Archives for December 2012
Good Morning! Hope you all are having a great start to your long weekend! Seriously, I can’t believe that it is almost Christmas. My mind is stuck somewhere back in August, and for some reason cannot come to terms with the fact that today is December 22nd. Where did the time go? Craziness I tell you.
I just wanted to let you all know that I probably won’t be posting much over the next week [if at all]. James’ parents and sister are coming in to town on Sunday night, so I’m probably not going to have a lot of time to blog…which is okay. We are excited to see them! So, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas if I don’t talk to you before then. Have fun with your families and loved ones, eat lots of yummy Christmas cookies, drink some eggnog [if your in to that sort of thing], and don’t forget the true reason we celebrate Christmas—the birth of Jesus!
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place whileQuirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 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.
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 a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
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.
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.”
Thanks so much for being such great readers over this past year…God Bless:)
Good Morning! Hope you all are having a great Thursday so far. Did anyone else experience crazy windstorms last night?? It was seriously SO windy outside our apartment last night. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t enjoy it—because I did. I love the wind—it reminds me of being out on a sailboat in the middle of Lake Michigan, and that is always a pleasant reminder. Needless to say, we survived the crazy wind, and none of our furniture blew away. However apparently there is a large tree down somewhere in our apartment complex, so it must have been windy enough to blow that down…
Anyways, let me share with you what I read this morning from the book of James.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
While this is a fairly popular and commonly known verse, it is full of importance. As Christians, we are guaranteed to face trials and challenges in our lives. There is always going to be someone who opposes us, or a situation that pushes us to our limits. The trials aren’t the important part. The important part is how we handle those trials in our lives. James says we are to consider our trials ‘pure joy’ because in the end they are what cause us to grow as Christians in our walk with the Lord. If we never had any challenges in our lives, do you really think we would grow? Definitely not. The trials, temptations and challenges are necessary in developing us into the people we are in Christ.
So, when you are faced with a challenging situation or a difficult person to love, remember that those trials are for your ultimate benefit. Embrace that fact, and allow God to work in and through every situation in your life-whether it be good or bad. In the end, all those trials you went through will mean something, and you’ll be glad for the lessons you learned along the way.
Well, I’m off to work. Hope you all have a fabulous rest of your day! God Bless:)
Hello! Hope you all are having a wonderful Wednesday so far. Mine is going well…it’s windy and cloudy outside, so it feels nice to be cuddled up inside with little Samson next to me:)
Anyways, I don’t have too much time, so I’ll get right down to what I read this morning from Hebrews.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
I have always loved this passage of scripture. But, now that I’m older and reading it at a different time in my life, it has a much deeper meaning to me. The Christian life has never been, and will never be, without challenges. We live in a sin-stricken world, and there is nothing we can presently do about that. Choosing to live a Christian lifestyle requires sacrifice. Commitment. It means giving up on your own agenda in the pursuit of God’s plan for your life. The only way to really succeed is to fix our eyes on the only one who has ever lived a perfect Christian life—Jesus. We are going to stumble and mess up sometimes. We’re humans—that’s just what we do. But, what’s important is that we learn how to pick ourselves back up again, and continue to focus our attention on Christ.
Over the past few years of my life I’ve gone through a lot of changes both spiritually and emotionally. While I have continually drawn closer to Christ, I have also had my fair share of challenges and stumbling blocks along the way. But, each challenge I have faced has shaped me into the person I am today. And that person is strong and confident in the person she is in Christ. I know that I have a lot of learning ahead of me, and that there will inevitably be challenges along the way, but I am no longer afraid. I know God has a plan for my life. All I have to do is fix my eyes on Jesus, and run the race set before me.
What about you? Maybe your going through something right now that just seems too difficult to overcome. Don’t be discouraged. God will bring you through whatever it is that you may be facing, and in the end you’ll be stronger because of it.
Hope you all have a great rest of your Wednesday! God Bless:)
Hello and Happy Tuesday! For some reason it really doesn’t feel like a Tuesday today…guess I’m just really off in my days. Another thing that just doesn’t seem right is that Christmas is exactly one week from today! Maybe it’s the Texas weather, or the fact that my family is going to be out of town and I won’t be going home, but it certainly doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. Guess that means I’m gonna have to watch a few more Christmas movies and bake some more cookies over this coming week to put me more in the mood:) Shucks.
Today I read a familiar verse from Hebrews that I want to share with you this morning…
“Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.”
I’m sure most of you have heard this verse before—it’s usually a popular one for Sunday school memorization. But, have you ever really thought about what it’s actually saying? If you’re anything like me, you want all the answers up front. You want God to tell you exactly what is going to happen and why, and you don’t want there to be any surprises. But, if God made everything perfectly clear to us, what would be the point of having faith? If we knew all the answers already, why would we need to trust God to reveal them to us? We wouldn’t.
