While we unclogged our pipe in our house, God reminded me of something important.
While we unclogged our pipe in our house, God reminded me of something important.
The inability to forgive causes so much pain and entangles us making us paralyzed in continuing our walk with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 1:15 states “I am the foremost sinner”. We have to realize that we are the foremost sinner. There is no sin greater than another and when we truthfully reflect on ourselves it becomes evident that we fall short daily. And in this depth of sin, God showed His grace towards us. We didn’t deserve it. It was His love for us, that He gave His only son to die for us, so we could be reconciled to Him. God was merciful towards us and calls us to extend that same mercy towards others. Luke 6:36
Matthew 18:21-35 is a parable about forgiveness. In summary, it explains how a slave, who was forgiven a debt he was unable to pay by the king, went to a slave which owed him and choked him demanding the debt owed to him. The slave was not able to pay, just as he himself was not able to pay back the king, but rather than extending the same mercy he received from the king, he threw him into prison. The consequence of not being able to forgive is seen in the kings response. When he heard what the forgiven slave had done to the other slave, he handed him over to the torturers until he could pay what he owed. Until we have truly forgiven with the heart, our heavenly Father will do the same to us. When we don’t forgive, we are the ones suffering and in pain.
Trials are a gift from above as God uses them to sharpen us and shape us closer and closer into His image. 2 Thess. 1:5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. God promises us that we will be persecuted just as His son has been persecuted. We need to count it joy as it is a pledge of God Himself showing us that we are His. The story of Joseph is a beautiful example of God’s sovereignty as well as God’s ways to use what is meant for evil for good. Jospeh’s brothers sold him into slavery out of jealousy, but God raised Him up to be the Highest Official in Egypt besides Pharao himself. Joseph continued to humbly walk with the Lord fulfilling His plans, and in the end extended forgiveness to his brothers. He had His eyes fixed on the Lord and trusted in God’s sovereignty.
If we want to forgive, we can’t have our eyes focused on our current world. We have to set our eyes on the things above. Collossians 3:2. This world is not our home. We are called to live a life set apart for the gospel. Hebrews 12:1-3 run the race with indurance getting rid of all the sin that entangles us focusing our eyes on Jesus, the perfector of our faith We are called to run this race alongside our brothers and sisters in truth, grace and love building each other up as we build God’s kingdom.
– Counting it all Joy –
I am so excited and thankful to continue our mid week devotion. For the past months, the Lord has placed on my heart to be quiet and to listen. It has been an incredible time, that I needed with every inch of my heart. It is hard for me to sit still. If you know me, I am a visionary. I see an idea in my head and I will go for it until the goal is reached.
But God, in His perfect timing, placed a bible study in my path during this time of quiet. Not any bible study, but one that focuses on hearing God’s voice by Prescilla Shirer. It has been absolutely amazing and I would recommend it in a heart beat. As I studied, one truth in particular struck me and I felt the nudge to share it as so many of us prepare for a perfect start in the new year.
Every year after Christmas, many of us fall into the same habit…we make plans for a healthier lifestyle, better eating habits, set educational or career goals, fine-tune our schedules…As I mentioned, I am an entrepreneur at heart. So I easily fall into the same trap. Just the though of developing new ideas to expand our family business get’s me all excited. Naturally, during the time of rest we get throughout the holidays, my entrepreneurial wheels start spinning at full capacity. But in the midst of mapping out new directions…while studying God’s word…something struck me.
What if I am exactly were God wants me to be? What if I can stop searching for my calling, for a new opportunity to serve, for a purpose, for a better way to hear Him? Millions of books have been printed on how to find our purpose etc and we are taught to take things into our own hands. God wants us to hear His leading, He gives us glimpses of His presence, He takes the responsibility to guide us through the Holy Spirit in order to realign us to His word and purpose. All we have to do is listen. I started looking back at my life. The times I searched for God’s will, I didn’t find it. The times I didn’t search, He guided me opening doors I didn’t even see before. There will be times we hear Him clearly, but there may be times we don’t hear Him. That doesn’t always mean we are doing something wrong, or that we are walking through a trial…it may just mean that we are exactly were God wants us to be. All we have to do is to continue in seeking God.
This year I pray that we will not frantically search for God’s will, but rather for God Himself (Voice of God). God will lead us if we live out Romans 12:1-2. Every New Years, should be a reminder how we can’t keep simple resolutions from the year before. We fail in the most simplest ways. How different would our life be, if we present ourselves as a living sacrifice…daily…it would change us from the inside out sanctifying us. And the best part: we wouldn’t have to worry about new years resolutions anymore;)
I pray that we will get rid of any hinderances that distract us from living our life for the Lord. That today, we surrender, presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice. KAY ARTHUR QUOTE
We would love to hear how you seek God. Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Growing up, we always had an Advent wreath. I remember so many nights sitting at the dining room table, eating my dinner and the candles of the wreath were shining; making this time of year almost magical.
Sometimes I was allowed to help decorate the wreath, or light one of the candles.
Even though it was always part of my December traditions, I never knew about the history,the Symbolism of the wreath, and the candles.
Our church hosted an Advent wreath making event, and I am so thankful for all the information I learned.
The word Advent comes from the latin word adventus , which means coming.
Throughout the last centuries the meaning of this season slightly changed.
It started out during the fourth and fifth centuries as a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany.
By the sixth century, Roman Christians associated advent to Jesus’ second coming, and at the Middle Ages, the focus shifted to Jesus’ first coming.
Today we use this beautiful and special time to prepare the celebration of Jesus, and to anticipate the return of Christ.
The Advent wreath itself was constructed by a Protestant Pastor, Johann Heinrich Wichern. His goal was to have a visual aid for Children, so that they understand how much longer it is until Christmas.
The typical Advent wreath is circular in shape. The circle reminds us of Gods unending, everlasting love.
It is made of evergreen which are a sign of life. They point to new life and hope of eternal life.
The five candles contrast darkness and light.
The four candles are lit each Advent Sunday. They are usually purple, the traditional color of royalty. There is one pink candle, lit on the third Sunday to represent joy.
Each candle hold symbolism
Week 1 – The Prophecy Candle. Which represents the Prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold of Christ’s coming.
Week 2 – The Bethlehem or a manger a candle, which represents love.
Week 3 – The shepherds candle, which represents joy.
Week 4- The Angels Candle, which represents peace.
The big , white candle in the center , also called Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It symbolizes that Jesus is the light of the world and the fulfillment of the promise.
Advent itself is simply any time set apart for spiritual preparation. But most people associate Advent with various traditions and customs that have grown up around Christmas in many of the world’s cultures. Early in history these customs took the forms of fasts and feasts. Today, they most often take the forms of candles, wreaths, and calendars.
We would love to hear what Christmas traditions and customs your families hold dear to their hearts. Please share on our Facebook or Instagram post in the comment section.