How to Have a Christ-Centered Christmas

Keeping the spirit of Christmas alive requires us to focus intentionally on the true meaning of this wonderful season. As Henry David Thoreau said, “The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much.”

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”—John 3:16 (NLT).

Making my annual trip up the attic ladder, I dug out boxes of Christmas decorations. Since my sons are grown, I don’t decorate as much as I used to do. Recently, my youngest son asked if I still had the boxes containing the homemade decorations he and his brother had made at school and at church when they were children. Of course, what mother wouldn’t hang onto those treasures from the past?

This quote from Marjorie Holmes reflects that sentiment. “It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart.”

Ever since my son took the box of keepsakes home with him, I’ve pondered on their importance as far as holiday traditions are concerned. Gift giving is one of those traditions. Yet, if you were to ask about a favorite Christmas toy from my childhood, I can’t recall many. It’s been too long. However, I can remember the homemade clothing made with love by my mother. I also recall a Barbie dollhouse she made for my sister and me. It was less expensive than a store-bought one and, as I remember, much nicer.

With the continued pushing back of an earlier Christmas shopping season, it’s sometimes difficult to refrain from getting caught up in the commercialization of the holiday. The Reverend Billy Graham said, “The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.”

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church offers three principles to help us have a more purposeful Christmas season. Recalling the meager circumstances of Jesus’ birth, Warren says, “Keep it simple. Simple isn’t just beautiful—it’s powerful.” To keep it simple, don’t cram your holidays full of activities. “You don’t have to make everything big and complicated,” he adds.

The second principle Warren offers consists of two words: “Be there.” What he means is we don’t have to spend all of our time and money chasing down the perfect holiday. “One of our aims at Christmastime should be showing up in the lives of those we love. Attention says, ‘I value you enough to give you my most precious asset—my time.’”

“Give gladly” is Warren’s third principle. “The essence of Christmas,” he says, “is that we simply and humbly give of ourselves.” And, as Jesus said, there’s more happiness in giving than in receiving. Warren adds, “Giving is (also) a matter of willingness, not wealth; it’s attitude, not amount.”

Keeping the spirit of Christmas alive requires us to focus intentionally on the true meaning of this wonderful season. As Henry David Thoreau said, “The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much.”

Carol Round

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Advent

Advent is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. It is a time we prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus.

Advent is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. It is a time we prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus.

The different denominations have different traditions. In Western Christianity we use the color purple or blue for the different hangings around the church and the vestments or stoles that the clergy wear. The Lutherans chose purple, while the Methodists chose blue.

The different churches also choose different music that is payed or sung. Handel’s Messiah, the Magnificent and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel are just three of the familiar songs that are sung during this period. We all have our favorites depending on what we grew up with. Traditionally these are not Christmas carols, but songs telling of the coming of Jesus.

There are also traditions the churches follow. In England there used to be a tradition where dolls represented Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. If you gave a halfpenny coin to the person taking the dolls by your home you were to have good luck. If you did not give a halfpenny the household would have bad luck.

In Normandy, the farmers had the children run through the fields to set fire to the bundles of straw, thus driving out the evil that could damage their crops.

In Rome, there would be bagpipe players that would play as they come to the manger at Bethlehem. This was to recognize the pipes that the shepherds would have played.

Now our churches use an advent calendar or candles. The calendars usually have a little door to open. There can be a Bible verse and possibly a small gift or piece of chocolate.

I pray you take time each day to reflect on the coming of the Christ Child. Please don’t let busy things that don’t really have meaning for your life get in the way of enjoying your family and friends. They want to spend quality time with you. Pick a favorite cookie or two and bake them together. None of us need to eat dozens of different kinds of cookies, cake and pies. Do things together that make memories not exhaustion.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Jann Martin

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Choose to Believe

Have you ever been to the place where things are so bad that you have to choose to believe that God is there with you?

I love Christmas movies, and there have been a lot of new ones this year. I just watched, as I am sure many of you did, Dolly Parton’s movie, “Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.” I don’t want to give anything away for those of you who haven’t seen it, but, at one point Dolly’s mother prays this prayer, “Oh, Lord, we are here. I don’t know what your plan is for me and these children, but I choose to believe that you’re going to save us.”

Have you ever been there? Have you ever been to the place where things are so bad that you have to choose to believe that God is there with you? If you have, you are not alone. All throughout the Bible, we are told time and time again of people who chose to believe in difficult circumstances.

•    The prophet Habakkuk chose to believe in spite of financial problems.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

•    Job chose to believe when he lost everything but his life.

Though he slay me, yet I will hope in him. (Job 13:15)

•    Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose to believe in the face of physical harm.

