Posted on Leave a comment

Christmas Distractions

There is less than two weeks until Christmas!  Our house is decorated, although not quite as elaborately as usual.  Our backs have been a limiting factor this year. Still, favorite decorations are out to celebrate and reflect memories from the past. It looks nice in spite of not having a tree. Our tall plant filled with candy canes for our son-in-law will have to do the job.

Next week my Mom and I will cook ahead for Christmas dinner. I still want to make fudge for my niece and get it in the mail very soon. The gifts are wrapped and ready for Christmas morning. I am excited because I found a perfect gift for someone.  While I am not famous for my gift giving originality, I believe I accomplished it at least once this year!  

Indeed, gift giving can be a challenging and expensive part of Christmas.  The quest begins for many the day after Thanksgiving. Some leave the table and their families, even on Thanksgiving Day, to save money and begin that daunting task. They head for work or to shop in the many stores that are now open for Black Friday. Time for giving thanks to The Lord and enjoying family is cut short.

I was talking to someone about all of this recently. They referred to Black Friday not as a shopping day, but as the day that Jesus was crucified. We remember His death on Good Friday. The skies turned dark as He gave the greatest gift of all. Yet, as the Christmas Season begins and we head to town to buy presents, His sacrifice is the last thing on our minds.

There are many distractions in the Christmas Season. Concerns about parties and what to wear to an event can come to the fore. Finding that just right centerpiece or poinsettia for the dinner table gathers our attention. Cooking and cleaning to make things look just right leads to exhaustion. Stress and anxiety can rob us of the joy of Jesus’ birth. It can become an every year trap.

In this season filled with “Jingle Bells”, “Rudolph” and Santa Clause, I pray that the coming of Jesus will be on our minds. May the wonder of the birth of Our King cause us to turn to Him and share our faith. That we avoid spending too much time trying to please others, but make time to reflect Jesus’ love. May there be room in our days to celebrate and spend time with Jesus. He is what Christmas is all about.

Luke 23:44-46 NKJV Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’

Luke 2:7 KJV 7  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

John 14:27 KJV) 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.

Song of Solomon 2:10 My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away.

Posted on 1 Comment

Enjoy One Another!

Next year our son will be getting married to an amazing young woman. Our family is excited to have her join our clan. She is no doubt a gift from Jesus to all of us, and a wonderful partner for our son.

Our future daughter-in-law has a large family. It includes parents, aunts, uncles and cousins who live in the Mid-West. They are a tight knit bunch who love one another, and they are not shy about saying how much they love our son.

Because of the geographical distance, we haven’t met her family in person. I have, however, been communicating with her Mom. “Mom” sent a note introducing herself and expressing her excitement about the upcoming union right after they shared the news. That is the wonderful kind of person that she is.

It has been fun getting to know her via text and e-mail. I look forward to sharing our kids and grandkids for the rest of our lives. Like her daughter, she is an exceptional person. I have learned that she is generous and fun and giving and wise.

On Thanksgiving we received a card from her. It was a holiday greeting with a warm message inside. My initial thought was, “How lovely!”. It was quickly followed by another. “Oh no! She is so very thoughtful! I will never be able to keep up!”. My guilt at not sending a card to her immediately disappeared, however, when I determined that I am not even going to try. I have decided that I am not going to compete or keep up. I am going to enjoy the wonderful person that she is instead.

Indeed, we are all part of God’s family, and He does not want us to compare. We are uniquely created to love and strengthen one another, each in our own individual way. When we focus on the good, not what is lacking in ourselves and others, it brings a smile to Our Father’s face.

So, I am placing this relationship into Jesus’ hands. I ask Him to bless and keep my new friend. I pray that I will be a gift to her, as The Lord protects our friendship and our children throughout the years. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

2 Corinthians 6:18 NKJV “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

John 13:34 NKJV 34  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Psalm 139:14 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

Posted on Leave a comment

Thankful, Beginning to End!

Thank You Lord for the sunrise!
It brings promise of a brand new day!
No matter what comes You are with us.
In times of joy and sadness You are near.

