The Sixth Happiness

Hello dear friends ~

I have been pondering this post for a few days, excited to share one of my most favorite movies with you and hopefully some insights that have been beneficial to me. The movie is called, “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.” It is loosely based upon the real true life story of Gladys Aylward. I’ve watched the movie at least a dozen times and have memorized some of the lines.

I have not read the book about her or watched the documentary, that is until yesterday. I watched the documentary on Amazon Prime and highly recommend it. She was a remarkable woman! She was born in 1902 and died in 1970, to my surprise I actually know someone who met her! I posted on my FB page yesterday that I had watched the documentary and liked the movie a friend of mine responded and told me she had met her in 1961! Amazing!!

Her story is one of courage, compassion and complete faith in God! So inspiring!!

“One happiness scatters a thousand sorrows”

According to traditional Chinese thought, the most important goals in life are the five happinesses – good luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness and wealth. These lie at the heart of all aspects of Chinese life and culture and are commonly depicted as various symbols or ideograms on everyday objects such as textiles, furniture, doors, ceramics and jewelry.

The sixth happiness as described in the movie is: “Each person must find out in his own heart what the sixth happiness is.”

*Internet reference listed below*

The pondering question on my mind the past few days has been, what is my sixth happiness? I am not certain I can actually single it out or down to one thing. I find myself very passionate about sharing life and sharing love. My heart overflows with gratitude for the abundant blessings God has given to me. I am passionate about literature and learning. I often ache to write down my thoughts and as the words flow out of my mind its as if a damn has been breached and my heart races as I try to write down every word. Often the words do not feel as if they are just merely my words but that the words are being funneled, directed and/or lead to me to share. I believe that God through the workings of the Holy Spirit are placing things on my heart to say. I don’t wish or want to alienate anyone with my words. I’ve learned over the past couple of years that our words are very powerful and we must be careful how we use them. I am not point any fingers towards anyone in particular, I myself have spoken words that were in anger, even false based upon my own interpretation of things. The truth is, we all have said things we wish we had not because we are human. We are sinful and are in need of saving, saving from ourselves and the wickedness of this world, we need a Savior, we need Jesus. When we start looking at and learning from those mistakes, we are humbled and we strengthen our resolve to be better human beings tomorrow, than the ones we are today. Being a Christian is not easy and definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s not simply saying the right things that people want to hear, it’s saying the words and living them day after day. God did not promise perfect days, riches, good health or prosperity; He did promise to always be with us.

Matthew 28:20b, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I find most days difficult because there’s so much discourse happening around the world, in my country, in my state, in my city, in my neighborhood and even with my work environment. Discontent is being multiplied in every corner. People are afraid to speak their thoughts, feelings and opinions due to fear of retaliation or guilty of not being PC (Political correctness) enough. I feel at times surrounded by individuals who would rather blindly do or say what someone tells them to do instead of using their own brain and voice. We have politician promising things that will never come to fruition, at least in their lifetime, all for the sake of a few votes. Cable news shows attack other networks instead of presenting facts to help educate their viewers. I don’t care if your a democrat or a republican, a constitutionalist or a libertarian, it matters that you care about the country you represent and how you treat others. Mutual respect should be afforded to everyone. In a democracy such as the United States during elections there will be winners and losers, win graciously and accept defeat graciously. We vote every four years, if your party doesn’t win accept that we are all Americans and that we are free and that freedom came at a price. Life is ebb and flow, that includes government…as elected officials you serve the people (ALL PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES). We each are capable of doing great good or great harm.

“Say what you mean and mean what you say.” -Stephanie Lahart

I am sorry I got a bit political, I try to keep that stuff off my blog but it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult. I will definitely try and keep it to a minimum. My frustrations had reached a boiling point and I felt I had to share in order to stay authentic to myself and to my readers.

“…at 211 degrees, water is hot. at 212 degrees, it boils. and with boiling water, comes steam… and with steam, you can power a train. one degree. Applying one extra degree of temperature to water means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine.” -Sam Parker, 212 the extra degree

I am a Christian, not a shocker to anyone who knows me or follows my posts; I want to share another pressure point for me these days, Christians fighting and dividing humans into groups as if we are cattle off to market. A good reminder for all of us, pastors and congregations is that we are the created and the Creator is the final authority on all things. I have not been to seminary and the only authority I have is from God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I have attended church my whole life, raised in a Christian home, attended a Christian high school and college and the most important lesson I’ve ever learned from the Bible was spoken by Jesus and is in my opinion the foundation of all biblical teaching:

There you have it:

• Love God with all you are

• Love your neighbor as yourself

My One Word for 2020 is FAITH! I am seeking to live in and through my faith this year with intentionality. And, as I seek my sixth happiness I have a feeling it will include LOVE…giving, receiving and most importantly SHARING!

