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Having kids home for 8 days straight due to MLK Day, a snow day, sick days and a teacher work day + nagging aches and pains + the feeling that all I do is chase my tail when I clean the house + frustrations resulting from these things compiled = 1 grumpy me!  

I don’t like feeling grumpy.  Knowing that I’ve become grumpy makes me grumpier.  Yet I settled into my feelings of grumpiness because I felt entitled to feel that way.  It was wrong, though.  Grumpy feelings aren’t godly feelings. 

The Love Dare book challenges me to be kind.  Being grumpy isn’t being kind.  So, I resorted to just keeping to myself.  You know, if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.  Yet still I know I exuded a grumpy mood.  Not good. 

We got into the car at 8:45 pm to pick up my older son from his youth group’s ski trip.  I was still grumpy.  The song playing on the radio was one of my favorites.  It says, “Let my life song sing to you…I want to sign my name at the end of this day, knowing that my heart was true…Let my life song sing to you…”   It got me.  Here it was, almost the end of the day, and I couldn’t sign my name to it knowing my ‘life song’ for God was a grumpy one!  Immediately I changed my outlook and my mood.   Then I said a silent prayer to God saying I was sorry to have let myself get into such a bad mood.   It’s amazing how just a simple choice to change made all the difference!   Everything was good from then on! 

Truth be told…I loved having my kids home all week unexpectedly.  The frustrations I felt came from getting behind on my tasks and commitments because they were home, not because of my kids.   And the frustrations about cleaning the house?  1) I need to start making sure the kids help keep up with their messes when they’re home.  2) I really didn’t mind cleaning.  I needed the exercise, but I was getting tired.  I  should have taken a break instead of pushing myself into frustration.    Lessons learned.  I’ll do better to manage my situations to prevent frustrations from building up. 

Before closing my eyes to go to sleep I was able to sign my name to the end of my day, happy and thankful for the many blessings it revealed.

Wow.  What a day this has been for our nation, the people of this nation, our nation’s future, and the world. 

If you’ve read previous postings of mine, you know I did not vote for Barak Obama.  However, I’m proud to see the day history was made when a man of color became President, and that America rejoiced together to see this happen!   I’m pleased to see the excitement and hope this man brings to so many and pray this tidal wave of excitement will carry into many good things for our country.  I pray that Mr. Obama will do well with the power he’ll find at his command.  Even men of steel can have feet of clay.  I pray his will be planted firmly in Christian values and that he will seek the Lord’s way over the world’s way.  I pray for God to work through Mr. Obama in powerful ways; that the works and efforts of this man will not only bring honor and  glory to the Lord, but also witness well for Him and bring others to Him. 

May the Lord watch over the President and his family, keeping them safe from harm and evil, and may the Lord’s grace and blessings be with us all.  God bless America.  Amen. 

My hope is for the man, and my trust is in the Lord.

Christmas has come and gone, and the traditions of celebration are over.  However, the Christ child is still here!  We ooohed and aaaahed over the birth of this baby, sang praises to His name, and even declared Him to be our Savior and Messiah.  Now what?  For answers, let’s seek a word from the wise, as in the wisemen of the Christmas story. 

SUGGESTED READING:  Matthew 2:1 – 12

In short, the answer is we kneel before our Lord and Savior and worship Him!  The wise men show us how.

The wise men, who were astrologers, are believed to have come from a place near ancient Babylon.  It is said they traveled thousands of miles to find the newborn King.  They weren’t just curiosity seekers!  To travel thousands of miles in ancient days required a huge commitment to their purpose!  Their purpose was to find, honor, and worship the new king of the Jews.  They did so by bringing gifts fit for a king.  When they arrived they opened their treasure chests and presented Jesus with gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  When it was time for them to leave, God appeared to them in a dream and instructed them to go back a differnent way than how they’d come. 

There’s a lot to this story that I’d like to share, but I try to keep things brief on this site.  Following is a summary of a  few main points:

1) The wise men had heard about something wonderful and were willing to do whatever it took to find it for themselves.

2) They came prepared to offer their best – only the finest for the king!   They didn’t wait until they’d met him or heard what others thought about him before deciding what to offer.  He was royalty like none other on earth and they wanted to make the appropriate offerings!

3) Even though Jesus probably wasn’t what they were expecting, they still knelt before him.  They honored him by humbling themselves before him.

4) Finding favor with God for what they’d done, He knowingly and lovingly sent them back another way than that from which they’d come. 

Are you willing to make whatever journey it is that will lead you to Christ? 

Will you/Do you come before Him prepared and willing to offer Him your best?  These offerings might be of your gifts, time, talents, or efforts. 

Are you willing to honor Jesus by humbling yourself before Him?

If you are willing to do these things, then you can be sure that God will be with you, just as He was with the wise men, to send you on in a new way.  For no one encounters Christ and goes back the way they came. 

It’s a new year.  Are you willing to go a new way?

I’m writing a more in-depth look at the wise men and what we can learn from them and about them.  If you’d like to know more, I’ll be happy to share the info in writing or come share with you/your group in person! 

Blessings to all,

Renee

After reading the Book of Esther this week, I reflected back to other people of the Old Testament (OT).   It occurred to me that there have been several key people of the OT who became Palace Dwellers. 

These are just off-the-top-of-my-head thoughts, so there might be others that my mind failed to recall. 

JOSEPH:  Sold by his jealous brothers into slavery, young Joseph found himself in Egypt.  God was with him and he soon found favor among his captors.  He was taken into the palace as a servant and eventually became the No. 2 guy to Pharoah, himself!  This palace position allowed him to move his entire family (Israelites) and their property away from a severe drought to be with him in Egypt.  This move preserved the Israelite people! 

MOSES:  Began as a Hebrew baby floating in a basket on the Nile River, discovered and taken by the Pharoah’s princess.  Was nursed by his mother and later raised in the Egyptian Pharoah’s palace.  Eventually became the deliverer who led the oppressed Israelites out of Egypt and into the Hands of God.  His time in the palace allowed him to see the oppression of his people, and later enabled him to approach the palace and Pharoah went sent back by God. 

DAVID:  Began as a shepherd boy anoninted by God to one day be King of the Israelites.  David  was taken into the palace as a young boy to soothe King Saul’s anxiety attacks with his harp music.  David still helped his father, but spent enough time in the palace that he became best friends with King Saul’s son, Jonathon.  That friendship saved David’s life, allowing him to grow up and become king as he’d been anointed to do.  David was a godly king, a man after God’s own heart, who ‘saved’ the Israelites by leading them to be godly people, too

ESTHER:  Her unusual beauty (I think she had poise and grace, too) gained her an invitation to the palace and the opportunity to become the new queen!   She was young and inexperienced.  Although treated royally, I’m sure she often wondered what she was doing there.  I’ve wondered if she longed for home and family.  The Bible doesn’t talk about that so we don’t know.  What we do know is that Esther’s life in the palace allowed her access to the king.  She was not only beautiful, but brave and wise, and used her qood qualities and favor with the king to save her Hebrew people from severe prosecution, risking her own life in an attempt to save her people. 

Look again at the peole listed above.  What do they have in common?   How did they begin?  From their beginnings, would you have guessed that they’d live in a palace someday?   How was God able to use them?  What impact did they have on the Israelite people? 

Lessons you can learn from their stories?  A lesson I learned is that we may find ourselves in unexpected, difficult, and even dangerous situations.  Things might not make sense to us, and we might not like where we find ourselves, but we must remember to trust that we’re there because God has a reason for us to be.  He has plans for us.  We must do our best in whatever situations we find ourselves because just might be working through us to accomplish great things!   That’s not just palace living.  That’s Kingdom living! 

God bless you as you find your place in the Kingdom!

And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”   – Joshua 3:5 (NKJV)

A highly respected member of our church spoke today about his son’s experience with cancer.  Praise God that his son is doing well now!  In his presentation, the speaker referred to a verse from the Book of Joshua in the Bible saying, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow we go to battle.”  Hearing the verse ‘alone’, not spoken in the entire context from which it was taken, I heard it in a new way.  I’ve read Joshua several times in previous years, but must have read the verse  literally as it pertains to Joshua preparing his army for battle.  I failed to hear its application for daily living.   This verse is telling us to prepare for tomorrow by making ourselves right with God today.  What great advice!

I found two versions of the verse our speaker shared today.  One version is Joshua 7:13, which is likely the verse used by our speaker, as it quotes Joshua telling his men to sanctify themselves in preparation for a battle they’d be facing the next day, and went on to say that things were hidden among them that, if not dealt with, would set them apart from the Lord. (NLT) 

The other version is the verse quoted above in which Joshua was preparing the Israelites to cross the Jordan river as they made their long-awaited entrance to the Promised Land.  Joshua didn’t know what exactly would happen, but God had told him to approach the river and then wait until God showed him the way to go.  Apparently Joshua knew God well enough to know that “the Lord would do wonders among them.”   In preparation for the wondrous things God would do, Joshua wanted the Israelites to be prepared by making themselves right with the Lord and resolving any issues that would separate them from God.  

God wants to do wondrous things in all of our lives!  Are you prepared for that?  Do you make it possible for God to work in your life and through you so that others can see the wondrous things He does?  Do you look toward tomorrow wondering what wondrous things He might do?   Do you take it upon yourself to take care of anything that is keeping you from God?  More importantly, are you spiritually prepared for battles you might face? 

I have to admit.  I do expect to see God working in the world around me.  However, I don’t prepare for tomorrow by sanctifying myself today.  I take each day as it comes, and sometimes part of my day has gotten away before I finally go to God to prepare myself for what’s left of the day ahead.  I always regret that because many things might already have happened and I hadn’t yet sought God.  Taking Joshua’s advice, this wouldn’t be a problem!  If I sanctify myself today, I can go to bed ready for whatever the next day brings.  I would wake up already prepared, and think how well I’d rest knowing I had things in order with God! 

In these uncertain times, none of us know what to expect of the days to come, but thanks to Joshua, we know how to prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead.  Maybe we’ll be going into a battle of some kind, or maybe we just need to be prepared for the great wonders God will do.  Either way, God makes it clear that He doesn’t want anything to come between ourselves and Him.  He loves us so much that He wants us ready and able to fully devote ourselves to the wondrous things He has planned for each of our days. 

Prepare yourself for tomorrow by sanctifying yourself today. 

NOTE:  Some Bible versions say to ‘consecrate’ or ‘purify’ ourselves.

“Great is his (God’s) faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day.   – Lamentations 3:23

When the New Year arrives we look ahead to the coming 364 days with thoughts of new beginnings.  It’s even tradition to make resolutions for what we’ll do differently or try to accomplish in the New Year.  Who needs a New Year, though?  Every day is a good opportunity for new beginnings!  Each day is good day for making improvements and committing to better ways!  Most importantly, every day is a good day for trying again if our first efforts (or second, third, …) don’t succeed.  

Thanks to God and His gracious ways, His mercies are new every day!  Make the most of that truth by making the most of new opportunities in each new DAY, not just the New Year!  And when things don’t go as planned, it’s ok!  God’s mercies begin afresh each day, so make a new start regardless of what day it is and begin again!  Scarlett O’Hara said it best in “Gone with the Wind” when she said, “Tomorrow is another day!”

Dear Lord, Thank You for the gift of each new day!  Please help me make the most of every day, the opportunities and possibilities that each day holds, that I will live well and do good things that will bless and honor You; seeking to do Your will and not my own; looking to You for direction with each step I take.  And, Lord, when my attempts and best efforts fall short of what I want them to be, please meet me with the mercies You promise that are new each day!  In Jesus’ holy name I pray.  Amen. 

“You are the light of the world – like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see.  Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”   – Matthew 5:14-16

As I tucked my son into bed tonight I was amazed by the amount of light shining from his night-light.  One little bulb was enough to create a soft glow throughout the entire room!  Total darkness was chased away by that one 10-watt bulb.

This reminded me of  the candle light service at church on Christmas Eve.  The flame from one candle was not only enough to bring light into the darkness for all to see, but also enough to be shared with each and every person, young and not-so-young, as the flame was passed from one candle to another until everyone’s candle was aglow.

Christ came to earth to be a light unto the world (John 8:12).  His earthly presence among us brought light to chase away the darkness.  He cast His  light and love into the hearts of believers, and they in turn shared His light with others, passing on the flame just as we did in our candle light service on Christmas. 

We ‘ve celebrated the birth of Christ, now let us celebrate His life by sharing His light, remembering that often the littlest of flames can make the biggest differences. 

Just as one little night light was enough to chase away the darkness from an entire room, the light of Christ you share will surely light another’s heart, even if done in the smallest of ways. 

Honor the life and death of Christ by letting your little light shine! 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for sending Christ to be a light unto the world.  The Bible tells us that we are to shine His light for all to see by doing good deeds that lead to your praises.  Please show us how, Lord.  In this coming year, please lead us in ways that let our lights shine for You.  In Jesus’ precious name I pray.  Amen. 

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