YOLO – You Only Live Once!

No Excuse for Knowing God

As I begin this new experience in my life, which is full of new adventures everyday that always include seeing God’s creation in action.  I have had the privilege over the past several months to experience something new in God’s universe that I have never seen and I begin to understand why people choose this type of life.  I have watched dolphins play in the wake of our boat, I have seen manatees peek at us from just below the surface, and I have seen curious alligators linger around our boat.  I have watched eagles soar, osprey hunt, and loons dive. I have felt the strength of his winds and waves and the warm sun shine upon my skin.  I have watched the sunrise and the sunset.  I felt the stars almost touch my face and the moon shine over the ripples in the water.  God has blessed me.  “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20.

YOLO

Recently, while visiting Captiva Island, Florida there was this logo everywhere – YOLO which I finally found out means You Only Live Once! And I realized that this is what my husband and I have decided to do. To go and live like we do not have tomorrow. God does not promise us tomorrow so we have chosen to live for today. My life was never just routine, I mean I worked in a middle school, but I did leave for work, come home, eat, go to bed on a pretty regular routine. Now, I live a day that may begin before the sunrises or maybe I will sleep in just a bit, but either way I have no idea what adventure or things I will see in God’s creation when I wake each day. Each day is full of surprises, awe struck moments, and even disappointment, but I can that I am living the motto of YOLO. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1.

No Regrets

I do not look back on my life and have regrets.  I am a wife married to the same man for almost 30 years – give us a few more months.  I am the mother of two beautiful daughters who are strong independent women today.  I had a career that I will always cherish and sometimes I really miss the love of middle school students in my life.  Although, I have had some great adventures in my life because my husband and I have chosen to experience life, but I do wonder now if we should have just gone and lived sooner rather than later. Some people in our lives now might think we have started sooner but I can tell you from just a few months that their is so much to see and experience.   “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9. 

Go!

I write to anyone who is pondering their life and wanting to see more of God’s Creation.  My advice is don’t wait but go.  Go and see all that God has done.  Go and experience different adventures.  I am just getting started and know that I have not even begun to see and experience all that God has created and has in store for me.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.

Closing Verses:  

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

“We love because he first loved us.” 1John 4:19

Challenge:  Don’t wait to go and see what God has made.  Find time to go and meet him in his creation.

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There Is A Man I Admire

And that Man is Jesus.  

My heart is filled with so much hope and love.  I can walk day to day knowing that Jesus is by my side.  When I read of his life, I wonder how I get to have the life I have and Jesus had to sacrifice so much.  He loved, yet was betrayed by his own people.  “And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”” Matthew 26:21.  He trusted, yet those close turned against him.  With all of this he still forgave and opened the door for mankind to walk into the presence of this Father one day cleansed by his blood.  Why?  That is a deep and longing love for man.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.   That is a heart that I long for to walk like Jesus.  Jesus walked the earth among the sinners he loved and always searched for the good.  He taught us to find the good in others and to love others just as Christ has loved us. One of my favorite stories of Jesus’s love is found In John 8:1-11. 

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

John 8:1-11.

I love that Jesus showed true forgiveness in this story and such an example for us all.  

Finding Jesus 

Finding Jesus in man today can be hard.  We are a self-centered people, who long to be right, be better than others, and find fault.  We protect ourselves from our own lives no matter the cost.  This is a hard world to live in and find Jesus.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, “ Romans 3:23.  Sometimes it seems like genuine Christians are few and far between.  Christians forget who they are and what they stand for sometimes as we walk through this secular world of sin.  God warns us of this world. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16.  Yet, even I find myself sometimes lost in the sins of this world.  It can be very confusing to watch Christians live in this world today.  I encourage us all to guard our hearts.  “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Psalm 119:37.

There is a Man I Admire

I do live with a man that I see Jesus in everyday.  He loves, forgives, and challenges me to be a better person.  He has been filled with so much pain, yet smiles and lives life to the fullest each day.  Sometimes I wonder how so many people around him can cause so much hurt and leave so much pain.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24.  I know Christ died for their sins just as he died for mine, so I pray.  I pray for healing, I pray for answers, I pray for forgiveness – I Just Pray!.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.  Jesus left us with a new commandment and my husband lives this commandment each day.  I am challenged to do the same by watching his example.  Love your neighbor.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13: 34-35.

