Showing posts with label God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God. Show all posts

Monday, December 10, 2012

What is Christmas Really About?

Finding the meaning of Christmas can be difficult when society views the meaning of Christmas as a very materialistic day. Christmas has become about fairy tales, music, baking, family, and presents. I am not saying that any of those things are terrible but when the purpose for celebrating is forgotten what is the rest really worth? So many people have become like those acquaintances who send you birthday wishes on Facebook not because they remembered your birthday but because they saw it posted and saw that everyone else was writing on your wall. They were being kind and were jumping on the band wagon out of convenience not out of true care. I don't want to be an acquaintance of God, I want to be a friend of God or even better yet a child of God. I want to celebrate the birth of Jesus because I have a relationship with Him and am thankful for Him. 



As I have been reading through the scriptures that tell of the birth of Jesus I have been a little convicted, sad, and thankful. I wonder if I would have responded the same way as those who are spoken of. 

If I were Mary... I would have felt so overwhelmed. I would have felt completely anxious. Having just recently found out that I am pregnant again I am already anxious on how prepared I am. I worry for the child's safety. I would have been embarrassed. I remember the deep shame I felt when pregnant with Abbie my senior year. I remember the cruel glares from judgmental people. Even if I were a virgin when being impregnated by the Holy Spirit, I would have been concerned about what others thought and said. To be honest, I would have complained a lot during the long journey to Bethlehem. I complain often now even in my much less difficult circumstances.  

If I were Joseph... When I think that someone has wronged and embarrassed me how do I handle it? Part of me wants to declare my self as a victim. At heart I would want the person to suffer, even before trying to hear them out. 

If I were Zechariah... I would have totally put my foot in my mouth and would have probably would have doubted what the angel would have told me. Even in knowing God's goodness and His power, I often lead with fear and doubt. God has provided for us faithfully through the years, and yet when I get an unexpected bill my heart stops and I become filled with anxiety. I immediately wonder how we will make it by, as if I had already forgotten all that God has and is doing. 

Even though reflecting on how fallen and imperfect I am, I see how wonderful and amazing God is. I feel this way because Jesus came to the earth to die for the sins of the fallen and imperfect, and that is the true meaning of Christmas. It is the story of God sending His son in the form of a frail baby to show His love and grace to us through His son growing, teaching us, pointing the way back to God, and dying on the cross for our sins. Then showing God's majesty and power by rising from the dead. So while fairytales, music, baking, family, and presents might be nice there would be no Christmas without Christ. 

One of my friends had posted The True Christmas Story on her facebook page. It goes through the list of scriptures for the story of the birth of Christ. I wanted to share with you all the verses, so below are the verses in order so that you can read it and share with those who you love. 


A Savior King Is Promised 

Isaiah 7:14
 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.He will reign on David’s throne  and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Jeremiah 23:5 
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,“when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.

Micah 5:2-5
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”
Therefore Israel will be abandoned

    until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
    to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock

    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be our peace

    when the Assyrians invade our land
    and march through our fortresses.
We will raise against them seven shepherds,
    even eight commanders,


The Angel Visits Mary

Luke 1:26-28 
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,  to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.  For no word from God will ever fail.”
 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.


The Angel Visits Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.


The Trip to Bethlehem and Stable Lodging

Luke 2:1-7 

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 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.


The Christ Child is Born

Luke 2:6-7 
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 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.

Angels Visit the Shepherds

Luke 2:8-14 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, 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 earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


The Shepherd Visit the Manger

Luke 2:15-18


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.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, 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.


The Wise Men Travel to Jerusalem

Matthew 2:1-8

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”


The Wise Men Worship the Christ Child

Matthew 2:9-12
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Trip to Egypt

Matthew 2:13-15 

The Escape to Egypt

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,  where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”



God Bless,
Faith

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Leaving A Ripple

This week I have been focused on what faith is. Faith is a word that I have literally heard countless times in my life. On an average day I see, hear, and say the word hundreds of times. 
Faith is the belief in God, in His word, and in His character. 
Who is God? He is a triune God, one God in three persons (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). He is the creator. He is omniscient (all knowing) , omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (not bound by time and space). He is both just and loving. He is pure and Holy. 

What is His word? His word is the Bible and is also the promises and covenants He made with His people. Since the fall of man God promised a redeemer that would crush the head of the serpent. He also made a covenant to never flood the entire earth again. The Bible tells us that God sent His son, Jesus as a sacrifice to atone for our sins. Jesus is God that came to earth in human form. The Holy Spirit indwells us when  we accept Christ and repent from our sins. The Holy Spirit guides us and leads us, helping us through the sanctification process. 

