Celebrate The Day It All Began

I recently celebrated my wedding anniversary. Four days before that, my son was blessed to marry the love of his life. And on this same day, my sweet in-laws celebrated 57 years of wedded bliss. WOW!!!! I thought, what an accomplishment. So, here they are 57 years later, celebrating the day is all began.

That’s what we really celebrate isn’t it? The day it all begins? A birthday celebration takes us back to the beginning! So here we are, approximately 2000 years later, celebrating The Beginning; celebrating the greatest gift to all mankind; celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Let’s be sure to go back to the beginning, and celebrate the glorious gift of God with Us….Emmanuel! He came to give us the gift of His favor, of hope, of peace, of joy, and best of all His Salvation.

If you’re a bit lost in this journey we call life, and you feel like you don’t have hope or joy; go back to the beginning, and start all over again. Jesus is waiting.

We celebrate Jesus’s birth, because without His life we would not have life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance-to the full, till it overflows”. John 10:10 amp

THIS IS WORTH CELEBRATING! This Christmas, celebrate the day it all began…..the day Jesus came into this world to save us, to give us a blessed abundant joy filled life!

I recently celebrated my wedding anniversary. Four days before that, my son was blessed to marry the love of his life. And on this same day, my sweet in-laws celebrated 57 years of wedded bliss. WOW!!!! I thought, what an accomplishment. So, here they are 57 years later, celebrating the day is all began.

That’s what we really celebrate isn’t it? The day it all begins? A birthday celebration takes us back to the beginning! So here we are, approximately 2000 years later, celebrating The Beginning; celebrating the greatest gift to all mankind; celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Let’s be sure to go back to the beginning, and celebrate the glorious gift of God with Us….Emmanuel! He came to give us the gift of His favor, of hope, of peace, of joy, and best of all His Salvation.

If you’re a bit lost in this journey we call life, and you feel like you don’t have hope or joy; go back to the beginning, and start all over again. Jesus is waiting.

We celebrate Jesus’s birth, because without His life we would not have life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance-to the full, till it overflows”. John 10:10 amp

THIS IS WORTH CELEBRATING! This Christmas, celebrate the day it all began…..the day Jesus came into this world to save us, to give us a blessed abundant joy filled life!

When I’m in the Valley, He Points To The Mountain Top

I went through one of the darkest most difficult times in my life over a decade ago. I was deep in the Valley, suffering grief, loss, and  financial hardships. I literally could not see my way out: no light at the end of the tunnel. My ship was sinking, and I was desperate!

What I learned was….I was desperate for God! Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I got on my face before my loving and compassionate Father. He held my hand through every challenge; through every pain; through every shed tear; through every fear; through every attack; through my grief, anger, resentment,un-forgiveness, and isolation. He held my hand while I experienced every hard emotion of my rock bottom.

He taught me how to pray; how to find contentment and joy in the smallest of things. He taught me how to read His Word, and the Holy Spirit gave me understanding. He would encourage me every day to not give up. His grace taught me how to brush myself off as I made mistake after mistake. He taught me how to forgive, how to love Him, others and myself.  NO, my situation did not change right away, but my outlook did. He turned my focus from the valley toward the mountain where He was taking me.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3

God held my hand in the valley, all the while lifting my head toward the mountain top. I want to encourage you today.  If you are walking in the valley, you are not alone! Your Father is with you! I can assure you that this” valley season” will not last. Hold fast to hope! Hope fast to your faith! There is a mountain top waiting with your name on it!!!

“God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not,  I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” Hebrews 13:5 ampc

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 msg

On The Way To The Trashcan

“I’m all done,” said three year old Stella, referring to the partially eaten school lunch in her hand. She stands up to leave the table. Grabbing her plate, she starts walking over to the trash can but does something odd…..she continues to eat food from her plate. All the while she slowly walks to the trashcan.  “But I thought you were done,” I laughed to myself. That’s when it hit me.

Don’t WE do the same thing? We say, “I’m all done” what that bad habit….that addiction…..that negative talk……that unhealthy lifestyle.  “I’m all done” with fear and insecurities. “I’m all done!!!”  All the while we continue to partake or participate or engage in the very thing we are trying to dispose of from our lives.

Oh that we should be patient with one another as those around us make attempts to turn over a new leaf: saying I’m all done, yet succumbing to it one more time. Even more, we should be patient with ourselves.

We need to forgive the failed attempts, and encourage that long slow walk to the trash can! Hebrews 12:1 tells us “. . . We must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us, and run the race that lies ahead of us and NEVER GIVE UP!”

Making life changes can be immediate for some, but most of the time it’s a process. In other words, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! Don’t be quick to judge yourself or others. Mom & Dad, don’t be so harsh on your children as they struggle to make the right choices. God has equipped us to turn over a new leaf…….as many times as it takes us to get it right.

We can do all things through Christ because He gives us strength, because he wants us to succeed, and because He has good plans for our lives.  He is patient and kind to forgive our failed attempts, and He extends to us the power of His grace. Furthermore, He says to you…..NEVER GIVE UP!