Closing Verse:  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Challenge:  Seek to be like Jesus and not the world.

#Count Your Blessings

#CountYourBlessings2019

This week as hate poured from so many before even knowing the facts, I found myself looking into the tears that filled Bret Bair’s eyes. He was in an automobile accident this past weekend and took the time to remind us all what is really important and that is life. After a weekend of a pro-life march that turned to hate all towards our children, Bret caused me to stop and choose love. I love my own children. I have been blessed with two daughters who are strong and independent, but I adore. I love the students I have taught in the past and know that I have seen a glimpse into our future. So I pause and count my blessings because choosing this to be viral is a better show of God’s Love than choosing hate. I remember I wrote a blog post a few years ago about the song, Count Your Blessings, so I am reposting today. Let’s all stop and Count our Blessings before we reach for hate lets choose love.

Repost – Count Your Blessings

I haven’t spent as much time in the car listening to the radio this summer and since I have been working this past week once again my drive includes listening to KLove.  I have these moments when listening to music sometimes and it goes like this, What is the name of this song?  Who sings this song?  I really love the message of this song!  I need to Shazam this song?  So today I am sharing a new song for me and the impact while driving to work as I thought about the meaning. Count Your BlessingRend Collective I was blind, now I’m seeing in color

I was dead, now I’m living forever

I had failed, but you were my redeemer

I’ve been blessed beyond all measure 

Blessed

If there is one thing I have fully determined this summer, it is that I am blessed.  God has given me the time to disconnect from the world and focus on Him and what he has given me.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  James 1:17.  I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters who are hard working and independent.  I have been blessed with a loving husband who has loved me now over 30 years with all my faults and failures.  I have been blessed with a career that touches children and (I pray) I have changed some of their lives.  God is Good, but this summer He asked me to really look and appreciate the beauty he created and blessed me with.  Although, I understand the words I was blind and now I see in color as being saved, the past month showed me that color in 3D.  I really see the colors now, Lord.  I see what is important.  I am living and want to continue to live both here and forever with you.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” 1 Peter 5:6. 

Treasure 

I was lost, now I’m found by the father

I’ve been changed from a ruin to treasure

I’ve been given a hope and a future

I’ve been blessed beyond all measureI am counting every blessing, counting every blessing

Letting go and trusting when I cannot see

I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing

Surely every season you are good to meOh, you are good to me

Oh, you are good to me God is showing me the treasures he has stored up for me.  “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33.  I want to focus more on trying to live out this verse.  Sell, share, and live with less in order to experience God more.  He is allowing me to taste heaven here on earth, and I am thirsty for more.  I want to experience more of his beauty and grace.  I want to not just count my blessing but enjoy my blessings.  I want to enjoy a future that is full of both my Father in heaven and my remaining days here on earth.   Luke 12:34 states it best, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 

Strength

You were there in the valley of shadows

You were there in the depth of my sorrows

You’re my strength, my hope for tomorrow

I’ve been blessed beyond all measureI am counting every blessing, counting every blessing

Letting go and trusting when I cannot see

I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing

Surely every season you are good to meOh, you are good to me

Oh, you are good to me I have walked through valleys and across mountain tops and I know that my life will be filled with both.  Yet, I have hope in God’s strength, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13.  As I walk through the life God is giving me and count the many blessings, I know that I continue to need his strength to make the decisions and walk his path.  I know that the only strength I can rely on is that which the Lord provides.  Driving and listening to this song, I feel my Lord’s strength which I will need and promised to me in  1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” Surely your goodness pursues me

Surely your heart is still for me

I will remember your mercies all my days

Through every storm and gale Closing Verse: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31. Challenge:  Take the time today to stop and count your blessings and lean on the Lord’s strength for your life.

Songwriters: Gareth Gilkeson / Chris Llewellyn / Bridget Herron / Ali Gilkeson / Will Herron / Steve Mitchell / Patrick ThompsonCounting Every Blessing lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

Believing in God Through the Water

June 30, 2017

Back in June of 2017, I wrote a post about Water(link).  This post grew out of walking along the The Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.  Since this post, I have spent so much time in on the water, but tonight as I looked out at this sunset near Cedar Key, Florida.  I was flooded with the peacefulness of water in God’s creation.  

Sunset on the Water

Sunsets are my favorite, but whether it is sunset or sunrise over the water it always takes my breath away.  This evening in Cedar Key was no different, but tonight my thoughts drifted to God’s creation.  The beauty of the water rippling under the sunset is a perfect example of why I believe there is a God.  Romans 1:20 reminds us that God has left no doubt in why we should believe in Him, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse.”  Man is without excuse, yet today we busy ourselves with the hustle and bustle that allows our lives to slip through our fingers and then is gone.  Did we see God?  Did we find God? Did we stop and smell the flowers?  Watch Sunsets?  Listen to the Water?  In a blink it is all gone.  So stop and listen to God.  Proverbs 3:6 reassures us, ” In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Sunset Challenge

If you are reading this my challenge to you is to stop reading now.  Pray.  And start looking beyond your day to day life and what you normally see and search for God in your surroundings.  Look deeper into the Water.  

Closing Verse:  “ O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”  Psalm 63:1

Challenge:  Find God in his creation ~ Don’t Miss Out!

Looking Forward

Looking Toward The Future

God’s 2019 Plan

As I begin the new year and finish a holiday season that has been different yet exciting, I pause to ponder what God has in store for me in 2019. I know before it even begins that it will be different for me in so many ways. Looking back I see God’s work so I look forward knowing that he has control.  I guess as I begin this new year so differently than any other year, I have to stop and wonder why he has chosen to bless me.  For many looking at my future, God is not visible just my own plan for a future, but I see God.  My husband and I have prayed and researched the lifestyle we wanted to seek.  We both see new ways to serve the Lord and explore the beauty of God’s creation.  At times, we did try to push this plan and God, but each time he did not allow things to work out until now when everything just seems to be falling into place.  It can only be God.  In the words of Dabo Swinney after his big Win this past Monday night,  “If we can do it, anybody can do it”.  Dabo Swinney believed God blessed him not just on Monday night but many other nights leading up to Monday night, so why can’t I believe that God is blessing me in this new adventure in my life.  How can I serve and seek him this year in new and different ways?

Thanking God

As I begin this new year, I will be thanking God for all his blessings and provisions for my life.  I will do this first by studying His Word and seeking a closer relationship with Him.  Verse 105 from Psalm 119 comes to mind this time of year. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  I want to find my path by shining His Light.  I just finishing watching the movie The Case for Christ based on the true story about and written by Lee Strobel.  I read this book quite a few years ago, so watching the movie was just a great reminder of the price Christ paid for my sins and how thankful I should be as I begin not just a new year, but a new chapter in my life.  Walk with me Lord, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9.  

Following God

So I walk into this new year with Lord providing the path.  I will find that path through Jesus because he is my way. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.  I can honestly share that following God’s plan is so much easier and better.  Contentment and Happiness can only be found in following Him, so I will seek the Lord’s Plan as Jeremiah states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11.

Living for God

I am so excited to be able to live for Christ in 2019.  I am looking toward the future and know that God will provide me with opportunities to see and share His Glory.  I am ready for God’s Will are you?  

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Closing Verse:  ““Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

Challenge:   Stop and Listen.  What is God’s Plan? If you have not read or watched the movie, The Case for Christ, then I challenge you to choose one and dig in!

Happy New Year

This blog was first posted January 1, 2017.   This is the final wrap up of past blog post,  as the holidays and my life transitions are nearly complete.  I have been sharing some of my favorite Christmas past post.  I hope you have enjoyed this walk down memory lane.  The New Year – 2019 will bring a new life and new posts of God’s Blessings.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

The new year is upon us and a time to renew our spirits after the Christmas season and reflect on what God is calling us to this New Year!  Revelations 21:5 reads, “And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new…”  Christ is working to make all things new but our service here among man is a calling he makes to us.  How will you help your neighbors this New Year?  We must remember that we are “new creations”, 2 Corinthians 5:17 shares “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  If we have become a new creation then we will bear fruit.  Ephesians 4:22-24 explains our new creation this way, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

God shares in scripture how serving him is a part of his plan.  In Jeremiah 29:11 the scripture reads “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  and in Isaiah 40:31, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

As we prepare for the coming New Year 2017, stop and listen to the call from Christ in your life.  Stop and pray for God’s guidance in your life.  Then go and faithfully serve him.

