Thursday, December 31, 2015

Don't Lose Hope

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint. 
Isaiah 40:31

We live in an immediate feedback society. Fast food. Cell phones. Texting. Express shipping. Same day service. We wait for nothing and when waiting is required, frustration and law suits ensue.

But God is not a God of rushing. He is patient. By definition that means he is able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, and suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. He is patient with us as we struggle through our sin. He is patient with our neighbors and friends as they wander looking for truth. He is patient when we delay his works in our lives. He is patient! 

And that means that his timing is not ours. As we wait on our loved ones to find the Lord we become frustrated and lose hope. We get weary and begin to think they will never see truth. But God is still working. He is still moving mountains and seeking the lost. He is still pursuing addicts to set them free from their prisons and wandering children to lead them back home.

As humans, we grow weary and our spirits grow faint in the wait. But Isaiah reminds us to renew our hope in the Lord. He is still the Lord of Abraham and Isaac. He is still the same Lord who set the captives free from the Egyptians and brought them into the promised land. He is still God and in Him we place our hope as we wait for the answers to our prayers. Our strength and hope are renewed as we place our hope in God and wait on him to complete his work. 

Whatever you are waiting on today, place it in the hands of your Father. Sit with him. Meditate on his word and allow him to renew your strength. Allow him to let your heart soar and your physical strength to grow. Place your hope in the One who moves mountains.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

God Lasts

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, 
"God has lost track of me.  He doesn't care what happens to me"?
Don't you know anything?  Haven't you been listening?  
God doesn't come and go.  God lasts.
He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
they run and don't get tired,
they walk and don't lag behind.
Isaiah 40:27-31 MSG

I gotta admit there have been times when I've felt left behind.  I have had moments where I feel weak and that God is not hearing my cries.  I have considered giving up.  But everytime I do, He is there to remind me of His everlasting faithfulness to me and my needs.  He tells me He loves me, let's me know He is still with me and reconfirms that He is working on my behalf.......every single time.  God is good, dear friends.  He can seem non-existent and slow in a world that prides itself on instant gratification.  Don't give up on your prayers and your needs and dreams!  God is sometimes slow and steady for a reason.  We can't expect our answers to come in our timing if we are trusting Him to be in charge.  We must wait patiently and never give up, never stop praying until our answers come.  That may mean years of saying the same prayer over and over, or it may mean we get what we ask for immediately.  We just never know when, but what we do know is that God will answer us.  Someday, somehow, some way........God will always answer our prayers!  

Dear God, don't let me get too far ahead of You.  I never want to give up and forget that you are with me every single day giving me strength when I am weak, picking me up when I stumble, bringing me back when I get off track.  I love you, Lord.  I thank you for your encouraging words that bring my focus off of my problems and back on to your faithfulness to provide for me and carry me.  Let your Word soak into my mind and heart........brand it on my arm........I am yours and you are mine.   Amen      

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Speak His Word Over Your Life

God's word is truth and we must learn to unleash it's power in our lives. We can begin doing so by speaking it to and about ourselves. It is easy to get caught up in believing negative things about ourselves. For example we say things like, "Well, I've just always been that way." or "I'm not good at _____." But God is perfect and he has a good and perfect plan for our lives. He created us in his image and therefore anything negative that we think or believe is not of God.

Begin speaking the following over your own life today:

"I am the righteousness of Jesus Christ."

"I am adopted into the family of Christ and nothing can remove me from the hand of my Father."

"I have God-given gifts and talents. I am of value and purpose. And God is using me!"

"The Spirit of God is upon me. I am patient and kind. Joy flows through me."

Search His word today and ask God to reveal verses that speak truth about you. Meditate on them. Recite them over and over. Claim them as truth in your life. Live in the power of His Word!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Scripture

So if the Son liberates you (makes you free), then you are really and unquestionably free. John 8:36

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

From Acorns to Oaks

“and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear GFFs,
We have all found our lives in ashes, mourned, and felt despair. Yet we have a God who longs to make us whole through the birth, death, and resurrection of his one and only Son, Jesus Christ. We were tiny acorns and through it all, he is making us mighty oaks for the display of His splendor. Don't you just love that... He's using our messes to display his greatness.