I Thessalonians 5:11 Encourage & build each other up

Ephesians 4:29  Don’t say hurtful things to each other. Find something good to say & help when you can

Galatians 6:2 Share each other’s troubles & burdens

Hebrews 10:24-25  Come up with ideas to stir up love & do good things; be encouraging

I Peter 4:8-10 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love makes up for many of your faults. . . God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.

 

When The Time Is Right

Isaiah 60

The Holy Spirit knows just WHAT we need; WHEN we need it; and HOW to supply it. On top of that, He knows just how to comfort us. Lately, I’ve been comforted by this scripture.

I trust that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine…..therefore, I know that some things in my life will be beyond my understanding, yet I will trust Him.  I know that He has good plans for me and my family…..therefore I can expect God’s favor to make that happen.  I know that the Creator of all I see, can create solutions in my life where I see none. I know that I can’t always trust in my limited reasonings and rationale, so I put my trust in an All  Knowing and All Powerful God.

But sometimes, waiting for my circumstance to change is hard.  I want it now!! Waiting for that break-through can be hard. I want it now!! Waiting for God’s timing can be hard. I want it now!!

I recently was reading thumbing through a notebook where I’d shoved various scraps of paper. At date was written on an old bank envelope: 2012.  The date took me back in time, to a place where I’d seen God grant me “desires” I had longed for….for over 10 years. Yet in 2012 I found myself struggling  because I had “needs” that were not being met.  But God didn’t get mad at me, He spoke a gentle yet firm reminder of His power and love to me. So I grabbed what was handy and wrote down what the Holy Spirit was telling me:

“If I can grant the desires of your heart, I will certainly meet your needs.”

Oh is it so wonderful to know that our God will not only meet your needs, but will grant the desires of your heart. BUT, we must wait on the timing of the Lord.

So encourage yourself in the Lord. Fill in the blank with the thing you have been waiting for…..the need…..the change…..the dream……the breakthrough…… the miracle…. and quote Isaiah 60:22.

When the time is right for _________________________, I, The Lord,  will make it happen.

DON’T GIVE UP!!! God has not forgotten you!!
DON’T GIVE UP!!! God is working on your behalf!!
DON’T GIVE UP!!! The Creator is still creating for you!!
DON’T GIVE UP ON GOD’S TIMING!!! Wait on the Lord and be of good courage!

A Changed Mind….An Unchanged Circumstance

Peace iv

While many may not admit it, Christians often struggle with doubt, anxiety, tormenting thoughts, fear, and the like. All of which will promptly steel your peace and be long gone before you even realize it. The thief in the night, you might say. I’ve been there recently. And this is the comforting word the Holy Spirit gave me:

My circumstances do not have to change in order for me to experience God’s freedom from tormenting thoughts. I can have God’s peace in the midst of a stressed filled situation!
His grace is enough!

Your circumstance may not change, but your mind can!!!! Keep your thoughts fixed on God, and He is sure to keep His promise of peace!

 

 

Your Mother is a Heavenly Gift

The love of a mother
Forgives, restores, loves and heals
Guides us, protects us and fights off our fears

She defends us from danger that we don’t even see
That’s what mothers do for you and me

A mother’s love fierce and true
Comes to our defense and our rescue
She takes a stand when no others will
Not because we are right
But because her love is real

But WE. . .
We children both infant and old
Live out a different story rarely told

We love and hug our moms one minute and
Run from her instruction thinking she just doesn’t get it
We roll our eyes and try to be grown
Can’t wait to get out and live life on our own

That’s when it happens I suppose
The understanding, we’ve stepped on mama’s toes
But this woman so loyal and strong
Remains by our side no matter our wrong

This depth of compassion is hard to explain
Except when we look at our Savior slain
His love is one that never forsakes
His blood disregards and covers mistakes

Grace and mercy abundantly given
A gift to us from our Savior risen
His love manifest isn’t only eternal
His love is extended through the maternal

That’s right, your mother is a Heavenly gift
Bring her love and honor, and continue to uplift
Your encourager, your warrior and your best friend
Thank You God for a love that never ends.

by Tracey Ray

What You Do Affects Your Family

May the Lord bless Onesiphorus and ALL his family because he visited me and encouraged me often. His visits revived me like a breath of fresh air, and he was never ashamed of my being in jail.” 2 Timothy 1:16  (TLB)

Simply put: what you do affects your family. This scripture can be both encouraging and cautionary. It tells me that when I live a God pleasing life, His favor rests on my family as well as myself. Living a God pleasing life doesn’t mean being perfect, so don’t be so quick to discount the blessings of God because you’ve made mistakes. God is not a tyrant waiting to yank the ‘blessings’ rug from under your feet when you mess up.

I want to encourage you today….if you are the only one in your family that is living for God, keep it up! Everything action you take that brings honor to God captures His attention: His favorable attention. That is the place I want to be, in favor with God, but not just for myself. What I do affects my family.