jewish new year - star of David and Torah

08 Jan The Jewish New Year in the Bible

In the Bible, festivals, feasts and celebrations commemorated significant acts or promises of God. As January 1st, 2020 marks the start of a new year and a new decade around the world, I am drawn to contemplate the Jewish New Year and its deeper biblical meaning.  The Western (Christian) Calendar The calendar observed by most of the world that puts us in the year 2020 AD is called the Gregorian calendar. It wasn’t introduced until 1582 and was implemented as a correction to its predecessor, the Jullian calendar, which was proposed by Julius Caesar in 46BC.  The Gregorian calendar calculates the average year as 365.2425 days long, determined by the Earth’s revolution around the sun. This calendar, that designates our New Year, was mainly adopted by the Catholic countries of Europe and then slowly adopted by Protestant and Eastern Orthodox countries. This designation is significant because the reform also restored the date for...

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prophecies about christ’s birth - manger scene

20 Dec The Joy of Christmas: The Messiah Has Come

The Christmas season is filled with loved ones, time off with the kids, good food, celebrations, decorations, cheesy movies, shopping, gleeful faces, and more good food. But at Agave Sozo, we believe that the sweetest part of Christmas is the opportunity to reflect on our Savior. The fact that we are joining millions of Christians celebrating the birth of the Messiah around the world is humbling. If you are looking to make Christmas a little more Christ-focused this year, we hope the following meditations will help cultivate some space.  Old Testament Prophecies About Christ’s Birth  According to the Jesus Film Project, some scholars believe there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. These prophecies range from Christ’s birth to His death and resurrection. Here are a few prophecies and their fulfilments that we recommend meditating on pertaining to this season—the birth of our Lord. Abraham's Lineage Will Bring Blessing    OT...

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why is advent important - red advent candles

09 Dec Celebrating the Advent Season

With Thanksgiving behind us, the Christmas season is before us. There are so many reasons to enjoy this time of year, but perhaps our favorite at Agave Sozo in Chandler is Advent! However, many Evangelicals and Protestants may not have grown up with this tradition. If you’re wondering how Advent started, what it symbolizes, how to go about celebrating it, and why is advent important, then read on.   Common Questions About Advent   1. Why do we celebrate Advent in the Christian Church?  The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which can be translated as “arrival,” “coming,” or “visitation.” For many in the Christian Church, this is a season of waiting and expectation, as we reflect on the birth of Jesus and await his second coming. When we participate in the rich history of the Advent season, we share in the ancient yearning of the final coming of the Messiah.  2. How did...

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bible verses about thankfulness - woman reading bible outdoors

06 Dec 8 Bible Verses About Thankfulness

With Thanksgiving around the corner, thankfulness is on all of our minds. All of the extra reminders may mean that you’ve been consciously thankful each day for the blessings in your life. But a regular practice of gratitude that exists outside of this season is beneficial for our mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, appreciate good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.  What Does the Bible Have to Say About Thankfulness?  As an inner healing prayer ministry in Chandler, AZ, Agave Sozo is passionate about encouraging the practice of gratitude no matter what season of life you happen to find yourself in. Here are just a few Bible verses about thankfulness that may be helpful to meditate on as you work on cultivating daily gratitude.  1. Give Thanks for God’s Love 1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his...

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stories we tell ourselves

20 Nov The Power of the Stories We Tell Ourselves

As humans, we are storytellers. We have a unique ability to create and imagine. This ability is what can help us turn horrible life events into a beautiful future. Through the stories we tell ourselves, we can reinterpret the past to create our present and future circumstances.  Throughout the course of the day, we are in a constant conversation with ourselves. We may not be fully conscious that a narrative is being formed, but our brains use it to make sense of the world around us and the circumstances that are unfolding.  Are The Stories Negative or Positive?  Just as we can use this creative and imaginative ability to benefit our lives, we can also subconsciously use it in a way that has a negative impact on our lives. Some of these negative stories might sound like:  “I can’t achieve this goal because I’ve failed too many times in the past.”  “I’m this...

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feeling hopeless - arms open in freedom

29 Oct When You Don’t Get What You Were Hoping For

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,     but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. ~Provb. 13:12   Have you ever hoped for something and faithfully believed that God would bring it about? But the months and years passed, and the object of your hope began to slip away. Every time you tried to renew your hope, it would be dashed as you saw someone else, yet again, obtain that thing you desired while you were left empty-handed. You were left feeling hopeless.  I’m willing to bet every single person on the planet has had this experience. And even if you’re extremely resilient, when hope is deferred for long enough, the heart gets sick.  Maybe it’s the lack of a loving partner, a house full of children, that dream job, a higher paying salary so you can pay the bills, close friends or good health. Whatever it happens to be, you’ve prayed for it, worked for...

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repent and believe - cherry blossom tree

14 Oct Repent and Believe a New Thing

The common, Biblical understanding of repentance is to turn away from sin. When a believer repents, they often experience feelings of regret or remorse followed by a sincere intention to behave as a Christ-follower should. It’s often combined with asking God for the forgiveness of wrongdoing or trespass.  This interpretation and understanding of repentance is certainly valid, but it’s common to get stuck in a feeling of guilt or shame that appears like “repentance” but is really just self-abuse.  However, when we look at the meaning of the word, there arises another way to view repentance that is more transformational—experiencing more and more wholeness; rather than transactional—”if I feel remorse, God will forgive me.” What Does it Mean to Repent?  Most etymological sources trace the origin of the English word repent to the Old French word repentir (re-, in response + Latin pentire, to be sorry), to feel regret for sins or crimes. Other...

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the bible positive thinking - girl sitting at a dock

26 Sep We Are What We Think

Another way to say it is: we become what we believe. If you’re not comfortable with modern ways of discussing the “power of positive thinking,” that’s ok. This concept is entirely Biblical and there are ways to go about it that can increase your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing without feeling like you aren’t staying true to scripture.  There’s no doubt that scientific studies of the brain have shown how dwelling on positive images, thoughts, phrases and states of being result in neural pathways lighting up and rewarding the mind and body with positive chemical reactions. We won’t discuss science in this blog post, but you can read one of those studies from Johns Hopkins University here. What Does the Bible Have to Say About Positive Thinking?  The answer is: “A LOT!” Here are just a few Bible verses that encourage us to dwell on things and actively choose positive states of...

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the fruit of the spirit - apple orchard

10 Sep Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ~Glatians 5:22-23 (NIV) As we read this list, it’s quite clear that these traits should be descriptive of those who follow Christ. But living them out in daily life is much easier said than done. Unfortunately, it can be easy to put these qualities on our Christian-living “to-do” list without actually realizing that they flow from a deeper source: the Spirit. Now, that might seem obvious since they’re called “the fruit of the Spirit,” but sometimes the obvious is worth exploring.  The Water Cycle: Receive Imagine that your Christian life as similar to the cyclical pattern of water that connects the atmosphere, land, and oceans. Rain falls and fills bodies of water and runs off into the earth. Water then evaporates from the surface of the earth, rises into...

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freedom from sin - cross in the sunset

20 Aug Freedom in Christ: Part 2 – Sin

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  ~Romans 5:17 (All verses are in NIV) In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how one element of God’s plan in sending the Messiah, Jesus, was to free us from the law. This freedom from the law brought about freedom from sin at the same time.  The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, ~Romans 5:20 Out of context, this verse may be slightly confusing, but the point the Apostle Paul is making here is that sin existed before the law. However, when the law came about, it highlighted how much sin was rampant in their society.  While the...

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