I’m Dreaming of a Wet (and Humid) Christmas

So, apparently my dreams of a white Christmas will have to come true in my dreams. The forecast doesn’t look promising in the least.

Try a week of mid-60s to lower 70’s with rain forecasted for every day up to Sunday. Yep, Christmas will be green . . . and very wet.

Still, it will be Christmas. There will be gifts and food and candles and food and holiday apparel and food. Did I mention food? There will be food aplenty. The diet starts in 2016.

I’m learning to live out of eucharisteo, out of a mindset of joy and thanksgiving. Instead of focusing on all those rain clouds, I choose to see that when people like you and me couldn’t find a way to get to God, God found a way to get to us. To become one of us. To live and die as one of us.

But not just to live and die, but to live in perfect obedience the life that we could never live and to die as a perfect sacrifice to pay for the sin that we could never begin to work off.

That alone is enough for a million lifetimes’ worth of gratitude. That should be enough for me.

Advent is a season not only of awaiting and anticipating the arrival of the Emmanuel, bu also of remembering why He came in the first place. Advent stirs up gratitude and thanksgiving in the hearts of those who know where to look and what to look for.

So I’ll probably get my White Christmas courtesy of Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. It’s still my favorite Christmas movie and it never fails to deliver the feels.

Then again, maybe the best kind of white Christmas is this one:

Come on now, let’s walk and talk; let’s work this out.
        Your wrongdoings are blood red
    But they can turn as white as snow.
        Your sins are red like crimson,
    But they can be made clean again like new wool” (Isaiah 1:18, The Voice).

 

 

 

Too Good Not to Share

“look — we’re facing some pretty big things, Lord,
And You whisper: “Child, look — look at Me.
Now You’re facing the Best thing, who dwarfs all the other things.”
And we exhale.. and we get it, God, because that is the thing:
Prayer isn’t so much to remind our God of what all the problems are —
but to remind all the problems of who our God is.

And You cup us close tonight and tell us: No matter what you’re facing, look into My face — and know it, feel it: Your God is greater than what you’re trying to face, your God is bigger than what you’re trying to escape, your God is better than anything you’re trying to chase.
And our problems fade in the light of Your gentle face, Your tender embrace….” (Ann Voskamp).

That’s it. “Prayer isn’t so much to remind our God of what all the problems are– but to remind all the problems of who our God is.”

That sentence. For the win.

I got my health insurance premiums for 2016. Apparently, they’re going up over $150 a month. That’s a whole lot of moolah.

But no matter how big my insurance premium gets, God is bigger.

No matter how overwhelmed I’ve felt over the pressing issues facing me, God has been and will always be able.

That’s not a news flash, but it’s a good reminder out there to all the weary and heavy-laden hearts tonight who need to hear it one more time. It’s a great comfort to all those who feel like they’re less than adequate to meet all that life has thrown their way this past week.

No matter what, God will be enough.

Let that be your mantra for the days to come. Let it resound in your heart and mind when the lies come and try to drag you down into defeat.

No matter what, God will be enough.

 

At Just the Right Time

When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into this world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters” (Galatians 4:4-5).

Notice the first five words: when the right time arrived. That’s the key. It wasn’t a moment too early or a moment too late. You can always trust God’s perfect timing.

For so many of us, it’s hard to trust God when the circumstances seem to suggest His lack of involvement. That’s when you look back and remember all those times God has come through for you in the past.

That’s what thankfulness and gratitude are for– to help you remember that the God of the now is the same God of the past. As in the past of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The past of Moses and the Red Sea. The past of King David. The past of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The past of the apostles. And not to mention your past.

So let’s do a little math. God’s track record of keeping His promises + God is the same yesterday, today, and forever = God will keep His promises and do what’s best for you now. I like that kind of math. I don’t like word problems, but that’s another topic for another day.

What God said He will do, He will see it through. End of story.

Christmas is a reminder that God hasn’t forgotten His people who cry out to Him day and night. He remembers. And so should you.

 

 

A Lenten Prayer by Brennan Manning

dearabba

I just found this and it reminded me why Brennan Manning is one of my favorite writers of faith.

