Monday, November 28, 2016

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

** Hi friends! This post is part of a blog hop for Advent. At the end of my post, you'll find links to some wonderful blogger friends who want to help you prepare Him room. Take some time to read them all. Your hearts will be encouraged.**
Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning 'coming') is a 4-week period preceding Christmas in which Christians celebrate the coming of Christ.  In fact, Advent reminds us to celebrate Christ in the past (we're grateful for the Messiah who came to save us), present (we rely on & rest in Emmanuel, God with us, who is our Rock, Refuge, and Strength), and future (we're filled with blessed hope as we anticipate Christ's second coming). 

Let's not get swept up in the hustle and bustle. Instead, may our hearts prepare Him room by staying focused on what really matters.
 I present to you an acronym: P.R.E.P.A.R.E. 

Pause
R
eflect  
Enjoy 
Praise  
Accept 
Rejoice  
Exclaim 


Pause

Pause from all the busyness and craziness. We are usually busy preparing many things for Christmas. Shopping. Decorating. Baking. But often we forget about preparing our hearts. The whole point of Advent is to prepare our hearts and turn our attention to Jesus' coming. Crowded calendars seem to overshadow what Christmas is all about. It's about Jesus Christ; it's not about perfect planning or fantastic festivities! Do you feel like Martha...having too much to do and not enough time to get it all done? Pause and have a "Mary"/Merry CHRISTmas by focusing on CHRIST, rather than a plethora of activities! Mary sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said while Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Jesus said to Martha,"You are worried and upset about many things, but only ONE thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42) Pause to prioritize and pray. Check out these 12 Advent Prayers! Prayer is a powerful way to help us get away from distractions of the season and put our hearts and mind in the proper place (right perspective).


Reflect


Reflect on who Christ is and what He has done for you. Reflect on His Word and promises. I like to reflect on different titles of Jesus such as The Word, The Light, The Way, The Truth, The Life, The Good Shepherd, etc. He is the Great I Am; He is All we need. Remember the Reason for the season. Remember to simply receive the King, the Greatest Gift from God! Remember why Christ was born. "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel." (2 Timothy 2:8)

Then, reflect Christ's love, grace, mercy, compassion, and light as you reach out to others this season. Look for ways to meet the needs of those around you. The lonely. The elderly. The homeless. Single moms. Widows. Orphans. Be His hands and feet. T
ake time to patiently listen to friends or loved ones who find this season especially difficult. They may be going through grief, illness, unemployment, family problems, financial problems, depression, etc. May they see Christ in you as you minister to them!



Enjoy


Experience joy of His redemption and wonders of His love! Enjoy celebrating Christ! God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. (John Piper) Do you enjoy Jesus Christ? Do you find joy and delight in Him, not His gifts, but Him and His Word? Do others see in you unspeakable joy that overflows your hearts, peace that surpasses understanding, and unconditional love that mirrors Christ's love? Or do they see the huffing and puffing, the stress and anxieties, the grumble and impatience, the envy and discontent? Do people around you think you enjoy the Christmas season or dread it? "O come, all ye faithful, joyful, and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the King of angels; O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!" 


Praise

Angels sang praises to God at Christ's birth. The shepherds praised God
 for all the things they had heard and seen regarding the Child. The wise men followed the star in order to find and worship Jesus Christ. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15) Let us praise and worship our Redeemer with a grateful heart!
 Gloria in excelsis Deo! "Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ, the newborn King." "Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, And in His Name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we; Let all within us praise His holy Name. Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever! His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim! His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!"

Accept

Accept Christ as your Lord and Savior (if you have not done so). Christmas is meaningless and just another overspending, commercialized holiday if you don't know the Christ of Christmas. For fellow Christians, accept your God-given assignment as ambassadors of Christ. Be agents of hope, joy, and love to this dark, lost, hopeless world. Practice hospitality and make all who enter your home feel loved, welcomed, and accepted. Touch lives with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Tis the season when people tend to be more open to hear about God, Christ, and the Good News of God's grace.


Rejoice


"Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) Rejoice that Christ was born to rescue us, that Christ now lives in us, and that someday Christ will return! How do you prepare your room/your house when you expect a visitor? You most likely try to get rid of clutters, clean it, and spruce it up. When we prepare Him room, we are to give all the clutters (confessing our sins and casting our burdens) to Jesus and He will do the cleaning (purifying our hearts) and beautifying (filling our hearts with peace and joy). Another great reason to rejoice! "Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice; now ye need not fear the grave: News, News! Jesus Christ was born to save!" "O come, Thou Key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home. The captives from their prison free, and conquer death's deep misery. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel."


Exclaim

Exclaim with gladness, "Joy to the world, the Lord is come!" Christ's birth is the solution to our sins! Share this Good News with everyone! "When they (the shepherds) had seen Him (Baby Jesus), they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this Child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them." (Luke 2:17-18) May we follow the shepherds' example and go tell others what we have known & experienced concerning Jesus. "Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!"

May you all have a Christ-centered Advent season filled with
hope, peace, joy, and love! 


P.S. 
How many Christmas carols have you spotted in this post :)?



Be sure to read all these blogs that are part of the Prepare Him Room blog hop. 
Wrapped in Grace – by DeanaLynnRogers.com
Welcoming Jesus is less about perfect preparations and more about scooching over.
Lessons from Jonah on Advent – by Faith For Her
Advent Week of Hope:  A man, a fish and God's grace are more applicable to your life than you may think (and very telling of God's character).
Prepare Him Room - By Going The Distance
Read about the love language of Advent season.
Prepare Him Room – by Revelations of a Southern Girl
Revelations about celebrating the season with an illness.


This post is part of the Prepare Him Room Blog Hop as part of the Woven Vow Blogger Group on Facebook.  Join us for blog talk and faith filled encouragement.

Monday, November 7, 2016

God's Goodness and Love Never End

Psalm 107 is a beautiful song of deliverance. O the wonders of God's amazing lovingkindness!

"Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind."--These same exact words are repeated four times in Psalm 107. Over and over again, we see that whenever people cry out to the Lord when they are in trouble, He delivers them from their distress, even those who wandered away from Him, rebelled against Him, and/or were foolish (morally corrupt). That is the unfailing love and goodness of our God! He is our good, good Father! Our Heavenly Father is always willing to restore those who call on Him. He hears the prayers of those in need and delivers them.



How shall we respond? 

Give thanks to the Lord! Praise God! "God's goodness should drive us to our knees in gratitude." (Anne Graham Lotz) Trust in and celebrate God's loyal love for us. Keep telling others of God's redeeming love and wonderful deeds. Tell others what God has done for you (share your own personal testimonies). Even when we cannot see God's hand, we can always trust God's heart. God always loves us with an everlasting love. God's love is better than life. God is good all the time. How can we not have a constant, permanent thankful heart? 
"Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD." (Psalm 107:43)

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