Merry Christmas 2019

Luke 2:6-7

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Today is Christmas Eve and I cannot get over this moment.  I am picturing Mary, large pregnant, over being pregnant, oh so ready to meet this person who has been growing inside of her for 9 months. Yet, very sure that this moment is about to change the entire trajectory of her life.  Life will never be the same, everything is about to change, to be made brand new.  I have been in those moments, over being pregnant, and yet with the knowledge that my life is about to never be the same and really not knowing what the new is going to look like.  How will I navigate? What will life be like in just a few short hours?

Even if you have never been pregnant, I would bet that most of us have been ‘pregnant’ with a new beginning, a life that is so full to bursting that something is about to change. Pregnant with a new idea or direction of life that the Lord has planted in our hearts.  So ready to see this thing come to life and yet completely unsure of what this newness is going to look like. How will you navigate it? What will this new life look like?

This is the promise of Christmas.  Jesus came after 400 years of silence.  The still night is broken by the birth of the Savior, the King of kings, the Prince of peace. And the reality of all things being made new has arrived. Jesus’ birth marked the beginning of what was going to be the New Covenant. A way back to our Lord was just born into our world.  And nothing would ever be the same again. Every prophecy is fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled until the moment He breathes His last. This is the season for us to understand that we are made new. All of who we are and what we are called to do are made new in Jesus.  The shedding of blood at His birth was a foreshadow of the shedding of His blood that would be making us brand new!  His first breath, that would lead to His last breath and become our first breath, was born on this night!

No matter where you find yourself this day, may you be filled with the knowledge that Jesus’ birth marks a new beginning for you.  His life has made a way for you to walk in your newness of life.  As you go to worship tonight, surrounded by believers and unbelievers alike, may you leave at the foot of the cross, every piece of baggage that is hindering you.  May you instead grasp hold of the new that Jesus is offering you as we celebrate His birth.  May this mark the season where you ‘give birth’ to what the Lord has planted in your heart.  May you hear the first cries of it come to life in the shadow of the manger. You are so loved that our Savior came to us, as a baby born to die, just to give you a new life!  May every stress and hurt and sorrow that you have carried pale in comparison to the new life that Jesus has made a way for!  Merry Christmas!

Lord, we cannot fathom that our Lord and Savior joined our humanity in the form a baby.  That He would choose to be obedient to You and take on flesh just so He could lay that flesh down on our behalf.  We stand in awe of You and so very thankful for the gift of new life.  As we celebrate this new life, may we bring honor and glory to Your name and shine the light of the world, that gives new life, into this darkness. We love you Jesus!  In Jesus name we pray!

Happy Thanksgiving

Colossians 2:6

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, such a perfect time of year to sit back and reflect on all that we are thankful for. As believers, thankfulness should be a part of our everyday life, and honestly for most of us it is. We all struggle to be consistently thankful but the Lord always graciously pulls us back into His embrace and reminds us how blessed we really are. It’s easy during this time to be thankful for all the things that we should all be thankful for, a home, food, happiness, etc.  I have been asking the Lord to show me the things that I usually miss, the things that I might pass off as normal everyday life or as coincidences because nothing in my life is accidental.  Tonight, as my husband and I were sitting at the kitchen table, the most beautiful thing happened.  We have four children from 12 to 4 and they are absolutely amazing and difficult all in the same breath.  Our oldest has a particular knack for climate change.  I lovingly refer to him as our game changer because his personality is such that he naturally changes the climate of the room by his very presence. Many days he is somewhat like a hurricane, he is preteen added to the fact that he naturally has a very strong personality. I can almost feel my other kiddos prepare themselves for his presence when he comes into the room. They absolutely adore him and yet he can be the most upsetting person in their lives all at the same time.  Tonight, we were able to see what a beautiful gift his personality is and it is the most precious gift from Jesus.

Our oldest is very creative, he has a mind to create things and is always creating games and such for his siblings to play.  This evening he created a game equipped with clues and the end result was his siblings getting to find their stuffed animals that he hid. It was an absolutely amazing thing to behold. He wrote the clues, hid the animals, and gently ordered his siblings to hide until the game was ready to be played. Then he stayed close by as they read each clue, he helped if there was a need, and then laughingly encouraged them onto the next clue. He was almost more delighted than they were when the next clue was read and they ran off to find the next.  My husband and I sat back in stunned, happy silence. These are the moments that we know are going to not be easily forgotten. These are the moments that knit their hearts together in love, in a way that all of our orchestrating or forcing could never do.  These are the moments when their heads are close together, reading the next clue, trying to figure out where to go next, that the Lord gives us a glimpse into what He has in store for them in the days and years to come. These are the moments as parents that you can hear the Lord whispering His deep love for them into our hearts which encourages us to stay the course and never give up.  I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything this world has to offer.

When we all do whatever it is that we are going to do this week, and specifically tomorrow, my prayer is that the Lord would knit our hearts together in love with those that He has so graciously bestowed upon us.  That our eyes would be opened and we would have glimpses into what the Lord is doing in our own hearts and in the hearts of those we are closest to.  And His deep love would be what pulls from us the most beautiful thankful hearts that only He can give. Life is not perfect here on this earth and it never will be, but really, I am glad it is not. If it were then I wouldn’t be oh so ready to go home to see my Savior face to face. But even here, on this imperfect plane, our Father is deeply involved and gently pulling the curtain back so that we can see how He is moving on our behalf, even when we don’t think that He is.  Tonight, we were blessed to see how His hand is intimately involved in every little detail.  We know that the battles will come but that He has made a way and is making a way where it seems like there isn’t one.

May your Thanksgiving be full of moments that rock you back on your heels. In the middle of the hard moments, the tired moments and maybe some not so good moments may you lift your head to the throne and KNOW that you are seen, known and deeply loved. May a new level of thankfulness seep into every pore of your body and then flow out of you and touch those around you.  You are called, you are chosen, you are loved and the Lord is cheering you on!

Thank you, Father, for how You lovingly pull back the curtains so that we can get a glimpse of how intimately You are involved in our lives.  Those moments root us deeper into You and prod us onward. We know we are running a race and in so doing patient endurance is our mantra.  Holy Spirit remind us to not lose heart over the things here that don’t always make sense because You are our promise of better things to come. May we glorify and honor You with a thankful heart always and especially during the Thanksgiving season. We love You.  In Jesus name we pray, amen!

Faithful Foundation

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

 

My kids and I have been blessed by a homeschool gym class offered through a local university.  On a recent class we were allowed to participate in an outdoor ropes course.  I stood amazed as my young children scaled rope walls of various heights, seemingly fearless.  Another mom and I were marveling at how our younger kids were scaling ropes, walking across tightropes, all seemingly without fear, but our older children seemed much more reserved, not quite willing to take a risk for the adventure that was guaranteed.  She looked at me and said,’ I think the older ones have a greater awareness and are more apt to not risk the uncertainty for the adventure.’ And I thought,’ Boy is that ever true.’

As believers, you and I are really no different than these kids.  When were new in the faith, on fire with this zeal for what Jesus had done for us, we were fearless to share the truth and go where only Jesus had gone.  But as we grew, and were hurt or discouraged or had our new found faith attacked by the world and possibly other believers, we tended to weigh each moment differently, not sure we wanted to obey God and go where He was calling.  We, like the older kids, tended to calculate whether obedience to God, where there is no perfect certainty except what we know He told us, was worth the risk.  We have seen others go before us, have a wonderful time, or fail, and then when it is our turn, we choose safety and comfort over the life of our calling with Jesus.  We are fully harnessed up, helmet in place, the best belayer (rope holder) in the Holy Spirit, Jesus by our side and calling to us from the other side and in the name of caution and wisdom we miss out on the best life Jesus died for.

I stood there, cheering my kids on to be fearless, get off the ground and out of their comfort zone and go on an adventure.  My greatest desire is to see them outlive my faithful foundation.  To climb upon the stone of my life and soar to places I could not have gone nor were they meant for me.  And yet, how can I expect them to do that if I won’t cut the ropes to my safety boats, get off the ground and faithfully, fearlessly follow Jesus?

Mommas and Daddies, Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts, your faith matters!! We are to steward our lives and then pour into the next generation that will take our place.  Don’t let us just live in word but also in deed.  To live a life steeped in Jesus Christ, filled with examples for our followers to witness and call upon when they are asked to step out of the boat! Even our failures will bless them if we do not give up the first time we fall, and fall we will.  Just like the kids who lost their grip and fell backwards, the belayer was holding them and then encouraging them to try again, our Jesus holds us in His hand, picks us up when we fall and says, “Let’s do this!”

May you be rooted in the Word of Jesus.  Strong in Him, encouraged and knit together in love by the One who walks on water and soars above the storm.  May you choose to LIVE in Christ Jesus, full of scars for His glory.  May His faithful promises light a fire in your soul to see Him high and lifted up, here, in the land of the living!

Lord, thank You for Your Word, the way You remind us that to not live in You is to not see Your purposes fulfilled in our lives and we were bought at too high of a price to not see Your glory here and now.  Reveal to us where our fears are cloaked as wisdom and help us to get up off the ground to where You await with our high and Holy calling.  We love you Jesus.  In Jesus name

Light

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Have you ever sat outside just as day begins to give way to night? The sky, impossibly clear, no clouds, yet no stars just yet. And then, as the night creeps in, one by one, each beautiful, light giving star begins to break through the blanket of night! That, my friend, is only possible because there is night. Each of those dots of brilliant light can only be seen in the darkness of night. As day begins to break, their light gives way to the greater light of the sun.

We are those stars, each one strategically placed to give light in this darkness. To be light, to receive light, but to shine in the darkness. One day, on one glorious day, we will enter into the Kingdom of eternal light and our Son will outshine and envelope our light. But today we shine while on this earth, as representatives of His glorious life-giving light. We are His reflection, the arrow that points to Jesus. If we choose to focus on the night or that the other stars seem to shine brighter, we will lose heart. We must keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, the source of our light that in turn shines out from us. Be ignited by the lights around us and let our lives reveal the Creator God to the lost, broken and lonely.

As the night begins to wax darker, more and more stars pop into view. The darkness, no matter how dark, only reveals lights that could not be seen otherwise. It does not hide nor scare away those stars, in fact, the harder night tries, the brighter those stars become and more stars are revealed!

We are the body, fed nourished and held together by the Head, who is Jesus. The Glorious One, who fills us with His light and has a greater investment in our lights than we ever could. He knows exactly where He placed us and what amount of darkness would reveal our particular, unique, needed light. Dear brothers and sisters, do not give up or lose heart! Instead, be filled with the light of hope and let it shine forth into the fabric of darkness that the enemy wants to swallow you with. Stay rooted in the Word, not swerving to the right or to the left. Be filled with His strength for all endurance and patience with joy. Shine bright and build up the body. And on that day, when you cross over into glory and see face to face that blindingly awesome Son that filled you, that day you will cry, ’Worthy! Worthy! Worthy!’

Lord, as night reveals stars, so let my life and circumstances reveal the light You placed in me. Let it be an arrow to Jesus and an encouragement to my fellow sojourner. Until I see as I am seen, abundant life here and now, battle scars gathered to lay at the feet of the One who paid it all. In Jesus name

Where has my peace gone?

Colossians 3:15

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful!

 

I lay sprawled out on the floor of my daughter’s room.  On the verge of a breakdown, tears threatening the edges of my eyelids.  I had just finished cleaning her room, only her room, for the millionth time while the rest of my home lay in shambles.  I kept telling myself,’ If I can only get the house clean it’ll all be ok.’ Only to lay on her floor and know that that was not true.  It would never be clean enough or stay clean for that matter.  I found myself projecting my joy into something that could never bring me true, lasting joy.  So, I lay there, arms spread wide and I repented.  I asked the Lord to heal my heart because I had misplaced my priorities and I was missing the faces for the façade of perfection.  And oh, how sweet His love is as He floods the place where our humble hearts lay.  He said, ‘Molly, this time is oh, so short.  Your peace, the peace that I gave you is not dependent upon your situation.’  There it was, that beautiful truth, my peace cannot be taken, it can only be given away.  When I was focused on my situation, instead of my Jesus, I got lost and gave away my peace.  The enemy cannot take from me what Jesus has given; I can only give it away.  I was so angry at myself because I had given away what Jesus bled to give me.

Mommas, if a clean house or perfect children take the place of our peace, our Jesus, then we have lost our way.  My youngest son came into the room just then, wrapped in a blanket, in the middle of July, lay down next to me and sweetly asked, ‘What are you doing momma?’ Through his sweet lips I heard Jesus ask me the same question and I knew it was time to get back up.  So, I got up, hugged my boy and went out into the greatest life I could be given, mess and all.

Raising and discipling the next generation is not for the faint of heart.  It is hard and messy and oftentimes it means doing the same things day in and day out.  But the One who calls us has promised us we have everything we need, and all we need is Jesus.  Don’t lose your peace for a clean home mommas.  Don’t lose those precious faces for some momentary perfection.

Lord, thank You for that peace that came with the blood of the Cross.  Thank you for those reorienting moments that You use to bring our perspectives back where they belong.  And mostly for the messy rooms that one day will be quiet and clean.  Don’t let us rush through those times for they are all too brief.  We love you, In Jesus name we pray!

I Could Have Missed This

Psalms 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Three years ago, this summer, I was on my way to a bible study.  I was loading up my 4 little kids, tears and all, and heading out the door. I had been wrestling with God about what to do next. Do I stay a working mom or do I quit and homeschool my kids?  As the tears were falling, both theirs and mine, I surrendered to God, ‘Whatever You want.  I just want what you want, tell me and I will do what You want me to do.’ That day at bible study, Jesus met me and I began the most incredible journey.

Even after I knew that I was going to quit my job, pull my kids out of private Christian school and homeschool them, it was a full year before that came to fruition.  During that year, many days, I still wrestled with God and my doubts.  How am I going to do this?  What in the world am I doing? Are you sure, Lord?  Every doubt, every question asked through tears and trembling lips was met by the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  Strength, not my own, poured out of His Word into my heart.  A fiery desire for the lives of my children would fill my soul and a deep peace that came from Jesus would anchor my heart to the truth.  We just completed our second year together and as I look at my life now, the reality that I could have missed this is not lost on me.

Any journey taken with the Lord, by faith, tends to bring a little nausea. The sheer enormity of what God is asking you to do and believe and trust Him for is way beyond your ability.  The truth that if He doesn’t show up then failure is imminent shines like a neon sign on a pitch-black night.  And yet, as we look back at what God has done through our obedience, I shudder to think, I could have missed this.

I could have missed the AHA moments in my children’s lives as they conquered some new subject and Jesus lit up their eyes with a new found confidence and knowledge.  I could have missed the boy on my lap reading for the very first time.  I could have missed the boy who can out think me when solving math problems and the twinkle in his smile when he realizes he can.  I could have missed the boy who saw history come alive in the lives of men and women who loved Jesus and lived out their faith, planting a seed of greater things in his budding warrior heart.  I could have missed the angelic face of my daughter as she drew her first picture, asked me to write her name on it, and put it up next to her brothers work.  My fears and logical thinking could have cost me everything, if not for my sweet Jesus meeting me right where my surrendered heart lay.  Every hard moment, every tear shed on this new pathway is overshadowed by the victories in Jesus name and by His strength and grace alone.

I don’t know where you find yourself today but Jesus does.  He is calling you out on the water with Him, where the tasks before you are way beyond what you can do.  But where He gives vision He also provides.  Each faith filled; trembling step is met with the solid rock of Jesus.  I pray you go where the Savior calls, fall forward into His loving arms.  Fall in love with Jesus and watch Him change everything!  Then, begin to look at each step along this path and see what you could have missed if you wouldn’t have gone where your feet could never have taken you.

Lord, I don’t want to enter into Heaven and have you show me a life that I missed out on because I wouldn’t go where you were asking me to go.  I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind, Jesus’s mind.  Lead me on the path You created just for my feet, one through Red Sea’s, wildernesses and paths of peace.  May I seek You more and more and with open arms, heart overflowing with love, look at my life and say with thanks, ‘I could have missed this!’  In Jesus name!

Dear Dads

Proverbs 13:22

A good man leaves an inheritance (legacy) to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

Parenthesis added by me.

Dear Dads,

Today we celebrate you, we affirm you. The world is doing everything in its power to demean you and the position you hold.  To tell you that what you do outside the family unit is more valuable than the position you hold as the head of the family.   It is desperate to tell you that what you do and how you love and treat your family doesn’t matter. We don’t really need you anyway.  After all, generations have grown up without a dad around and turned out ok, right? This could not be further from the truth.    Your position and calling come right up under the head of our Lord Jesus Christ.  You are the picture of the Heavenly Father here on this earth.  You hold a place on this earthly kingdom that no one else can hold.

The greatest threat I see to your position in this world and in your families, is apathy and passivity.  It is buying into the lie that because you are around and you love your family that that is good enough.  You matter SO MUCH MORE than that.  The sin of passivity is not new, it is the one that entered at the drop of the fruit juice on Adam’s tongue.  And the enemy has been capitalizing on it ever since.  He desires to keep you distracted and busy, loving your family from afar.  Keeping an eye on them but never really jumping onto the battle field with them.

May I just encourage you today.  Jesus came to give us life and that more abundantly.  As a parent, as a dad, that abundant life is tied to the little lives that you have created.  Everything inside of them is drawn to all that you are and all that you represent.  Boys look to their dads and granddads as the very image of who they are to become, how they are to act in this world and how they are to represent Jesus on this earth.  Little girls look to their dads and granddads as the example of who they should seek out in their spouse. You define to them how their Heavenly Father looks at them and what their worth is to Him.  What an amazing gift that is!  Your wives look to you to lead, not because they can’t but because that is who you are designed to be!  They desire to foster that in you and to come alongside of you as you fulfill your God given purpose. You, dear dads, are the very heartbeat of our Heavenly Father on this earth towards your family!

I know the responsibility before you is great, but you serve a Great God.  Never once did He intend for you to do this alone or in your own strength.  Most of you don’t even have a picture of what being this godly Dad should look like, and honestly it should look different for all of you because each of your families are incredibly and perfectly unique.  The temptation is to walk away because the calling is way beyond you, but that is right where Jesus is!  He beckons you to follow Him and He will equip you as you take each faith filled step.  He brings godly counsel alongside of you to guide you and most importantly He left you the very God breathed Word to infuse you with all that you need.  Fear not dads, your family is praying for you, cheering you on.  The world is desperate for you to be who you were made to be.  Your Heavenly Father is leaning towards you, cupping your face in His hands and He can hardly wait to see you step into the path that He created just for your feet! You are a part of the most amazing legacy.  Maybe you are starting one from scratch in your own family, but it is a part of the Biblical legacy bought and built with the blood of Christ.  Maybe you are laying another foundational stone on the legacy that you now stand upon.  Either way, you are incredibly important to the next generation, to your kids, grown or not, to your grand kids and to the little ones that you won’t meet this side of heaven.  The stories of what you did and how you loved your family will be passed on and used to remind and encourage those yet to come that they serve a great God and He loves them more than they could ever imagine.

So today, on this the day we celebrate you, may you feel the love of Jesus course through your veins like never before. May you have a fire in your soul to stand in the footprints of the Savior, the ones created for just your feet!  May you wrap your arms around the little ones given to you and love them with the love that Jesus has filled you with.  May you say no more to a legacy of passivity but yes to one of the Warrior God has built into you.  And most importantly, may you know that your wives and your children are on your side, walking beside you and standing behind you, little feet in your big ole’ footprints.  You could not be more important or more loved!

Happy Father’s Day!

Grouchy to Glad

Colossians 3:10

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

This time of year is hard.  We are at the tail end of winter and in Colorado she hangs on for dear life.  On the cusp of warmer, longer days and more sun, yet still in the throws of school and shedding winter skin.  It is very easy to fall into frustration, only looking at what I can’t do yet and focused on what I perceive is holding me back.  Today was threatening to be one of those days.  I was wearing my grouchy cloak like a royal garment and throwing its itchy, irritable fabric at anyone who dared to come close enough to me.  We all loaded into the car to head out, buckled up, cloak securely fastened. My oldest grabbed control of the radio, through Bluetooth, and began playing Toby Mac.  All of the sudden my ears registered the sweet, becoming manly, voices belting out worship tunes in our car.  I was undone!  I prayed, ’Lord, You bury a love for You deep into their hearts.  Place a heart of worship into these soon to be men and women warriors for the cross!’  As their voices sang out in the car, I felt the fog of grouchiness being swept away from my eyes with a new-found thankfulness and zeal to fight for this life come alive in me.

