A Day of Remembrance

As we remember Martin Luther King, Jr. today, my favorite quote of his springs to mind.

“The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may.”

What a very important concept to grasp. Life readily lures us to seek to achieve happiness, pursue pleasure, and lead a life focused on self and our own desires. We do anything we can to escape pain, whether it’s pills for physical pain, or hobbies, distractions and trips to escape the emotional pains. Comfort at all costs seems to be society’s mantra.

How different our lives would be if “To do the will of God, come what may,” became our guiding principle of life!

Today as you remember Rev. King and are thankful for all he contributed to our world, let’s not reduce him to a secular hero. He was a man of God, and his faith led him to take the steps he did. Let’s do likewise and allow God’s will to be our driving motivation.

church-348806_1280Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

 

 

 

What’s Your Watchword?

Definition:

watchword – a word or phrase expressing a person’s or group’s core aim or belief; a word or motto that embodies a principle or guide to actions of an individual or group

Do you have a watchword?

As of late it has become trendy and fashionable to have a “word for the year.” Have you chosen one? Or maybe more accurately, has a word chosen you?

It seems that each year about this time, fall through early January, a word or theme starts popping up in connection with the theme of my life at the time. One year it was live. Another year it was grace. And still another surrender. Each word had to do with something I was going through, and each became the guiding principle of my life that year.

I encourage you to seek the word the Lord has for you. Maybe it’s just one word like mine, but perhaps it’s a phrase or a scripture verse, a guiding principle God is planting in your heart for this year. A word that gives you vision and purpose. One that challenges you.

How do you find your word?

  • Pray.
  • Read God’s Word and meditate on it.
  • Journal some thoughts and prayers, reflecting on your current situation, desires, and concerns.
  • Listen as God speaks in a still, small voice to your heart.
  • Seek the Father.

Proverbs 29:18 tells us that, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Do you have a vision, a word, a guiding verse from the Lord? I challenge you to seek out a specific word for this year from the Lord, a word to give life focus and direction. As children of God we need to be arrows that are properly aimed and fly straight to hit the mark and accomplish all God has for each year of our life.

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Letter Box

“Mama, why does this box keep moving around your house?”

Over the course of a few days and visits to my Mama’s I had noticed the small wooden box in a couple of different places. A long while ago it was a candy box, one of the very few gifts my Grandmother (known to me as Mam-Maw and I to her as Mamie) had ever received. I knew the box well, its family lore made its way through generations of stories. Once one of my Aunts pitched a regular ol’ hissy fit because she wanted the box. My Mam-maw had very few things that actually belonged to her and while she would literally give away the shirt off her back to someone who needed it, she wouldn’t part with that box for the sake of a whiny child’s demands.

I always giggled at that one, partly because I know all I’d have really wanted was the art-blur-box-208974long ago consumed candy it held more than the actual box. Upon my Mam-Maw’s passing, my Mama inherited the wooden box with a hinged top and fading decoupaged landscape scene. It measures no more than 6 inches wide by 18 inches long. It is no more than 4 inches deep. And it is not what one could refer to as a priceless heirloom. To be honest I hadn’t given it much thought until it started to move around her home.

She lives in a small bungalow type garden home. The first day I noticed it I had made a pit stop in her guest bath. It was sitting on the edge of the counter. I wondered if she were planning to incorporate it into her bath decor, maybe a new container to hold hand towels. I shrugged the thought off and gave it merely a momentary thought as I made my way out of the bathroom. A few days later, I was in the living room and noticed the candy box not-so-family-heirloom sitting on the coffee table. I had nearly forgotten the presumed hand towel holder and deduced she must have decided against that. Again a fleeting thought, again no more than a momentary notice. Its final resting place at the kitchen table was when I asked my Mama that question.

“Mama, why does this box keep moving around your house?”

