Gingerbread Girls & Grace

Let the Christmas festivities begin! We had a Ladies’ Christmas Tea at our church on Monday night. The theme for the night was, Gingerbread Girls & Grace. The theme for the decorations was obviously, gingerbread  everything! We had gingerbread houses,  gingerbread  girls decorating the table,  gingerbread favors, and of course cookies!

My daughter, Whitney was our speaker.

She used the analogy of making a gingerbread house and the disappointment hers would have been, had she entered our contest we hosted that night. She said hers would’ve…

  1. Not looked like yours.
  2. Not looked like she thought it would have.

The analogy is, neither does

  • My life doesn’t look like yours.
  • My life look like I thought it would.

Each of our lives is a story, written by God. We can never doubt His love for us, no matter. Lamentations 3:22, 23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is His faithfulness. The end goal is we become Christlike, therefore, we can embrace the struggles gladly.

What great truths these were. I’ll be looking at my Gingerbread attempt with these reminders in my heart!

Here are pictures of our wonderful evening at church…

The Gingerbread contest…

My entry…

Whitney sharing God’s Word with us…

Does your life look differently than you thought? Does your life look different than others’? See God’s Sovereign hand and his sufficient Grace shaping and molding you in your spiritual growth to become like Christ!

Denise

Lean In

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Is there anything more precious than having a sweet baby lean against you?  And if you get the blessing of rocking them to sleep, you know when they’ve drifted off because they become as limp as a forgotten houseplant and they lean all their weight on you.

Recently I’ve heard several people use the term, “Lean in” when referring to trusting in the Lord during a hard time.

I love that!

It conjures up in my mind the picture of that little baby leaning in so hard that they rest completely on the one holding them.  Isn’t that exactly what we need to do with our dear Savior?

I don’t know what burden you’re carrying today, but can I encourage you to lean in with all your heart, your emotion, your baggage, and burdens?  Lean in until you feel your weight being transferred to Him.  Allow the Lord to carry you and your struggles today, and then enjoy the rest that will follow!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him (lean on Him), and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5,6

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The One Thing You Can Change

If you could change one thing about your life right now what would it be?  If you could change that, do you think it would really alter your life?  Would it make everything better?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Recently I was out and I saw a quote hung on the wall of the establishment.  The truth of it struck a chord in my heart.  I know it will encourage someone today as it did me then and as it does every time I remind myself of its message.  There is only one thing that we’re all really in charge of and able to change.  What is it?  Read on:

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Now think back to that thing you would change if you could.  What about if you simply changed your attitude about that instead? That alone could make the difference you’re really desiring.

Today try to be intentional about what kind of attitude you have, and ask the Lord to show you if you need to make a change. Only you are in charge of that!

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Former Things

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Flu, sinus infection, broken limb, pneumonia, gall bladder attacks, migraines, fever, back ache, joint pain, cataracts, heart attack and a million other maladies are all a part of people’s lives every day.  Some people live with chronic pain for years.  Others deal with periodic illness.  Most all of us surely have had our share of sickness.  Even when you read the Scriptures you read about leprosy, fever, blindness, blood issues, lame legs, and so on.

During a recent recurrence of a migraine, I was awakened after midnight with the nausea it caused.  I rose to fix myself a cup of hot peppermint tea to ease the discomfort in my stomach.  While sipping the steaming liquid in the dim nightlight I’d turned on, I reached for my pad of paper and pen and wrote down some thoughts I’d been thinking during the night.  I wrote: Why God allows us to be sick:

  1. It reminds us how weak our flesh is.
  2. It makes us run to the Lord.  (Remember the woman with the issue of blood who came to find Jesus and touch the hem of his robe?)
  3. It enables us to sympathize and be compassionate with others.
  4. It makes us thankful for days when we feel well.
  5. It reminds us we’re not home yet.

We may not enjoy being sick, but, as funny as it sounds, it is good for us.

Revelation 21:4 says,

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  

What a wonderful promise this verse is; I remind myself of it whenever I have a migraine.

Whatever discomfort you or someone you care about is dealing with today, remind yourself of the truth – One Day all these illnesses will be “former things!”

With love (and a cup of peppermint tea),

Stayed On Christ

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If someone asked you where you were staying, what do you think they’re asking? You might be away on vacation and you assume they want to know what motel you’re staying in. Those “stays” are  usually short-lived. You can’t live at a resort after your week’s reservation is over (sad, huh?). As much I always hate leaving a place of rest and vacation, I eventually must go home. My stay is over.

One morning his week I studied Isaiah 26:3 –

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.

I thought on the verse all day and then that night I heard a message from a godly pastor from this same verse. He had shared with the congregation that his adult son has cancer. Then he said, “Where are you staying? Right now, I know where I’m staying – I’m staying on Jesus!” He shared that he was having to rest on the Lord heavily and think upon Him while going through this trial. He was keeping his mind, his thoughts stayed on the Lord. Only then can peace saturate our hearts.

The trial won’t last forever, and even after it’s over, we can keep on staying on Jesus, keep on thinking on Him, keep on trusting in Him. As a matter of a fact, when it’s all said and done, you’ll find it easier to “stay” on Him because you’ve seen the benefits and the joy of remaining with Him!

So, today – right at this moment, where are you staying? Are you fretting and worried, or are you staying on Jesus and enjoying the peace that only comes when you trust in Him?

Your reservation is never over! Stay!

