The Third Week of Advent

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Yesterday, was the beginning of the third week of Advent.  This week our family has chosen to do our Advent on Thursday when our family will be all together.  We will be lighting our third candle, the shepherd’s candle, which is pink in color and represents God’s love and faithfulness to us.

The suggested Bible reading from “Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas” is:

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“How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
and says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7

and

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign for you:
you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:8-12

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There are only ten days left until Christmas!  I pray that peace and happiness rest on your family and that the Salvation of God is alive in your heart.  Your God reigns!

Merry Christmas!

Constance

Advent On Monday?

Check out my Bible studies, “November Thankfulness” and “December Love” free for you in the right side bar ——->
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Last night our daughter got home pretty late from work, and some of the family had already fallen asleep, so we decided to have our second Sunday of Advent tonight when our schedules matched up a little better.  We re-lit our Prophecy candle from last week, as well as our Bethlehem candle for tonight.  And we took turns reading from the following Scriptures:

Blinkin Squiggle“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”
Micah 5:2

and

“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:1-7

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After this, our oldest daughter read an interesting story about Herod the Great from the Herodian family.  All of the stories from “The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader” are very interesting and sometimes quite entertaining.  We have been reading them for years and have never tired of them.  You’ll have to order your own to see what I mean.

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After this story, we listened to another piece from “Handel’s Messiah”.  The words were, “But who may abide the Day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire.” – Taken from Malachi 3:2 – He’s coming for His Bride, a pure Bride and we need to make ourselves ready for His return.  Malachi 4:2 says,

“But for you who fear My name,
the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings;
and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”

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Do you ever find it hard to line the schedules of your family members up just right?  It especially gets hard as your kids grow up and start driving and getting jobs and going off to college.  But I look forward to the day when they find the ones they will spend the rest of their lives with and come back home with grandchildren during the holidays to celebrate Jesus Christ with a whole new generation of little ones.  What a beautiful thing to dream of!

Thank you for stopping by.  I pray your Christmas days are going well as you prepare to celebrate the day of Jesus’ birth.  Blessings to you and your family,

Happy Advent!

Constance

A Voice Is Calling

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Here I am, still in my favorite book of the Bible and still amazed.  I love God’s Word and I’m SO loving Advent this year!  I don’t really know what the difference is – maybe it’s this blog and writing to you daily and sharing my thoughts from the Word of God.  It is nice to not hide them all away in a journal as I used to do.  Now only some go there, but a lot of my thoughts go here.

As I was saying, I’m still reading in the Book of Isaiah, specifically, Chapter 40:3-5

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“A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

“Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;

Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

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In the Gospel of Luke Chapter 3, we can read about John the Baptist and how he cried out words very similar to these of Isaiah.  The people who came to hear him recognized his words and asked who he was, and he told them he was not the Christ.  They asked if he was Elijah, and he said he was not.  Again, they asked if he was the Prophet, and again he said no.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said John was more than a prophet, a messenger that was to go ahead of Jesus and prepare the way before Him.  Jesus also said,

“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!
Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
Matthew: 11:11

Jesus also said in verses 14-15,

“And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.”

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The words John the Baptist spoke are very important words and as I read them, I can see how I can obey them even today.  He said to “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;” and “Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.”  I wonder…  Is there a place within me where I still find myself wondering in the wilderness, a place like a desert – parched and dry?  Is there a place within my heart that I choose to keep from God?

This time of Advent seems like the perfect time to clear a way for the Lord Jesus to come into any place of  wilderness I may still dwell in.  To make smooth a highway for God in any dry and desolate places I may run to.  I know that this will take time and prayer – but my heart is ready and prepared for it.

John said that Jesus must be made great and John himself must be made small.  I pray this for myself and for you this evening; That in our lives Jesus would be in full view, our eyes fixed on Him and on His Kingdom, and on His righteousness.  I pray that He would become so great in our lives that we find ourselves frequently looking to the sky, expecting to see Him there with His arms stretched out, beckoning us Home!

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Thank you so much for joining me here at SimplyLiving101.  I love to have you over for a visit.  If you have any thoughts on this post, I would love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.  It’s like getting mail in the mailbox. 🙂

Happy Advent!

Constance

P.S.  Yes, I am working very hard on illustrating and writing “December Love” – it’s coming!  UPDATE:  You can find “December Love” free just for you in the right side bar ——->

Looking For A Great Light

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UPDATE:  First Advent Sunday, complete with sparkling cider 🙂  Come Lord Jesus, Come!

