As we celebrate Christmas, may we remember the Hope we were offered that first Christmas when a tiny baby was born from the Virgin Mary. Fully God and fully man, but without a sin nature. Holy.
Our hope is not the same as others. It is based on a Living Lord, who has promised NEVER to abandon us. No matter what is going on, (or isn’t going as we wish it was), in our lives we have this Hope that God is Emmanuel and will walk with us. Always. Forever. No matter what.
1 Peter 1:3-6
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
For: The Sisterhood of Widowhood or anyone else who has sorrow of any sort.
No matter how far out we are from our big life change, one thing remains constant.
It is our identity, that is, who we really are. We are Daughters of the King. “Child of God” is our true identity.
Thanksgiving and other “special” events will always evoke memories of what once was. We can rejoice in the happy ones and choose to forgive and be healed from the others.
So however we find our heart today….and that very well may flip-flop all season long…. let’s remember who we really are. We ARE daughters of the King and precious children of the Living God.
God’s love surely does not flip or flop. So today afresh we choose JOY!
No matter what.
Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
This is an interesting verse. It happens in the story of the rebuilding of the Wall. The people are celebrating and listening to the Word of Moses after a time of famine (from the Word) and sorrow. They have returned to the love of the Lord in a sense. I think we, especially the new widows among us, can be set free to enjoy the “feast” we are celebrating, that of Thanksgiving and then next month Christmas.
Thanksgiving was originally instituted as a day to give thanks to God for all the good things He has given. The Pilgrims met and feasted to give thanks to God for bringing them through a very difficult year. That year included deaths of many loved ones and many other hardships as well.
They were in a “new land” with a “new life” and it had not been easy.
But they were alive and choosing LIFE and GRATITUDE to God.
When we became widows, our lives changed. We in a very real sense entered a new land and a new life too. It is not easy. But as Nehemiah reminds us, the JOY we find in the LORD is our strength.
Another verse I love is..Isaiah 46:4
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
That would be me and maybe you too. God has promised to sustain us. He created us and he will carry, rescue and sustain us even as we age.
The sun always rises and brings a fresh day.
It has done so every single day every since God created it and placed it in the heavens.
Even on the darkest most dreary day, we have evidence that the sun is there.
God said his mercies are new every morning. One of His names is Faithful and True.
The waves on the shore ebb and flow. They have every single day since God spoke the seas into being.
The sound, sight and smell of the beach brings comfort to our soul and our heart and awakens our spirit to peace.
Another of God’s names is Sar Shalom, Prince of Peace.
God’s Word is eternal. It delights our soul and brings peace. The truth and comfort found there is eternal.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
When anxiety abounds within me, Your comforts delight my soul.
Memories on FB showed me something I wrote after the hurricane in 2016. That was also just a few weeks before Don died. Little did I know that in the next two years I would have to apply that “thinking” in my own life.
I decided to create a visual. The trees in this picture have withstood not just the hurricane in 2016 but another in 2017. They are still there today.
Death is a different sort of storm. It is, as I said in the original writing a season of drought and wind and storms.
Just like in a hurricane, it causes change in everyone around you. The roles of the relationship cease. Life is vastly different. Dynamics of family and friends change. Our very identity changes. Death is much bigger and more far reaching than the loss of a person.
BUT if we are like a tree planted by streams of Living Water, we will endure and not just endure, we can flourish. Just like these trees at Mandarin Park.
ORIGINAL THINKING: Thinking….
We had the hurricane. Seemingly healthy and sturdy trees were simply uprooted. People are helping others too.
Then reading today in Jer 17:8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
We can not tell by looking at a person how they really are. How deep their “roots” go. Sometimes we do have deep roots and then such a huge storm comes that we need to be “shorn up” by others too.
How does a tree get deep roots? By going through times of “drought” in part. By facing “winds” and “storms”.
The notion came to me that one reason we are instructed to “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) could be because just like the trees in my town, we NEED strong roots in God. Every trial, every struggle, every “drought, storm, wind” we face could be something that is sending our roots deeper and deeper into the bedrock/cornerstone which is faith in Jesus.
Be blessed in the Lord this day,
Pondering and From The Heart of Abba
When you see life (or events of life) with spiritual eyes,
Then you are seeing with the eyes of your heart,
That Jesus gave you or awakened in you.
You can only do that to the extent that your heart is surrendered to and enmeshed with/in Jesus.
Holy Spirit awakens the spiritual which then takes the natural and integrates it (both you as a person and the natural gifts) into a spiritual dimension/reality.
Often we do not “see” or understand what on earth is going on around us. We can not see how any possible goodness could come out of it. But God has promised good to those who love Him and are called according to His name. (Romans 8:28)
So Lord, help us to see the bigger picture and not become bogged down in “stuff”. Help us to remember “perspective” how things look bigger when we are close to them, that even an ant can appear huge if it is fills our line of vision. Help us to see with eyes of hope.
for I will refresh the weary soul and replenish all who are weak.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
I woke up thinking about some people I know. They have their trials, we all do. But they are STRONG in the LORD.
The phrase I woke with was STRONG in the LORD and in HIS Mighty POWER. That is found in Ephesians 6:10 but there are many places where we are reminded that when we ARE weak, and we often are, then we are also STRONG in/because of the LORD.
James 1:2-4 says: 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
These particular ladies have lived that way and are living that way.
Then I went on to think of others, probably all who are reading this, who are STRONG even when they feel very weak and overwhelmed.
Life can be overwhelming and that is OK because Jesus said, “When (not if) your heart is overwhelmed come to the Rock.” (Psalm 61:2)
Verses to Ponder:
Eph 6:10 be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 138:3 In the day when I cried you answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul.
Psalm 63:7-8 For You are my help; I will sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.
2 Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of the riches of His glory He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Moments in time.
Moments outside of time.
Moments of beauty and joy.
Moments of sorrow and pain.
Each moment unique.
Each moment only for a moment.
Each moment offers a choice,
Remain in it or move forward from it.
The good thing is that,
No person needs be stuck,
Within any moment.
Will you embrace it with God?
Or will you stumble though without God?
Every moment of every day,
God is I AM and Emmanuel.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Note: In my town recently a mother and father were killed in a tragic accident leaving behind 6 little boys. A friend suddenly joined the Widow’s Club. A horrible hurricane ravished North Carolina and South Carolina. Life is just full of difficult things. Things we simply can not make sense of. But there is always a choice…we choose our moments. We choose what we think about.
When your world is falling apart,
Or has already fallen apart,
And you don’t think you know the way,
Remember, “I AM” is THE Way.
Beloved “I AM” is with you.
I have promised never to leave you,
Or forsake you.
My presence with you,
Is not contingent on your ability,
To perceive or be aware of Me,
In any given moment.
I have said that “I AM” is Emmanuel.
(I AM is all you need and
Emmaneul is literally God With Us).
When you feel alone,
Lost or floundering,
And you do not know,
The next step much less
Remember one thing.
You ARE loved by “I AM”.
Life may not feel OK,
YOU may not feel OK,
In fact, in truth,
Many things may not be OK,
In your life.
But “I AM”, who is God With You,
Has told you that,
In all things you are more than a conqueror
In Christ Jesus.
And Beloved, that remains true,
Even when it seems not so.
Even when you can not sleep.
Even when you feel desperately alone,
Or lost or floundering in your faith.
All that is you,
In All that is “I AM”.
Including your inability
Aug 4 2018
The photo is of a dock near my house which was destroyed during a hurricane 2 years ago. Other places have been restored but this one has not been yet. Often events happen and our lives are forever changed. But restoration will come. Not to how things were but perhaps to something even better in it’s own way.