Christmas · Comfort · Gifts

Christmas Care Package

I had the blessing this week of spending time with my parents. I go once a month to help out. I run errands, do a little housework, cook and bake and then just get to hang out with the sweetest people on the planet.

One fun thing I got to do was watch them open a care package that Whitney and her sister, Alli sent to them. My parents had received it in the mail last week and were told they could open it then, or they could open it on December 1st. It was sent to help “merry up” the Christmas season. Their thoughtfulness touched my heart, and meant so much to my parents!

Watching them open up each item, I thought about how sweet it would be to find someone near me that could use a similar package. Here’s what they included in this package that was sent from Target:

  • Holiday napkins
  • Balsam Fir candle – Smells amazing!
  • Shortbread cookies – Holiday shapes
  • Hickory Farms Summer Sausage and cheese
  • A chocolate Advent Calendar – They ordered a Lindt Bear calendar, but received a Star Wars one instead! We all got a good laugh out of that!
  • Holiday scented hand soap

Who wouldn’t want to receive such thoughtful items? I’ve been challenged, and I hope this gives you some good ideas of things you could take or send to someone who needs some cheering up this holiday season!

Different suggestions would include:

  • Christmas Candy
  • Homemade Cookies
  • Christmas linens – tea towel or pot holders
  • Christmas mug
  • Peppermint tea, Holiday blend coffee or Hot Chocolate
  • Cozy Christmas Socks
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Who do you know that is experiencing some difficult days? It may be that they are sick, or have been sick. Perhaps they are home bound, or are lonely.

I’m sharing this idea so you can implement it where the Lord would burden your heart to do so. I also love the idea of doing it early in the Christmas season! Get their December started off with a thoughtful gesture that will remind them that they are not forgotten.

It’s a blessing to serve others, isn’t it? Paul acknowledged that the Phiippians at one time weren’t able to provide for him, but how thankful he was for the gift they sent when they could.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

Philippians 1:10

Do what you are able with what the Lord has entrusted to you. Refresh someone else right now when He puts them on your heart.

trust

Trust

I found myself sitting here, hands on computer keys, staring into the screen. How many minutes have passed?  My heart has been racing, my thoughts swirling as I try to lasso the questions in my mind and answer them with Truth.

A situation happened that has caused me to run back to the Word that I had just heard preached.  It was a simple, yet impassioned message – 

“For with God Nothing shall be impossible.”  Luke 1:37  Another reminder was –

We are just pilgrims here. Our time is very short.” 

Our time is short. 
Our time to make a difference. 
Our time to reach the lost. 
Our time to lay up treasures in heaven. 

This also means that Satan’s time is short and he knows it.  He is busy.  His our enemy.  He hates us. he hates God.  He hates Christ. He hates the Truth we are tucking away in our hearts and sharing with others.  Why will I waste my time focusing on the problem? Instead I must turn my thoughts to Christ and His Word.

But with God nothing shall be impossible!  No conflict, no struggle, no need, no person, no trial, no sickness, no threat is too great for our God!  Praise the Lord for that truth that anchors our hearts when they are shaken!

What do you need to trust God for today? Be comforted that nothing is too hard for our God and remember that your time is short on this earth. Rather than focusing on the problem, look at Jesus.

Believing the God of the impossible,

Encouragement · God's Presence

I Will Look Up

Some years ago I had the blessing of visiting Spain. One sight I saw many times in the countryside were shepherds walking with their sheep. It was the typical picture I’d seen only in paintings – the sheep all herded together, baa-ing and bleating, while the shepherd walked, a bit stooped over as he cared for them and guided them. The shepherd bends over so the sheep can look up.

It’s so easy for us to let the cares that surround us cause our hearts and heads to be bowed down, isn’t it? All we have to say is 2020, and everyone nods. We get it. This hard year has often caused my own heart and head to be bowed down. Just this week I’ve heard of these hard things…

  • Emergency appendectomy
  • Reconstructive surgery following cancer
  • Covid outbreaks
  • Cancellations of long-awaited plans
  • People who are isolated and lonely
  • Stressed-out mom, worn down emotionally

But wait, little sheep! We have a Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Who carefully watches over us. He bends His ear to our cries and He reaches out to guide and comfort us in our heartache. Proverbs 2:8 reminds us that He preserves the paths of His saints. The Lord IS shepherding us, but we have a responsibility. We find it in Psalm 121 ~

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Did you catch it in verse one? I will – This signifies that the psalmist makes a choice of his will (a volitional choice) to look up to God. How often when faced with a test, trial or affliction, I choose to look down in self-pity or around at adverse circumstances, rather than gazing upward to my Omnipotent Father!

This also indicates that the psalmists recognizes that man continually stands in need of and dependence on the Lord’s help. He waits — he expects — he obtains. The truest vision is soul-vision. Looking up in contemplation, expectation. He looks “Up,” from the mud and mire of earth, and the sins and sorrows of self.

What “mud pit” are you looking up from today? Sickness? Disappointment? Loss? Grief? Sin? Hardship? We each need to have a little personal dialogue like the psalmist had and say, “I Will Look Up!” This isn’t just some kind of psycho babble…this is based on doctrine…on His Word here in Psalm 121. He is your keeper. He will preserve (keep) your going out and coming in. Our Shepherd is bent over us. That means we can look up to Him! He will care for us, provide for us and lead us home.

When the out -look is bleak

Remember the up -look.

The Good Shepherd is the One who made those hills, and He hasn’t forgotten you! Look up!

Comfort · Encouragement · trials

My Favorite Bible Verse To Share With Hurting People

This is just a screenshot of my favorite verse. A friend sent this to me, knowing it is my verse. Do you ever hear somebody reading a verse that is special to you, and you think to yourself,

“Wait!! That’s my verse!”

That is the way I feel when I hear someone quote or read Psalm 73:25 and 26. God gave me this verse the morning of our daughter, Ashley’s funeral, so many years ago . I learned that day that God is my portion; He is enough for me, even in the hardest times.

When I want to comfort someone else who is going through a trial, I share this verse because I know what a comfort it was to my own heart. I remind them that just as we portion out a piece of pie that is suitable for each person at our table, in a much greater sense, God gives to us the amount of grace that we need for that moment.

It is always enough.

He is always enough.

He will strengthen the very core of who you are when you turn to Him.

If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time, feel free to share my verse, or claim it as your own. 😊

Christian Life · trials

Stayed On Christ

vacation a.jpg

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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