Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Learning from the manger all year long.

Managing the Manger 

            During this season of advent, I have been pondering and meditating on each figure in the crèche.  I have asked each morning for the Lord to show me more truth, meaning, and understanding of how each person and their action relates to me 2000 years later.  The good news I hear in my spirit and mind has made this season holy.
              The new babe wrapped in swaddling clothes represents the warmth of His promises to me.  As swaddling comforts a new baby, I too am comforted by the good news in the Bible.
            The manger scene evokes peace in any artist’s rendition.  Angelic singing surrounds the scene proclaiming glory in the highest and peace to mankind.  As I draw near Him, I feel his peace.  2015 creates a need for peace in this world like we have never known.  We seek His peace amidst international stress, the refugee plight, the random madness of terrorist and crazed men, and the awareness of poverty here and across the globe.  I cry out for peace unto our world as I draw near Jesus and am comforted by His pure love.
            I seek.  I seek daily understanding of the Spirit’s plan for my life.  Just as the wise men sought out the king, they had to travel a long distance.  They anticipated but did not truly grasp what they would find.  The wise men brought gifts to offer the newborn babe and knelt down at his crib.  They found him and worshipped him. These sages teach me the importance of the gifts of hope, time, and worship. Why worship?  (John 4:23) When I worship, I am changed.  The light within me is ignited. The heart of God knows no distance.  He changes our attitudes and erases the furrowed wrinkles in our brow.  He touches us when we worship. May I hold onto this teaching all year long?
            Jesus was birthed in a manger.  Why a simple dwelling?  I believe because God wanted to teach us from a meager beginning a king can be born.  The manger gives me hope that the immigrant can become a CEO, the poor can become President, and the unnoticed can be noticed and given honor.  It is Jesus that makes the difference in our lives, not where we were born or reared.
            As I look at young Mary in my mind’s eye, I realize the definition of faithfulness.  She understood that she was to birth the Son of God.  Did she understand? We can’t know, but we read how she followed the admonition of the angel. She heard and followed.  Oh, teach me,  Mary, how to be faithful in spite of not knowing the entire plan.  Mary, teach me to trust as I gaze at you kneeling beside the Christ child.
            Joseph was a saint.  The angel that appeared to him said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit…” Can we even wrap our minds around that statement? Imagine following through and do as you were directed? It wasn’t popular or even acceptable to have a baby out of wedlock.  Joseph didn’t question, he tried to find a warm place to comfort Mary in her pain.  Was he wondering why shepherds and cows were the first ones to see the Son of God?  What kind of celebration could they bring? It is through Joseph we learn trust combined with unconditional love.  He is the character in the scene that reminds us to not fear but trust regardless of circumstances.
            The manger manages many themes and illustrates several truths.  The most significant one is God loved us so much that He sent his only begotten son to earth to teach us pure love.  All He asks is that we return that love.  Let’s make this the holiday season and New Year filled with returned love.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Judge yourself that you will not be judged.

            I enjoy reading and study the works of the older evangelist like Smith Wigglesworth and C.H. Spurgeon.  They offer guidance for purity and how to be more like Christ. Their doctrines were not compromising.  They challenged their followers to ask evaluative questions of themselves.  Maybe in this holy season,  it is a good time to ask our Lord how are we doing?
            Today I asked myself, “Has my heart been broken because of sin?”  David asked the Lord that very question and wept in repentance.
            Today I asked myself, “Has my soul been full of true confidence in my hours of trials and difficulty?”
            This morning I asked myself, “How far am I conformed to the likeness of Christ?”
            I fell short on all of these.  My prayer today is,  “ Lord Jesus, help me in this season to have real faith and warmer zeal for reaching out to others.  Help me, O’Lord, to have Your fervent love toward family and strangers. Grant me humility and meekness.  I desire to present the lovely spirit that You constantly displayed.  Make me more like you, Jesus.  Draw me nearer to You in this sacred season.”  Amen

            Christmas is a time to become closer to Emmanuel.  He is with us. I am preparing my heart and home for my Special Guest this season.  May God’s blessings be abundant in your life.  Enjoy your time with Him.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Whispers of the Heart      

            Proverbs 11:25, "Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered."(ESV)

            I like the ending, which reiterates he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.   I desire to maintain this focus during the holiday season.  It is so easy to get folded up into my agendas, my lists , and even my expectations.  Suddenly, a day creeps in that I am unaware or unable to meet a friend’s expectation of me. At another time, husband, sons, or others don’t meet my expectations of them.  I am setting myself up for failure, discord, or disappointment.  So, how have I learned to live life differently?
            I listen to the whispers in my heart.  For example, I notice the lady in front of me at the check out is tediously counting every penny trying to come up with enough grocery money.  I feel a slight nudging, a soft tap on my shoulder, “Yes, you,” I hear softly. “Do it now, pay her bill and wish her Merry Christmas.”  Sometimes it is not a voice but a knowing that this is what I should do.  The woman ahead looks so surprised when I tell the clerk, “ I’d like to pay for hers and mine.” The lady looks at me with a puzzled expression.  “It’s OK, God wants to bless you.” She tucks her head, smiles softly, and says, “ Thank you, my dear.”  Her thank you is as gentle as the nudge.  I am refreshed.
As I walk outside the door, the Salvation Army bell ringer is standing in the cold.  She is very heavy and her coat does not close. She looks to be at least sixty-five, but her greeting is gleeful with this message,   “ Merry Christmas.  May your holidays be blessed. ” 
            “But, Lord, I just paid the lady’s’ bill, you want me to put money in this bucket too?”  I look again at the bell ringer’s happy spirit despite the cold, and it is the nudging I need.  I reach in my billfold and give her all I have left.  It seems I hear the whispers clearer during this holy season.  Perhaps it is the cold air, the people’s smiles, or the twinkling lights that help me focus.  Whatever it is, I know these are God whispers to guide my path of love and giving, and my returned gift is a refreshing.  I don’t do it for the return, but God loves us so much, He makes our cups overflow with joy.

            The whispers are soft, the nudging is gentle, and the vessels that help me focus are often impoverished or have sad doleful eyes.  He makes our paths cross to help us enter into His holy ways.  Christmas truly is a divine time of year. Embrace the whispers and feel the blessings.  I am reminded of Mathew 25:40, “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me---you did it to me.” (The Message)