Tag Archives: Jesus

In The Days Leading Up To Christmas

23 Dec

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The mantle is filled with vintage Putz houses, a glowing Christmas tree takes center stage in the house, and beautiful cards are displayed on the door. The nativity is in a prominent place on the dining room table…a visual reminder of God’s love to the world. The gifts under the tree are no comparison to the gift of Jesus, Himself.

The sky outside is the color of slate, and branches of the bare trees scrape against it. The smell of wood smoke is in the air, a neighbor must have their fireplace in use. Icicle lights glitter in the evening dusk, reminding me of the glorious appearance of the angels on that night of Christ’ birth so long ago.

Sweet treats, warm cocoa, and marathon Christmas movies on television. Thankful for so much.

Quiet peacefulness settles in……. in the days leading up to Christmas.

 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
         And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”   Luke 2:8-14

What Is Man, That You Take Thought Of Him?

22 Nov

Today my husband asked me to watch a Louie Giglio video with him. I wasn’t feeling all that great, and didn’t know if I really felt like taking the time to really pay attention, but it is difficult to hear this man speak and not be drawn into the message. I was glad I tuned in. In this particular video he was discussing the physical universe that we live in, more so about how small our planet is in the big (very big!) scheme of things. The scientific facts alone, that he mentioned, were thought provoking. The pictures of the stars and how immense they actually are, the light and heat of the sun in space, and where we are in the context of our galaxy and all the universe. Yes, over the years I’ve learned about space and astronomy, but as I listened, the thought struck me…..this is what Psalm 8 is all about.

 

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When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!”

Psalm 8:3-5 

 

 

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Stop.

Reread those verses again. Let it sink in. God created it all. He created the very elements that are the building blocks for all other things. The sun burns hotter than any nuclear reactor we have ever witnessed. We are in the exact spot to not be too hot or too cold to sustain life. The Earth is really not more than a speck in the vastness of this incredible universe. And on this tiny speck, we live.

He made us, humankind, in His image. He tells us over and over again, in scripture, of His love for each of us. Even after the darkness of sin permeated this world He created, He provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him, through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. He is not, nor has he ever been, a God who created us and then left us alone. His love is amazing, glorious, fulfilling and overwhelming.

My God is big…it is He that created everything, out of nothing. The vastness of the universe is filled with His creative glory. The stars show the story of His love.

My God is so intimate, that He knows the count of the hairs on my head. He knew me while I was still being created in my mother’s womb. My name, among others, was on His mind, when the words, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”, were uttered from his lips.

Yes, my God, the Lord of all heaven and earth…..knows me. This tiny speck in all of the cosmos….and He calls me by name.

I continue to stand amazed.

 

 

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The Darkness Can Not Overcome It

29 Sep

The seasons have changed, and with that the night time comes earlier, no more staying light until 9:30 or 10pm. Although, I had already fed Jazz hours earlier, I wanted to let her into the barn for the night. I grabbed my flashlight and headed over for our night time ritual.

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My LED flashlight gave off just enough white light for me to see where I was stepping. One foot after the other. Some nights the moon shines brightly and I can see perfectly without the aid of a man made light source. I live in the wide open country, no street lights, and at night it can get very dark. I often hear dogs barking in the distance, and occasionally, coyotes. I hear geese,  frogs, and owls and often times, the llamas across the road. Llamas hum to each other….it sounds kind of weird, if you don’t understand what it is that you are hearing in the pitch dark.

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When we first moved here, the night seemed very, very black. Scary, even. After being here for several years, it is no longer that way for me, although I remain cautious. I don’t want to run into a opossum, skunk, or raccoon and so I try to be aware.  In the complete darkness out here, I am thankful for my light.

When we can’t see, and we’re scared we need the light.

Jesus already knew this. That is why He came.

For a dark and broken world, Jesus is that light.

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“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 

That Day Could Have Been My Last

16 Sep

That day, in June of 2009, was gray, as the rain poured from the heavens. We were in the process of moving, packing up all we owned to move to another state. My husband, and oldest son, were in the truck ahead, pulling a trailer behind. I was with our son and daughter in my Camry. We had one of the cats in her carrier in the back seat.

The rain was hard as we drove north on I-75 that day, as we crossed over Jellico mountain. I didn’t have the radio on, I wasn’t talking to the kids, absolutely no phones were used…I was concentrating on my driving in this east Tennessee summer deluge. I had no idea, as the minutes ticked, as rivulets of water poured across my windshield, what would happen…in one heart pounding moment.

There was so much water on the road. I was focused on driving behind my husband, and keeping an eye on the loaded trailer. My car’s tires lost contact with the pavement. The car jerked violently sideways, across lanes of oncoming traffic. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The moment froze, for what seemed an eternity. I heard myself scream. Then we were ripped back to reality, as the car careened across the interstate heading for the solid rock wall of Jellico mountain, that I-75 sliced through. In that one brief moment, the car jolted again, caught pavement and threw us backwards, like a sling shot, back across several lanes of traffic in the opposite direction. We went, 50 mph backwards down an embankment of dirt, all four tires blew out, and the under carriage of the car dug hard into the ground…before we hit the mountain of trees behind us.