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Why We Must Be Serious About Spiritual Growth

This week I’ve shared posts about spiritual growth – how it happens and how to aid it’s development, but you may be wondering what the big deal is.  Some women have the thought that when they get older then they’ll work on it then.  Life is too busy right now to think about Bible study, prayer and a close walk with God.  After all, their life is going along pretty good, so what’s the fuss about?  Can I share a few reasons why it’s crucial that you’re a growing follower of Christ?

  1. Christ didn’t just die to save you from hell.  He died to have a relationship with you, and you with Him!  John 15:15 –Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. A believer is truly cheating themselves out on so many blessings when they don’t walk with the Lord each day.  He gives direction, guidance, help, conviction when we veer off the path, acceptance, joy the world cannot give, and a purpose for this life we live on the earth. People that get saved and then ignore Christ are missing the whole point and will be saved, “so as by fire.”
  2. Trials don’t come with a warning.  How can you be prepared for a crisis, then?
    When a woman in the public eye learned that her husband was having an affair, how could she wake up in the morning and not be absolutely overcome with so much grief that she wouldn’t be able to function?  How can parents endure the death of their infant?  How do you face a health crisis of your own?  Where do you turn for stability when a teen turns their back on everything they’ve been taught?  The only way we can prepare for any crisis is by filling our hearts and minds with God’s Word and His promises and having them in our heart.  It’s like having a room of ammunition  ready to shoot at the lies that come to our hearts.  Truth is in God’s Word.  If we have waited until “some other day” to grow spiritually, you can bank on it – when a crisis comes, the only way to manage is to find a way out through substance abuse or escape.  What a sad ending.  Rather than having an anchor for our soul, we would be totally unstable.  Now is the time to prepare for a storm.
  3. Your testimony is at stake.  The psalmist said in Psalm 119:74,  They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.  What do others see when they watch your life?  Are you a Christian in name, but you don’t know what God’s Word says?  Can you teach your children about the Bible, or is it a foreign book to you?  Do others question the validity of your life as a follower of Christ because you know more of the world than you do of Christ and His Word?  Our lives and words should match up, and that can only happen when we’re in the Word regularly, reading, studying, memorizing, making notes, and digging until we’ve heard from God.  When we do that, it will change us!  That’s a living testimony.  Here’s how it will look:
    1. You’ll step out in faith because you know you can trust God.
    2. You’ll be a Word-filled person who speaks God’s Word to yourself and others.
    3. You’ll be sharing the Gospel with the lost, conscious of those around you that have not heard the Good news.
    4. You won’t fall apart in storms.
    5. You’ll be consistent  – not perfect, but steady and sure, keeping your eyes on the goal of heaven and eternity.

Growing in Christ is for every one of us. If you struggle with a desire to grow, ask God to give you that longing.  He will, and then watch what happens over a period of time – it will be another act of God’s amazing grace!

Let’s keep growing, friends, it will refresh you like nothing else in this world!

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The Storm Will Pass

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An hour before I took the picture above, a real spring storm blew through our area. It blew in from a completely different direction than most storms. The winds were really whipping, causing debris, porch pillows and vegetation to blow and bow down.  Earlier in the day I had heard we were in for storms, but it seemed unlikely at the time, because it was lovely in the morning.  But sure to the prediction, they came in just as they said.  I was glad I had secured things outside, and I was especially glad that I was inside where it was safe and dry!

I went about the work I was doing, and kept an ear and eye on the outside, for safety sake.  It wasn’t long, though until I looked through the window and saw the clouds clearing.  Then I saw the sun hitting the backyard.  I stepped onto the back porch and everything was cool, refreshed, and though dripping with the drops of the precipitation, it was evident that the storm was over.

I know many people who are going through storms in their personal lives.  I would have to add, that the storm is in their personal Christian life.  It’s a storm sent by the Lord for His purposes.  As I watch, I see the pressures of the trial causing them to bow, just like the trees in my front yard bent as the wind pushed against its branches.  They are bowing with the ache and the pain of the trial, but they are not broken.  They are trusting the God of their life to do His work, and they are firmly planted on His Word, even when their hearts may want to waver or ask why.

We’ve all been warned that trials will come to us.  Maybe you’re one who is experiencing one right now. Perhaps your trial is just around the corner. It’s easy to get caught off guard because the “sun is shining” today and we can’t imagine that dark clouds may be ahead.  We must prepare now for the storm that will come.  Like my friends, we must anchor our hearts in the Scriptures.  We have to know God’s character because we know His Word.  His Truth will keep us from breaking.  Knowing the Sender of the storm will remind us that He is there with us. And though we may never know why God sends or allows difficulties to come our way,  we can be sure that they went through His sovereign hands before they touched our lives.

When we find ourselves in the storm, we need to also remember that they won’t last forever.  There will be an end.  If not here, for all eternity, there will only be peace.  We may feel like quitting and throwing in the towel, but we must endure so we can see the joy of the blessings of the storm. When I was waiting out the storm yesterday, it didn’t last for long, really.  I’ve been through worse spring tempests.  We need to remind ourselves of the truth that though it seems that this trial is going on forever, there is a day when it will be over.

Hopefully when the storm is over, we won’t forget the things we’ve learned.  The lessons will be like the water droplets on my roses – little reminders that the storm was there.  There will be a freshness, a newness, and even sunshine in our hearts afterwards if we prepare for the storm, endure the storm and remember the storm.  

It’s time to go sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.  The storm is over.  To my friends who are experiencing difficulties today, I say, your storm will pass and the sun will shine again and God’s presence will refresh your spirit through it all.  

This won’t last forever.

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Are you going through a storm?  I’d love to pray for you.  Just leave a note asking for prayer – no need to share about the trial – God knows.

Lovingly,

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