Christmas Advent Devotional Schedule

“Every journey has a beginning and an ending. Along the way, we may face hills to climb, rivers to cross, challenges to engage, but many times we encounter unexpected pleasures. It is the unexpected that becomes the most powerful part of the journey. Opening your heart to the adventure of a journey can release unexpected treasures for you to find along the way.” – Mike Stewart, Journey to Christmas

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Join us this year as we celebrate Advent together.

You can see daily live devotionals from The Bridge Church Facebook page or posted here. Each day has an inspirational quote, scripture reading and challenge to put our faith in action.
Advent comes from the Latin word “Adventus” meaning “coming.” During this busy holiday season, let us prioritize our time to COME TO HIM daily, as he first came to us! This year let the season be a journey into God’s beautiful presence, instead of a holiday of hassle, hustle and hostility. Take your heart on a journey of awe and wonder for how Jesus CAME into the world, how he continues to COME into our hearts, and how he will COME again!

NOTE: Each Sunday before Christmas we will focus on the Advent themes of Hope (week 1), Peace (week 2), Joy (week 3) and Love (week 4). If you’d like to participate at home, each Sunday light a new candle for that week’s theme, until all four candles are lit. This is a great time to bring your family together and refocus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Devotional Schedule:

Based on the book, Journey to Christmas, by Mike Stewart. Available on Amazon

Week 1:

DEC. 1 – Lamentations 3:26 | Challenge: Express extra patience and graciousness today when you have to wait.
DEC. 2 – Psalm 62:5-8 | Challenge: Every time you are tempted to worry today, say out loud, “Lord, I will trust you.”

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT – HOPE
DEC. 3 – Psalm 46:10-11 | Challenge: BE in the moment today. Don’t let distractions keep you from engaging your all in the moment. (Put the phone away and have a conversation with someone.) Make sure nothing distracts you from your Advent time.
DEC. 4 – John 1:1-4 | Challenge: Pray for an opportunity to shine into someone else’s darkness today. Let His love be a light!
DEC. 5 – Matthew 20:28 |  Challenge: Find a way to significantly serve someone like Jesus today.
DEC. 6 – Luke 1:26-28 | Challenge: Look up the prayer of St. Patrick, called “Christ Before Me” and pray it out loud.
DEC. 7 – Luke 1: 30-33 | Challenge: Surrender your will to the Lord and give him the right to totally rule your life.
DEC. 8 – Luke 1: 34-38 | Challenge: Pray for miracles for someone that comes across your path today.
DEC. 9 – Luke 1: 39-45 | Challenge: Write out scriptures of God’s promise to you in an area of struggle. Place them where you can see them throughout the day.

SECOND SUNDAY of ADVENT – PEACE

DEC. 10 – Luke 1: 45-55 | Challenge: Find a NEW song of praise today and share it with someone special.
DEC. 11 – Matthew 22:37 | Challenge: Take time at the top of the hour to tell the Lord how you love him.
DEC. 12 – Matthew 22: 39 | Challenge: Do something special today for a neighbor, co-worker or friend to express God’s love to them.
DEC. 13 – Philippians 4:7 | Challenge: Make peace with someone that you’ve had a strained relationship with. Do something to bless them and see the peace that rebounds into your own heart (no matter if they appreciate it or not).
DEC. 14 – Galatians 4:4-7 | Challenge: Refocus your schedule and calendar to reflect what’s important to God and his kingdom as his child.
DEC. 15 – Luke 2:1-5 | Challenge: What fears do you have for your future?Say a prayer of faith to trust it to his good purpose for you.
DEC. 16 – Luke 2:6-7 | Challenge: Show hospitality to a stranger today.

THIRD SUNDAY of ADVENT – JOY
DEC. 17 – Luke 2:8-9 | Challenge: Say a simple prayer of availability and see opportunities God places before you in small ways that may be significant to someone.
DEC. 18 – Luke 2:10-12 | Challenge: Share the “good news” today about Jesus love.
DEC. 19 – Luke 2:13-14 | Challenge: Take inventory of your thoughts today. Are they peaceful or anxious? Banish thoughts that aren’t peaceful or don’t give glory to God. (Philippians 4:8)
DEC. 20 – Luke 2:15-16 | Challenge: Is there something you know you need to obey the Lord in before the year ends? Do it now. Give him your YES.
DEC. 21 – Luke 2:17-18 | Challenge: Speak positive words of love and encouragement. Notice people who need some life-giving words today.
DEC. 22 – Luke 2:19 | Challenge: Store up God’s treasures in your heart today. God for a walk, look around and notice God’s big and small blessings in your life.
DEC. 23 – Luke 2:20 | Challenge: Fill your day with praise today–start to finish! Take 5 minute PRAISE PAUSES through the day and praise him for his goodness!

FOURTH SUNDAY of ADVENT – LOVE
DEC. 24 – Isaiah 11:1-2 | Challenge: Sing “Silent Night” and let God’s spirit rest upon you in a special moment. (Look up all the verses and sing them. You can also read the special story of how it was written here.)
DEC. 25 – John 3:16-17 | Challenge: What is your gift to Jesus? Pray about something special he would really love you to give him for 2018. Write it down and present it to him. (This is a great thing to do with your kids before or after opening presents.)


Mind Renovation – Day 16 – Wasted Brain Cells

One of my favorite responses has become, “I’m not going to waste brain cells on that.”

I grew up with the famous anti-drug “Just Say No” slogan championed by Nancy Reagan. Remember the commercial featuring a frying egg in a sizzling skillet with a voice saying, “This is your brain…this is your brain on drugs…any questions?” I remember vowing to protect my brain cells from impending frying pans!  I was armed and ready to avoid sniffing paint and cocaine, but there’s another brain cell killer that threatens us everyday. Stress.

Stress creates free radicals that kill brain cells.Cortisol creates a surplus of the neurotransmitter glutamate. (11) Glutamate creates free radicals — unattached oxygen molecules — that attack brain cells much in the same way that oxygen attacks metal, causing it to rust. (12) – bebrainfit.com Stress makes your brain rust! 

too-blessed-to-be-stressed Continue reading…


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Mind Renovation – Day 3 – Party Crashers

Have you ever had a guest stay past their welcome? Twenty-four seven we are hosting a party in our mind. There’s an A-list of approved guests, but PARTY CRASHERS scheme to sabotage your celebration. They try to sneak in unnoticed or promise they will only stay a few minutes, but before long they’ve moved in, invited friends and trashed your house! Lust knocks on the front door of your mind and says, “I just want to show you something. Can I come in?” But before you realize he’s invited shame, anger, addiction and anxiety and turned your fun soirée into a nightmare.

matthew 9:4

Philippians 4 gives us the A-List celebrities invited to reside in the walls of our mind. Here are their names, are you ready? (drum roll)

TRUTH / NOBLE / JUST / PURE / LOVELY / GOOD REPORT

The Bible says to mediate on these things. No you don’t have to assume the downward dog yoga position, meditation is older than yoga. God created it. He created our minds to work this way, processes and learning with repetition. Sadly, we are just more familiar with the opposite action—Worry!

Meditate: “to mutter, to muse or to speak to one’s self.” It is the process of mulling something over in your mind and mouth.

Worry: (Meridzoe in Greek) used most often for worry & anxiety, “to be divided, to be pulled in opposite directions, to choke” / (Wyrgan in Old English) to cause anxiety, like a dog gnaws a bone; to disturb or interfere with someone’s comfort or peace of mind 

Chances are you are either meditating or worrying about something in your mind most of the time. Matthew 6:25 “Do not worry about your life. Notice the definitions of worry. “To be pulled in opposite directions, to choke, to cause anxiety like a dog GNAWS a bone. Isn’t this what worry feels like in your stomach–a gnawing aggitation? Joyce Meyer says, “Worry is like a rocking chair, you stay really busy but it gets you know where.”

40% = things that will never happen

30% = are about the past, which can’t be changed

12% = about criticism of others, mostly untrue

10% = about health, which worrying makes worse and adds stress

8%= are about real problems that can be solved.

(source unknown)

Call Security!

There’s good news, Jesus has sent security to guard your mind party; it’s called PEACE. Peace is the bouncer at the door that checks the true identity of a thought to see if it’s allowed entrance.

Peace is like the umpire in baseball that stands behind the plate and announces if it’s SAFE or OUTTA HERE!

This peace isn’t like the world gives (like a magic number in the bank, perfect circumstances, or a respected diploma), it “will always be with us” (vs. 9) and it passes understanding (vs. 7)—it’s beyond our mind—tapped into God’s mind!

philippians 4:7

Okay, I know you’ve got a burning question. If we’re only supposed to “think” about the good stuff, what about the annoying bad stuff ? Notice the word says to MEDITATE on these things–those high truths in Philippians 4. Yes, we have to address the “not so lovely things” too, but they are not the TOP PRIORITY. Negative thoughts need to be addressed and evicted, but positive thoughts get to stay and hang their pictures on the wall. Cheers! With the A-List thoughts to hang out with, it’s going to be a party to remember!

Evict negative thoughts that are crashing your mind party!

RE:think

  • Recollect your thoughts from yesterday, are they on the A-list?
  • Have any evil thoughts crashed your party and forced you to serve them? Plan your eviction notice!
  • What are some ways PEACE can protect your mind? (Ex. When my husband is traveling I never watch shows about plane crashes or loved loves tragically dying because it can invite fear and worry.)

Scripture:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 6-9 NKJ

Prayer:

Jesus, I thank you for your blood that cleanses my heart and mind. Right now I ask you to clean out an evil thought or spirit that does not belong in me. I send fear, shame, insecurity, (insert your party crasher) an eviction notice that they do not belong in my mind and I will NOT entertain and obey them any longer! I pray for PEACE to come be the security guard of my mind. I invite things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report to attend my thoughts and decorate my walls.

Big God Thought: Peace that passes understanding guards my heart and life.