Rebecca Duvall

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Advent

advent candles 2I must confess, in the past, I have not payed much attention to the lighting of the advent candles on the Sunday’s leading up to Christmas, which is called the advent season. This year, however, I have payed close attention to what was being said during the lighting of the candles.

At the church we attend, Covenant Community Church, a different family or group of people participate in the lighting of the candle or candles each week.

The 1st candle is purple and is the Candle of Hope. We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises he made to us. Our hope comes from God.

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations;
 in him the Gentiles will hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:12-13

I’m in awe of God and how much he loves us. He not only sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for us, but He also gives to all believers of Jesus the gift of the Holy Spirit, which will not only guide and direct us, but also enable us in all we are called to do. Hallelujah!

The 2nd candle is purple and is the Candle of Peace. God kept His promise of a Savior who would be born in Bethlehem. Help us to be ready to welcome You, O’God!

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“ A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’” ~ Luke 3:4-6

I’m extremely grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made for me, and for you, so we could have direct access to God.

The 3rd candle is pink and is the Candle of Joy. It’s because of the hope we have in Jesus and the peace only He can bring to us we can experience true joy.

…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

An there were shepherds living out in the fields nerby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on the earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” ~ Luke 2:7-15

The more I know Jesus, the more my heart is opened to see those around me, as it is filled with a deep desire to help them as Jesus helps me.

The 4th candle is purple and is the Candle of Love. God sent his only Son to earth to save us, because he loves us!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ~ John 3: 16-17

As I’ve said before, John 3:16 is the first scripture I ever learned. I believed it before I understood it. That’s the wonderful thing about God. He helps us to understand Him and His will for us. We must simply seek Him.

The 5th candle is white and is the Christ Candle. The white candle reminds us that Jesus is the spotless lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins! His birth was for his death, his death was for our birth!

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” ~ John 1:29

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” ~ John 3:1-8

Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus’ purpose of becoming flesh here on earth was to die for us so we could be reborn. This helps me trust and believe, even more, God’s almighty plan and timing of it all.

May prayer for us today ~ Father God, we thank you for the precious gift of your son Jesus, whose birth we will celebrate on Christmas. I pray each and everyone across the world will experience hope, peace, joy and love that only comes from You, Amen.

Friends

friends fingersMost of us have different kinds of friends.  Those we’ve known our entire life and others we’ve just recently met.  Some friends we only knew as a child.  Others we’ve known for our adult life.  Some friends were only around for a particular season in our life.  Some friends know our deepest secrets and others only know about part of us.  Like how we are at work, church, school, or when around our family.

I think friends are a great blessing given to us by God.  Sometimes God places people in our life because we have something they need.  Other times it’s because we need something from them.  Sometimes this turns into long lasting relationships.  Some friends you see or talk with often.  Other friends you may think of often, but only communicate with them once or twice a year.  The great thing about friends is once they are your friend they will always have a special place in your heart.

A true friend shares their heart, speaks truth and acts in a loving manner.  A true friend also listens to your fears, failures and trails without judgment. 1_Corinthians_13

Being a friend can be hard!  It’s easy to love them when they’re being kind to you, but what about when they say or do something that hurts your feelings or the feelings of someone you love?  It usually makes me angry and I want to make them feel the hurt and disappointment they made me feel.  God says we are not to be easily angered or delight in evil.

It’s normal to have the feelings of anger and disappointment when we’re hurt.  It’s what we do with our feelings that matter.  So how do you change your negative feelings to a positive or neutral reaction?  When I find myself getting angry or upset I try my best to pause and call out to God.  I believe when I do that the Holy Spirit steps in and guides me through the situation.  The Holy Spirit enables me to be patient, loving, hopeful and persevere regardless of the circumstances.God give people you need sign

A few years ago I was confronted by a lady in front of my children’s school just as classes started.  She was very upset with the way I had handled a situation.  She felt I had stepped in on her territory and wasn’t happy about it.  She was talking loudly, waving her hands about and not saying very nice things.  My first reaction was to yell back and tell her how stupid I thought she was being.  Instead of acting on that I said a quick prayer in my head asking God to help me stay calm, and response in a loving manner only speaking truth.  By the end of the conversation, about 15 minutes later, we were both smiling, hugging and even made a lunch date for later that week.  I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful for being able to call upon the Holy Spirit to help us through those moments.

How has the Holy Spirit enabled you to be loving and kind in a difficult situation?

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.  I pray we each take the opportunity to call upon the Holy Spirit when faced with difficult situations, Amen

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