She was standing at the stove, baking cookies. She does that. Bakes cookies. Her Grandchildren love it when she bakes cookies. They have an arrangement, she bakes the cookies; they eat themwooden-box-2552370_1920.png

She laughed as she placed the cookies on a rack to cool.

“Look inside it. There are some letters in there that are old. Mama wrote some and her mama too. Some of them are pretty funny.”

I grabbed my reading glasses, a warm cookie, and I settled down at the table to read. Opening that candy box was like opening a treasure trove for this vintage-world-loving, word oriented gal. She was right, some of them were hilarious. Some of then not-so-much. Those letters were a part of my history. As my Great Grandmother, Lillie penned them, I wondered if it ever crossed her mind that her Great Granddaughter would one day be reading them. As I gingerly unfolded and read those letters I was awestruck. Here in faded writing on tattered soft, hundred year old paper were words of mundane and everyday life, a time gone by and hardly remembered today. One of the letters commented on a bad haircut leaving an unfortunate teenage boy with the repercussions of a novice barber, dull scissors, and poor economics.

As I pieced together some long forgotten history I pondered on the art of letter writing and was reminded of one who wrote letters that I had just been studying. Paul wrote letters, many of them. His last letter prior to his execution at the hands of Nero was written to Timothy. I read 2 Timothy with a new perspective. Timothy was Paul’s mentee, protegé, and those words were the last ones Paul would share with Timothy. I suppose if I were writing a letter knowing it were my last one, I would chose the most important things to say to the reader. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit would have likely done just that.

My Great Grandmother Lille and my Great-Great Grandmother Bertie may have chosen to write about something else had they known a century later my eyes would be reading the only part of them that I would ever know.

God wants us to know Him and He penned a beautiful letter to us in the form of the Bible. A beautiful work that tells us His character, His will, His Grace and His love for us.
His word, like that little candy box is a treasure trove of words written centuries ago and unlike that candy box of letters, the Writer is just as real and alive as when the words were penned.

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Construction Zone: A Fresh Start on Your Fixer Upper

Priceless 2019 ongoing series: Construction Zone. In these articles this year we will focus on the new creations Our Father is building. We hope to inspire, challenge, and encourage as always. Here’s the first offering of the series. Read and be blessed!

 

 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23

 

As the new year begins with the freshness of a new romance, we once again have been given a clean slate upon which to write.

It has always amazed me how many fresh starts God gives to us frail, imperfect humans. We have a fresh opportunity New Year’s day, the first of every month, every Monday, every single sunrise, every hour, every minute. These are starting points to become something new in Him: to change our perspective, alter our wrong behaviors, make a better choice, forgive a past event, have faith in Him,… and my list could go on. He knew us when He created the human race. He knew by giving us a free will to choose how to live and whether to love Him or not that we, like little children, would make mistakes and need many, many chances to set things aright and begin all over again.

Do you take these fresh opportunities to put the past behind you and open a new box of crayons and a fresh pad of paper? To revise the script of your life? To reorient yourself to follow the map God would have for your life? To do a little home make-over, a little reconstruction or redecorating to the home in your heart?

♥♥♥♥♥

home-2861604_1280.jpgThe show Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines has become a huge hit here in the heart of the South where I live. Mention “Magnolia Market” or “shiplap” around the women I know and you’ll get heads popping up to listen or interject in the conversation. And for what are these two folks famous?

Demolition. Design. Construction. Decorating. Landscaping.

In other words, making old homes look new: revitalizing the building, cleaning up, restoring, repurposing outdated used items, and creating a warm home. That’s why we love them. And I think there is possibly a spiritual aspect to why we love them and this show so very much.

Really?! Do you see a spiritual meaning behind every stone and used piece of shiplap?

Why yes. Yes I do! Thanks for asking. And here’s what I see.

In scripture I see that our bodies are likened to a house or a temple. A building in other words. A house occupied by God’s Spirit.

I see that Sin makes the inside of the house dirty, damaged, old and run-down, and it needs cleaning, restoring and being made new, which can only be done by God Himself.

