Tag Archives: Christmas

Living in the Advent Whisper

Candle Ceremony marvia davidson

Waiting, hoping, and wondering.  They clung to a hope they could not see.  They believed a promise that seemed impossible.  They kept their faith even when things were dreadfully bleak.  They waited.

These saints of old waited for the promise.  The King would come and set things right.  This is the essence of Advent – an expectant, unwavering, hope-filled waiting.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have such deep expectation for a promise and not live long enough to see it come to fruition.  However, men and women of God didn’t give up.  They chose to believe their Advent King would come.

Continue reading Living in the Advent Whisper

Zumba, Community, and Advent

People Hands by Jennifer Upton
People Hands by Jennifer Upton

I’ve never been one for large crowds or storms of people.  To be honest I prefer solitude, aloneness, and simply being still.  While solitary adventures can be healthy, there comes a point where we realize we need connection beyond our own personal company.

We were made to belong – not just to ourselves, but also to our fellow humanity. We were made for community and connection.  It provides space for us to walk into the story of other souls.  It provides opportunity to ear without judgment and to offer a shoulder.  It gives us a chance to see beyond our own lives.  Community matters. Continue reading Zumba, Community, and Advent

Holding On

candle marvia davidsion.jpg

There is a moment in life where we question everything. Doubts begin to rise. Our faith begins to falter. We wonder did we get it wrong. How is it possible for life to keep going but to feel fixed in time, stuck in the same place with no advancing movement? Maybe you’ve felt it too.

Perhaps it is the season. Emotions run high, low, and everywhere in between. We are faced with yet another ending. The year has run its course again. We are left holding on a flimsy, hole-poked bag of “all we had to give.” Life demands more. It keeps asking. It does not relent. We may even feel we have nothing left to offer.

Continue reading Holding On

Thinking of this now….Let It Rest on You.

God showed me some foolishness I believed about pain, loss, tragedy, and hurt. I’m no expert. I only know that I need God’s light and truth daily so that I don’t get caught up or bound in lies. After reading posts and hearing the sermons on hurt, today my perspective and my prayer is different. I do not seek an argument. I do not seek to throw stones. In this right-now-moment, I want Jesus. I want God. I want His Holy Spirit. I need them. Otherwise, I got nothin’.

The devil is sly and cunning in how he parades as an angel of light; and his main goal is to steal, kill, and destroy (2 Corinthians 11:14, John 10:10). He sold us a vicious lie (John 8:44), and we keep falling for it-that God can be kicked out, legislated, monetized, and various other mistruths. God, break the power of every lie spoken after tragedy, hurt, pain, loss, and every other situation in which the devil sneaks in and wreaks doubt and havoc.  Lord teach us to stand on your Word (Ephesians 6:10-12, 13-14). Help us stand without wavering and holding tightly to the confession of our faith (Hebrews 10:19-25).  Lord, let Your Truth reign.  Let Your Words God, always remain to fulfill what You set out for it to do (Isaiah 55:11).  Thank you God that you are Faithful.  God remind us of how Christ came to seek and save the lost.  Remind us of how You came to give us life abundant (John 10:7-10). Holy Spirit speak to the deep places in our hearts and root out any darkness.  Lead us into all Truth by Your Holy Spirit (John 16:13-15).Forgive us Father for believing men and women’s truth over Your Eternal Truth. Forgive us God for letting earthly things be first. Forgive us for not bearing the Truth of who you are wherever we are. Forgive us for maligning Your Name whether conscious or unconscious.

Forgive us for aligning our thoughts, beliefs, and actions to lies that do not agree with Your Word or Your Character. God have mercy, and forgive us.

Lead us in Your kindness to repentance (Romans 2:1-4).  You made final judgment when You sent Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross.  Christ paid the penalty for sin once and for all (1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 10; Romans 3:25, 9:28).  The death and life of Christ made for us to be reconciled to you Father God.  Remind us of that truth, and teach us how to better share it.  Let our actions and words speak of the good things you have done, Lord.  Let us lay our personal judgments at your feet.  You alone are Judge, and You alone are good!  Speak to the hearts of Your children across this land. Let not our hearts be hard. Soften them Lord that we might be aware of what You are doing in the earth and in our lives.

God let your Truth keep piercing the darkness and draw us deeper in to you that we might bear the truth of Your image as we walk the earth. Christe Eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.

Amen.

Will you join in prayer? Raise up your people God that we might me one as You are One.

