Advent Pieces

The colors of Advent have specific meanings, have you ever wondered about them? Tonight it’s a “101” class! Enjoy and learn! Thanks to crosswalk.com

The Meaning of the Advent Wreath | Advent candles, Advent wreath candles, Advent  candles meaning

The First Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Hope

The first Sunday of Advent leads our hearts to Hope. The purple color symbolizes royalty, repentance, and fasting. This week is a time for us to reflect on what it must have been like to feel the depth of God’s silence during the period between the Old Testament and New.

It is a time to ponder the prophecies about the promised Messiah. We begin the season with a mindset that creates hope in our hearts.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone (Isaiah 9:2).

For to us a child is born. To us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore (Isaiah 9:6-7).

The Second Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Preparation

On the second Sunday of Advent, we light the Hope candle and then we light the Preparation candle. First, hope blooms as we realize the prophecies about the Messiah are true. Then we begin to prepare our hearts to receive the Lord Jesus.

Imagine how Joseph must have rushed to prepare the crude stable for Mary and the soon-to-be-born Jesus. As we rush through the season of buying gifts and attending parties, may we pause and reflect on the words of Isaiah:

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 40:3-5).

The Third Sunday of Advent’s Pink Candle Signifies Joy

The third Sunday of Advent brings us to Joy. The color pink represents rejoicing. We light the previous two purple candles and then light this week’s pink one. Rejoicing is our response to the Good News — joy that our Messiah has come.

The light of the world sweeps away the darkness in our world and in our hearts. We seek him and, in joy, find him.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

The Fourth Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Love

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we reach the culmination of Love. The Messiah comes in love and righteousness. The angels filled the sky with the greatest news of love.

They visited the lowest of the lows in Jewish society, the shepherds, with the most amazing birth announcement. This love is no respecter of persons but is for all who receive. As we light the four candles, we ponder,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17).

Why Some Add a Fifth White Candle

A fifth candle is an optional addition to the traditional advent celebration and represents Christ. This candle is lit on Christmas Eve. The color white stands for purity, light, and victory.

Jesus is pure — without sin and because of his sacrifice he makes us white as snow. He is the light in the darkness and the victor over sin and death. We have life because of him.

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool (Isaiah 1:18).

A Prayer for Hope

Holy God, we begin this week of advent with a heart awakening to hope. You are our signpost lighting our way forward. Darkness may abound, but you reveal light. Night may linger, but hope comes in the morning because of you. May we turn our hearts turn toward you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Prayer for Preparation

Holy God, we praise you for the hope you give us. As we move into the second week of Advent, we prepare our hearts to receive you. Just as Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem over rough terrain, so our lives lead us down rocky paths.

Pieces of Exhilaration

It’s hard to find hysterical joy in life.  Especially in the world in which we live.  I’ve always been a “see the sunshine in the clouds” kind of person.  I hope my positivity is contagious!  Today at a Lent study, in all the exhilaration I could muster, I lifted my hands and said:  “I’m jacked up on faith.”  The room roared with laughter, I knew they were laughing with me and not at me, but it was a bit startling; I was simply sharing how on fire I was for Jesus.

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I think we need to experience these moments more often.  Either we need to say something mind-blowing that moves the room, or we need to be on the receiving end of it.  Laughter and humanness is good for the soul!  It reminds us; particularly in regards to our faith, that the world needs to see more of Jesus — in us!

Become exhilarated for Jesus! 

 

For God So Loved the World

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We have a promise of eternal life; but not because of the “good” we do or how righteous our life appears to others.  Because eternal life is a gift; for believing that God gave selflessly, His own Son; His life, for our life.  But why?

Easter is around the corner, and we know it’s not about chocolate bunnies or egg hunts, it is instead about the life, death and returning to life; to walk as a man until He was reunited with His Father once again.

It all seems so unreal doesn’t it?  But that is what walking in faith means, believing the unbelievable.  It’s the mystery of faith. 

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May you be blessed with unbelief this holiday season, may you be lifted in faith to a deeper level of learning, may you lean against Your Heavenly Father for strength, love and hope.

 

Random Pieces

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Today, I found a two sided piece of paper;  it fluttered from somewhere and landed behind my desk.  There are a few scribblings and a date of 12/4/2013.

