I want to introduce you to a blogger friend of mine whom I have shared with you before and who has offered her wonderful devotional “Trust Without Borders” which I believe has been for ‘such a time as this’ (at least in my world), Arabah Joy.
Arabah has just released her latest project for us “Grace Goals” and it is going to bring an excellent start to your new year!
If you would be interested in checking this out for yourself, you just need to click on the image above and discover what in the world Goals is all about.
Arabah is a woman of the word yet struggles just like the rest of us to walk in the Spirit day by day. I personally love her transparent style and I believe you will too.
Let’s join the journey together and be blessed by this new release from Arabah Joy!
Ah yes, the lyrics are in my head, “It’s the most wonderful time, it’s the hap…happiest time of the year”. Is that really true? Is it really the most wonderful time of the year for you? Personally I waver back and forth between good and sad! I have had some good Christmases and some very sad ones. Most of the difficult ones have come as a result of poor choices I have made in my life. At those places I was either a little girl in an unhappy family setting, a lonely runaway when I didn’t even know it was Christmas and then in a marriage that was very difficult where my family suffered from the results of alcoholism. These were times when I had no hope, because Christ was not in my life.
Is Christmastime a Difficult Time for You?
There have also been times when even as a believer that Christmas has been sad or difficult. I have a prodigal son who has caused much sorrow because of his poor choices. For many years we have seen him come and go without any change in his lifestyle or he continued to add more “stuff” to the baggage he continues to carry. This makes for sadness for his family as we watch him struggle to keep his head above water. These are times when all the sentiment and family time just doesn’t take away the pain of watching a loved one flail through life.
However, deep inside the recesses of my heart, I really do have peace and joy. And it is because of the Christmas story. An incredible expression of love that was lavished upon mankind as the Creator of ALL. He humbled Himself to come as a little baby, being birthed in a lowly manger just so that we could once again be in fellowship. He restored what was broken in the Garden of Eden.
You Are Loved…
This extravagant love, poured out in the form of a baby, then child, then man, the Christ, was God’s greatest work from a desire to once again have fellowship with us. As it tells us in Genesis 1:26,27,
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
We have been created in God’s very own image! That is sometimes too big for my comprehension but…I have accepted this truth and accepted the Christ who came yet was crucified, died, and buried (defeating death) when He rose on the third day! All for those who will receive the loving offer of redemption through His shed blood.
Christ Our Hope!
So in the midst of your Christmas, I pray you will know the peace that surpasses even the difficulties (and there are so many things that try to rob this peace from us), whether death of a loved one, divorce, prodigals, sickness, financial loss, hunger…remember, Christ is the one who fills us completely with His peace and purpose in spite of the former mentioned. Click To Tweet
From Matt Redman’s book “The Unquenchable Worshipper – Coming Back to the Heart of Worship” (published by Regal Books Copywrite @2001 Matt Redman)
This afternoon I played Matt Redman’s song “Undignified.” It is a captivating song that gets right to the heart of King David, you know, the king who danced with all his might when he brought the the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem.
Have you ever been so overjoyed that you hooted and hollered and expressed your joy at something without looking around to see who was looking? I know I have! David was so exuberant with his worship that he became unrestricted just to dance with “all his might.” It was a public display that showed a heart that was passionate about his God.
However, can we imagine the embarrassment that welled up in David’s wife Michal, so much that their relationship would never the same. For she came to despise David for his unruly public display of worship.
In the book Matt says:
“One of the Hebrew words for praise, hallal, means to be clamorously foolish or mad before the Lord. (That’s where we get our word “hallelujah.”) In a “reasons to be passionate” competition, the church of God should come an easy first; yet too often we find ourselves lagging way behind in this area. Isn’t it time we saw a bit more holy mayhem in our worship?”
I am in agreement with Matt’s opinion that we don’t give all the honor and praise that is due our King. We can rant and rave at sporting events and our kids games, but turn around and remain solemn before our glorious King? Heaven’s no! Let me be a fool for Christ’s sake and let my praise simply magnify my adoration for all He is and all He has done!
Maybe your heart bubbles up and down when you worship the king, an expression that comes simply from your love for Him. I can only say that I hope so! I dare not judge one’s heart toward the Lord, but how exciting it would be for God to see our hearts filled with joy just to be standing in His presence and expressing our commitment and love for Him! Get engaged and give Him all you’ve got!
Lord, my heart’s desire is to give you everything in my expression of worshiping you for who You are and praising You for all you’ve done and will continue to do. Let my praise be a delight to Your ears. I will be undignified for you Lord, as I worship You with all my might!
Unlike my later quarter of 2013, this year has been a year of living out my new normal. A year of making the huge shift work and frankly I am not there quite yet but I can see it coming.
This has been a year of big adjustments because in October 2013, we welcomed a kicking, screaming (not really, just emotionally) 90lb stubborn momma into our home instead of sending her joyfully back to Orlando and her home. That is her home as she knew it to be yet would be no longer!