This life is hard, especially raising the next generation.  Life can feel overwhelming and it is so easy to give in and let the grouchy cloak envelope you.  But as I heard them worship in the car, I felt the Lord smile and heard Him say, ‘Don’t give up!’  Oh, seeds take time to bring to life and young plants take monotonous, consistent care to bring to fruit bearing years.  It’s here, with my hands in the soil, holding a watering can and pulling weeds that I have to fight the feeling of weariness.  The Lord loves these little warriors more than I ever could and only in His strength, with His love, am I ever going to see this thing through.

Mommas and Daddy’s, fight the good fight.  Keep your hands in the soil, intimately involved in these little lives.  Be rooted in the Word and in the love of Jesus.  Let Him fill you so that you can love and disciple this next generation.  IT IS WORTH IT!  I don’t know all the how’s, I just know that Jesus keeps saying, it is worth it because He is worth it!  Keep your hope rooted in Jesus.  One day, you will stand side by side with Him and He will show you the landscape He changed through you.  He will reveal the hearts and generations affected through Him in your life because of your obedience and patient endurance.  And you can look to Him and say, ‘You were worth it all!’

Lord, thank you for the gift of soil stained hands and angelic voices lifted in worship to You.  Thank you that grouchy cloaks are easily removed in Your love and a thankful spirit.  Let us always be rooted in You, fighting the good fight of the faith because You are worthy of it all.  Continue to breathe fresh, new life into the weary souls of Your moms and dads and anyone on the front lines of discipling the next generation.  We love you, in Jesus name amen!!

New

Revelation 22:20

He who testified to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon!” Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.

On this beautiful, snowy day, I have been able to sit and remember.   Remember how this year has gone, the highs, the lows and in-betweens.  Perusing my memories for how I thought life would look this past year versus the reality of it lived out.  I can’t help but feel a little sad at the disappointments and deep hurts that were endured.  The many moments of uncertainty as the ground beneath my feet quaked and gave way.  But in all honesty, it just revealed where my sure foundation was, and where I had been standing on shifting sand.  Many beautiful and light filled memories blot my year as well.  Great fun, smiles and laughter, prayers answered, freedom found.  They all make my heart anxious for my Jesus to come claim His bride and take us home!

Until that moment comes though, I will press on.  As we gracefully, or not so gracefully, step from a year past into the new to come, be encouraged! Nothing will ever be the same again.  That statement could bring trepidation but it is meant to bring hope.  If I cling too tightly to the good that once was I will miss the new, life giving new, that is to come.  The new that brings me one step closer to my Jesus’ radiant face.  Every new beginning is an offer, an offer to be and do and become all God has spoken over us since before the foundations of the earth were laid.  It’s a choice really, to go where only Jesus can take you, fully trusting Him, rooted deeply in His Word.  To choose stagnancy is a slow death, like a bloom cut and placed in water, already dead just grasping at the last few moments of blossom.  Loved no less or more, just missing out on all that the Creator wants to offer you.  The adventure of this lifetime!  There are sure to be moments of hurt, frustration and pain but the reward of a crown to lay at the King of Kings feet far outweighs the momentary pruning.

May you choose in this new beginning to set your life to the beating of The Heart.  May you choose to go where He goes and stay where He stays.  May you choose to leave old baggage in the past, refusing to take old into the New.  May you feel that anxious expectation that knows God is on the move and you want in!

Lord, thank you for all this past year held because not for one second were we left on our own.  You are faithful and true and you are coming soon.  I want in, wherever you are, I want to be there with You. Fan my flickering flame into an inferno, burn off more of me so that more of You may reign.  To 2019 I go, with You, bring on the New!  In Jesus name!!