Christianity is completely based in faith. If it weren’t that way, our testimonies wouldn’t be so powerful. There’s something about being required to have faith that really creates a unique and wonderful connection between God and us. If faith were not required, we wouldn’t trust and respect him as much as we do. Faith is being sure of what we hope for a certain of what we do not see. Even though we can’t know for sure what the future holds, we can be confident that God has a purpose and a plan behind each of our lives. And while we can’t actually see God, we can have faith that he is always with us, guiding us where we are supposed to go.
While it may be frustrating some times not to have all the answers, faith really is a gift and a blessing. Without it, our lives would be completely different, and we wouldn’t truly appreciate the journey that eventually leads to our eternal destination in Heaven.
Just some food for thought. Hope you all are having a great day! God Bless:)
Good Morning and Happy Monday! Hope you all are had a great weekend! Mine was great. While the majority of Friday night was spent at Best Buy, I ended up with a new iPhone, which is SOOOO much faster than my previous one—love it! Then on Saturday, James and I went to see the Hobbit, which was AWESOME. Seriously, go see it. I absolutely love all things Lord of the Rings, so naturally I was nervous about the book to movie rendition. However, I was definitely not disappointed. The whole thing was very well done. Sunday I had the day off so we were able to go to church, grab lunch with some friends, take a walk, and finally put our new grill together! It took forever, but I can officially say that we now have a grill—yay! So excited to start grilling up some dinners:) Over the weekend I also read one of my all-time favorite passages of scripture, and I thought I would share it with you this morning…
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7
We were never meant to be wallflowers—timidly fading into the background of life. No. We are meant to be bold and courageous in anything and everything that we do. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but instead a spirit of power, love and self-disciple. We don’t have to be afraid, and we definitely never have to live in fear. Through the Holy Spirit living in us, we have the courage and boldness to do anything we set our minds to. So often the enemy tries to sneak into our lives, telling us that we need to be afraid. Well, those are lies. And those lies keep us living in fear, which in turn keeps us from fulfilling our destinies in Christ. We never have to be afraid to do the things God has called us to do. Through his power we are stronger than anything the enemy could put in our way.
This verse really hit me this weekend. I feel like I am afraid to truly start doing the things I know God has called me to do, but I’m not sure why. Now I understand that I have been afraid because the enemy has been lying to me. Trying to keep me living in fear—as far away from my calling as he can keep me. I need to start living more courageously and boldly, instead of hiding behind my fear. While hiding may seem easier at the time, I know that in the end it’s not going to get me anywhere, and will accomplish nothing for God’s Kingdom. It’s time to start living out of courage instead of fear.
Well, on that note, I hope you all have a great, courage-filled day! God Bless:)
Hello and Happy Friday! Hope you all have had a great week so far. I have been looking forward to this weekend for a while now, because The Hobbit is finally in theaters! Yay! I’m planning on going to see it sometime this weekend [let’s be honest—probably tonight], and I only hope it is as good of a bookà movie rendition as the Lord of the Rings films were. Fingers crossed! We also are going to put together the new grill my parents got us for Christmas [sadly, it came in a box], and hopefully have our first grilled-meal tomorrow:) Pretty excited to finally have another option for cooking burgers/chicken than the stovetop. Anyways, I read another one of my favorite verses this morning, and thought I would share it instead of the usual Friday Favorites…
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12
Just because we are young, doesn’t mean we don’t have important things to say. God can use anyone at any age with any experience level to accomplish his plans. What’s important is that we live our lives in a way that brings glory to him, and in doing so set an example for living to other believers [young or old] around us. We shouldn’t be afraid to fulfill the calling God has placed in our lives just because we’re young, or feel unqualified or inexperienced. With Christ working in and through us, we are more than qualified to accomplish any task he has for us.
This is something I have been struggling with lately, and definitely what I needed to read this morning. Just because I am young, doesn’t mean I can’t be used by God to do great things for his kingdom here on Earth. I don’t need to feel unqualified. I just need to keep on living in a way that brings glory to God, and continue to set a good example for those around me. God will accomplish his purposes through me in spite of my age and experience level.
Just some food for thought. Well, I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m off to go get a few things done before work. God Bless:)
Hello and happy Thursday! Hope you all are having a great week so far. It’s been staying chilly here all week, so mine has definitely been going well:) It’s putting me a bit more into the Christmas spirit, which in turn is making me want to start doing some holiday baking! Usually I do a lot of holiday baking with my family, but since they are going to be out of town over Christmas I guess I am going to have to do the baking all on my own…sadness. Maybe I can convince James to help…at least with the eating part haha. Anyways I read one of my favorite verses a few days ago, and wanted to share [even though I’m sure you all have read this one before]…
“I can do anything through him who gives me strength.”
Anything and everything. No matter how difficult a situation may seem, we can do anything through him who gives us strength. Sometimes life doesn’t go our way, and the situations we face seem near impossible. We may feel like giving up. But, instead of giving up, we need to remember where our strength should be coming from. I f we are trying to do things in our own strength, it’s never going to work out—sadly, we’re just not that strong. Instead of our own strength, we should be relying on Christ’s strength. Only through his strength are we able to accomplish what otherwise would be impossible on our own.