I see that Our Creator has a plan, a design for our life, if we hire Him to come in and do a make-over. A design that would make Joanna jealous no doubt, no offense to her, but He is The Master Designer.

I see also that unless the Lord builds the house, we are vainly laboring to build a shanty that will blow over in the first stiff wind.

I see Jesus Himself as the one sprucing up the place with beautiful decor and grass and plants, making us loving and kind, tender-hearted and others-centered, a sweet fragrance of Himself to the world.

I believe that our attraction to this show lies in the fact that it embodies physical redemption and renewal. It is a visible metaphor of our life, what we know we are (old man, broken, in need of repair and a master rebuilder) and what we long to be (whole, beautiful, useful, free from the dirt and rodents and mold of sin).

So… Let’s take advantage of this fresh start this year – not to diet or quit something or demand more from ourselves and condemn ourselves when we fail – but to allow the Holy One, Our Creator and Designer to remake us into the new creation He has planned. Let’s embrace our own remodel.

Demolition. Let Him tear down walls that separate us from others and go for the open concept. Let Him tear out the roots of sin in our hearts and replant us in Himself as an obedient and fruitful branch being fed by the Vine. Let Him rip pride out of our walls and replace those rusty rotten pipes with a humble servant spirit. Sounds painful and not much fun doesn’t it? It will be. Painful and not fun. But the beauty of the end creation will be worth it.

architect-architecture-black-and-white-1537008Design. He has the design plans finished for you, Sweet One. He has a plan for me and a plan for you. Your house may look similar to the one down the street, but it is distinctive, unique, and appealing to certain people as no other house can be. Your blueprint is laid out in His Word, the Bible. If you follow it closely you will wind up with a firm foundation of wisdom, sturdy walls of understanding that allow you to live in safety and peace, and rooms filled with precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3-4) That’s why it’s so important to consult His Word daily to make sure you are following the Designer’s plans.

Construction. Are you willing to undergo a year-long construction project in your inner house? How about a life-long one? That’s what it really is. But the beginning can be tough. Are you ready to add extra rooms? Need to raise the ceiling and put in a new sturdy beam to open up the interior of your heart? Are you ready to have that magnificent master bath with a shower with a dozen shower heads to cleanse you and warm you and comfort you when you’re stressed? Do you desire a gourmet kitchen where you can feast on life-giving, healthy, restoring morsels? The construction period will be hard, but it will be worth it! All you have to do is commit to starting today. Just like with Chip & Joanna, you will face obstacles and setbacks some days or weeks, but you get another fresh start each day, each week, each month, remember?

Decorating. Allow Jesus to add the finishing touches. He has a PhD in Interior Design you know. He’ll pick just the right colors, textures, and styles to make your life a warm home open to visitors who need your wise advice, care, and love. And you’ll be shocked how He is able to re-use, repurpose, and redeem your old furnishings and adornments.

Landscaping. Jesus has a green thumb too. He can make the outer beauty of your heart cause others to pop into your yard and ring the doorbell just to ask, “Who did all this?” “Where can I get someone to do a home make-over for me?” “Can you get me in touch with Him?” You really won’t have to assault strangers with the Gospel in the Walmart parking lot as you fear you will. Your landscaping will give you a platform that draws others to your Master Designer! You’ll have your own private episode of Fixer Upper to show them how you got in touch with Him.

It’s January 2019. Take this opportunity to start fresh. It’s demolition time. Turn your remodeling over to the professional; all your handyman work on your own is useless.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

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(Join us at Gardendale First Baptist Church this winter for our year-long focus on building our lives and homes. We will begin Tuesday, January 15, with a 10 week study called HomeBuilders, that teaches scriptural truths upon which to build godly lives and homes. Find out more at Rooms Full of Riches or on our Events and Information page.)