Thank You Lord for the sunset!
It is a reminder to give you praise!
You give us life and our very breath.
We spend every day in Your care.

Thank You Lord for Your beauty!
Reflected in days’ beginning and end.
May we start each day by giving thanks.
May we finish it in the same way.

Whether your day is quiet or filled with bustle,
May THE LORD overwhelm you with His Love.
May we make some time to give Him thanks,
Today and every day!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving.

1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Posted on 4 Comments

Temporarily Grounded

I have long wanted to take a good picture of an eagle.  From time to time I see them, but it is not often.  When one does make an appearance it is usually unexpected. The result? Either I don’t have my camera, they are too high in the air, or I am not fast enough to capture their image.  I have been trying to get a photo I am happy with for years.

I had always imagined that my successful shot would be accomplished with a bird in flight.   Instead, my prize comes in the form of the above picture; an eagle that is at rest. Taken when my husband and I visited a wonderful zoo last fall, it is very special to me.

We came upon this magnificent creature in an area where eagles who had been injured were being cared for. There were several in the enclosure, and it was obvious that they could not fly. Still, they were majestic. Their power and beauty remained unmasked in spite of their grounding. They were not struggling against their situation as one might think. Instead, under the watchful eye of their Keeper, they patiently waited until they would fly once more.

In this life we too can become grounded. Betrayal, devastating loss, or rejection can bring wounding to our lives. During this time our Keeper is ever so close as we rest and wait on Him.

If you are feeling broken right now, I would like to say to you:

You are beautiful, even if you don’t feel it.
You are stronger than you know.
Jesus is with you, and His healing will come.
One day you will soar again.

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Psalm 33:20-22 NKJV 20 Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. 22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.
***Note: The Hebrew Lexicon describes waiting as:
To wait, look for, hope, expect, to wait or look eagerly for

Ephesians 3:17-19 NKJV 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.



Posted on 2 Comments

Okay…Who Did It?

Last Sunday morning I picked up a family member who had spent several days in the hospital. I was fortunate to be able to be with them during their stay. They will be recovering from successful surgery for several weeks. It will be nice to have them home. I smiled as I gave thanks for all of the good things that had taken place, and for the wonderful people we had met.

Soon my mom will be having her own procedure. She will stay with us for a few days to convalesce. I have been joking that she and my other “patient” will have to call me Nurse Christine. When I was young, nurse was at the top of the list of things I wanted to be.

Singing and driving toward my destination, I could feel The Love of Jesus fill my car. An overwhelming sense of peace settled upon me, and my heart was filled with joy. Then an unexpected question popped into my head. “Okay Lord. Who did it?”. I knew that someone had prayed for me.

I don’t know if it was just because they love me, or if The Lord had given them a specific assignment, knowing I would need strength in the days ahead. In either case, if it was you, I want to say thank you.  Thank you for lifting me up in prayer.

Some of the greatest people in God’s Kingdom do not stand in front of many. Instead, they kneel quietly before Jesus, speaking directly to Him. They pray for their children, their grandchildren and their spouse, and for the angry neighbor who lives next door. They intercede for their town, city and nation. Their requests combining with God’s Mighty Power, to move Heaven and earth.

Lord, thank You for the opportunity to be Your vessels of prayer. Please fill us with Your Love and the knowledge of Your will. Increase our faith and help us to believe. This is Your desire and Your privilege for us.

Matthew 21:21-22 NKJV 21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it

2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

James 5:16-18 NKJV 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.



Posted on Leave a comment

A Blessing And A Prayer

The last several days I have been staying in the hospital with a loved one after their surgery. All went well and there is going to be an excellent result after healing is complete. In the meantime, however, writing a post in the hospital is like trying to get a good night’s sleep when you are a patient there! The result? This week’s post will simply be a blessing and a prayer.