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Tonight at 7:00 p.m. our family will begin Advent.  Tonight is the first Sunday in which we will gather around our Advent wreath that sits on our breakfast nook and light candles, each representing a different aspect of the coming of Christ.

The candle that we light tonight is called the Prophecy candle. Once it is burning, we will take turns reading the following suggested Scriptures from “Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas”:

 

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“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.  You shall multiply the nation,
You shall increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor,
as at the battle of Midian.
For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult,
and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.  For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace.”

                                                                                                Isaiah 9:2-6

and

“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”  Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason
the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

                                                                                                  Luke 1:30-35

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After we have read from the Scriptures above, we will read a story from “The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader” and we’ll listen to these words from Handel’s Messiah:

“Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.  The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.  Hallelujah!”

This part of Handel’s Messiah is based on the following Scriptures:

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“Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.”
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evelation 19:6

“Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ;
and He will reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 11:15

“And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Revelation 19:16

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Advent is a wonderful time to really stop and focus on Jesus Christ’s return for His Bride, the Church.

I pray this post is beneficial to you.  I would love to hear how you are doing and the different traditions you may have during this special time of the year when we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world and longingly look forward to His return.  Blessings to you and your family.

Merry Christmas!

Constance

Ready For Advent This Sunday?

You can find “November Thankfulness” in the right side bar ——>
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Just wanted to take a moment and remind you of the beginning of Advent this Sunday. If you are out and about this weekend, you may want to remember to get your candles if you have not done so. I’ll give you a review of how our family celebrates Advent and the color of candles we use and what they represent.

Blinkin SquiggleI make a centerpiece on our breakfast nook where we meet in the evenings to remember the coming of Jesus and read Scriptures that pertain to His birth and His future arrival.  In the centerpiece I incorporate five candles in a circular design.  I then add decorations around the candles to make it beautiful such as pine cones, leaves, and ribbon.

You will need three purple candles, one pink candle and one large white candle that can burn for an entire day.  The white candle will sit in the center of your circular design with the others round about. The colors of the candles may vary, but these are the colors we use.

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On the first Sunday you will light a purple Prophecy candle.
On the second Sunday you will light a purple Bethlehem candle.  You will also light the Prophecy candle.
On the third Sunday you will light a pink Shepherd’s candle.  You will also light the Prophecy and the Bethlehem candles.
On the fourth Sunday you will light a purple Angel’s candle.  You will also light the Prophecy, Bethlehem, and the Shepherd’s candles.

The fifth candle is the Christ’s candle and is lit on Christmas Eve all by itself.  We purchase a large white candle with three or four wicks that is safe to burn for extended periods of time.  Keep it lit throughout the day of Christmas Eve, but of course, be extremely careful to blow it out and let it cool down periodically.

If you would like to do Advent on Sundays only, I highly recommend “Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas” by Sharon Jaynes.  Her illustrations are absolutely lovely and we have enjoyed this book in our home for many years, not only for Advent, but for wonderful Christmas ideas.

If, however, you would like to do Advent everyday and not just on Sunday, you should consider “The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader” by Donna W. Payne and Fran Lenzo – our family loves this book and although we have never accomplished actually being together every night through Advent, due to different schedules – we have certainly made really good attempts to do so.  You can still use this book for Advent on Sundays only. Also, a great blog to get excellent understanding of celebrating Advent is ExpectantlyListening with Victoria.

The following are some Scriptures that could be read for each Sunday and on Christmas Eve.

November 30: Luke 1:30-35
December 7: Luke 2:1-7
December 14: Luke 2:8-12
December 21: Luke 2:13-20
December 24: John 1:6-13

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Is this the first time you are considering celebrating Advent?  If so, I would love to hear from you. I’m so glad you have stopped by SimplyLiving101 and hope that you will stop by again.  Please leave a comment and let me know how you celebrate the coming of Jesus with your family.  Blessing to you and your family.

Happy Advent!

Constance

The #3 Way To Be Truly Thankful

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Here is the #3 Way to be truly thankful this Thanksgiving.  I hope these are as beneficial to you as they have been to me over the years.  I’m so excited for Thanksgiving Day coming up this Thursday.  Between writing and studying my way through “November Thankfulness” and going back over these FIVE WAYS to be thankful, my heart feels definitely prepared to celebrate on Thanksgiving Day.

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The Third Way to be Truly Thankful This Thanksgiving

Begin praying for and planning out your Thanksgiving Day, and preparing for Advent which begins on November 30th this year of 2014.

