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Thursday, December 25, 2014

The true meaning of Christmas

We are all familiar with the manger scene.  Its generally a part of the Christmas decorations in most churches foyers.  You may find it in a few homes of your friends or family.

I was out for a run this morning.  

It was dark, quiet, crisp.

As I ran, in the quiet I realized that the greatest gift was given to us from a God who loves us fiercely.

He sent His Son to be born, so that he could grow up and die for us.  The Cross is a symbol of grace, mercy, forgiveness and peace.

How often do we truly accept the gift of forgiveness?  We are a broken people and without knowing it on a daily basis we hurt people.  We hurt them with our words, our actions, our attitudes.  We cheat, kill, destroy.  We deceive, lie, steal.  We judge people because they don't look like us, or like we want them to look.  We judge people because they have different beliefs and opinions than ours. 

Why would God send his son to die for people like that?  I realized this early morning that if I got no other gift, the gift of forgiveness is the greatest gift.  I don't deserve yet its offered freely.  Its up to me to accept it, and then walk in that forgiveness.  

This past year was filled with many ups and down, twists and turns.  I had some highs, some lows.  I was happy and sad, lonely at times and blessed beyond measure at other times.  What I deserve this Christmas is less than what I'm getting.  But,  because of God's great and amazing love for me, I am forgiven. 

Will you receive the gift of forgiveness this Christmas?  It truly is the best Christmas gift of all.  Its free for anyone who asks. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

God lead me...

Letting God lead me. 

That's hard sometimes, isn't it?

We either want to do things our own way, or what God wants us to do is HARD!

He will ask us to give away something that means a lot to us ( our money, our time)

He will ask us to forgive someone who hurt us (but they don't deserve it Lord)

He will tell us to go and we want to stay (mission trip? move to a new city? new job?)

Many times God wants us to do things that are hard, not because he wants us to fail but because he wants us to grow.  He is stretching our faith. If we do something that on our own we can't accomplish, then our faith in Him gets stronger, because its only by His power we are able to complete the task he has given us.

Many of you may have heard the song "Oceans" by Hillsong.  I posted the video above.  I've heard it many many times on the radio and at times have turned it off because I was tired of hearing it.  But, God brought it to mind during my quiet time.  I read the lyrics and the song took on a new meaning. So many times we hear songs and yet we don't HEAR them.  We listen to the lyrics, but we don't LISTEN.  God will call us to places unknown.  It will be a mystery to us why 
we are going where we are going.  But he also calls us to have faith in Him and trust that he will never fail us.   The lyrics are below.  Read them.  Embrace them.  Listen to the song and let it sink into your soul.   

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep My faith will stand
I will call upon Your name And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

The year is nearing a close.  A new year is about to start.  What doors does God want to close?  What steps do you need to take to put your faith in Him this new year?  Is God calling you to do something and you have turned a "deaf ear" because you don't want to listen?  This is a subject that has weighed heavily on my heart.  We should be set apart, different from the world.  "I am yours and you are mine".  We are God's.  He's asking us to go places we would never go on our own.  I'm excited to embark on a new journey.  To take my feet where my faith will be made stronger.   I challenge you to do the same.  Maybe spend the last few days of 2014 reflecting on what changes God wants to make in your life and see what you need to do to make 2015 the year of change in your life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Gratitude or Ingratitude?

Adam and Eve had it ALL!

The Ultimate Garden.

Ecological Harmony.

Spiritual Peace

Relational Purity.

Satan suggested there could be more.  And with that thought came discontent.

I can have more?  

Had they chosen gratitude, would the world be different today?  If you chose gratitude, would your world be different today?

In this season of GIVING, I am more aware of the discontent of so many people.  What they have isn't good enough - they need more, bigger, better, faster, shinier.  Made me think about how often I say "Thank You" to God.

Thank you for a home I can afford - no matter its size.

Thank you that I have a job - even if its not my choice of jobs.

Thank you for a car to drive - instead of having to use public transportation or walk.

Thank you for healthy children - as I see others with children struggling with disease.

Thank you for running water, heat, and food in my refrigerator.  I could be homeless and hungry.

So, I decided to make a spontaneous list of my ABC's of Gratitude.  A few of them were hard to come up with, but as I finished my list, I found I started thinking of things I could have said - realizing then I have more to be thankful for than I can even think of!!!  I challenge you to write your own ABC's of Gratitude.  It will open your eyes to how THANKFUL and Gracious you should be.

A - Apples that I can eat that are juicy, sweet and good for me
B - Boys - my two sons - the loves of my life
C - Cowan my kitty - He is full of life and his purrs soothe me
D - Dog Sandy - She's been a faithful friend for over 13 years
E - Excitement over the wonder of Christmas
F - Friendships - they bless me more than I can say
G - Grace - freely given
H - Hope - In Christ I have hope
I - Interruptions - they cause me to stop, and sometimes helps me to see whats in front of me
J - Jesus - enough said!
K - Kisses - the small chocolate ones!!!
L - Laughter - its the best medicine
M - Mom - she is my rock, my biggest supporter, my hero
N - Naps - as I get older, I appreciate them more 
O - Oh's - "Oh, that's awesome!", "Oh, your baby is adorable".  They enhance life!
P - Puddles - lets splash in some!
Q - Quizzes - they help us to see what we know and what we have yet to learn
R - Rain - it washes away the dirt, it makes the flowers grow, its a sign of life
S - Sleep - can't get enough of it these days
T - Talks with friends
U - Universe - what a vast and wonderful thing created by our God
V - Victory over death
W - Walks thru the woods
X - X-rays, xylophone, and anything else that starts with X!
Y - Youth - its fleeting - embrace it
Z - Zippers - they keep the cold out and the warmth in

Its a quick list - took me about 10 minutes to write. 

I challenge you to write yours today.

Today, choose Gratitude over Ingratitude because: