Thursday, December 31, 2009

something new!

"This is what the Lord says - who makes a way in the sea, and a path through surging waters... Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." -Isaiah 43:15, 19 (HCSB)
There is a beauty in things that are new. Like a fresh snowfall or a new day planner, it is like a breath of fresh air to be able to start again with a blank slate. Jesus, Our Savior, came to save us. And we are able to live for Him. As we prepare to leap into a new year, He is able to help us start fresh and live with Him as our leader. How will we respond? He is waiting with open arms, so we have a choice of whether or not to follow Him. Will we choose to follow His lead?

In Isaiah, Chapter 43, we see how He asks us to put our trust in Him. He is under control and can help us start fresh if we let Him. Our Savior, who we celebrated over Christmas, is here to take us into the new year. He has given us the Holy Spirit inside of us, to guide us and help us lead others to Him.

What will be our focus in the new year? Are our plans the same as His?

I pray that we focus on our Savior and that others may see this and come to know Him, too, in the new year.
Happy New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Finish the Race

"But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24, HCSB).

I am not a good finisher. Some are good at working hard and running the race, some good at finishing what they started. I'm good at starting things and never finishing...which is not-so-good. I have so many projects that are incomplete right now. Our remdeling of the master suite remains ongoing so that is certainly something that needs to be finished. The Christmas decorations are ready to be put up. There are working things like syllabi to be done and emails to be sent. I have writing to do and other ministry projects just hanging. And dare I even mention the dreaded dissertation that needs to be finished?!

It is so easy to lose focus and yet Paul tells us in Acts 20 to finish the course that the Lord has called us to. I must count my life of no value and charge head to do the main thing. I must finish what He called me to start and to leave the rest. I must put aside everything that keeps me from doing my ministry.

In the next few days, I will complete my priority list for 2010. It will be a private list of the essential things that I know that the Lord is calling me to do. This list will not be a list for debate but a list that I will commit to and keep plugging away at until they are complete. The next few days will also be a time for me to finish what I started this year (2009). Just as I must start the new year well, I must finish some things already started.

I pray that the Lord will guide us all as we finish this year of commitment and begin the process of starting a new one. May He lead you every step of the way as we know Him, share Him, and lead others to do the same.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Day After Christmas


The lights are still up & so is the tree and if your home is anything like mine that tree is NOT coming down until January 2. Christmas decor must be maximized beause once January hits December will be yet again be 12 months away. For many the end of Christmas marks a time of sadness. The birth of Christ has been celebrated time and again as well it should be & even continuously in our hearts! Santa is gone...never mind the fact that he doesn't exit ;) The presents are opened...there's nothing like the joy of wondering what's in the wrapping paper. The celebration is nearly over...the New Year is just around the bend. But I write you this day to remind you that those of us who are in fact in Christ need NOT let the end of white lights, busy nights, the closure of parties with too much food get us down. In all seriousness, if we are in Christ there's much left to look forward to. I'm not a faithful Twitter girl, but I did spy this completely true tweet that I read more than a few times. Perhaps it will be an encouragement to you as well. It is from Dr. Albert Mohler: "is thankful that as Christmas comes 2its inevitable close, Christ's coming looms in its inevitable glory.Come quickly,Jesus" The part that strikes a chord with my heart is the fact that "Christ's coming looms in its inevitable glory..." Dr. Mohler's reminder wasn't the only one I have received over the past few days. My handsome husband also reminded our family of this fact by taking us through the Word looking at the prophecies concerning our Savior. Christ indeed came & was born in Bethlehem, but my heart rejoices that Christ is coming again! Yes for those of us in Christ we are living for the upward call that has been placed on our lives (Philippians 3). We are living for something far better than the rest, that is for the glory of our coming King. As we bid Christmas farewell...let's pray our Savior comes ever nearer. For who would die for a sinner? And who would have the power to raise from the dead? Only Christ Jesus our Lord. Let's continue to celebrate this fact day after day...even as Christmas & Easter pass by year after year.

From my family to yours: Merry Christmas & Happy New Year...all praise, honor, glory be to our Lord Jesus all the time!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

a flicker of candlelight

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrifired. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:8-12).

Today, there will be many candlelight services held at churches around the world. These times give us the opportunity to soak up the moment and remember Jesus, who was born that starry night years ago.

What does Jesus' birth story mean to us today? When the angels came to declare the news of Jesus' birth, the shepherds responded in fear. It may be unavoidable to be in awe of God when His glory is shown, as we can see when we read stories from Moses and Paul (found in Exodus 3 and Acts 22:1-16).

Yet, as the angels told, we do not need to be afraid, since God has sent His Son, Jesus, to save us! We are able to rejoice with this good news and be filled with joy, becuase Jesus was sent to forgive us and bring us closer to God. I pray wherever we are today that we are able to not be overcome with fear but swelling with thankfulness of His Son who came to save us. Not everyone knows the story of God's love, so let us spread this, "good news of great joy that will be for all the people."

"Silent Night" by Sixpence None the Richer music video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6ml_YbgJsQ

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What Was "The Breaking News" 2 Days Before Christmas?


"And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the inn."Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the inn."
Luke 2:4-7 (HCSB)

On the eve before the eve before Christmas what was the breaking news as Mary & Joseph anticipated the joyous birth of our One and ONLY SAVIOR?