The third way to be truly thankful this Thanksgiving is by doing the “Three Ps”.  Pray, Plan, and Prepare ahead for your Thanksgiving meal and the celebration of Advent which takes place each Sunday after Thanksgiving until the week of Christmas.  By doing this ahead of time, you will feel better prepared for the coming celebrations.

The following is a list of dishes and items that are typically on our Thanksgiving table.  This list will vary, of course, for every household.  My list is simply to get you thinking early about a list of your own:

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, homemade braided bread, peas & carrots, pistachio pudding with marshmallows and pineapple (my kids call this the green stuff), whole black olives, cranberry sauce, and of course, pumpkin pie with whip cream.  Wow!  Just typing out that list, makes me truly thankful for Thanksgiving Day!

If there are any recipes you may need, including how to bake your turkey, I recommend allrecipes.com.  I love this site because it has videos for many of the recipes showing me exactly what to do.

In regards to preparing for Advent I recommend expectantlylistening.com with Valerie, “The Advent Jesse Tree” written by Dean Meador Lambert, “Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas” by Sharon Jaynes, or my favorite Advent book of all time, “The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader” by Donna W. Payne and Fran Lenzo.  This book was given to me in 2004 by a special friend and our family has used it every year since.

I personally use all of these resources to prepare for Advent in one way or another.

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I would love for you to send a list of your Thanksgiving Day dishes, or any traditions, books, or websites you may use to make it a very special day.  If you stop by, please remember to click on the blue “Follow SimplyLiving101” button in the right side-bar or leave a message below.  I’m so glad you came by.  I will be giving the #4 Way to be truly thankful this Thanksgiving tomorrow, so be sure to stop by again!  See you then 🙂

Constance

 

Advent Thoughts

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I love studying the books of I & II Thessalonians and as I have been preparing my heart for Thanksgiving and looking forward to Advent, which begins November 30, I thought of some particular verses where Paul gave some pretty amazing descriptions of things that are still to come; Things we are asked to comfort each other with in regards to the next coming of Christ.

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“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep,
so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord,
will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.

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Then we who are alive and remain
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air,
and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

                                                                                                                        I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Blinkin SquigglePeter also gave some words of wisdom in regards to preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ.  He said,

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action,
keep sober in spirit,
fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Christ.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
but like the Holy One who called you,
be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
because it is written,

“YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

                                                                                             I Peter 1:13-16

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What are some special ways you observe Advent?
I would love for you to share your ideas of preparing for the coming of our Lord Jesus in the clouds!

Just leave a comment below.

Our family uses a very special book for Advent called,

“The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader”,

Should Jesus tarry, this book will be a beautiful heirloom for generations to come.
Also, if you would like to know of a wonderful blog that will thoroughly prepare you for Advent, as well as Jesus’ Birthday, check out

expectantlylistening.com with Victoria.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Constance

The End of Autumn

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What a beautiful autumn 2014 has shown us.  The trees boasted an array of colors this year and we had the best time driving through the Olympic mountains and just taking in some truly breath-taking scenes over open fields and lakes, and of course the Puget Sound and Pacific Ocean beaches.

Here on my own homestead the maples were as gorgeous as ever and the reds, oranges, and yellows seemed to be even deeper and brighter than I remember them being last year.

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Now, the rains and winds, and even the freezing cold temperatures have settled in and the last of the maple leaves have fallen to the ground. No more dancing around in the swirling breezes.  They are wet and stuck to everything.

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The other morning our dog’s water dish was frozen with beautiful red maple leaves brilliantly embedded within as if an ice sculptor had come during the night and left us with a masterpiece.  Cooper our Australian Shepherd was wondering what to do about the situation…

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I love this time of year when the cold sends me inside with candles aglow and fuzzy warm socks on my feet, heavy sweaters, the fire burning, nice warm Chamomile tea or sometimes even a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows. This is when my artistic mind really kicks in and I start decorating for Thanksgiving, preparing to make my Christmas cards to celebrate Christ’s birth, and thinking about starting Advent with “The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader”.  It’s the time we spend celebrating the King of king’s birth and looking forward to Him coming again, all at the same time.  Wonderful!

I hope this time of year has wonderful memories of family and friends and fragrant smells of candles and dinners for you.  May Jesus bless you richly with His love and presence.

Please take time to comment below with a special Thanksgiving dish recipe or just say Hi. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy November 2014!

Constance