Along with this transition came a brief period of depression and some revamping of our home, my time, my writing agenda, quiet time with my husband and many other little tidbits that come with a new routine! This year in many ways has been exhausting yet there is a real peace that has come from this act of complete surrender.
My little, barely five pound mom doesn’t know Jesus. At 84 and riddled with health issues, there ain’t much time left. My husband and I agree that God brought this about by placing her in the best place for her to able to receive the gospel. I am thrilled, just a bit weary. She isn’t difficult (just sometimes very stubborn) it is just that I have lost most of my freedom in the process. To which I willing relinquish so that she will know my Jesus.
We do have our glitches and there are days I get weary when her colitis is on the active side (poor woman can’t enjoy what you and I can anymore!) And I am thankful that there is space in our home for my husband to retreat into (he uses the family room downstairs to watch a different kind of television that she does) and I am still trying to figure mine out.
My prayer as we end this year is that whatever it takes Lord, I know you are putting the pieces in place, just come Lord Jesus to this hard-hearted stubborn woman so that she can meet You, the Prince of Peace! If you feel inclined after reading this please pray for little Joan Von Mithoff, as we are trusting in His perfect plan.
From the Message Paraphrase is this gift we now live out upon receiving Christ,
But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. ~John 1:12
Apart from Jesus’ return, this could be the best finish of the year!
How come? Why can’t it be easy? I know most of us know the quip that says “faith is like a muscle that has to be exercised to become strong.” Okay, that makes sense! However when my world is falling apart around me I feel as if my faith is really like being ‘weak in the knees’…a bit on the whimpy side.
James, that leader of the church in Jerusalem and former disbeliever in Jesus as the Son of God, who may have even been his brother, sure had a turn around and then wrote this straight-forward book in the New Testament, James! I only bring this up because his words of truth have a bit of a bite to them. For instance let’s look at chapter 1:5-8 ESV
“ If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Especially verse 6 which tells us that if we are going to ask we need to ask in faith and without doubting which you too may have found happens when you ask of God. That thread of doubt begins to weave itself in and out of your thoughts. So…how can I turn that around? I want to utilize what God has given me in the most difficult, and doubtful situations!
If my circumstance is a difficult husband (and I have had one!) How do I pray and believe that we can get through when butting heads? It seems so foolish to think just pray and watch God change him, however when I prayed, “God, I can’t change him but I know You can and in the mean time please work on my heart.” I will began to see things loosen up. We must be determined to see the situation with God’s eyes, He always wants what is best for us and if we don’t get in the way of what it is that He is doing, guaranteed, things will change.
I know, like me, you probably want it NOW! Hold on with all your might to the truth above so that when you pray, those subtle and unsubtle threads of doubt will be cut off. Then you can relinquishing them, continuing to pray it through, until you see things begin to change. And, don’t stop…continue to thank God for the ‘impossible’ as you believe for the impossible!
Lord, I am blessed, blessed that you have my best interest always in mind. Help me to get out of the way and teach me to patiently wait for Your answers to my impossibilities, in Jesus Name!
Happy to be visiting here where you can find loads of encouraging words at Grace & Truth!
It is so funny how we look for a starting place to invoke change. I do not believe that most of us just wake up on a day and say I am going to quit this or that. Or, I am going to quit my job and start a business of my own (you fill in the scenario.) Now if I am wrong let me hear from you! For most of us, change or the desire for change comes to somehow better our circumstances. We ponder what it is we desire to change for a time, and sometimes it is just a bad habit or a plaguing issue that we desire to be rid of, non-the-less it is still change.
The New Year is always a great way to jump-start your planned changes. It might be to start a diet and exercise program. These are common resolutions. But, if you are like most people after a few weeks or say a month with no real visible change occurring, you just get frustrated and, well, quit. I think I have done this myself a gazillion times! Shoot off the starting line and fizzle out after a few weeks because of discouragement and then give it up. What is up with that?
Well this is my approach to the resolution thing. I have decided I will resolve to do something right every day. And yes, I do have some goals.
Being in the Word daily
Cultivating a thankful heart
Watching my consumption a bit closer
Taking my supplements
This is quite simple! And if I get nothing else done but my daily Bible reading, then I have done one right thing in my day. I get to count walking the dog as my exercise and we can go a mile or more either walking out side and or on the treadmill. Suffice it to say that this would make for two right things in my day. Should I remember to take my supplements before I go to work then I can add another right thing to my day. Although I really don’t like to take supplements, I know that they are good for me and do help me to feel better.
As for the diet thing, I wrestle with sweets/carb consumption. I know how detrimental sweets or too many carbs are for me and this can pose as one of my most difficult challenges. I have found that some days I can forgo the sweets and then there are other days I cannot get enough of them! So on the days when I can ignore sweets then I can add another right thing to my day.
This verse in 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 is such a convicting verse for me when it comes to dieting.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”
Now reading those verses can really give you some perspective on taking care of yourself, right?