What is His character? God's character is extremely complex and beautiful. He is authoritative. He is pure. He is love. He is a provider. He is a just judge. He is understanding. He is creative. He is beautiful. He is personal. He is God. 

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."

How does faith help us? I think there are a couple parts to faith. The first one being what God has given to us. It is through Him opening our eyes to who we really are and to who God is in relation. The Holy Spirit softens our hearts and convicts us. The second part to faith would be the choice to believe even when it goes against our flesh and our world. An example of this would be shown in Mark 9:24. The father of a sick boy who said, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Faith is NOT the lack of concern, fear, or worry. It is choosing to give the concern, fear, and worry to God and believing that He is in control. Look back at what God has done to see what God will do when you can't see what He is doing now. When I am struggling with something and feel at loss of what to do, I look at God's character and what God has brought me through. I then can look forward to what God can and will do, which gives me hope for what is doing. A lot of times we have blinders on and cannot see outside of our circumstances. 
God reveals Himself through the Bible, through the Holy Spirit, through His creation, and through history. If we don't believe what God has revealed to us, how can we expect to have faith? 

How can I increase my faith? The first way is prayer, in asking God to help in our unbelief. The second way is in reading the Bible and learning about God's character. Finally, through obedience. By being faithful in what we are told to do and trusting God in little things. Our faith is like a muscle.. it can grow with use. 
I love this question. When we have faith it ripples and touches those around us. Abrahams faith is still touching those around us today. I long for this kind of faith. I am not sure what kind of ripples I am leaving, but I pray that I will grow in faith and become the person God longs for me to be. 

What Ripples of Faith are You Leaving? How has God been faithful to you when you stepped out in faith? 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Evangelizing

Today was a day of attack and victory. 

This morning even waking up seemed to be difficult. My body was physically worn down. My eyes felt like little weights sat upon my eye lids. My joints ached and made the sounds of an old wood floor, creaking and cracking with each small movement. My energy was on its last bit of battery. In general it was a difficult day to begin with. 

Abbie seemed to be under a bit of attack as well. She was extremely emotional and was crying throughout the day. She had an indecisiveness about everything and filled the air with grumbles and complaints. In general she was just unpleased with life. 

Elizabeth must have stolen the energy that I was missing because she, like the Energizer Bunny, kept going and going and going and going and going. She was getting into everything. A trail of mess followed her everywhere along with screeching sounds of annoyance. She must have called me hundreds of times when I was sitting right there with her in her room playing. "Mom... Mom... MOM... momma... Mom."In general she was needy and energetic. 

This was not a normal day in our household and the tension sat in the air like a thick fog. All communication lines seemed down and I felt claustrophobic in our home. 

When we are under spiritual attack my Achilles tendon would be my family. When they are under attack I do not do as well. I knew that today was a spiritual attack and I also knew that it was connected with last night and what was going to happen tonight. 

Last night was an amazing night. I spoke to a dear friend of mine about God. The Holy Spirit was speaking to her heart and I was so blessed to be witnessing it. She like, so many others-- myself and my husband included, didn't understand the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. Knowing about a savior and being saved. I could feel the Holy Spirit pulling on my heart to ask her questions that I, to be quite honest, was a little scared to ask because I didn't want to hurt our friendship. I remember the times that I thought I was a Christian and I am not sure how I would have handled it if someone had tried to point out that I wasn't. I asked them and I was amazed at how God worked. Once I was willing to open up my mouth and just be obedient to God, He took over. I don't know why I had any fear, the fact is that the Holy Spirit already knew the status of her heart and He is always in control. Last night we talked about the prayer of salvation and I answered any questions she had. The most difficult part was that last night the Holy Spirit was not leading me to lead her in the prayer. I wanted so bad to "close the deal" as some would say. She was right there and ready, but it is not in my timing. 

So today was filled with attacks. One thing that helped was remembering that often the devil doesn't attack noneffective Christians. I knew that I was in a war and I already know who has won. 

So tonight my dear hubby said that I can decorate for the Holidays early to help me feel better after the long bad day. I messaged my friend and invited her over because it seems like something she would like to do. When she responded back I was brought to tears. God is so good! She said that she would like  come over and then she said that she wanted to be saved. I called Alvin and he prayed with me for her. She has been on my heart for months. 

She came over and we had a wonderful time hanging out. We talked and ate food. Then tonight one of my closest loving friends became my sister. I am so thankful to God for her and for His love for her. I am so excited to see God move in her life. Victory!!! God claimed another victory!!! It makes all that junk that happened today melt into nothingness. 