Closing Verse:  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” 1Peter 1:3.

Challenge:  As you close out the Christmas season and reflect upon God’s calling and plan for you.  Focus on where God want you to serve him in 2017.

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What Does Christmas Mean?

harley-mouse

This blog was first posted December 31, 2017.   The next 2 weeks as the holidays and my life transitions, I will be sharing some of my favorite Christmas time post.  I hope you will enjoy these past post over the holiday and the new year – 2019 will bring a new life and new post of God’s Blessings.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

What do we find in Christmas?  I find family and traditions in Christmas, but if we focus deeper what will we really find in the meaning of Christmas. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11.  Christ is found in Christmas but the message from Christmas is even deeper.

As we gather with family during the holidays, sometimes both the worst and best comes out in us.  Christmas is reminder to me to live Ephesians 6:1-4, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  ‘Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”  As we leave our parents and have children of our own it is important to remember this verse.  But even more important sometimes as parents you have to let your children find their way back to Christ and to the respect of the verse above.  I know I have to continue to bring myself back to this verse and remember the promise that God is giving me by honoring my parents.  This season is when Christ can turn me back toward family and the importance they have always played in my life.  Christians must pass down these seeds which are planted with our children and nurtured so they are called back to their roots as adults.  I praise God everyday and throughout the Christmas season for giving me Christians parents who planted these seeds.  I know that many do not have this past, so what do they find in Christmas?  – hold that thought.  Christmas and its meaning is pasted down to our children just as scripture states in 2 Timothy 1:5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”  Many families and I pray that my family will continue to pass the seeds of Christ which is our blessing from God.  Just as many families are generations old there are “new” families beginning the tradition of passing the Faith of Christ and the meaning of Christmas.  Passing Faith from parents to children is a tradition that represents the birth, life, and example of Christ that we find in Christmas.

Christmas and Christ birth is a deep spiritual tradition in many Christian families.  As we lose some and create new ones the traditions surrounding Christ are the ones that matter.  2 Thessalonians 2:15 reminds us to stand firm in our faith and teachings, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”  Christ is our reminder to stand as he did in our faith and his teachings for these matter most for our children.  2 Peter 1:19 reads, “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts”  Christ is our lamp of light in this world and Christmas is the reminder to us to shine his light.  How will you shine his light for others in 2017.  Shining Christ light throughout the year reminds us of the great gift and sacrifice Christ made for us, so we must stand firm in the Gospel of Christ.  Christ last commission to his disciples and to us in Matthew reads, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Again we are called by Christ to stand firm, teach, and serve.  Paul reminds the Corinthians as well in 1 Corinthians 11:2, “Now I commend you because remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.”  

Christ in Christmas is our reminder of why Christ came to man and that message is found in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Christ came to serve and therefore our reminder at Christmas should be toward service throughout the year.  Remember that question above, Could we be the reason that others around us find Christ in Christmas.  There is so much competition this time of year, but nothing that provides the hope that Christ does for those who are lost.  Christmas time can create so many distractions that our eyes can be removed from Christ but the Old Testament reminds us in 1 Samuel 12:24 to “Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart.  For consider what great things he has done for you.”  and David’s charge to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 12:9 “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.”  This is a time to reflect on what God is finding in your heart this Christmas Season.  As we all reflect this season, I am reminded also in scripture of how I should be a servant of the Lord (Christ).   We will all be called to serve in different ways for Christ.  I know what he calling me to serve, Do you?  Romans 12:11 says, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”  We must be fervent in our service so that the sparkle of Christmas can cover the heartache of Christ throughout the year.  Man broke his heart and man will break ours but our challenge this season is live by his example to love and serve others so that Christmas shines through us throughout the new year.

Closing Verse: “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11

Challenge: Where is Christ urging you to serve for him this coming year?  How did Christ open your eyes this Christmas Season?  Search scripture for your answers.   

