Monday, December 31, 2012
Sometimes it looks like Christians have it made. It’s a piece of cake. What is often unseen is the preparatory work Christ has done for us. Everything we have is given to us by Him. He prepared it all before the foundation of the world. Just like the ladies and the entire kitchen crew worked before the kids even woke up, so too God prepared everything we would need for life and godliness before we even knew Him.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that we can simply step in and fellowship with the Lord because He has it all laid out for us? All our hopes, our dreams, our desires are found already perfected in Him. He is not merely our way to salvation, He IS our Salvation! He is not merely the One Who feeds and clothes us, He makes a way for us to step up and walk into our faith, so that all we need is provided for us.
Isaiah 49:10 They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun will not reach them anymore. For the LORD in His mercy will lead them beside cool waters.
Psalm 34:10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.
Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
James 1:17 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
We live in a self-serve world. Everybody wants to get whatever they can for themselves. It’s all about “Me”, so it’s important to not get in the way of self. Self wants to be crowned, adored, worshiped and enthroned. Self wants to be first, have the best and loudly proclaim when it’s not getting its way. Self will push you over, run you down, eat your lunch and break in line. As times get harder and people have more troubles with jobs, homes, finances, etc. Self will become more and more supreme.
Yet the Lord speaks to His people with another set of do’s and don’ts – being a servant of the Lord is the finest path to greatness. It’s amazing that this greatness has nothing to do with titles or bank accounts or prestige or abilities. It’s simply becoming more like Jesus. It’s the servanthood of dirty dishes and runny noses and ironing clothes. It’s the attitude of giving to others, helping the helpless, returning blessings for cursings and more. It’s having someone’s back, giving more than receiving, waiting on the Lord. It is above all an attitude of the heart. Nothing something you can fabricate for gain but cultivate for Kingdom living.
Oh beloved, as you wipe the sleep from your eyes and you prepare for your busy, busy day, pause just moment and thank the Lord for servants in your life! There are many unsung heroes who are always there without notice, always serving without being seen, always helping others with no mention of their name. And beloved, God says to you this morning that when you serve Him with your whole heart, He will give you opportunities to serve the Kingdom of God in ways that you’ve never imagined. He says that He knows your heart and He’s building within you a servant’s attitude of love. Because He loves you He watches over you as certain things in your life have given you hurt, pain or discomfort. Yes, He knows that you may have been run over, ruled out, misunderstood or kicked to the curb, but He has your back. The Greatest Servant who ever walked this Earth is making intercession for you daily! Oh how He loves you, oh how He watches over you. His Word is His bond and He promises that when man treats you as a less than person, He sees you as a more than servant of His, dedicated to Kingdom living and joyous servanthood. Rejoice, for your King is pleased with you and is waiting for you in Heaven with the royal robes and crown of royalty. For you are His servant, created in Christ Jesus for such a time as this!
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
John 12:26 Anyone who wants to be My disciple must follow Me, because My servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves Me.
Galatians 5:13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
Philippians 2:5-7 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up his divine privileges He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being…
Matthew 20:26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.
Proverbs 11:25 The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
Psalm 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. KJV
Saturday, December 29, 2012
I hear my children telling their children, “don’t do that” and “do this” a lot! They are teachers you know. Their life’s call for the next 18 or so years is to teach their children and guide them to be upstanding citizens. As Christians their job is to make citizens of heaven as well. Teach. Teach. Teach. Every opportunity is a chance to teach something.
There are a lot of do’s and don’ts in this world. The church is no different. We have do’s and don’ts as well. Sometimes, if we’re not careful we’ll major on the minors and find ourselves walking in rules instead of restoration. Regardless, there are many things the Lord wants to teach us and His heart’s desire is to keep us safe from harm and fit us for heaven to live with Him there (as the song goes).
So what are some of the do’s and don’ts? I cannot begin to list them all but I can tell you a couple as they come to mind this morning. God definitely wants you to know how to walk in His precepts, so that you will walk straightly in a crooked world. This is simply because He loves you, just as parents love their children.
God says to you this morning, “Don’t worry!” Period. He means it! His Word is full of His counsel and He never misspeaks or gives wrong advice. To worry is to wrangle something and wrangling just wears the body mind and spirit out! Worry is the opposite of faith. Worry is the opposite of love. Worry denotes that something is so amiss that even God can’t fix it. But, God Himself says to you “Don’t worry about ANYTHING”. When you rehearse it, what has ever changed by your worry? Nothing! But faith is action! Faith in God changes everything!