After checking the kids (we were all seat belted in) and the cat, and realizing we were all okay, I breathed deeply. Shock. Horror. Crying. Emotional. I called my husband, who was further up the road and had not witnessed the accident in the rain. I called the insurance company, and the police.  Some people stopped to make sure we were okay, some sped by with not even a glance. After my husband circled back around and the car was towed, we ended up in a small Tennessee town. We had to wait on a rental car, transfer all the stuff from the Camry to the other car…in the pouring rain. The church across the road was having a service. We needed boxes or bags to put stuff in from the totaled car. We walked over. We looked soaking wet, emotional, and bone tired after hours of the after math of the wreck. They could have took one look at us and turned away. Instead they took us in, fed us, and offered to help in any way that they could. They were Jesus’ hands and feet to us that evening. They were a living testimony of what it is to be Christ’s followers.

I look back on that day, and I still get goosebumps. I feel the terror of having no control over my car. It washes over me. I am very aware of the fact that it could have ended differently. If I had been going faster the car could have flipped, if the cars in front of me or behind me had been any closer, it might have been a multi-vehicle crash, if the tires hadn’t caught pavement when they did we would have went head long into solid mountain rock. If the car had hydroplaned just less than a mile further up the road, we could have easily gone through a small guard rail and plummeted thousands of feet to our deaths, down the side of a mountain. I am grateful that the only thing destroyed that day was my car. God was merciful to us that day, in that moment. I don’t understand the reasons, as I know that so many aren’t as fortunate as we were.

One thing that I learned from this experience is this…..I am not in control. We all like to think we are, but it just isn’t true. We never have been in control. God, and He alone, holds our futures in HIs hand. Our days have already been numbered in HIs book, before even one of them came to be. I did not wake up that morning, thinking that that day could be my last….but, if it had been, I was ready. My son was ready, my daughter was ready. No question where we would spend our eternity.

Friends, do you have that same confidence? Do you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, where you will spend eternity? The start of your forever could be 50 years from now, or it could be this afternoon. Don’t leave your eternal destiny to chance.

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Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (We all do things that are wrong–sometimes others can see our sin, but sometimes our sin is hidden in our own hearts. We know it is there. None of us is perfect or blameless.)

Romans 5:8 “But, God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Jesus died for you. A perfect, sinless life, laid down to take your place. He knew that you would one day walk this earth, and when he took your place, your name, your face, was on his mind.)

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (It is not God’s desire for anyone to perish–but, that is what sin does to people, we die….that is why Jesus stepped in the gap between the darkness of sin that brings death and eternal life with the One true Living God.)

Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”  (This couldn’t be more simple. One cannot work their way to Heaven. The price has already been paid–you just need to acknowledge it.)

I Am Covered

15 Sep

I believe that there is no such thing as coincidence, only providence.

God’s divine guidance. There are no mistakes.

How many times am I guilty of being blind to the extraordinary of the every day?

My heavenly Father gives me the gift of Himself.

His handprints are all over this life that I am living.

There is no moment that is too small, or too insignificant.

There is no crisis too big, or too difficult for Him.

This life is woven in the tapestry of His grace, and I am covered.

Each moment is a gift.

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Today I am thankful for: 

*the golden colors of the fields, ushering in Fall

*the soft muzzle of a horse

*the unbridled enthusiasm of a 65 pound puppy

*fingers that fly painlessly over the keys

*popcorn popped in the old fashioned way

*brothers and sisters in Christ, singing truth

*wedding band glinting in the sunshine pouring through the kitchen window

*memorizing scripture, food for the soul

*fresh vegetables, given by a friend

*numbers on the scale going down

*a new stage in life, that even though difficult, is growing me

*health, may I never take it for granted

*the love of family and friends

*Jesus, who makes all things new

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 5:17 

He Goes Before Me

29 Aug

On my good days, when the world seems so right. On my difficult days when nothing seems to go right. On happy days that make my spirit soar, and on days when I am down and wishing moments could last just a little longer…God is here. 

He surrounds me. He lifts me up. He holds me close. 

The Lion of Judah, fights for me. The Lamb of God laid down Himself for me. The Ancient of Days, knows me. The King, sees me, His child. Whether I am happy or sad, feeling blessed or melancholy….. He loves me. 

And that, for me, is always enough. 

Life will never be easy. There will be ups and downs, accomplishments and disappointments, but through it all, is my security in Him. The One who never leaves me.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

 

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Sometimes It Takes A Storm

2 Aug

It was a few minutes after five in the morning. I heard the faint rumble of an approaching storm. I listened as it grew closer. The dark bedroom was bathed in the blue-white of lightning. It went on for quite a while, and now, even hours later, I can still hear thunder. Today is wet and gray and I like it. I like stormy, rainy days…at least once in a while. I like the smell of the soil when it is wet from the rain, or walking through puddles with my rubber boots.

Stormy days remind me of being cleansed. Even in the midst of life’s thunder and lightning, hard torrential rains, and gray skies….we can know that the storms, although at times scary and maybe even dangerous, will eventually stop.

Sometimes it takes the storms to wash away the dirt of life, to bring a fresh perspective and appreciation.

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Mark 4:39

And He (Jesus) got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.

 

 

 

THE SKY TURNED DARK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY…

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A SUMMER STORM AT MY HOUSE…

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I TOOK THIS PICTURE OF A SUMMER STORM IN COSTA RICA…

 

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