Allergy season is here - and while many of us struggle through stopped up sinuses, our spirirual lives can get clogged too. And when that happens, there is an OTC remedy we all have access to - Overcome Through Christ!
Well, my first The 30 Day Gift has been completed and gifted, and the joy it brought both the giver and the receiver was amazing. Some people might be intimidated by a 30-day prayer commitment, but I want to encourage you that it’s worth every single day, and so much more! I started thinking of other things that come with 30-day commitments, such as diets and workouts. For 30 days, you commit to get healthier or in better physical shape; and at the end of that time, you are proud of the work put in and the results that come out. Yes, there is a sacrifice to be made, but in the end, it’s worth it. The same is true with The 30 Day Gift. The dedication I put in to pray for someone for 30 days was a commitment. But, just like those work outs, I gained momentum, and looked forward to that time of intercessory prayer. By the time I was done, my prayer life had been toned and strengthened, and I was so proud to gift the most powerful thing of all to my best friend... prayer. I know I may be biased, but this project totally blew me away with it’s power. I hope you find the same thing to be true as you take on your very own The 30 Day Gift.
Happy New Year everyone! After a Christmas holiday full of binge eating, gift giving, and absolute clutter in our house, I love that I now get to regroup, refocus, and make commitments to kick off 2018. You know, I think the timing is great; last week we celebrated the birth of Jesus--the miracle of life, that would later be put to death to give us everlasting hope. Over the last two weeks I have soaked up that miracle, admiring manger scenes in people’s homes, lights on trees, carolers singing the good news, and much more. Although nativity scenes freeze that precious moment in time, God wants us to set our admiration of that child into action. I love Christmas with the best of them, but to vacuum the last pine needle off my floor felt great. It’s like that month of admiring the manger refuels us for a new mission. We need to go and tell the story, live out the grace and forgiveness, and resolve to live every day thanking God for the hope we have in Christ.
One way to do that is to recommit yourself to prayer. When I started this journey, God convicted me that I needed to pray more and with more appreciation for what a gift it truly is. I can approach God the All Knowing, All Healing, All Forgiving, and All Powerful because of that baby that was born in the manger. If you are looking for a tangible way to kick off a prayer resolution in 2018, look no further. The 30 Day Gift is not only a great way commit to prayer, but also a way to love others in a deep and sincere way. Let’s commit to pray, not just in January, but every day of the new year!
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Today was the morning to open presents at our house. Branson and I popped straight out of bed, eager to fix pancakes, hot chocolate, and open presents. As we waited on Dad and sis to wake up, Branson couldn’t resist going to his stack of presents, shaking, feeling, even smelling what was inside. He knew one package was legos just from how it sounded, and the others he took guesses at, only to get a smile and shrug from me.
While I waited, I did a morning quiet time, and the verse of the day was Isaiah7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” In this instance, the prophets and all of the Jewish world were waiting to open their present. They were watching for that long awaited gift from God, The Savior of the world.
As I watch the kids open presents this morning, I hope to remember the true gift that we opened when we invited Jesus into our hearts. When that box gets torn open, out comes grace, peace, patience, forgiveness, hope, love, kindness, goodness, and an eternal promise. If you haven’t opened that present of salvation yet, I pray that you, like Branson this morning, would sense an eagerness in your heart, not to open physical gifts, but to unwrap a spiritual blessing that will change your life forever.
Go to Jesus like Branson did with his packages this morning…..feel him out, study him, ponder what’s inside, and then open up the greatest gift anyone could ever give; eternal hope and salvation.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
As Christmas approaches, you have to sense the anticipation that the wise men felt as they anxiously awaited the birth of the new King. With The 30 Day Gift, we have waited, and waited, and waited for the first shipment of journals; and after over two years of work, they finally arrived! There were so many boxes, we were thankful to have these two strong cowboys offer to pick them up and unload them! I have boxes of books covering the walls in my house, but it is the happiest I have ever been about such clutter! I want to thank everyone for your love, encouragement, support, and mostly, your prayers that have gone into this project. I looked at all the boxes and realized that when every journal in my living room is completed, it will be about 150,000 prayers going up on behalf of others! I wait, just like the wise men did, in eager anticipation to see God's plan unfold before my very eyes.
