Voice of Truth

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Voice Of Truth – Casting Crowns

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand

As 2017 is coming to a close and I am beginning to look toward the future and what 2018 will bring.  As I plan and look at 2018 and my future, I realize that I am going to need the faith of Peter to take the steps to make my dreams come true.   I need the faith he had to step out of the boat and know that Jesus had him.  I need this faith when I step out to know that I will walk and not fall.  “He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. ” Matthew 14:29.

But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy, you’ll never win!’
‘You’ll never win!’

Although, I have failed many times in my life and know that feeling sometimes the fear of failure and how it will affect your life is just too daunting to take the steps out of the boat.  Yet, I know that God is with me and holding me as I make that leap onto the water.  I Corinthians 10:13 makes this promise, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  Temptation or failure.  God will be there and not allow more than I can handle.
Chorus:
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, ‘Do not be afraid!’
The voice of truth says, ‘This is for My glory’
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

If I stop and listen, I hear God’s voice telling me to write a new and different story in my life.  I hear him telling me to reach and grab a dream.  As long as I have God first he will be glorified.  I know that big changes bring great fear, but I know that God is near.  I believe that God will glorify this decision that he can find a way for him to be glorified in any and all that I do.  “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”, 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy you’ll never win!’
‘You’ll never win!’

As 2018 approaches, I hear the giant laughing, but I feel the strength of God telling me that I can take the next step in my life.  I can be David before what seems like Goliath and conquer!  “Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45.  I walk in the name of the Lord and he will be by my side, so I look to the future may God show me his path that I might glorify him.
But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them lookin’ down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I choose to listen and believe the voice of truth, the voice of my Father and his son Jesus Christ.  I will not let my heart worry, but know that God is in control.  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1.  I will find my strength in the Lord on his wings.  “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.

Closing Verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Challenge:  Find Faith, and listen for the Voice of God.

 

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The Empty Manger

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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.

Jesus, My Advocate

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Why Christmas?

During this Christmas season it is hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle the season can bring, but I should stop and remember why I celebrate this season.  Jesus Christ came to earth as a gift from our Father to save us from myself.  “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.  Jesus became our advocate.  I am remembering this precious gift this week because sometimes smooth road become bumpy and rough.  Sometimes we just need someone to have our back, and this Christmas season reminds me not just of the gift God gave me, but of the friend who has walked in my footsteps so he could understand and advocate for me before God.

My Advocate

Having Christ as my advocate brings peace and comfort to my life in times of confusion that this world brings.  His advocacy also bring joy and love to my life when the road is smooth and life seems easy.  Either way he is teaching me his truths and loving me with grace in order to show me himself in my life.  “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.”  John 1:14.  As I walked through a week of struggles in this Christmas season, I know that Jesus is my advocate and the advocate for my family.  He is teaching and loving me through the ups and downs, so that I might show his love and mercy through my life.  He is standing before God for me.  “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,”  Matthew 10:32

Advocate for Christ

As I move through this Christmas season remembering how Christ has stood by my side, may I advocate for him with others.  I pray that I can stand for him as he stand for me.  May my life be a light, a model, and a source of comfort to those around me.  May I provide for others a way to know Jesus and all things that he has provided for me as my advocate.  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19.

Closing Verse: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, ”  Isaiah 9:6

Challenge: This is a time to stop and remember why we celebrate Christmas and celebrate Jesus our Advocate.

Christmas Traditions

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Christmas Season

Christmas music is playing now everywhere I go and the lights are shining bright.  The season is here.  I want to enjoy and let the stress of the weeks that lead up that wonderful day that is gone so quickly.  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 engaging 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 I wish I had thought of 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 anywhere.  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 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.

Christmas Lights

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Christmas Lights

The tree is up and the lights are beginning to glisten and shine on homes around the neighborhood.  Homes and business are beginning to show signs of Christmas with lights abundantly shining.  There have been times in my past where this time of year would bring anxiety to my life, as my to do list just seemed to grow and I had no idea what to buy or give as gifts.  A few weeks ago when God first touched me with the song “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle​​​​​​​I was sitting at a stop light and reading a church sign on the corner.  It seems funny to me that I can’t remember what the sign said because I love church signs, but only the feeling that this would be a season of enjoying and not worrying.  Maybe it was the darkness full of lights around me as I was driving, that made me think of Christmas and the coming season of lights, but I felt an exciting for the coming Christmas season, excitement, and the lights.  The lights were going to be important this year. I stop and enjoy each new one home that lights up.  I become mesmerized in the beauty of the lights which are reminding me this year of Jesus and his words in John 14:6, “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Star

I love the Moravian star.  If I had one I would probably leave it up year round, so this time of year I get to see the star again.  Have you stopped to really look at one and see all the crosses that come together to create this star?   I imagine this is the unusual star in the heavens above the manager.  Matthew 2: 9-10 shares the joy of the wise men when they found Jesus, “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. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”  As I enjoy the stars of Christmas, I realize that the stars we admire in the heavens are creation of God.  Psalms 147:4 reads, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.”  Each star including the one that rose over Jesus’s birth is named by God, the Creator.

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Christmas Season

Let’s all slow down this Christmas season and enjoy the lights of Christmas, find God’s peace, and His blessings in the lights.  Let go of the chaos this time of year can bring and stop and enjoy what is important.  Stop and remember that God brought his only Son as baby to walk in our footsteps without sin.  Jesus knows us and understands our walk.  Stop and walk with him through this season.  I know peace will be found and will be infinitely better than the hustle and bustle.  For as John 1:5 reminds us all, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Closing Verse:  Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Challenge:  Stop and Walk with Jesus through the Christmas Season.