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Christmas in December

 

December

A little colder,warm-christmas-decor-red-decorative-balls_1920x1440.jpg a little darker, a little scary to realize another year has already passed.  It’s no wonder Christmas is celebrated in December!  What better way to alleviate that cold, lonely fear than with bright colors, jingling bells, catchy songs sung by children, random acts of kindness by friends and strangers alike, scents that melt ice and warm your toes, dreams of past memories, hopes for future ones, savoring the moments that will bring joy in the years to come.  Christmas would not be as appreciated, as important, as impactful if it were any other month or time of year… and God’s hands in such a thing cannot be discredited.

Taking Christ out of Christmas won’t change any of the reasons we feel a little warmer this time of year and God knew that above all things, He and all things in His name would be attacked, especially Christ on Christmas. Do you think it’s coincidence that a Holiday we mark as the birth of our Savior has been celebrated in mass by nonbelievers around the world every year?  Of course not because even if they take Christ out of Christmas, they can’t take away the season God designed just for us to feel better, happier, warmer, more loving, more giving, more appreciative when it’s most needed to help us carry on through the cold, dark winter.

God designed Christmas, right down to the icicles and bitter cold that with the right lights and warmth would become beautiful and full of hope instead of frightening and full of despair and He did this for ALL of us, not just those who believe in Him.  Jesus was not sent here to heal the healthy.  He did not spend His days on earth ‘preaching to the choir’ so to speak.  Christmas, even if they remove His name, was designed to bring believers and nonbelievers together, surrounded by peace and hope, a time to love and be kind, thoughtful and giving.  Why do you think so many want Christ taken out of the name completely?  Because every person, believer or non gives glory to His name each time they say Merry Christmas.

Do not believe for one second that our omnipotent Father did not foresee the way the world would view Christmas, merry-christmas-nativity-dxkfghfse
how they would push against giving any glory to Him, how they would pervert it with greed and selfishness, how they would manipulate it to fit their own will and needs. I believe, with all my heart that He was counting on it… for with out all the worldy influences it wouldn’t be a holiday season, celebrated by all of God’s children, together, in His name.

Happy New Year

A Pure Heart

 Pure Heart

Create in me a pure heart ,O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

It’s the start of a new year, a time to take a deep breath and start fresh. We make lists, we make plans, we declare our resolutions but the simple part of all these ends there. Next it’s up to us to be disciplined, motivated and honorable in order to uphold our end of the “bargain.”

In Psalm 51, David is asking for forgiveness, acknowledging God’s loving kindness and tender mercies. He admits his transgressions and sins and asks God to wash him and make him clean.

We may not be looking at the past year and all our mistakes, but the sentiment can feel the same when we have a moment to think about the coming future.

This passage may have been about David’s transgressions and God’s forgiveness, but it is also about the faith and certainty we have, asking our Lord to wipe away all the days past and give us the unwavering discipline we need to hold steady, one day at a time.

  • stead·fast, stedˌfast – adjective
  • resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.
  • “steadfast loyalty”
  • synonyms: loyal, faithfulcommitteddevoteddedicateddependablereliable,steadytrueconstantstaunchsolidtrusty

Happy New Year

Bloom Where you Are Planted

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and future.”

  Jeremiah 29:11

This is a message of hope, to keep faith, a reminder that God has a plan no matter how far away we feel, how lost, alone or out of sorts.

In context, this was a small passage from a letter that Jeremiah sent to the people of Jerusalem who were taken captive into Babylon.  To these prisoners taken far from their home, God’s message was clear.  I HAVE A PLAN, DO NOT LOSE HOPE.

He also said for them to build houses, plant gardens, get married and have children, help them gow and marry and have children, to seek peace where he says, “…I have caused you to be carried away captive.”  In other words, Bloom Where You are Planted, because God Planted You There.