~Keep the Faith~ 2 Timothy 4:7

References:

https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/aylward-gladys-1902-1970

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051776/characters/nm0786780

https://www.amazon.com/Gladys-Aylward-Small-Woman-Great/dp/B002JE5BIQ/ref=nodl_

https://www.openbible.info/topics/i_will_always_be_with_you

Welcome to 2020

January 1, 2020

Hello friends!

2019 has come and gone; whether it was filled with good or challenging things I want to pause and thank God for the opportunities to be a part of the story and journey. I am sincerely grateful you joined me on my spiritual wondering in 2019 and I hope you are able to travel along in 2020.

I have spent the last month writing and talking about Advent and the anticipation of Jesus’ birth. It was a time of Hope~Peace~Joy~Love! It was also a time of Faith, faith in the prophecies foretold in the scriptures and faith in God fulfilling His promises.

A few days ago I received an email from One Word 365 (http://oneword365.com); it was asking if I had picked a word for 2020. I had not, so I began to pray about it and asking God for guidance and insight. On the morning of 12/31/2019, I awoke and the word on my heart was “FAITH.” I was not exactly sure and still do not know where this word will lead me, but I trust that God has a plan. As I began my day, looking around my home I was suddenly struck by something I have looked at nearly every day since August 2019, it is a beautiful frame that a dear friend had given to me as a birthday gift! I smiled and thought to myself, “It’s a God Thing!”

I’m thankful for my faithful friend and for this amazing gift and keeps giving long after the celebration. I purposely use the word faithful because my friendship with this person has lasted many decades and long periods of little contact and yet we I see her it is as if no time has passed. In many ways there’s a kindred sister like spirit between us, I’m so thankful for her caring and loving spirit. She is a blessing to me and to do many others.

I know how faith is described in the Bible but I also wanted to see other definitions of the word so I went to the Merriam Dictionary for additional meanings:

FAITH (NOUN)

• allegiance to duty or a person LOYALTY

fidelity to one’s promises

• sincerity of intentions

• belief and trust in and loyalty to God

• belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

• firm belief in something for which there is no proof

• complete trust

• something that is believed especially with strong conviction

• a system of religious beliefs

• without question

FAITH (VERB)

BELIEVE, TRUST

I am looking into 2020 with optimism, I am blessed to be on this journey and I’m seeking to serve God in the coming year. This past year had many challenges and most of them are still lingering around. Some days I see them more as obstacles rather than opportunities. I have found myself fighting systems that seem broken from my viewpoint, sadly not everyone else sees what I see. I have learned, although with much difficulties that my vantage point often only makes sense to me and in most if not all cases serve to benefit me. If I were in an individual environment all the time my viewpoint might be ok; however, that is not the case. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionists, I like to have a system and for it to be followed. I’m overbearing, I had to admit but my ex’s and friends don’t lie. I really do mean good but it does not always seem that way. I am hoping to improve upon some of my less attractive features in the coming year. Some days I amaze myself at my stubbornness. I grew up with friends and playing on team sports, sharing and carrying burdens as a group. Over the past decade I’ve been more reserved and have spent a lot of time alone, not excuses or even reasons why I’m different, simply facts.

This past decade I lost my mom to either an aneurysm or possible heart attack, went through a breakup of decade long committed relationship and reunited with an old relationship that ended nearly as quickly as it reignited. My job, which I love and find rewarding has brought disappointments from management and supervision, my work hours, days off and people I work with have changed several times. I’ve experienced hands-on management and no-hands management; I’ve seen my evaluation scores decrease every year since the current management changes and they do not correlate with actual performance. When employees feel valued they perform better.

With all that being said, I still love my job. I love the daily task that I do and some of the individuals I work with. I’ve learned a lot of things about myself through all these changes and challenges, as well as learning about others I work with and for. I’ve posted in previous blogs the lessons I learned about control and concern, I have many concerns and even ideas but I am not in control. My stubbornness has got me into some sticky situations when I assume control of things I am not, just because it’s a good idea and even logical and maybe time saving and did I say logical (?)…if you’re not the person with the control it is only a concern.

Romans 10:17

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

2 Corinthians 5:7

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

~Keep the Faith~ 2 Timothy 4:7

References:

#OneWord365

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://www.openbible.info/topics/faith

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/25/2019

Dear Friends,

Thank you for joining my on this Advent journey. I am a day late in writing my final entry for Advent 2019. My excuse, if I may…I was up extremely late Christmas Eve, actually arriving home Christmas morning at about 1am after attending a beautiful Christmas Eve service. I had volunteered to work Christmas Day for a coworker, so he could enjoy the day with his family and son. I slept so peaceful, when I awoke I realized I had overslept!

I set my alarm the same as I always do but forgot it was my regular day off and the preset alarm is only for the days I work! I called in a panic and said I would be there as quickly as possible, I made it and was only 3 minutes late!

Thank you God for safe travels and living close to work. My day was relatively quiet except close to the end of my shift we had an incident that required attention and I ended up staying over for a couple of hours.

Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

John 1:1-14

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

Christ has been born, we celebrate his birth and with this knowledge we know life will never be the same. A great reminder that with each new day comes new opportunities to be the feet and hands of Jesus to those we meet. The manner in which God chose to have Jesus enter the world shows us the character and kingdom He has established. He could have chosen to enter the world as a mighty warrior king but instead, he chose to be born to loving and committed parents. The were not rich, rather quite poor in terms of wealth and society status. Mary and Joseph, believed and trusted God. They were faithful servants, not because it was easy but because it was the right thing to do to honor God.

No matter how or if you celebrated Christmas, I am here to tell you that you are loved, you are worthy and you matter. Start each new day knowing you will never be the person you were the day before, we are all changing each day and have the opportunity to do great things. The greatest thing we can do is be true to who we are, true to our creator and have a thankful heart for all that we have. Counting our blessings is far more rewarding than comparing ourselves to others and what they have.

I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing this season of Advent with each of you and do appreciate the “likes” and “comments.” Thank you ♥️🙏🏻🎄🌟

White Christmas is one of my favorite movies.

On this day after Christmas, step into the light, the light of Jesus and you will never be alone in the dark.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” ~1 Peter 2:9

“For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 4:6

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” ~John 8:12

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Emmanuel. May the light shining from the manger shine brightly in me. Let today be a new day in which I step out of the darkness of my own life and into the light of your grace. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy-Love-Christ~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Count Your Blessings

https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/From-Darkness-To-Light

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 2019 12/24/2019

Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Luke 2:1-20

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.   This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.   All went to their own towns to be registered.   Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.   He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.   While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.   And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.   In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.   Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.   But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.   This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”   When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”   So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.   When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.   The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told to them.


Oh Holy Night!  Tonight, I had the privilege of attending Christmas Eve services at my church, the service was designed for the children and it was beautiful.  Message was different individuals narrating from the book, “Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories” by Glenys Nellist and Illustrator Rachel Clowes.  As listeners of the readings, the congregation was encouraged to write their own love letter to God and during communion to drop it in the basket next to the manger scene.  Many people participated, myself included.  The service was filled with lots of Christmas songs and ended with everyone lighting a candle and standing in the circle, emulating the light of Jesus and Jesus being the light of the world.  It was a beautiful scene to behold. It is a reminder that the chases the darkness away. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” ~John 1:5

I learned something new tonight about a favorite Christmas song of mine, “Joy To The World.”  It was originally written about the Second Coming of Christ, not the first as a baby.  *See references below for the full story.

I am currently sitting in my church, it is quiet, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. 

All I hear is the pecking of the keys on the laptop I am using. It is in the quiet spaces that God speaks to us, listen He is always there. I am sitting here in the somewhat silence preparing my blog and waiting for the 11pm Christmas Eve service.  This is truly a joyful season and I am thankful for so many things.  I am blessed to be a part of this Christian community of believers, I am blessed that through this mode of communications I have been able to reach people and places I have only dreamed about.  To say my life is perfect would be incorrect, but then again perfection is only a God thing, we are human and have a sinful nature and our goal should not be perfection but to be Christlike in all we do.  Love one another as Christ loved.

“…Just as I have loved you, you should love one another.” ~John 13:34b

May you rest in the knowledge and peace that you are loved beyond measure and that God is always with you.  I wish you the Merriest of Christmas’ and Happy Holiday’s no matter how you celebrate.  All I know is that you are all my brothers and sisters and this family of God thing is AWESOME!