Trust in the Midst of the Storm

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5-6

I’m learning some things. In the last 4 or so years I’ve learned several new vocabulary words, acronyms, acrostics, terminology, and grammar. All with a common subject matter, meteorology.

If you’d’ve asked me 16 years ago if I’d be learning said subject matter, I would’ve laughed and likely said “Never.”

Something else learned. Never say never, for the King alone knows what the future holds.

When two are one, one is bound to know what the other knows. Case in point words like dew point, humidity, wind speed, rotation, high pressure, low pressure, atmospheric, thermodynamics, cyclonic, lightning (so not the same as lightening) precipitation and hurricane.

They are no longer benign words heard on the television or in the background. Now they mean something. There is value associated with them, and I’d’ve never thought that was possible. Today I watched my man, finish his coffee and assess the weather for the day. Typically he starts with the gold standard in Alabama weather, and today was no different. As he watched Mr. Spann confirm via video what he had just told me, the catastrophic results of an approaching hurricane, I could see him thinking. His hand on his head, the strain a visible result produced by the calculation of the prediction was spread across his face. He intently listened and processed what was being said, what was not being said but what he knew. What 4 years of hard work and an A average GPA has taught him. What daily forecasts, prognostications, and such have yielded in him and he never said a word.

I’d’ve been a bona fide basket case but he just sat there drinking his coffee. Swig after swig from a cup that was a gift some years ago, a cup that summed up what he does and what I am instructed by the King to do but do not always. To lean not upon my own understanding but to press into the God of the Universe. There black pretty letters scrolled into a green background, “Trust.” Plainly written. He pondered over what was in front of him and he was living it out perfectly. He knows the facts, he knows the potential outcome, yet he trusts and he prays and he doesn’t panic. I love that about him, I always have. He is a good weatherman but an even better Man and I am so very thankful for him, for his humble and quiet leadership and for the adventure that I get to be a part of since we are yoked together and the two became one.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers,they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire,you will not be burned;the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God,the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3 

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A Clear Image

Photography is a favorite hobby of mine. The first camera that I ever used was a box camera. I went to summer camp when I was very young and my mother sent her camera with me so that I could record the fun of camp. The Brownie camera had just made its kodak-2627941_1280debut, so my mother sent her old camera with me to camp. I thought my photographs that were captured on black and white film were beautiful. That was the beginning of my quest to capture moments in time. I remember when Kodak had a commercial with a song about taking pictures. The song asked, “Do you remember? Do you remember the times of your life?”

My photography has graduated from that box camera through the years to many other types of cameras. One of the first items that my then soon to be husband and I purchased together was a 110 camera with a flash. We were so proud of our camera. Because it was a cartridge, 110 film was easy to load. No more pulling a little bit of film from the canister to feed it and wind it just a little and then snap the back shut and wind a little more. Later in our marriage we used several types of 35 mm cameras. We have boxes of pictures and a file cabinet of packages of negatives that are a result of our love of taking pictures.

What is film? you may ask. Google it.

When digital cameras were available, we made the move from film to a camera card. Much of that technology has changed since then. We enjoy setting up backdrops in our home and taking special pictures. A lot of planning goes into those pictures.

beach-camera-cellphone-861099.jpgSo why do I like a camera when I have a phone that takes amazing pictures? Most people never think of cleaning the lens of the camera on their phone. Most people have little specks of dirt or grime that they may not see as they take their picture but it is there. Phones go everywhere with us. If the lens is not clean if affects the picture. Even the best camera only takes great pictures if the lens is clean. When we take pictures with our backgrounds and lights, I remember to check the camera lens because of the extra effort it takes to use a camera. I have to be sure the battery is charged and the camera card has enough space for the pictures I plan to take to record special moments. All that effort is for nothing if the lens is not clean.

Our life is like a camera that records the moments we experience. No matter what kind of camera or phone you have or what filters you use, the actual picture is only as good as the quality of your lens.