So many times throughout the Bible we read about faith and trust, God’s plan, God’s will.  When things feel difficult, overwhelming or just completely out of our understanding it’s easy to question and wonder is this God’s will? Is it in His plan

In that same letter, God says, “Call upon Me, pray to Me and I will listen… seek Me and you will find Me when you search wih all your heart and I will bing you back.  I will bring you home.”

This is more than just a message of comfort or an encouragement to be steadfast and have hope.  It is a promise.  He knows our circumstances, no matter how difficult they are.   He is not asking but telling us to settle where He has put us and wait for His time.  He does not ask but tells us to go to Him in prayer, seek him in our Bibles, carry Him in our conversations and there we will find Him and when His timing is right, He promises to bring us home, no matter how far away we might be, how lost or lonely or how difficult the journey.  Until then, we grow and bloom for Him.

LAST NOTE:  Wherever you are, whatever you are going through, seek the Lord with all your heart, in prayer, in your Bible, in your fellowship with friends and family.  If you are where God needs you, you will find the way to grow there and not diminish in Him.  If this is not the place God has planned for you, He will take you away and put you where you are needed.

Never Worry

We all have worries sometimes but I was reminded when reading in Matthew that Jesus said in Chapter 6:25 “..do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on… Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more value than they?”

Do not worry but put your faith in God and in His love for you and your family, trusting that He knows more of what you need than you do.

“Be still and know that I am God…”  Psalm 46:10 

One of my favorite verses, in fact the picture above is of my living room wall.  Every time I find a minute to sit down in there, the feeling of peace slides over me.  I’m not sure if it’s just the verse or the gentle way the birds are laid out around it (thanks to my husband who wouldn’t let his pregnant wife climb up on anything).  Either way, the sentiment is calming, reassuring and warm.  I thought I might share the verse in context with it’s chapter in Psalms, though it raises a little more excitement and energy then the segment by itself.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though it’s waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.  4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the most High.  5  God is in the midst of her, she shall not dawn.  6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved.  He uttered His voice, the earth melted.  7 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. 8 Come behold the works of the Lord, who has made desolations in the earth.  9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two.  He burns the chariot in the fire.  10 Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Grandma’s Quilt

Grandma’s Quilt

gma quilt

My Great Grandmother was a simple woman. She loved God before all else and it was evident in every part of her life. She was strong and gentle, firm and compassionate, beautiful and modest, wise and humble. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother before she passed away. There were so many things learned from her by the women in my family. If there was a woman of this century who fit the Bible’s example of a “virtuous woman” it was she.  

When she passed away, she didn’t look around at the vast amounts of riches or glory she’d gained, there was no thriving empire to look out over and see what great things she’d built in her long life. Instead, she laid peaceful in a bed, surrounded by all her children, all her grandchildren, most of her great grandchildren and even some of her great-great grandchildren. She listened to their voices, singing songs that she’d taught them, stories that she’d told them or been a part of.  Some had her hair, some her eyes, some her strong chin, her soft complexion. She was able to look around her before she took her last breaths, see the faces, hear the voices, the love, the laughter, the sorrow and understanding and know that this was what she built, what she gave, the empire she left to last lifetimes survived her in the generations that sat around her and would continue to carry on with out her.

 She didn’t just pass down knowledge of recipes, sewing, gardening, mothering and keeping house, the way she lived her life, loved her family and loved the Lord were the greatest treasures she passed down.

 She made a quilt for every baby born in our family and I imagine, babies born in other families too. One memory that stands out when I couldn’t have been older than four. She sat with a pile of material beside her, old dresses, aprons, table cloths and scraps. Humming a sweet hymn, she took out a piece at a time, cutting away the threads that held together whatever pattern it was before. An apron, faded and worn out quickly turned into a pile of rags, frayed along the edges, no longer held together by string. I glanced up when she came to a dress I recognized, a dress I’d worn more times than it could handle. Too small, too worn, it was no use to give or sell, she quickly set to undoing the stitches, cutting away at the pattern that made it mine. “Grandma!” I must have shouted, girl’s tears easily filled my eyes. I can’t remember my words, but the intent could never be forgotten. How could you ruin my dress? She was so calm, so gentle, so easy with words. She paused only for a moment to smile at me and smooth away invisible wrinkles in the dress.