“In my first-ever experience of being loved for nothing I had done or could do, I moved back and forth between mild ecstasy, silent wonder, and hushed trembling. The aura might be best described as ‘bright darkness.’ The moment lingered on in a timeless now, until without warning I felt a hand grip my heart. It was abrupt and startling.

The awareness of being loved was no longer tender and comforting. The love of Christ, the crucified Son of God, took on the wild fury of a sudden spring storm. Like a dam bursting, a spasm of convulsive crying erupted from the depths of my soul. Jesus died on the cross for me.

Dear Abba,

Ten thousand things are already vying for my attention. Wait, actually make that ten thousand and one. Some of them are shallow — like what shoes I will wear today — but some of them are legitimate: lunch with a friend, a doctor’s appointment, responding to a letter. Still, they are all earthly things. So startle me, I pray. Burst into the compound of my senses and steal me away from the urgent tyrannies already seeking to keep my eyes fixed on things below. You died for me. For me. That is the one thing; nothing else compares.”

Two thoughts: 1) I must find out where  I can get this book and 2) I hope Easter Sunday doesn’t arrive to find me comfortable or complacent, taking God’s love for me for granted. I want it to shake me to my very core and radically disrupt my life. I want to be stirred out of comfortable ruts and compelled into a deeper, wilder, more passionate love for Jesus who didn’t not negotiate percentages on the cross, but gave absolutely 100% of Himself for me.

Counting Crows and Everything After

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I drove home tonight with a Counting Crows CD playing in my car. I know the hipsters either listen to digital streaming or old-school LPs, but I still like my CDs. And yes, I was singing at the top of my lungs, not caring if I looked ridiculous to the fellow drivers.

Music takes me to a happy place. So does good writing.

I read something today that was written to women, but with a little work, I think I can take away something for me as well. It goes like this:

“You’re fine exactly as you are.
Your curves, words, flaws, strengths, thoughts.
You don’t have to change.
You aren’t fat, stupid, or worthless.
You are you.
You are amazing.
You are wonderful.”

I think those could be God’s words to His children tonight. No wait . . . I know those are God’s words to YOU tonight. Right where you are, sitting in your robe with curlers in your hair. Or sitting in your t-shirt and boxers with hair defying all the laws of gravity.

A random sire note: I spent too much time trying to find this on Pinterest again after I lost it the first time. I wanted to share it with a friend of mine who needs this reminder. I almost forgot that maybe it was me who needed reminding more than anyone else.

God loves you exactly the way you are. That makes you loveable. That makes you valuable. That makes you somebody. That defines and completes and identifies you.

You may need to lose 10 (or more) pounds. You may not always like the person who looks back at you from the other side of the mirror. You may hate your job and your life and even yourself at times.

But you are amazing. You are wonderful. You are beautiful.

And you are the apple of God’s eye, the delight of His heart, and His beloved Daughter or Son.

Don’t ever forget that.

It’s Wednesday

It’s Wednesday at 9:48 pm and I can’t think of a blessed thing to blog about. The more I rack my brains together, the less I get. It’s sorta like that feeling I used to get when I sat down to begin writing a term paper or essay. The page stayed blank no matter how hard I stared at it.

I could continue with last night’s thoughts about how knowing who you are in Christ will defend you against the schemes and tactics of the devil. His name means slanderer. He is also known as the accuser. But he has no power over you in you’re standing firm and trusting in the promises and the power of the Christ who defeated him long ago at Calvary.

The truth is that it’s easy to forget these things even after only one day. It’s easy to sink back into old thought defeatist thought patterns and negative name-calling. That’s why the Holy Spirit’s job is to remind us of all Jesus taught us. We’re so very forgetful.

The name I picked out for myself to remind me of who I am was FAVORED. I have been the recipient of God’s unending favor and blessing. When it becomes all too easy to focus on all that I lack and still don’t have yet, I call to mind that I am the Lord’s favored one.

If you pick just one name and hang on to that to remind yourself of who you are when times get tough and God seems distant, you will remember that He may feel far off but He is never more than one cry for help away.

By the way, Wednesday means hump day. We’re over the hump week-wise and it’s all downhill from here. Only Thursday and Friday left to go.

Also a good reminder.