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The Empty Manger

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This blog was first posted December 22, 2017.   Over the next 3 weeks as the holidays and my life transitions, I will be sharing some of my favorite Christmas time post.  I hope you will enjoy these past post over the holiday and the new year – 2019 will bring a new life and new post of God’s Blessings.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

The Empty Manger

As I look down into the manger this Christmas season, I want to remember the simple birth of my Savior.  The manger was empty so that Jesus could fill it with His glory so many years ago.  “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:7  As I remember that empty manager, I see my life as the manager and I pray that my advocate, Jesus, will fill my life simply, yet fully as He filled the manger. This simple manger when filled with Christ became a beacon that called many to seek him so long ago just as we continue to seek him today.  His simple beginnings remind me that He has walked my path and knows my struggle.  As I struggle, I pray that God will fill the manger of my life, and He will take root in my heart.

Heart of the Manger

Prior to Christ’s birth the manger was empty and man struggled with his sin and evil heart.  God knew that only the sacrifice of His Son would bring salvation to His people. How can we plant the seed of Christmas in our hearts and weed the evil from within?  During this Christmas season, I hope that we all are reminded that we need Christ in our hearts.  My desire is not for the heart of Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” but for the heart that God creates in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  Christ in my heart is a promised blessing from Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  I pray that blessing for all this Christmas season.  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7.

Seeking the Manager

The first Christmas when Christ was born the heavens rejoiced and many sought to find the manger and worship this Miracle Baby.  The shepherds were in the fields with their flock that night so long ago when the heavens opened and the angels brought the great news to them. “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” Luke 2:15-16.

The wise men in Matthew 2:2  saw the star (link), “For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” They prepared for the journey to worship the Child in the manager.  “After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”  Matthew 2: 9-10.  Following the star the wise men found the child, “and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11.

Gift of the Manger

I often ponder the wise men and their travels to see the Christ child.  I wonder about the gifts they brought.  I have researched and studied the meaning of each, but I guess I have often been drawn to why they brought three.  What does this mean?  The number three can be found throughout scripture, but my curiosity was more interested in why the wisemen brought only three gifts and did these gifts somehow symbolize the gifts Christ’s birth brought to man.  As I searched and read scripture, I found these verses in 1 John 5:6-8 that explain the three gifts Christ birth brought, “This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” Christ did not come by water only into our lives which is the outward symbol of cleansing, but by blood which is his sacrifice so that His people might be saved.  Christ sacrifice brought the Spirit which is the inward symbol of our cleansing.  These gifts created the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”, and John 15:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

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Closing Verse: Matthew 1:21, “She will bear a son, and you shall his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Challenge:  Fill the Manger of your heart this Christmas with Christ.

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My Linus Blanket

This blog was first posted January 26, 2018.   Over the next 4 weeks as the holidays and my life transitions, I will be sharing some of my favorite Christmas time post.  I hope you will enjoy these past post over the holiday and the new year – 2019 will bring a new life and new post of God’s Blessings.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

Conversation with Friends

Recently, while hanging out with friends and having some life conversations that lead to one discussion about what is one thing that could make our life better right now, and second what are the security blankets that keep us from really reaching for our dreams and making our life better.  While eating wings, watching some football and having this discussion my friend turned and said this may be your next post… and so here I am exploring the path of God’s plan for me and how I hold onto my security blanket that can hinder God’s plan for my life.  My challenge to you as you continue to read is to think about what your security blanket is? What hinders you from living out God’s plan for your life.

Security Blankets 

Everyone remembers Linus in the Charlie Brown comic series.  He carries his blanket without fail everywhere he goes.  He doesn’t believe that he can do anything without the blanket.  Many times it appears the blanket gets in the way of what Linus wants to do but without fail he will only continue on within the safety of his blanket in tow.  When this question was asked in the conversation, I knew my security blanket was the safety of my hometown, where I have always lived,  and my career.   Over the years I have enjoyed lots of adventures in my life, but my desire to live a daily adventure, although great, is hindered by the safety of home.  I need to make my home within the Lord like Psalm 16:8 reads, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

Drop the Blanket

Over the Christmas holidays, I read an article about the only time Linus drops his security blanket is in A Charlie Brown Christmas when he begins to tell the Christmas Story and the real meaning of Christmas with these words, ‘And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”, Luke 2:10-11.  Linus found God’s security in his word – “Fear Not” and he no longer needed to hold the blanket.  I hear God’s word calling me to “Fear Not” and take the steps to release my security blanket and “Live Life”.  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14.  Go and find the beauty of his world, and explore the handiwork of his hands.  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17.  Go and watch the dolphins jump and the sun set over the water.  Go and listen to the waves crash and smell the sand and salt.  Go and experience the simple and slower life that I hear him calling me towards.  I will need to seek God’s strength to drop the blanket.  The strength found in 1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

