Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
It's astounding to me every time I say that...to think that you, God, have a "Birthday."
Not a day to mark how old you are, as most of us do when it's our birthday.
Not a day to mark growth, progress in life, or changing seasons.
Not a day to mark past accomplishments and to plan for what's next.
But a day to mark the fact that God came to earth - that you humbled yourself, took on humanity and were born as a baby.
Today we celebrate that there was an actual day in history when you were born. Born in a stable, no less. Born with angelic fanfare, but only simple shepherds to welcome you as king. Born through pain and tears, followed by rejoicing.
Yes, it astounds me every time. And in this moment all that I want to say is - thank you for coming!
Thank you for coming, Jesus!
Thank you for coming.
Where would we be if you hadn't come?
How empty and hopeless life would be, if you hadn't come.
How lonely and sad we would be, if you hadn't come.
But you did come. And now we have every reason to rejoice! To celebrate! To not only praise you, but to enjoy you - here with us right now. You came so you could save us, so you could always be with us, and so one day we could be with you forever.
I'm grateful for these things every day, but especially today...your birthday. The King of kings and Lord of lords, the Good Shepherd, the Light of the world, the Great I AM, the creator of everything and every day - thank you for coming.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
I think you'd agree that we all love stories. As children, we drank in stories. As teens, we were constantly telling stories. As adults, we still need stories (books, movies, etc.). I honestly can’t imagine what life would be like without stories. Can you?
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
It's that time of year again...one of my favorite holidays is here! I love the Thanksgiving holiday. It has always been special to me. It's a time when we intentionally slow down and gather together to remind ourselves and to share with each other what we are thankful for.
We really are so blessed! Yet in the midst of the challenges, stress, or craziness of life, it's easy to forget how much we have to be thankful for. Paul's words to the Thessalonian Christians remind us that it is in fact God's will for us to give Him thanks in ALL circumstances. That's not always easy...but having a specific day set aside to practice thanksgiving is a good way to help us.
I think the reason we can give thanks in ALL circumstances is because of who God is, all He has done for us, and all He has promised us. Without those three things, it would be impossible to be thankful in ALL things. But with this wealth of goodness we've been given, we always have reasons to give thanks.
So for me today, in the midst of frustrating circumstances, uncertainties, and physical weakness...
*I give thanks to God that He is with me, He loves me, and He delights in me.
*I'm thankful to God for the amazing people in my life.
*I thank God that He never fails to provide for me and take care of me.
*I give thanks for God's Word, which gives life, wisdom, and peace in every circumstance.
*I'm thankful for the little things we so easily take for granted - a pillow for my head, food to eat, clean clothes, and technology that allows me to keep in touch with friends around the world and to share this blog post.
This list could be much longer...I have so much I am grateful for today. I'm thankful for you, my friends who read this blog. I'm thankful for the ways God is working in your life. I'm thankful that one day we will share eternity together with Jesus - in perfect circumstances! =)
I hope you are encouraged this Thanksgiving by remembering who your God is, all He's done for you, and all He has promised you. Regardless of your circumstances, you are blessed!
I'd love to hear about something you're thankful for today. If you want to, you can share with us in the comments.
Happy Thanksgiving dear friends!
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
It's a noisy process, and it takes energy and arm muscle to keep pounding over and over again. But the result was that the meat would be tenderized. Eventually my mom would say, "That's enough." Then she would take the meat, cover it in flour, and fry it. Frankly, I think I had the harder job. =) But once the meal was ready, the hard work was worth it as we ate the tender steak.
If you've ever cooked a meal like this, I'm sure you'd agree that the difficult process is worth the delicious result.
Sometimes in life it's hard to see or remember that the difficult process will be worth the result.
For many months it felt like God had me in a process of what I'd call "tender-izing." Sometimes I felt like that piece of steak - with those little knobs on the steak hammer pounding here, there, and everywhere.
It hurts. It's hard. And when it finally feels like there might be a break, it's often just a pause before the pounding starts again on the other side.
Maybe you've felt like this too. Maybe you've wondered why things have been so hard for so long. Maybe you've questioned God's love for you. Maybe you've tried to run away from the "tender-izing."
If so, I want to encourage you and myself today. Our heavenly Father holds every tear we cry, He hears every prayer we speak or even think, and He gives us every breath we breathe.
God still loves us.
He still wants our best.
He is still in control of everything.
He still works all things for good.
There is a worthwhile result.
In the midst of the difficult process, I realized that the "tender-izing" actually had made my heart more tender.
In those moments when the pain would wash over me and tears flowed, I didn't think only of myself. I thought about others who were hurting. My heart filled with compassion for them. I prayed for them. I sent an encouraging message or let them know I was thinking of them. Somehow in the difficult process, in the midst of my own pain, God gave me more of His tender mercy for others.
And even when I cried out and told God how much it hurt, I knew that He understood. I knew that in the fellowship of Jesus' suffering, He was drawing me nearer to His heart. And I want to be close to Him. My heart longs to hear His voice, receive His comfort, experience His healing touch, and grow in intimacy with Him.
Maybe you prayed for a tender heart without knowing it might require a "tender-izing" process. No, the process isn't fun. It hurts. It's hard. But the result of a tender heart toward our Savior and others is beautifully worth it.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." -2 Corinthians 1:3-4