Advent #1: H.O.P.E and Murphy’s Law

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Holding On Promises Eternal

2020 is one year that is for the memory books: It might could be described as “Murphy’s Law” on steroids. Y’all remember Murphy and his law don’t you? If he were here today, old Murphy would espouse that “Anything that could go wrong, at a particular point in time, would absolutely go wrong at the worst possible time that it could go wrong.” For example, he would say, “If you have an open face peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and if you dropped it, that sandwich would invariably fall face down.” I suspect that, if I took a poll, many would indeed say 2020 is a “Murphy’s Law” kind of year. Still, this does not apply to the season when we think about the coming of The Savior to Planet Earth.

Consider this: During this first Sunday of Advent, we are celebrating the “Hope” that only God can give during times that are, for many people, hopeless. Some time ago, I received from the Lord an acrostic that clearly describes what having a relationship with Jesus accomplishes in our lives. For me, H.O.P.E. is Holding On Promises Eternal. And this first Advent candle, that celebrates Jesus, who is the Messiah’s, coming is the candle that gives us that which we desperately need during 2020. It shouts to us, “There Is HOPE!”

For example, first, the H.O.P.E. of His coming is the hope of being forgiven of every sin and it is the hope of being transformed. It is the hope that He will come into a person’s heart, and He will reside there in relationship with that person who yields to Him. But there is more! One of my favorite, hope filled promises, to which I hold, and that is eternal, is Colossians 1:21-23. Hear what the Apostle Paul said:

Once you were alienated from God, and were enemies in your own mind,
because of your evil behavior.
But now God has reconciled us, by Christ’s physical body, through death,
and He did this to present us Holy in His sight, without blemish and free from ALL accusation, if you continue in the faith, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.

I don’t know about you, but in a year like 2020, this promise really is what I previously described: This really is something I want to grab on to, and I want to Hold On to this Promise Eternal! It encourages me, and it empowers me, to know that, not only has God brought us into a relationship with Him, but that, in doing so, when He looks at you and me, God sees us as Holy, with no blemishes, and we are completely free from all accusation! He sees us as His perfect children! All we have to do is keep on holding on to this “Hope” held out in the gospel! All we have to do is embrace the wonderful thought that God sees you and me, His children, as holy! When He looks at us, He sees NO blemishes, and He even tells us that there is nothing of which we can be accused! WOW! I am going to Hold On this Promise Eternal Y’all! Such a grace grant, like this, from God, does my heart a whole lot of good!

The Challenge

What about you? Do you want to Hold On Promises Eternal? Do you have any God promises, that are in God’s eternal Word, that mean something special to you? Rather than holding on to the “Murphy’s Law” doldrums mentality of 2020, can you bring yourself to a place where God can encourage you? Can you choose to let God build you up in the faith? Can you pick out some of your own favorite promises, where you Hold On these Promises Eternal? Come on! Give it a shot! Take up my challenge, as I challenge you to do what I do: Go ahead and focus the locus of your focus on the spiritual exercise of Holding On Promises Eternal! There are thousands of promises God offers in His word, and these promises are doubly validated, now that the Savior has come!

So, go through your Bible, or any Bible, and then highlight a number of these sacred texts! Once you have a few of these underlined, read them out loud many times. And as you do so, watch what happens to your heart, your soul and your mind! I believe, if you sincerely take up this challenge, it will amaze you how you feel, even though 2020 is still around. Don’t let 2020 bring you down any longer. Let God lift you up! Hold On Promises Eternal today, and everyday, that God gives you life.

God Bless You. May your reflection, on this hope filled part of Jesus coming, bring you peace.

SoJourner

Celebrating Advent, Jesus and New Life!

Hope-Love-Joy-Peace!

Celebrating the Real Meaning of Christmas!

Coming soon! Christmas is coming! But before it arrives, we anticipate celebrating its true meaning: We call it Advent. Advent means “coming.” During this time of year we celebrate Christ Jesus came long ago, as He was born of a virgin named Mary. He comes into the hearts and lives of those who will deny themselves, take up the Cross and follow Him. And one day He will come again! One day, during this season, we celebrate a day we have set aside to celebrate His birth, though we don’t really know the exact day of his birth. We call this sacred birthday celebration Christmas!

Important Colorful Symbols

The Wreath

To celebrate Advent we use important symbols: There is the round wreath. It is a circle, and it represents the eternal essence of God. It has no beginning nor end just as the true and living God has no beginning or end. The wreath is green, and it reminds us of the resurrection life, and eternal life, God offers, through The Christ who has come!