Oh how I hoped I could report to you that it was the news that everyone was "getting ready" for the greatest event of all events!

Oh how I hoped I could report to you that there was a baby shower like no other baby shower taking place to welcome The King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Oh how I hoped I could report to you that everyone was full of belief and anticipation as a donkey slowly was making its way down to Bethlehem with a highly respected woman riding that donkey, which would of been very special in her day because usually the man rode the donkey and the woman followed along on foot behind him...then the real breaking news that people may have talking about comes clear, do you hear their whispers?...look at this woman, she is great with child, she is not married, she she she...then we can understand what the breaking news, that was really "gossip", 2 days before Christmas.

As we prepare to worship and celebrate the birth of Our Savior, people are "gathering" near and far, it's been said that "all hearts come home for Christmas"...I pray that my Christmas Celebration will cause me to become more like JESUS! God calls us daily to "come home" to return to Him in every area of our lives!
It's been said that "Wise Men/Women Still Seek Him"...do you see what I see? Are we seeking what God would want us to be seeking? Who has God put in the path of our lives that is seeking for meaning, purpose, belonging...Christmas is the GREATEST time to SHARE JESUS with people that are NEEDY & LOST and trying to fill all of the deep voids of their life with the things this world offers......Let's start right here right now and turn away from anything that could be "old news" in our lives and "return home" to JESUS and take as many other people with us as we can!!!

Now that is the GREATEST BREAKING NEWS that could ever happen 2 Days Before Christmas:-)! GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST & PEACE BE WITH YOU as we all strive to have PEACE WITH GOD & THE PEACE OF GOD!!!!! God Made A Way In A Manger!!!!!!

WE WORSHIP YOU CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOR FOR MAKING A WAY FOR US IN A MANGER!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwe7GDl9-04 (He Made a Way in a Manger!!!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGq5dAuMaEU (This Is My Desire...The Real Meaning of Christmas!!!!)

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Beauty of the Incarnation

Philippians 2

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

I love this passage of Scripture. Not only is the language beautiful...it expresses the wonder of the incarnation. God became a man ultimately to die & to be raised from the dead so that we could live forever in glory with Him. It's a captivating truth really. I remind you of this passage today because soon you will be in full celebration during this Christmas season with lots of food, lots of family, lots of presents, and hopefully lots of fun! It's the "lots of family" part that can be interesting. Perhaps your family knows what this season is all about...Jesus, but chances are you're going to be elbow to elbow with some people that you see a couple of times a year that you know full well don't know Jesus from Adam. At this point you & I will have a choice to make. Will we let the attitude of Christ Jesus be expressed in us? Will we become a servant to those around the dinner table and share Christ with words & actions? OR will we let ourselves be annoyed at Aunt So and So's silly jokes & Uncle Billy Bob's awkward social posture? My encouragement to you is to remember the grace Christ Jesus gave to us & give it away to someone else as you celebrate this Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where is Jesus?

This week I heard a grandmother talk about a darling picture of her grandchildren dressed like Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. What caught my attention was that this lady was saying how "Mary" (her pre-school granddaughter) did not want to cooperate; therefore, they took the picture without her and cropped her in later for the Christmas card. The picture was still adorable and the story is cute. BUT.....it challenged me to think about how often Jesus is missing from the Christmas story and how He is not even "cropped" back into it. Perhaps Santa or Rudolph or and elf might be put in, but not Jesus.

I was thinking: "Surely I would never be guilty of cropping Jesus out of the Christmas season!" But as I think about my 'to do' list and how I get busy baking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, etc. I was gently convicted by the Holy Spirit that I need to make sure my focus is on Jesus Christ and the real meaning of the season. May we all take EXTRA time out of our schedules to truly make Him the center and to spread the Good News of his birth to those around us!

"Hark! the herald angels sing, 'Glory to the newborn King! ' Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners (me) reconciled. Joyful all ye nations rise; join the triumph of the skies With angelic hosts proclaim, 'Christ is born in Bethlehem.' Hark! the herald angels sing 'Glory to the newborn King!'"

a marathon to inspire


"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him" (Lamentations 3:25).

In Lamentations chapter three, the spiritual leader Jeremiah points out how the power of God is greater than the power of the Israelites' enemy, the Babylonians. John Maxwell notes how Jeremiah, "dwells on his vision of God's plans: God will deliver His people and give them a hopeful future."

Jeremiah explains in Lamentations 3:22-23: "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not; they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness."

About three years ago, my friend Jackie (pictured above on the far right as an "iPod") went into a coma after getting hit in her car by a drunk driver. About two years later, she came out of the coma. She is now out of it (praise God!), yet she is still in recovery and is not able to live on her own. However, this past week, I learned that she was able to participate in a marathon!

Her family, friends, and community have been lifting her up in prayer all of these years. I believe that her family's faith in God's divine power has helped them push through the doubts that could have held them back as they raised money to help Jackie recover. Today, they are thankful to see her alive once again.

As this year wraps up before the holidays, I have seen how God's power and wisdom are beyond my understanding and worthy of my trust. So much in my life has changed, but I have been blessed to see what He has revealed to me about HIs plans so far!

Psalm 37 explains: "Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you" (verse 5).

As we approach this season, I pray that we trust in the power of God and are able to share with others the unending love that He has given us!

The link to Jackie's story:

http://www.wfaa.com/sports/more/Woman-injured-by-drunk-driver-to-participate-in-marathon-78913677.html

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First Christmas!

