Tag Archives: God

I Will Rise

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Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:13-15
Good morning!  This week my heart has been quite heavy and my prayers filled with more pleads than usual.  Not an easy topic to address for some, but one if addressed through the WORD, provides so much hope and promise.

 

This week a family member is nearing the end of their time on earth.  And thoughts of death and heaven have filled my prayers and conversations.  This person has not outwardly declared Jesus as their LORD and Savior, but our prayers have been that they have an inward knowledge of their maker and can find peace and comfort as they prepare to leave their earthly body.

 

Death is scary and sad and emotional, and I could only imagine if I didn’t have the knowledge of what was next and thought that this life was it, it would be even more so.  But as followers of Jesus – isn’t death what we live for?  It sounds morbid writing it out, but Jesus promises eternal life.  I know when this life gets tough, the hope of that perfect Eden is quite encouraging.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to leave things here, but I can only pray that when God calls my name , I will run open-armed into His arms knowing He will take care of me and we will all be together once again in heaven very soon.

 

Heaven has been a topic that my LL has been asking a lot about lately.  Who she knows in heaven, what they are doing, what it will be like?  I can only go off of what the Bible promises, but we talk about it as a place filled with love, and singing, and dancing.  A place where all doggies and kitties have homes.  A place where everyone can be a princess or a superhero.  A place where no one cries, no one is mean, no one is ever hurting.  What is in your heaven?  How do you talk to your kids about it?

 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Revelation 21:4

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but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

And if you know me, ofcourse a song inspired this post.  I thought about I Can Only Imagine which depicts what it would be like to meet Jesus and be with him in heaven.  But thought Chris Tomlin’s I Will Rise (video and lyrics below) was more appropriate.  I pray that I will rise when my name is called, knowing that what is ahead is beyond anything I could have imagined through the words of the Bible and through amazing songs like this one.

 

For the person I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I will continue to pray and ask for your prayers as well.  For peace and to know this excitement that God promises us for eternity, that this life is not it.  And for those still here with us, for peace as well, that this person is no longer suffering, and the only pain and sorrow will be in our mourning.  As always God will come through on His promises and His love will prevail.

 

Thank you for reading and stopping by today.  Have a blessed day.  Amen.

 

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I Will Rise
Chris Tomlin
There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well” Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
“Worthy is the Lamb” And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

 

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My Lighthouse

“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

Happy Monday.  Back to school here in OH (finally!  I know all our GA started weeks ago!)  Looking forward to getting back into a routine and figuring out our new normal.  With that, I am hoping (but don’t hold me too it) to get back into regular blogging.  Right now this is my little outlet when the kids have quiet time to reflect on books I read, prayers I have, or really just whatever I want.  If I can reach even just one person, it is worth it, even if that person is myself!

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One of our anthems of the summer, on repeat in the car, was “My Lighthouse” by Rend Collective.  A catchy song that you will often hear me and the kids blurting out (loudly) while driving down Lake Road with the windows down.  But one, the more I reflect on (or hear), that really has a lot of meaning and significance, now and always.  The obvious, we live at the lake now, so we do get to see lighthouses often.   But also God/Jesus as a lighthouse is a wonderful metaphor.  And then we all have opportunities to be a lighthouse to those around us.  And lastly we probably have lighthouses in our lives (other people or places that reflect the light of God on earth.)

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Living along Lake Erie, daily being able to catch a glimpse of the water, is an amazing thing.  But also has made me realize how many verses are centered around nautical things.  Seas, waves, fish, anchors, floods…visual reminders I see each and every day.  Trying to make a better effort to reflect on them as a message from God, who is our lighthouse, who will lead us safe to shore each and every day or with each trip through the troubled sea. (The lighthouse above is in Cleveland, the one below is in Hilton Head, SC.)

