Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/19/2018

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” “But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”

The end of the year is rapidly approaching and the new year will be here quickly. We will be bombarded with new products promising to make us better, smarter, thinner, happier, healthier…promises that rarely come to fruition. This conditional life has little to no guarantees, we are born and we die. I’m not trying to lessen the idea of life and living it to its fullest, only cautioning that as Christians we must also invest in our spiritual life and trust God. God’s promises are true and can be seen time and again throughout the Bible. The children of Israel, the chosen people of God shows us God’s faithfulness to the promises He made to them. God’s love goes beyond the children of Israel, He loves and created all living things, the Bible tells us in the book of John 1:3-4, “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”

As we look forward to Christmas Day, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, let us pause and remember that God is our deliverer! It is God who restores us! The psalmist, who is recognized as King David reminds us that through all of life’s situations where hope seems lost or change is direly needed, the Lord our God is the one to perform those mighty acts! He did and continues to use people to restore, guide and direct but let us not ever forgot our that our help comes from the Lord!

Prayer:

Lord, you have cared for the generations. Restore us, restore me. O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. ~Amen.

~-Hope-Peace-Joy~

References:

http://www.biblegateway.com/

~Signed Tired and Discourage

“And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.” – Maya Angelou excerpt from “When Great Trees Fall”.

We recognize that the Holidays are a time to celebrate great love and also can be a time of reflection on loss. We are grateful you have experienced love and trust the people that have passed knew that they were greatly loved by you throughout their lives. During this season give the gift of being there for one another with love, support, and a listening ear. ~Maya Angelou

A friend from FB posted this and it seemed as if it had been directed at me…

Thank you April for sharing!

I’m remembering my mom, her strength, her love and her commitment to family. I strive to be all these things too. Yesterday was a tough day and I held onto that strength when tears wanted to fall but I fought them back. Don’t get me wrong, tears are good, good for the soul; however, in this case they were more of a hindrance. I struggle with my actions being seen differently than I intended. Our actions do have consequences on others whether directly or indirectly. I think I’m helping, others see as controlling. What I think is helping the cause is seen as taking over. It’s important to consider others; however, what is the breaking point (?) what will it take for action to be taken my someone. It used to be called teamwork, the greater good, all for one…I feel like I’ve gone from well liked to most hated in 0.01 seconds. I see integrity while others see conspiracy. At the end of the day, I can’t make others believe what they can’t see but I can try and be less for the sake of others and hold to my beliefs and work ethic and pray that’s enough. ~Tired and Discouraged

When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignoranceof
dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

― Maya Angelou

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

~Peace~

References:

When Great Trees Fall

by Maya Angelou

http://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/18/2019


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Zechariah 8:1-17

“The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts shall be called the holy mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts? Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country; and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Let your hands be strong—you that have recently been hearing these words from the mouths of the prophets who were present when the foundation was laid for the rebuilding of the temple, the house of the Lord of hosts. For before those days there were no wages for people or for animals, nor was there any safety from the foe for those who went out or came in, and I set them all against one another. But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, says the Lord of hosts. For there shall be a sowing of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit, the ground shall give its produce, and the skies shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. Just as you have been a cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you and you shall be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong. For thus says the Lord of hosts: Just as I purposed to bring disaster upon you, when your ancestors provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the Lord of hosts, so again I have purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; do not be afraid. These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the Lord.”


I’m pretty sure everyone has experienced at least one time when someone has said to them, “You can’t do that!” My poor parents, I heard it more than once in my life, sometimes directed at me and probably more to my brother. (HaHa)! Often we hear that we can be anything we want it to be. There’s a phrase that comes to mind, “The world is your oyster,” meaning that you can achieve anything you wish in life or go anywhere because you have the opportunity or ability to do so.

Life is filled with rules, the do’s and don’t and in most cases they are for our protection. The life of a Christian is similar in that the do’s and don’t not only protect our human life but more importantly our spiritual life too. From the very beginning God laid the very first do/don’t to Adam and Eve in the garden. God continued His guidance through Moses and Noah; and continued through Jesus and the Disciples.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” ~Genesis 2:16-17

At first glance one might think God has a lot of rules:

How many laws are there in the Old Testament? Many Bible scholars are in agreement that there are 613 Commandments in the Old Testament; 248 Positive Commandments and 365 Negative Commandments. *Google search

The Seven Laws of Noah include prohibitions against worshipping idols, cursing God, murder, adultery and sexual immorality, theft, eating flesh torn from a living animal, as well as the obligation to establish courts of justice. *Google search

The biggest DO, the the Bible is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  This verse is found in both the Old and New Testament.  *See verses below. 

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” ~Deuteronomy 6:4-5

“So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,” ~Deuteronomy 10:12

“Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live.” ~Deuteronomy 30:6

“He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” ~Matthew 22:37-40

“Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~Mark 12:29-31

“He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” ~Luke 10:27

The second greatest DO is to love one another.

