Tag Archives: Christmas

Never Alone

13 Dec

Spending the evening with a community of givers, showering 24 foster boys with love and gifts for Christmas, filled my heart to overflowing.

The night turned my thoughts to the evident, loving hand of God. These boys have struggled and some have gone through things none of us can imagine, some of us can.  If you could have been in that room full of the body that cares, witnessing the gifts they gave the boys, in presents and presence; You would feel humbled and moved, cup overflowing too.

Some of these boys stand out in a great way, they have a strength, a light about them. Some are just doing the very best they can, finding their way.
I have been reflecting on the people I am surrounded with, each has suffered deep hurts or loss. Some from rejection and abandonment, some the loss of someone they loved way before they were ready to say goodbye. God has surrounded me with these beautiful, raw souls. They have taught me so much. He opened my eyes, when I stopped seeing my own pain and started seeing theirs.

What stands out to me is that this world ebbs and flows with goodness and evil, but the God of the bible, never, ever changes. His promises stay the same. His Love stays the same.

When He sent the sweetest Christ child to be born for us, our lives were transformed forever. We can just get too lost in this messed up, broken world when we think it’s supposed to be so easy. When we try to do this alone.

Truth is; When we accept our Savior, we are never alone again. When that sweet baby grew,  taught us, and finally died on the cross for us; He promised to leave us with the Holy Spirit.  He didn’t abandon us. This is the gift that allows us to endure all things. This helper, this guide, this friend that dwells within us, never leaves us. Holds us, whispers Peace into our crazy lives.

There are no completely rejected people on this earth. When Christ died for us, we became co-heirs.  We are all welcomed, we are all wanted, we are pursued relentlessly! He longs to have a relationship with each of us. Being a Christian is about who He is, it isn’t about who we are. It isn’t about what we do, but rather what He does in us.

Like Job, our testing of faith will never be easy, our journey will never be without trial, hurt and sorrow. Nothing in that bible says it will, but our faith will grow stronger within us when we stay close to Him.

Most know Psalm 23. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”.
We have to walk through the valley to get to the other side. We can’t go around it, we can’t avoid it. We must go through that valley but it also says “the shadow”. Shadowing only happens when there is light present. He is that bright and shining light at all times, proof again that we never walk alone.

May you find your peace, your hope, your joy in Him. He is all we need. He refreshes us, builds us up, strengthens us, and gives us hope for the future. Amen.

This is from my devotional today. It says it way better than I can. Be blessed.

 

Worse than not having anyone close is to be rejected by the one person you thought you could count on. 

 

When memories of rejection dominate our thoughts, it’s because we are putting human relationships in first place. The way out of that gloom is to let God take his throne back in our lives. Sometimes God allows us to be rejected and burned by other people so that his steadfast love will shine all the brighter. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me” (Psalm 27:10).

 

When you read the stories of the books of Joshua and Judges, you get the sense that God will do absolutely anything–even breaking the very laws of the universe he created–to make the lives of his people better. If God’s faithful love and promises are the first thing we trust in and depend on, everything else will fall into place in its time. When you know that you can absolutely depend on the Lord’s affection for you, you can face anything. “In the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).

– time of grace

 

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Hope

3 Dec
I saw and felt the hand of God today. He moved in our church in a powerful way and when He moves a body of the church, it is palpable and just moves me so much. The message was so relevant and powerful.  When He is so present, so overwhelming in His power, it wakes us up. We come back to Him.

There has been so much sin against God, and so many of us (mainly women and kids) have suffered from covenants broken with God, with us. Families are being torn apart by sin. Satan has been working overtime these days. He knows his time is coming to an end and he is working overtime. 