These exact kind of notes were the reason behind “The Pieces” book.  I wanted to share what God had shown me, inspired revelations that carried me from bad and sorrowful moments in time, to joy filled and peaceful days.

A few of my ramblings:

2 Peter 3:18 SPIRITUAL GROWTH:  Read scripture, apply the truth.  Admit and assume responsibility for failure.  Commit to change.

Philippians:  Joy, is a calm delight from God.  The worldview of joy is “happiness is based on what happens,” but joy, in reality – is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Paul was in jail during this time, he remembers people in his prayers; he thanks God for his situation, he encourages others.

Ephesians 2:15 (my take):  It’s a harsh world for those who are not believers in Christ.  I was under a terrible impression or just didn’t want to see – that the most noble and good people are still not of God.  They are still on the wrong side.  It’s not my place to judge, but do I have responsibility of those I love to save their soul?  You bet!

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Pieces of Discernment

Oftentimes we are given a scripture or thought to spend time figuring out.  Maybe it was easily understandable — but other times, we can’t make heads or tails over the meaning, or if it’s even a message for US.

This is when spiritual discernment steps in.  Find a trusted advisor, someone who is spiritually sound, they do not have to be a minister, sometimes a good friend can help sort it out WITH you, not for you.

As a wise friend recently told me — it’s my seeking/understanding that matters most.  But sometimes we all need a little help!

Proverbs 2:3-5  Yes, if you want better insight and discernment, and are searching for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure, then wisdom will be given you and knowledge of God himself; you will soon learn the importance of reverence for the Lord and of trusting him.

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A piece of humility

Humble pie some call it.  I’d venture to say we could all use a slice every now and then.

……humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these.
You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom.

Pieces of Attitude

An attitude to chase after what is good and right, is an expectation that God has for us.  I offer all that I have, up to you, Father – please teach me.

All of us who are spiritually mature should have this same attitude. But if some of you have a different attitude, God will make this clear to you.
Tell them not to speak evil of anyone, but to be peaceful and friendly, and always to show a gentle attitude toward everyone.
[ Suffering for Doing Right ] To conclude: you must all have the same attitude and the same feelings; love one another, and be kind and humble with one another.

Holiday Pieces

The reason for the season is the birth of our savior.  May your time spent with family and friends honor this very important day of our history.

Luke 2 Living Bible

About this time Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the nation. (This census was taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

Everyone was required to return to his ancestral home for this registration.  And because Joseph was a member of the royal line, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, King David’s ancient home—journeying there from the Galilean village of Nazareth.  He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time.

 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

 That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep.  Suddenly an angel appeared among them, and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord. They were badly frightened,  but the angel reassured them.

“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone!  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem! How will you recognize him? You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger!”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God:

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,” they sang,“and peace on earth for all those pleasing him.”

 When this great army of angels had returned again to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on! Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They ran to the village and found their way to Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. The shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.  All who heard the shepherds’ story expressed astonishment, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and often thought about them. Then the shepherds went back again to their fields and flocks, praising God for the visit of the angels, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had told them.

Pieces of Trust

I subscribe to many ’email inspirations,’ they are reminders to start your day blessed.  Today I was inspired by “truth.”  It is a meaningful piece, I pray it inspires you as well!

“Trust and rest when all around thee
Puts thy faith to sorest test;
Let no fear or foe confound thee,
Wait for God and trust and rest.
“Trust and rest with heart abiding,
Like a birdling in its nest,
Underneath His feathers hiding,
Fold thy wings and trust and rest.”

Pieces of Grief

The holidays tend to bring a mix of sadness and joy.  We mourn the loss of those we have loved, that are no longer here to celebrate familiar traditions.  We delight in the knowledge that we will be reunited again, but today, it hurts.  Our heart is sad, the grief sometimes unspoken.  But your heavenly Father knows this pain, he suffered the greatest loss of them all; the Crucifixion if his Son.  He knows your pain, the grief, He watches your tears fall, and He desires to comfort you; will you draw close to Him?

Psalm 119:28  I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow; encourage and cheer me with your words.
1 Corinthians 1:9 God will surely do this for you, for he always does just what he says, and he is the one who invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, even Christ our Lord.
In the deepest parts of grief, lean on God.  This strengthens your faith and helps you draw closer to your Savior.