This year I gave each of my GFFs an acorn ornament to remind them that God is making their stories beautiful and his name will be praised as he raises them to righteous oaks!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Baby Changes Everything

The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the City of David!  And you will recognize him by this sign:  You will find a baby wrapped snuggly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:11-12

Well we are down to the wire.  Just a few more days until Christmas.  If you are like me there is some shopping left to do, some wrapping to finish and you are trying so hard to keep in mind that something amazing is about to be celebrated.  Christmas is all about Jesus' birth!  How God took on human flesh to change the world.  This baby changed everything!  

A tradition we have in our family is to watch the movie Nativity and try to experience the time and culture and the miracle of Jesus' birth and how it fits directly into our lives.  I heard a song by Faith Hill called A Baby Changes Everything and was happy to find that it was played along with the movie we so dearly love to watch.  So I am mixing it up today and giving you a song to listen to and a story to plant in your mind, and on your heart, as we get so close to Jesus' birthday.  Merry Christmas friends!  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Scripture

Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter.  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.  Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
Isaiah 26:2-4  NLT

Friday, December 18, 2015

Be Willing To Change Directions

Joseph, her fiance, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.  As he considered this, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.  
"Joseph, son of David," the angel said, "do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  For the child within her was concieved by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:18-19 NLT

We all have decisions to make.  Some are big and some are small.  Some affect just ourselves and some affect the lives of others.  As we consider our decisions are we just choosing the easy way, the most logical way, the best thing for us, the Godly way, or the way that pleases others?  There are so many routes to take and the decision, for some, is very easy.  For others there is a lot at stake and making a rash decision in a moment of anger, despair, fear or excitement may mean making a big mistake.  In Joseph's case, he thought things through.  He loved Mary and had to be devistated to find out she was pregnant.  In those days this news could have gotten Mary killed!  He took all things into consideration.  He probably rationalized and came to the proper solution to cancel the wedding, but quietly so as to not put Mary's life in danger.  He didn't just think of himself.  He loved Mary and, although confused and heartbroken, He thought of her when making his decision.  He used common sense, after all who really wants to start off a marriage on those terms.  Most men in his shoes would have chosen to leave.  God gave him a brain, and logical thinking to come to a conclusion in his predicament.  But what impresses me the most, was even after all that thinking and rationalizing, Joseph was willing to let God lead him.  In a dream an angel came to him to show him the right decision, which was not what he had in mind.  Joseph could have ignored it, he could have rationalized some more, debated with the angel, made excuses for why he would not/could not marry Mary, but instead He was willing to believe God over his own thoughts.  That impresses me!  That makes me think about the decsions I make in my life and encourages me to be open and willing to let God change my mind.  I can have a lot of answers.  I can have a lot of logic and facts but if God has another plan for me then I must be willing to hear Him out.  I'm sure I've messed this up big time in the past and I do not want to encourage over thinking things but I do want to bring awareness to the fact that we must be willing to follow God.  We can't call ourselves followers if we are willing to follow His lead.  He must use all the things God gives us for making good decisions but also look to Him for advice and listen for His voice and be willing to change directions.  

As Christmas approaches put yourself in the story of Jesus' birth.  Get ready to make decisions based on God's lead.  Be willing to change directions and do things the world would disagree with.  Be open to change.  Be open to the powerful Word of God!  Dedicate all your reasoning and facts and emotions to God and trust His leading you.  The answer may be the same as you have already decided but it also may take you someplace you never dreamed possible.  Like a manger in a stable with a beautiful baby boy, the King of Kings......dare to hear God's voice and follow Him.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Are you Ready?

The children in my class have been counting down since December 1st. Each evening they have removed a link from their paper chain in a attempt to keep track of the days left until Christmas. Their excitement is contagious! They just can't wait! They are beyond ready!

Here we just 8 days away from Christmas. Can you believe how quickly the year has gone? You've had 365 days to prepare and yet, I'm guessing that like me, you are not prepared! There are still last minute gifts to buy. There is shopping to do for food and preparations to be made for meals. There are still a few cards that need to be sent and calls of well wishes yet to be made. Oh, and a few quick trips to town to buy more tape and wrapping paper!  Will we ever be ready?

But I have a more serious concern on my heart. Are you ready for Christ? Have you taken time to prepare your heart? Have you stopped and sought the heart of God in preparation to receive his precious gift? Are you ready to receive Jesus? Let me help you see why I ask you this very important question...

Bethlehem was a city abuzz with activity. The census was to be taken. I can envision the scene so clearly. So many people were coming to town! The marketers no doubt had stocked their shelves as best they could to meet the needs of the travelers. Homes were being cleaned and food was being prepared. Guests were coming! Family and friends were coming from out of town and they would dawn the doorsteps in no time. So much to do! So little time. The rush was in full force.

Why can I envision the scene so clearly? Because dear GFF, we are living it. Look around you at the bustle of activity. Marketers stocking their shelves. Shoppers in droves looking for that perfect item and searching for all the necessary food supplies. Homes are being cleaned and decorated. Conversations abound about when and where family and friends will gather together. All without much attention to the real reason of Christmas... the coming of our savior.

We are reliving the story of Jesus birth. God is sending his greatest gift. His ultimate blessing. And just as in the original story, in many hearts and lives there is no thought, concern, or even a bit of room for this glorious child. Will you slow down and notice? Will you stop the hustle and bustle and allow Him to show you his glory? Or like those in Bethlehem, will you totally miss the arrival of Our Savior?

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 MSG

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Our First Responder

He feels pity for the weak and needy, and he will rescue them.
Psalm 72:13 NLT

God loves us and all of our imperfections, especially when our hearts are focused on Him.  Yes, we will mess up, doubt, make wrong choices and sin but He knows that!  He feels sorry for our wrong choices, our difficulties and our weaknesses.  He has pity on us and hurts to see us struggle in our mistakes and the mistakes of others.  He even allows us to have weaknesses that are difficult for us and moments of fear and tough decisions but He never leaves us hanging.  He uses those times to help us grow and He is always ready to rescue us when His time is right.  When we go to God with our needs, when we are humbled to ask and cry out in our weakness, He is always faithful to rescue us.  His rescue may not be what we expect but be assured He will always come to our side. 

In any accident or emergency call there is always a first responder close by to arrive at the scene.  God is our first responder.  He is waiting to be called upon.  Waiting for our cries of fear, pain, rejection, loss, weakness, and repentance.  He wants to be the first one we call on and the first one to show up at the scene of our difficulties.  He is ready to rescue those who are willing to trust in Him.

Dear God, in my weakness you make me strong and I love you for it.  Thank you for your promise of rescue and for having pity on me.  You are my Rock, my source of strength and I don't ever want to doubt your ability to save me from myself and my circumstances.  I love you Lord.  Amen

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I'm Making a List and Checking it Twice

I'm a list keeper. I keep lists on my phone of things to shop for, things to do, and issues to pray over. Lists help me keep focused and accomplish those things I must do. I love sticky notes in all variety of colors, shapes and sizes. And at the end of the day I can find my desk spattered with a beautiful array of these little lists of things to remember.

I keep mental lists as well. Lists of things I've done right. Lists of things I've done wrong. Lists of missed opportunities and opportunities met. Oh, the lists I keep!

But these lists cause me pain and confusion. Like Santa, I go over my list and check it twice. And three times... four times... over and over...
And then these lists determine my attitude and my degree of love and acceptance from God and others. When I go over the naughty list, I'm a failure and feel disqualified from God's love. I am heartbroken by my own decisions and fear rejection from God because I've sinned just too many times. I hate being on the naughty list. 

Yet when all is going well (my kids are happy and peaceful, my husband adores me, and the to do list is done) my "Nice list" of behaviors makes me feel favor with God and that I've earned his love once again.

Oh the danger of keeping lists! The truth is, God's love does not ebb and flow like the ocean tides. His love is constant. He is never disappointed in us. He loves us when we are naught and when we are nice. He loves us when we meet opportunities and when we back away in fear.  

     God's love never changes! 

Paul's words to the Romans in Chapter 8 verses 38-39 assures us of an unfailing, unconditional, undeserved and unearned love from our Father...