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And then today as I was thinking about this post, I read the news of Truett Cathy passing away.  Founder of Chick-fil-A, a company that I was blessed to call my work home for 5 years, and a company like none other.  Truett was a man of great faith, lead by example, humble, had a huge heart, treated his employees like friends, wanted his customers treated the same, and left this world a better place.  To me because of his values (and HIS values), Chick-fil-A, will always be a lighthouse in my life.  Especially since moving away from GA, CFA is a place that reminds me of home.  The taste, the service, the playground, even my kids are more comfortable in a Chick-fil-A restaurant than most other places.   Truett truly practiced what he/CFA stood for and left the world a better place.  Saying many extra prayers today for his family, both blood, and employees alike.  Our hearts are all much heavier today thinking of him, but have peace knowing he is rejoicing in heaven.  (The picture below was at the 2010 Christmas party in his office/treehouse.)

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Take a listen to the song below (I’m including the lyrics too and a bonus video if you scroll all the way down.) And reflect on this simple message of truth; God will always be there to guide you, to keep you safe, be your peace, and be the brightest light in your life, if you invite Him to do so.  Look for Him in the darkness, and He will deliver, He always does.  Amen.

My Lighthouse
Rend Collective

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
You’re great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence You won’t let go
In the questions Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
Shining in the darkness I will follow You

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore
Safe to shore

I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms

*Lighthouse print at very top is available on Etsy – click on picture.

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Book Review: Composing Amelia: A Novel by Alison Strobel


Composing Amelia: A Novel (click book or see below for description)
By Alison Strobel
Downloaded free on 5/26/14 (released in Sept 2011)

Rating: 3 bones

Finish Time: 4 nights.  I have a queue of books, both hard copy and e-copy just waiting to be read, but again this time (3rd in a row) I found myself looking through Amazon (Free) Best Sellers for a different book.  The last two (here and here) have not disappointed.  Having just made a big life decision and having to trust God and my husband, I couldn’t turn this book down.

I would say this follows the typical format of a Christian fiction book.  Not a bad thing, but predictable.  Come on – what kind of Christian book could end without God prevailing (really what in life could end that way either!)?  The common theme is trusting God when He throws some crazy curves your way.  And then watching your life transform into how He wants it to be.  Always amazing to read and see His amazing power.

Amelia recently married pastor-to-be, Marcus.  As they are both figuring out their new marriage, they are both trying to figure out their careers as well.  Both not going as they planned, they stay faithful and keep trucking along.  Marcus gets a call to pastor a hurting church in Nebraska (from New York) and they both spend time figuring out if that is where they are meant to be. Marcus comes to the decision quicker than Amelia, as she just got her first break in New York.

This decision threatens their marriage, and Amelia’s faith.  A few other challenges are thrown in, then the book takes a very depressing turn, then, (not really a spoiler alert), things get back on track.  A good read, nothing to rave about, but good to get me thinking if I’m being obedient and what God wants for my life (not what I want.)  Quick read, worth a few nights of reading!

Description from Amazon:
Can a brand-new marriage withstand the weight of generations-old baggage?
Newlyweds Amelia and Marcus Sheffield are recent college grads, trying to stay afloat in LA while searching for their dream jobs. Marcus hopes to become a mega-church pastor. Amelia has an esteemed music degree, and longs to play piano professionally. The Sheffields are clearly city people.
 
But when a small town church offers Marcus a job, the couple’s dedication to their dreams and each other is tested. After a risky compromise is made, Amelia falls into a dark emotional place, where she finds skeletons she’d fought hard to deny. In desperation, she calls out to God. But why can’t she find Him? While Amelia struggles, Marcus learns news that nearly crushes him. He must lean on his faith to withstand the pressure… or risk losing his wife forever.

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This is Amazing Grace; Happy Palm Sunday!

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Happy Palm Sunday!  Great church service this AM.  Following a tough week.  Nothing crazy, just frustrating.  Tired of waiting.  Waiting for our house to sell, so then we can pack, move, and work on getting settled in and most importantly get our family back together.  I have never felt so out of control, a slave to real estate.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

BUT this morning I was reminded of something I know, something I pray about daily, but something I need to be told every second of every day.  I am NOT in control, but God is, and He is capable of miracles.  This morning Pastor David at Evergreen Church, preached about another life-changing event (part 6 or 7 in a series of life-changing events throughout the Bible).  Today was the blind man who Jesus made see (John 9.)

