Christmas Time is Near!

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Can you believe it is almost Christmas already? Where did the time go? It seems like just a few weeks ago I was shopping and wrapping presents! And here I am doing it again. But I love it! I actually love to wrap my daughter’s presents because I cannot wait to see the look on her face when she opens the boxes. She believes only clothes come in boxes so I mix it up a little and put toys or stationary or jewelry in boxes. Then at least I know she will be excited to open all the boxes, even if it is just clothes! Do your kids do anything like this? 

Baking is one of my favorite things to do for the holiday season. I love making candy! This year I plan to made red velvet cake balls. Yum! I also hope to make some hard candy in cinnamon and peppermint. I love hard candy. I’m practically addicted! My granddaddy used to make Applesauce Cake every year. He got sick with cancer and passed away, but my grandma carried on the tradition until she passed away a few years ago. Christmas just is not the same without the Applesauce Cake. Christmas just is not the same without my grandparents. Do you have a certain cake or food that has been a family tradition? 

Christmas has always been so magical to me. Yes, even at my age I still find Christmas a magical time. For as long as I can remember my family has celebrated Christmas Eve by first going to my grandparents house and having dinner, then opening presents. After all the excitement there we head to my parent’s house for Christmas candy and cakes, then open more presents. We then head home to put the kids to bed so that we can wait patiently for Santa to come. Christmas morning we wake up and have breakfast and open our presents and the kids get to see what Santa brought them. Then we head to my other set of grandparent’s house where we have Christmas lunch. The kids have more presents waiting for them there! (You can imagine what my house looks like after Christmas!) After finally heading home exhausted, we have one more Christmas – my in-laws. After all the excitement I am more than exhausted! But I love all of it! What are your family traditions?

Of course while running around like crazy every year, I still take a moment to stop and remember why we celebrate this season – our Lord Jesus Christ. What do you do to make sure Jesus is remembered during this stressful time of year?

 

 

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Psalm 86

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“Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;

answer me, for I need your help. 

Protect me, for I am devoted to you.

Save me, for I serve you and trust you.

You are my God.

Be merciful to me, O Lord, 

for I am calling on you constantly.

Give me happiness, O Lord, 

for I give myself to you.

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, 

so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. 

Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; 

hear my urgent cry. 

I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, 

and you will answer me. 

No pagan God is like you, O Lord. 

None can do what you do!

All the nations you made

will come and bow before you, Lord; 

they will praise your holy name.

For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. 

You alone are God.

Teach me your ways, O Lord, 

that I may live according to your truth!

Grant me purity of heart, 

so that I may honor you. 

With all my heart I will praise you, O lord my God. 

I will give glory to your name forever, 

for your love for me is very great.

You have rescued me from the depths of death.

O God, insolent people rise up against me;

a violent gang is trying to kill me. 

You mean nothing to them.

But you, O Lord, 

are a God of compassion and mercy, 

slow to get angry

and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

Look down and have mercy on me. 

Give your strength to your servant;

save me, the son of your servant.

Send me a sign of your favor. 

Then those who hate me will be put to shame,

for you, O Lord, help and comfort me. 

Amen!

 

Are you in need of prayer? Would you like me to prayer for you or for someone you love? Leave your prayer in the comment section and I will be glad to send my prayers for you to the Lord. 

Regrets

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He sat up in bed, saying his goodbyes, grey eyes staring right into mine. I stared back as I was being pushed out the door. I did not get to hug his neck or tell him I loved him. We continued to stare at each other until I was out of sight. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. My heart screamed out to him and my head filled with fear. I would never see him again.

This happened when I was thirteen years old. My granddaddy was the man sitting up in bed; a hospital bed. Cancer had taken over his lungs and he lost his battle a few nights after my last visit with him. I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not give my granddaddy a hug before saying goodbye. After visiting with him and my grandma at their house, they would walk my mom, dad, brother and I to our car and he would always tell me, “Come hug my neck.” And I would reach my tiny arms around this seven-foot tall man and hug him with all my strength. He was my best friend. We did everything together. I was by his side at all times. I loved this man with every bit of my heart. But that last night – my last time every seeing him – I did not hug his neck.

Regret. What a powerful word. Our sermon yesterday at church focused on this word. The pastor spoke of regret and disappointment and described the difference between the two. Disappointment is when you wish something would have turned out differently, but you had no control over its outcome. Regret is something you know would have turned out differently had you made a better choice. Regret will paralyze you. Regret will imprison you. John Ortberg said, “Hell is human regret consolidated.”

