Advent – He Is Coming

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Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present – Edward Hays

Our lives are marked with moments and monuments of celebration and gratitude for who God is and what He has done in our lives. Christmas is no different I guess but instead of walking this Christian existence in homes and pockets across our cities, in this season, the whole of the western world are trying to make sense of what Christmas is and means. As Christ followers we get to inject meaning into the those moments and memories.

This Christmas I want to celebrate not consume; I want to open my heart and my home and make Him room.

I want to minimize the crazy and maximise Christ

For the past 6 or so years we’ve walked the advent journey with the Jesse Tree, inspired by Ann Voskamp. Even before the glossy book and the pottery ornaments we used her printables and taught my children that through Genesis to the manger His name is whispered – He is coming. Advent.

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We take time every day to read, reflect and place our ornament upon the tree.

Each card, each ornament represents a story through the old testament, a story which represents His character, his coming and our calling to draw Him close. Each story talks of the power of God throughout history, His redemption and salvation for His people. His amazing way of taking what was broken and almost gone, damaged destroyed and making it whole again.

Whatever your tradition or expression at this time is , give Him room. We’re not only preparing our hearts for a birthing but also the dawning of a new year. Consider now what God has done, contemplate what He has ahead for you and allow Christ to do His transforming work in your life.

Let me encourage you at the beginning of advent to allow His peace into your pace, to slow down and give Jesus some space.

Stay in the story.

 

 

Displacing Worry For Wonder – A Devotional

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The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything – The Bible

I love God’s Word; it shapes, guides and creates patterns in my life that make me more like Him. The Bible is so far from a dry and irrelevant text, it is living and active, and if you let it do its work in your life it NEVER returns void. Hear it, speak it and allow it to go deep, to sooth your soul, strengthen your spirit and blow upon those glowing God embers in your heart.

We can’t do Christian life without it – so open it today!

Twice a month we gather our Connect group in our home; we sit around cake, tea and God’s Word and share what we see and what He is saying. I not only love this bringing together of community and family but I love seeing one verse come to life before our eyes through simply allowing time and space to talk about it. Conversation is a catalyst.

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I was reminded of one of my favourite verses in the bible, a verse that I live by and put into practice daily, here it is in The Message:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4

This Pauline instruction to the Philippians is poignant and pivotal to our lives and our daily walk. At the end of verse 5 Paul states ‘the Lord is near’, followed by ‘do not worry’. What an incredible statement to surround this whole section of scripture, before we even start talking about your worry and what to do about it, remember, the Lord is near!

The fact that we know that He is near then urges us to follow the next instruction, ‘do not worry’, instead of carrying worry, turn all that emotion and distraction into prayer. I’ve learnt to practice this, I’ve created a devotional default when my heart is heavy. When something is going on in my life that is distracting and dissolving me into a bit of hot mess, I pray. Declaring first that I know He is near, I then pour out everything I’m feeling, carrying and burdened with to my Father God, who loves to listen. And what does He do? He doesn’t promise to fix it, make it all better and resolve it as we would want with our earthly understanding, no – but He does replace our heavy heart with His gift of peace. His overwhelming, life transforming calm that we can’t fathom or start to understand. He allows us to walk in wholeness and freedom with a light heart DESPITE our situation.

He brings calm to our chaos, stillness to our striving and turns our worry into wonder.

Talk to the Father today, open His Word and be transformed.

You are loved.

Loving this song at the moment; may it bless you today!