Romans 10:9 If you declarEe with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it has the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Liebster Award


Liebster Award... what the heck is that? I received a nomination from Shanita and one from Angela recently. So I decided to kind of look into it. It stands for Liebster is German for Favorite, so it is an award for favorite blogs. It is for bloggers that have less than 200 readers. It is like a getting to know you blog. 
The steps are as follows: 
1. State 11 random facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions that the person who nominated you posted. 
3. Make 11 question for other to answer.
4. Tag 11 bloggers that have less than 200 readers and notify them that you have chosen them. 
5. No tag backs....

I appreciate the honor of being nominated so I will play along. 
Random facts about Faith:
1. When my mom was pregnant with me she had a dream where God came to her and told her that if she has a girl she needs to name the baby Faith. She said she would if my father agreed. My dad was sure he was going to have a third son, so he agreed. When my mom had me he tried to take it back and make Faith my middle name but my mom reminded him of his promise. So basically, God named me Faith. My name is a constant reminder to me to have faith. 

2. I have always loved brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichoke, and broccoli, but for some strange my mom would always make peas or lima beans... both of which I hate. 

3. I have never broken any bones. 

4. The second time I saw my now hubby I knew I was going to marry him, even though we both hated each other. 

5. I am afraid of riding on escalators and of things touching my neck. 

6. I spent a few months living in a residential facility my senior year of high school. 

7. I used to have a crush on Robin Williams and on Bill Cosby. 

8. I wrote a couple books when I was a teen but then burned them when I was depressed. Now, my hubby keeps copies of all my writings. 

9. I love dancing in the rain. I feel like I can breathe in water. 

10. I laugh when I am nervous, anxious, and in pain. I think it is part to having big brothers. Can't let them see you crying. 

11. I have blocked out major parts of my memory. I will have people from certain years come up and talk to me and I have no idea who they are. 

Questions for my nominees:
1.  Fav hair product
It would have to be a tie for Head and Shoulders--- their new scents are so much better--- and rubber bands.
2.  Most embarrassing moment
Probably accidentally pooping on myself at my mother in laws. To read more on my most embarrassing moment click here and my second most embarrassing is here
3.  Fav Christmas tradition
Every Thanksgiving my mom gives us our first Christmas gift. It is always holiday socks. She says it is stupid to give the holiday decorated things on that day because they only get worn for one day.. this way we have an entire month to wear our socks that are decorated with penguins with little Santa hats. 
4.  Go to breakfast meal
I am so bad a remembering to eat breakfast. My normal go to breakfast item is a slim fast bar. 
5.  Inspiring quotation
Many people know Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. " It is a truly great scripture and is uplifting... but one of my favorites would have to be just a couple verses prior.  Romans 8:26-27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." Sometimes I hurt so bad that no words uttered can captures the full extent of what I feel. I love that it says the Spirit intercedes through wordless groans. He groans for me.
6.  Something unexpected that you have discovered about blogging
It has been a huge key in processing feelings and thoughts. It has actually helped my relationship with God because I am able to process what I am learning, I am able to look back and see what God has done, I am able to ask for prayers, and I am able to sing His praises.
7.  Something you just realized or learned that you probably should have known
How to pray with boldness... I am actually still learning it. 
8.  Comfort food
Popcorn and Rocky Road Ice Cream 
9.  Book recommendations
Christian Heroes: George Muller.. this was the book I was reading for my daughters homeschooling and it inspired, convicted, and taught me about prayer and faith. I wrote a guest post about it here
10.  Greatest compliment that you have ever received
The greatest compliment I have ever received would have to be when God puts women in my path to talk to and share what God has done for me. I say it is a compliment because He is trusting me to follow His will and to have the honor to help others. God does all the work and I just get to be His vessel. I get to see God moving in the other persons life and it think it is the coolest thing to see. 
11.  Morning Person or night Owl?


Questions for my nominees: 
1. What is a band that you secretly like? 
2. How many times do you think is acceptable to wear jeans before washing and why? 
3. Who was your role model growing up? 
4. What moment most shaped you as the person you are today?
5. If you could change how people perceive you, what would you change? 
6. Who is or was your celebrity crush?
7. Would you rather have money, power, popularity, or one true love? 
8. If you had one word to describe yourself what would it be? Why?
9. What one chore do you despise most?
10. Would you consider yourself successful in life? Why/why not?
11. What is your quiet place? Share a picture. 

I nominate: