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Hope for Christmas (Advent Series Part I)

May the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY & PEACE as you trust in Him so that you Overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15:13

I’m a bit late.  But I  wanted to try out writing a series for a change.  I see many bloggers do it – so here goes my attempt.  It’s the season of Advent, the time of waiting, preparing, and, at least for me, of often losing sight of what this season is all about.  So I wanted to bring it back to what it is all about – the arrival of the newborn King, our Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ!

Each Sunday of Advent (or Friday as I’m a bit late for the first one!) I wanted a reminder of which Sunday it is, include a verse, and as I like to do – a song!  As I did a little research on Advent, I learned that each Sunday (or each candle) may have many different meanings or colors depending on which denomination you practice.  I’ll stay with my own Presbyterianism and bring to you Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.

The first Sunday, the candle of HOPE was lit.  See the verse from Romans above and this next one below.  God has given us the gift of HOPE.  We may not know what is ahead for us, but God does and give us HOPE in that.  HOPE is a foundation of my faith and in my guiding verse (Jeremiah 29:11.)  It give us something to look forward to, even if we don’t know what it is or even what it will be.  But God knows and it will be good and worth the wait.  Without HOPE, I don’t know how I would get through each day.

We were saved with this hope ahead of us. Now hope means we are waiting for something we do not have. How can a man hope for something he already has? But if we hope for something we do not yet see, we must learn how to wait for it.
Romans 8:24-5 (NLV)

I will start things off, and leave you for today, with probably the most popular Advent song.  “O Come, Emmanuel”  I found this beautiful instrumental Piano and Cello version online and the video to accompany even gave me goosebumps (as this is the Christmas version of the song!).  I HOPE you enjoy as well and can meditate on the true meaning of Advent, the most amazing gift we could ever be given of which nothing will ever compare, and remembering that each and every day this December (and always).  Amen.

 

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God gave me you. A post for my husband.

DSC_0879Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God,
and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
John 4:7

Happy Sunday!  Again, I’m straying from my typical church, summarize the sermon post, and posting what is on my heart and mind.  This one today is for my hubby, Steven (but hopefully you can relate and maybe be inspired by some of it!)  He’s been working extra hard lately and we’ve been spending a lot more time apart.  While at times this puts a lot of strain on our relationship, I know that God brought us together for a reason, many reasons, and this is one of our trial periods.  Through the 9 years we have known each other, we’ve had ups and downs and I feel the desire to reflect on that this particular Sunday and maybe reaffirm my belief that “this too shall pass” and we will be stronger for it (with God’s help ofcourse!)

The song I’ve had on my brain lately, and today’s Sunday song, is God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton (see the video and full lyrics below).  I heard a song of a similar title the other day on the Fish Atlanta, but when I tried to think back on it, this was one that came to mind and has stuck.  I don’t know much about their relationship, but I know Blake is married to Miranda Lambert (she’s in the intro to this video too).  From seeing them on the Voice, being fans of both on Facebook, and from songs, it seems like they have a solid relationship (hopefully rooted in Christ!)  (It also doesn’t hurt that Miranda is a huge animal advocate – so I really like and respect her!)  The verse “On my own I’m only half of what I could be” stings true, without God and you by my side, things would be a lot tougher and together our possibilities are endless.

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While doing my “research” for this post, it was easy to get caught up in Bible verses about marriage and love.  While those are important, I wanted today to reflect on those gifts, those people, whatever it is, that God has placed in our lives.  I know that God alone is sufficient, and all that I need.  But being the amazing God He is, I strongly believe He places people in our lives for different reasons.  He places them there to strengthen us, to grow with us, to teach us lessons, to guide us, to follow us, a million different reasons.  Some may only stay a short while, while others hopefully will stick around for awhile.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

With you (Steven), my heart is overflowing.  Together we have already overcome so much, and grown with each other and through God.  And this is only the beginning!  Our potential is endless.  We have been given 2 beautiful children to raise up and have been filled with passions that drive us to be the BEST we can be, alone and together.  On the days I have doubts, I need to pray and reaffirm, that we are serving a higher purpose.  But that “higher purpose” still wants us to learn from our mistakes, be stronger for them, and go out into the world and be the best we can be and testify to others.  While through this blog (and in real life!), I am striving to find my “purpose”, I have no doubt that you are part of my purpose and without your support and love, it would not be possible.

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Today, I hope you can too reflect on those people God has placed in your life and the role they have.  I pray that you have found your partner, your equal, and that they can lift you up, love you, and help you realize your full potential in whatever you are facing.  I love you Steven with my whole heart, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and know in my heart we are meant to be and meant to do amazing things!

I’ll conclude with a verse on love that was read at our wedding and one I refer back to often.  Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday!

426.21Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:12-17

“God Gave Me You”
Blake Shelton

I’ve been a walking heartache
I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be
But you stay here right beside me
Watch as the storm blows through
And I need you
Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you
There’s more here than what were seeing
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me
You’ll always be love’s great martyr
And I’ll be the flattered fool
And I need you
Yeah!
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you
On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo
Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you, gave me you
He gave me you

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We are made perfect through weakness – Your Grace is Enough!

“I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Happy Sunday!  Today’s verse from Pastor David’s sermon at the New Church of Peachtree City (really ready for a new name!) is above.  Great verse, great message, God, Your grace is enough and I find strength in YOU through my weaknesses.  Your grace comforts us in times of abundance and of famine.  Again another song came to mind – you will see it below.  (Who knew so many songs came from scripture – haha – but really I love when I song pops into my head – really solidifies the message for me for the day/week as I keep singing it!)

Another PRAISE for today.  The New Church of Peachtree City, GA is has now been officially accepted into the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians as of May 1st 2013!  This marks the end of a ton of work by many and the BEGINNING of so much more!  Big thanks go out to all who made this possible and looking forward to the FUTURE more than ever!  A picture from the packed house at a celebratory brunch this AM!IMG_2846

Have a blessed week, Happy Cinco de Mayo, and God Bless!

Your Grace is Enough
Chris Tomlin

Great is Your faithfulness oh God
You wrestle with the sinner’s heart
You lead us by still waters in to mercy
And nothing can keep us apart

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise
Oh God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

Great is Your love and justice God of Jacob
You use the weak to lead the strong
You lead us in the song of Your salvation
And all Your people sing along

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise
Oh God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me [x2]

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise
Oh God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

Your grace is enough
Heaven reaching down to us
Your grace is enough for me
God I see your grace is enough
I’m covered in your love
Your grace is enough for me
For me

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