Even as I love my Father,my savior, my Him so much, even as I climb into my faith…I see so much weakness in my trust. I have so much brokenness in me; Cracks.
Logically, I have amazing wisdom that He has shown me. Growth that should be evident at all times, but it isn’t. Applying it fully, owning it and knowing it to be yours are not as easy. Flesh makes faith so difficult, emotion makes it so hard. The liar, Satan, capitalizes on that weakness. 
When someone does something that is obviously outside God’s word, it is easy to focus on their sin. In the end, it isn’t about them, it is about us. We must, must, must remain in the word, even when we don’t feel  Him or feel the emotion or connection to it. We must be transparent in our own shakiness of faith.  We must seek the Holy Spirit; Our Counselor, guide, Truth teller, our compassionate friend. He holds us when we seek Him. He protects us from becoming too out of reach, too bitter, too angry, too selfish, too hurt, too scared, too weak.
Today I am eyes opened, and fully humbled before him. I have always promised to be transparent in my walk. Truth is, I have been very strong in my walk through divorce and I have been completely a hot mess of sin in it. I have hated, I have gossiped,I have judged and I have bore resentment. I have felt very sorry for myself.
I see my own sin, my own discouragement, my own need for the helper, the counselor, the convictions. My own struggles with my faith, my Holy Spirit relationship. I have shut down in a way I never have before in my life, especially since I found the Holy Spirit in the first place. I have allowed Satan to tell me I am worthless, not lovable, that my love was not good enough, that I am not good enough and I wasn’t worth the same forgiveness and efforts I gave.
In the end, isn’t that saying Christ isn’t enough? Isn’t that calling Him a liar? Isn’t it saying I am so powerful, that I was the reason it all was such a mess, so hard?
 
The truth is, at times, I don’t trust God. Truth is, at times, I feel He didn’t protect me enough, that the Holy Spirit didn’t speak to me loudly enough. That I caused and deserved what happened.

This broken world can just be too much sometimes and I can become so weary, but today.. I was reminded that I am whole in Him, I can feel this broken, this beaten, this lost and still be held so close. He is holding me so tightly and I have been so lost in my own suffering to see Him. He told us we would suffer!  He also gave us all the tools, all the directions, all the promises and everything we would need to remain strong and full of His light. After all, in the end, it is all about Him, it is all for His glory. 

The truth;  The covenant was broken with God, more than with me. Truth is, my love was very real. My covenant was whole and unbroken. I am still His, and honored Him.  The truth is, He is bringing people beside me, people that are building me up. I found myself alone here without family, barely knowing anyone and suddenly I am surrounded by women that love on me, men that encourage me and kids that need me. He is everywhere…. I am just not seeing it, not believing in it. I am not trusting Him with my heart. I put the brokenness of man on Him. Blamed Him for our fallen nature.

He is enough. He is more than enough. He is everything.  When I am weak, He is strong. He is everything He promises and more.

This is my Christmas wish. To unwrap this gift and put it on and to never take it off again. To be so solid in my faith that I never waiver, never get shook. Truth is, if I did that, I wouldn’t be me. I am like Peter. But our love is pure for Christ. If I was so put together in my faith, I wouldn’t be able to be just like the rest of the broken world. I wouldn’t be the light of hope that we can be so in need of Him at all times, in all circumstances, and to remain so vigilant. Transparent. Hopeful.

God with us, Emmanuel.

John 16:7 (AMP)

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the [a]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].

Acts 2:24-28

24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
    Because he is at my right hand,
    I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence.’[e]

My Christmas Wish

20 Nov

 

 The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 



In my lifetime, like most, I have walked through pain and heartbreak. I have known pain that took my breath away; the kind of hurt that hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe. Fortunately for me, it was in the darkest moments of my life that I found my lighthouse, my compass, my hope in God.

My Bible tells me that God loved us so much that he sacrificed his own son for us. When I think of my children, this humbles me; This is truly a love beyond anything I can imagine. His grace and mercy are as vast as the oceans.

I imagine as He watches us (nothing goes unnoticed) His heart must break. His pain and heartbreak must be constant. We have imagined that we are somehow so incredibly important. As if WE run the show. We are thoughtless and unkind, we are opinionated, we are selfish, we are hypocrites and yes, that is a blanket statement that actually applies.

We are here for such a short minute; some do great things, most just do their best. We matter for a blink of an eye, to only a few. Just a few generations actually will know us or remember us. But God will remember us always. He is and was and always will be. Satan will seek to keep you from Him and he is deceptive.

Ecclesiastes say “to everything there is a purpose under heaven”. What if we sought to learn and gain wisdom from one another rather than fight ? What if we stopped looking outward and started to look inward. Just because many agree on a matter, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

Here is truth-and logic- when you have extreme positioning, the truth has been lost.
When I sit back and I think about what God says in Genesis, that he created us in his image, you have to pause and humble yourself for a minute and let that sink in.This means that all of us no matter our homeland, what we look like, whether we are born “different”, rich or poor, we were all made in his image. By design; In His own image.

I love my fellow mankind. I love those that have different beliefs than I. I love those that have different shades of skin tones. I love those that have different customs than I. I love those that hate and even those that hate while calling others hateful (they challenge me most). I can ONLY love when I lift my heart up to lightness rather than darkness. When I do that, everything is brighter, clearer, better.