Prayer:

Lord, you have come in dramatic fashion and invite each of us to meet you at the manger. Tonight, we come to kneel, worship, and celebrate.  As we gather tonight singing carols by candlelight, reveal your grace to us. Through the greatest story ever told, weave our stories into yours. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy-Love-Christ~

References:

https://www.crossway.org/articles/a-brief-history-of-joy-to-the-world/ferences:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/23/2019

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Adam is a colloquialism for the day before Christmas Eve or December 23rd. … Then someone (or more likely several someones) realized that in Christian mythology God created Adam before he created Eve, so the day before Christmas Eve would be Christmas Adam.

Micah 5:2-6

“But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace. If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil, we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers. They shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword; they shall rescue us from the Assyrians if they come into our land or tread within our border.”

Jesus is the great Shepherd! He seeks the lost to bring them home.

“Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” ~Hebrews 13:20-21

As we approach Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, let us remember the love and sacrifices Jesus made to seek us and redeem us. The picture above remind me of cards with Bible stories printed on them that I received when I was very young and attending Sunday school. I had a wonderful teacher by the name of Roberta “Birdie” Smith. I’m so grateful for her faith and love for Jesus. She taught me so many value lessons, many I didn’t not fully understand until I was well into my adult years. She planted seeds that she was unable to see grow, produce and come full circle. If you are reading this and you know “Birdie” I’m confident that you too, were blessed by her. Christmas is a time of sharing with family and friends, gift exchanges and sharing meals and giving thanks for all these things. Most important of all is the celebration of Jesus’ birth, Jesus reunites is with God the Father. My hope is to remind everyone to keep “Christ” in Christmas and that Jesus, is the reason for the season. Gifts from the heart no matter the size, quantity or price tag are the most value, in fact they are priceless. I simple hug can made all the difference in the world to someone who feels like they don’t exist. Diamonds may be a girls best friend but having Jesus in your heart is out of this world spectacular!

Friends, we are never too far gone that Jesus can’t bring us back home.

Prayer:

Lord Almighty, you search after the lost because we belong to you. We try to extend ourselves beyond your reach, not realizing you will stop at nothing to find us. As we try to run, bring us back and remind us of your grace and mercy. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy-Love~

References:

http://www.biblegateway.com/

https://biblehub.com/library/newton/messiah_vol_1/sermon_xiii_the_great_shepherd.htm

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/22/2019

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Love Candle

Sunday, December 22, 2019

An artist’s rendition of Joseph finding out that Mary is Pregnant. jw.org

Matthew 1:18-25

“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.”

Today at church our congregation lit the candle of love and shared in a moving and encouraging sermon. We all have gifts to present to God, we are all created as unique individual and therefore our gifts will vary as well. Some have a gift of singing and they share that talent by singing in the choir. It is through this act of living into their gift others are fed the gospel of Christ. Others have the gift of great speaking voices, individuals who can grasp our attention and ignite our imaginations and prepare the rest of us to carry the message of Christ to others. Some have gifts of organization, they work tirelessly to ensure the candles are ready for every service, make sure refreshments are available during fellowship time and bulletins are printed for each service. And there’s a group of individuals who ensure all the lights are working, the heat and air are functioning properly…this list is endless and everyone has a part. If you are struggling with finding your place, look at the things you enjoy doing or things that you get excited about, find your passion and that is where you will find your gifts.

The writer today goes into great detail about God and His plans for all mankind. The word, “particular and particularly” are used many times. God had a plan, His plan was told through the prophets, His plans come to fruition. The birth and genealogy of Jesus was not an accident, each person had particular roles and responsibilities and the character of each person was specifically chosen and used by God. God knows you by name, He has a purpose and plan for you. He wants you to prosper!

An artist rendition of individual gifts placed upon our hearts for continuing God Kingdom here on earth.

“…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” ~Isaiah 43:1b

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” ~John 10:3

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” ~Proverbs 16:3-4

“Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” ~3 John 1:2 (ASV)

“Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.” ~Deuteronomy 29:9 (ASV)

Prayer:

Lord, you call each of us to a particular task within the building of your kingdom. Some are called to be prophetic, while others are called to serve the lowly. Some are called to sing, and others are called to organizing. Whatever you call me to, Lord, I am here. In calling each of us, may you reveal the grace of Christ to the world. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy-Love~

References:

https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/jesus/events-up-to-jesus-ministry/joseph-learns-mary-pregnant/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/21/2019

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Winter Solstice 2019: The First Day of Winter