Fear Not

I must walk in the words that Linus spoke when he dropped his blanket, “Fear Not, and know that God is with me.  As I open my eyes to my security blanket and seek the strength of the Lord to fulfill my life and allow me to let go and enjoy!   Psalm 34:4 encourages me to seek the Lord, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”  I have to unwrap myself from my blanket in order to feel the freedom that Christ can provide for my future.  I seek the freedom of John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Closing Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Challenge:  Find your blanket and let It go.

Charlie Brown pictures are courtesy of pixabay.com

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Christmas Traditions

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This blog was first posted on December 8, 2017.   Over the next 5 weeks as the holidays and my life transitions, I will be sharing some of my favorite Christmas time post.  I hope you will enjoy these past post over the holiday and the new year – 2019 will bring a new life and new post of God’s Blessings.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

Christmas Season

Christmas music is playing now everywhere I go and the lights are shining bright.  The season is here.  I want to enjoy more and stress less as Christmas day approaches.  I want to remember why we celebrate this season.  I always find myself this time of year thinking about the past. Thinking about Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my girls.  The fun, the laughs, the surprises, and most importantly the family traditions we have created together and continue to create over the years.  I believe that traditions are important for families and can be past down to the next generation.  Paul reminds me of the importance of traditions in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

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Family Traditions

My family has a few old traditions like the mouse calendar countdown to Christmas.  Our girls would almost fight to get to move the mouse each day.  They loved for the one whose turn it was to forget, so later in the day the mouse would secretly be moved. This simple purchase so many years ago has brought so much joy to our family.  Even now my husband takes pictures of Harley moving the mouse and sends it our now grown daughters.  It is a special memory and tradition in our home, and one I hope continues in the homes of our daughters one day with their children.

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Jesus Birthday Cake

Another great tradition for our family is baking Jesus’s Birthday Cake and singing Happy Birthday to him on Christmas Day.  Today my girls bake the cake and decorate the cake together instead of me, but I enjoy watching them back home together in the kitchen having fun carrying on our family tradtion.  We still gather round the cake on Christmas afternoon and sing and eat his birthday cake!  This is definitely one of my favorite Christmas memories and traditions!  “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7

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Even the Cake Decorations are important to our family.

Sharing Traditions

As an educator, I could not help but wonder about the traditions of my students, so I asked them to share favorite Christmas traditions with me on a Chalkboard in the school library.  It is special to hear them talk about the little things their families do together that are important to them.  Here are a few from this years board:

  1. Enchiladas for Breakfast on Christmas morning.  Why?  Her family is from Guatemala and this is just something her grandmother has always done.
  2. Crab Legs for Christmas Eve.  This student was super excited to share how much the night means getting to eat the crab legs!
  3. Lights.  One student just shared how much she enjoys lights and lots of lights.  She and I have that in common.
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These are just a few shared on the board and in discussions with my students.

Over the years I have heard some wonderful traditions that families share.  Some I wish I had even thought of.  Some that brought a great laugh but was still so important to the student.

  1.  One tradition that I wish I had known and started is only receiving three gifts for Christmas.  “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11
  2. Several years ago a student shared that on Christmas Eve they had to eat their meal with a different utensil from the kitchen.  This was a long family tradition and brought lots of laughter around the table.  Who knew what you would get?  How do you eat with a whisk?

The Gift of Jesus

Traditions are important in families and even school communities.  God shows us how to celebrate him Everywhere.  This is a like a tradition.  Praise the Lord in all that we do as Psalm 150:1-6 exclaims, “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!…”

During this  Christmas season with traditions being shared and even created remembering the reason we have this season is the most important.  God loved us so much that he gave us the greatest gift of all.  He gave us His Son.  He gave us Life.  ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16.

Closing Verse: “Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.”  1 Corinthians 11:2

Challenge: During this Christmas Season full of traditions don’t forget God’s traditions and gifts in your life.