What is Advent?

Advent is traditionally the countdown to Christmas in mostly Protestant denominations of the Christian church. Each Sunday before Christmas, a candle is lit in the Advent Wreath — each candle representing hope, peace, joy and love. There are many Advent traditions.

Growing up in the Catholic Church, the church didn’t have a Advent Wreath, but we always had an “Advent Calendar” which had 25 little doors with different pictures as we counted with anticipation to Christmas Day.

As a Catholic kid, I knew that on Christmas Day, Jesus, the Son of God was born in a stable because there was no room for them in the Inn. We put out the ceramic manger/nativity scene. I knew the story.

But why did Jesus leave his comfy home in Heaven to be born among the lowest of the lowly shepherds and be hailed by wise men as the King of Kings?

He came to save us from sin — the sin that started in the Garden of Eden when Eve disobeyed God’s order and then enticed Adam to do the same.

That was the “fall of man” that started the curse…

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
    whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
    All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
    though you will eat of its grains.
By the sweat of your brow
    will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
    from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
    and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3:17-19

“Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay… We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)”

Romans 8:19, 23-25

That’s the hope we have that this world is not all there is. That’s the peace we get when we trust our lives to Jesus. And it’s the joy we have that God loved us so much that he sacrificed His only Son to save us from the wages of sin, which is death, and we are assured of eternal life in Heaven with Him.

What’s wonderful about the Advent season is the anticipation doesn’t end with Christmas. We have the true hope in the promise that Jesus will come back for us and that this broken, fallen world is not all there is. We are anxiously waiting for Jesus’ return — first in the Rapture when He comes to retrieve believers — and then to establish His New World.

I recommend watching the movie, Left Behind.

It’s the story of what might happen to people who get “left behind” after the rapture of the Christians. It will make you stop and think, “Will I get left behind?” That’s what got me thinking. I “knew” about Jesus, but I didn’t know Jesus in my heart.

Without knowing Jesus in your heart, you won’t have the hope, peace and joy that only Jesus brings.

Every day when I watch or read the news, I can easily get depressed at all the evil, sin and destruction going on in the world. But then I remember, that this world is only temporary and that my home is in Heaven with Jesus. Jesus said…

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 2Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again.

John 14:27-28

So, let’s take this Advent season and use it to either #ComeBackToGod or #GetToKnowGod. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram and look for those hashtags as well as #SeekTheTruth and #SeekJesus.

Advertisements

Billy Graham: “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant”

BillyGraham-Tallahasee-Florida

Having grown up Catholic, I was aware of Billy Graham, but I always thought it was one of those “born again” people and it wasn’t for me. How wrong I was!

It took his death on Feb. 21, 2018, for me to really get to know him. I’ve watched several of his biographical movies and even watched the movie that Kathie Lee Gifford watched that led her to Jesus. (It’s embedded below).

I can’t claim that I came to Jesus through a Billy Graham Crusade, but I know someone who did. For me, it was reading “Left Behind(ad)”.

However, in recent years, with the outbreak of social media in the world, I use the medium to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Follow me on Twitter). I know there’s only one way into Heaven and that’s through believing in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

I can’t imagine what it’s like for a believer and a servant like Billy Graham the moment he died, he entered Heaven and was greeted by Jesus himself as well as his wife Ruth, his parents and many of the people that he helped lead to Christ. He used to say that,

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

I love how his children spoke of him and especially the vow of Anne Graham Lotz to keep preaching the Gospel.

I guess watching all this has inspired me to come back to blogging here. It’s been a while. I’ve thought about it, but then good intentions are fine, but if action doesn’t happen, then nothing gets done.

I was blown away by Kathie Lee Gifford’s amazing response to Billy Graham’s death.

I pray that I and all Born Again Christians will be so bold and have the courage to proclaim the Good News of the salvation that only comes through Jesus Christ. That when it’s our turn to meet Jesus in person, that He will say,

Well done, good and faithful servant! (Matthew 25:21)

This is the movie, The Restless Ones, that Kathie Lee Gifford watched that convinced her to turn to Jesus.

If you want to have peace and joy in your life, click here.

And I do recommend reading Billy Graham’s Biography, “Just As I Am(ad)”. What an amazing life!

Top picture by “Florida Memory” of Billy Graham at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida, February 11, 1961.

 

Why Pray for our Nation?

This is from the 2010 National Day of Prayer booklet.

Prayer is an important part of America’s history, reflecting the faith of our founding fathers. In fact, America’s first national call to prayer predates the Constitution. In 1776, the Continental Congress called for a day of prayer. Their expression of humility and dependence on God provided a bedrock of faith on which the United States was founded and still operates today.

We can wait till the official National Day of Prayer, but our country needs prayer right now.

How to Pray

Being raised Catholic, I learned 3 prayers, the “Our Father”, “Hail Mary” and the “Act of Contrition”. I was never encouraged or taught to pray otherwise.

Since becoming a born-again Christian, my spiritual journey has lead me closer to God, His Word, but I still struggle with finding time to pray.

Prayer is simply:

  • Talking with God
  • Listening to God
  • Enjoying the presence of God

Remember the components of prayer: P.R.A.Y.

Praise God for what He has already accomplished through Jesus.

Repent personally and on behalf of our nation.

Ask God to reveal truth and turn our hearts back to God.

Yield to the Lord and recognize He has heard our prayers and will answer according to His will.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar

 

 

Pray that Government will Value the Lives of the Voiceless

Republican Elephant & Democratic Donkey - Icons

It’s unfortunate that government leaders put political gain and power ahead of the people’s true needs, and it’s the voiceless and poor that suffer.

Leadership gains authority and respect
when the voiceless poor are treated fairly. ~Proverbs 29:14

Pray that our leaders with put the needs and wants of the people first and their political ambitions aside.

Pray for those being affected by the shutdown, those on furlough and those whose have indirectly lost work because of the shutdown.

 

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pray for our Leaders to be like Solomon

King Solomon is known as one of the wisest people of the Bible. And it’s interesting how he got all the wisdom. In a dream, God spoke to Solomon (1 Kings 3: 5-14 NIV):

“…God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Now, put yourself in Solomon’s shoes. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Power? A long life? Wealth? Solomon’s response is not what you would have expected…

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

“A discerning heart?” What is discernment? It’s the ability to judge well. To know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. “To govern your people.” He put the people first. Wow. Totally unselfish.

English: Solomon's Wealth and Wisdom, as in 1 ...

Solomon’s Wealth and Wisdom, as in 1 Kings 3:12-13, illustration from a Bible card published 1896 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

So God gave him wisdom AND what he didn’t ask for – wealth, honor and a long life! But he also said that “…there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be… And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands…” 

So, can we expect our leaders to be like Solomon? No, but we can pray that they strive to be. We can pray that they govern with “a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.”

And Solomon was kind enough to share all the wisdom that God gave him in the Book of Proverbs. It’s a gift from God through Solomon. Making foolish decisions is easy for people when they don’t consult God or the Bible. That’s another thing we can pray for.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

God Chose our Leaders

White House Front
Romans 13:1 reads:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (NIV)

“The authorities that exist have been established by God.” What?

Our first thought may be, “God, what were you thinking!?” That may be one of the first questions I ask Him when I get to heaven. God has a purpose. It is not for us to know or even try to figure it out. All we can do is pray and keep praying and trust that God knows what He’s doing.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar

 

 

 

Pray for Honest and Sensible Leaders

Have you ever read through the book of Proverbs? It’s full of wisdom. And it’s interesting to see the same Proverb in the various translations and versions. Take Proverbs 28:2 – here are a few different versions…

The Message:

When the country is in chaos,
everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
to straighten things out.

New International Version:

When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,
but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.

The Living Bible:

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily; but with honest, sensible leaders there is stability.

The Amplified Bible:

When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but when the ruler is a man of discernment, understanding, and knowledge, its stability will long continue.

I pray that the members of Congress and the President sit and read through the Book of Proverbs and that they all get a dose of common sense and honesty.

 

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar