FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

There’s just something about fall…  we want to spend more time in the house nesting, baking, pumpkin spicing EVERYTHING!  We get out long enough to enjoy a tailgate party and watch a football game – but even then we’re snuggled up in a stadium blanket.  It’s time to slow down and rest.  Are you weary and burdened?  Jesus says He will give us rest!  We can trust that promise to be true because Jesus doesn’t lie.

The bright summer had passed away, and gorgeous autumn was flinging its rainbow-tints of beauty on hill and dale.  – Cornelia L. Tuthill, “Virginia Dare: Or, the Colony of Roanoke,” 1840

It’s about time for me to change from plain cotton sheets to cotton flannel sheets.  They’re so soft and comfy and surprisingly cool.  I used to think they would be too warm, and I’d end up too hot at night, but that hasn’t been the case.  They’re perfect for the fall and winter months.

As I begin counting my blessings this year, at the top of my list is the way Jesus brings sweet rest to my weary and burdened spirit.  Along with the theme of rest, I will include the set of new flannel sheets on the bed.  The house is slowly transforming into a warm and cozy oasis from a cold and cruel world.  Isn’t that what home should be?

[T]hat old September feeling… of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air…. Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer.                 – Wallace Stegner

So many people get the urge to do a deep cleaning in the spring – we’re bombarded with magazine articles about spring cleaning.  I’ve always been prone to do my deep cleaning in the fall.  Don’t ask me why, but I have more energy and the spirit seems more willing, and if there’s one thing I know about myself – I have to strike while the iron’s HOT.  I know that energy won’t last.

I say a little prayer, then I’m off to the races, cleaning out closets and cupboards, scrubbing and mopping, sweeping and dusting.  When I’m finished, I’m more than ready to ask Jesus to give me that rest He promises.

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time out shopping and fighting off the crowds of people so I could find some bargains.  I had people to buy gifts for, so I was part of the crazy rat race!  These days, I opt for a warm spot, hot tea, cozy slippers, and a laptop.  It’s a blessing to have a time of rest and renewal.  The older I get, the more I appreciate rest.

What’s at the top of your blessing list?  🙂

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

This is a great verse for Palm Sunday, isn’t it?  We all need to be reminded how this journey called Christianity is supposed to work.

We are to love one another – because Christ loves all of us.  Does that mean we always see eye to eye on everything?  No, it doesn’t.  It does mean that we show respect for one another, whether we are shown respect in return or not.  We’re responsible for our own behavior – not anyone else’s.  If each of us would do our very best to show the love of Christ, wouldn’t this world be a better place?  I think it would.  What if we were all a place of REST for each other? 

I love this poem in particular because this is exactly what God’s children need to be for one another.  Sadly, it often becomes a case of using instead of nurturing.  Sometimes we just need a friend in Christ to talk with about everyday things.  It may seem unproductive to some, but you have no idea how much it means to the one who needs to be heard and helped.  It’s sometimes a matter of letting a friend know that you are praying for them.  If we can listen more than speak and pray more than fret…  we’ll be a good representative for our Savior.

Here’s what we’re not – PERFECT.  God is perfect and only with His help can we love perfectly.  People – yes, even Christian people…  can be frustrating sometimes – yes, I can frustrate others too.  Here’s the deal – if we can just understand that our brothers and sisters in the Lord are imperfect human beings just like us – and if we can just be quick to forgive one another – which, again…  I’m not great at doing…  but I’m working on it – that is when we will love perfectly with Christ-likeness.  I hope others have forgiven me for mistakes I’ve made against them.  I try to forgive them as the Lord wants me to.  That’s how Christianity works, and it only works with Christ in the center.

Before I go, I’d like to remind you to look at my post on 4/5.  The story DAISY’S COLT, written by Lucinda Berry Hill and myself, with beautiful illustrations by Marian Poppy Ballestero is there.  If you have a little one in your life, it would be great to read this story to them.  Have a nice Palm Sunday!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  – Proverbs 3:5&6

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This is one of my favorite Proverbs because it reminds me that I serve a God who can be trusted completely.  When we lean on God and His wisdom when we need to make good choices, His power when we feel so powerless, and His goodness when we feel as though nobody in our lives is good to us, it teaches us how to fully rest in Him.

trust-for-straight-pathsGod’s promises never fail and His provision is complete.  If we need direction in life, we know God is faithful to guide us in the best direction.  He wants to help us in our daily life and keep us from harm.  We don’t know the future, but our Heavenly Father does, and wants to guide and bless our journey along the way.

While some may put confidence in physical strength, wealth, or friendships, children of God know that these things can disappear.  Acknowledge His sovereignty, His wisdom, power and goodness, being careful to praise and glorify His name.  In return, God will direct our steps.  That is how we stay safe and happy in life.

We read the phrase “my son” in the book of Proverbs.  It’s like the father offering wise advice to the son.  There are uncertainties in the young son’s future, and the father just wants to save the son from learning lessons the hard way.  Of course, the son is getting bad advice in his other ear from his worldly friends – so the dad is diligent about emphasizing the importance of making wise choices in life.

By yielding the decisions of life to God, the son is saved from heartache.  He’s encouraged to trust in God with all his heart – and give God all his heart, not withholding any area of his life from the Lord.

It’s not okay to just forsake a few things that are unwise – make good choices across the board and please your God.  He wants your whole heart.  Be humble enough to understand that you are not wise enough to be your own guide.  God cares about us and our welfare.  He knows that life is challenging sometimes, but He can be trusted to guide us in the right direction and face every challenge that comes along.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”   – Mark 2:27

God is pleased that man works Monday through Friday.  But on the Sabbath – which may be Saturday for you – or Sunday…  He’s pleased if you are in His house, giving Him your undivided attention – your praises – your thanksgiving.  God is a jealous God and will not have any other gods before Him.

Why do we need to be in church?  Why can’t we go out on the fishin’ bank, or climb a mountain, or watch Dr. Stanley on television and call it good?

Being off somewhere alone and keeping your focus on the Lord is not a bad idea – but there’s something about being with others who believe the same way you do… it’s a sense of community and support of sorts, you might say.  If you’re a lone ranger, with whom do you take communion?  Who is around to challenge your spiritual backbone?  With whom do you pray?  Who prays for you and for whom do you pray?

If I didn’t visit the gym and use the machines, I’d soon gain my weight back and be out of shape.  The church family, ideally, plays a similar role with each member.  I was reminded recently however, that we mustn’t focus on the horizontal view – as much as we focus on the vertical view – we have to keep our eyes on Christ – because people are so – well – human and will fail us at one time or the other.  And guess what?  We will fail them too.  We have to remember that Christ is our example and the one with whom we measure our own standard.  When we do that, it makes all the difference in how we relate to others.

The church family is there to encourage when needed.  It’s there to challenge when needed.  We help each other grow because growth and change are signs of maturity in faith.  There’s nothing worse than stunted growth.  It’s a bit like having cut flowers in a vase too long.  If you wait too long to toss those flowers – it can be a very smelly job.

I don’t want to be a stinky child of God.  I want to grow in my faith, in love, in joy, in peace that passes all understanding.  It’s God’s will for my life – and it’s what I want for my life.

Sometimes a church family is not found at a brick and mortar.  Sometimes it is found in the most unusual and creative way – and God is leading toward an exciting adventure in ministry.  If we don’t put Him in a box, He will make everything work for good.  We just have to place our trust completely in His plan.

What do you do on the Sabbath?  It was established for you, you know.  It’s for your own good – from a God who thinks you are pretty special.  🙂

 

 

THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY

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The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  – Acts 17:24-25

MERRY CHRIST-MAS!!!  I know what you’re thinking…  what a strange Christmas song to talk about on Christmas Day.  Well, I haven’t gone off the deep end…  yet.  Wait, let me double-check.  Nope…  I’ve still got it together!

This is my favorite Christmas carol – and let me tell you why.

The little drummer boy is completely fictional and not biblically based, as we all know; however, that little boy represents us as Christians.  He loves the baby Jesus and wants to give his very BEST to Him.  Why?  The passage in Acts makes it perfectly clear that Jesus doesn’t NEED anything from us, but we NEED everything from Him.  Well, he wanted to give his best because he knew to Whom he played.  We give because we love.  It’s as simple as that.  He loved us first – but we give because of love.

Today I wonder if we give our very best to Him?  In our daily lives, do others see our relationship with Christ?  Do we do for others because they are God’s children and we have a desire to be representatives of Christ to them?

I pray that every day I strive to do something good for someone – EVEN if that something good is praying for a friend.

If you had been in Bethlehem, what would you do?  Would you give Him the very best you have to give?  Just something to think about today – on Jesus’ birthday.

if-i-were-thereMy will, my life, my heart.  ❤

This song reminds me that I need to give my best to Him.  Pa Rum pa pum pum…  🙂

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

I’m going to take a little break from writing, but I will be back for the new year, refreshed and focused.  I want to give my BEST to Him…  pa rum pa pum pum.  meerkat-459171__340

This is me when I’m taking a break from writing – except I’ll have a TV remote.

May God richly bless you in the coming year.  I believe 2017 will be the best year yet!  I’m going to rest my brain and my fingers this week, but I’m looking forward to doors of opportunity opening as God leads me to exciting new writing challenges!

Let’s end 2016 with a prayer…  asking our Heavenly Father to prepare our hearts to give the best we have to offer today and in the future.

drummer-boy-prayerOne final note – but it’s important.  Thank you SO MUCH for following this blog and reading it every day.  I hope and pray that something along the way has encouraged and inspired you in some way.  I appreciate those who have followed me on Twitter and facebook.  I pray for you every day.  There are so many needs, but we serve a BIG God – He’s bigger than any problem we encounter here.  Have a wonderful week.  Look for me again on January 1st.  🙂

GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN

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Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  – Nehemiah 8:10

Today’s post is especially for those of you who wait until the last-minute to finish your Christmas shopping and preparations.  What is the message?  The message is DO NOT DISMAY!  No, that is not a word we use in everyday conversation these days, but it’s worth talking about.  To dismay is to freak out.  Don’t freak out if every little detail is not finished before Christmas Day – it’s still going to be great – trust me.  If you end up at KFC eating chicken out of a box – don’t sweat it – if you are with the people you love most in the world…  it’s good.  It could end up being the most memorable Christmas ever!

Rest…  let’s talk about rest.  Yes, we say rest in peace when someone has died.  We’re not going to rest that completely, okay; however, we need to dismay, worry, freak out less and rest, trust, rely on the Lord more.  He won’t fail to help you in putting Christmas plans together.

How can you rest while you are putting the last-minute touches on your Christmas plans?  Here are some ideas:

  • Listen to praise & worship Christmas music.  There are literally thousands of artists that will reinforce positive Christmas lyrics as you’re driving from place to place today.  Don’t dismay.  Rest.
  • Have some alone time with God before you leave the house.  Ask Him to give you moments of rest along the way.
  • Everyone is different, but sometimes I stop at a coffee shop located near a favorite shopping spot.  I get a cup of something skinny and sugar-free.  I take time to sit and silently pray and have a conversation with God about how I’m feeling – pressured or stressed or happy or sad or whatever.  I love that God is up for a conversation with me anytime I need to talk.  And I try to be a good listener as well.  I feel refreshed and ready to keep going.  I’m at rest.
  • Remember ask God to help you and whatever doesn’t get done must not have been important.  Keep some verses stored up so you can recall them when need to rest and be calm.  Maybe it’d be a good idea to have some in your glove compartment in the car.

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I love love LOVE the line that says, LEAVE YOUR WORRIES AT THE DOOR.  What door do you go to where you know without a doubt you can leave every care on the doorstep?  I pray that my door is one where anyone can lay their stress and worry on the porch and come inside and feel more rested before they leave.

Even more importantly…  we need to leave our worries at the door of our hearts and ask God through Jesus to take our worries and cares away.  So let’s listen to this great carol.

Do me a favor and stop for a moment, take a breath and say a little prayer of thanks.  God is your strength.  Rest…  and smile.  Christ came for you.  🙂

 

O HOLY NIGHT

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For it is written, “Be Holy for I am Holy.”  – 1 Peter 1:16

O Holy Night was not a song at first, but a poem.   In 1847 it was written by Placide Cappeau, a wine merchant, mayor of the town, and an occasional poet, who was asked by a parish priest to write a poem for Christmas mass.

It most certainly was a blessed Holy night, when Christ was born.  You might say, it was the birth of Salvation.  Actually, that’s exactly how Lucinda referred to it.the-birth-of-salvation

The birth of Christ was just the beginning – for Him and for mankind.  He came to offer us more than we could imagine – and surely more than we deserve.  He came – He gave – He made the ultimate sacrifice for God’s creation.  Was it easy?  No it was not.  I cry when I read about how He prayed and sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane – no it was not easy!  He asked His Father if there was some other way – some easier path that could be taken to save man.  He would not have had to willingly give His life for us.  He could have said no and gone back to Heaven with mankind lost for all time.  He chose to take those nails and die for us.

Heaven’s Lamb is worthy of all honor and praise.  Let’s celebrate that most Holy of nights.

She’s only 7 years old!  Isn’t that great???  When I was 7 I was playing in mud puddles…  true story.

A birth of joy, peace, light, love, hope and everlasting life for you and me.  If that’s not a good reason to give praise and worship to the King – then I don’t know what is.  He came to earth as a baby, was raised as a human, was ultimately given a death sentence and was tortured in a horrific manner before being hung on a cross.  He went through with it – because He loved us.  He loves you more than anyone ever has or ever will.holy-night-prayer

Is living a life of holiness too much to ask?  It’s probably the least we could do in return for all He went through for us.  He wants us to live for Him and to love one another.  With His help, we can do that.  🙂