Matthew 26 tells us the story of Peter’s promise to Jesus that he would never desert Him (Matt. 26:33). However, Jesus knew that Peter’s promise would be broken. He told Peter that he would deny Him three times on that same night. Yet once again, Peter insisted that this was not true.

When Jesus is arrested by the traitor Judas, Peter waits outside in the courtyard. A servant girl tells Peter that she saw him with Jesus. Here is where Peter’s first denial comes in. In front of everyone in the courtyard, Peter denied knowing Jesus. He denied knowing the Lord. He denied knowing Jesus a second time to another servant girl who claimed to have seen him with Jesus. This time his denial was done with an assurance. The bystanders knew that he must have known Jesus because he spoke with a Galilean accent. Yet again, Peter swore he did not know the Lord. Three denials in the same night. Then the rooster crowed.

Imagine Peter’s shock as the sound of the crowing rooster entered his ears. Oh how his heart must have stopped at that very moment. The Bible says that Peter went away and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75). He was overwhelmed with regret at what he had done. He denied the Lord! He denied knowing his own creator.

In Psalm 38:4-8, David speaks of his own regret. He says that his guilt is overwhelming because of his own poor choices. His heart is grief-stricken over the choices he made. He is spiritually imprisoned.

Our pastor ended our sermon yesterday with three ways in which we can be set free from the prison of regret. One, we can accept our second chances. We can be set free through the forgiveness of Christ! (Psalm 32:5) We just need to be honest and come clean with God (Proverbs 28:13). Second, we need to clarify our values and think about what is really important. Think about what your life looks like to you when you are on your deathbed. Are you happy with how you lived? Do you have any regrets? Third, we need to pursue God’s plan for our lives with all of our heart, mind, and soul.  The Lord gives us a great promise in Isaiah 43:4-8. He tells us not to dwell on the past because He is doing something new. What a wonderful promise from the Lord! Isn’t He amazing?

What about you? Do you have many regrets? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below. May you have a very blessed day. Do not dwell on the past!

Psalm 81:10

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.

Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

Psalm 81:10, NLT

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In Exodus 20, years before the book of Psalms was written, God gave instructions to the people which included the duties to God as well as the duties to man. He started His instructions with “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery,” (Exodus 20:2). He is Jehovah, the only God to be worshiped. No other God is to be recognized. In Psalm 81:10, God once again says the same thing: “I am the LORD your God who brought you up out of Egypt…” He is making it clear in announcing who He is that He is the only God to be worshiped. This God brought the people out of Egypt, something none but God could do. In doing this His name was glorified and His power and existence was shown.

By saying “open wide your mouth and I will fill it,” more than likely God means that He can supply your needs. You do not need to seek out another God to fulfill your needs. God does not lack in power, nor does he lack in resources. He will supply more than enough. We just have to ask Him. Psalm 37:3-4 tells us to “Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” 

Psalm 81:10, to me, is saying that we need to put our trust in the Lord and ask Him to fulfill our needs. Only He is capable of doing this. Only He is worthy of worshiping. We need to open our mouths wide and tell Him our needs. Only then will He fill us with blessings.

 

 

P31 OBS Blog Hop

#StickWithIt

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Life can be challenging. There are so many things to do and not enough time to do them in a day, or sometimes even a week! My six-year old daughter has cheerleading twice a week – Monday and Thursday. Wednesday nights are Awana nights. Saturdays are early morning football games where she cheers. Sunday morning is church, and then sometimes in the evenings we have dinner with my family. That leaves a Tuesday open and everybody knows that Tuesday is that day of the week that we are already exhausted! I’m not complaining because secretly I like the go-go-go of my life. (Shhh…don’t tell anybody!)

I am currently in a Bible Study through Proverbs 31 Ministries. We are working through a book by Lysa TerKeurst (whom I adore!) called “What Happens When Women Say Yest to God.” This book has changed my perspective on quite a few different areas in my life. Last week, the third week of the study, I was feeling a little down because I was reading about my other sisters in Christ and how they have heard God speak to them. They all had amazing, touching stories about their walk with God. I loved this. However, I still had not heard from God and I was sort of wondering when it was my turn. I thought maybe I was doing the study wrong, perhaps not putting enough time and passion into it. But then, Sunday at the end of church service, I heard it. God’s voice.