“He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Matthew 22:37-39

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~John 13:34-35

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” ~Romans 12:9-10

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” ~1 John 4:7-8

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” ~Matthew 5:44-45

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” ~John 15:12-13

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” ~Romans 13:8

Prayer:

Lord, you are love. As your star charts a course for the manger, let me show the same love and mercy you have shown to me to those around the world, my community, my neighbors, and those I hold dearest. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy~

References:

https://www.bellenglish.com/news/world-your-oyster-phrase-week

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.google.com/search?q=where+in+the+bible+would+i+find+the+613+rules&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

http://gods-word-first.org/bible-study/613commandments.html

Top 7 Bible Verses About Loving One Another

https://thelearningcounsel.com/do-educators

https://smejoinup.com/marketing-dos-donts-email-campaigns/

 

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/17/2019

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Psalm 42

“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts; all your waves and your billows have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and 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 walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?” As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”

It truly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas where I live. Beautiful snow everywhere, lights and trees, presents and bows, shopping hours early and late, but most importantly the anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Truly, Jesus is the reason for the holiday and the celebrations. I encourage all of your celebrating! If I may, I ask this one request of everyone reading this, please pause and remember that Jesus came for all of us. A beautiful life lesson is to recognize to whom Jesus was born and where he breathed His first breath of air in human form. The King of Kings, left the riches and splendor of heaven to be born in a lowly, dark, damp and smelly shed that was home for the animals. His mother, a young virgin, promised in marriage with little worldly possessions and his father a man of God, a carpenter by trade who trusted the angels and God to marry Mary and raise Jesus as his son. There were no royal trumps or royal flags waving or cheering crowds to welcome this new King into the world. I do know that heaven rejoiced along with the angels and believers at Jesus’ arrival in Bethlehem. Just as Jesus came to save the poor and marginalized, so too are we to continue that ministry and what better time than right now. Share and spread the love of Jesus everywhere you go, ignite Christmas where you are! Share the light of Jesus to those who need it most. This is not the season, nor is there ever a season for blinders, seek to see others as God sees them, with HOPE, PEACE and JOY!

Prayer:

Lord, help me to see as you see. Remind me of your presence with me, just as you promise to be with the forgotten and marginalized in my community. Let your light shine in me so that others will feel your love. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

My Soul Longs For You – Psalm 42:1

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/16/2019

December 16, 2019

Well friends, I’m a day late but I trust you were able to communicate with God and observe some of the wonders of this season. We have snow where I live, about 4 inches on Sunday and another 4 on Monday. It will be nice if it stays for a white Christmas! I pray that no matter the weather or the day of the week it is, you feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit, the comfort of God and the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

This week my church is focused on “JOY”. We have already lit the candles of Peace and Hope. Today’s reading concentrates of HOPE! The hope of Emmanuel coming. Hope for those afflicted and suffering. Hope indeed changes everything! And, JOY comes in the morning,

Isaiah 29:17-24

“Shall not Lebanon in a very little while become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest? On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a scroll, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant shall be no more, and the scoffer shall cease to be; all those alert to do evil shall be cut off—those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit, who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate, and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right. Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no longer shall his face grow pale. For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. And those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who grumble will accept instruction.”

Prayer:

Lord, you promised never to abandon your creation. While the darkness we experience may seem to be more than we can bear, your Light, wrapped in bands of cloth, tells us something different. Reveal your light to me. Reveal you light to all of creation, and in doing so, cast out the darkness where all hope seems to be lost. ~Amen.

God promised Israel a Savior, He delivered on that promise with Jesus born in Bethlehem. During this time of Advent we wait in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Some of us might be in darkness or sadness this time of year, I say to you what the angels told the shepherds, “Fear not…” God’s promises are always kept and He loves you and will be with you through anything and everything, just ask Him!

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” ~Luke 2:10

The PEACE, HOPE and JOY of Emmanuel is coming!

I found this song, I think it’s beautiful…I hope you like it!

~Hope-Peace-Joy~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 2019 — Third Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Luke 1:46-55

“And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

On this Third Sunday of Advent my church celebrated “JOY.” It was a wonderful service filled with hymns and songs of the Advent season. With all of the focus on the baby Jesus coming it can be easy to push Mary aside. Mary’s response to being chosen by God to give birth to the Savior of the world was praises to God and faithful rejoicing. Mary has found favor with God and her life was about to take on some major changes. Had she not considered how others would react; did she sense the implications of being pregnant and unwed (?); did she realize that she could lose her future husband and cause disgrace to her family…maybe she did and maybe not, the important part of the story is that she listened and followed in faith the things that were told to her my the angel. Her response to the Lord’s message was PRAISE!

It is through Mary we are able to learn of God’s grace and mercy; most importantly this grace and mercy took human form in a newborn baby boy. It is through Mary and this baby boy, the world would never be the same again.

Step out in faith and everlasting joy to God’s call in your life. This week spread JOY wherever possible! Be the light of Jesus to friend and family but most especially to strangers.

Prayer:

Lord, you called Mary to a large task, At the time it may have seemed to be more than she or anyone else could handle. Yet through her, Emmanuel would come and change the world. During this season of preparation and anticipation, work within me, to be your agent of divine change. Look upon me with favor and send me. Let this season of Advent be one of your in-breaking, not in sentimentality, but in a reordering of the world to your will and your kingdom. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy~

References:

https://www.themissiondsm.org/message/marys-magnificat

Why not the Magnificat? Mary’s song of humble joy ought to be our song, too

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Thankful Heart ♥️

December 14, 2019

This is a post of thanksgiving, to share the joys of my heart and my life. I’m so thankful for this platform and all the wonderful individuals who take the time to follow and read my posts. I am also grateful to share my faith with all of you! I know that as soon as I start naming names, I will forget someone and that is not my intention. I am so blessed with amazing friends some old, some new and all an extension of my family. I love you all very much. This season of Advent has been especially meaningful to me because I’ve been able to share my blessings from God with family and friends.

“A friend loves at all times.” ~Proverbs 17:17

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of celebrating the Christmas season with my Esther’s Circle group through my church. These women are absolutely amazing. They bring so much joy to my life and have helped me grow in ways I never imagined possible. Sometimes they are my sisters, sometimes my mother, and always my friends. I was able to give just a token of my gratitude back to them and my heart was overflowing with gladness! Just a week ago I was able to have lunch with the Juliet’s from my church, a group of women who meet once a month for lunch at a local restaurant and enjoy good food and conversation!

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~Proverbs 27:17

Today, I was able to drive a couple hours away to visit a friend whom I rarely get the chance to see. She’s had a difficult year due to an injury. I’ve know her for over twenty years and we have been through a lot of stuff, good and bad. I wish her nothing but happiness and joy, lots of joy. She’s not had an easy life but she has risen above it and is brave and courageous and determined. I’ve learned a lot about myself through our friendship and I think I’m a better person because of her. We had a short visit, shared a meal and did a little shopping! It was a good day!

“…there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” ~Proverbs 18:24

I have another friend that I’ve known for over twenty years and I really would like to visit her but we live several hours apart and our schedules make it difficult to plan. She is an amazing single mom of twin boys. She is a fantastic mom, always wanting the best for her boys. She is brave and smart, determined and funny. She sacrifices many things to provide for her family, and wants her children to experience a childhood filled with as much love and laughter as she was raised with. I’ve seen through her the precious moments of children growing too fast, one day your holding and rocking them, the next day they are running around and exploring everything and before you realize it they are 10 years old and sitting on mom’s lap or cuddling on the couch doesn’t happen as often. One thing I’ve learned in life, you never outgrow your parents. These three individuals are very close to my heart. Anyways, I have not been able to visit but I sent Christmas gifts and I can’t wait to FaceTime with them as they open their gifts. I am blessed to have all three in my life, they have given me memories that will last forever.

This past summer I was able to visit a very dear friend, we met my freshman year in college and she has a heart of gold. She and I became friends rather quickly, which is still puzzling to me because she was a sophomore or junior transfer student, and I was a nerdy freshman. We have maintained a beautiful friendship through the years, we don’t talk often or see one another very much but I trust her with my life. She and her husband have always had the ability to make me feel “wanted” and part of their life. She has 3 amazing children and because of their inclusion and sharing I feel as if I know her children but I have only met them a couple of times. My college memories are sweeter and in some cases funnier because of her. She has always loved and accepted me for who I am nothing more and nothing less. She is courageous, supportive and encouraging.

I have many more friends with similar characteristics and would love to share them with you, but this has already gotten lengthier than I had planned. My message is “do take life for granted, sure there’s parts of it that hurt and some that sucks but there’s also so much more! More goodness, more joy, more love…”.

Don’t forget to count your blessings!

~Peace & Love~

Charlotte~Char~Charlie

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/14/2019

Saturday, December 14, 2019

1 Samuel 2:1-8 *This is a prayer expressing the power and holiness of God, God is our “Rock!”

“Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory. “There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.”

Can you imagine being with Moses and the children of Israel when they were wondering in the wilderness and seeing the moment Moses struck the rock and water sprung to quench their thirst (Exodus 17). What power, majesty and holiness of God was displayed!! Throughout history artists have tried to capture such events such as this in different expressions of art. Here’s a few:

The Bible has many examples of God’s power, God’s holiness and the greatest of all is found in a baby, born in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. Jesus traded the beauty of heaven and its splendors reserved for the holy for the furnishings of the lowly. It is through this great sacrifice, born to a virgin and a carpenter, Mary & Joseph loved Jesus and praised God for all He had done! You and I can experience the holiness of God this Advent season by reading about and anticipating the birth of Jesus.

