Start Your Advent Journey
Toward Hope, Love, Joy and Peace!
This week marks the beginning of the Advent season. Advent is derived from the Latin word adventus which means coming. These next weeks are spent in anticipation of the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. As Christians we also wait with hope and anticipation for the second coming of Jesus to earth. As we await Christmas and His second coming we have an opportunity to ‘start again’ as His mercies are new every morning.
Three Steps to Walk Lighter This Month
The weeks before Christmas in our society can be filled with long lists to be accomplished, variance from our routines, increased stress and on and on. The tension can be endless and leave you completely depleted on every level. How can you flow through this season with harmony and joy?
First, start each day putting on the armor of God. You are first and foremost a spiritual being and staying protected is crucial. Would you drive without putting on your seatbelt for safety? If you would, start to buckle up from now on. Buckle up in your car and suit up in your armor.
Second, stay closely connected to the Lord throughout the day and let Him lead you in every encounter. When you get out of the way He can lead and guide you. He will direct your path if you let Him. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed the other day and I knew if I just kept on going the day would be filled with unnecessary stress. I put down what I was doing and stepped away into my prayer closet. That focused time with Him settled my spirit and the rest of the day was most enjoyable. Be still and know that He is God. Let Him be your hope. Let Him direct your day.
Third, live each day in thanksgiving for blessings you have. It is easy at times to look at what you feel you are missing. Look instead at the gifts in your life and who God has positioned to share your journey with you. Focus on what is good and your attitude of blessing will be a blessing to others. Your hope in Him will bring hope to those you encounter on your journey.
An Advent Wreath Tradition
Growing up in our house, Advent could not be complete without the Advent wreath! I love Advent wreaths and the anticipation felt as a child waiting for each week to light the candle and pray. As the weeks progressed another candle made the wreath so much brighter until the Light of the World came at Christmas. The expectation increased exponentially each week in our family.
I found the Advent wreath in the picture above one year and was taken with the message. Each dove candle holder has a different word scripted in gold. This simple display is a soft reminder of the importance of your heart attitude especially during this season. There is always hope. He is always your hope. I believe it is always a heart issue and ever so important now. It is never too late to ‘start again.’
Hope, love, joy and peace are the themes of Advent. Take some time to focus on one of them each week. For example, in the first week pray hope over yourself, your loved ones, your home, community and country. Look for ways to bring hope into each encounter you have. Jesus Christ is your hope. As His follower that hope is in you. Purpose to be the hope in your environment.
Take Steps to Ensure a Season of God’s Beauty
Write the word for the week on paper and post it where you will see it often. Let the concept of hope sink deep into your heart and go forth with each heartbeat. Take a moment now to write these four words on separate papers so as the hubbub of the season escalates you will have your words ready. Each week add the next word and at the end of December you will see that the season was a bit lighter. Jesus embodies the Advent themes of hope, love, joy and peace. So as you await the commemoration of His birth may you find, hope, love, joy and peace in Him.
Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season! Jesus Christ is God’s most life-giving gift to the world. Keep Christ in Christmas and in your life all through the year. He will bring you hope, love, joy and peace far beyond what you can think or imagine.
Quotes to Ponder This Week
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” ~Jesus, Luke 9:23
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~Romans 15:13
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” ~Ephesians 6:13-17
“…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” ~1 Peter 1:3-4
“There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.” ~Isaiah 11:10
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” ~Lamentations 3:22-23
“Reflect upon your present blessings—of which every man has many—not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~Charles Dickens
It Is Never Too Late!
If you have not yet made the decision to accept Jesus into your heart, do it now. Do not wait another minute. Speak to Him from your heart (for it is always a heart issue). Tell Him you have fallen short in your life. Sincerely apologize for your sins. Ask Him to cleanse you and come into your heart and be Lord over your life. From this moment forward let His Spirit guide you along the narrow road that leads to everlasting life.
Please Join Me In Prayer
Father we thank You that Your mercies are new every morning. As we begin this Advent season use us to bring Your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven as we await the coming of Your Son. Grace us throughout the year to walk in Your hope, love, joy and peace and carry them to a hurt and dying world. Let us be true ambassadors in Christ each and every day. We pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen and amen.
Place deep in our hearts the love of God and love of country that has guided this Nation from its inception. Place deep in our hearts Your compassion for our fellow men and women. Lead us to pray without ceasing for our brothers and sisters who suffer at the hands of Islamic terrorists. Open the eyes of our leaders to arise in this season to defend the very belief in You upon which our Nation is founded. Thank You for keeping Your hand on America. We humbly pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen and Amen.
A Prayer Request
Thank you for your continued faithfulness to pray. Please keep all who serve our country, our servicemen and women and their families in prayer for salvation and safety. They are our front-line on the battlefield, let us be their front-line in the spirit. Also, let us cover all who have come home wounded that they and their families will receive the kindness, help and support they need to go forward in their lives. God bless all our diplomatic and military personnel and their families. May the Lord keep them safe.
Pray for all throughout the world for hedges of protection against radical Islamic extremists and all forms of terrorism. Pray for Christians who face violence and death for their faith. We have long prayed for spiritual victory over radical Islam in Esther’s Warriors Ministry. We now see the reality of this threat come to the forefront in this time in world history. As Iranians and Islamic extremists are shouting ‘Death to America,’ let us speak life, hope and a return to God in America!
Please pray for all in authority over us. Pray for the full truth to come forth concerning #Benghazi. Pray for Representative Trey Gowdy as he leads the House Select Committee on Benghazi. May God richly bless the United States of America, bring to light every single crooked place and keep her safe. The lives lost in Benghazi, the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service, Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice targeting journalists phone records, the National Security Agency overstepping its legal authority and so much more are hardly “phony scandals.” We continue to pray for truth to prevail in each of these situations. Pray for the families who have lost loved ones, for those relentlessly targeted and for all of us who are proud to call ourselves American.
May we may arise united once again as One Nation Under God in this auspicious season in our country’s history. These are treacherous times and now more than ever we must maintain our walk with the Lord, saturate this country in prayer and stand for all that is right in America. Fail not in this hour.
Pray for peace in Israel. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Pray for all affected by this week’s natural disasters.
Pray for American Pastor Saeed Abedini who has been held, tortured and denied medical care in Iran for being a Christian. He was captured in 2012. Let us join our prayers with others across the globe for his release and safe return to his wife and children. Pray for all in the persecuted church.
#PrayforAmerica, #AmericaLoveitorLeave it; #GodblessAmerica; #WakeupAmerica