Treasuring..and Pondering...

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19
In this season of Advent....waiting and preparing for the birth of Christ....let us ponder upon all we know about Jesus. Let us treasure up all of the details of the magnificent story of His life.
Advent is "the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity (or birth) of Jesus."
Expectant waiting.....
As I bring out all of our Advent activities- the wreath and calendar and tree and playset- I think about Mary's expectant waiting....Creation's expectant waiting...the angels' expectant waiting....
We may take the month of December or the four weeks before Christmas to plan and prepare. But, I thought about how Mary had been planning for this time for MONTHS before....
The angel had visited her several months ago. By this time, she had already visited Elizabeth and helped her with the delivery of John. By now she may have already been on the road to Bethlehem.
Isn't it funny how we can focus on all of this right before Christmas......
But, I should be "pondering and treasuring and storing up"all year long the miracle of Jesus.
"Advent" isn't just a once a year attitude. This joy of Christmas should be practiced all year long. And, I will continue wait expectantly until Christ returns!
As I prepare during this Advent season, I have been trying to focus on Jesus and reread the Gospels.

O, Christmas Tree!!!!

You may have noticed that I posted on Facebook that our tree FELL OVER ON US this year!  When we finish decorating the tree, we gather pillows, blankets and hot chocolate and sit under the glow of twinkling lights, swapping favorite Christmas memories and wishes while we admire the beautiful lights.  Well, no sooner had we begun sipping and swapping when the tree SLOWLY fell over right on us!  It reminded me of this devotion I wrote several years ago....I love that God whispers to us through the hubbub of this busy season, teaching us lessons, if we are listening. O, Lord, may I always be listening to your sweet voice, teaching me, encouraging me, warning me…….. Give me ears to hear!
Well, we have had some problems with our Christmas tree this year.
We like to buy a live tree through the “Optimist Club” that helps the Boys and Girls Club in our city. We found the “perfect” one this year, and it is HUGE! Because we have a two-story entrance, we are able to have a tree that is very tall, and I would guess this year’s to be about 12 feet high. It took a looooooong time to decorate, about 4 hours- the lights, the garland, the decorations……… And, when we finished, Brian, the kids, and I gathered our pillows, blankets, and hot chocolate to snuggle under it, talking about favorite Christmas memories. The tree was perfect. We had taken our time and placed the decorations in the best locations. The lights looked great- Brian hit every branch! We had to go upstairs and hang over the banister to place the star on top. This year’s tree definitely was Christmas card material! We went to bed that night pretty pleased with our handiwork.

About 2 AM Brian and I were startled awake to a loud “CRASH!” As our fuzzy brains were trying to comprehend what the noise was (could it be burglars????), we both yelled, “the tree!” as we raced downstairs. There was our beautiful (huge) tree lying on its side. We wanted to cry! All the hard work down the drain! We had simply not taken the time to double check the base to make sure all of the posts were completely fastened tightly, and the weight of the tree had caused it to slide across the tile floor until it fell over. Somehow the two of us managed to right the tree back up. Brian tied it to the banister with a large rope and put weights all around the base to keep it from going anywhere. It was safely secured, but it was a mess! Thankfully, only two out of at least 50 glass or ceramic ornaments had broken. None of the lights had broken! But, the strands had fallen all over the tree, the wire garland was all at the top of the tree, and the ornaments were turned topsy turvey. The tree branches were smooshed down where it had fallen. The next day it took me about 2 hours to put it all back together again.

As I pondered all this, I began to see some pretty important life lessons. (Pride comes before a fall?) Actually, I thought about how I can look perfect on the outside, all my “ornaments” in the right place, lights and garland looking perfect, but if my relationship with the Lord is not secure, everything can come crashing down! More important than how the outside looks, is the base secure??????? It reminded me of when Jesus taught about the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-27). If I build my life on the foundation of Jesus Christ, I will be secure. If not, the “tree” comes crashing down. Jesus said, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a crash.”

Father God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for teaching me these lessons. May I always hear your Word and put it into practice. May I lean on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ as my base. Thank you for reminding me that no matter how beautiful the decorations are- how much my life looks good from the outside, without my base firmly anchored in Jesus and your Word daily, my life can come crashing down! I love you, Lord! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen and amen and amen!
First printed December 2007

Word-Filled Thanksgiving!!!!

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving thanks.

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the
LORD is God.
It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people,
the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His
faithfulness continues through all generations.
“I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship You. O, my soul rejoice. Take joy, my King, in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.”
I think there is a verse that says if we were to name all of God’s blessings it would take us the rest of our lives. I began thinking, we so many times are thankful for our families, our homes, our jobs…
But, do we really stop and thank Him for everything??????? Like, as I was pondering, I have never stopped and thanked God for the inner workings of my body. I don’t have to think about breathing, my body just does it. I don’t have to worry about digesting my food, my body knows how to do it. I thank God for His genius, for creating my body to work so magnificently, without me having to even be aware of what’s going on!

Thank You, Lord, that You created me. You breathed life into my body. You formed me. “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” You created my personality. You gave me a sense of humor. Before the foundation of the world, You knew me and created me. (WOW!) Thank You, God that my body does work the way it is supposed to. Thank You that I don’t have to be concerned with how to breathe, how to pump blood through my arteries, how to hear, how to taste….

Thank You, that I am created in Your image! Thank You that I was not created as a dog or a cow, but I was created in the image of a perfect, wonderful God. Thank You that You are good God, that there is nothing evil in You. I am created in this goodness.

If that weren’t enough right there, You also blessed me with free will. I am not just a robot, a puppet. When I watch my kids play with toys, they make the story up, the “characters” say exactly what my kids speak. Unlike these "puppets", I have a voice. You have given me a true life, not just an illusion. Not just going through the motions. For better or worse, I am able to make choices and live.

If that weren’t enough, You also gave me emotions, and blessed me with experiences to feel every possible emotion. I have laughed and cried and screamed and worried and loved and hated…. If it weren’t for disappointments, I would never have known such victory. If it weren’t for such sorrow, I would never had know the true depth of joy. If it weren’t for times of fear, I would never had the opportunity to trust. Thank You, God, that I have experienced all You have to offer.

If that weren’t enough, You also have given me You to worship! You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ to be my Savior. Not only does He save me from the fires of Hell, but He saves me from the pit of depression, from a life of mediocrity, from a life without passion and purpose. Because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, my life has meaning. I experience true joy!
Thank You, God that You were not just satisfied with being my Creator, but that You are my Friend, my Comforter, my Redeemer, the Bread of Life, the Living Water of my life! Thank You that You love me so much You want a relationship with me!!!! I think of politicians. They want to call me “theirs.” They want me to belong to them. I am their vote. But, they don’t want a relationship with me. You call me by name, I belong to You, but that is not enough for You! I am part of Your family. I am One with You! All this because You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ into the world to be the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, to be my atonement. Because of His promise, not only do I have an abundant life here, I have a glorious inheritance and the promise of spending eternity with You!

If that weren’t enough, You then sealed me with the Holy Spirit!!!!! You want to dwell and abide within me! You are the Counselor that guides me and leads me. You are my greatest intercessor. “In my weakness, the Spirit Himself intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express.” I am sealed- nothing can enter me! The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me!!!! You don’t leave me alone to “fend for myself.” All the help I will ever need is WITHIN me- Your Spirit!!!! And, I have the fruit of that Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.

If that weren’t enough, You have blessed me with a family. A wonderful husband, 5 beautiful children, wonderful parents, Brian’s parents….. But, I have another family as well- my family in Christ, the Body of Christ. I have a family that if I needed something, I could call. A family that understands my journey in faith. Hands and feet at my local church, women in my small group, close friends I have met on the Internet, and fellow bloggers sharing journaling their walk online. Lord, You have crossed my path with so many other Believers who encourage me. Teachers like Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer, Lisa Bevere, Joel Osteen who challenge me and bring the Word of God.

Oh, and if THAT weren’t enough, You bless me with Your Word! It is alive and active in me!!!! It holds the answer to every question I could have. It teaches me, encourages me, draws me near Your heart, reveals Your heart to me. It refreshes my soul. It tells me so much about who You are. It has everything I would ever need!

Blessings to all....and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Election Day

Election Day

He Loves Me! Yea, Yea, Yea!

Do you know how the Lord feels about YOU?

You are so precious to God. He loves you so much. You see, He loves the world, and you are included in that, but Sister, He loves YOU.

“The Lord Your God is mighty to save. He takes great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”

God woos us, He whispers to us, He never gives up on our love.

He desires YOU.

He wants a deep relationship with YOU.

He wants YOU to be completely abandoned to HIM, head over heals crazy about Him!

We are His beloved and He is the lover of our souls. You may have never experienced this love relationship with the Lord. This may all sound very new, and a little strange to you. Or, maybe you feel unworthy of His love. Maybe you have felt this love once, but have left it grow cold over time.

Or, maybe your heart is soaring in agreement right now because you ARE experiencing this intimacy with God.

Now matter where you are, God is calling you to Him. He meets each one of us exactly where we are, and it doesn’t matter if this is all new to us, or we have believed it for years. God wants each one of us to go deeper in Him today. Friend , it is not an accident or a coincidence that you are reading this today. He has called you by name and placed this desire in your heart to know Him more.

