Wednesday, December 26, 2018

He will be named.

It was an ordeal, a process—sometimes a fight, but we finally landed on the perfect names for each of our children.  

I do remember in the process of throwing names around, there was a deep responsibility to our children.  After all, this name would become an important part of who each of them would be.  They would be known by the name we gave them for the rest of their lives.  

As we announced the names of each of our children, we knew there were no do-overs or second changes, and then right before our eyes--our sons and  daughter became their names.     

God the Father, for whatever reason landed on the name, Jesus, and WOW, Jesus certainly became His name too.  In Isaiah 9:6, there is a list of names that describe who He is.

 ...He will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

Wonderful Counselor means His ear is open to hear our problems and He will guide us into all truth.  Yes, Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor.

Mighty God means He's all powerful, able to do above and beyond anything we could ask or think.  Yes, Jesus is a Mighty God.

Everlasting Father means He is with us always.  He's nothing like an earthly father.  An earthly father can be absent, cruel and utterly fail--not Jesus, He is our Everlasting Father.

Prince of Peace means that in the anguish of life's trials He can step into our situations and bring a peace that passes all human understanding.  Yes, Jesus is our Prince of Peace.

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace and just like that, He has become His name. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Happy Heart

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.
  • Then there is Isaiah 12:3(TLB).  This is my  "Happy Heart" part of the Christmas story, and I hope it's yours too.  
"Oh, the joy of drinking deeply 
from the Fountain of Salvation!”

Merry Christmas and remember--have a Happy Heart now and always.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A Bright Light

We have an electrical problem at our house.  If the TV, fireplace and garage lights are all on at the same time, and then I try to blow dry my hair--it's not gonna work. 

When this happens, I have to go out to the cold dark garage to find the breaker box. There have been a few times when I actually went out into the darkness and kept moving in the general direction of the breaker box when I realized, I can't see anything.

I'd return to the house and look for my phone to use it as a flashlight.  Once I was in the light, I could find the breaker box and get the lights back on.

In Isaiah 9:2, there is an announcement in scripture that a bright light is coming and that  light will shine on all people giving them a way out of the darkness.  The coming of that bright light is what the story of Christmas is all about.

In John 1:4-5 it says,  “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 

There are 13 days left until Christmas.  These next two weeks will be filled with shopping, eating and celebrating.  Even thought this is a time of bright lights, cheer and happiness--some of those around us are still in darkness. 

I have a vivid memory of groping around in my cold dark garage trying to bring light to the darkness all on my own,  but That wasn't going to happen.  I needed a light to free me from darkness.

Jesus is the bright light who has come into the world to disperse the darkness, and He has commissioned each of us to be lights as well.

Don't miss your opportunity this Christmas to be a Bright Light in the darkness.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

You Came

Have you ever been faced with a task that you simply didn't want to do?

I have.

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 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.

He came!

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

I have hope.

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

Given and Received

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!

Book Release

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