Jesus is capable of performing miracles, life-changing ones.  But in time.  And I’m not good at waiting.  Are you?  Probably not, but let’s chat if you are.  Some days I can be optimistic.  Other days I want to throw a tantrum and yell at anyone who will listen.  I know it could be worse but I find myself pleading with God.  And I keep being told to wait, a little longer.  I continue to go back to my guiding verse.  Jeremiah 29.  He knows the plans for ME, and they aren’t meant to harm me, He wants me to prosper, and have a future.  But when?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

I’m posting this more for me than anyone (but I hope you can use it too.)  He has proven time and time again, He will prevail, and IT WILL BE GOOD!  And this week as we enter into Holy week.  A week that defines everything we believe in.  I need to take a step back and put things in perspective.  Our LORD, sent His son JESUS to wear our crown, take our sins, and set us free.  And we can soon declare “HE IS RISEN!”  Wow.

This is Amazing Grace.  And love, and so much more.  This song came to mind today as the verses from the original Amazing Grace sang through my mind hearing the story of the blind man “I once was blind but now I see.”  I love this new take on it.  He can do amazing things that no one else can or can even imagine.  Meditate on this song today and this week.  I know I will be as I wait.

*And the picture at top was made by my LL of Jesus surrounded by Palms  – after what she learned at church today!  This makes my heart melt!

This is Amazing Grace
by Phil Wickham

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory

Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy, worthy, worthy
Oh

 

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We won’t move without You

“God Walks With You”
Isaiah 43:2

It’s been awhile, I apologize.  It’s been one of those times, where a prayer has been answered, just maybe not (or really not) what we expected (wanted).  It’s taking time to adjust, and while I’ve felt close to God, it’s been a lot of “Really, God?”, and just pleading to open my heart to acceptance, surrender, and faith.

We are moving from Atlanta, GA to Cleveland, OH.  I had started a post, and hope to find some time during this hectic time, to list out some of the positives.  It will be good, and my attitude is probably 99% of that.  But it will be hard.  To leave family, friends, our church, our preschool, our neighbors, the amazing network we have worked to build for us and our kids.  And while I have and will cry many tears for that, I feel God keeps placing on my heart that He is what matters, He will provide, and He will not abandon us.

“We won’t move without You”

Lyrics sung tonight by Jay & Abby Akins (two people high on our list of who we will miss) at Evergreen Church, that hit right to my heart.  We may be physically moving, but we won’t be leaving God behind.  He will guide us there, He will be with us every step of the way, and He will never leave.  I need to be comforted in this, I am, but during such an emotional time, it’s hard.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Isaiah 43:2

More to come, but tonight, I wanted to share with you the aforementioned song (take a listen below) that I’m singing and meditating on this evening.  You will lead us, we will follow, and we will always cry out that You are the LORD OUR GOD!  Amen!

The Lord Our God
Kristian Stanfill/Passion

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what you begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through ’til the end
You see it through ’til the end

[Chorus]
The Lord out God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness You will lead us
And forever we will say
You’re the Lord our God

In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good
Yes, we can know You are good

[Chorus]

We won’t move without You
We won’t move without You
You’re the light of all and all that we need
(X3)

[Chorus]

And forever we will say
You’re the Lord our God
(X2)

The Lord our God (x2)

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Lift My Life Up – I Surrender!

Rest in the Lord and be willing to wait for Him.  Psalm 37:7

Wow, what a week.  More to come soon, hopefully.  It’s one of the weeks where I think God is answering a prayer.  A prayer I’ve been praying for quite sometime, and now it’s one of those times, where I’m spending more time in prayer asking “really?”  One of those times, that don’t happen often, where God throws in something completely off the wall, that I just need some time to process.

I don’t mean to be vague as nothing is clear yet, but my prayer this week is to give it all in surrender, my worries, my hopes, my questions, everything.  To open up my ears to hear, and heart to process, what God is saying and surrender to His will.  For God to have His way in me.  The Unspoken song below has been on my heart and hitting hard right now.

“All my dreams, all my plans Lord, I leave it in Your hands”

So I’m keeping this short today.  Meditate on this song, and know He will guide us where He wants us to be and it’s all part of the plan (that we may not know yet!)  I’m thinking maybe next week – Trust will be a good topic.  Amen – Happy Sunday!

Unspoken
Lift My Life Up

You brought me this far so why would I question You now
You have provided so why would I start to doubt
I’ve never been stranded, abandoned or left here to fight alone
So I’m giving You control

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in Your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up

Have Your way in me
Have Your way in me

If peace is a river then let it sweep over me
If I’m under fire I know it’s refining me
When I hear You calling out I follow now wherever the road may go
I know You’re leading me home

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in Your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up

Have Your way in me
Have Your way in me

Take my life and let it be all for You
Take my life and let it be all for You

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
(Take my life)

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
(Take my heart)
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in Your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up

Have Your way with me
Have Your way with me
Have Your way with me
Have Your way with me

Take my life and let it be all for You

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Happy 1-year Blogiversary to me!

Can it really be 1 year since I started this blog?  Wow, does not seem like that long.  I’ve had my ups and downs, figured a few things out, still working on quite a few others, but most days am glad I have stuck with it.  I wish I had some great, ground-breaking news to share, like I figured it all out, but not yet – probably not ever.  But I have come a long way – see my first post here – My dog-eared purpose.

But I’m okay with that, and I think that is what I am taking away from 2013 and this 1st year of blogging.  I may not have discovered my one “purpose”  and I may not ever, but have figured out a few along the way:

  • My purpose is to raise up my 2 precious children to know, love, and tell others about God.  Through both words and how they act and treat others.  And it’s my job to be a model of this.

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  • My purpose is to be a good, Godly wife.  To support and love my husband unconditionally as he works hard for us and has to make tough choices that aren’t always easy.

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  • My purpose is to love and raise my 3 (mostly) sweet dogs.  To show others that pets are part of a family and should also be treated as such.  And with all animals – to speak for those who cannot.  (Hoping to put more emphasis on this for 2014)

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  • My purpose is to be comfortable in the skin (or clothes) I am in.  I may not be trendy (although I may try to be), I may wear clothes from Target, or last season, but if my family is loved, fed, and cared for, I’m good.  I know God does not care what I look like on the outside and although I do “try” to maintain a good outward appearance to feel good myself, it’s definitely not all that matters.
  • My purpose is NOT to have all the answers.  I want my kids to see I’m not always perfect.  I want them to see me accept blame if something is my fault and not be quick to point fingers at others.  I want them to know mistakes happen, and we need to apologize, try to make it right, learn from it, and move on.  (Still working on this!)
  • And in all these things my purpose is to love God unconditionally, thank Him everyday for the good and bad, and let His light shine through me, my family, and this blog.

I did update my tag-line to “taking it one book, song, and day at a time.”  That is all I can do, I can plan all I want, but things are not always going to go as planned, and although this is hard for me and will take a lot of prayer and disappointment, it’s all I can do to survive.  Life, kids, jobs, circumstances are always changing, but if I stay anchored in my faith with God as my guide, He will give me all that I need.

Lastly, I’ve seen on a lot of blogs and Facebook posts lately people choosing a word to represent their year ahead.  I never outright stated it, but I think my 2013 word was PURPOSE, and my word for 2014 is INTENTIONAL.  To be intentional in all my actions, words, blog posts, whatever.

in·tent : the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose
in·ten·tion·al: done on purpose; deliberate.

So stay tuned for more book reviews, more inspiring songs and verses, more vacations and family fun, more dog posts, and hopefully some surprises!  I have no idea what 2014 has in store, but I can’t wait to find out through being INTENTIONAL and faithful.