“The Winter Solstice is another profound moment of pause and turning in the great cycle of the year…One of the great gifts [of the season] is watching the sun make her pilgrimage across the horizon from summer solstice to winter solstice. It is quite a long journey, and on December 21st she will rest at her point furthest south, appearing to stand still for three days before making the return journey again in the long walk toward summer. It is a rhythm of journey, pause, and return, again and again.” ~Christine Valters Paintner

2 Samuel 7:23-29

“Who is like your people, like Israel? Is there another nation on earth whose God went to redeem it as a people, and to make a name for himself, doing great and awesome things for them, by driving out before his people nations and their gods? And you established your people Israel for yourself to be your people forever; and you, O Lord, became their God. And now, O Lord God, as for the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, confirm it forever; do as you have promised. Thus your name will be magnified forever in the saying, “The Lord of hosts is God over Israel’; and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, “I will build you a house’; therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant; now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you; for you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

Wow, we are 4 days away from Christmas! Things are busy and bright, trees and packages all wrapped with pretty bows! People rushing to and fro, grabbing the last perfect gifts. It really is a wonderful time of the year. Christmas is especially merry and bright for believers, we look forward to the birth of Jesus, the manger scene with Mary, Joseph, the animals, the shepherds, the kings, the angels and the bright star…so many people and things that just reading the words ignites a vision in our minds. Our hearts are filled with thanksgiving that each of these individuals heard the call from God and responded. In all the hustle and bustle of the season let us not forget to say “THANK YOU!” Thank you to God for sending Jesus, thanking Jesus for His sacrifice of being born in human form and to live among us, and to save us, the shepherds who listened and followed the star, the kings who travel far guided by the star and the gifts they brought, the Angels delivering messages/proclamations; Joseph who listened and followed the angels instructions, and Mary, who faithfully listened to the angels and humbly accepted the honor of carry the Christ child and enduring the ridicule of unbelievers, only trusting in God’s promises.

We also need to be mindful of the gifts we receive and of the gifts we give. May thankfulness and humility walk hand in hand through our responses this Christmas season. We may not receive the gifts we are most excited about, do not be dishearten remember the thoughtfulness of the person giving it to you. It’s gifts from the heart that truly mean the most, and trust me over time you will see that come to fruition. Celebrate the friendships, the caring, the respect and the love for one another, these are the most precious and priceless gifts we can give and receive.

I am sincerely appreciative of everyone who takes the time to read my blog posts. My intent is to share the love of God and hopefully some insight and humor from time to time. My life has been forever changed by this experience of sharing my thoughts with the world. I wish you all much happiness and love this Advent season, may the love of God ignite a flame 🔥 within your soul! I am thankful for each of you! ♥️

Prayer:

Lord, in the coming days there will be many distractions to draw us away from your majesty. We will be distracted by shiny objects and forget the promise you made to David, which is now being fulfilled through your Son. May your Spirit be made known to us so that we can magnify you and say thank you for the gift of your Son. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy~

References:

https://mailchi.mp/abbeyofthearts/daily-nourishment-from-abbey-of-the-arts-may2-2228991?e=128ba1455f

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/20/2019

Friday, December 20, 2019

2 Samuel 7:18-22

“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God; you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come. May this be instruction for the people, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness, so that your servant may know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”

Indeed, there is none like God! Today’s reading reminded me and hopefully you that we are not replicas of God and we are not mere clones of God, we are individually created by God and made in His likeness! We are His children! Just as some of you who have children with your DNA, they are created in God’s image and in the likeness of you and your partner. That’s not to exclude adopted children or IVF children or any other means of parenting children, we are all made in God’s image with a plan and a purpose and we are loved, so very loved. In this season of Advent, we recognize the divine and the human connection we have with God through the birth of Jesus. We have a renewed connection with God, the Father through the birth of Christ Jesus! God remains divine and unique and set apart from humanity because of our sinfulness and at the same time revealed to us through the birth of Jesus, who became human so that we could be redeemed. We now have a closeness to God, the distance that once was is now more intimate through Jesus. God is Holy! God is the one! God is always with us just as He promised, trust in Him. All praise and honor and glory are His alone! ~Amen.

Here are seven scriptures that assure us that God is with us always.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Matthew 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Prayer:

Lord, you revealed yourself through prophets and promise to reveal yourself to us through Christ. You are unique. You are holy. You are being revealed to me through the Incarnation and power of you Spirit. Continue to reveal your grace to me so that I may see your uniqueness even more. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy~

References:

https://www.christianpost.com/trends/7-bible-verses-reminds-god-with-us-always.html