Love Illuminated. A Christmas Series Advent Calendar For Crosslink Community Church Mebane, NC

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1 Love Illuminated A Christmas Series Advent Calendar For Crosslink Community Church Mebane, NC

2 December 1- God Scripture: I John 4:8, Ephesians 1:4, Psalm 90:2 Before there was anything there was God, so who is God? Here are just a few of God s attributes with scripture references: Eternal - Genesis 21:33; Deuteronomy 33:27; John 1:1-5; Hebrews 13:8 Grace - Proverbs 22:11; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:24. God s gift to us that we do not deserve. Grace comes in many forms. Love - God s love for us is paternal and fraternal. He also made us to be capable of romantic, familial and fraternal love. Deuteronomy 6:5; 1 Samuel 18:3; John 14;21; 1 Peter 1:22 Mercy - From the time of Adam and Eve, God has withheld from us what we deserve. Psalm 4:1; Nehemiah 9:31; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 4:16 Questions: Of all of His attributes, not just this sampling, which one brings you the most comfort? Which one do you see displayed in the world the most? Which attributes of God, that He also expects of you, are hard for you to display? Why? Prayer: Spend some time reflecting on the greatness of God. Do you pray the attributes of God? What does this look like? Speak those attributes to God now in prayer. December 2- What is Love? Scripture: I John 4:8, I Corinthians 13 This series will be spent looking at one of the many attributes of God; love. Today let s look at some of the descriptions of love. Questions: What does 1 John 4:8 mean to us if we are too young to be married; are married; are no longer married or have never married? 1 Corinthians 4:7 is often read at weddings. How do you embody these characteristics with your spouse? In which area(s) do you need to do a better job? How do you apply these characteristics to people outside of your family that you are called to love? Not all love is between a married couple. Name the different types of love. Give some examples in the Bible of these different types of love? Give verses if you can. Here are a few to get you started: Ruth 2:11-12; Matthew 12: Prayer: Take some time to tell Jesus how you love him -- be specific. If there is a person that you are having a hard time loving, ask for guidance from God. Do a heart check. Is your treasure, (where your heart is) where God wants it to be? If not, confess, and ask God for help. December 3- Love in the Beginning Scripture: Genesis 1. Knowing that God is love, and having a better idea of what love is from our study yesterday, how do you see God s love on display in the act of creating?

3 Questions: Why was it loving that He created us? Think about all of creation. Ask your children to help you name some of the things that God created. Prayer: Spend some time thanking God for His creation. Thank God for creating us. Pray about ways to better care for His creation? December 4- Love Illuminated in Creation. December 5- Our Created Intent. Scripture: Genesis 2 Questions: What were we created for? How does our created purpose lead us to love? How are you fulfilling your created purpose? In what areas of your life do you need to love better? Whom can you share God s love with this week? Prayer: Spend some time praying about whom you can love better. Spend time praying for your friends, family, and even your enemies. Go deep in your prayer time -- also take time to be quiet and listen to God. December 6- Our Fall. Scripture: Genesis 3 Questions: Whom were Adam and Eve loving within this chapter? How was God s love displayed? Whose love do you tend to mimic, Adam and Eve s or God s? Prayer: Spend some time asking God to point out the selfishness in your life. Once God helps you to identify your selfish areas, pray for God to guide and change you in those areas. Spend time asking God to show you people that you can love as He would love them -- then do it! December 7- Brotherly Love Scripture: Genesis 4:1-16 Questions: How loving was Cain towards Abel? How loving are you towards your siblings? How about towards your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you think that Cain repented (what is repentance) in verse 13? If so, was God loving toward him in verse 15? Prayer: Take some time to pray for those closest to you. Pray about how you can love them like a true brother or sister. Describe to God what you really think it means to love your brothers and sisters in Christ.

4 December 8- Love Flooded Our Hearts... Scripture: Genesis 6:5-22 Questions: This is a hard passage to identify love within, so let s start there. Where do we see love within this passage? Whom did God love? Did Noah do anything to earn God s love and favor? How does God s loving act within this story relate to us today? Prayer: Take some time today to thank God for His love and grace. Remember how we did nothing to earn God s love but it was freely given to us. Name some specific small and big ways that God has freely loved you and your family. December 9- Love is Confusing. Scripture: Genesis 11:1-9 Questions: Who is loving whom in this passage? How does God s justice and wrath connect to His Love? In your own life, have you seen discipline used in a loving way? Describe a time you had to lovingly discipline someone you love even though it was hard on you to do so. Prayer: Thank God for His love in the midst of His discipline. Reflect on moments where you tried to make your name great and not His. Pray about God revealing in your own life the places where you focus on yourself more than Him. Ask God to be willing to be disciplined by Him to bring you closer to Him. December 10- Total Depravity Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 3:9-11; 1John 1:8-10 Questions: Define total depravity -- use scripture to help you. What is it about this truth that is hard for you to accept? Can you name some positives that can come from acknowledging your own depravity? What do you think happens to those who cannot accept their own depravity? Prayer: If you are struggling with your own depravity or you see family or friends struggling with their depravity pray for God to help you and your family. Think about who you were while you were still depraved and think about who you are now -- specifically praise God for the ways that he has changed you. Pray for God to show you how you might help a stranger understand their depravity. December 11- Love Illuminated Our Sins December 12- Love is in the Promise Scripture: Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6 Questions: What did Abraham do to earn God s love and favor? How is God s promise an act of love? Why is the promise to Abraham important for us today?