Prayer:

God, there is no one like you, and none can compare to you. You are our Rock, our Redeemer. May I grow in holiness as you are revealed to me. May the coming Christ Child be a reminder to me of what your holiness looks like. ~Amen.

~Hope & Peace~

References:

https://www.alamy.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/13/2019

Friday, December 13, 2019

Isaiah 9:2-7

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

Have you ever experienced darkness in the physical sense? The writer talks about the differences of living in the city verses living in the country and/or rural areas and just how different they are. I grew up in a rural area and as a kid I remember being very afraid of the dark. I was always seeing things that were not really there or hearing something, that was really nothing. Darkness is still not something I enjoy, but I have learned to adapt. If you allow your eyes to adjust, even the smallest light source can help you navigate the dark. Being aware of places and sort of memorizing the placement of things can also help. I remember when I was a kid maybe 6 or so, my parents gone out had for the evening and a babysitter was watching my brother and I for the evening. When bedtime came I ask to sleep in my parents bed, at least until they came home. I remember waking during the night, the room was completely dark, no slivers of light at all. I tried reaching for the bedroom door knob and NOT finding it, all I could feel was the walls…I panicked and probably cried for mom(!), I woke thinking I was still in my parents bed but I had been moved to my own room at some point and I was now totally disoriented. Have you ever experienced anything like that?

The same effects can happen when we are all of a sudden exposed to a really bright light, it can be blinded. Our eyes need a moment to adjust to these extreme changes. To make matters worse, some people have extra sensitive eyes. I just happen to be one of those individuals, bright sunlight and the reflection of white snow can be debilitating at times. I wear glasses and I need to wear sunglasses in some situations. My eyes will water and become irritated when they are not protected.

In the Bible, the Prophet Isaiah writes about a great light and it shining on the people. Isaiah talks about people who were living in darkness and they walked in darkness. He proclaims that they have seen a great light! Isaiah 9 is the prophesy of “The Righteous Reign of the Coming King” that King was the foretelling of the birth of Jesus and His eternal reign as the King of Kings!

This Advent season is an opportunity for us to see the light, the everlasting light of Jesus Christ! It is also an opportunity for us to share the light of Jesus with those who have never seen the light. Be the light you hope for in this world to someone else who is still in the darkness.

Prayer:

Lord, your promised light is coming. Through the manager, the world will become disoriented to the Way that is to come. As I adjust to the divine light at Christmas, make your grace known so that I may continue to seek the light and not retreat to the familiar darkness. ~Amen

~Hope & Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 2019 12/12/2019


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Psalm 146:5-10

“Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!”

God’s promises are real! He continues to deliver on His promises every day and in the midst of life’s situations. There will be times in this life that we, ourselves will feel downhearted, lonely, depressed and even oppressed. It is in these times we need to anchor ourselves to God and His promises. The season of Advent can be a difficult time for many, even for those who know the promises of God, life can still be hard. On a personal note, this year is the first year since my mother passed that I have truly been excited for the Holiday Season. This will be the seventh Christmas without her and it’s still hard to believe she’s gone. Life waits for no one and the days continue even though at times I have wished for them to stop or at least slow down. In my head, logically speaking I know the process of grief and that she’s in a better place, no more worry or stress or pain, but from a daughter’s perspective, I miss my mom terribly.

Advent is newness, the newborn Christ child bringing Hope, Peace, Joy and Love! This year it is all those things for me as well as a sense of renewed family relationships and sharing abundance of love for my friends! God has been with me every single day since the passing of my mom, some days the promises of God seemed far away, but present nonetheless, all along. God’s timing is best! I am so thankful for all of God’s gifts, the healing, the comfort, the companionship, and for the waiting!

You and I may differ on many things and that okay, God didn’t ask me to be a carbon copy of someone else or instruct me in to see everything the way everyone else does, He simply said, “Love One Another!”

John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”

I think as believers, no matter our preferred denomination, doctrine or worship styles, we can agree with the first sentence of the Lord’s Prayer, where Jesus taught His disciples how they should pray saying, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” ~Matthew 6:9b. We state the name of God, state where he is/sits, and He is holy above every thing else that exists. We say these words of praise because of the promises God has done, is doing and promises to do.

Prayer:

Lord, there are times when I do not feel you presence. Life becomes tough, things do not go in my favor, and I lose sight of the promises you made to me as your child. You have promised to care for your children. Your glory is beyond compare and still, you promise to care for me. Thank you for this promise. ~Amen.

~Hope & Peace~

References:

http://www.biblegateway.com/