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. (Daniel 3: 17-18)

•    John chose to believe after much suffering.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

•    Mary chose to believe even when she couldn’t understand.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38)

Often when we are in the midst of our problems, faith may not be our first reaction. We have to will ourselves to have faith. We have to choose to believe that God is still God and that he is able.

This Christmas season whatever difficulties you are facing choose to believe. Don’t let your circumstances steal your joy. Choose to believe in the child of the first Christmas. Choose to believe in the man he became. Choose to believe that he is your savior, redeemer, and friend. Choose to believe that he cares about you and your situation personally. He was faithful to the people of the Bible, and he will be faithful to you. He is trustworthy and worthy to be praised! Joy to the world!

Sue Potts

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Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is one of my favorite Christmas carols. I’m not exactly sure when I become so fond of this hymn, but I am certain it was as an adult, when life and Christmas got farther and farther away from rest.

This song wouldn’t necessarily have appealed to me as a child. Those were the days when time seemed to take its sweet time; when the year between birthdays and Christmas seasons felt like an eternity; when I bemoaned going to bed at night, begging to stay up just another 10 minutes. A nap? Why would anyone want to take a nap?  During those years, I had the energy to go dashing through the snow and rock around the Christmas tree. Now there are years I don’t have the time or energy to even put up a Christmas tree.

Is it any wonder that as life grew busier I felt myself drawn to this song –  and especially to the word rest.  Rest was what I craved and it seemed ever evasive, especially during Christmas.

Fortunately, what I desire can be found in the lyrics of this carol.

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Why do we observe and celebrate Christmas? Because Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day.

Why was he born on Christmas day? To save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we had gone astray.

Talk about tidings of comfort and joy! No wonder that phrase is repeated three times: Comfort and Joy!

I was the one who went astray. I was the one under Satan’s power, but Christ came to save me! There is nothing that can bring me more comfort or joy.

Notice also the word Remember.

We need to remember, ironically, it can seem, more at Christmas than any other time of the year. If we don’t pause and remember we will experience the season as though we are still under Satan’s power.

It is the lie of Satan to tell me my house needs to look just so, I need to look just so, my kids need to look just so and have so, so much to open on Christmas morn. It is the lie of Satan that I have to attend every event and party. It is the lie of Satan that I am not enough. It is the lie of Satan that I cannot have joy even if my circumstances would seem to indicate that God has forgotten me or there is nothing to celebrate this year. These lies can leave me dismayed and restless, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

We must remember in order to rest.

I can rest because I have been redeemed from Satan’s power. There is nothing that can separate me from my Father’s love. He will never leave me or forsake me. I can rest because a child was born, a son was given, and the government will be on his shoulders. He is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6).

I can rest because he took up my pain and bore my suffering. He was pierced for my transgressions and crushed for my iniquities. The punishment that brought me peace was on him and by his wounds I am healed. (Isaiah 53)

I don’t have to do it all, have it all, get it all or be it all. I won’t be dismayed. I will cling to tidings of comfort and joy.

 

I will remember . . . and rest.

Tami Lowman

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Bits and Pieces

What morsels have I chosen instead of the Feast? My hungry soul tries to dine upon the crumbs of the world. But the world never satisfies and my soul-hunger turns into famine of the heart.

They were at the Feast.

Twelve men and one Savior. Bound together by bread and wine. A covenant. A last supper. The Last Passover that ever needed to be kept because finally, the Lamb of God was to be slain. It would be finished. And Judas sits satisfied with a bit of bread. It was Judas’ last supper too.

21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the piece, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

27 Then after he had taken the piece, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. John 13:21-30

Crumbs and scraps.

Judas settles for a morsel from The Bread of Life, the Manna which comes down from heaven. Mincing and tasting the crumbs instead of consuming the Feast, eaten by faith in the One who saves us. We consume the bread and wine and He consumes our guilt and sin.

And Judas sells his soul to the lowest bidder.

Bits and crumbs in place of a feast.

Thirty pieces of silver in exchange for streets of gold. He seals the unholy deal and Judas settles for bits and pieces. Judas could have had a kingdom.

What have I settled for?

What morsels have I chosen instead of the Feast? My hungry soul tries to dine upon the crumbs of the world. But the world never satisfies and my soul-hunger turns into famine of the heart. My 30 pieces of silver rob me of the streets of gold. God’s hands remain full while my heart remains empty. Gifts given but not received.

Unopened. Unused. Unsatisfying bits and pieces.

Jesus came so we can have life and have it abundantly. But abundance requires sacrifice, receiving, waiting, enduring, abiding and praying.

This Thanksgiving season Jesus calls us to come, buy, eat and feast. Without money, without price. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Leave your bits and pieces and come to the Feast.

