on ethics is provided for the modern Christian. Lastly, the reader learns about hope for the future, which is an eternity with Christ.

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