Is the lens of your life cloudy? When is the last time you have cleaned it?

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Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This tells us that the lens of our life could never be clean enough.

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Scripture tells us that David prayed “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit in me”. Psalm 51:10 ESV

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Romans 5:8 assures us “that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.

1 John 1:9 NIV tells us “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

These scriptures tell me that Jesus will always be there to cleanse the lens of my life. He died for me so that I could live with Him for all eternity.

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The next time you take a picture, remember to clean the lens of your camera and then, remember who cleanses the lens of your life. Take time to thank The Lord for his cleansing and the love he showed us when he died for us.

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Happy New Year!

    He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

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End of Year Reflections

Closing the book on 2018

 “For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12

It has been said that the past is the part of our story that has already been written and set in cement. But today and the days to come are the blank pages of our story waiting to be written. We can’t change our past, but we can change our future. As this, the last day of the year is upon us, may we pause to reflect on this past year, to learn from it, come to grips with it, forgive it, and put it to rest, so that we may march forward boldly living out the story God has for us.

calendar-handwriting-notebook-636246.jpgThis past year some have had the best year of their life! Others have experienced a year of overwhelming trauma, grief, illness, or regret. But to most, it was just another year. So I must ask, are we simply ticking off the years of this one life we possess? Or are we evaluating, learning, reflecting upon, and growing from the things we have experienced?

Things I’m reflecting on? Some major and minor joys, and some major and minor disappointments. A beautiful wedding. A missions appointment. A new son-in-love. Serious illness of those I love. The rapid passage of time. Escalating pain of arthritic joints. A new puppy in the house. Another year of reading through the entire word of God. A daughter thousands of miles away during the holiday. The loss of dear Christian mentors. The year has been a mix of grief and joy, welcomes and goodbyes, hopes and fears, success and failure.

imagesMy greatest joy and sadness are one and the same this year – I have a child who has moved abroad to work and spread the love of Christ. I’m so proud of her, so thrilled with this grand adventure God is taking her on, and yet at the same time so sad that she’s not at home with us and we won’t see her for months if not years.

Our daughter is living in Peru and has shared with us some of their traditions for the New Year holiday. A few seem to correlate with our U.S. traditions. They eat their favorite foods, typically seafood, empanadas and rice dishes, which would equate with our black-eyed peas, turnip greens and ham, and at my house, tailgating food as well for watching the New Years’ Day bowl games. They throw rice around the house encouraging financial prosperity – once again the black-eye peas here in the U.S., where tradition says we’ll get a dollar for every black-eye pea we eat on New Years’ Day. They also wear yellow grapes-typical-rituals-new-yearunderwear, (?!) kind of like the way we wear goofy glasses and hats. And just like we count down to midnight watching the ball drop in Times Square, they have their own countdown. During the countdown to midnight they eat 12 grapes – representing each month of the year – for luck.

But my favorite of their traditions has a deeper meaning. The people of the community all go outside together and burn rag dolls, often dressed up to look like themselves in a piece of their own clothing. The burning of the effigy signifies that all of the past year is done and behind you and it is time to start anew.

What a great symbolic way to end the year! How often do we carry over the pains of last year into the clean slate of the next year – the fresh start that our Father gives us.

Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, offers us this wisdom on the subject of how to deal with our past:

God is the God of our yesterdays, and he allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.…God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all claims against our conscience.… Let the past rest… in the sweet embrace of Christ.

So I encourage you this last day of 2018, take some time to be alone with the Lord. Read in His Word – His letter to you. Reflect upon the past year. Weigh the good and the bad. Forgive. Let go. Rejoice. Mourn. Then pray to your Abba, offering these hurts and joys, pains, regrets, and hopes to Him. He will do more with the pieces of our lives that we offer Him than we can ever imagine. And this is my prayer for each of you:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV

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Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God. Philippians 3:13-14

Resolutions!

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

Resolutions have lost their popularity in recent years. As people realize they don’t usually keep the resolutions, they are less likely to make them. So what about you? Do you intend to make a resolution this year? Or maybe you’ve decided to focus on a Bible verse for the year or a word the Lord seems to be impressing on you as your watchword for the year. Whatever you are considering, we all tend to look at the new year as a fresh start, a chance to become more than we’ve been in the past.

Here are some suggested resolutions. Some are light-hearted and easy to keep. Some are deeply meaningful. But I suggest you pick one of these or one of your own to start this New Year out on a fresh path allowing God to start a new thing in your heart and life.

Get your new year started of with a blast!

img_443596 Resolve to keep fresh-cut flowers in a vase on your table to brighten your day and remind you of God’s amazing creation.

img_443596 Resolve to read through the Word of God every single day of the year. (Try Bible Gateway or You Version.)

img_443596 Resolve to open the door for people every time you go to a store.

img_443596 Resolve to read the Love Dare book and improve your relationship with your spouse.

img_443596 Resolve to eat a slice of Birthday cake on their birthday with every single friend whose birthday you are aware of.

img_443596 Resolve to journal your prayers to God so that by the end of the year you will have a record of the ways God has moved in your life.

img_443596 Resolve to write one note of encouragement a week to someone.

img_443596 Resolve to share the Gospel every opportunity God gives you, even though you may feel nervous or intimidated.

img_443596 Resolve to return rudeness with kindness.

img_443596 Resolve to learn a new fun skill: cooking, playing an instrument, speaking another language, knitting, Iron Man training, painting,…

img_443596 Resolve to make it a habit of getting eye to eye with a child to play.

img_443596 Resolve to start your own blog.

img_443596 Resolve to quit being negative, and trust God.

img_443596 Resolve to get involved with a ministry to others or teach a class at your church.

img_443596 Resolve to look in the mirror each day and tell yourself, you are kind, you are beautiful, and God has a purpose for you today.

img_443596 Resolve to be content with your lot in life, yet to keep working hard daily to improve yourself and to follow God’s directions for your life.

img_443596 Resolve to pray for your family every single day. (The prayer app Echo might prove helpful.)

img_443596 Resolve not to worry. Choose to have faith.

img_443596 Resolve to say “yes” to God.

Surely one of these resolutions appeals to you. You may even want to pick 2 – one heavy one and one light-hearted one. You’ll be sure to succeed at one! Blessings on your new adventure with the Lord! Be resolved to live fully in the moment each day, intently listening and seeking your Father’s direction.

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Merry Christmas from All of Us at Priceless!

The Greatest Gift of all is Jesus

Where ever you find yourself this Christmas, and in whatever bleak or joyful, lonely or busy situation, may you know and rejoice in the Greatest Gift of All – Jesus!

Your Father God gave you His own Son – Jesus.

In Jesus, He gave you a Redeemer to reclaim for you all you have lost and all the things the enemy of your soul has stolen from you.

He gave you a Spotless Lamb, a perfect sacrifice for your sin and failure – the sinless Son of God.

He gave you Hope in the form of a man.

He gave you Unconditional Love that says “I love you.  I accept you. I choose you as mine, no matter what you have done.”

He gave you a Wonderful Counselor for your darkest moments and deepest depression and despair.

He gave you a Prince of Peace to come and work in your confusion and chaos.

He gave you a Friend that sticks closer than a brother for when you feel alone and abandoned.

He gave you a Mighty Warrior to rescue you from the evil one and the prison of sin and self.

He gave you the gift of a loving family, even if your earthly family has let you down. He Himself is your Everlasting Father, Jesus is your brother, and the entire body of Christ is your extended family!

He gave you Immanuel, God with Us, who humbly came to earth as a man, to know our pain and be one of us.

He gave you the gift of that Babe in the manger, but that babe wrapped up so much more than we comprehend!

Celebrate these gifts you Do have this Christmas. These eternal gifts in Christ!

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