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We have entered the season of Advent. This is a time of year that I love and look forward to with anticipation … A time of family and friends … A time of gathering and fellowship … A time of celebration and a time of expectation.

I hear the words “Come and Hear” this Advent season.

Noise … honking horns, shouting voices, clanging, chatter, and the internal noise of our own minds … this time of year can be full of distracting sounds. A cacophony of dizzying sound that pulls us away from the sound of God’s voice. At this time, more than any other time, the increased noise of the Christmas holiday season can and does distract us from the sound that matters most … the voice of our Heavenly Father!

There is a gift God wants to share during this Advent Season … The whispered words from His heart … there are words He wants you to hear this season that are meant just for you … Come and hear this advent season. Quiet the noise … who is God trying to speak through this Advent season … is it older woman in the grocery store line, is it the homeless person you walk past on the city street, is it the teenager dressed in black with piercings and colored hair, is it the neighbor that waves to you everyday … yes, God uses the most unlikely people to speak to you … He used the shepherds on that amazing night thousands of years ago when Christ was born to spread the news of the Messiah’s birth … Come and hear this Advent Season … don’t miss God’s heart message … quiet the noise … Come and hear!

“When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”  Luke 2 

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We have entered the season of Advent. This is a time of year that I love and look forward to with anticipation … A time of family and friends … A time of gathering and fellowship … A time of celebration and a time of expectation.

Advent … “the expectant waiting for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus”; Latin, meaning “coming” … expectant, waiting, coming. Each of these words conjures up a sense that something big is about to happen. This Advent I will write a few thoughts and publish them here on what, to me, Advent is speaking in this season.

AdventCandles

I hear the words “Come and See” this Advent season. God in His infinite love and mercy has issued an invitation to “Come and See.” This isn’t the first time He has spoken these words. Throughout the scriptures we read this invitation. Some have accepted His invitation, others have not. This year, in 2015 Advent, God is yet again, issuing the invitation to “Come and See.” Will you accept His invitation? It will look differently from person to person, but will you “Come and See?” Will you “Come and See” His miracle power? Will you “Come and See” Him heal the brokenness within you? Will you “Come and See” God breathe life and restoration into those things that are withering and dead? Will you “Come and See” the hand of God reach out to you and touch you, lift you up and set you into the place of promise? Will you “Come and See” the babe in the manger and know that this is where Hope has been birthed? Will you “Come and See” the peace of God this Advent 2015?

Remove the blindness of culture, remove the blindness of hate, remove the blindness of apathy from your eyes and in this Advent season … expectantly and with anticipation,“Come and See.”

“He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”

~ John 1:39a ~

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Christmas and the holiday season for most people is a joyous time of fellowship, family, and fun. For others it is a time of great despair. They meet the impending holiday with a heavy heart for loved ones lost, financial stress, and so much more. It is a season of sadness and despair versus a season of joy and hope.

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor

Mighty God, Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6

To me, this scripture verse is a great source of strength and hope throughout the year. My hope is that if you are in a season of despair that you will find great hope in these words. It is only through Christ Jesus that true joy and true hope is found. Any need that you have, Jesus will meet it and exceed it. Look again at this verse; look at the names of Jesus and what they mean. He is our everything. People will fail you time and again, but Jesus never will. My prayer for you this Christmas season is to look into the manger with eyes cleansed of culture clutter, washed of tainted tradition, and truly see all that lies before you in the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ and may you exchange your despair for hope!

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I have become appalled with the behavior of our culture over the years. Our culture has evolved into an entitlement culture. The lingo of the day is “I have to have” or “I need” or “I can’t live with out …” This language is not being applied to things like food, water, shelter, safe living environment etc. It is being linked with statements like: “I have to have the iPhone 6” or “I need the 2014 BMW” or “I can’t live with out those Ugg boots or I’ll die” … really, has our culture become so shallow and self-absorbed that people really believe they are entitled to all these ‘things’? Let us live counter culturally and daily live with a heart of gratitude. Cultivate an atmosphere of gratitude for all that God has provided.

 

“In every thing give thanks, for this is the will

of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

Let’s stop using statements like “I need”, “I have to have” in regards to things that bring no benefit to our lives. Instead, let us shift our thinking to “I need God’s presence in my life in a deeper way” “I have to have my heart beating in sync with God’s” and “I can’t live with out the Holy Spirit’s power operating in my life” then thank God for all that you do have … develop a heart of gratitude toward God and others!!

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 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27 NASB

My Peace I Give To You...

My Peace I Give To You…

2013 was a difficult year for many.  Don’t get me wrong; there were many positive highlights throughout the year that made the low moments bearable.  God is good that way.  In the cacophony of the days it is nearly impossible to find peace.  I am so thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ.  Because of that relationship I am able to find peace.  His Word provides that blanket of softness that is the antithesis of the harshness of our current culture.  It is in His presence that peace is gained.  It is there that wisdom is imparted. It is there that perspective is defined. In His presence is where I can be found … Peace … Perfect peace!!

 

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Our world has become a dark place.  Throughout history the darkness has increased at an alarming rate.  One can become despondent and enter into a state of hopelessness.  Many who are not Christ followers have done just that.  The darkness that surrounds us is palatable. 

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light

in the Lord.  Walk as children of the light.”

~ Ephesians 5:8 ~ 

It is now, at this hour, so critical for those who wear the name of Christ to be carriers of His light.  As we “walk as children of light” we are able to dispel the darkness around us and inject an atmosphere of hope in a hopeless world.

 

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What a vicious merry-go-round is worry and anxiety. Worry and anxiety keeps you weighed down and with that gnawing sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.  What good does worry and anxiety do? The answer:  Absolutely nothing.  There is zero benefits associated with worry and anxiety.  Just the opposite is true in reality.  Worry and anxiety has negative physical, spiritual, relational and emotional repercussions.  With each question, with each concern your palms sweat, a headache arrives, you become nauseated, people don’t want to be around you, and God “seems” to be absent … Don’t worry about today because Christ is your source for ALL your needs.  Jesus commands us:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,

what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.

Is not life more important than food, and the body

more important than clothes?”

~ Matthew 6:25 ~

When we begin to worry and anxiety rises it’s a result of our losing focus.  When we are worrying, we are not focused on God. It is impossible to do both … worry and focus on God, it cannot be done.  Worrying about something places us square in the world and prevents us from entering into the presence of God.  When life’s circumstances come crashing in we need to turn our whole self toward God and remember that:

God is our ultimate provider for every need.

He is Yahweh Yireh … The Lord Will Provide

Every need … your health, emotions, finances, every care … is met in Christ Jesus!

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