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What I Learned in October

October 31, 2016

I hope you have enjoyed reading the “Forgotten or Chosen?” Series. It truly was 31 days of sharing from the heart, my story of loss and God’s redeeming love. My newly found sisters read the series and let me tell you what wonderful women they are. There is something to DNA because the crafting gene runs thick in all of us. And so much love to share, I’m amazed.

A New Family Tradition

I’ll let you in on what may become a new family tradition: we are designing and decorating paper-mache houses for Christmas! The theme is Norwegian Christmas and each of us have a set of three houses from Hobby Lobby:

Paper Mache Houses Set of Three 12.5" , 8" and 6"

Stacie and her daughter Carley in Montana, Courtney in North Dakota, my brother Tony and his wife Regan and Greg and I, have challenged each other to come up with the most original and Christmas-like Norwegian village and on reveal day, we’ll share our creations on Facebook. The rules – everything homemade except the glue and the paint and oh, “yes” to battery operated lights and fire (I know, right?) Would it be a Norwegian Christmas without fire? I’ll keep you posted.

Christmas is just around the corner! Favorite Christmas Quote: I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. Charles Dickens

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

I’d love to hear from you.

Let me know that one thing your family did when you were growing up, that brings back the soft refrain of Silent Night and the sounds of your childhood echo in your heart.

What I learned in October:

  • Grandchildren are babies one minute and grade-schoolers the next. The pages of the calendar pass more quickly now.

  • God isn’t finished with me yet. Just when I thought He was done, He’s teaching me how to love my husband like he needs to be loved.

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Anticipate Jesus’ Second Coming

December 22, 2015

Anticipate Jesus’ second coming

“He Shall Reign Forevermore” sung by Chris Tomlin, listen to the words anticipating Jesus’ Second Coming.

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 1 Peter 1:3 NIV

He shall reign forevermore

I hear so much hope in this, forevermore…do you hear it too?

The Bible tells us Jesus will come back again. He is coming back in all his glory, the sin of the world will be taken away and a new life established for those who believe in him.

Sin entered the world through the choice made by Adam and Eve and life has been difficult ever since. Advent is a time for us to remember how much we need Jesus. But it is also a time of such celebration.

The advent season celebrates the joy Jesus brought to this world during his ministry here on earth. It’s also a reminder of the joy we experience when we believe in and follow him.

We don’t have to live in despair. Jesus came as a light in darkness to forgive and to give us the only gift that should matter, eternal life with him.

The gift of salvation is free, you and I have done nothing to deserve it. All you have to do is confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and ask him to come into your life.

Will you unwrap the gift?

 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.      1 John 1:9 NIV

Dear God, you’ve changed me from the inside out. I’ve been made new in you and my life will never be the same. You give me hope and a promise for something better. I’m so grateful for you and your son, Christ the Messiah.

 

 

 

 

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The Final Waiting

December 19, 2015

The final waiting…
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:7 NIV

The time we live in could also be called “the silence of God.” There has been no inspired Word from God for almost 2,000 years. He speaks to us but not like he spoke to the ancient people. Despair is all around us, yet God still has a purpose in our lives and he still has a purpose for the world.

God is setting into motion all the words spoken about the coming of his Son, the Messiah, to establish his kingdom. Are we ready and waiting expectantly? Or, are we caught up in the busyness of life and drifting without purpose?

Scripture says, no one knows the time or date the Father has set by his own authority. No one knows when Jesus will return again. Are we ready now?

If Jesus knocked on my door, would I know him? More importantly, would he know me? [Tweet that!]

There is a reason why the Holy Bible is considered by many to be the best selling book of all time. It’s never lost its value. The words of truth continue to comfort, guide and heal. The Bible very clearly tells us the way to salvation and eternal life is through Jesus Christ. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father but through me. John 14:6 NIV

If you’ve lost your purpose in life and are searching for something that gives you hope, open the Bible, let God’s truth speak to your heart. Get to know him by reading his word, he will meet you right where you are.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Act 1:11 NIV

Dear God, your scripture says your Son is coming back and he will arrive in Heavenly Glory for those who know him. Every knee will bow and confess that he is Jesus Christ our Savior. I am waiting expectantly, prepare my heart, God. Amen.

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Celebrate the Revelation of God in Christ

December 12, 2015
The revelation of God in Christ…

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ” Matthew 3:1-3 NIV

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:13 – 17 NIV

John’s ministry prepared the way for Jesus. The coming of the Holy Spirit revealed that Jesus truly was and is God’s son.  Jesus began his ministry performing miracles so all would know he was the Son of God and his glory would be revealed. The revelation of God in Christ began to unfold.

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.

…“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. John 2:6-11 NIV

It doesn’t matter what the need is, Jesus restores organic matter, physical loss, weather conditions, minds and hearts. Jesus makes all things better.

More than anything else, it was Jesus’ suffering and death and on the third day, his resurrection, that revealed his Godship, his glory and his unmatched love for the world.

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3 NIV

The disciples witnessed first hand the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They recorded these events so all would know and accept Jesus as their Savior. I can’t help but think, if I had been there, would I have stood firm in my faith and believed?

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. Acts 1:9-10

Lord Heavenly Father, you sent your Son into this world to live like us. He was born into poverty, had nothing and lived simply. He was separate from the beginning, never really fitting in. As he boldly spoke your true words they ridiculed him and questioned him. They were relentless. He never had a chance but that was part of your plan.

Your Son was holy, without sin, yet he chose to pay our sin debt so we could live forever. This is the gift he so willingly gives, the gift of eternal life, the revelation of God in Christ.

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Oh, Holy Night

December 10, 2015

“Oh, Holy Night,” the old familiar Christmas carol is performed by Jillian Edwards, Ellie Holcomb and Rebecca Roubion. Listen to the pure harmony and sacred words recounting the holy night when God’s divine plan was unfolding. You see, God’s appointed hour had come.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to Sonship. Galatians 4:4, 5

 

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:16-20 NIV

The three young ladies sing with pure harmony and sweet delivery. “Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices, oh night, devine, oh, night, when Christ was born!”

Christ’s death and resurrection was foretold in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, centuries before Christ was born:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5, 6

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:10, 11

There is a day coming when again the heavens will be filled with rejoicing, for victory over darkness and our Messiah will come back for all who believe.

 

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Angels we have heard on high

December 8, 2015

Angels we have heard on high

Listen to the heartfelt words and melody of the old Christmas carol, performed beautifully by the Piano Guys, Peter Hollen and David Archuleta. Watch the video while the Nativity scene comes to life!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo, “Glory to God in the Highest!”

The number of participants in this living Nativity give us a glimpse of the magnitude of that humble, historical and holy night. What a night it must have been!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find him wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2:8-12 NIV

Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heavens, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14 NIV

“Host” means an innumerable throng or limitless company. What must it have been like to be in the middle of a host of heavenly voices singing praise to God? Scary, yet glorious at the same time? When I see God face to face I will surely fall to my knees, overcome by gratitude and love and worship him.

Oh, how he wants that from us even now in the middle of our mundane lives. When I look around me, I want to see all that he is doing, all that he has blessed me with. I want to be overcome by his love and gratitude so much that I never fail to acknowledge him.

This time of waiting is a time to do that. I challenge you to find a quiet place, even for a moment and thank him. It doesn’t have to be out loud. The rain is falling hard on the roof this morning and it’s a reminder of his presence in my life. God is here, all around us. He wants to be part of our lives.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.   Mark 10:45 NIV

The birth of Jesus was the greatest gift to humanity, he came as Messiah for us! Let’s remember and celebrate the the greatest gift to us all!

 

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The Light of the World Came to Save Us

December 5, 2015

Jesus, the Light of the World came to save us. Listen to the lyrics while Lauren Daigle sings “The Light of the World.”

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
 
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  Luke 2:8-11 NIV

This preparation for something better meant something bigger and greater than the world had ever seen. God had sent his son to the world to live among us. He then made a sacrificial choice to die on a sinner’s cross for our sins. God’s glory was revealed when three days later, our Messiah was raised from the dead.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

God sent the light to shine in the darkness of the world and to save those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. If we believe, we will receive the greatest gift of all, eternal life.

 

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The Light of God Enters the World

December 1, 2015
Waiting and journeying…The Light of God enters the world.
I’ve experienced the miracle of giving birth. Waiting at times felt overwhelming. I counted and folded diapers and tiny clothes over and over again.
And Mary? She was waiting on our Savior.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
 
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
 
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”  Luke 1:26-33
Can you see the example of God’s favor in the lives of his people? Mary carried a baby boy who was conceived by a miracle act of God and he was the Son of God. What feelings flooded Mary’s mind during nine months of waiting? What insecurities plagued her at night when she was unable to sleep?
In his book, “God Came Near” Max Lucado imagines the night of our Savior’s birth like this: “Majesty in the midst of the mundane. Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat. Divinity entering the world on the floor of the stable, through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter. She touches the face of the infant-God, How long was your journey?”

Isn’t that like God? In his divine plan he uses plain people, with no special talent or credentials. People like you and me, broken women and men, God allows his plan to unfold through those who are willing! [Tweet that!]

Did Mary doubt what God was doing? Did she question her ability to mother and care for the Son of God? Did she question why she was chosen instead of someone older, more mature in the Jewish faith?
At times of waiting, I’ve questioned God’s timing or what seemed like a lack of response. How about you? Do you struggle with this? Can we agree together to trust God to come through?
Lord God, thank you for the miracle of conception. Thank you for your Son’s birth. How long had you planned this – every star, every shepherd and every sheep. And Mary, you knew her before she was conceived in her mother’s womb. You chose a humble young woman without wealth, without prestige, and without maturity. You chose Mary to trust the plan you had for her son. You chose her.
I know you will do all you say you can do. I’m so grateful I can trust you with your plan for my life. Thank you for choosing me!
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.
Luke 2:6, 7 NIV
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The Waiting: four hundred silent years

November 28, 2015

The waiting….

In 435 B.C., Malachi, the last of the inspired prophets in the Old Testament, spoke and the world waited. It would be four hundred years before God spoke again through the New Testament writers.

Why was God silent during this time? Was he drawing his people to his inspired word, the teaching of the Old Testament?

My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life... Proverbs 6:20-23 NIV

The Jewish people longed for a Messiah and remembered the promises in the Old Testament, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. Deuteronomy 18:18-19 NIV

God was laying the groundwork behind the scenes. He was making plans and preparing for something better. Paul wrote in Galatians “When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.” Galatians 4:4 NIV.

The first four books of the New Testament, the gospels, tell remarkable stories of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. Our Savior’s birth was God’s appointed hour, a divine plan, drafted by the divine maker.

Lord God, I am grateful for your infinite wisdom and plan for us from the beginning. Help us be still and not distracted so we can hear you speak into our lives. You want our lives here on earth to reflect you. Thank you for drawing us near, amen.