“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 (NLT)
We most likely have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. We’re excited at the chance of a fresh start they bring, but have also experienced the disappointment caused by their lack of longevity, despite our best intentions. Regardless of the possibility of failure, it’s hard for us to resist the chance of starting new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This year my New Year’s Resolution is to experience that “rich and satisfying life” Jesus promised we would have through Him. It’s not that I don’t already possess some of it—there are certain areas of my life that I experience it every day. But when looking more closely, I see areas of my life where I am missing out and caught in poor habits or stuck in worry and fear.
Want to join me in making a change? What’s getting the best of you that isn’t from Him? What’s going on in your heart (emotions), soul (relationship with God), mind (thoughts) and strength (actions) that are taking you away from God’s best for you? Let’s allow Him to make some changes in us this New Year and experience the abundant life He offers every day of 2014!
“. . . but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10 (NLT)
Over 2,000 years ago the angels arrived, breaking through the stillness of the night and terrifying some insignificant shepherds out watching their flocks that night. These celestial beings came proclaiming “good news that will bring great joy to all people.” What was this “good news”? The Lord has come.
Who has come? The Alpha and Omega—the beginning and the end. The Arm of the Lord, and the Author and Finisher of our faith. Our Messiah and Redeemer, sent because our Heavenly Father loved us and sent His Beloved Son to die for our sins, so that we might not perish but have eternal life.
The Bread of Life, giving us food and drink that truly satisfies our souls. Our Good Shepherd, the Cornerstone, and our Deliverer, who promises to never leave us or forsake us. He is called Immanuel—God with us.
Our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace, whose reign knows no end. Our Great High Priest and the Heir of All Things—the Holy One of God.
The Lamb of God who comes as the Light of the World, our Bright Morning Star, so that we shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Jesus, You have come that we may have life, and have it abundantly. Happy Birthday, our precious Savior and Friend, we love and adore you!
“The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you . . . “ Deuteronomy 33:27a (NLT)
When it comes to my Christmas tree, the perfectionism I occasionally battle with goes out the window and chaos reigns. My ornaments range from a pink beaded bell made by my grandmother to a moose on skis. Then there’s this little guy my youngest brother made for me that I still treasure.
Every ornament means something special to me, and I enjoy tucking them safely onto each branch. This year I was reminded, that is the way God feels about each of us. We are His precious treasures that He values as if we were the only ones He had. He tenderly hides us safely in the shelter of His arms and lovingly watches over us.
What a wonderful God we have, who loved us so much that He gave His only Son Jesus to die for our sins. There’s JOY in my heart this Christmas season over the gift of His love for us.
“ But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT)
One of my favorite childhood memories at Thanksgiving time was making construction paper pilgrim hats and Indian feather headdresses in school to dress up for our Thanksgiving feast. The best part of the day was seeing everyone gathered around the table full of delicious things to eat. This is still one of my highlights of the day, even if the stuffing comes from a box and the gravy from an envelope!
Thanksgiving has always been a time when people come together. I know for many this means a day of laughter and good times, but for others it can be a day of difficulty. The day may take extra patience and grace we feel we don’t have. This is when it’s good to know there’s always seconds available from the fruit bowl. Of course I’m not talking about apples and oranges, but the fruit of God’s Spirit in us. We can take a portion of His love, kindness and self-control for ourselves and then share it with those around us.
I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for you and the encouragement and inspiration you are to me. Thanks for joining me as together we allow God’s truth to change us and set us free.
“Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1 (NLT)
Many of us are thinking about what we’re thankful for this month, whether it’s listing something for each day, or just appreciating the beautiful fall colors and the abundance of pumpkin-flavored foods. Maybe you’re going deeper with thanks for God’s financial provision or the health you have. Regardless of what we’re thankful for, expressing our gratitude always does our hearts good.
What is it about gratitude that can change everything? For one, it helps us remember all that we’ve been given. We’re quickly distracted by what we don’t have, instead of valuing what we do. It also takes the focus off ourselves and puts it onto God, who provides all we have and more. I believe this is where the biggest impact is made. Isn’t it so easy for us to become self-centered and be consumed by our problems and greed? Through gratitude we remember what a loving, faithful God He is, who is good all the time and gives us all we need. (Matthew 6:33)
Need a change of heart? Join me in making a ‘gratitude adjustment’ and together we’ll experience the peace that comes from expressing our thanks to Him. (Philippians 4:6-7)
(I published this post a year ago and thought it a fitting reminder for us—I hope you enjoy!)
“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” Philippians 1:21 (NLT)
Autumn is here! The nights are cooling down (Where are my slippers?), the mornings are crisp (Need to grab my scarf!), and one of my favorite parts . . . the trees are starting to show their glorious fall colors. I took a trip to Oregon recently to visit my sister and enjoyed what is normally a scenic drive even more because of all the brightly colored trees along the way. God is an amazing Creator, isn’t He?
My sister mentioned how God brought something to mind as she noticed the fall colored leaves too. When the leaves change into their brilliant colors they are actually dying. They turn from green to reds to oranges to yellows, and then they die and fall off the tree. In the dying process the leaves are their most beautiful, and it is the same way with us spiritually.
When we die to self, or another way to say that is when we surrender our desires to God’s best for us, we become more beautiful. We do this by reflecting His likeness even more: by giving grace and patience to others more often, by choosing obedience when temptation comes, and by resting in His strength and peace no matter what we’re facing. By dying to our wants and giving Him control of our lives we are transformed into His likeness. He shines through us, and we truly are a more beautiful reflection of Him.
Take a look outside . . . do you see a tree changing colors? It’s leaves are dying, but it is beautiful. As we go into this fall season may those colorful leaves remind us that as we die to self we are becoming more beautiful. The most attractive people I know are those that shine God’s light and love to others. Let’s make it our prayer this week that there will be less of us and more of Him reflected in our lives each day.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
God promised the impossible in Genesis 12. He promised Abraham and his wife Sarah a son, even though they were in their 60’s and 70’s. After waiting over 10 years for the fulfillment of God’s promise, they decided God must have been wrong, and took matters into their own hands. I’m sure you’re already guessing the outcome: not good! Sarah gave her servant to Abraham in marriage, who then bore Abraham a son. As you can imagine, the family dynamic took a turn for the worse afterwards. The result of their decision is still making an impact in the Middle East today. Then twenty-five years after His original promise, God gave Abraham and Sarah a son when they were both over 90, proving that all along He’d been able to accomplish the impossible.
Have you ever gotten tired of waiting on God and decided to take matters into your own hands? When God delays in fulfilling what He’s promised, sometimes we doubt in His ability to do it. We conclude that we’re going to have to figure out another way, and then experience the consequences of our inadequate efforts. Compared to His solution, ours will fall short every time.
God wants us to trust Him and wait on His perfect timing, no matter how long it takes. Sometimes we don’t understand why we have to wait—I’m sure Abraham and Sarah didn’t either. Let’s do our best to keep our eyes on Him, faithfully waiting for Him to give us “more than we might ask or think.”