I felt the need to remind God that I was in this exact predicament out of obedience to Him. I told God that I knew He could see the entire plan and the outcome, but I could not and I was not taking another step in that direction unless He clearly showed me that I must. As in tomorrow…or I am finished.
Celebrating the Birth of Our Creator and Savior
My boys. I pray they soon outgrow putting bunny ears on everyone and everything they pose with for pictures. They are posing with our homemade VeggieTales yard decorations.
In my defense I must add the disclaimer that I made these ornaments twelve years ago, before I knew Phil Vischer’s mom asked him to never turn baby Jesus into a vegetable. My purpose was not to be sacrilegious. I just didn’t want an empty manger so I placed a French pea there. (I’m sorry, Mrs. Vischer!)
Every year on Christmas morning our family traditionally reads the announcement of Christ’s birth from beginning to end in the Gospel of Luke.
This year in keeping with tradition we invited Max McLean, through Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Revive Our Hearts, into our home via the internet.
“So on this Christmas Day, this holy day, I thought it would be good to quiet our hearts and just focus on the words of Scripture. We’re going to listen to the simple Christmas story, and I hope you’ll be struck in a fresh way by the profound truth that God became man, Immanuel, God is with us.
Max McLean is an actor. He’s the president and artistic director of the Fellowship for the Performing Arts. And for the next few moments, we’ll hear Max bring the Scripture to life as God has uniquely gifted him to do.”
Listen to Max McLean reading from the book of Luke by clicking below.
Enjoy the fullness of the miracle we celebrate this Christmas day; Jesus—Baby, Savior and King of kings who will return for us. Come, Lord Jesus, come!
I’m in a ladies Bible study for Thriving Despite Difficult Circumstances. As we women grow closer to God in the daily-ness of difficult life we are vulnerable with each other. We allow time for everyone to tell their story about the path God has brought them on to the present moment. Do you know what I have found? Honestly opening up about our imperfections, brokenness or heartache is refreshing to other women who are in need. I have visibly seen the wall of self-protection come down as these sweet women pour out their heart and are comforted in their vulnerability. It is a beautiful sight because I know God is working. We have invited him to do so! It is ALL about Him, not about our circumstances.
We have made our study a safe and trusting environment where we know what we share will not be repeated outside the group. We listen, we encourage and we pray for each other. We don’t say, “Oh, it will get better” or “Don’t dwell on it so much” or “God is in control.” These things we know. If someone asks for advice we will give it and we will speak the truth in love when necessary but we exist to allow God to do His work then we simply join Him.
We share real needs. Often times they are deep and they are serious. Everyone’s hearts can hurt. They may hurt for different reasons but the pain is real, it is deep and at the moment you can feel like you are the only one who has ever endured this exact problem. We simply want to love on each other by putting an arm around the person next to us and praying for a sister’s unique need. We keep track of the prayer requests and we thoroughly enjoy boasting in God for the answers He gives and we continue to petition for the answers on which we wait.
I must add that these open, honest, caring, prayerful and trusting relationships happened with women who had never known each other before the inception of the group. Oh, the love of Christ!
“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 (NIV)
At last night’s study one of the women was encouraging another through words she had heard on a Joni Eareckson Tada YouTube video. I love the sweetness in our group. Even between our every other week of being together they are praying for each other and thinking of ways to encourage each other and meet each other’s practical needs. Life changing compassion.
Watching Joni Eareckson Tada’s video reminded me of the wonderful life in which I am privileged to participate. Joni is a woman who has thrived despite difficult circumstances beyond anything I could ever imagine as a Christian American living in a free country. Joni is a quadriplegic who suffers severe chronic pain and is a survivor of stage 3 breast cancer. She knows ‘difficult’.
Do any of the following topics hit close to home for you, are they ringing your door bell or are they smack in the middle of your living room?
“Life can be horrible and beautiful at the same time.”
“The weaker I was, the harder I leaned on You (Jesus), and the harder I leaned on You the stronger I discovered You to be.”
“I knew the scriptures in James 1: Welcome this trial as a friend. Romans 5: Rejoice in this suffering. Philippians 1: This has been granted to me to suffer for Christ. Acts 14: You will go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. Romans 8:28: 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.”
“Are you trying desperately to find all the puzzle pieces to your life so your life will make some sense? So the circumstance will make sense?”
“I can’t do this thing called life. My puzzle pieces aren’t fitting together.”
“When suffering hits us hard—when your heart is wrung out like a sponge; you don’t stop the bleeding with answers.”
“You don’t stop bleeding with answers.” This is where listening, loving, praying and compassion come in. This is what I treasure about my Grace Group: Thriving Despite Difficult Circumstances. Their hearts are for God first and others second.
Grab your Kleenex and allow God to grow your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Also, if you like the “Life is Hard. God is Good” quote at the top of this page; you may purchase super cute T-shirts printed with the quote under “Products” in the right side margin. A friend of mine sells these on her blog/Facebook page. The shirts are $20. Part of the cost of the shirt goes to one of several nonprofit ministries that help people when times are hard. She has different prints including a great new Christmas logo.
…the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair
Free Heart Monitor Do you ever wonder about the true condition of your heart? I do. There is good reason why we are warned in scripture, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 (NASB) I often probe my own heart since I know the struggles, doubts, temptations, wrong doings and insecurities of it. I can at times literally feel the heaviness of it. This is when I plead with God to, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 (NASB) He has always been faithful, dependable and true. It is God’s good opinion and favor I long for. I want Him to be able to say of me as He did of David, “I have found David (Carolyn), a man (woman) after My heart, who will do all My will.” Acts 13:22 (NASB) I share with you: An Honest Heart by Ray Ortlund via the Gospel Coalition Blessed is the man against whom
I tried a dessert called ‘Death By Chocolate’ but it only made me stronger.
Right on! The Gospel in Four Minutes
This man gets it right! We need a Savior; but why? So many know why yet are not able to articulate why; including me.
It begins with Genesis. The foundation must be set which includes creation and the fall otherwise there is no need for a Savior. Without taking the foundation of God’s word seriously and literally there is no need for the New Testament.
God wrote the Old Testament to show us why we need a Savior and to point the world to the Messiah’s arrival: Our sin requires a perfect sacrifice which He would provide for all.
Jesus came and began the New Testament Church age: To point us to His Father God because Jesus knows just how good Heaven is with His Father and Jesus does not want us to miss eternity with Him.
I was thrilled to come upon this video. God placed this man in this generation and I pray he is highly successful in leading his generation to the cross and introducing them a to personal relationship with Jesus.
Originally posted on The Matt Walsh Blog:
There are seven billion people in the world. How many of them are children? I don’t know, let’s ballpark it at around two billion. Just for argument’s sake, can we say there are two billion children in the world? Good, OK. Alright, what’s the average child-per-parent ratio in America these days? I think it’s less than one (always a sign of a thriving civilization), but I’ll be generous and call it two. So, Average Parent in America, out of all the children in the entire world, what percentage have you personally parented? Consider every unique, individual, distinct child. Consider the infinite multitude of environmental, biological, psychological, spiritual, cultural and educational factors that went into crafting their specific and particular identities. Contemplate the human mind; its mysterious nature, its immeasurable complexity. Now consider the fact that every child has one of these minds all to its own. Think about human personality and how many…
“While he made a rookie mistake on the field, he handled himself like a classy veteran off it.” “He stood there, looked in his questioners’ eyes and answered the same questions over and over.”
“Yay, I want to see the whiskey fight!”
..”.students in our public schools have the right to express their faith in their assignments. They can witness to their classmates, read their Bibles at school, and yes, they can pray.”
Nothing crushes your spirit more than abuse.
We have to deal with abuse because it is contagious and gets passed on from generation to generation.
HIDDEN HARDSHIPS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS I received this devotion in my email inbox yesterday from Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is a beautiful testimony of how a woman lived through difficult circumstances by not forsaking her time with the Lord each day. Over three hundred years ago this woman made a difference not only in the lives of her children but in the eternal Kingdom of God. Hidden Hardships Behind Closed Doors By Sharon Glasgow “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3 (NASB) Hidden behind the door of many homes is the reality of hardship. A devastated home isn’t always apparent on first impressions, is it? Take Susanna Wesley’s life for instance. A quick glance reveals she was married to a preacher in the late 1600s. They had 10 children, two of which grew up to bring tens of thousands of people to Christ: John and Charles Wesley. Sounds
We step into a relationship or circumstance with a heart full of expectation and sometimes even Biblical promises of God, get wacked on the head with pain and reality… then have to choose to believe the two can be reconciled. They can…through prayer.