Merry Christmas

Luke 2:9-11

 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Ephesians 3:17-19

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

What a wonderful time of year we find ourselves in!  As we enter into it, I would like to encourage each of us.  We may be entering this season a little battle weary and worn.  This past year has been one of upsets, disappointments, deep hurts but also joy and victory.  Let me remind you that victory does not come easy and is often on the tail end of some of our deepest hurts and trials.  The temptation to come into this season downtrodden or glum is overwhelming but this is where we dig down deep, we bury our hearts in the Word and we be reminded of the glorious beauty that is in this particular moment.

The thing about a baby is that they signify all things new.  Birth, a brand new beating heart and lungs filled with air for the very first time.  Not only that but this special baby is the very reason that you and I have breath in our lungs.  The enemy wants to distract our hearts and minds this season.  Dulling our senses to what the real meaning is.  It is so easy to get caught up in the ‘things’ of Christmas and also to get down about what we did not do or get done this year.  As we come together and celebrate the birth of our Risen Savior, soak in the fact that His birth made ALL THINGS NEW. Right here, right now, this season can be the beginning of something brand new.  Singing praise to our King, joining our voices with the host of heaven, raising our arms and laying our hearts down before the Throne.  Laying the ashes of the disappointments and hurts down before the cross knowing that He who was and is and is to come will bring new life out of what we thought was completely dead.  But this life, this life has eternal significance.  These dreams that died at the cross will be given new life, His life, if we will let them.

When you picture that young girl and her husband, Mary and Joseph, holding the very One who spoke them into existence before the foundations of the world, let your heart be in awe.  As you watch the lights sparkle on your tree, or around your home and neighborhood, be reminded that He is the reason they shine.  As you wrap gifts, or bake goodies in your home, remember that He confined Himself to a flesh and bone body that you and I might live.  When you are tempted to let go of the scarred hand that bled for you, be encouraged that He will never let go.  This life is beautiful and hard.  Sacred and scary at times but above all it is a gift, one that came wrapped in swaddling clothes and was laid in a manger.  Many things battle for our attention, many are good, but only one thing deserves our eyes, our ears and our hearts, especially during this season.  Jesus, the One and Only, deserves what you and I feel is not good enough to give.  He desires and deserves our hearts and devotion and love.  Sit beneath the river of Grace, soak in the Word of the Living God and shine!  Shine the light that lives inside of you into this broken and dying world.  And above all love each other deeply as you have been deeply loved.  That love, which is supernatural and not possible in the flesh, is what our families, our friends and our world needs.  It doesn’t make any sense and in most cases is not deserved, but I know the love I have I did not deserve and He freely gave it to me anyway.  Breathe deep, enjoy your Savior and celebrate the birth of the living God into our lives.

Then, look up and realize that our God is on the move, He is doing new and marvelous things.  Look towards what is to come with anticipation and hope.  Know that the Sovereign Lord is making a way where there is no way.  A path is being formed for your feet, a path no one even knows is there.  He is breaking barriers, turning stone hearts into flesh and waking up the hearts of His people.  Hear Him call to you, get into the Word, seek His heart above all else and lean in and be ready to go when He calls.  Set your life to the beating of His heart and fall in love all over again with Jesus.

One of the ways that helps me to be reminded of how awesome our Jesus is, is to build a stone of remembrance.[1]  Usually it is a picture or several pictures from our year together tied to a verse the Lord has spoken over my heart.  I put it where we will all see it and when we pass by we are all reminded of how good our God is and what wonderful things He has done for us.  When life gets hard and we all get a little frustrated, I point to that stone and remind each of us the ways that God is so good to us, especially in those places and times of our lives.  He is still good, even in the midst of our hard situations.  Find a way to remember the goodness of God in your lives, your kids need to see it and your family needs to see it.  We all need to be reminded that God is for us and He loves us more than we can imagine.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May you find yourselves surrounded with delightful giggles, warm hugs and joy.  May the light of Christ shine into the darkest places and renew your hope.  May the birth of our Savior remind you that all things are made new in Jesus.  May He speak a specific Word over your heart for what is and what is to come.  May you rest in the finished work of Jesus and breathe in the new life He offers you.