“To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” —Mark 12:33
I remember one of my all-time favorite teachers saying to the class, “Tell me what you spend time doing, and I’ll tell you what you love.” The students were stone-silent.
And isn’t it true? Where we spend our money, our time, and our energy always points to what we most enjoy doing—what we love.
Ask yourself these questions: Do I spend more time reading and scrolling through my phone than I do delving into God’s Word? What about when it comes to my hard-earned money—do I spend it all on myself or cheerfully give God’s portion...tithes and offerings? Do I give my all to answer His calling on my life, even when it’s trying or exhausting? When it means sacrificing time away from other things or people?
This Valentine month, what if we decided to love God 100%, with everything we have—time and talents…body, mind and spirit? What would that look like? How would it change our lives, our families, our coworkers, our friends—and our corner of the world?
Blessings…and, yes, love,
“I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.” —Ecclesiastes 2:13
As I ponder this brand, spankin’ new year 2017, instead of making a long list of resolutions, I’ve been thinking about making things easier for myself. So, I’m going with some basic and simple principles to live by.
For instance, this year, instead of looking too far into the future, (which I’ve been known to do!) I’d like to focus on living each day and not get so distracted by what’s coming up, including those dreaded writing deadlines.
I want to laugh at myself more, too. And, why not? Life’s too short to take things too seriously, right? I also want to run first to the Lord with my struggles…even the little ones. Especially the little ones which tend to pile up quickly and create a mountain. (Can you relate?)
In addition, I want to steer clear of negative influences and people, if at all possible…of course, with the measure of grace that such a task requires. And to emulate a positive attitude myself, as well.
Above all else, I want to live for Jesus…isn’t that what matters most?
Here’s to an inspiring New Year!
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son.” —John 1:14 (NLT)
When I think of our Lord Jesus making “his home among us,” I’m honestly in awe. Just think of the majesty and grandeur of God, our heavenly Father, permitting his only Son to descend from heaven—to become human—on our behalf, for our benefit...to SAVE us from our sin...from ourselves. This bends my mind.
Even as a little girl, as I sat quietly next to my mother and little sister in church, while my father gave his Christmas Eve sermon, I tried and tried to understand the concept of Emmanuel, God is with us. Think of that—With us! Not looking down from on high, out of touch. Not distant at all. He became one of us (or “moved into the neighborhood” as THE MESSAGE translates John 1:14). Amazing, awe-inspiring, and oh so humbling, too.
This Christmas, as always, our extended family will gather to worship the Christ of Christmas, the Babe in the manger who was God in human flesh. We will bake the birthday cake for Jesus—it’s his day, after all!—and we will sing around the piano in four-part harmony the old, old carols we all know “by heart,” as the Amish say. We will attend candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and while singing Silent Night, our younger daughter, Janie, and I will hold hands and try not to cry. And during this blessed Advent season we will pray for the lost, and ask for healing of body, mind, and spirit for others. And we will pray for the peace of Israel.
Christmas is a priceless reminder that we can rejoice every day of the year. It is our privilege to honor this precious gift—greater than any other given on earth—because without it, where would we be? After all, the hope of eternal life comes with this most beautiful package. And, as with any gift, we either open our arms to receive or turn away.
Oh, the joy of accepting the Savior and Lord, Healer of our bodies and our broken hearts, a closer friend than even the best brother. He is the reason for our very breath, the reason we are here.
Opening my heart to Christmas with you,
"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."—Psalm 9:1
Did you know that being thankful is a form of worship to God? Actually, it's the very essence of it.
Being the Giver of all good things, our heavenly Father deserves our praise and gratitude, doesn't He? Besides, a purposeful recounting of His goodness and grace each day is what He expects...and cherishes.
Stop for a moment and think: What lifts me beyond myself? Is it a prayer of praise, or perhaps a song of joy?
Recently, while walking in the golden sunlit woods of the arboretum in Chaska, MN—feeling all tuckered out, as the Amish say—I began to offer a simple thanks to the Lord, a silent prayer at first, then a conversational one.
Soon, I was overcome with tears as I listed the spiritual blessings in my life, asking nothing for myself, just this intimate sharing from my heart...to His.
Well, I began to feel buoyed by the experience, raised up from my former doldrums. And, guess what? That gratitude-filled moment lingered with me the rest of the day and stretched into the week. My thankfulness became worship...and a surprising renewal took place.
This Thanksgiving, long before we gather with friends and family around food-laden tables, let's carve out time for quiet moments with the One who deserves all of our worship and praise, every single day.