"With my own eyes I've seen your salvation; it's now out in the open for everyone to see: A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations, and of glory for your people Israel. Jesus' father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother, This child marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel, A figure misunderstood and contradicted—the pain of a sword-thrust through you—But the rejection will force honesty, as God reveals who they really are."
Luke 2:30-35 (the message paraphrase)

"For my eyes have seen Your salvation." Luke 2:30 (HCSB)

I will NEVER forget my first Christmas as a first-generation NEW BORN Christian...I was a 22 year old married young mother that accepted Jesus 07/21/85 and now I was celebrating JESUS for my very first Christmas (12/25/85)! My husband had just become a NEW Christian a few weeks before Christmas and WOW did we have so much of JESUS to Celebrate-tears flow from my eyes just remembering such a MIRACLE my life in Christ Is! When I read "The Christmas Story" from The Book of Luke~Chapter 2 for the very first time in my very first BIBLE, I could not hardly take in each word without Joy bursting from my heart and tears gushing from my eyes...I didn't just read these words, I felt them just like they are written in Luke 2:32-35, "with my own eyes, I've seen your salvation" and I wanted EVERYONE to know HIM & celebrate JESUS with us! "This child (Jesus) marks both the failure and the recovery of many..."; that is what my First Christmas represented so deeply I can hardly express it to you in words...a life that had been radically "recovered" from darkness into His Marvelous LIGHT...a LIGHT that I will NEVER get over and hope to PROCLAIM to others so that they too will experience JESUS now and for eternity!!
I have many examples I could share with you of Christmas' before Jesus came into my life and set me free with His Gracious Salvation...God uses those memories to remind me to never forget what it was like being LOST and use those feelings to reach out to others that NEED TO BE FOUND~BORN AGAIN...My First Christmas began as a grown woman of 22 but I felt like a new born child that the manger represents to me in so many ways!! God has my heart gripped with memories of my life "before Jesus & after Jesus"...let me just share that EVERYONE is searching for real meaning in this world and they will NOT find it until they meet JESUS and FOLLOW His Light everyday, there is not doubt that I know how to reach out to those that are searching searching searching...if we do not lead others to JESUS, the STAR of BETHLEHEM, they will continue to search in darkness that leads to an empty Christmas of unmet needs that Jesus so wants to fulfill!
What a JOY & PRIVILEGE to give the greatest GIFT that we could GIVE this CHRISTmas...Let's Share JESUS with someone that is searching searching searching for the cry of their heart=JESUS!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OIWymhNEbw
(Cry In My Heart!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hls8lCHtSS0
(Glory To God In The Highest!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Choices

"But if it doesn’t please you to worship the Lord, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship" (Joshua 24:15a, HCSB).

Life is full of choices. Some days I have so many decisions to make that I can't even think anymore. Many of the choices are minute and don't seemingly have much eternal value. Others will change lives forever.

This weekend, we have just begun the long process of having our master bathroom fixed. It is hard for me to believe that I was ever in the design business. There are so many choices out there and every decision seems to affect something. The tile on the shower walls changes the tile on the floor, the trim, the paint color, and even the sinks we use. The finished product will be changed and I have been reminded that these choices are ones that I have to live with the rest of my life! While they don't have eternal value, they do remind me of the importance of making the right decision at the right time.

On a daily basis, we must choose to serve the Lord. In fact, we must choose the Lord at every turn. Do I pray about tile choices? I do. I admit to praying about everything. So I sure pray about many more important choices. Do I ever make the wrong decision? Of course...but hopefully not on purpose.

Choose the Lord. Pray about choosing Him at every turn. Let's make sure that we choose today to worship the Lord with every decision we make. As leaders, people are counting on us to make the right decision.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Twinkling Lights

The bright hope of Christmas is that Jesus Christ, our God, became a man to extend salvation not only to the nation of Israel, but to save us. His arm stretched out to gather in even the Gentiles unto Himself. His desire was for the nations.

Isaiah 49:5-6
And now the LORD says—
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD
and my God has been my strength-
he says:
"It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

This passage of Scripture captivates my heart when I allow it too. The Father made the Son "a light for the Gentiles" in order that salvation would reach "to the ends of the earth." If you're anything like me the lure of twinkling lights, pretty nativity scenes, hot chocolate, Christmas celebrations usher in this cold winter-like season in which we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Without care we miss the mystery & miracle for which Christ came. The hustle & bustle quickly pulls us away from the plan of God into consumerism, materialism, me-ism. If we are thoughtful and reflect for a while however soon we see that the light of Christmas is not found in the lights on our Christmas tree or in shiny new gifts, but in a baby boy born in the most lowly of places. This One of lowly birth will one day rule the nations as an exalted King. Christ's desire is for nations...for the ends of the earth. If we are not careful in our very American world Christmas consists of nothing more than self preoccupation, thoughtless spending, & gluttony. BUT what if this time around Christmas was more than that for us...what if it was more than the annual Christmas cantata & the reading of Luke, although these things are quite profitable. What if our thinking around Christmas extended to include care packages for the refugees who are taking up residence in our cities...what if it extended to include prayers for the missionaries and lost people groups around the world. Basically, what if our Christmas celebration called us to the things the Father had in view when He sent His Son to earth...what if we asked the Lord to let the light of Christ shine in us in such a way that the nations would come to Jesus!

As I look at the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree in my own home...these are just my thoughts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

awe-filled wonder


"Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so Christ shall all be made alive." -1 Corinthians 15:21-22

How are we made alive in Christ? This week, I have been alive in Him as I am in awe of God as I have seen His wonder in snowfall, a little girl, a concert, and an answer to prayer.

Earlier this week, I got to see a group named Doxology perform Handel's Messiah. This opera-like performance proclaims Christ's story. The performers sing verses from the prophecy of His coming in the Old Testament, to His life on earth and His resurrection as described in the New Testament. This was composed so many years ago, but watching it helped me experience the wonder of God again!

One song included the verse from Romans 10:15:
"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"

How may we share His love today? This is one time of year where every moment another thing may remind us of the precious gift of His Son. I pray that today we are able to see His unmatchable love and are able to share the story of that holy night when He came to save us!

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, the King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Saviour, and he shall speak peace unto the heathen." -Zechariah 9:9-10

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keep It Simple!

Jesus Said, "All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:29-30 (HCSB)

Rushing around, cramming everything in, too much to do....and on and on! God is reminding me in several gentle ways that He is never in a hurry or worried. My encouragement to you and myself today, based on Matthew 11:29-30 is "Keep It Simple"! Let's Keep Jesus at the Center of Christmas as we simply love Him, worship Him, adore Him, prepare for Him, and most of all SHARE Him as we are going about in our daily activities! Just last night we had the joy and privilege of sharing Jesus with a waiter at a restaurant and God used the neatest attribute to draw him into my husband and my conversation...PATIENCE! We were patient with him and he needed that expression because there was much hustle and bustle going on around us at the other tables. As God's evangelistic out-to-eaters, He will use the simplest ingredient to reach someone for Jesus. We may not have led our waiter to the Lord, but we planted seeds of God & His Gentle Peace & Love! As we planted these seeds, God gave us a great gentle reminder to keep keeping things "simple" in everything we do, even in the enjoyment of eating out at a restaurant! As my husband and I enjoyed our meal, expressed our appreciation to our waiter, paid for our bill, and included a unique witnessing booklet for our male waiter...Jesus was Glorified in The Simple!

Keeping It Simple With You as we put on The Lord's EASY and LIGHT yoke of Christmas!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6K2ocj4BvUQ (Light a Candle!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mFCXbhKaEQ (Glory to God!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's a Deal


I love coupons. One of my favorite things to do is sit on the couch on Sunday afternoons and go through the Sunday paper with my grocery list and try to come up with the best strategy for saving money and getting great deals that week. A great joy for me is handing that stack of coupons to the clerk at the end of the order and just watching the numbers slowly go down. I am signed up for e-coupons through certain websites and also subscribe to some free magazines just for their coupon inserts. In addition to my own personal joy from finding good deals, I love to talk with other women about their coupons and deal-findings. The other day I was in line at the grocery store sorting my coupons out to double check and make sure I purchased the correct brand etc. I noticed the lady looking at my coupon book and immediately I started chatting with her about all the deals out there right now and giving her practical websites and ideas for how to save more money on groceries and household items. I left after checking out in such a great mood because first of all I had just received some great deals and also because I had helped lead someone else to discover great deals. A few days later I was reading an article written by Rachel Olsen as she reflected on her Thanksgiving shopping. After sharing her Black Friday shopping experience, she wrote "I found a few good deals at the mall that early Friday, but nothing like the deal I found at a little church almost two decades ago when I met this risen Lord and exchanged my sins for his grace". I found myself thinking back to that lady in the grocery store. Entering into the Christmas season, I took the time to specifically reach out to someone and joyfully share about the deals I knew about that might save her a little bit of money for the holidays. Not once did I open my mouth to joyfully share about the Savior who IS the reason for the season, bringing us the GREATEST gift of all when he paid for our sins with his life. What a deal! I trade in all my sins and I receive all his righteous, blameless life counted as my own. This year, commit to sharing about the greatest JOY that we could possibly ever know...that God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in Christ might not perish but have eternal life. May we be women who share often of the amazing treasure of Christ Jesus!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Who cut in on you?

“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the trust? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.” Galatians 5:7-8 (NIV)


I just love this verse. It always speaks to me. Sometimes I am great at accomplishing my goals but at other times, I just stop mid-stream. This verse hits the problem head on...what stopped me from running my race? Whoever or whatever it was, it wasn't the Lord. If He called me to do something, then I need to finish what I started.

I have to admit that I have a long list of things that need to be finished. I'm a good starter - sort of an apostle if you will - but I fall short of the completion part.

Right now, I admit that I blew it.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV


God is there for you and me when we blow it. He knows we are weak and cannot follow through on our own. He wants to be our strength and our power. Today, I'm focused on that. No matter who or what cut in on me, it wasn't as strong as God's power that is available.

Lord, help me to run the race that you have given me with your power.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Evangelism at Christmas


Here is an illustration about Christmas I heard thirty years ago by an unknown author that still communicates the wonder of the real meaning of Christmas to me:

"There was a man who didn't want to go to the Christmas Eve service with his family. He had decided not to go because he could not accept the truth of the gospel story. It did not make any sense to him. As he settled into his comfortable chair to read the evening newspaper, he noticed that it was beginning to snow. Later, as the wind began blowing harder and harder, the snow became blinding. He tried to go back to reading, but was distracted by a noise at his window pane. He got up to investigate the banging and noticed some small sparrows flying into the glass pane as they thought it was the path to food and warmth. As he looked out the big picture window, he saw many more shivering birds perched in the bushes. He thought about their plight, put on his overcoat and boots, and went out the front door.

He decided to open the barn door so the birds could roost in the shelter for the night. They did not move towards the barn. So, he tried sprinkling bread crumbs on a path to the barn. He thought that certainly the hungry little birds would follow--but they didn't. The man tried a different plan, getting a broom to try to chase the birds into the barn. However, this was just as futile because it scared the birds away.

Finally, in a state of hopelessness, he sat down on the barn steps and thought: "If only I could become a bird and talk to t hem. Then I could let them know I wanted to help them and save them from the cold winter storm." At that moment the clock struck midnight and the church bells began to ring announcing the arrival of Christmas Day. With a new realization dawning on him, the man knelt in the deep snow and said, "Thank you, God, for what you did for me. I now know that you became man to show me the path of salvation from a dark and cruel world."


May we all realize the tremendous sacrifice God made on our behalf and share this good news with family, friends, bank tellers, neighbors, store clerks, and anyone with whom we come into contact. Let's intentionally share that JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

where is the root?

In Luke, Jesus compared seeds thrown on rocks to people. He explained: "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away" (Luke 8:13).

As followers of Christ, where is the root of our faith?

This past weekend, my friend wondered aloud why some people claim they are a Christian when they do not act like they agree with the Bible's teachings. My friend was frustrated that a friend of hers seems to go to church to please others. She explained that her friend did not live like she wanted to obey God's Word.

That night, I wondered to God, "Am I acting like I truly believe what You say?" Since then, He has been showing to me where I can improve in my confidence to live for Him.

Later in Jesus' story about seeds, He described the kind of seed that grew to maturity: "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop" (Luke 8:15). I pray that God will help us learn more of how to live like seeds on good soil so that others see His goodness.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Parties With Purpose!

The film, "It's A Wonderful Life" by Frank Capra, tells the story of George Bailey and the Hope that is found in Life! Jaye Martin has taken this movie and created a party with a purpose; "It's A Wonderful Life" Christmas Party, shared in a way that provides an opportunity to "gently" introduce your faith & hope in Christ with others especially during the wonderful Christmas season! This "Christmas Party With Purpose" and many more for those of all ages can be found on this free download listed below as we look for creative fun ways to Keep Christ In Christmas!!! Here are the 4 great evangelistic Christmas Ideas & Parties for you to enjoy and share, each with great simple detailed step by step instructions that are found in this free down-loadable evangelistic women's leadership notebook. My prayer is that this will enriched your life in Christ in many specials ways like it has enriched mine!

http://www.namb.net/atf/cf/%7BCDA250E8-8866-4236-9A0C-C646DE153446%7D/2005%20HCLL%20NOTEBOOK.pdf (written by Jaye Martin, Director of Women's Leadership, SBTS)

The above download notebook is 51 pages full of awesome ideas and tools for anyone desiring to share Jesus in and through their lives! Here are the specific Christmas Parties With Purpose and the pages that you can find all of the fun simple step by step details for you:

"Christmas Traditions Home Decorating & Tour" can be found on Pages 37-41: Christmas decorating ideas that each have a purpose that all point to Jesus! You will LOVE these ideas can be used in many ways; for a Christmas home tour, personal home witness, personal Christmas focus on the real meanings of Christmas as you raise your children and/or desire for your home to point others to The Reason for the Season~Jesus!

"It's A Wonderful Life" Christmas Party can be found on Pages 42-43: This evangelistic party is based upon Frank Capa's film "It's A Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. This party of fun and hope has been used to provide opportunities to "gently" introduce individuals to your faith in Jesus Christ as you also send a message of hope and availability to those needing to know more about where your Hope comes from! There is a step by step party planning guide that you will LOVE! I can already smell the popcorn:-)!

"Happy Birthday, Jesus" Christmas Party can be found on Pages 44-45: This evangelistic party is planned with young children and their parents in mind. The party host/hostess are your children or any children's ministy. You and children of all ages will LOVE the fun party planning simple guide as a Christmas atmosphere is enjoyed by all!

"Jesus Cake" Celebrations can be found on Page 46: You will LOVE this edible witnessing tool as the fun simple baking directions are listed for a wonderful evangelistic dessert! What a great tool that helps us all keep Christ in Christmas and keeps the message of Christ coming from our kitchen:-)! You can share this cake with family, Christmas gatherings, co-workers, neighbors, delivery people, anyone..... as we share The Greatest Gift~Jesus through this evangelistic edible GIFT~"Jesus Cake"!

Happy Birthday Jesus~Welcome To Our Christmas As We Share You With Our World!! AMEN!!!!

Welcome To Our Christmas Jesus~Welcome To Our World!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogWRU29J78I (you will love this song!)
Happy Birthday Jesus!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQyXWllz5Ao (you will love this song!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oar123wgUH4 (you will love this song!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Serving


One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories over the years is Black Friday. Now, I do love to shop and find deals, but for me the day is more about spending the time with family and friends. This is like the ultimate girls day where my mom, sisters and friends will all plan out an entire day together beginning at 4am and including coffee, breakfast, lunch and lots of laughs and conversation!

This past week, I happened to be at a particular store with my mom shopping. This store was where we were both planning to do most of our Christmas shopping for the season and we had a fair amount of stuff. At this particular store, they offer a few small bags and a few carts for shopping. My mom had somehow managed to get a cart when she entered the store. When I entered about 2 minutes later, there was a line of about 20 people waiting for the next avaliable cart.

My mom and I continued in our shopping for about 15 minutes and had started to pile up some bigger items in our basket. All of the sudden, we passed a young mother trying to contain all of her children's items in a small bag. As we walked past, my mom looked at her and said something to me about how sorry she felt for that lady. Before I could even reply, she had turned around and gone back to give her our cart and attempt to transfer all our stuff into the small little bag. This lady was quite overcome that someone would do this for her, especially on the craziest shopping day of the year!

To be totally honest, at first, my reaction was to be disgruntled that I now had to carry my own awkward, heavy items. Yet the Lord graciously reminded my heart that He had just given me such a precious picture of living out the Gospel. Philippians 2 reminds us that Jesus Christ came to the earth and willingly gave up all the comforts, rights and pleasures of heaven to humbly serve sinners.

Entering into this Christmas season, I pray I would be a person who does not merely notice the need around me and talk about it, but rather chooses to humbly serve as Jesus Christ did. As the holiday season is here, look for opportunities to give up your personal preferences or needs to actively and willingly serve those around you in the name of Christ.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sit and be fed (filled)




Then Jesus said, '"Have the people sit down." there was plenty of grass in that place, so they sat down...Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks He distributed them to those who were seated - so also with the fish, as much as they wanted" (John 6:10-11, HCSB).

I was reading John 6 about Jesus feeding the 5,000 when it hit me. Jesus asked the disciples to have the people sit down. It is not a new thought to sit and eat. It is certainly what we just did for Thanksgiving when twelve members of our family gathered together to celebrate what the Lord has done for us. The thing that struck me was how many times we eat as we go. And of course the spiritual implications are what really hit me...how many times we want the Lord to fill us yet we don't stop to sit down and be filled.

Jesus desires for us to come to him and to be filled. Yet, He desires for us to sit and be filled. If anyone was ever on a mission for God, it was Jesus. Even though He was super busy, He always took time to get away from the crowds and to be alone with the Father. He took time to sit and be filled.

Especially during the holidays it is easy to be too busy to sit and be filled. I'm going to commit to make sure I schedule that sitting time so that I can be filled with God's wisdom for the day. Anyone else want to commit to sit and be still during this busy season?

Friday, November 27, 2009

"Give thanks to God the Father for Everything."


"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph. 5:19-20)

As we have celebrated Thanksgiving with you friends and family, I hope all of us had a time to reflect on God's goodness to us. I was reminded of a song I learned as a child that sums up the message to me above all about WHY I should be so thankful.

"He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to take my sins away. And now I sing a brand new song "Amazing Grace," Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay."
"To do" lists, school stress, project deadlines, family illness, early shopping hours and lines etc. may cause us to take our focus on Christ, but let us remember to sing a little song in our heart to the Lord. HE PAID a DEBT THAT I COULD NEVER PAY." Let us all express our thanks to Him!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

sing alleluia!

"Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wondrous works! ... Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered" (Psalm 105:1-2,4-5). Let us remember our God this day, and tell others of His boundless love!

Luke wrote of David, the ancient King described much in the Old Testament: "David said about him: 'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay'" (Acts 2:25-27). Today, we can love God and get to know Him even more, now that He sent His son to die for our sins. Jesus has risen again, and the Holy Spirit is able to come inside of us and give us joy, peace, and the strength to walk with God as our leader.
Later in Chapter 2 of Acts, Luke describes how some of the first believers gathered: "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:46­-47). Let us be glad – wherever we are today – and praise His holy name, for we have a God whose love never ends and we have a fellowship of believers to come together to praise Him. Let us declare to all: Oh, how He loves us! Happy Thanksgiving!

Worship songs below (feel free to share some of your favorites):
"Sing Praises" by Third Day - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYSzDeo3Acs
"How He Loves" by David Crowder Band - http://www.onlylyrics.com/hits.php?grid=11&id=1034792

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ThanksLiving!

"My Mother & My 66 Year Old Uncle Larry"
Many join me today through precious memories for our loved ones that are in heaven this year as we give thanks around our tables for the first time with their earthly chair empty but with our hearts full of Indescribable Thanks! The Lord has my heart flooded with a sweet still small message/testimony of HOPE to share with you that may be growing weary as you wait for your loved one or friend to accept the Lord as their Savior...NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!

I pray that these promises will encourage and strengthen your unending desire for your loved ones to turn to The Lord and be SAVED! "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."!! NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!
1 Cor. 15:57-58 (HCSB)

As a first-generation Christian, I deeply understand some of the thoughts and feelings that many reading this blog right now are feeling as you prepare to gather with loved ones that still need the Lord...it took over 10 years of unconditional love and prayer until my own mother came to know JESUS as her LORD & SAVIOR...Praise You Jesus that I had the greatest joy and privilege of leading my mother to the Lord on 2/15/92 (this date is written at the beginning of her Bible that now sits in a special prayer place of my home)!! As I celebrate these first holidays with my mother in heaven due to her home-going this past Spring from cancer...the word that I cling to that gives victory is JESUS...CELEBRATE JESUS even if it is mixed with some tears of grief especially as I cook some of her favorite recipes and decorate with some of the special tokens of love she made through the years! NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!

I am celebrating Heaven in a sweeter way today because my mother is with Jesus this first Thanksgiving (which is also her birthday) and CHRISTmas...GLORY TO GOD!!! You see my friends, I know your hearts desire for your loved ones to all become believers! It is one of the greatest passions of my life!! I pray that my testimony will give you ThanksLiving HOPE & JOY!! You see, not only is my mother in heaven this season, but her 66 year old brother, my uncle Larry, ACCEPTED JESUS AS HIS LORD & SAVIOR at her memorial service as God gave me the humble privilege of SHARING JESUS and sharing my mother's testimony with GREAT JOY!! NEVER GIVE UP on those that you are still trusting the Lord to reach for JESUS!!! And as you gather with your loved ones and friends that still need Jesus, I can share with you that one of the greatest witnesses we can give, even though I know it is not always easy, is ThanksLiving (attitude) and Unconditional Love (expression) that described in the key verses that I shared at the beginning of today's Blog..."be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain"!! NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!

I thank God for you and you can count on my prayers as God gives you supernatural strength to keep extending His Love to your loved ones (the names that He has on your heart right now)that need the Lord!! Please always feel free to e-mail me with any private prayer requests that you may have as we keep planting and watering evangelistic seeds in the hearts of those that need JESUS!! "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." (God Will Do It!) 1 Cor. 3:6-7 (HCSB) NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laE9wlvD9MI (Give Thanks)!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YMLmlHfehQ (When I Get Where We Are Going)!

Monday, November 23, 2009

No Worries

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore, don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:33-34, HCSB).

I am thankful for so many things: my family, my friends, my home, my job, and so much more. Most of all I am thankful for my salvation and the joy He brings to life. In the middle of plumbing problems, a desk piled high, and Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it is of great comfort to know that God loves me, cares about me, and takes care of all the worries of this life.

Today, let's look for who we can remind that God is available to each of us. His salvation is only a prayer away.

Happy Thanksgiving week to each of you. What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"I'm in a hurry...."

"to get things done. I rush and rush until life's no fun..." Do you know that song? Sometimes we hurry & worry through life. Have you ever been there? Proverbs speaks to this dilemma we encounter in our life from time to time (or maybe you encounter it every week). Listen to this: "Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge,And he who hurries his footsteps errs." Proverbs 19:2 Did you catch the latter phrase..."he who hurries his footsteps errs." It's so true. I can tell you countless stories about little scrapes & bruises I've earned from rushing about...you too? But can you imagine how many opportunities to share the Gospel we've missed because we're too busy to stop, too busy to listen. This week I experienced victory in this area of life and made a conscious decision to slow down to take the time to visit neighbors and hear where they were in life. And I can tell you that my schedule could wait all day but the stories I heard from a precious neighbor that needed immediate attention...they could not wait! Had I been hurrying I would have missed the opportunity. Don't miss your chance to love your neighbor because you have too much to do. Let your agenda bow down to God's will.

Friday, November 20, 2009

enthusiasm


"That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome." (Romans 1:15)


When our first child, Kristi Marie, was born, I remember that Tim and I had our "list" of people to call to tell the good news of her birth. After we called everyone on our "list" Tim decided that he was tired and hungry after a long labor and delivery; so, he decided to go to the cafeteria to get something to eat. He told the cafeteria workers, the cashiers, the man putting mustard on his hot dog and even the people on the elevator about the good news of Kristi's birth. Then, on the way out of the parking lot later that night a horrible thought crossed his mind that "perhaps the news had not yet filtered down to the parking lot attendant about her birth." He proceeded to tell him about the birth of his new little girl.

The next morning in his quiet time, the Lord spoke to Tim as he read this verse and it was if if the Lord were saying to him, "Tim, you are so eager to tell people about Kristi's birth, BUT do you have that same eagerness to tell about My Son, Jesus Christ, and HIS birth?"

Wow!! That has been a conviction for both Tim and me ever since then. We all must not only be willing, but eager to share the good news of Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross to all who cross our path. Let us encourage each other to be EAGER to share!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Holy Spirit entrance"

In the front of a school in Louisville, there is a sign that leads into a driveway lined by trees that reads, "Holy Spirit Entrance." My roommate brought to my attention the humor in it! In fact, "Holy Spirit" is actually the name of the school, for Kindergarten through eighth graders. We know that Holy Spirit, in this case, means that the entrance to the school is near that sign. However, in everyday life, it is easy to believe that if we do one thing, then the Holy Spirit will be with us.

The Bible is clear, though, that whatever we do is marked with God's grace and fueled by His power alone. In chapter ten of Mark, Jesus explained a story of a rich man and how difficult it is for people to enter the kingdom of God. Yet, in verse 27, "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'" Thank God that the all-powerful God wants to save us!

A commonly-read story explains the incomparable, saving power of our God. In Daniel, chapter 3, God-followers Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship the idols of polytheist King Nebuchadnezzar. The king decides to throw them in a furnace, leaving them to burn to death. They respond in verse 17, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king." Later in the chapter, we watch as God in fact does save them, and they arise from the fire without harm!

