Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
When our children were young, there were many times we needed to address bad attitudes. We'd say something like, "It's your choice to have a happy heart. Choose wisely."
As a parent, I know it's easy to have high expectations for our children’s attitudes, but tread lightly saying those same words to an adult.
This Christmas season, I'm reminded that the narrative of Jesus' birth is one that is filled with people choosing a "Happy Heart."
- In Luke 1:44 we read about John the Baptist who in his mother's womb, leaped for joy because of his proximity to the Christ child Mary carried.
“When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.” Luke 1:44
- In Luke 2:10 the angels arrived in mass numbers to make an announcement of joy to the shepherds.
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10
- Then in Matthew 2:10 we have the story of the wise men who were searching for the Christ child. When they saw the star, they recognized that they were close. The Bible says that they were filled with joy at the sight of the star.
“When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!” Matthew 2:10
The Christmas message is defiantly a “Happy Heart” kind of story. This story brings great joy to all who choose to embrace it. The Christmas message opened the door that gave each of us a way to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son.
"Oh, the joy of drinking deeply
from the Fountain of Salvation!”
from the Fountain of Salvation!”
Merry Christmas and remember--have a Happy Heart now and always.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Many times I've dreaded things I've been asked to do. I drag my feet. I complain. I try and wiggle my way out of the task. I make excuses. Then in the event any of these maneuvers work, and I somehow am excused from the unwanted task--I'm relieved! Ecstatic! Thrilled! FREE!
I wonder how Jesus felt when he received His assignment from God the Father. It probably went something like this...
I've got a great opportunity for you, Son. You're going down to earth...as a baby. You'll grow up like any other child and get to go through all the ackward childhood stuff. Then when you’re an adult, you’ll be rejected, betrayed, persecuted, tortured and suffer an agonizing death on the cross. Are you in?
...and He came!
Jesus was asked to leave the comfort and safety of heaven. He wasn't going to a wealthy family with prestige and comforts. Nope! He would be born to a poor family without any of life's comforts. Upon His arrival, he didn't even have a private birthing room.
...and He came!
Jesus accepted the assignment without complaining, negotiating for better work conditions or debating that someone else could do the job better.
There's a song we sing at church with the phrase, Jesus--You Came! It addresses all the types of people that Jesus came for; the unclean, the unholy, the broken, the unworthy, the wounded, the hurting, the lost, and the lonely.
In this song, after this list is sung, there is a declaration proclaimed--Jesus--You Came!
When I try and wrap my mind around Jesus' willingness to come, there is simply no comparison in my circle of life that comes even remotely close to this.
In John 6:38 (GW) it says, "I haven't come form heaven to do what I want to do. I've come to do what the one who sent me wants me to do."
YOU CAME for me, and I'm forever grateful You did.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
We have all lost someone we've loved to the cruelty of the grave. When this happens--we are sure to experience grief. Death equals separation and sadness, there's just no way around it. Whether you are a Believer or an unbeliever, mourning is part of our DNA. It's the way God made us.
When my mother died in 1975, I grieved. And after all these years, I still become emotional when I think about the wonderful person she was, and how much I miss her gentleness in my life.
The scripture in I Thessalonians 4:13 (NET) says this,
Now we do not want you to be uninformed,
brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep,
so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope.
This scripture gives me an insurmountable peace of mind. I don't have to grieve like those who have no hope. That phrase in Thessalonians gives me both permission to grieve and instruction in how to grieve.
I may grieve, but I don't have to grieve as a person without hope.
As we end the Thanksgiving season and enter the Christmas season, we often remember our loved ones who are no longer seated at the family table. You have permission--from God--to grieve those empty seats, but in the process remember...God has given us hope.
Today, I am thankful for this amazing gift from the Lord--the hope of being reunited.
I have hope.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
I've heard my husband use this phrase in sermons many times. "We often remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember."
As I get older, I can honestly say, I've got that forget part down to perfection. It's the remembering part I struggle with of late.
Yet, there is one thing I hope I never forget. It's the power I have to forgive.
Through Jesus, I have an amazing example of forgiveness given and through my salvation I received that forgiveness, yet I often forget what Christ did for me when it's my turn to extend forgiveness to another.
I forget, there was nothing in me, that He should even care for my wreathed life, yet He did.
I am thankful today for forgiveness given and forgiveness received. There is much power, truth and liberation in these two words given and received.
Today, you may be carrying the pain of unforgiveness. Not fun! Let it go. Forgive as you have been forgiven. Give forgiveness to those who have hurt you with no strings attached. That will allow another to receive the pure joy of that forgiveness.
Never forget what Christ did for you when His forgiveness was given. Remember how you felt when you received that forgiveness.
Make allowance for each other’s faults,
and forgive anyone who offends you.
Remember, the Lord forgave you,
so you must forgive others.
Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
God's forgiveness--Given and Received--is something to truly be thankful for!
Now, it’s your turn to forgive!
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