The Four Candles In The Wreath +1:
Purple, Pink and White

There are four candles placed on the wreath. These candles represent Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. We light these successively throughout Advent. The fifth candle is called The Christ Candle, and it is a white color, and the white represents the purity of Christ which He provides for our hearts and lives. It is usually taller than the other candles. Three of the other candles are purple, and this color represents, among other things, repentance, fasting, prophecy, preparation, as well as the royalty of Christ, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. One candle is pink. This color represents rejoicing.

Red May Also Be Included

Red is also a color that may be included, and as a part of the wreath: This could come from the holly berries on a wreath. This prophetic color points the the redemptive work of this one who came, comes, and will ultimately come again! For, while it is important to remember Jesus came as a baby, in a manger, in a town called Bethlehem, we must be sure to remember that He came to be the Savior of the World, as He sacrificed Himself, as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Yes, He came and comes to take away your sin(s) and mine. He sacrificed His body on The Cross, and He shed His blood to atone for our sins.

What Advent, Nor This Season, Is NOT!
Good News To Share!

Now, one thing is to be clearly spelled out here: Advent is NOT about the myth of man dressed in red. For Jesus is NOT coming for the purpose of “making a list, checking it twice.” Nor is He about “going to find out who is naughty or nice.” It is very clear, from the ancient wisdom of the Bible, that “all of us have sinned, and we have all fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23.) We were all declared “naughty” before the Almighty. We all deserve much worse than “coal in our stockings.” But, because of His great love for each of us, Jesus came to save us, to forgive us from being “naughty,” to cleanse us from all our sins in order that our “naughty list” would be wiped clean via the shedding of His blood, and via the sacrificing of His body on the Cross! Hallelujah!

Now, we who are forgiven, and who are being transformed, because of this Christ of the Cross, we experience God as love! We experience Him as being patient! God is kind! He does not envy! Nor is He arrogant toward us! He certainly is not constantly keeping a list of every frailty or failure, waiting for us to mess up, just so He can annually ask us, “Have you been good?” On the other hand, He is giving us grace to be new creations, where our old selves are being made entirely new. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21.) As a matter of fact, God “made Him, who knew no sin to be sin, for us, that we might become the righteousness of Christ.”

The Holy Spirit Testifies

The Holy Spirit actually gives a testimony about these things: The Holy Spirit tells us that God, because of God’s Eternal Covenant with us, “writes God’s laws on our hearts, and He places them on our minds, And our sins and lawless acts He remembers no more!” (Which is the polar opposite of maintaining a “naughty or nice list.” (See Hebrews 10:15-17) Finally, God demonstrates what the Holy Spirit is declaring, when He tells the story of God making us, who are formless, unpurposeful, and shapeless clay creatures, without Him, into beautiful pottery, for His purposes and life transformational will. (Jeremiah 18:1-7) Because Jesus is fully alive, we can be fully alive ourselves. (John 14:19)

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned, as we journey together through this Advent season! Celebrate with us Hope, Love, Joy and Peace that Christ Jesus, Himself, makes possible through His Salvation Grace. Let us celebrate the true reason for the season! Let us celebrate Jesus the one who is Christ.

God Bless You, and I pray that, during this Advent Season, you will truly experience Hope – Love – Joy – Peace and Purity in your heart and life, as well as God’s saving, sanctifying and healing grace, through Jesus The Christ. I don’t know about you, but I believe, we especially need these this season of 2020.

SoJourner

God’s R.E.S.T. For You and Your Personal Advent

Taking a Look at The Younger John

As we approach Advent, or the time of focusing on Jesus, and HIS coming, we can begin to focus on where R.E.S.T. began at its earthly beginning. Simply take a few minutes to read John 1:1-12, which represents the writings of the younger John. Here the Bible points out Jesus IS The Word of God, who IS God, and HE is also Creator God, who came to HIS own covenant people; however, as HE entered planet Earth, and even though He made all things, they, HIS people, did not receive HIM. Indeed, they actually rejected HIM. Its sad, being rejected like this, but God’s people turned their backs on HIM! They turned their backs on the very Son of God who is one with God. Worse still, they turned away from God’s anointed ONE, and HE was, and is, the Messiah, for which they were looking, for an extremely long time. I am talking millennia they were waiting, watching, hoping and praying. This, according to The Book of Hebrews, kept them from entering into God’s R.E.S.T: Check out Hebrews 4:1-11, and you will see for yourself.