Do you know the bible is a love letter written to you? How God expresses His love for us, all through it, both the old and new testaments. When you are reading it, He is speaking directly to YOU?

A few summers ago, I was cleaning out our basement, and I found a box of old letters and keepsakes. As I began to read the letters, I realized that they were love letters my husband had written to me before we where married while we were living apart. He was in college, and I was still at home in high school. These letters were so sweet as he professed his love for me and told me how much he missed me and longed for me. He made promises of our future and told me how he wanted to take care of me.

When I began reading them, I was shocked. They were from so long ago, I had no memory of ever reading them! I am sure at the time, I read and reread them, hanging on every word Brian wrote. But, 20 years later, I forgotten the sweet words he had written to me.

Oh, friend, how I want to encourage you to read God’s love letters every day! In His Word, God professes His love for you. He reminds you of His promises. He tells you how much He longs for you when you apart and He declares He wants to care for you! Don’t ever let time slip by so that you forget the sweet words He has written to you! Store them up and cherish them within your heart.

How my heart longs for all of you to be WILD for God..... passionate, hungry for more and more and more of HIM! I pray that you be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God! I pray that you continue to press on in Him!

Life is a highway...

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. " Matthew 7:13-14

I have been studying the book of Proverbs. The first few chapters are all about choosing between Wisdom and folly- Wisdom being God's Wisdom...

God's way of living VS. the world's way of living....foolishness, wickedness...

Two ways.
Two choices.
One leads to LIFE.
One leads to DEATH.
I also thought of Deuteronomy, chapters 11 and 30.
God tells us to choose life.
"See, I am setting before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands...then you will live and increase, and the Lord will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
But, if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly will be destroyed. You will not live a long life in the land you are crossing....
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.
For the Lord Your God is your life."
Duet. 30:11-20

Lord, I choose LIFE!


Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is and walk in it,
and you will find
rest for your souls.

This verse has been precious to me. I can remember God first showing it to me when I began a REAL relationship with Jesus.

I thought, "Yea. I'm at a crossroads. I can continue to live the worldly life I had been living....OR I could choose His ways- His path.

Which may at times be lonely.

Which may at times be rugged, not smooth.

When I walk in that path....
I will find REST.

It reminded me of so many other Truths- from Deuteronomy that
says to choose for myself life or death, blessings or curses.....when Jesus says that wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
I want to be "a few." I want walk in "the good way."
I choose Life.

Word-filled Wednesday

God doesn’t want to share you with ANYTHING else. He wants all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. God wants us to CHOOSE Him, to look to Him.
God wants the 1st place position in our hearts and lives.
God gives us this choice.

He doesn’t force our devotion, but asks us to choose, as in Joshua 24:15: “Now fear the Lord and serve Him with ALL faithfulness. (Not partial, not some, but ALL faithfulness) Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped and serve the Lord. But, if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.

God gives us this choice- are we going to live for Him or for ourselves? Are we going to serve God with all faithfulness or will we serve other gods? Are we going to let idols creep into that 1st place position in our hearts?

What is an idol?”

An idol is simply anything we place in that 1st place position over God. It’s what we give our passion, our time, our SELVES to FIRST.

What have we made first priority in our lives and hearts?

John tells us, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols- from everything and anything that would take 1st place in your life.”

Lisa Bevere says, “An idol is what we give our strength TO or draw our strength from." She says "God will always shake away those idols because He wants us to get our life from Him, not the things that will always disappoint.”

Idols can be things like money, or material possessions, shopping, exercise, our
outward appearance, food, alcohol, admiration of friends, praise of man, work,
TV, or even other relationships.

Now you may be confused because you have to work and you really like chocolate! I have a wonderful husband that I am head over heals about, and five beautiful children whom I love and I spend a lot of time scrapbooking at times.

Are these idols?

These things are not wrong or evil in or of themselves! It’s when we make them a priority over our relationship with God, when we start loving them above loving God. I love my kids, but I love my God even more!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
What keeps you going through the day?
What are your thoughts on throughout the day?
What do find yourself thinking about and talking about?

You see, I am first grounded in a relationship with my Savior- head over heals in love with Him FIRST, and then, He spills so much love into my heart that it overflows into all these areas of my life.

Jesus teaches us in Mat. 6:24 that no one can serve 2 masters.” It is impossible. Jesus says, “You will either hate the one or love the other. You will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

You cannot serve both God and work.
You cannot serve both God and food.
You cannot serve both God and the praise of man.
You cannot serve both God and shopping.
You cannot serve both God and anger.
You cannot serve both God and activities.

Father God, we love You! May You always take FIRST place in our hearts, minds, and time!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

An Irish Prayer
May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.