In our church bulletin there was a card called Vision Sunday. On this card were places to check for you to help with the church. Now this is not my home church and we are not currently members there. However, we’ve been attending for a while. So in my mind I did not feel comfortable enough to check any box on that card. However, at the end of service, while standing in prayer, I kept hearing, “Nursery Worker.” I thought, “Say what? A nursery worker? ME? I do not feel comfortable working with other peoples’ children. God, is that really You?” I kept hearing the words repeat themselves until I looked back at the card I had so nicely tucked away into my bag. There at the bottom of the card were the words “Nursery Worker” with a small check box placed just to the left. I found myself taking my pen and checking that little box. After clicking my pen closed, I no longer heard the words “nursery worker” and I swear I could feel God smile.

Honestly, week one and two of the study were so fresh and exciting to me. But by week three I was feeling a little drained and down that I still had not heard from God. But then at the end of the week, there He was, speaking to me and calling me out to help in the nursery. I had thought of giving up. However, now I am chosing to #StickWithIt because I know that I am going to hear from God more often. I am learning how to find a peaceful place and just be quiet and listen. Psalm 37:7 tells us to “be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.”

I could have quit, I could have just given up. But I feel like giving up on the study is giving up on God. In her book, Lysa says, “It isn’t going to be easy. But we have Jesus and His power and that power is able to completely change our outlook on life.” How amazing is that statement? We have the power of Jesus to change the way we see our lives! When going through hard times, we sometimes feel all alone. However, we can lean on Jesus and #StickWithIt!

Are you going through something now in your life that you would like to quit because it isn’t easy? How do you see yourself getting through it?

 

“Rejoice in what God is doing in me through difficult times.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Roller Coaster Ride

Ugh!! I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long. I fell into a deep depression and started having severe anxiety along with panic attacks. My doctor put me on Paxil and Xanax. The first week after starting the Paxil I was so sick. I could barely get off the couch! It was terrible. I lost weight from not being able to eat, which I’m not going to complain about. 😉 However, I did miss out on the awesome burrito supper my dear husband made while I was sick. (Praying he will make it again soon!)

I am feeling much better now. I have learned relaxation techniques which really help with my anxiety. I do still get panicky, but not as bad as before. I thank God for answering those little prayers.

School has started back already. My three kids are still getting adjusted but they are doing great. My daughter is a cheerleader this year and she is doing an amazing job. And she loves it!! Which is wonderful!

On a sadder note – my great uncle passed away last Thursday. He was buried this weekend. It was so very sad because I grew up with him. He reminded me so much of my granddaddy, who passed away when I was 13 years old. My granddaddy was my best friend in the whole world. There was nobody like him, and there never will be. My great uncle’s passing brought back memories of my granddaddy and to me it was as if he died all over again.

Happier note – I have joined an online women’s Bible study called “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.” I absolutely love it! It is bringing me closer in my relationship with the Lord. I have learned so much already! Including verse mapping, which I had never heard of before this study. We have so much fun. There are prayer calls as well as Real Life Connection Calls. Lisa TerKeurst and Mandisa have been speakers on the calls!! We also have Twitter parties and Facebook parties and lots of prizes are given out! If you would like to learn more, check out their website here.

I hope you have a very blessed day!! God bless!

Psalm 23 – Day 4

Psalm 23 – Day 4

Psalm 23:4

Verse 4

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Even when I walk through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

There are many times in our lives when we are frightened by experiences we face. However, as the Lord’s sheep, we can walk with the Lord with pure trust and not be afraid. Sometimes we are tested, but we will be protected. There is no reason for fear when we walk with God. The Lord never leaves us. He is always with us. There is no reason to fear. I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort in that.

For you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

The rod was used to drive away wild animals, protecting the sheep. The staff was a thin pole used to assist the sheep. The use of these two instruments can be very important in helping us to understand God’s character. He is always willing to help His sheep and to guide them. God disciplines us with love always.

Reflection

I have had many experiences in which I have been terrified. Before I knew the Lord I lived my life in fear that things would only be terrible for me. However, I know have trust and faith in the Lord and I walk with Him. I am no longer afraid. I do not fear the tests that come my way because I know God is behind them and He will protect me. With His rod He will scare off the things I cannot handle and with His staff He will guide me. I am comforted by Him.

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you for walking with me and protecting me during frightening times. Thank you for comforting me with your rod and staff. Lord, please continue to protect me during trials and tests. I will walk with You always.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen