Monthly Archives: December 2012

Great Joy

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2

Joy.  That was part of this morning’s devotional around our Advent wreath.

advent wreath 2012

Joy.

When Joseph and Mary held Jesus, they were like any other set of parents….. their hearts were bursting with joy.

nativity cake

I can remember falling in love all over again the moment my two children were placed in my arms for the first time.  That kind of love mixed with joy can not be explained only experienced.

Joy.

We sing carols exclaiming the joy of the world during this time of the year.  We celebrate that joy.  We capture it and give it to others.

god's hug

Joy.

Joy isn’t only involved in wondrously treasured moments.  Joy can be found in the underlining of every sorrow.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…. James 1:2

As Mary held her baby, she didn’t focus on how God’s plan of salvation would occur.  She focused on the joy that this baby will bring to anyone who possesses grace.

mary

Jesus found joy in the outcome of His death, not the agony He would face.

advent wreath cross 2012

Joy.

Honestly, I never realized that underneath my pain, sorrow and anguish; joy resides.  Joy.  I reflect on trials today….. I want to peel back all that dark unpleasant affliction and find Jesus’ joy.

candles 6

My miscarriage…… heartbreaking and painful.  And underneath it is joy because that sweet life was born in heaven and into the arms of Jesus.  Joy because what if something was life threatening and painfully wrong…..my baby never had to suffer.

Mary found it.  Her heart broke under the heavy weight of Jesus’ agonizing death.  Under the confusion and grieving, she found joy in knowing that God’s plan was underway.  She touched the joy when Jesus approached her at the tomb.  She understood the joy knowing that Jesus was alive and at the right side of God.

Joy.  Sweet Joy.

lent candles wk 5

 

wild flower 7

 

maundy thursday meal c

What ever you are experiencing right now that is bringing you such agony…. peel back all the yuck and find the joy.  It is there.  Jesus saw it in His trial and death.  If it was there for Him, it is there for us to embrace.

love

Find it.  Embrace that JOY!

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Just a Guy

Mary gets all the fame.  She verbally declared herself as the Lord’s servant and she was the one who coined the expression, “Let it be…”  Poor Joseph took the back seat in the history books.

He can be portrayed as just a carpenter, just a honorable dude, and just another regular guy.  Oh but he was so much more than that……

He was the earthly male role model for Jesus.  He taught him to speak, read and write.  He taught the Jewish customs and prayers.

Ephesians 6:4 
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV)

Joseph gave Jesus the earthly compassion and apprenticeship.  He showed the Son of God how to walk with confidence.

Proverbs 23:24
The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him.
 (NIV)

Joseph probably taught Jesus how to play Bible times “baseball.”  He helped him learn geometry…. a skill needed for carpentry.

He was never just another guy.  He was Jesus’ earthly provider, protector, educator, and father.

 

 

 

A Mouse in your Pocket

My mom always had a few regular sayings….. “It’ll all come out in the wash” , “If you point a finger, remember there are three pointing back” and “We? I reckon you have a mouse in your pocket.”

Oh that mouse…..I heard it most when I would suggest adding another animal to our pack.  “We promise to feed it.  Take care of it.  We will give it baths….” and her response, “We? I reckon you have a mouse in your pocket.”  Really?  I guess she thought the other half of the “we” meant her…… huh.

We.

That would be me and someone else.

Have you ever thought about how Jesus’ Holy Spirit is always the other part of a “We”?  Can you imagine how the world would be if each Christ follower who carries the Holy Spirit within them actually lived as if  “We” were always together?

I was reading a book and the author mentioned the fact that when “2 or 3 gather together in His name, Jesus is there.”  Matthew 18:20  Well, yeah, Jesus is always with us…. right?  Now think about the idea of “We” (Jesus and me) gathering with other Christians (them and Jesus)….. do you think we need to behave just as if Jesus was physically standing there in the room?  Do you think we would gossip?  Insult others behind their backs? Curse? Overindulge?

Ahem…..  well, He is there, because He resides within me.  He is in each cell of my being.  Sad.  How easy I forget.  And when I am with my Christian girlfriends…..we forget (and that’s the mouse included!).  Jesus shouldn’t be kept in our pockets only to pull Him out as we need Him or to attend church.

Agree?

It can be very difficult to remember.  But we should be mindful of the fact He is really there….. always.

May you have a blessed day!!

Light and Air

Months went by…..

Couldn’t feel His presence.

I prayed. I cried out.  I mourned my loss of Him.

My heart yearned.  My mind rebelled.

Silence.  Harsh silence.

I struggled.  I fought.  I refused to conform.

Distance felt stronger than my heart aching.

Months of confusion.  Months of dismay.  Months of thirst.

I tried to pray.  to study.  to find that feeling of presence.

Hopelessness strangled endurance and desire.

I didn’t like this feeling.  I wanted it gone.

I fell to my knees and buried my face between the pages of His Word.

I released the hopeless feeling onto the pages.  Tears stained as I inhaled the ragged breath.

Yahweh.

I whispered.  Yahweh

I felt His might hand cover me.  Peace engulfed.  Hope wrapped around my heaving body.

Yahweh!

He reassured me He had never left.

He is the air of life.  Air that surrounds me.  That I depend on.  Air that gently breezes across my face.  The air of hurricane force.  Air.  Yahweh!

 

 

Without air a flame cannot burn.  The turmoils of life, those shadows of darkness and death cut the air out.  The flame flickers and flutters fighting to stay lit.

Smothered the light will fade. Hopelessness smothers.  Despair smothers.

Yahweh!

Breath of fresh air.  Strengthens the flame. Yahweh the breath of life.  Burns bright.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Yahweh!

God bless…..

2012 Advent Week 4

This year’s 4th week is just Sunday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Christmas eve.  A very short but wonderful time to celebrate.  The fourth week observes “rejoicing.”  It can be a lot of fun if we don’t get bogged down in our last minute to-do lists.

Bible Readings:

Micah 5:2-5a
Luke 1:46b-55 
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45

Don’t forget to light your pink or last purple candle!!  The pink color represents joyfulness!  Be sure to read the scriptures joyfully!!

Activities:

  • Devotional readings or Adventconspiracy.com
  • Read John 8:12 and Nehemiah 8:10 then eat dinner by candlelight.  Explain that Jesus is the light of the world.  Blow out the candles and show how dark the world can be without Jesus.
  • Rejoicing means dancing.  Throw in a groovy Christmas CD and kick up your heals!

Christmas Eve:

  • Read Matthew 1:18 – 2:12
  • Christmas Eve is the time when we think about how Christ has changed the world.  Just from the birth of a baby, people around the globe have changed their lives and made Him the center of their lives.  The world changed that holy night.  And when we have received Him in our lives, we are never the same again.  Then read Luke 2:14 and talk about how we can live that verse.
  • Attend a Christmas Eve service at a local church.

Christmas Day:

  • For breakfast have birthday cake.
  • Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
  • Be mindful and talk about what gifts you can give Jesus throughout the next year.

God bless your Christmas season!!