Oh beloved, what a marvelous lesson in faith to learn today! Being prone to worry myself, I can tell you that rest comes when we lay it all down and our Heavenly Father says to you this morning, Quit worrying about things. Those things that are troubling you, vexing your spirit, weighing down your heart. I love you, I AM on your side and I AM the One Who guides and leads you into My will. Trust replaces worry, and faith grows from trust. Trust Me. For I have the entire universe in My Hands and nothing is too difficult for Me! My love combined with My Word is an impenetrable fortress for you. I love you now, I will love you forever and I will see you through this world all the way to heaven! Now isn’t that worth praising Me and letting go of worry?
Psalm 107:20 He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction. Amplified Bible
Psalm 37:1 “Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong.”
Proverbs 12:25 Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
Luke 12:25-27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.
Psalm 16:8 I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
I Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
Friday, December 28, 2012
The snowy weather has kept us indoors for several days. While I had a huge to do list to mark off this being kept inside has been nice. I have discovered that we are very busy most of the time. Getting up slowly, getting ready at my leisure has made for peace I don’t often get to enjoy. This morning it’s breakfast quiche with a huge helping of beautiful music. While I probably won’t get everything clicked off my list, I am getting some quality time with my hubby and the Lord.
What is left with all the tinsel and glitter are discarded, when the boxes are burned and the paper is trashed? What is left when the tree is empty and the gifts are opened? The most important things are not things are they? It’s the precious memories of little things that mean so much. The togetherness, even if for you it was only you and the Lord, it’s enough. I find that when it’s just me and Him it’s more than enough. It also makes for more blessings as He allows sweet fellowship with friends and family.
Oh beloved, you are more precious than the gifts you gave or the gifts you received! Even if you got everything you want, you are more precious than that! You are not the sum of your bank account or the price tag on your gifts. You are more than! More than loved! More than worth it! More than blessed! More than a conqueror! More than victorious! Someone may have disappointed you, discarded you, demeaned you or disgraced you. But God! He is everything you have ever needed and oh so much more! Believe Him this morning, spend time talking with Him for you are the Love of His life! Let Him tell you the Truth and go out and shout it on the housetop! Live in the Light of His Word and rejoice as the blessings of Life with Him rain all around you! Now that’s worth singing His praises about!
Psalm 72:14 He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to Him.
Psalm 63:5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise You with songs of joy.
Matthew 6:25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?
Ephesians 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Romans 8:37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, Who loved us.
Romans 10:11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.”
Hebrews 13:6 So we can say with confidence, "The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?"
Psalm 147:11 No, the LORD's delight is in those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His unfailing love.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
I got a strange phone call on my cell phone during the holidays. It was an unknown number and when I answered there was a recording explaining that my cell phone wasn’t set up for collect calls. It went on to explain how I could start getting collect calls. Well, of course I hung up. Then, my curiosity being what it is, I went to the internet to see if I could figure out where the call came from. Turns out it was from a detention center in a nearby state. A call from a stranger in a strange place, trying to get someone to accept the charges. In this case it was probably somebody trying to call home for the holidays but still it was a strange feeling.
The enemy of our soul likes to make calls on our life. He wants to give us advice, get us upset, give us reason to be unforgiving, unkind, unholy and more. He is constantly dialing our number, knowing our weaknesses, attempting to cause trouble or wreak havoc. Not only does he desire to ruin us, tempt us, rob us, kill us; he always wants to charge us with every conceivable charge. He wants us to pay! He will convince us, if he can, that we’ve been wronged, damaged, offended, left undefended and then when we believe him and act on the lies, he hangs up and leaves us to pick up the pieces alone. His ultimate desire is to steal our birthright and leave us hanging on the line.
It’s time to learn the Father’s Voice and follow Him alone! While we have an enemy, he is not our spouse, our kids, our neighbors, our friends, or anyone else. He just uses whoever he can to ring up a wrong message and reverse the charges. Unless we know the Word of God and understand our Heavenly Father’s nature, we will be fooled into accepting the call and acting on it.