King Nebuchadnezzar is moved by this, and he declares "to the peoples, nations, and men of every language, who live in all the world: May you prosper greatly! It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the most High God has performed for me" (Daniel 4:1-2). Indeed, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's rock-hard faith has passed throughout the generations.

I pray that we are able to live for Him and His glory, that we may remember that it is Christ alone who saved us, and that it is His name that we are to spread the good news about all across the world.

Other verses about God's saving grace: Romans 11:23, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Hebrews 7:25

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Re-Main & Re-Connect!

Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me." John 15:5 (HCSB)


"...Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread....Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s Glory."1 Corinthians 10:17, 31 (HCSB)

Happy Thanksgiving!! There are many reasons why Thanksgiving is such a special part of a Christian's life! Our lives are humbled and full of gratefulness as we count our many blessings and thank God for everything that comes straight from the hand and heart of our Lord and Savior! God teaches us daily how to live with an attitude of gratitude! Thanking God for every good and perfect gift that is from above!

As we look at pictures of "circles of people" gathered around a Thanksgiving Tables "Giving Thanks", let's think about another reason that Thanksgiving is important in the life of a believer...

I would like to share something that God has on my heart this Thanksgiving... there is a unique trap that our post-modern generation is vulnerable to falling into! Christians of today may be vulnerable to falling into the trap of "Disconnection"...a feeling of distance from God and disconnecting from others!

God has called me to continually examine my own life in Christ and carefully follow His Call to share Jesus with others and encourage my sisters to do the same as I pray for and encourage others through the gifts He has given me. I thank God for the ways that the Lord keeps me sensitive to some of the warfare that the enemy is using through our post-modern technology and lifestyle against us in The Body of Christ! Some of these traps are unique to the modern high tech busy world we live in.

I may take the next few weeks after Thanksgiving to specifically dive into some of the specific ways we are disconnection in our lives so for now let's just examine our lives and ask God for His help to stay close with God and others...


As His Evangelistic Concerned for Others Gifted2Go Believer: Re-Main With God!

  1. Take Some Silent Time With God & Listen To What He Is Personally Saying To You!
  2. Take Some Time To Re-Connect With God And His Still Small Voice!
  3. Take Some Time To Thank God For Every Blessing You Have! What are some specific ideas you could share with others on Re-Connecting with God when you may feel distant from Him?

As His Evangelistic Concerned for Others Gifted2Go Believer: Re-Connection With Others!

  1. Take Some Time And Ask God To Help You Re-Connection With Others!
  2. Take Some Time To Write Down A Re-Connection With Others Simple Plan!
  3. Take Some Time To Re-Connect With Those That Are Close To You & At Least 1 New Person That Needs Jesus! What are some specific ideas you could share with others on Re-Connecting with people?

Re-maining & Re-connecting with God and Others will take some honesty, confession, vulnerability, expression, courage, and many more EMOTIONS may come over you for His Glory....for example; in order to re-connect through the telecommunication business that I serve in, there are daily "trouble tickets" that we troubleshoot until re-connection is accomplished.

As we re-main close lose to God and connection is accomplished with others you can look forward to community (fellowship)...just like the picture of a thanksgiving banquet table that is not "fit for a king" but is "Full of The King of Kings" as another "Happy Thanksgiving" is enjoyed by All for His Glory! AMEN!!

Due to a Thanksgiving mini-blogation, this post will be my last post for November 2009....new blogs will still be posted from my blogging buddies as the Lord leads (Happy Thanksgiving Blogging Buddies)...see you again December 2nd...I Thank God for each and everyone of you!You are a blessing and inspiration "ECO:Gifted2Go" praying friends!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good."! Psalm 107:1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2_IZZNjdas (giving thanks with a grateful heart!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB1yDv9_N1k (draw me close, Lord!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thank You

Today, I received a very convicting email from another teacher where I work. I have copied it for you to read below.

These are some thoughts you may want to share with your students regarding the Operation Christmas Child boxes. This afternoon I translated a thank you note from a 7 year-old girl in Burkina Faso who had received a shoebox. Here’s the letter.

June 5, 2009

I have the great pleasure of hearing from you. My name is Guedraogo Safiatou. I am in an elementary school class in the village of Toba in the department (county) Yaba of the province (state) Mayah. I am the oldest girl of a family of farmers. I have 5 older brothers and 5 younger brothers. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all the wonderful gifts that you gave us here in Toba. I want to send my greetings to all your family and friends in America. I hope that your friendship will continue forever if God wills it so.

Thank you!

Guedraogo Safiatou

I got to thinking as I returned the letter back to the elementary office. In saying thank you, Guedraogo had spent about $2 between the cost of paper, stamps and the photo. It doesn’t sound like much to us until one realizes average person’s yearly income in Burkina Faso is about $320. She spent a small fortune or about 0.6% of the average Burkinabe’s income. For one of us to say thank you in an equivalent manner as this little girl, it would be $196 (about 0.6 % of $31,800, the average US worker’s income).

It’s kind of humbling. Would I say thank you if it cost me $196? And how often have I forgotten to say thank you?

“Give thanks in all circumstances!” I Thessalonians 5:17

What an appropriate challenge heading into the Thanksgiving season. Take the time today to thank first our Lord Jesus Christ for what He has done. How often do we forget to tell our Creator thank you for our very life? Today, commit to living thankfully unto the Lord. Also, take the time to show someone else your thanks for what they have done. Let us be a people characterized by thankful hearts!