Father, in The Name of Jesus I lift up to You, the one reading these words. Thank You that Your Love for them never fails. I ask Lord, that where they need strength, Your joy would fill them. That when they are tempted to fear, that they would receive from You the gift of faith. If worry comes calling, I ask You to bring Your peace.
Father, please cover and protect them. Surround them with Your Presence Lord, whether they are in a crowd, or walking alone. May they know You are there in every season Lord, be it a season of calm or of storm.
Bless us Lord, I humbly pray.
In Jesus’ Name.
Amen

Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV
24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’


Posted on 10 Comments

Know Your Season

We live in a part of the United States where we experience all four seasons. Fall began a month ago in late September. It is one of my favorite times of year. We have finished picking our apples. The leaves on the trees have turned different shades of red, yellow, orange and green. Most of them have fallen to the ground. Squirrels removed the last of the walnuts from our yard. They are spending their days wisely, scurrying about in search of additional stores. Instinctively they know that wintertime will pass and spring will come again.

When it arrives, winter will hold it’s own unique beauty. I shiver in anticipation as I think of temperatures in the teens and driving on icy roads. Still, I smile as I remember the sparkling moonlight as it shines on undisturbed snow. I think of the darkness that will come early, allowing me to put my jammies on far earlier than I would consider during the warm and busy days of summer. Indeed, I love winter too.

As the earth has seasons, our lives have seasons as well. Each holds its blessings. Each has its challenges. In either circumstance, it is important to know the season that you are walking in. Otherwise you might find yourself wearing a bikini outside in the cold, or casting seed into a snowbank and expecting it to grow.

I am grateful for the season I am experiencing in my life right now. It is a time of quiet and of caring for my family. Being aware of this allows me to rest and to live without guilt. I can walk in freedom with Jesus, confident that I am carrying out His will.

Today I would like to invite you to consider your own season. Are you raising children or grandchildren? Enjoy them, for soon they will be grown. A new season will begin when they are gone. Maybe you are embarking on a new adventure. Perhaps a new ministry, or job or relationship? Be bold and step on out! Perhaps you are feeling that it is time for change? Time to let something or someone go? Trust Jesus. He will show you what is next.

Changing seasons are a part of life. They give us wisdom, build our endurance, and help to strengthen our faith. How good it is to know that The Maker of All Seasons is Walking beside us, no matter the season we are in.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Posted on Leave a comment

The HA! HA! Challenge

Yesterday I was flat out crabby. Physically tired and distracted by many responsibilities, I had a lot on my mind. Then, in the midst of my weariness, the word HA! popped into my head. It was followed by HA! HA! Next came HA! HA! HA! I couldn’t get past five HA! HA!’s in a row without laughing. It immediately lifted my mood and changed my focus. That is the way God made laughter to be. Today is much better and I haven’t had to HA! HA! out loud again. Still, the memory makes me smile.

Many people are carrying the weight of sorrow. There is so much opportunity for frustration, worry and fear. The heaviness of this world can rob us of our thankfulness and peace. Today, however, I would like to invite you to give yourself permission to laugh. To DECIDE and even CHOOSE to do so! To take the HA! HA! Challenge.

So be adventurous and read the scriptures below! Then follow the instructions that come after them. Don’t think about feeling foolish. Instead, be bold and give a few HA! HA!’s a try. The Lord wants to give us His joy in our days. It is in the joy of The Lord that we find our strength.

Nehemiah 8:10…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” NKJV

Psalm 126:2,3 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,

“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad.

Proverbs 17:22 – A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

The HA! HA! Challenge

1. Loudly say the word HA!
Pause; then follow with HA! HA!
Pause again, then continue with HA! HA! HA!
Continue until you can’t help but laugh.

2. If you have HA! HA!’d 25 times and you still haven’t laughed, step in front of a mirror and repeat.

3. If that doesn’t do it, go get another person. Face one another and repeat.

4. If your heart is so weary that you cannot laugh, remember, Jesus rejoices over you with joy. He sings over you. This season will end and you will laugh again. May this knowledge give you HIS strength.

Zephaniah 3:1717The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;





Posted on 3 Comments

Seventy Times Seven

In September my Mom had to go to Urgent Care. Upon discharge, she was told to make two follow up appointments after additional bloodwork was complete. One was to be with her regular physician, the other with a specialist. Yesterday was two days short of one month since Mom’s Urgent Care visit. We finally got her bloodwork done.