Oh beloved, there is a call on your life! Our Father in Heaven is calling you daily. He asks you to pick up the Word, eat of it and live by it. How much He loves to have sweet fellowship with His children, but not just for the fellowship. It’s for your good and His glory as well! He will not leave you to your own devices, He won’t leave you undefended, He won’t walk away, make you pay or reverse the charges. In fact, He took the charges for everything you’ll ever be charged with – past, present and future – and nailed a Paid In Full sign on the cross! You are free! Free to call upon Him as well! Free to be God’s child, free to make decisions that are based on His Word, His Love and His nature!
The more you listen to the Lord’s calls, beloved, the less you will be tempted to take other calls! All of the Lord’s calls begin with “I love you”. God loves you so much that He’s calling you to love Him, obey Him and live for Him daily. He will take the hurtful calls, your crank calls, the damaging calls and turn them out for good because He says so! His Word is your trustworthy answer, His call is your trustworthy path and His care for you is the trustworthy way to know that He is all that matters! Now that’s a call worth taking!
Psalm 91:15 When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.
Isaiah 41:17 When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
Zechariah 13:9 I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’”
2 Samuel 22:4 “I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
Philippians 3:14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
Ephesians 1:18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called--His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.
I John 4:4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
While we had no meal catastrophes on Christmas Day, I did forget to purchase one important menu element. When I went to assembly the broccoli rice casserole there was no broccoli! Our son went to Walgreen’s, the only thing, besides gas stations, open in town only to find they had none. Someone managed to find a packaged of steam and serve “casserole” in their freezer and we made it.
To say we were all stuffed afterwards is putting it mildly. I am always concerned there won’t be enough and as a result there’s always more than we could ever eat, even though this year there were 12 of us present. With the candies and pies and fruit salad included and the fact that most everyone grazed all afternoon, you could say we were stuffed. Not only were we full at the table, we stayed full all afternoon! The only thing we had to watch was what Caleb got hold of, since he’s allergic to nuts, otherwise he could eat to his heart desire as well.
Believers should be a lot like Christmas meal patrons. At our disposal is the most wonderful banquet table in the universe! Nothing is taboo and nothing at His banquet will harm us. At our fingertips are the richest delicacies of the faith spread out freely for us to partake.
Unlike Christmas meals, when we are full of God, we can keep eating and never feel stuffed! In fact the more you partake of God’s banquet, the more blessed we become! The richest morsels of God’s banquet keeps us wanting more of Him and less of the world. When we are filled with God we don’t have room for anything else!
Oh beloved, how blessed you are to live where the Word of God can still be freely read and absorbed! You who belong to Him are able to partake, with all the saints, every single item on His menu! Run to His Word today Let the Holy Spirit feed you and fill you with His delicacies so that you have no room for other things that do not truly satisfy. Other menus will call out to you, but when you stay close to the Lord and let Him fill you with Himself, nothing else will do. He says to you this morning, come and see, all that I AM you can be a partaker of. All that I AM is yours for the asking. You never have to leave, you can even carry Me with you, for I AM with you always. Sit and learn of Me for I AM your most faithful friend and I will never leave you hungry or thirsty. Other things may look enticing, but they will lead to pain and hurt and sorrow. But I AM always good for your heart, health for your soul and life for your spirit. I AM the one who loves you and I AM the one who is with you, after the party is over, after the mess is cleared away, after everyone else is gone I AM. Come and be seated at My banqueting table, for My banner over you is Love!
Song of Solomon 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love [for love waved as a protecting and comforting banner over my head when I was near Him]. AMP
Isaiah 2:3 People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There He will teach us his ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; His word will go out from Jerusalem.
Isaiah 55:1 “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink— even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk— it’s all free!
Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
Psalm 40:16 But may all who search for You be filled with joy and gladness in You. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, “The LORD is great!”
Ephesians 5:2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Psalm 107:9 For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
It’s Christmas morning at our house. I’m sitting here in front of the computer screen and I’m thinking about you. How wonderful it is to know you, even if it’s only here. You are in my heart everyday as I ask God about you. Today is a very special day and it’s still quiet yet. God is wanting to speak the gifts of His Holy Spirit into your heart.
But more importantly, God is with you. He’s thinking about you day and night. He watches over you and has so much to give you that He won’t wait till Christmas morning. He wants to speak Merry Christmas to you every day! The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are rejoicing in you this morning!
He wants to speak joy to you! This deep abiding joy that comes from knowing Him. It’s better than presents, because it comes from His presence.
He wants to speak love to you! It’s not found beneath the tree, it’s found beneath the cross. Oh how He loves you! You are one of His favorites.
He wants to speak peace to you! You can’t make His peace happen by being good, or being quiet or any human manufactured thing. His peace comes from His heart to your heart and it spread into every aspect of your life.
His gifts come in magnificent packages – there’s forgiveness for the unforgiveable. There’s hope for the hopeless, life for death, and more.
Everything you and I need, beloved, is found in Him. Rejoice as He speaks to your heart! Rejoice as He comforts your soul. Rejoice as He makes your ordinary day into an extraordinary day of all His gifts.
Oh beloved, it may not look like an extraordinary day to you this morning. Things may have gotten out of hand. Sickness may be nearby, hate may rage outside your doors, people may not believe, but God says, to you, you personally, beloved, this morning “I love you”. And everything that has to do with His magnificent love, from Genesis to Revelation, is yours!
Because Christmas is about kids and you beloved, are His most favored child. Let Him wrap you up in all He is for everything you cannot be or do or say or believe – He’s here and He’s speaking Merry, Magnificent, Outstanding, Beyond Imagination, More Than Christmas to your heart! He says He loves you and He’s for you always, and that beloved, is all that really matters!
Isaiah 9:6 NLT “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. KJV
2 Corinthians 1:20 For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes [answer] in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen to God through Him to the glory of God. AMP
Romans 5:11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! AMP
Isaiah 43:1 But now(oh beloved), listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
Monday, December 24, 2012
It’s Christmas Eve. There’s still time you know. It’s not over yet. In just 48 hours it will all be over. Christmas will be a thing of the past. But for now, in the hush of early morning, there’s time.
When our kids were young and had birthday parties we didn’t have a single party without them. They were, after all, the reason for the celebration. A sweet confection with their name on it, candles aglow, and even gifts were made ready. But without the presence of the birthday boy or girl it wouldn’t be much of a birthday party. Without Christ there can’t be a Christmas. He is the reason for the Season! You just can’t have Christmas without Christ! Try as the world would like to snuff out the star, dismantle the stable, rearrange the cross, not find the tomb empty, He is there! He is here! He is the Christ, the Son of the living God! He is the Savior of the world! He is the reason we have this special day!
Oh beloved, God wants to speak to your heart today. He wants you to know that you are special! That you are worth it! That you are His alone and you are beloved! Maybe your day started out without thinking about Him, but He’s been thinking about you for eternity! He knows your hurts, He knows your hopes. He knows your dreams and your hearts’ desires. He knows today could be looking pretty empty, but with Him….with Him at the center of your celebration all things will turn out right.
He promises to be the Light for your dark places. He will cover you with the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness. His loving care is the reason for the Season. His blessings abound for those who celebrate Him now while there’s time. He promises to turn your mourning into dancing. He walks with you through the valleys of life. He calls you a conqueror! He says your victorious! He says “Behold, I make all things new!”
He whispers to your heart while it’s still early, I love you! I loved you before you were born, I love you now, I will love you always. And because I love you, together we will not only get through this holiday, we’ll make it Holy! Because I love you I will be with you all the days of your life! Because you are worth it and that’s all that really matters.
Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. NAS
Mark 10:27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “ With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” NAS
Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near.
Romans 8:32 Since He did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?
Colossians 2:9-10 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
Psalm 36:5-7 Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
in the shadow of your wings.
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Wow, just a few more days till Christmas! If you’re like me, there are still quite a few things to do to get ready for the day. I keep thinking I need to add an arrangement to a table, an ornament to the tree, a package underneath or another string of lights outside. Most of us, if truth be told, have lots more Christmas ideas than days left to accomplish them! I find that right about now, I begin to lose ground between my ideas and plans and daylight hours. I also find that I am getting tired. It’s a hustle bustle world out there and if we’re not careful, we can get too busy to remember what Christmas is really about.
Mary and Joseph spent the night in the stable because there was no room in the inn. Because it was one of those hustle bustle times around Jerusalem, the big tax season, there were a lot of people in town. Everyone was busy, some were worrying about paying their taxes, others were worried about seeing the right people and having the right connections. Joseph was worried about Mary and Mary was thinking about her unborn child.
For us, we can scarcely imagine giving birth, delivering our baby, in a barn! The germs, the animals, the hay, the unsanitary conditions! We would be fretting to say the least. We’d be demanding something better. Yet Mary wasn’t fretting or worrying about the situation. Why? How could she stand it?
Because Mary had already spent time with God, she knew He could be trusted. She knew that even if things looked dreary, dim and dark, that He would be there for her. Not only had an Angel of the Lord, spoken with her, she had listened! The Word said, “she pondered all these things”.
Oh beloved! This morning as you wipe the sleep from your eyes and your recount all the things yet to be done, won’t you stop a moment and listen? Listen closely, for amid the sounds of so much rushing and doing and planning there is Someone trying to speak songs of love and truth to your heart! He is the way and as you put your trust in Him, you will find favor! The Lord Himself says to you this morning, Rest in My promises, for each one of them are for your good and My glory! Rest in My care for I AM the one who brought you this far and will care for you all the way to heaven. You cannot trust circumstances, but you can trust Me. You cannot trust yourself, but you can believe that I AM all you need for this holiday, for the holy occasion. As you celebrate so busily, don’t forget to celebrate Me! For I AM the fount of living water, the Redeemer of your heart, the Restorer of your soul and the One Who loves you beyond your wildest hopes and dreams! And if I love you, I will surely be for you always.
Luke 1:30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!
Matthew 1:23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
Psalm 27:8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
Psalm 31:16 Let your favor shine on your servant. In your unfailing love, rescue me.
Psalm 139:17-18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!
Isaiah 25:1 O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Our whole family loves A Christmas Carol. There are many versions, from the original movie of 1938 to the most recent Disney remake of 2009. The story revolves around Ebenezer Scrooge who has spent his life being a grumpy self-centered agnostic. Because of the original Dickens’ story and subsequent movies, people with his personality are referred to as “Scrooges”, especially during the Christmas holidays.
There are three ghosts or spirits in this movie as well. They are sent to try to get Mr. Scrooge back on track and to help him see the error of his ways and thus to give him redemption. Through the visitation of these three spirits – Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future – Mr. Scrooge is sent on a trip of self-discovery and self-loathing, but eventually he finds himself changed and the change becomes well…dramatic to say the least.
We too have to deal with these spirits or issues - Our past, our present and our future.
Christmas past may hold the pain of unrealized dreams and hopes. Nobody’s perfect, especially parents, so there may be hurts that make us unable to enjoy today. If we hold onto those hurts we will find ourselves mourning what we could have had rather than enjoying what we do have. Are you hurt beyond imagination and still reeling from things you could not control? Or maybe you did the wrong thing and you’re still making yourself pay.
Christmas present holds much promise. This year will be perfect! But it’s hard when others don’t share the joy of the season. Or you are facing tragedy, resentment, unforgiveness. Like ornaments that are so heavy they bend the limbs of the Christmas tree beneath the load, these weights tend to bend us over and make us want to forget Christmas altogether. Who needs the pain?
Christmas future holds the highest hopes. We plan for the future and ignore the present because somewhere in the future things will be better, right? So we hold so tightly to our imaginary day somewhere in time ahead that we can’t enjoy the present. We feel destined to repeat the same offenses, but all the while hoping, just hoping that things will be better next year. What is in your perfect Christmas? Love, joy, peace? You’ll never find them on your own.
Oh beloved, run to the Spirit of Christmas – the Lord Himself! He will take your mistakes and sorrows and rejections and replace them. Just as ornaments on the tree get broken and ruined, God takes each one and gives us a fresh new start! Just as our trees get old and lose their needs, God gives us a fresh today! No need to live with the past, it’s dead and gone. And, His future for us is brighter than the Morning Star! Let the Lord love you today and watch as He says, “Crawl up in my lap and let me tell you about your wonderful life! Speak your Christmas “wish list” into My ear! Give your past mistakes, present worries and future hopes to Me and let Me remake the entire movie into our love story! For I have loved you always. I AM with you in your past, I AM with you in your present and I AM with you in your future. If you let me, I AM able to make this a Christmas without regrets. Don’t turn your eyes on the tinsel or the glitter or the packages or the people, even those you love oh so much! Just turn your eyes on Me, the Author and Finisher of your Faith. I love you and I AM on your side. This is my gift to you this Christmas. Rejoice in My Love for I AM your Redeemer!