5 Prayer: Spend time thanking God for His faithfulness to His promises. Pray that just as He is faithful that we would be faithful to love those around us. December 13- Ten Ways to Love Scripture: Exodus 20:1-21 Questions: Can we truly love like this on our own? How do these commandments reveal God s love to us? How does each commandment reveal God s character? Which commandments do you find to be the toughest to obey? Why? Prayer: Pray to God that you would continually be moved to love like He commands in His 10 commandments. If you are not obeying in one area then take time to confess that sin and ask God for forgiveness. Pray for how you can guide your children to follow these commands. December 14- Love is With Us Scripture: Exodus 26:1-21; Exodus 34:9 Questions: What was the purpose of the tabernacle? Why was it necessary to make the tabernacle exactly as God asked? See Hebrews 5:8 to help you. How was Moses plea with God in Exodus 34 reflected in the building of the tabernacle? How has Jesus eliminated the need for a tabernacle? Prayer: Spend some time thanking God for choosing to be with His people. Pray for those who don t know Him that they too would be in His presence. Think about how you can pray for your church body as we no longer need the tabernacle. December 15- Love Purifies Us Scripture: Leviticus 11:1-8; Acts 10:9-16 Questions: What made the animals in Leviticus unclean? Is there anything they could do to make themselves clean? How does this reflect our relationship to God? Prayer: Praise God that He alone can transform you from unclean to clean. If there are any sins in your life then spend time sharing those with Him and thanking Christ for forgiving you of them. How are we called to help our families and the fellowship of believers to stay clean? December 16- Love is in the Promise Again Scripture: 2 Samuel 7:1-17 Questions: How is God s promise to David different than His promise to Abraham? Why is the Davidic promise important to us today? How was this promise an act of love?

6 Prayer: Spend time thanking God for his faithfulness to keep His promises. Pray to God about how you can obey and please Him. What are some examples of what we are called to do for God? December 17- Love in the Midst of Failure Scripture: II Samuel 12:1-15 Questions: Did King David s failure hinder the fulfillment of God s promises? Do you think it was loving for Nathan to rebuke David? Explain your answer. Prayer: If you have had recently failed God in some way ask God to make that plain to you, ask for forgiveness and for willingness to change your ways. Think of a time someone has failed you and try to forgive that person during your prayer time. December 18- Love Illuminated a Promised King December 19- Love at the Birth Scripture: Matthew 1:17-25 Questions: How is love seen in the genealogy in Matthew 1? Did God fulfill his promises from the Old Testament? Joseph legally could have left Mary for being pregnant out of wedlock. How did staying with her show love? Prayer: Thank God for fulfilling His promises from the Old Testament. Ask Him to show you how to love others as he has loved us. Pray to have the desire to serve the Lord. Ask God to show you ways that you can grow His Kingdom. December 20- Love Makes Us New Scripture: Matthew 8:1-4 Questions: How did the leper show love to Jesus? What was life like for a leper? Did Jesus heal only his skin disease? How is the leper a picture of our salvation? Prayer: If you are a believer, praise God for making your spirit new. Understand that you once were like the leper in this story and could only be healed by the saving love of Christ. Pray to help the lepers around you? December 21- Love Eases Our Burdens Scripture: Matthew 11:25-30 Questions: How many times in your life do you find yourself overwhelmed or stressed? How do you typically deal with it? How does Christ remedy this for us? Name some scriptures that help you to cope with worry.

7 Prayer: Spend time surrendering your fears and worries to Christ. Trust in His love and faithfulness and find your rest in Him. Pray the scriptures about worry back to God. December 22- Love is in Our Future Scripture: I Peter 1:3-9 Questions: How comforting is it for us to know that our future is secure with Christ? How does this move us to live today? How do you guide your family and friends to focus their future on Christ and not the world? Prayer: Praise God this day for what He has done for us. Thank Him for the hope that we have in being with Him. If you have not been exhibiting the joy of Christ lately ask God for help in doing that. December 23- Love is Compassionate Scripture: John 11:1-44 Questions: Why do you think Jesus wept if he knew Lazarus would be raised? Why was Jesus soul deeply moved? How does this show Jesus love for Mary? How could Jesus have compassion for those whose sins would put him on the cross? Re-read verse 40, when have you not acknowledged the glory of God? Prayer: Pray that God would give you the compassion for others as Jesus had for Mary. Ask Him to show you where you can be more compassionate and mourn with those who are mourning. Pray to glorify God in the small things and the little things throughout your day. December 24-Love Illuminated the Need of a Savior

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