We are the light-bearers or we should be. We are so blessed in this country. We have miles to go before we are perfect ( as individuals and as a collective whole) but that doesn’t mean we aren’t incredibly blessed. We have gotten so distracted by our discontent.

For me , I have divine peace and my hope is for heaven. When I get out of my way and allow God to press that on my heart, my whole world is bright and full of peace. Peace! We have to start with being quiet, being peaceful, start by inspiring hope in even one person.
If you want change: surrender and Do! In all due regards, Facebook posts do not change the world. Not this one – not any. We are just not that powerful.

This has been a draining year. We have our amazing season of hope and peace, Christmas.

Take time to pause, to consider, where does your peace come from. Find out what you truly believe in that and be that, from peace. When you know where your hope and peace come from, nothing in this world can change that. You become that.

I encourage you to find a cause: the vulnerable children adults and pets, poverty, immigrant needs, homelessness, sexual trafficking, addiction… whatever pulls your heart strings, and do that! You will become a better person, you will grow in ways you had no idea you could.

Let God break your heart for what breaks His heart and follow that call.Maybe we will stop breaking His heart so much. Maybe we truly can be the peacemakers, the peacekeepers.

““You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” 

Proverbs‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭MSG‬‬

A Case For Christmas

23 Dec

A case for Christ, this Christmas.

It isn’t easy to believe, especially if you haven’t really sought to believe. Maybe you sort of believe. That’s okay too..it’s a start.

Our sermon was founded on a study conducted by MIT Calculating Odds Of Jesus Fulfilling 8 Old Testament Prophecies! I loved the mathematical implications for Christ! I needed to share this.

This study took the specific prophecies and layed out the odds (Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies) but these were the prophecies that Jesus could not have manipulated.

“Many of the prophecies concerning the Messiah were totally beyond human control: Birth: Place, time, manner of Death: People’s reactions, piercing of side, burial Resurrection: Where did His body go? By using the modern science of probability in reference to just eight of these prophecies, the chance that any man might have lived to fulfill all eight prophecies is one in 100 trillion!
To illustrate this point: If we take 100 trillion silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas, they would be two feet deep. Now we mark one of these silver dollars and thoroughly stir the whole mass–all over the state. Now blindfold a man and let him travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick only that one silver dollar.

What chance would he have of picking the marked one? The same chance that the prophets would have of writing just eight of these prophecies and having them all come true for any one man if they had written them without God’s inspiration!
The chance of any one man’s fulfilling all of 48 prophecies is one in ten to the 157th power. The electron is about as small an object as we can imagine. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and tried to count them, it would take us (at 250 per minute) 19,000 times 19,000 times 19,000 years to count them.

Now mark one of them and thoroughly stir it into the whole mass. What chance does our blindfolded man have of finding the right electron? “

There is so much out there, so much attached to the name of God, man made thoughts, legalistic ideas, religions and extremes. Thoughts that can keep a person from seeking Jesus all together. Be curious.

I spent years trying to find the measure of good enough. Being self reliant, thinking religion was for the weak. Seeing the hypocrisy of Christians and scoffing. Now I get that. We find Christ where we are at, not from perfection and Christ like behavior but rather from our brokenness. For me, that was the only way I would be able to find him.

Christ isn’t always found in the behavior of Christians, but Christ is who He said He is, and He beckons and longs for ALL of us. But you must make the first step.

This Christmas, ask Him to show you. Ask Him into your hearts and let Him begin to change your life. Look at that baby and wonder about a God so loving he would become so humble to come as a small new life.

Merry Christmas.

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I Need a Holy Night

14 Dec

The greatest lessons in my life have come from struggle and trying times. The greatest gifts from loss and pain. It has taken me a lifetime to understand this.

I can look back and see how poverty, the family dynamic and having a father with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s helped create the person I am today, good and bad. Lessons learned in childhood bring us our reactions and coping skills for struggle and pain, it is only when we revisit those lessons as an adult that we can heal. As children, we do not have wisdom in which we can learn and grow from our experiences. We haven’t lived long enough to gain the wisdom that is necessary. The deeper the hurts, the stronger the resilience and thus, the longer the journey to heal can be.

Poverty and loss really shaped my independence, my controlling nature and my need for security. I became very self sufficient. I thought that material things didn’t matter to me, but I lied to myself, they did. I had a vision of comfort in my head that included a home, decorated to be comforting and warm; Food cooking and a family around the table. That was security. That was peace and comfort. I created a comfortable picture, yet it fell apart anyways, leaving me stunned.

