Monday, December 18, 2017

Advent Day 16 ~ Light

Today's word is light.

"The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned."
Isaiah 9:2

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn."
Isaiah 60:1-3

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 
“I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, 
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Light. We use it to mark celebrations with candles on birthday cakes, fireworks on Independence Day, and twinkling Christmas lights in this holiday season. Since time began light has been seen as a good and positive thing. It marks the first day of creation:

"And God said, "Let there be light. 
God saw that the light was good, 
and he separated the light from the darkness."
Genesis 1:3
Light also marks our celebration of the Incarnation, for just as light came into the world with God's creation, spiritual light comes into the word with the birth of God's Son. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be a "great light" to those walking in darkness. In John's gospel, when referring to the Incarnation, he said, "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world" (John 1:9). Jesus, the Messiah, illuminates spiritually in the hearts of men. He brings those who are living in spiritual darkness and captivity into the light of God's love.

"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
2 Corinthians 4:6

"Jesus is the radiance of the Father, and he will fill the world and everything in it with light. Jesus is the light of the world. ~John Piper

"Through Him all things were made; 
without Him nothing was made that has been made. 
In Him was life, 
and that life was the light of men."
John 1:3-4

"Jesus has come into a dark world and is the light of the world." ~John Piper
Jesus is the light of the world. In this we rejoice and we celebrate the One who has come to give us the light of life!
"Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you!"
Isaiah 60:1

My journal pages for today:

The Advent Words 2017 prompts and Scripture reading calendar can be found in this post or in the Facebook group.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Advent Day 15 ~ Joy

Today is the third Sunday in Advent. This week's Advent theme and today's word is joy.

"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."
Luke 2:8-10

I love the image that this scene in Matthew's gospel brings to mind. Shepherds doing their nightly job of tending the sheep, when suddenly the sky is bright as daylight as God's glory shines and His angel appears. I imagine their great surprise and then immediate fear. But the angel of the Lord reassures them: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."

During Advent we celebrate with joy Christ’s first coming – His coming in the flesh to walk and live among us. During Advent we also look forward with joy anticipating Christ’s second coming, “looking forward to [the promised] new heaven and new earth, the home of righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:13)

At Christmas we are reminded that joy has come to us in human form. Joy has come to us to be our salvation, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) We join with those who witnessed His first arrival. We respond with joy as they did:
Mary’s response to having been chosen to bear God’s child: “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” Luke 1:46-47 
The Magi: “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.” Matthew 2:10-11
The Angels: “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.” Luke 2:10-14
A Savior has been born! Jesus, the one who would save people from their sins has come to earth. Emmanuel has come – God is with us. This is the Good News we still celebrate! Joy is at the heart of the life of the Christ-follower, for joy is our response to God’s gracious gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
"Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
    They will enter Jerusalem singing,
    crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
    and they will be filled with joy and gladness."

Isaiah 35:10 (NLT)

This week allow the journey of Advent to remind you of your joy in God’s gifts of grace, love and salvation given us through His Son Jesus Christ. And anticipate the joy we have to look forward to when He comes again.
My journal pages today:

The Advent Words 2017 prompts and Scripture reading calendar can be found in this post or in the Facebook group.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Advent Day 14 ~ Salvation

Today's word is salvation.

"How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
    together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
    they will see it with their own eyes.
Burst into songs of joy together,
    you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
    he has redeemed Jerusalem." 

Isaiah 52:7-9

"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.”
Matthew 1:21

"And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Luke 1:76-79

Today reflect on the words of the Scriptures in these passages and enjoy more art from some of the talented and creative people who have joined me in this Advent art challenge.

My journal pages for today:

Art from the group:

Bernice Hopper is doing her art on fabric covered paper. See more at her blog: Newly Creative.

Rafaela De Queiroz Oliveira is posting her digital art pages on Instagram. See more at IG @rafaeladequeiroz.

Jessica Clevenger is using her painted papers and doing this challenge with her mom ZudaGay Pease, her art is below.

Crystal Becker is doing the challenge with her 9 year old son, Barret.

Sharon Peart Altered a photo she took for this page. Sharon is sharing about her pages on her blog

Isabelle Salce has made a journal for her challenge in beautiful traditional Christmas colors. You can see more of Isabelle's pages on Instagram @giverney_27.

Kathy Shaull is filling an altered book art journal she made for her pages. You can see more of Kathy's pages on Instagram @13prayers

Theresa Poole made a wonderful scrapbook album for her Advent pages.

Kim Beldowski is adding drawings to her journaling.

 If you have been a follower of my blog for long, you know I love birds. These next two ladies both used birds on their Peace art pages:

Diane Kundrat collaged a variety of images on her page. You can see more of Diane's pages on Instagram @dianeybugs.

Leigh Ann Lukens collaged in her signature cut painted paper style. You can see more of Leigh Ann's pages on Instagram @leighannlukens.

I have provided ways for you to see more of each person's art for those whom I have Instagram or blog information. Enjoy the great talent and creativity from this group. More to come next Saturday!

Last week I think I failed to add Instagram id's or blogs for the art I posted, so here is the list:
Shawna Rash @artfromthespirit
Jane Lydia Henderson @janelydialoves
Tracy Woodsford @sojournertracy
Distinctly daisy
Sherry Fukuda Cartwright @wondramous
Ellen Etzler @ellenetzler
Cindy Mayfield @yappingcatstudio
Lindsey Van Niekerk @lindseyfoj
Olga Lucia Orozco @olgaluorozco

The Advent Words 2017 prompts and Scripture reading calendar can be found in this post or in the Facebook group.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Advent Day 13 ~ Gift

Today's word is gift.

In this season full of gift giving, it's good to pause and remember the gifts that God has given us. His most amazing gift, His grace, comes to us through Jesus Christ, in the gift of our salvation, along with every good gift we receive from His hand. James tells us, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

Our gracious and loving Heavenly Father does not change. He loves to shower us, His undeserving children, with goodness. We see His good and perfect gifts in our lives in so many ways. In the people He surrounds us with, in the wisdom He provides, in His daily provision for our needs, in His loving-kindness to us. So, as we shop and wrap gifts to give others at Christmas, pause and think on the wondrous gifts you have received from God, the Father of heavenly lights.

My journal pages for today:

The Advent Words 2017 prompts and Scripture reading calendar can be found in this post or in the Facebook group.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Advent Day 12 ~ Rejoice

Today's word is rejoice.

"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.” 
Luke 1:26-33
Mary's story in the Bible is the Christmas story. Yet is is also an example of a woman who rejoices in the Lord. We get the impression that, even before an angel of the Lord appears to tell her she will give birth to the Messiah, that Mary's was a faith-full life of rejoicing in the Lord. The angel's first words to her are that she is highly favored by God. She is chosen for this great task because of her highly favored status. To receive such a great compliment and responsibility, she must have had a great faith. We see this great faith displayed in Mary's response to the angel:
"I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said."

Out of her great faith in God, the great favor He has expressed to her, and this great privilege and responsibility He has bestowed on her, Mary rejoices. Her song expresses that rejoice:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation."
Luke 1:46-50

As we draw closer to the celebration of the Messiah's birth, may we follow Mary's example and live a life of rejoicing the Lord.

My journal pages for today:

The Advent Words 2017 prompts and Scripture reading calendar can be found in this post or in the Facebook group.