So often I try and do things on my own, and then I wonder why I fail. I definitely need to remember to rely on Christ’s strength instead of my own to get me through any and every circumstance.
Well, I hope you all have a great day planned ahead of you! Remember that you can do all things through him who gives you strength. God Bless:)
Hello! Guess what? It’s still cold in Texas…yay! I have a feeling most people wouldn’t agree with my strange happiness/excitement in cold weather, but no matter. I believe it is supposed to be warm-ish again by the end of the week, but we shall see. Anyways, I was reading in 1 Thessalonians this morning, and I came across this little passage of scripture…
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I feel like God is trying to show me something about being joyful [and not complaining], even when I don’t feel like it. It seems to be a common theme lately in my reading…hmm. Here, Paul is saying that there are three things we must do in every circumstance we find ourselves facing—be joyful, prayerful, and thankful. These three components make up God’s will for us in any and all situations—whether good or bad.
Now, if your anything like me, sometimes giving thanks or being joyful isn’t the first reaction that comes to mind, especially in stressful or bad situations. Instead of praying, the first thing I want to do is complain about what is going wrong. I need to change my perspective on the way I approach life. My first reaction needs to be prayer, joy and thanksgiving.
When we choose to go about things in a way that is honoring to God [prayerfully, joyfully, thankfully], our perspective on any given situation changes, making it easier to act out of love instead of anger. Peace instead of conflict. Make a conscious effort to be joyful, prayerful and thankful in every situation you face. I have a feeling that the results will be excellent.
I hope you all are having a fabulous Wednesday! God Bless:)
Hello! How’s your Tuesday going? So far, so good over here—it’s still chilly outside [which I love] and I get to do some editing [which I also love] from home. Sounds like a pretty great day to me. Oh, and Samson is curled up next to me on the couch—even better.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
This statement sounds rather simple on a day like today. I mean, it’s easy to honor God in all that I do when what I am doing is fun or exciting. But, what about when what I’m doing isn’t so fun? What about when I have to clean the house, work an extra long shift at work, or run annoying errands? What about then? Do I still have to glorify God while doing these things? The answer, of course, is yes. More often than I would like to admit, I find myself complaining about any and every thing that does not go my way. I have to do something I don’t want to do? Complain. I have to work an inconvenient shift? Complain. I have to do a lot of chores at home? Complain. Complain. Complain. Some how I get the feeling that complaining doesn’t really qualify as bringing glory and honor to God.
I need to change the way I perceive things. When faced with a less than ideal circumstance, my first response should not be to complain about it. Instead, I should go about accomplishing it in a way that ultimately brings glory and honor to God. I need to be more joyful, more positive, and more uplifting in the way I view my ‘problems’. So, I am going to challenge myself to stop complaining. I’m going to start consciously thinking about what comes out of my mouth, and whether or not those words are going to bring honor and glory to God. If not, I’m going to have to think of something better to say.
What about you? Do you find yourself complaining, when instead you should be glorifying God? If so, feel free to join in on the challenge! God knows I’m not perfect, but this does seem like a step in the right direction. Anyways, I hope you all [y’all?] are having a great Tuesday so far. God Bless!
Happy Monday! This morning I woke up to a little surprise outside my window…
|Note, the snow on the roof!|
|It may only be a little bit, but it sure made me happy:)|
That’s right, SNOW! Even though it was only a little tiny bit of snow, it still made me a little excited. By now it has surely all melted away, but it was so nice to see a little piece of home, even if only for a short while! (Can you tell I miss winter??)
Anyways, I was reading this morning in Philippians and came across one of my favorite passages of scripture.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Life is full of situations that induce anxiety. We live in a sinful, fallen world—how could that fact alone not produce a stressful environment? But, God says we don’t have to worry about anything. We can choose to not be anxious, overly stressed and worried. Ultimately, worrying is not going to get us anywhere fast. The only thing that can be done in any situation we may face is to bring the condition before the Lord in prayer. There is nothing to be gained through worrying, but everything to be gained in going before the Lord in prayer, seeking his face in the midst of a stressful situation.
Only when we humble ourselves before the Lord, and prayerfully bring our petitions before his throne, can we truly begin to walk in the freedom and peace that emanates from him. Only through prayer can we feel peace instead of anxiety in the midst of a worrisome situation. And only through prayer can we truly accomplish anything in this life.
Prayer is such a powerful means of communication with the Lord, yet so often it is overlooked. We feel as though God can’t truly help us overcome our stressful situations, so we look to our own power and abilities to compensate for his. How much more could we accomplish in life if we just asked for his help and guidance? Prayer has the power to do change our anxiety to peace. Doesn’t that sound like a much better way to live? It sure does to me!
Well, I hope you all are having a great day so far! I’m off to enjoy the cold weather! God Bless:)