Saturday, December 28, 2019

My Response

Colossians 3:12-15
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 

My first response was anger.

I'm not usually an angry person. I prefer to live a peaceful life. But when someone hurts the people I love, I get mad. Sometimes, rightfully so.

But I've learned the anger that fills me, also drains me.

More than once, I've had to tamper down my gut reaction and replace my ire with calm. Instead of agitation, I ask God to bring peace.

During the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, I tend to contemplate what the new year will bring. This week I'm not considering what's going to happen, but how I will respond. You see, I may not like what someone says to me or circumstances that come my way. I may not be able to change what happens. But, I can change my response.

If I truly let Jesus rule my heart, I'll also let him guide my emotions and my reactions. 
"God, fill me with compassion, kindness and peace."
If there is someone you need to forgive, make the new year a clean slate and offer forgiveness. If someone made you angry, go to them and resolve the issues. If someone broke your heart. Consider your response with prayer.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Sweet Peace of a Baby

Luke 2:29-32
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant [Simeon] in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation [Jesus] which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

I love holding babies. My daughters, grandbabies, nieces and nephews all cuddled in my arms. There sweet fragrance after a bath was the best perfume. The soft coos and even loud cries brought joy to my heart.

Now imagine being Simeon..

Simeon, a devout, old man who lived in Israel, was blessed with the promise that he would see the Messiah before he died. While in Jerusalem, where Mary and Joseph traveled after the birth of Jesus, the Holy Spirit prompted Simeon to visit the temple. Lo and behold, he met Mary and Joseph. When they saw Simeon enter, they placed baby Jesus in his arms. He cradled him and rejoiced.

Simeon's heart rejoiced with peace because he'd laid eyes on the one who came to save the world from sin and give life to those who follow him. Imagine being Simeon, holding sweet baby Jesus in your arms. Oh the joy!

We may not be able to hold that precious babe in our arms, but we can invite Jesus in and hold him in our hearts. At this time of holiday chaos, rest in the peace of the Savior we celebrate.
Open your heart and invite him in.

Friday, December 20, 2019


Even in the midst of strife, Jesus pours out calm. 
A quietness that soothes the soul.
Through faith, his peace surpasses all of the stresses of life.
 Seek him in the midst of the chaos.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Those Shepherds Couldn't Stop Talking

Luke 2:15-18
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 

On December 22, 2009, our grandson Eli was born. Oh how I rejoiced at this sweet little bundle of love. I told my mom and dad, my siblings, my friends of this beautiful boy who would fill our hearts with joy. You see, I was excited. I wanted all to know that Eli was born. On Christmas day, Tim and I had the privilege to celebrate not only Eli's birth, but Jesus as well. We trekked to the hospital to share the day with Elijah Duncan and his mommy and daddy. What a wonderful Christmas that was!

The shepherds, those men on the hill visited by the angels, ran to find the new baby. The one who would change the world, lay in a manger waiting to meet these awestruck men. Once they'd laid eyes on that sweet little babe, those shepherds couldn't stop talking about him. They told everyone they saw about the miracle of Jesus' birth.
What are you talking about this time of year?
I hope amid the busyness of the season we talk about Jesus. His birth. His life. His truth and grace. Let's be like the shepherds and tell everyone about the King.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Shine Hope

Jesus came into the world to give hope. 
As his people, we are called to share his story with the world. 
Your world might be your children, your spouse, your siblings, your best friend. 
Your world may be your workplace, your college, your school or your favorite hang out. 
The next person God sets in your path may be the one who needs the hope of Jesus. 
In this time of giving, shine the beloved light of hope. 
Share the gift of Jesus.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Appearance With Purpose

Luke 2:8-14
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. -KJV

Imagine you are resting on a grassy hill surrounded by sheep, bleating for your attention. You raise up to check on your charges. Without warning, an angel appears. Your heart races, you tremble and fall back to the ground. You look around at your buddies, their mouths are hanging open, their staffs dropped with a thud. But the angel isn't bothered by your awe. He's made an appearance with a purpose. His announcement will change the world. "No need to fear. I've got great news for you. Jesus has been born. He's in a manger just over the ridge. Go meet the Messiah."

You stand in reverence and nod at the angel. About the time you try to wrap your head around the glory of Jesus birth, a choir of angels burst into song.  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

You clap your hands together in praise, pick up your staff and head to see the King. Oh what a glorious night!

Angels visited shepherds, every day workers who smelled like animals, and announced the birth of Jesus. What a privilege for the caretakers of sheep to be the first to kneel before the one who would change the world. 

We may not be shepherds on a hill, but we are called to kneel before Jesus. Take time to praise the one who came to earth as a babe, then gave his life for our sins. He is the King of grace and hope.

Oh What a Glorious Night-Sidewalk Prophets

Friday, December 6, 2019

Children's Christmas Book Review: A Christmas Gift for Santa: A Bedtime Book by J. Theron Elkins, illustrated by Ag Jatkowska

Book Description:
Is there a gift waiting for Santa at the North Pole? Cuddle up with your little ones and follow the journey through Santa’s Workshop in search of Santa’s Christmas present. With bright and whimsical illustrations, this new take on the Christmas story is sure to become the newest addition to your holiday reading tradition—especially at bedtime!
Has Mrs. Claus forgotten Santa on Christmas Eve? He searches and searches their cozy North Pole home until he finds homemade gifts waiting for him next to a beautiful handwritten note. But what does it say?

My Review:
This sweet story takes a peek into Santa's time after Christmas. He's delivered all his gifts, now he's wondering if there might be one for him. J. Theron Elkins' rhythm and rhyme creates a fun and engaging story. The bright illustrations drew me into the story. Ag Jatkowska captured Santa's home in the most delightful way, filled with color and fun. This would be a great book for Christmas evening as you tuck little ones into bed. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Lion of Judah

When I turned the calendar to December, I was pleased to see a lion on the page. Why? Because the king of the jungle reminded me of the King of my life. 
Jesus is called the Lion of Judah in the book of Revelation. 
Born into an every day family, in a stable with animals, and shepherds as his first visitors, Jesus grew from a tiny baby to a man who triumphed over death. 

As you celebrate the season of Christmas, spend time thinking and praying about the one who gave his life. The Lion of Judah knows us, understands us, and reaches toward us with a pure love that's beyond imagination.