"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."~from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

APOLOGY to READERS who followed a SEARCH to HERE & didn't find it

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging, rather than edit each one. So if you clicked here from somewhere else and ended up with the post unavailable or error, I am sorry but this is why. It'd be too much work for me to go back and fix them. There's an explanation on 7/19/17 as I'm still learning.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Advent Begins Today - November 27th - Are You Ready?

Thanksgiving was just a few short days ago and yet it's already time for Advent to

Prepare Our Hearts for Jesus

but truthfully

"I'm just not ready"

I love ADVENT! I love Jesus! I love the traditional themes of ADVENT: Hope, Peace, Love, Joy! And I love preparing my heart ... or better stated, I love God preparing my heart! each and every day ... BUT I should be doing this, like during the month of November, I focused on Giving Thanks or preparing my heart with thanks and praise, yet that should be a normal part of my every day walk with Jesus. And now during Advent, we are to be preparing our heart for Jesus (at Christmas) but also ultimately for His Return. Are you ready? It could be any day, any moment. 

So besides not settling on a plan (as of yet) for Advent 2022, I'm looking at the bigger picture or question of preparing my heart (and life) to be ready and more like Jesus {my greater concern is for those around me, not even knowing Jesus, as Lord & Savior or their need; not even thinking about His Return or Coming}.

I thought I was going to have a plan for Advent with an online Bible study, but I decided not to do it - the focus was the Women in the Bible in Jesus' lineage. Good plan - just not for me, this year or this time. I signed up, but "I'm not ready." I signed up, but as important as those women are in the Bible and for me to know about - it does not seem to fit with my own thoughts of "preparing my heart" for Jesus. Although the 4 women chosen are in the lineage of Jesus, and each women still corresponds to the 4 traditional themes; truly "I'm not ready".

Now, most of you that have read my blog or know me at all, know that I love Jesus completely - I'm a sold-out, born again believer and my passion is Jesus! My calling and mission is Jesus! But so is yours! Yes, first we need to have our own salvation taken care of but we are also to be concerned with and for others, one soul at a time. We are to witness, we are to share; but we are not responsible for saving the world, only Jesus can, by the power of His Holy Spirit. However, too many of us have made it our 'agenda' to nationalize Christianity. I'm sorry to have to use this traditional blog post to bring this up and address this issue; but I must. I have a great sense of urgency to start Advent with this angst. 

In this year, more than other years; but still for quite some time, there has been a movement throughout our nation that has profoundly impacted me, my prayers, my thoughts, my beliefs, my soul, my heart as I read and learn more watching the news. {I know we should stay away from those 'news' sources} BUT the Christianity that people, even Christian leaders; are nationalizing does not seem to be the Christianity that I know of following Jesus Christ and His example. I just had to get that out there, and I will not spend time elaborating or going into the details of this - not now, not at this time and not on this blog post. However, the Christianity that I have lived and known, believed in and followed, is stepping away from the Truth and the Church has become politicized which seems to be dividing our country now more than ever - not just is there political division but it is seeping through our churches. This causes me much heartache to even think or write these words finally. Yet preparing my heart for Jesus takes this very seriously and immensely concerns me with this shift and change in too many churches that were dear to me, because the Church I know and believe in follows Jesus and the main principles of LOVE, HOPE, JOY and PEACE. I frankly am saddened and notice too much hypocrisy among many Christians, who seem to have forgotten the two greatest commandments Jesus gave us in Matthew 22:36-40: 

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'

I have much to learn of LOVE (I will admit) and I will not tell you or anyone how to LOVE, but what I am seeing and hearing from hypocritical Christians is not this.
The same can be said of each of the other major themes of PEACE, HOPE, JOY.

God is LOVE and He who abides in God, abides in Love ...  (1 John 4:12)(1 John 4: 15-16)(John 15:10) (1 John 2:6) and on and on ...

 I am the least likely to be lecturing any of us yet I can't honestly go on into this beautiful season of Advent without 'venting' my deep concern over all of this and continuing avoiding it. I will not be hypocritical nor judge others, I'm hoping I don't sound like that, but I have left this unsaid for far too long. So my words are not meant to judge but hopefully begin a change in our hearts, to be a change in our ways, to be a change in our thoughts, to be a change in the RELATIONSHIPS around us and how we treat one another. 

I hold onto the HOPE that anchors us to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:19). I hold on to the PEACE that Jesus is (John 14:27) and gives. And my faith in Jesus Christ anchors my soul. I really want to hold on to the JOY of Jesus along with the JOY of CHRISTmas and the JOY of Jesus, Others, You is not being seen by me and it really should be seen in all of the seasons but especially during Advent, especially to those in need - whether that is physical or spiritual; it's still a choice as we share JESUS! We are to be a Light of Jesus to the darkness in the world, but this world is getting darker and not much light is shining. Oh yes, I've seen the outreach of churches to the poor and needy (those impacted by the 'storms') but the hearts and the souls are just being temporarily cared for; and just like gratitude, the attitudes of people are not changing - they are becoming more hardened and disheartened. Even people, who use to regularly be involved in the Church are walking away. I recently read that there's a decline in our churches, and I completely understand why. We're NOT READY! Jesus has been waiting until we are and His Holy Spirit, gently still, is calling us to unity, not division.

I will keep HOPING and searching as I pray during ADVENT! As for now, my ADVENT plan remains semi-open and I will be MAKING SPACE ... for now. Just as there was "No Room in the Inn" for Jesus' birth - for Him with His earthly parents Mary & Joseph, who were seeking a SPACE to give Jesus a place to be born, I will MAKE SPACE this season for Jesus and pray that the Church also does; and the way that they share JESUS in this world definitely needs consideration and some adjustments. 

Each week, I will follow the tradition of Advent: HOPE, PEACE, LOVE, and JOY! And I will PRAY ... for the soul of each individual to "Prepare their Heart for Jesus" and PRAY for the battle of the soul of our nation and the world, because my heavy heart really senses hearts hardening and the window closing for our own attitudes towards Others but mostly towards JESUS! We are not meant to follow any one man; only the ONE, who became human to open the way to the Father, by paying the price for our sin ... His Name is Jesus! Let us follow Jesus and seek Him first!



I still haven't decided which one it will be: 

Hope, Love, Joy, Peace

nor in which order I will do them

Father, this Advent season I come before You with an open heart. 
I long to hear from You. I long to behold Christ in all His beauty. 
Help me shut out the distractions so I can be fully devoted to You. Amen

* Meanwhile, I will keep searching for the various plans for Advent to prepare hearts. 

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