Week 4: Love

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We love many things. Maybe you love your car, or Mexican food. Or you love your dog, or your spouse and kids. These are all different types of love. The Ancient Greek has at least eight different words for love. However, in the English language, we seem to use the word “love” for a lot of things.

Sometimes this can be sad because it takes away from understanding the type of love God has for us. This is called agape love. This was the highest type of love out of all the Greek words. It’s selfless, it’s unconditional. Agape love is the same love that God communicates to us through John 3:16.

For God so loved (agape) the world that He sent His one and only Son, whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Wow- how awesome to reflect on that right now at Christmas. God the father sent Jesus because of this unfiltered, unconditional, and unchanging love in hope that we would believe and accept what Jesus did for us.

This is the week we celebrate. Two thousand years ago, Love came down to earth from heaven, and took the form of us. He came to the earth in fully natural ways, was born in a lowly place, and lived the perfect life to serve as the perfect offering for our sins. 

Today choose to reflect on the unconditional love that God has for you despite all of your flaws and imperfections. He still looks at you as His perfection.

Think about how you can share that love with friends and family this week. 

Check out this song below and reflect on Christ's love:

Week 3: Joy

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We live in a world that gets stuck on the negative way more than the positive. Have you ever turned on the news before and noticed this? The first 59 minutes of the news are all the tragedy and trouble of the world. The last 59 seconds are the cute videos of the surfing squirrel that cause a smile. We focus too much on all the negative! We let it encroach in what we see, speak, and think without even realizing it.

During this Christmas season and week three of Advent, we’re focusing on joy. This is the season where we celebrate the Light of the world entering darkness and changing history forever.

This week- start thinking about the joy you have in knowing Christ. Think about all He has done for you and how you are no longer bound to the person you used to be. He came to earth for your freedom from sin, sickness, and shame. He came to bring you peace from your pain, sadness, or circumstance. Walk out this week in Joy and don’t let the negative morale of the world cloud the truth. Let the joy of the Gospel work in your life every single day. You can place your mind on all the wrong going on around you, or you can choose to fix your eyes on the promises and truths He has placed before you. Don’t let a negative circumstance of today steal your joy!

 

Scripture Reflection: Psalm 146:6-10

6
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
7
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
    the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
9
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10
The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord

Week 2: Peace

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World peace is a safe answer if you want to be Miss America. “Peace on earth” is a key line in the most popular Christmas song, “Joy to the World.” But what kind of Peace does Jesus promise? Is it immediate world peace? Jesus himself said, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Maybe world peace is not the answer. What about inner peace, freedom from pain through meditation? This may see more accurate, but we are still far from the truth. This kind of peace involves blocking out the world. As Christians, we are called to love one another with the deepest empathy, something that cannot be achieved by hiding in your own thoughts. So what kind of Peace is Jesus bringing? Jesus brings the Peace that passes all understanding, given by the Holy Spirit. Peace that doesn’t hide from the world or give up on God, but perseveres through suffering. The peace of Jesus is knowing that He will not forsake us. The peace of Jesus is knowing the victory is won.

Reflection:
Remember this week the peace that Jesus brings in the midst of your trials and having a relationship with Him.

Philippians 4:7
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Week 1: Hope

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Why do we hate waiting? On average we spend 6 months of our lives waiting. Waiting in line, waiting in traffic, it all adds up. However, thanks to high-speed Internet, Amazon Prime, and other innovations that number is decreasing. But we hate waiting more and more, because we expect gratifications to be more and more instant. If a web page takes more then three seconds to load, if our package takes more than two days to arrive, if our GPS doesn’t load instantly, we become frustrated. Anything that is not instant is unacceptable, and this need for instant gratification is spiritually toxic. We expect God to work on our timing and get angry when He doesn’t. He calls us to wait for Him, but we won’t wait for anything, so we can make ourselves miserable. OR… we can hope. Hope is being sure that God will come through, even if we don’t see how. Hope is knowing that God works all things for the good of those who love Him who are called according to His purpose. Hope is patiently trusting that God is a loving Father who cares for us, no matter the present circumstances. And hope is the first step to understanding the Christmas story. Because after thousands of years, the wait would soon be over: the Son of God was arriving.

Reflection:

Psalm 27:14:

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.