The process has included a myriad of frustrating circumstances. Without proper bloodwork an appointment with the specialist could not be made. My phone calls would result in different answers at different times. One day the answer would be yes. Another day it would be no. Finally it was decided that more blood needed to be drawn. We quickly made plans to return the next day. We were told to come in any time.

Upon arrival the next morning we checked in and took our seats. I had a question about some paperwork we had been given, so I returned to the desk. The woman who had handed me the papers said she was leaving, but that any other employee would be able to help. Had there been a window between us, it would have slammed in my face. My eyebrows hit my hairline as I went to the back of the line.

Fifteen minutes later Mom’s name was called and she was taken back into the room. It was then that she learned that the bloodwork needed to be taken before 10:00 a.m. It was 10:45. “I am sorry, but you will have to come back another day”.

I am generally not a person of short temper, but my limit had finally been reached. This situation is flat out unacceptable. It has left my Mom wrestling with unanswered questions about her health for far too long. It took all of my restraint to remain civil as we headed for home.

As I stepped outside I suddenly realized; Mom and I had a choice. We could carry our anger into the future, or we could release it to The Lord. Forgiveness is always the better way, so it didn’t take us long to decide.

I was proud of my Mom the next morning when we arrived at the office. She was polite as the window slammer introduced herself once again. “Why yes, I remember you. You helped my daughter and I yesterday”…

OH MY GOODNESS!!! I didn’t finish the above paragraph because the doctor’s office just called. We have to go back yet again!!! This will be my Mom’s fourth poke.

The young man on the phone sounded nervous as he gave me the news. He had received a piece of my mind two calls ago. He relaxed, however, when I explained, that we have decided it does no good to get mad.

This does not mean Mom will be a silent victim. Righteous anger deserves a response. Together we will say and do what is needed, but in a manner that is pleasing to The Lord. We will walk in peace as we determine to forgive. Even seventy times seven if that’s what is required.

Today’s article is not intended to be an opportunity to complain. It is really an invitation to you. If there are areas in your life where anger is disrupting your peace, turn to Jesus. He is faithful to give you the strength you need, in order to walk it through.

Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Philippians 3:13 NKJV Brethren, I do not count myself to have [apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,

Ephesians 4:26Ephesians 4:2627 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil

Proverbs 16:32 NKJV 32  He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Posted on 2 Comments

One Day At A Time With Jesus

This week I have had all kinds of ideas for this post.  However, as I sit down to write to you this evening, there is a single phrase that keeps coming to my mind.  It was not included in my list of possible topics.  Instead, it comes from a conversation I had with a friend several days ago.

My friend has been traveling a lot lately.  She has been attending meetings, meeting new people, and having opportunities to share her faith.  I love to hear the tales of what God is doing for His people as they come together. This is a busy and exciting time for her.

As we finished discussing her adventures, my friend asked what has been happening in my life. My answer was quite simple, yet oddly profound. “It has been one day at a time with Jesus for me.”

Indeed, my days have been full, yet quiet. They have included fallen tree branches in the yard to be dragged away. I have enjoyed precious times with my Mom as she visits our home. There was even a surprise medical appointment after accidentally lodging something in my eye. (Everything turned out just fine). Days of friends and family to pray for and to love. While some days feel challenging and out of control, because of Jesus, they are filled with peace.

So tonight as I finish my writing I pray that that your answer would be the same. No matter your circumstance, may you be able to say, “I am walking each day with My Lord”.

Matthew 6:34 NKJV34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Christine’s note: Lord, thank you that as I walk with you moment by moment and day by day, I do not need to worry about what tomorrow is going to bring.

Philippians 4:6-7Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Christine’s prayer: On those days I am tempted to worry Lord, may I present my requests, then leave them with You.

Proverbs 3:5-65Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Christine’s note: Lord, as I submit my days to Your leading, You straighten my path and bring me peace.

Psalm 5:3 KJV My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
Christine’s note: Lord I lift my eyes to You each day. I use my voice to begin each day with praise.

Psalm 145:1717The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
Christine’s prayer: Though I don’t understand what You are doing Lord, I know You are righteous and Holy.