I remember a Christmas of my childhood that was very meager. My poor mom was so sad for what she couldn’t provide us. What we did have was God, shelter, family and love, but that wasn’t the focus. We were living in a place and time of material giving for Christmas. What was lost, in the desire to gain gifts, was the Greatest Gift of all. Jesus had lost the focus as our provider, our hope and our joy. He is the Father to the fatherless. We were fatherless. We had each other, but it was too much to process. I lost both my parents in one disease, dad to the illness, mom had to work. The burdens of adulthood fell on little shoulders, much too early. Abandonment was not something I was equipped to feel, to process.  It created a real lack of trust in my heart and relationships with men that were just as ill equipped to build a life as I was. Money, yes, relationship, no. When you live waiting for the other shoe to drop, you would think you are prepared for when it actually does. I wasn’t. When you live in fear, you don’t know God and you don’t trust. When people leave us as children, we somehow wrap our value up in that. As if we had something to do with the leaving. Children are so vulnerable. Divorce, abuse, death, illness, emotional abandonment.. these change our children.

In the process of walking in my faith, of gaining a relationship with Him, learning to gain my security in Him, learning to trust Him; I have grown to see myself in His eyes. He created me to be this person. I see the gifts He has blessed me with, my ability to bring people together, to build, to create. I have a genuine love for women, and I am learning to have a Christ like love for men. God has put incredible men, Godly men, loving men, respectful, committed men in my path. He put His loving light in my heart and when I am connected with Him, plugged in, people respond to that light.

Christmas is about the people I am around and the light that shines in all of us. Christmas is about the kids, but maybe for Christmas the best thing we can do is love them, spend time becoming whole and plugged in to the Father. Maybe the best gift we can give our children is to reconnect with God and also their other parent. Heal the wounds that make kids think they are a little less lovable. Spend time with a child that is vulnerable. Breathe life into their wounded souls.
Finding Christ in Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t love Santa and enjoy the fun of this time of year (actually I find it a great way to share the love of Christ).

Christ came down for us, to save us. He carries us, as adults we need that, imagine the need in our children. I know, I need the Holy Night, the quiet night. Spending time in quiet, reading the story of Jesus in Luke or Matthew, renews me, moves me. Maybe it would do the same for you. Maybe let that bring you back to the Holy Night and the gift that was offered to you. Maybe,let that change you.

Matthew 5:3-5 (MSG)
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

Luke 12:7 (NIV)
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (MSG)
6-7 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

John 15:2-6(NIV)
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Hebrews 12:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.

2 Corinthians 8:9
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich
Proverbs 28:6
6 Better the poor whose walk is blameless
than the rich whose ways are perverse.

Luke 12:32-34(NIV)
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Isaiah 65:17-25
17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
 nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
 and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more

Only the Lonely

14 Dec

Galatians 2:20(NIV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The truest of Christmas joys is mine as full understanding of what Hope lies in this season settles on my heart; The richness is beyond words, lonely too.

I am in a refining time. He is grooming me, working in me, preparing and pruning me. It is uncomfortable yet inspires great hope in me and can be a very lonely time for me as well.

There is something about this Holy connective state that separates me, not just from the world itself but I even feel set apart from other Christians. It is like being in “The Zone” with Him, suddenly the world just doesn’t fit. It requires time alone with Him, and He creates it. It is a time for deep,quiet reflection. Being in constant touch with Him, creates a distance from others and a need for silence (and I am not a silent girl!). I have a longing to share this with someone, but how can you share this?

This is beyond words. He fills my heart to overflowing yet even in that I have a longing. This relationship at times feels so impossible, at others, so rich, so lyrical, enlightened and inspiring. Growing times can be so difficult, as we become perfected in His teaching, prepared for what our journey brings us to.

What I find so curious, the more I learn, the more I need to seek. He creates an appetite to learn more, to gain more understanding and clarity, yet what is clear today becomes less clear. Obedience is easy and difficult;Wisdom elusive, yet ours for the asking. Oh what a rich life!
The road to become Holy is not easy…But Wow! What a blessing!

John 17:6-18 (NIV)

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[c] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.


Romans 13:14 (NIV)
14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.[a]

Romans 12:2(NIV)
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Proverbs 27:7
One who is full loathes honey from the comb,
but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.