Their Loss Leads To Our Opportunity

With HIS people rejecting Jesus, and not having faith, a door was flung wide open to all other people of the Earth! Hear John, as he declares,

” But as many as received HIM, to them HE gave the power to become the children of God, even to those who believe on his name!
(John 1:12.)

Their rejection provides for you to have the opportunity, and for me to have the opportunity, to experience God’s salvation! Their failure to decide to enter into God’s R.E.S.T. makes God’s Rock-solid Eternal Spirituality Today available for you and me. HE came, and He reached out to us. HE still does! By faith, we have the very “power” God provides for us to receive HIS love, mercy and grace… HIS salvation that only comes through faith in Jesus, who is The Christ!

Jesus Personal Invitation 🙏

Turn a whole lot of pages in your Bible. Or if you have an electronic Bible, scroll a whole bunch of your E-Bible to Revelation 3:20. Its the same John, and HE is sharing God’s “Revelation.” Yes, its the same John that wrote The Gospel of John. He is just a lot older. I think he was around 90. So, approximately 60 years have passed. But because of this aging Apostle, you can now read Jesus’s own words to those who are now eligible to become children of God! Yes! You actually get to hear God speaking to you in Century 21, as HE offers you R.E.S.T! Please open your ears to Jesus speak to you, as HE says to you …

“Listen. I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me talking, and invite me in by opening the door, I will come into your life, and I will fellowship with you, and you will fellowship with me. ” Revelation 3:20

Wow! The Son of God wants to friend you in ways that are unimaginable and so very wonderful! As He comes to you, He deeply desires to save you from all the sin, wrong doing and broken places in your life. Satan wants to kill steal and destroy everything good in your life! But He, Jesus, wants to give you life to the full. He really is offering you Rock-solid Eternal Spirituality Today!

Three Potential Responses

Now, you can choose to do the absolute worst thing: You can do like His people did. You can choose to do what those who missed out on His R.E.S.T. did: You can reject HIM, and you can keep your heart closed to Him. You can keep on existing as you are existing today. OR you can experience your own personal Advent, as you open your heart to receive HIM, as well as the Rock-solid Eternal Spirituality Today that will transform you, today, and throughout all eternity; additionally, you can choose to pass this supernatural information on to a friend, or a relative, or an associate or a neighbor.

Your Challenge:

Hear is your opportunity and Heavenly challenge: Turn from your brokenness, sin and mere existence to the True and Living God. Open your heart and respond to Jesus loving invitation. For HE came to you in order for you to receive HIM and to set you up to become God’s adopted child. Believe in HIM. Receive HIM as both your Savior and LORD. By faith enter into God’s R.E.S.T This will be the best decision you will ever make!

Now you may say, “Hey, I already have received Jesus. He already is my Lord and Savior!” Well congratulations; however, when was the last time you introduced Jesus to someone who has NOT received HIM? When was the last time you passed this good news to someone you know that it is NOT well with their soul? I suspect, for some, it has been a while. If this is true, why not pass this message you are reading today to someone else who needs it more than they could ever know.

A recommended Prayer:
LORD, I have sinned, my life is broken, and LORD I really need to experience YOUR forgiveness, YOUR transformation, and I need YOU to help me so that I will fully live. Help me, Lord, to enter in to YOUR R.E.S.T.
Please LORD, take over my life and give me YOUR
Rock-solid Spirituality Today.
I I turn from my sin, my brokenness, my pain.
I turn to YOU. I receive YOU into my life.
I trust YOU as my Savior and Lord.
In YOUR Name, Jesus, I pray.
Amen.

Keep in mind that, on that first Advent, which means “coming,” Jesus did indeed, come to planet earth! He came as “God With Us!” HE wants to come into your life, and HE wants to be with you. Let God walk with you. Let HIM come into you heart via God’s own Holy Spirit. Let HE who was born on earth two millennia ago, be born in your heart today. And, if that is a “done deal” for you, why not help someone else have Jesus be born in them by sharing this message to day. You will be glad you did.

God Bless You

SoJourner

Experiencing R.E.S.T.

Today, God provides we who are His children, Rock-solid Eternal Spirituality Today!

God Is With Us!

God’s grace is sufficient for WE:  God’s power is perfected in our weakness 🙏

God Bless All Who Read This!

Let us, indeed experience R.E.S.T.

AMEN 🙏

SoJourner