It WAS a Very Special Christmas

As you may have read in my post from Dec 2 I was very discouraged at the beginning of the month. We didn't have as much money for presents as we usually do and we didn't get to travel to see my family in PA, but it was such a special time for our family.

As many of us often talk about doing, this year we decided to focus on helping others. And this year we acted on the decision instead of just talking about it.

Shortly after I wrote that post I found a website that was doing a 12 days of December giveaway and they were introducing you to a different person from their ministry every day. On the 7th day at the end of the entry for that day the suggestion was made to find a family to share the '12 Days of Christmas' - they had done it the year before for a man whose wife divorced him and left him with 5 children.

So, the wheels started turning and I had 2 families in mind. I contacted our pastor to see if this was something I could contact the congregation about and he very enthusiastically said YES!!

For the 12 days leading up to Christmas the focus in our family was on making Christmas special for these 2 families who had/have emotional needs beyond our comprehension. I don't mean this in a self-centered way at all, but it was such a blessing to be able to be used by God to minister to those who were/are hurting. There were many things done including Christmas decorations, meals, and gifts.

I believe it was through the same website - possibly just linked through that website - that my husband and I chose to do a different way of giving gifts within our family this year. We only bought 3 gifts for each other and 3 gifts for our daughter. The gift of gold represents something that the person really wants; the gift of frankincense represents something spiritual; and the gift of myrrh represents something you can wear. This took away so much stress of not knowing what to buy and not spending a lot. We had a great time and have enjoyed sharing this with many friends and family members.

This Christmas meant more to me than any of the 27 I have celebrated before. It was the most Christ-focused and others-centered holiday season I have ever experienced. Praise the Lord!!!

The only regret I have is that I don't think I took enough time to listen to Christmas music. . .

God is There

Through an email devotional today I was prompted to read Psalm 139 this afternoon. The author of the devotional only focused on verse 8, but I would like to focus on many of the verses in this wonderful Psalm that can only point you heavenward.

David is writing this Psalm about just how much God knows us. A comforting thought when we are right with God; a terrifying thought when we are trying to hide from Him.

There are so many times that we think we can hide from God. "Surely God would never go there" we think. However, if we have truly invited Christ in as our Savior we are the one taking Him there. When we think about it, we are taking God there because He knows our thoughts. Have you ever heard someone say, "Oh, I never thought about that"? Whatever that was, your thought planted in their mind takes them there.

God knows all of our thoughts. Verse 2 says "You understand my thought from afar."

Not only does God know our thoughts, but he knows our actions. Not only does he know about them, but he 'scrutinizes' them. He searches us out and is not only familiar with us, but He is intimately acquainted with all of our ways. Wow! Me?!?! Why? Because God sent His only Son to Calvary for me. (John 3:16-17)

David acknowledges in verse 6 that this knowledge is too much for him - with our human minds we cannot fully understand this.

Verses 7-10 :
"Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me."

God is there. Right where you are. Right now. Does that encourage you or does that scare you out of your mind? Be encouraged. God is there.

Praise the Lord

God is so good to answer our prayers above and beyond what we ever expect. We may not be able word everything just right or know exactly what to pray for, but He does.

Romans 8:26 "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;"

Repitition from the Almighty

It is awesome to me to see how God works in our lives. As most of you will agree he doesn't just show us something once and move on. He usually incorporates things into our lives over and over again. I had a note to start writing a blog about a certain topic and the devotional I read yesterday had a link to a blog with a story that totally went along with what I was going to write. It's also been something that the Lord is teaching me first hand how to live.

What am I talking about you may ask?

Praying with Christ "Thy will be done."

In the book Experiencing God the author talks about how God's will is happening all around us. We need to take our selfishness out of our daily lives and stop praying for God's will for us
and to pray for discernment to see His will that's happening around us everyday. If our hearts are in tune with His we will be able to join Him in His work here on earth.

The story in the blog mentioned above shows this by her response to the needy woman she met in the laundromat. It may not have been her immediate response, but she was aware of a need and allowed the Lord to use her to meet that need.

I currently have the opportunity of leading a ministry of "Christmas Blessings" to some families that have some needs this year. I am so excited to see God working in the lives of those around us.

If our hearts are in tune with God we will be able to see the needs around us and allow God to use us as He sees fit. When we take our selfishness out of the equation God is able to work in our life.

So, please join me in praying for God's will to be done. Open your spiritual eyes and see what God would have you do to further His kingdom.

Born to Die

What an amazing way to think of this time of year! Christ's purpose for living was to die. He came to this awful sinful world because of the love that God has for us. His purpose in being here was to save the lost. Will you surrender to God this Christmas? Will you put aside all of the busyness of the holiday season to focus on the One who gave up the most in order to give us eternal life? Take a few minutes to meditate on the words of this song:

On the night Christ was born just before break of morn

As the stars in the sky were fading

O'er the place where He lay fell a shadow cold and grey

Of a cross that would humble a king.

Jesus knew when He came, He would suffer in shame

He could feel every pain and sorrow.

But he left Paradise with His blood He paid the price

My redemption to Jesus I owe.

From His throne Jesus came,; Laid aside Heaven's fame

In exchange for the cross of Calvary.

For my gain suffered loss, For my sin he bore the cross

He was wounded and I was set free

Dearest Lord ever more May thy Cross I adore

As I follow the path to Calvary.

Of thy death I partake; My ambition I forsake,

All my will I surrender to thee.


Born to die upon Calvary, Jesus suffered my sin to forgive.

Born to die upon Calvary, He was wounded that I might live.

The following are some things that we can now claim because Jesus was born to die:

I can be owned by God, I can have Christ as Lord, I can be In Christ, I can be a servant of Righteousness, I can walk in the Spirit, I can be saved by the power of God, I can have eternal life, I can have heaven as my home, I can enter into His rest, I can live for others, I can have spiritual vision, I can believe in my heart and be born again, I have made Him the end and scope of my life, I have sought God with my whole heart, I have decided to obey unto righteousness, I have decided to love God with all my heart, I want to love others to tell them about Him, I will hold the truth in the Word of God, I can be free from sin, I don't care if I lose my life because I will spend eternity with Him, I will repent of all my sins and give them up for the Lover of my soul, I now see my sin and how awful it was to nail Jesus to the cross and how vile and corrupt I am, I will accept Jesus with all that he is, Savior, Lord, Master, my all in all, I want to have that type of love for others as I follow Him to the cross, I don't care if I lose the World, I will be saved and live forever with Him in Heaven.

Bad Advertising

The above add was to the side of a website I was viewing today. Do you see the most obvious problem with this before/after besides the obvious more than 12 lb weight loss?

An Eye Opening Experience

I was catching up on some blogs today and came across this post. Starting in the 3rd paragraph the Lord really started to grip my heart. I have always struggled with allowing my husband to lead our home. I have often prayed that God would help him to be a better leader. That's the right thing to do, right? Not so much the way I was going about it. My idea of a good household leader was that he needed to be more outspoken and take charge. So, often my prayers led to my telling God that He needed to change my husband - never really crossing my mind that I was the one that needed to change. I have spent so much time criticizing him instead of being the supportive wife that God has called me to be. My husband is a very quiet man (when he's not playing with children/teenagers). He doesn't like confrontation or arguments. So, I often wrongly interpret his silence as him being a bad leader. The more I've thought about it today, the more I've thought about who he is. My husband loves to mull things over. He thinks about things for days before making decisions. I, on the other hand, often make very hasty decisions in order to not miss out on things or just plain, ugly, impatience. I am realizing that I really need to sit back and allow him to take the lead. I hear the Holy Spirit telling me to get out of the way!!

The part of her post that really gripped me was the 6th paragraph. She lists some examples of decisions that she has supported him in and even though she was scared she stepped back so he could lead. She specifically mentions job changes. We have had so much of that lately and I have always had my ideas of what he needed to do and not trusted that he could make a decision on his own. That often led to many disagreements because he of course does not like to be told what to do or be constantly checked up on. Who does? Why would I think that he wouldn't mind? That's where the problem lies - I didn't consider him in the situation. I started to worry right away and thinking about the situation from an earthly perspective forgetting the God of the Bible would take care of us.