Do you ever look at rude people and think how selfish and unaware they are of others around them? I am certain that we can all be that way at times but I do not want that to be how people see me. Therefore I have included on my list to work at being kind. There are so many folks that just need a kind word spoken into them. And who is to say that the word of encouragement would be used to change the course of that person’s day by just being kind to them? I can sometimes snap at my spouse and then wonder why he won’t communicate with me, why would he? So now I try to remember to ask the Holy Spirit to show me how to speak kindness to my husband.
I love this verse in Proverbs 25:11 (NKJ)
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Then there is often the opportunity to engage in (or initiate) talk that is not positive about another person. Because I am making the choice to do “right things” I can now consciously make the decision not to go there. There is indeed much to be said for being kind. And by doing so I can then add another “right thing” to my day.
So as I begin my day I am asking the Lord for the courage to do “right things” everyday and as many as I can. You know, even if it was only one or two “right things”, I am progressing and feeling better about a heightened level of awareness as I go about my days, weeks and months to come! I hope this might help you with your resolutions if you too easily fizzle out after a few weeks into the new year!
Father, I confess the trap of not finishing what I start out to do. I have made hundreds of resolutions and gone bad on them time and time again. I am thanking You for shedding a new light on this for my new year! Holy Spirit, will You heighten my awareness and conviction so that I will desire to continue to do as many “right things” as I can. Let this alter not only my perspective but also the lives of those that I come in contact with for Christ’s sake!
When tragedy strikes, many of us tend to feel hopeless! If there is an accident or an unexpected report from the doctor, the discovery that one of your loved ones is living contrary to how you reared him or, maybe, just that the 650 foot broadcasting tower and antenna fell to the ground early one Sunday morning, what would your response be?
I went to work (Psalm FM Radio Station in International Falls) one Sunday morning to record our weather for the day. Our main signal was off. In a rural setting, this can happen more often than we would prefer for a variety of reasons. However, we also broadcast from Hibbing, so I still had to finish the job. My boss had shown us how to manually turn on the transmitter remotely, but I could not get the job done. Needless to say, I had to call him. I try not to do this, especially early on a Sunday morning. He said he would take care of it. I finished my task and returned home to get ready for church. The boss and I were both doing worship at church and I hoped, of course, that it would be an easy fix. Sometimes a twenty minute drive to flip a breaker switch is all that is required.
As I was readying myself, the phone rang and it was the boss with an uneasy tone, saying the antenna was down. Silly me, I said, “Oh no, you couldn’t get it up and running?” His reply was, “No, the antenna is lying on the ground in a heap…I will not be at church.”
I cannot fully relay what happened next but I was on the floor weeping and wondering what happened and wondering why God would allow this to happen. This is our main signal that goes south to west and then north, then east in a 100 mile sweep! What in the world were we going to do with over half of our listening area unable to hear us and our annual fund raiser just three weeks away? God, why?
Many people have experienced this rather ‘hit you out of nowhere’ emotion and for a period of time your faith ‘flat-lines’ like on the monitor in a hospital ER room when the heartbeat quits. You feel devastated, very hopeless! It is as if there will be no tomorrow for that situation.
I continued to finish up in the bathroom, since I was a mess after wailing and crying out to God, feeling extremely weak and uncertain about the future of our station. God has sustained this ministry for just about 30 years. He has allowed it to grow in strength and distance through the addition of another station and more translators. Plans for signal improvements and upgrades were continuing, so why now, Lord? Maybe the season was completed and God was going to allow something completely different to take place. Oh, the uncertainty that ran through my mind that morning!
I memorize Scripture by writing it out on a card and putting it on my bathroom mirror. I had two cards going and had the verses memorized for a time, but for whatever reason the cards had not yet been replaced. They are tucked securely between the mirror and its frame so they do not ever fall out. Well, that morning one literally jumped out at me and, as I picked it up, I once again read Ephesians 3:20:
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us…”
For those of you who appreciate the Message paraphrase, it reads, “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
I cannot tell you how this once again got the heartbeat of my faith back on the lifeline! I began to rethink this incident by putting into practice what I believe about my God! He is sovereign and always aware of those things that happen in each of our lives. Nothing passes by His loving hands; and my responsibility is to hold on and trust He will reveal Himself in our tragedy, but in His perfect time!
If you are in that place where you cannot see God’s hand in your circumstances, I want you to know that as far as His part is concerned, nothing has changed! He is as He always is, present in your midst! You can trust in His omnipresence to always be lovingly aware of your difficult place. I am choosing to believe in God’s faithfulness in this situation. I encourage you, as well, to stick to the truth of Who God is and trust that His desire is always for your best and His glory!
At Psalm FM, we are now looking with anticipation to what it is that will improve our tower signal. We can even now say, “Thank You, Father, for allowing those powerful storm cells to rip through Loman and bring down that tower.” God even preserved our new building! We are thankful and trusting Him in all things! Will you?