Advent is a time of preparation. It’s a time to reflect upon and remember the first coming of Christ at His birth as well as anticipate His second coming when He will return. Each year I try to take time throughout December, in the midst of busy holiday activities, to still my heart, mind and body; and reflect upon and remember all that Christ’s birth has meant in my life.
Next week many of us will find ourselves welcomed into someone’s home to celebrate, give thanks and break bread together. Many of us will be welcoming others into our homes.
One of the early uses of the word welcome was to describe something pleasurable. From the Old English wilcuma “welcome!”—the exclamation of kindly greeting, and “welcome guest,” literally “one whose coming suits another’s will or wish”.
During the month of November and as we approach Thanksgiving Day, the messages of gratitude and giving thanks are seen everywhere. But what does it mean to live daily with an attitude of gratitude? How do we give thanks when life is not going as expected or is just plain hard? What if I don’t feel thankful?
I can relate. The struggle of choosing joy and gratitude is often a very real experience for me!
Yet, as followers of Jesus we are called to give thanks as a way of life.
How can we cultivate grateful hearts that give thanks to the Lord with our entire being? Continue reading “Cultivating a Grateful Heart”
We’ve made it to the end of Psalm 119. Great job, ladies! My prayer is that you have been encouraged, comforted, stretched and renewed in your walk with Christ as you’ve studied this psalm. My challenge and encouragement to us all is that our hearts and minds would continue to resonate with those of the psalmist in these final verses.
The psalmist closes out this psalm declaring his love and his need for the Word of God in his life. We see that in God’s Word he finds great peace, steady feet, hope, joy and direction for life.
He admits his need for God’s presence and the Word of God in his life.
He confesses a heart that is prone to wander and go its own way and yet he recognizes that his ways are always before the Lord.
Oh, how I can relate! Continue reading “Let My Soul Live and Praise You”
When we are in need, we can feel…
These feelings can cause us to…
- pull back
In our verses this week we see the psalmist crying out to the Lord in a time of need.
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
Can you relate to a need in your life so great that you find yourself rising before dawn to cry out for help? Have you experienced those sleepless nights where your eyes are awake before the watches of the night? Continue reading “Finding Hope and Strength”
“We make time for what we truly value. We build habits and routines around the things that really matter to us.” —C.J. Mahaney
True statement. But we don’t always like to hear this when it comes to prioritizing time in God’s Word and in prayer in our lives.
The danger of just fitting the Word of God into our day as we have space is that we end up way off course! We suffer from foggy thoughts and fickle feet. Left to ourselves we have trouble discerning what is accurate and true in a situation. We need the plumb line of God’s Word to teach us real truth, to clear our foggy thoughts and to redirect our fickle feet. Continue reading “Foggy Thoughts and Fickle Feet”
This week in our reading of Psalm 119, I was struck by two verses in particular.
Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Hold me up, and I shall be safe, And I shall observe Your statutes continually. —Psalm 119:116-117
I sensed an inner struggle with the psalmist from the opening verses of this section of the psalm, and I can relate. The psalmist begins with a declaration about those who are double-minded and then confirms his source of hope and refuge.
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. —Psalm 119:97
In the last several weeks as we’ve read and journaled through Psalm 119, we’ve seen the psalmist pour out his heart and share his struggles. We’ve seen how he turns to the Lord and His Word for help, deliverance, safety, comfort and joy. This exclamation says much about the psalmist’s state of mind. It’s a declaration of his total need for and dependence upon God…I am Yours, save me. —Psalm 119:94.
It is a beautiful expression of the result of God’s Word getting into our hearts and minds, and the honest eruption that happens when God’s Word transforms our lives. Continue reading “Sweet Words”
Several weeks ago I was sitting on my porch enjoying a quiet morning in God’s creation. It had been a long week. I was weary. I was exhausted. My strength was sapped.
I love my porch. It’s where I retreat to reflect, to enjoy creation and talk things over with my Creator. It’s my place to refuel and refresh.
Then…I noticed it!
My perennial butterfly/hummingbird garden was looking a bit worn. It was so beautiful in the Spring. Flowers in every shape and color delighting bumblebees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. But today…today it was tired. Some of the plants had lost their blooms, many were just barren, brown sticks. I was disheartened!
Did you catch that it was a perennial garden? Perennial as in perpetual; everlasting; continuing. I had so enjoyed seeing the fruits of my labor from digging in the dirt the previous Fall. I really wanted it to stay pretty and perfect just as it had been in Spring. Continue reading “When Life’s Not Perfect”
These verses of our psalm are perhaps some of my favorite from Psalm 119. Over 20 years ago, these were some of the Scriptures the Lord used to bring about tremendous healing and freedom in my life. Continue reading “Walking Free”