A very ironic twist is that we have been doing the Love & Respect workbook by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. (Maybe I should have titled my blog 'The Ironies of Life) I thought I had learned it all cause I read the book last year, but I am learning that I have so much more to learn as the crazy cycles continue. We are in week 3 of the study and I look forward to continuing with my husband on this journey to learn how to better meet each others needs.

- This is in no way a contrast to my "Peace From the Saviour" post. I know that God will take care of us, but I was not trusting Him to use my husband as the leader of our home.

The Most Special Christmas

The more I have thought about the Christmas season the less I have looked forward to it. . . until now.

I was getting so bogged down with all of the financial messes we are seeing around us and in our home. For some reason I had it in my head that we had to have gifts in order to be happy at Christmas. Kind of ironic since my husband and I have talked about and decided to make Christmas more about Christ and doing more for birthdays to celebrate the life of those we know. Still, in my heart, I was carrying around a HUGE disappointment knowing that we couldn't do anything for Christmas this year. Yes, I would love to get gifts, but I really like to give gifts. So, that made my sulking ok, right? Wrong. Last night I was encouraged to find other things to give to people that don't cost money. I must admit that inside I laughed at the thought. Not so funny, though. It's actually a great idea. I plan to make a list this week and pray for the Lord to show me what I can do for those people.

The next thing that was holding me back from truly enjoying this wonderful time of year was that I had to be with my family. I was extremely disappointed when my husband lost his second job and knew we would have to use the travel money for bills and groceries. Then, my dad suggested they come down here to see us. I was SO excited about that. I have lived in GA for 6 years now and my parents have only been here twice (I'm originally from PA). I found out yesterday that they will not be able to come now due to being robbed while they were away for Thanksgiving. This could still change, but I needed that to happen to show me just how much I was relying on them to make Christmas special.

Christmas needs to be a time that we take to reflect on Christ. We all look forward to going to heaven to get away from the things of this world, yet Jesus left heaven to come to this world to save sinful souls such as mine. How humbling!!!

I encourage all who read this to challenge your family to truly focus on Christ this Christmas. Yes, the decorations are pretty, the gifts are great, and families are nice to spend time with (most of the time), BUT let's remember and take in the reverence that the wise men had for baby Jesus - the King of Kings.


I was reminded this morning in a devotional that we can look forward to a recreated earth without Satan's influence. I have been so aware of Satan's influence lately and just how sly he is. I have been struggling with trying to understand how people can fall so deeply under his spell and forget everything they know to be true in and through Christ. I have been constantly reminded by my wonderful husband that Satan is deceptive and we can very easily buy into one of his lies and multiply them by justifying our actions. We have been praying more than ever for God to protect our home.

My purpose in this was to share my excitement in looking forward to a life without Satan. Praise the Lord for this precious promise - I look forward to his return!! For some encouragement read John 14.

"O wretched (wo)man that I am!"

I was reading the book for my weekly Bible study last night and was given a brand new perspective on Romans 7. The quotation that she used was from the New Living Translation. This is a great Modern English translation to help us be able to more easily understand what Paul is trying to say. It made it a lot easier for me to personalize it. Here is the text:

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

We have all been here with Paul. The struggle of knowing what is right, but fighting within yourself to do that because the sin looks/feels good to us. Thankfully Paul didn't leave us hanging at the end of chapter 7, but moves on in chapter 8 in the first verse to say that there is "now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." By turning to Christ we have the Spirit of God that can help us to not turn to the sins that "so easily beset us." As our pastor pointed out yesterday in his message, we don't have to sin. Sin is a choice, just as doing right is a choice. In order to not do the sins that we are so drawn to we need to set up road blocks. Remove yourself from the temptations. Romans 8:13 says "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Our pastors message was entitled "Mortify". We need to daily, moment by moment, be "putting to death"(NAS) the deeds/desires of our flesh. What really stuck out to me is that the dying that will take place, is not just the eternal death, but when you make fleshly choices you are killing relationships. When we are selfish and only think of ourselves and making ourselves feel good, we don't think of those we will hurt in the process.

I think the best way to end this is to quote I Corinthians 15:56-58

"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."

Proverbs 31

I only wish that I could attain this in my lifetime. There are so many areas listed below that I fail in - sometimes daily. BUT, I am so thankful for God's forgiveness and when needed the forgiveness of my husband and friends. The problem is that I am always trying to do it in my own strength and in my time instead of God's. That is something that God is really working in my heart about. Let go and let God - so simple yet so hard!


The Seven Principles of the Proverbs 31 Woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman...

Pursues an ongoing, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Loves, honors, and greatly enriches the life of her husband, encouraging and supporting his leadership within his family and his church.

Nurtures the next generation, shaping and molding the children who will one day define who we are as a community and as a nation.

Creates a warm and loving environment for family and friends.

Is a faithful steward of the time and money God has entrusted to her.

Speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction as she encourages others and develops godly friendships.

Shares the love of Christ by extending her hands to help the poor and opening her arms to the needy.

A Japanese Version of Psalm 23

This is a Japanese version of Psalm 23 found in the book "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver. A great book if you've never read it. I encourage everyone reading this to meditate on the words and look up our version of Psalm 23 as a comparison. What an amazing interpretation of the most popular Psalm.

The Lord is my pace setter…. I shall not rush

He makes me stop for quiet intervals

He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity

He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here

His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility

My cup of joyous energy overflows

Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of my Lord and dwell in his house for ever.

We Need the Process

In a book that I am reading for a Bible study there are a few thoughts that really meant a lot to me. There will probably be many things talked about on here in the next 3-4 months as the Lord is able to use this study to change my life.

The first thing is a prayer that she puts at the end of the first chapter. The prayer is as follows:

Lord Jesus, I give You my life.
I invite You to have Your way in me.
Take me and break me. Shake me and make me.
Fill me and spill me. Change me and rearrange me.
But whatever You do, Lord. . . don't leave me the same.
Spirit of wisdom and revelation, I welcome Your work.
Open my eyes so I can see. . . my ears so I can hear. . .
I choose truth over comfort, challenge over complacency.
Lord, make me forever Yours.
And most of all, make me like You.

This is not an easy thing to pray, but a good model to use if you are looking for long lasting change to happen in your life. The sentence in the first two chapters of this book that stood out to me the most was: "The Lord knows that we need the process as much as we need the product." Without the process we are not changed, lessons are not learned, consequences are never there to learn from and remind you of how the Lord is changing and needs to change your life. We need to thank the Lord for the process that He puts us through in order to be changed to be more like Him, which should be every Christians ultimate goal.

A Very Important Message

This was brought to my attention not too long ago by a person whose family is going through a rough time. This is a very important message for all to hear and adhere to. We need to be super careful with what we do because NOBODY is immune to the wiles of the devil and only the armor of God can help us defend ourselves in this daily spiritual battle we are fighting. Ephesians 6:10-24

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to keep our hearts "with all diligence". As this commentator points out we are to keep at a great distance - can never get far enough away - from evil.

Please pay close attention to the message of this song:

Casting Crowns - Slow Fade (Official Music Video)

Casting Crowns - Slow Fade Lyrics

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Mom Myths

I was listening to the radio one morning and was very interested when they said they were having a woman on as their guest who wrote an article called Top 5 Mom Myths. What mom doesn't want to be reminded that they are doing things well and don't need to be perfect? However, I must say that I didn't agree with everything she had to say (surprise, surprise).

Myth #1 is that Mom's like their children all the time. I agree that we may not like our children all the time, but she never points out that we are to love them. All children do things that are disagreeable, but I think it would have been much better had she mentioned that they all need love no matter what. I also don't agree with telling your children you don't like them. Yes, something may slip out of your mouth sometime and that doesn't make you a bad mom, but encouraging it doesn't seem like the right thing to do either.

Myth #2 is that Mom's bond with their children immediately. On this point I agree with her. It may not happen instantly, but don't give up. Many factors contribute and you need to work at this relationship from the start just like any other relationship.

Myth #3 is that Mom's balance it all. On this point I also agree with her. She quotes a Dr. Sanford who says "We’re so sure that everyone else but us is doing a great job of balancing their lives." How true is that?!?!? It's hard to schedule time for you to relax when you're taking care of so many other people, but if you don't take care of yourself you won't be able to take care of them. How many times have we all heard that? I recently bought a planner geared towards moms. It has a place to do some meal planning, a pocket to keep loose papers, stickers for certain activities so you don't have to write so much and more. I could literally feel the tension leaving my body as I wrote things down in there. Making sure there aren't too many things on your plate and keeping what you do have under control are essential. I think that everyone should evaluate their responsibilities at least once a year if not more often to make sure that everything they're doing isn't too much. Another good point made is to lean on those around you. Don't be too proud to ask for help - we all need it sometime or another.

Myth #4 is that Mom's spend a lot of time with their kids and the kids enjoy it. On this point I think that each family situation is going to be different. I also think that this starts at a very early age. It is up to you as a mom to build good relationships with your kids from the start. Don't wait until later to try to worm your way into their lives by showing up around every corner.

Myth #5 is that Mom's always get support from other moms. I can't believe that people really think that will happen when there are so many different people in the world with so many different opinions. So I agree that it doesn't exist. A good point was made that not only applies here - most people criticize others because of their own insecurities. Be careful not to get offended too easily.

Of course this wasn't a Christian article, so there are things that I don't fully agree with, but overall this can be an encouragement to mom's who try to do it all.

Logically, how do you take Christ out of Christmas?

"Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake"

I was reading this article that a friend sent to me this morning and was just boggled by the fact that people are really concerned with the loneliness at Christmastime for those who don't believe in God. They want to celebrate Santa, but they don't want to acknowledge where the holiday began. There would be no Christmas and no gift giving and no celebrating had Christ not been born. As someone in the article points out, goodness doesn't exist apart from God. The Bible is what defines right and wrong/good and bad.

Praise God that we rest in the fact that Jesus is coming again. Not only waiting for that - He takes care of His children and we can rest knowing that we are founded on The Rock that is Jesus Christ.

Peace From the Saviour

This is something that I had recently posted as a note on my Facebook page. I thought it would be a good start for here. I don't plan on all of my posts being about this type of thing, but like I said - a good place to start.

The last couple of days I have been wondering and examining the reason that I feel such a calm right now when our lives are turning upside down. . . again. I've been wondering if I was maybe depressed again - went through a very tough time after the second miscarriage - and just suppressing all feeling all together. But instead of thinking about all of the bad things that have been happening to us I've been focusing on the fact that God is in control. Upon further examination of my heart and a devotional I read this morning I am so thankful that I can honestly say that I know it is the peace of God that passes all understanding. (Phil. 4:7) I know that it is certainly not the easiest thing in the world to do, but what a wonderful thing to fully trust that God is in control. He has always taken care of our family and we know that he will in the future, as well. My confusion also came with my reaction to the election. I certainly don't want a socialist that believes it is ok to kill innocent babies to be our president, but he will be. And I know that I need to honor him as such but don't have to agree with him. The Israelites didn't always have a king that trusted God, but God was always there to take care of them - even when they rejected Him. He still took care of those who trusted Him through the bad times. As a Christian I can rest confidently knowing that God will always be right here to take care of me even when it seems like the world around me is crumbling. I thank God for the peace that He has given me and the blessing that He is bestowing as a result. John has an interview on Monday for a part time job and a meeting next week at Kroger about management training. Praise God!!

From a devotional this morning:
The stillness in which we find God is not superficial, a mere absence of fidgeting or talking. It is a deliberate and quiet attentiveness--receptive, alert, ready. I think of what Jim Elliot wrote in his Journal: "Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."