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Thanks for stopping by and God Bless your 2014!

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Seasons of Love: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year’s Eve!  As I was thinking about ending the year, one of my all time favorite songs came to mind and as I reflected on it, decided it was the perfect way to end this year.  The song is “Seasons of Love” from Rent.  (Below is a picture from the musical – I love how they stripped it down and just sang in spotlights – gives me chills!)

Rent is also one of my favorite Broadway plays, I think I’ve seen it 3-4 times.  The subject matter may not quite be happy and God may not be mentioned amid the sex, drugs, paying bills, AIDS, death, but He is there.  And in the song “Seasons of Love” is it quite clear that love conquers all, it never fails, and in the end is what matters, sound familiar, who told us that?

“Love Never Fails”
1 Corinthians 13:8

In efforts to keep this short, I’ll just say I’m thankful for this year, all 525,600 minutes of it.  For the ups, the downs, the laughter, the strife.  The opportunity to find an online voice and explore a new interest and share a glimpse of God’s love to you.  I’m thankful for the LOVE in my life, first and foremost my Savior, then my husband, kids, family, friends, neighbors, and ofcourse puppies.  Each and every event and person has helped shape who I am and who I hope to be as I strive to live with more purpose glorifying and praising the One who provided it all.

So thank you to everyone for your love and support – Happy New Year – may 2014 be filled with purpose driven by the One who first LOVED us.  And take time to enjoy your seasons of love.  Take a listen below and meditate on this great song.  Amen and God Bless!

Seasons of Love
Jonathan Larson

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year in the life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love

Seasons of love
Seasons of love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand journeys to plan
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died

It’s time now, to sing out
Though the story never ends
Let’s celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends

Remember the love
(Oh, you got to, you got to remember the love)
Remember the love
(You know that love is a gift from up above)
Remember the love
(Share love, give love, spread love)
Measure in love
(Measure, measure your life in love)

Seasons of love
Seasons of love
(Measure your life, measure your life in love)

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Love this Christmas (Advent Series Part IV)

There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Love.  So much to say, but I’ll keep this short today.  All we need is love, according to the Beatles.  And there is truth in that, God says it himself, it’s the greatest!  It’s mentioned anywhere from 500-700 times in the Bible.  So I’d say it’s pretty important.  It’s what we all seek, it’s what we all want to give, without it, life just wouldn’t be worth living.  And God showed us the greatest LOVE at Christmas, and it is the candle we light today for the 4th Sunday of Advent.

I picked a sort of unlikely song to represent LOVE, but I keep coming back to it, “Little Drummer Boy.”  The lines that get me are “I have no gifts to bring.” and “I’ll play my best for him.” So this little boy plays his drum and he plays his heart out, for the KING!  And then the song concludes with “Then he smiled at me…”  Those lines sum up so much.  Especially this time of year when everything is about presents and stuff,  all God really wants from us is our LOVE, to give the best with what we have, even if it is just a drum.  The little drummer boy simply had just that and was asked to play for our new Lord, so he did, and did it proudly.  AND it made the Lord smile.  Isn’t that all that should matter?  And isn’t that love at its core?

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
Number 6:25 (NLT)

To me that struck a chord this Christmas.  I’ve mentioned in my other posts, and I’m just as guilty, but it is so easy to get lost in the shopping, presents, baking, parties, whatever it is, and forget about why we are celebrating.  We are celebrating simply because God loved us, the world, so much to send us the best gift of all, His son (sounds familiar – John 3:16?).  So love him back with everything you have.  Love your family, friends, neighbors, everyone as God loves us.  Love truly is a gift, so embrace it, share it, and thank God for it!  Amen.

Enjoy a fun, A Capella version of this beautiful song here:  (by Pentatonix)

See my first 3 messages and songs here:
HOPE
PEACE
JOY
And one bonus one and a last one coming for Christmas!

And once again, a few pictures of LOVE in my world: (Although to be honest, every picture I take of my family is LOVE to me, so it was hard to just pick a few – good problem to have!)

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