This dress is too small and is worn in places that can’t be patched or fixed. It’s useless anymore as a dress, but watch and see.” She shook it out and went back to cutting, her nimble hands working quickly as she continued. “It’s exactly the color and pattern I need to make something new.”

I don’t remember if I accepted what she said or simply understood that I couldn’t wear it anymore but she continued cutting away, stripping away the shape and fittings in one pile, leaving a heap of what I saw as ruined dresses, aprons and clothing in another. Eventually she cut them all into squares, strips and shapes though I’m sure I didn’t sit there long enough to see it. One day she’d finished, holding up a beautiful quilt and I could see my favorite dress, the pretty color and pattern in fitted shapes with an apron, a tablecloth, an old shirt. These were things we’d worn out, used up, couldn’t give away or sell. Rather than throwing them away, she turned them into something beautiful, useful, something that would last longer than a size 3 dress or a button up shirt with holes.

Sometimes I sit, one of my grandma’s quilts wrapped around my legs and remember that day. I knew I couldn’t wear that dress anymore, I knew it was ruined and no longer useful and fought with her when she shredded it but she knew that she could tear away all the bad and make it into something better. As I smooth away the wrinkles, I see an old apron or tablecloth, a dress she often wore and remember her nimble hands, working magic over something “throw-away,” turning it into something treasured.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,

to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

God works that same “magic” in our lives if we trust Him to do so. It might feel sometimes like our lives are being ripped and torn, shredded into pieces and we can’t see passed what it used to be, what we wanted it to be to see what it is, something ruined, no longer useful, not pleasing or serving to the Lord. If we give it up to Him, let him use His nimble hands, He will turn it into something new, something beautiful, something better and long lasting. Like the quilt that covers my lap, whatever He makes will be cherished and we’ll see Him turn the fabric of our past into something unimaginable, something so much better, something according to His purpose.

quilt

Knowing God’s Word

Knowing God’s Word

Holy Bible

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Bible is inspired by God to teach us and correct us about righteousness so the we can live the life God has planned for us. If we aren’t familiar with the teachings of God’s word, how can we be sure that we are following them? And more importantly, how can we teach them to our children?

 2_timothy_3_16

If you’re new to the knowledge of God and His word, the bible is a great resource for questions and excitement you might have about your purpose. It’s full of fascinating stories and laws specifically laid out for us to live by. God tells us many times throughout the bible how important it is to KNOW His words, to know the laws He’s laid down so that we may live our lives according to His will.

 Be inspired by God! Learn, teach and fall in love with the stories in the letters that He’s left for us. Find yourself imagining what your life would be like in another time or place; find yourself relating to situations that were written for you to learn from and live by. Be reminded of the love and faith throughout the Word and renewed in the Spirit that dwells within it’s pages.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

Hungry for God

Where Two or Three are Gathered

Where two or three are Gathered

paper-church

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

Whether you’re facing hardships, good fortune or it’s just like any other day, there’s no better time to get together with friends. In the hustle and bustle of our lives, we get stuck in routines and forget to find time for our social life. Get together with the girls for lunch or an evening over dinner and desert, even if you have to cart all the kids, taking turns to keep them all in line.

guard your tongue

Of course, there’s always the chance that a night with the girls will bring out all the latest gossip and complaints, but attempt to keep your thoughts and words in a God honoring way and you’ll renew your strength and peace for the coming week, wondering why you hadn’t done it sooner and more often.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

holding hands

Talk, comfort and strengthen each other. If for no other reason, remember that your friends may need you more than you admit that you need them. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” What better way to do that than to fellowship regularly with other women and mothers who understand you in a way only a friend can?