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to depart us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is not like Santa. He doesn't keep lists and neither should we! His love is sufficient for today. No looking back and no fear of the future. 

GFF, you are love!. Plain and simple. Say it aloud, "I am loved!"

Dear Lord,
I struggle so with list keeping. I do not want to live this way any longer. Help me to live in the freedom of knowing your love is relentless and I can never earn or destroy your love for me. Amen

Monday, December 14, 2015

Check your Vitals

This scripture has been on my heart a lot, especially this time of year. We don't have to look far to find another person who is struggling. We can find families all around the neighborhood who are facing illnesses, bringing new babies into their homes, struggling to pay the bills, or just plain old worn out. There are grandparents raising grandchildren, weary single parents running children here and there and a host of brokenhearted souls at every turn.

We are busy, I get that. But are we too busy to see the needs? Is our agenda really more important than another's pain? I don't think so. And today it is my prayer that you will stop, along with me, and check the vitals on your faith life. Because as James tells us, Faith without works is a dead faith. Is your pulse faint? Friend, breathe new life into your walk with the Lord, by truly being his hands and feet!

Faith and Deeds  James 2

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Scripture

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel- which means, 
"God with us."
Matthew 1:22-23

Saturday, December 12, 2015


My Lighthouse by Rend Collective

As I sit with my grandchildren, I asked them what song we should write our blog about today. Without delay, Emma said, "My Lighthouse". I asked her why we should write about that one. Her response, "Because I like it!" and  proceeded to sing and praise Emma style...
"My lighthouse
My lighthouse
I will trust you in the darkness.
My lighthouse
My lighthouse..."

Though these are the only words she knows, she knows enough! (Even though they are partial words, they are enough truth to sustain a 3 year old heart!

Click here to listen to "My Lighthouse" by Rend Collective

Here are the actual lyrics to the song!

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won't walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence, You won't let go
In my questions, Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My Lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You
My Lighthouse, my Lighthouse
I will trust the promise, 
You will carry me safe to shore (Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore

I won't fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I'll rise and sing
My God's love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us, You're the brightest
You will lead us through the storms

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Focus On His Words

No, I will not abandon you as orphans - I will come to you.
John 14:18

Sweet sweet words to my ears this morning as I wrestle with feelings of despair.  I hope you, too, have words that bring you hope and comfort when you are feeling down or discouraged.  If you don't I would suggest that you start a journal or note cards, writing, in them, all of God's promises He has for you.  Uplifting words that will keep your mind off of your circumstance and on the One who will get you out of if it.  Claim His words as your own and believe that He will do as He promises.  Stick it out!  Find what he wants for you to learn and trust there is an end to your hurt and confusion.  After all, He is not going anywhere........He will come to you!   

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Submit to God!

So be subject to God. Resist the devil (stand firm against him), and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Take time today to study this verse. Pray over it. Meditate on it. Let God speak to you as you mull his word over in your heart and mind. Mull it over until you know how to apply it to your life thus bringing change.

Submit to God. Do what he says to do and avoid what he instructs you to stay away from for this is the way to submit to God. Pray for a holy fear of God that will lead you to walk in obedience. Do not give the devil a foothold... which comes through intentional disobedience. And he will flee from you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My "Winter" Season

Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well.  I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
Jeremiah 31:13 NIV

I'm so glad Mary brought up seasons yesterday because it hit home for me.  I am currently in a "winter" season.  No, not because I hate the snow and cold weather, but because of my state of mind and the circumstances surrounding me at the moment.  I have generalized anxiety and at any time, for no apparent reason, it can hit me out of no where.  For the past month I have been struggling with several anxiety attacks that render me useless and paralyzed.  I have medicine that can ease the symptoms and bring me down from a moment of complete panic and overwhelming feeling of impending doom,  but that medicine doesn't help me from thinking about when or where I will have one again.  And so I start to leave the house less, I start to lose interest in the things I once loved to do, and I get into something I like to call a funk.  We are in the season of joy and happiness and laughter as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our savior and prince of peace.  Knowing that God has gotten me through a few boughts of this, in the past, I am confident he will again bring me out into the spring where I can recaim my happy thoughts and my feeliings of peace.  I will again be able to leave the house without worrying where I will have my next anxiety attack and I will go back to enjoying the things I love.  But in this wait I will hold tight to His promise that He never leaves my side.  I will celebrate these words above the says He will bring me out of this sadness into gladness.  He will bring me comfort and joy and take away my sorrow and anxiety.

Some may wonder, and I do myself from time to time, if my anxiety is because I don't trust enough.  You may think I am weak because I am worrying about things that I just need to hand over.  If you aren't familiar with anxiety attacks or panic attacks then you may just think it's someone who worries too much about things.  The truth is I don't worry about anything.  I feel like God has my life in control and then just out of nowhere a fear and worry arise for no reason at all.  In the middle of an attack I can't even tell you why I'm afraid.  It is a chemical imbalance that causes the "fight or flight" reaction to go on overdrive in the middle of a dead sleep, or a peaceful night on the couch, or at the grocery store or, a basketball game.  The symtpoms are many.......chest pains, tingling in your body, overwhelming fear or impending doom, a feeling of just needing to get away...but to where?, heart palpitations or a racing heart, the list goes on and for many the symptoms are totally different.  But praise God!!  It is only a season!!  I tend to forget that when I am in the middle of the season but Mary's reminder, that this too shall pass, gave me hope and encouragement to contiue on.  I may have to force myself out of bed, take some extra naps, see the doctor for new medicine but God is walking me through it all!  He loves me, He knows what's best for my growth and I will stick it out until my new season shows up.  Oh how I look forward to spring and even though I would love to go to sleep and wake up with the sun shining, the flowers blooming and the birds chirping, there is much to learn here in "winter".  There is much to see in my God and much to sacrifice my praises to and be thankful for.  

Friend, if you are batteling depression or anxiety I want you to know you are not alone.  I pray for you to find help from a doctor, a friend, and find peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Some days that peace can feel far from you.  Some days you don't feel God's presence, but I promise He is there.  He is fighting for you and working on His plan for what's best for you, His precious child.  I ask you all to pray for people who are experiencing a difficult season in life right now.  Maybe its yourself or someone you know........pray for the hope and confidence to stick it out, with God, until the season changes.      

Monday, December 7, 2015

In Due Time

Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

I have a daughter who doesn't have fond feelings toward winter. She's loving that the winter snows are holding off and fall seems to continue on.She dislikes the snow and the way it makes travel difficult. Her smile leaves her face when her car is buried in snow or covered in ice. She doesn't see the beauty of snow because of the trials it presents.  She gets depressed as the winter season wears on keeping her from being out in the sunshine. It is a real battle for her to stay positive through the darkness of winter. She's definitely a flip-flop wearin', sunshine sittin' kind of girl. The only reason she survives winter is because she knows spring and summer will dawn her doorstep in due time. And so, she doesn't lose hope!

Life is full of seasons.  I don't mean our weather related seasons, I'm talking about the spiritual seasons of life. We have springs of planting seeds and preparing for God's work in our life and the lives of those around us. We have summers where, spiritually, we are blooming and those around us are coming to life in Christ. We have autumn seasons where we bear fruit and see God's hand of abundance. And unfortunately there is winter.

Winters come in times of trial. Times where we feel alone or depressed. Times where our hope wants to hide and our spirit longs to be refreshed. Winters are hard times spiritually. Perhaps it's a season where God feels silent or our aching heart feels as though it can bear no more.

Winters. They are hard seasons. But like my daughter, we can get through winters because we have hope. Our hope is in an ever-faithful Father. Throughout scripture we are encouraged not to grow weary, to keep hoping, to persevere. God knows we will face seasons. His word encourages us to endure. And like all seasons, they will come to an end in due time.

I don't know what season you're in now, but if it's a spiritual winter I encourage you to hang on! Don't stop praying even though your answer hasn't come. Keep fighting in your illness. Pray for your marriage and your children until you see fruit. When the answers are buried in the snows of your winter, dig deeper! Get out His Word and dig until you uncover renewed hope!

Dear Jesus,
We struggle in our winters. Help us to hang on to the Hope that we have in you. Hope of eternity spent with you. Lord, bring glimpses of hope into our broken lives. Draw us into your word with a desire to know you intimately. Lord, give us patience as we wait for the spiritual season to change. Amen

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday Scripture

But what happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in the orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:22-23 MSG

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sing-A-Long Saturday

Holy Spirit by Francesca Battistelli

Sing along with this beautiful song today inviting the Holy Spirit to fill you and the envelope you in his presence!

There's nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You're our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I've tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Your presence, Lord


Friday, December 4, 2015


"I am the first and the last," says the Lord God Almighty, 
who is, who was, and who is to come.
Revelation 1:8 GNT

I read a devotion with this scripture in it and was reminded that God was, is, and always will be, enough for me.  I was taken to the dictionary where I looked up the word infinite and this is what I found:  
Infinite - Limitless or endless; impossible to measure or calculate.

We each have an unlimited supply of God strength.  He doesn't just give us a little saving some for the next person.  God gives me all of Him.  God gives you all of Him.  God is infinite.  We can't measure His abilities, His love for us, His power or His mercy and grace.  God cannot be understood nor can his help be calculated.  He is limitless!  His faifthfulness is endless!  Just repeat this over and over and let it soak in.  We are in the hands of infinite resources to help us in any circumstance.  God does not hold back from us.  

Take a long, hard look.  See how great He is - infinite, greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out.  -Job 36:26 MSG

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.  -Ephesians 3:20 NLT

And this infinite ability is more than just giving us power and strength to make it through difficult situations.  He is limitless in His understanding, as well.  He knows the human heart.  He knows our weaknesses, understands our temptations, and our tendency to falter.  He loves us regardless of our mistakes because of His infinite understanding of us.  He knows us way better than we can ever know ourselves.

Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.  -Psalm 147:5 NASB

Dear God I am in awe of Your strength and power and might and love and the million other things You are willing to offer me daily.  Even when I mess up you do not hold back from me.  You are my rock and my everything!  Thank you God!  


Thursday, December 3, 2015

What Will You Give Him?

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 NIV

The wisemen, or magi,  brought gifts to Jesus. Gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold is a precious metal, frankincense a perfume, and myrrh an anointing oil. All expensive gifts worthy of a king. They were brought to Jesus and were valuable to his family. Gold would have been of great benefit to a young couple as they moved to Egypt to protect their young child. Frankincense and myrrh had medicinal properties and emitted an aromatic fragrance. All valuable to Jesus' family.

As I read one *commentary I found it interesting that Gold is a gift worthy of a king. Jesus was born a king. Gold symbolizes Jesus as our king!  Frankincense is symbolic of Jesus' life. And myrrh is an anointing oil symbolic of Jesus' death. All gifts foretelling of Jesus' birth, death, and life.

But as I studied the value of these gifts, I began thinking about what I would give Jesus this year. I can so easily get consumed by the gifts I will give my friends and loved ones, but Christmas is about a savior given to us. Undeserved and unconditional. A beautiful gift from our loving Father. Christmas is about giving.

But do we stop and think about what we can give to Jesus. Our hurts, our hangups, our addictions, and our fears. All things we can give to Jesus, and surprisingly he delights in receiving these gifts. We can give him more time in worship and more time in study and awe of his Word. But what Jesus really wants is us... our hearts, our attention, our time, our love.

Can you believe it? He wants you! He loves you and wants nothing more than for you to give yourself to him with abandon. What will you give Jesus this year?

* Dr. J. Vernon McGee. Thru The Bible. Nelson Publishing. 1983. vol. IV, p. 16.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Bond Between Brothers and Sisters

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.  
Hebrews 13:1

If you were a fly on the wall, in my house, I promise you would get an entertainement packed evening, for sure.  There would be no consistency to the plot of what was going on, as if you were watching a movie, no, you would get a wide variety of entertainment from empathy, honesty, nasty, nice, loving, caring, hateful, annoying and a lot of other things.  My kids can be so loving to each other but within minutes they can be so mean.  What was the author talking about when he told his friends to keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters?  As a mom of 3 of my own and foster kids coming in and out, if I didn't know any better, this scripture might really confuse the heck out of me.........oh who am I kidding, today it does!  It has made me think of all the children I have in my home right now.  I have been visualizing them in my mind trying to figure them all out......what makes them mad, happy, sad, secure, confident........I try to figure out their similiarities and their differences and help them to all live together peacefully in those differences.  I try to encourage their similiarities and spur them on towards loving actions.  Some days this is way more difficult than others.  Lately, I won't lie, it's been difficult.  It makes me think whoever wrote this letter had no idea what it was like with 5 kids at home.  But in all sincerety I do see a bond in siblings that cannot be broken.  My own children have been brought up to know their worth in God's eyes.  They know how much they are loved and they are reminded every day about loving each other and caring for each other.  And in my foster children I see a strong bond, as well.  I have also witnessed that bond between my children and foster children.  They all have tendancies to argue, and fight........they all can make poor choices to be mean and disrespectful, but at the end of the day they love each other greatly.  They can even say the dreaded words, 'I hate you', but each knows deep down it isn't true.  I don't know how God made us to have relationships and I have no idea the map of a relationship between a brother and a sister, but in most that I have seen and experienced, they are all built on a strong bond.  One that will not be broken easily.  

So how does this scripture apply to us?  As Christians we all have a special bond.  A special God who we call daddy, and a saving brother we call Jesus.  We are bonded together as if we were born of the same parents.  We are to keep on loving each other through the hard times, the mean times, the fights, the hurt, the sickness the addictions.......our love should never stop.  Our bond should never be broken regardless of what the circumstance is.  We should love each other as brothers and sisters because that is the love that trumps any other, our savior, our brother, made the hugest sacrifice ever to bring us all together and we should never forget that.  We should always remember that Jesus died so that we could all love each other well, and forever.  It may not look pretty at times, it may be difficult but it is possible!  And never forget that a bond of love is not easily broken.  Sometimes honesty hurts and sometimes a gente rebuke is needed, but that bond, if anchored in Christ Jesus, will last.  There may be time of distance but loving a brother or sister means we always find our way back into their bedroom, their game, their movie, their fun.........if we are willing to love, the possibilities are endless!  

I can't say that I am perfect in this area.  Especially trying to convince some 8 through 11 year olds that love is special, and it is the only thing God asks of us, and that sometimes we might not like what a person does but our love should never end................but I can share what I know with you, and pray that someday I can get through to my kids ;)  I hope that you will think of love differently today.  I hope you will look at your Christian brothers and sisters with new eyes.......eyes to love them, accept them, help them and respect them.  I hope that with the Holy Spirit's help you will feel that special bond you hold with them and that your love will be extended just a little farther.       

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Searching for Jesus

"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"
Luke 2:49

The decorating has begun... a tree of silver and white with snowflakes shimmering in the glow of the white lights, boughs of greenery, and snowmen abound throughout the house. Now, the nativity! It will be the focal point of the living area. 

I began looking for the nativity. You might expect me to bring out a delicate box holding a beautifully ornate nativity, but I was searching the toy box for the Fisher Price nativity! Oh, the Nativity isn't fancy. No sparkles, no ceramics, but wait! No baby Jesus? I found donkeys, lambs, wisemen, and all the pieces except baby Jesus. I searched the tub of play food. I poured out legos and bristle blocks. No Jesus. I just couldn't call it a day until He was found. Finally, he was found. Right in the back of the 4x4 Cozy Coupe. 

As I pulled him out of the truck, I yelled, "I found Jesus!" It made me chuckle as my mother-in-law said, "Yes, we all need to find Jesus."

As I thought about searching for the baby Jesus I was reminded of how Mary and Joseph searched for Jesus, and He was in the temple reading His father's word. I thought of how the wisemen and the shepherds searched for Him at His birth. We too, must search for Jesus.

Jesus doesn't hide from us, but it is our choice to look for him. Jesus doesn't play games. He stands ready to be found. The searching though is our job. To look for him beyond the things of the world. To listen for his voice above the clamoring of voices vying for our attention. To slow down and find him inside the Word of God. Yes, we all need to find Jesus. And as we begin this advent season, I pray you will begin your search to find him for the first time, to find him deeper, to find him faithful. Yes, to find Jesus at your point of need. He's ready and waiting to be found!

Jeremiah 29:13 MSG
"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." GOD's Decree.