I am reminded of my “Babylon”

God is fully aware of our condition.  God sends us out as gift-bearers-of-light to a lost and broken world.  Think of Jeremiah 29: 4-7

4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

God gives us peace in the storm and we begin to overcome.  God can use the mess of our lives to bring hope lost sheep.  Reach out.  Be a hand, a shoulder, and an embrace to the community you are in right now.  Even if your circumstances don’t change, your life can still speak of Him who came to restore us.  Even if you think God cannot use you, you can.  He loves the broken.  He loves the contrite.  He loves the messed-up.  He, God, loves perfectly and without condition.  And I believe He wants to bless your right where you are in a way you could not imagine.

I am reminded of my “Babylon.” It was several years of toil, troubles, ups-and-downs, breaking, and recovery in a place I just did not want to be.  However, there was not provided any kind of escape route.  Instead, God lead me through the valley.  It was not wasted.  I was stretched.  I grew.  My heart and mind changed.  I become less of the yuck and more of Christ’s love.  There was some dying too, but those things had to die so that God could birth new life.  Still, I am His work in progress, and still can be used by Him.  God isn’t holding our mistakes against us.  He gives us beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).  He makes beautiful things out of our lives – though we often think it is impossible.  With God, nothing is impossible.  So where are you at today?  What ashes would you like to leave at Christ’s feet?  Are you ready and willing to prosper where you are and let God move through you?  Are you ready to stop casting stones?  Are you ready to put down your judgments?  Are you ready for grace like you’ve never known?  Are you ready to befriend the tired, the weary, the worn, the unlovely, the unbecoming, the broken, the misfit, and the outcast?  These are those to whom Christ came (Luke 19:10; Mark 2:17).  You can be the beautiful message of hope right now, where you are, and to all who are around you.  Extend the hand of fellowship and friendship.

Let today be that day.  God can move in you.  He can restore your life even in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).  He can lead you beside still waters while the storm is raging all around.  God is more than able to care for His children.  God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” as told to us in Ephesians 3.  How can God use your right-now life to draw others near to Him?  Ask Him.  Ask for His Shalom to move in and through you, and see what He will do.  With God, our lives are an adventure. Cling to faith in God.  Trust God to move in your life.  He is faithful, and He is always ever present with us on the journey.  Let God build and strengthen your faith as you live out your life in the hard places.  Shalom is with you.  It means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, and harmony” (Roth, nd).  You may not escape the storm, but you can have Peace in the storm.

Today may your faith grow deeper roots.  Today may your heart be set on the King.  Today may soul say, “yes.”  Today, may today be the day you decide to stand in the gap, seek the peace and prosperity of your community, and be the hands and feet of Jesus – our Shalom and Beautiful Message of Hope.  May today be the day your choose to press in and lean in to what God has for you no matter where you are.  Wherever you are whether working or living, let that be the place where it and you prosper.

Now we are invited to be a part of His kingdom here on the earth.  We are invited to point the way through hurt and pain.  We are invited to be a part of His work as He is the Repairer of Broken Walls and Restorer of Streets with Dwellings (Isaiah 58:12).  To think that God wants us to be a part of His work is amazing!  As Paul told the Ephesians, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  We speak of Him and not just in our words but in our actions too.  Consider what Paul told the Corinthians, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life” (2 Cor. 2:12-17).  May today be the day you change your thinking about your circumstances.  May today be the day you see them from God’s perspective.  May today be the day the fragrant goodness of the King pours out on you, in you, and through you.

Think of Christ who left the comfort of heaven and entered our messy, filthy world.  He brought a peace we never had.  He bridged a gap we could not repair.  He reconciled us when it was beyond our power to do so.  He made peace for us in His body on the cross.  This is our Advent.  Christ is our Advent.  God is a Shalom-maker.  Will you be His Shalom in the earth, in your work, in your family, in your community?  There is a vibe, a human pulse longing to be connected in community to its Creator.  You can be God’s heartbeat now.

My reflections from today’s message. @Irving Bible Church.  It was really good!  I encourage you to watch or listen online.

Grace and Peace to you Beloved!

References:

From  NIV at http://www.biblegateway.com

Isaiah 61:3

Luke 19:10

Mark 2:17

Jeremiah 29: 4-7

Isaiah 58:12

2 Corinthians 2:12-17

Ephesians 3:20-21

Roth, Andrew. “Meaning of the word shalom.”  The Refiner’s Fire.  Internet. Nd.  http://www.therefinersfire.org/meaning_of_shalom.htm  Accessed December 9, 2012.