Tag Archives: advent

1 Chronicles 11, 12; Hebrews 13; Amos 7; Luke 2

In 1 Chronicles 11, David becomes king over Israel.

So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord through Samuel.” (1 Chron. 11”3)

Amos 7 is about visions seen by the minor prophet.

Hebrews 13 contains a commonly heard verse:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

(Hebrews 13:8)

But it’s the Christmas account found in Luke 2 that is the most meaningful to me as we approach the season of Advent.

While they were there, the days were completed for her to give

    birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped

    Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no

    Room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)

    “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the

    Heavenly hosts praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the

    Highest, and on Earth peace among men with whom His is

    Pleased.’” (Luke 2: 13-14)

    “And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told

    them by the shepherds, But Mary treasured all these things,

    pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:18-19)

Lord, help us to be like Mary and treasure how You came to be with us over 2,000 years ago.  When the busyness of the holidays hits with full force, help us to reflect on the true meaning of it all and give You all the glory.

Amen,

Kellie

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Nehmiah 10-13 & Revelation 8

I don’t know about you but I feel like the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was the shortest 4 weeks in history this year. I know that every year the amount of time between the two stays the same but this year the time flew by even faster than usual. During this season of advent as we wait for the celebration of our Savior’s first coming, we are to be preparing our hearts and waiting with great anticipation as the angels did so many years ago. Yet, that’s certainly not what my life looks like. It never fails. Each and every year I am determined to make this season special, to place special focus on preparing my heart and my children’s hearts for the great celebration of all. I try to cultivate a spirit of patience and stillness and awe of what the Lord has done for us but yet….. No matter how hard I try the season feels too rushed. From Christmas parties to shopping for the perfect gift, we are rushed, over committed and just plain tired!

As I read today’s scripture there is one piece that the Lord spoke to me through without a doubt. It stuck out like a sore thumb. Not because it had anything to do with advent and Christ’s birth but because it was a fantastic reminder that the feelings I have of being unfocused and rushed are not exclusive to this season alone. For me, our family is busy in every season. We are typically over committed in some way or double booked at least 1 out of the 3 weekend days each week (but usually more). The Lord reminded me that there is one very special day each week that HE created for our rest. The Sabbath. He created it for us. For. Us. Sorry to repeat myself but that was for me. A reminder that God knew exactly what he was doing when he created a day of rest. That day is designed for our bodies to rest from the 6 days of hard work. It is a day to be still before the Lord and seek his will for our lives. A day to focus our attention and worship on Him alone in thanksgiving and praise. Yes, the 4th commandment He spoke through Moses is most often overlooked, especially in 2016.

Even long ago, Nehemiah knew saw that this day that was to be kept Holy was instead being treated like any other day of the week. He could see the people were continuing about their usual work instead of taking their time to rest and reflect. So he took great measures to ensure the people followed the Lord’s command.

When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day.  Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem. But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Nehemiah 13:19-22 (NIV)

Nehemiah was protecting his people from themselves and others who were leading Israel astray from keeping the Sabbath day holy. Like him, I need set up safeguards for myself and my family to set aside time each week that provides us with rest and refreshment. If I don’t do this now, my children will learn the rat race that our culture is so used to. The Sabbath was made FOR us, not us for the Sabbath. It was to keep us well both physically and spiritually.

During this season of advent and every week during the year, may we be still before the Lord our God our Maker! May we put down our cell phones, I-pads and office work and place our focus on Jesus, the greatest gift we could ever receive!

Lord, help us guard our hearts and minds during this season and in every season. Help us to live in the world but not be of the world. Help us take advantage of the special time you created for us and special moments resting and reflecting on who you are and what you have done for us. Amen.

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Ezra 5-6; Psalm 95; 3 John

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with Thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:1&2 ESV

We just back back from a week long trip to visit family in Florida for Thanksgiving. With four kids, it’s a trip we haven’t made in while. As my kids are getting older, I am more aware of how quickly time is passing. I was grateful to get away and have a break from the routine. Time seemed to slow down. It didn’t matter if we were crammed into a bedroom at Grandma’s house or in the van for hours. We were together and my heart was full. The closer we got to home, I found myself getting anxious for the mundane and craziness of daily life to set back in. But, I was forgetting that my real rest is found in the presence of Jesus.

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah.” Psalm 95:7-8 ESV

As advent begins and I am tempted to be drawn into how the world is telling me to prepare for Christmas…I pray that I would quiet my heart and savor the season. Because, no matter what gifts I give my children. Nothing will compare to Jesus.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4 ESV

Dear Father, forgive me when I take my focus off of You. I want to have a thankful heart. Thank you for this time to reflect on Your unfailing love for me. How You sent Your son to earth as a tiny baby, to have a relationship with me. Help me to prioritize my relationship with You, as well as the relationships You have given me…this season and always. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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1Chronicles 29; 2 Peter 3; Micah 6; Luke 15

It’s that time of year. Thanksgiving is behind us. Advent has begun. Where is my focus?

How many more Cyber-WEEK ads can bombard my inbox?

Found this group a few years ago and their videos always draw me back to where I should be this time of year. Advent conspiracy.

I can’t sit idly by and watch the presents pile up, the to-do lists lengthen, and not start putting limits on the non-essentials and making more room for the eternal.

Just like what God requires in Micah 6:

“With what shall I come before the Lord,

and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

with calves a year old?

7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

8 He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

I need to give of myself, not just my check book.

II Peter brings in another part to the chorus:

 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar . . . and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

Are my Christmas habits spotless? Will these works survive the scrutiny of the last days?

Ironic, but I would say Christmas time is possibly one of the hardest times to live as a Christian. Everyone is giving, spending time with family, setting up the traditional nativity scene. How am I any different?

Is my celebration of the birth of my Savior any different than a society that really has no idea the depth of what they portray?

That question hits deep. I can’t even answer it right now. Maybe because if I am honest I know my activities this month wouldn’t measure up as much different from an eternal perspective.

So, then the follow up . . . what am I going to do about it?

Advent calendar with corresponding Scriptures. Good start.

Random acts of Christmas Kindness. That’s a stretching goal.

Sharing my faith. Yeah, I need more of that.

And the list goes on . . .

What’s on your list of essentials for this Christmas season?

Erin (5intow)

from the archives; originally published December 1, 2011

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