1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.
Ecclesiastes 11:5 Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.
2 Samuel 23:5 “Truly is not my house so with God? For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, Ordered in all things, and secured; For all my salvation and all my desire, Will He not indeed make it grow?
Job 42:2 “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Romans 8:29 We are assured and know that God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. (Amplified)
Thursday, December 20, 2012
The wind is howling outside my window this morning. From the balmy day yesterday to the blustery movement of a cold front makes for huge changes in the weather. I prefer balmy, it helps me to be able to move in and out of the car while finishing up Christmas without having to brace for the cold. The noise of the elements makes one want to stay inside and just cuddle up.
Even though it’s only 5 days until Christmas, the Christmas spirit isn’t showing up everywhere. For some, their hearts have grown cold because of a change in their circumstances overnight. People we loved are suddenly taken from us, tragedies of all kinds abound, people don’t keep their promises and jobs don’t last. We hope against hope that all things will work out, but some are wondering if it’s really going to happen.
Will there be another warm sunny day? Or is life going to continue to howl it’s cold winds through your life? Is there anywhere to find the warmth you so desire, or are you destined to let your heart grow as cold as the day?
Oh beloved, let God warm your heart! He knows your troubles, your trials, your sorrows and your hopes and dreams. He loves you! His plan for you is good, in spite of the present situation. There will be a warmer day. There will be a brighter sunrise. In the meantime, it’s best to stay very close to the warmth of His mercy, love and grace. He will keep you safe, never leave you, always guide you and give you the grace to make it. All you have to do is lean on Him. His shoulders are as eternal as His Word and His Word is the only Truth and Light you will ever need for the dark cold days.
He loves you, oh beloved one, and He’s for you all the way to heaven and that’s worth staying close by His side now isn’t it?
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (KJV)
Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Micah 7:7 As for me, I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
“There were shepherds abiding in the fields.” These words from the Scriptures give me such comfort and peace. Notice that the Scriptures didn’t say that the shepherds were worrying, troubled, downcast, forlorn or troubled. They were out in the elements in the dark and yet they were not afraid. They were abiding. These shepherds knew their jobs well, knew their surroundings completely and knew their sheep as well as their predators. They weren’t looking for somewhere else to be or a better job or to outdo one another. They were abiding.
Now when the Angel of the Lord appeared they became “afraid”. They had been raised, probably by shepherds, to be shepherds. Yet on this particular night the unusual happened. Something out of the ordinary happened and it rocked their world. But they listened and the angel was joined by a heavenly host and they had a worship service right there in the field! Not only did they worship, they left what they knew and went to experience what they had never known before. They left the safety of their everyday world for the unknown. Because they were willing to leave behind the status quo they were able to go and worship Christ, the newborn king. They went from abiding in the fields to abiding in Him.
Oh beloved, are you experiencing the ordinary in your life? Are you abiding and resting in the everyday occurrences that you know so well? Have you been wondering if there could be more than this? Maybe you’re afraid that if you let go of the well-known you’ll be all alone. Fear not! For God Himself wants to visit your world! He wants to take what you know and give you revelation knowledge of Him! He wants you to visit the Christ fresh and new and worship Him with your whole heart! You may remain in your same life, but it will be oh so changed as Christ puts His seal on your life. His greatest desire is that your worship will lead to new horizons for He has such wonderful, extraordinary plans for you!
Let Him guide you beyond yourself and into His realm. Let Him love you like you’ve never been loved before and let Him take care of you as you follow Him with all your heart. There’s no safer place than following the Lord of Heaven and Earth! It is beyond your wildest imagination.
Luke 2:20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
1 Peter 3:15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.
Psalm 29:2 Honor the LORD for the glory of His name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.
Colossians 2:6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him.
Psalm 34:7 For the angel of the LORD is a guard; He surrounds and defends all who fear Him.
Psalm 84:1-2,10 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
My disappointment of yesterday morning’s realization that my expected gift had not come gave way to joy yesterday afternoon as I opened my mailbox. The package had come! I opened it to find within a lovely handmade glass ornament! The opening of the box also revealed who had been given my name. I was hoping that my box was just delayed and I was right. It was worth it to finally get the package and place the little bauble on my Christmas tree. The photo in this post is my ornament!, given to me by Cineca Newburn, of Dreamin n Details.
When the package didn’t come in my prescribed timing I could have said, forget it! I’m not going to the mailbox anymore. I’m done. I could have convinced myself it was futile to keep hoping, looking and seeking the mailbox. It could have come anytime, it was the postal service’s business to get the package to me. But had I quit looking, would I ever have known my gift had arrived? So many variables are working at the post office – sometimes those packages get mishandled, accidentally shoved aside, delivered to the wrong address and more… Lots of things happen between the sending and the receiving.
Even at this holiday season we are dealing with discouraging disappointments and lingering delays. Some things we may have prayed about at length, knowing God’s mind, yet not seeing the answer. There are times when you and I just want to throw our hands up and walk away. Other times we don’t understand why the circumstances of our prayer life and our human life don’t just come together. Many variables occur in the spirit realm as well. We’re up against a huge war in the heavenlies. We don’t know how the answers get batted around as they come from the throne to our hearts and lives.
Does God work through human error? Can His will be done in spite of good old boy systems, fleshly desires or an individual’s self-will?
Oh beloved, God wants to speak to your heart this morning and encourage you! Unlike postal workers, He never clocks out, He never walks away from the job and He never mishandles a single thing! When you’re up against the wall, He’s there. When you’re down and out, He’s with you. When you’re fervently praying and seeking His face alone, He’s with you all the way. He doesn’t just answer prayer, He’s not a mailbox you just reach into for your gift, He IS THE GIFT! He is not just the giver of answers, He IS THE ANSWER! The Lord of Heaven and Earth is so much bigger than prayers that seem to go unanswered. He’s so much stronger than your weakest moment. He’s being your wildest imagination!
Keep praying! Keep seeking! Keep believing that God is not bound by mortal weaknesses, other peoples’ fleshly thinking, or any other thing in all creation! He knew you before the foundation of the world and if He did then He knew then what you would need, and He knows when the answer will come and ultimately He knows the outcome for every single person on this earth. Oh how He loves you! Oh how He’s for you! And oh how that’s all that really matters! Hallelujah to our King!
Psalm 4:3 You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him.
Psalm 56:9 My enemies will retreat when I call to You for help. This I know: God is on my side!
Psalm 145:18 The LORD is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth.
Matthew 6:10 May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Isaiah 65:24 I will answer them before they even call to Me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
You can also visit Kara MacElyea's blog, http://unusualform.blogspot.com/ and see the photos of my gift to her. While you're at it, why don't you also visit the Arkansas Women Bloggers' site to see all the ornaments that were exchanged at http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Back a few months ago I joined “Arkansas Women Bloggers”. I saw it as another opportunity to share God’s Word with more women. Since I’m not a foodie or a fashionista blogger and I don’t really sell anything, I wondered if I would even have a place there. But I joined and it has been fun. We had a handmade ornament exchange secret pal type event to participate in if we wanted to, and today is the day we all are supposed to blog about the ornament we received, who it was from and whatever else about it each of us wanted to share.
Sending an ornament to a complete stranger is a little scary. Who knows what you will get from the one who got your name or if you’ll get anything at all. Even if you do everything right on your end, it still can come to nothing if the person at the other end doesn’t fulfill their pledge. I love crafts but seriously I don’t have time to make things much anymore. Still, I wanted to participate so I made a little paper Christmas tree to send to my blogger. I think it met her personality and I hope she liked it. I sent it, along with a copy of the devotional book, praying that God would send His Word to the right woman at just the right time.
This morning as I write this blog I realize that I have been left empty handed. Like the proverbial recipe exchange, try as I might to send the right amount of recipes to the right amount of people and gingerly place the right name at the top of the email list, I usually get one to no recipes in turn. The un-received gift says much to me.
The reason the intended ornament has not arrived may never surface. Lots of things happen – the mail is running slow, things get lost, and people get sick. I pray that whoever got my name was not ill, had no family tragedy and that they just had a moment of forgetfulness. Regardless of what happened, they have been prayed for and that’s a wonderful gift in and of itself. The ornament package may yet arrive, who knows.
Mostly it speaks to my heart just how thankful I am that Jesus meets every one of His promises to me. He never leaves me hurting or wanting or feeling left out. He’s indeed my best friend, my Father, my closest brother and more. He thinks I’m worth it. Worth the time and effort. Worth the pain and agony. Worth the trip to hell and back. Neither He nor I have to rely on the postman to receive all that He says is mine based on His desires towards me. He’s not a slacker, He won’t forget and He keeps each and every single promise He has ever given me.
And, just so I’ll remember, He put all His loves songs, love promises and love words into a beautiful Book just for me! How awesome is He and how wonderful are His thoughts towards me. I am worth it all!
Oh beloved, you may be facing an empty nest, an empty tree or an empty heart. Every single person you ever trusted or loved may have forgotten you, turned their back on you or worse. But not the Lord! His love songs are not just for me – they’re for you as well! Open His Book of Love this morning and read! Each Word of love was written by the Holy Spirit because He loves you. Each Word was breathed by the Heavenly Father because He’s for you. And each Word is sealed by the Blood of the Lamb because He gave it all for you!
Thank Him this morning for though your gift may not have arrived, the Unspeakable, Unsurpassable, Wonderful, Eternal, Extravagant, Beautiful Gift has arrived just for you! He has proven His love for you, He will show you how much He cares for you and that’s all that really matters.
Psalm 119:114 You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope.
Isaiah 40:6-8 People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.
Isaiah 49:4 I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.”
Isaiah 26:4 Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.
Hebrews 10:35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!
Isaiah 40:28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding.
Zephaniah 3:17 For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Sunday, December 16, 2012
As kids, both Danny and I participated in drills during the school day. Among them were the fire drill, tornado drills and even atomic bomb drills. We were urged to listen to our teacher and follow her instructions quickly and without questioning. After all we were preparing for a life and death situation. It was imperative that we obey in order to save our lives. I can imagine that the teacher in Connecticut who saved the lives of her entire classroom must have urged the children to get into closets and cabinets quickly. Were they afraid? I’m sure. But they knew their teacher, that she could be trusted so they listened to her. She probably told them to be very quiet as well. Her quick thinking combined with their quick obedience saved their lives. The teacher, just like our teachers back then, shielded the lives of her students.
While none of the drills I participated in as a child ever resulted in needing an escape or protection plan in real life, still I remember believing the teachers’ words without any desire to disobey. For the fire drill, when she said “line up” we did! We wanted out of the building as quickly as possible. Out on the school yard we’d look around and see that the entire school was safe.
We are a blessed people, those of us who have believed God and listened to His voice. We have said Yes, when He called and accepted the shield of faith that saves our lives, literally. The call to Christ is no fire drill, it’s real and the call to obey is urgent. Without a quick response to the Savior of the World, we won’t make it out alive. Today is all we have. Tomorrow may not come. There are many dangers, toils and snares – each one designed to take our lives by keeping us from heaven. But God’s plan of Salvation is so simple that a child can follow it.
We are blessed as well because when our Lord says “line up” it’s in our best interests to do so. Sure, everybody’s doing their own thing, but God says to His children, “Line up according to My Word.” It’s not a drill, it’s real life. And the only way you’ll be safe is to quickly obey the Master’s call. His Word is not meant to keep us bound but to set us free! True freedom is only found in putting our trust in One Who knows better than we do. He can be trusted and followed without question.
Oh beloved, life is so fragile! Are you listening to the Father’s voice? Are you handling your troubles, trials, sorrows and mourning with prayer? Are you giving your hopes and dreams to the One Who created you so that you can live a life without regrets? Are you sure in your heart that you can trust God, that even when bad things happen, you are safest in following Him closely and listening to every Word that proceeds from His mouth? God freely offers you the blessing of heaven, but He wants to give you the blessing of obedience here and now as well. Won’t you run to Him this morning and take time to hear Him clearly? Before the noise of the day and the busy-ness of life drowns out His voice. His love is saying, “Here is the way” and His care is saying, “Safe are those who trust Me”. Now that’s a God worth praising and following all the days of your life!
Luke 1:46-47,49 Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.
Jeremiah 17:7 But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.
Deuteronomy 13:4 Serve only the LORD your God and fear Him alone. Obey His commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him.
Psalm 23:4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.
Psalm 16:11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.