Sam and I took the kids to see the movie The Star, which was a wonderful movie. There is nothing that touches my heart more than my kids getting to hear the true message of Christmas. However, it wasn’t just the kids who received a message… I definitely did too! At one point in the movie, Mary and Joseph are traveling to Bethlehem for the census, and on the trip, they have a broken wheel on their cart. Out of frustration, Joseph cries out, and asks God, "Why?". Why all these problems if I’m on a journey for you? Why roadblocks, speedbumps, and busted wheels?
You know, we’ve experienced the same things with this project. While we know this is the journey God put before us, it has not come without detours. When the road gets windy, or I have a broken wheel kind of day, I have to check my focus. Is it on the problem, or is it on Jesus. When I see Jesus before the problem, I find peace, optimism, and hope. When I see the problem before Jesus, I feel defeated and discouraged. The same is true for all of us. It’s easy to focus our attention in Josephs case, off the star, and on the broken wheel; off of Christ, and on broken relationships, hurt feelings, financial woes, busy schedules, and so much more. It’s this time of year we need to adjust our view finders, and put that Christmas star back in our direct line of sight.
Psalms 112:7 “They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them”.
Over the Thanksgiving break we were able to make a getaway to the Texas Coast. I would consider myself a fishing addict. No matter what the weather, or wind, or forecast of no fish, I want to get out there and just get a line in the water. Even if I was led to a body of water and told there was only one fish, I would still feel like I was going to catch it. It’s the thought that a gambling addict must have in Vegas….just one more pull…well for me, it’s “just one more cast...” I started thinking about that anticipation. What if I went into every day with so much excitement to see what God was going to put on the end of my line? It could be a new soul that would be led to him through my witness, a new opportunity to serve Him, or a new adventure he was going to take me on. When was the last time you woke up and thought, I’m going to cast my line, and see what God has for me? I’m going to wait on the edge of the boat and not even sit down because I don’t want to miss the opportunity to set the hook when God taps the line. And remember, anything on God’s line is a keeper. There are no throwbacks, none too little, and no pointless catches.
Matthew 4:19 "And he saith unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of me."
It's been on my heart to write a blog regarding thanksgiving, and I just never quite felt led in one direction or another, until Sunday at church.
At our church, we take communion every other week. Sadie, my 3-year-old, got her cracker and her juice and we all filed back down our aisle. As the preacher was talking about the act of taking communion, Sadie looked at me, and excitedly whispered, “I like this part”. Without thinking, I said, “Me too babe”.
And yes, it’s true I do like that part, but not because of what we are remembering. I don’t like that Jesus was beaten, tortured, and mocked for me. I don’t like that he cried out to God in agony on my behalf. But I like this part...I like that it didn’t end there. I like the part when we Jesus rose, and promised me redemption through His blood. That’s the part I like.
So, I know that Sadie likes communion because she gets the mini sized cracker and she thinks the small plastic cups of juice are cute, but one day my hope is that she likes it because she eats and drinks in the grace Jesus offered on the cross. I hate what happened on the cross that day to one man, all at the same time, knowing that it saved my soul...and for that, I am the most thankful of sinners this Thanksgiving week….I like that part.
Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
I try to exercise at least a few times a week, but that can be difficult with a 3 year old wrapped around your legs. Sadie was busy playing outside, and so I decided I would just walk some laps up and down our driveway. It’s probably 100 yards of crushed gravel, and I just walked up and down to the mailbox and back. As I heard the crunching of the gravel under my feet, I started noticing how such a long path was created by thousands of little bitty rocks. I reflected on how this is similar to the body of believers. If we are all working for Christ in our own circles of influence, then God will use each pebble to create a path for the world that leads straight to him. The rocks on the path had a purpose, while the one’s that were off the path were just lost and purposeless. Thank you Lord that you use me as part of your bigger plan. May I lay rocks on your path, working together with other believers, to make a way for people to get to You.