How will you feast on the goodness of God this Thanksgiving? Leave me a comment on the Lift Up Your Day Facebook page. I’d love to chat with you!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Mary Kane

Read more from Mary at: onlybyprayer.com

 

Momentum in the Midst of a Mess

When do we make the life-changing decision that we are going to make sure that the attitude of thanksgiving will take place right smack-dab in the midst of that mess?

Whether we are referring to the Thanksgiving holiday or the attitude of thanksgiving, selflessness is found right in the name. In this increasingly self-centered world, it is a breath of fresh air to intentionally focus on being grateful and to give thanks to God for His countless blessings.

Thanksgiving is uncomplicated when life is rolling along just how we pictured it. For example, when our Thanksgiving table is set with matching linens, our turkey is roasted to a perfect golden-brown, and our family is seated around a table with smiles on their faces as conversation abounds about faith, family, friends, and food, giving thanks is easily in the forefront of our minds.

But what about when our personal lives are right smack-dab in the midst of a mess? Maybe that is when we make the life-changing (yes, I said life-changing) decision that we are going to make sure that the attitude of thanksgiving will take place right smack-dab in the midst of that mess?

Making a conscious effort to stop in the shambles and halt in the havoc and say, “Thank you,” to our faithful God who refuses to forsake us is sometimes a difficult thing to do. But it is a valuable thing to do. It refocuses our eyes, minds, and hearts on the fact that the size of our mess is minuscule compared to the size of our God. It is often the necessary step to keep us moving in a forward motion into the peace that God offers, instead of backwards into a place of anger or despair.

When we are in the midst of any type of mess; financial emergencies, a cancer diagnosis, family feuds, or broken relationships, if we are consumed by thoughts of, “Why me, why now, why aren’t You there, God?” we will remain at a standstill or even take a step back in our faith life. Thanking God for blessings and the fact that He is going to help us through it, evidenced by the fact that He has been faithful since day one, is a much better mode for our mind to operate in. It strengthens our faith, and it brings honor to God!

Recently, we were heading to an open spot on the arena bleachers to watch our oldest son’s basketball game. Our second son was walking behind me. I was looking up at the action on the floor and unfortunately was not aware of an object on the floor in my path. Boom. Suddenly, I was on the floor and many thoughts rushed through my mind, including “How embarrassing, how embarrassing, and yes, how embarrassing.” My middle name is not Grace, and I have had some missteps in my life; more than I would like to admit. But somehow, this one made me want to find a magic door that would lead me back in time to a few seconds before when I would have plainly seen any objects in my path and avoided an embarrassing situation.

When I fell, there was an immediate helping hand, and it was pretty neat that it was from someone I gave birth to twenty-one years ago. He did not hesitate in bending down, making sure I was okay, and offering to help me up. A few minutes later, after getting seated and attempting to casually give the impression that falling in front of a gymnasium of on-lookers is as natural as bending down to tie my shoes, and pretending that my knees were not feeling a fair amount of pain, I tapped my son on the shoulder. I said, “Brady, thank you for helping me up right away instead of passing right by me and pretending you didn’t know me. I really appreciate that.” And I did. I really did appreciate that. I thanked him, and I thanked God for a reminder that my husband (who was also concerned but was in front of me and did not realize what happened until I was back up on my feet) and I are blessed with three sons, a daughter, and a daughter-in-law who are genuinely kind-hearted in a world where kindness is underrated.

I am not going to pretend that tripping and falling in public is an example of a personal crisis, but I am sharing it as an example of when there was a choice to be made. Dwell on the negatives and suffer in a standstill or even backwards direction, or else find something to thank God for in the midst of a mess and move forward. Keep praying about the mess, because we have a God who hears us and cares about our circumstances more than we even realize. But find something to thank Him for as well. Thanksgiving launches our momentum in the midst of a mess. The decision is ours.

Gwen Thielges

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Thanksgiving When Life is Difficult

Thanksgiving But Life Is So Difficult Right Now

Thanksgiving? But Life Is So Difficult Right Now!

Maybe life is really difficult for you right now. Maybe you are wondering how you can nurture a thankful heart while in the midst of such pain. Maybe when you remember the ‘Thanksgiving story’ you think of clean, neat pilgrims with smiling faces and a fat turkey.  Maybe you have forgotten the heartbreak, disease, death and devastation they faced their first months in the New World.

 Is your life difficult and uncomfortable and you wonder if this season of hardship will ever end?

In September 1620, 102 passengers crammed into a small ship called the Mayflower, left Plymouth England and headed to the New World. For 66 long days, they crossed treacherous waters encountering storms which slammed against their small ship.

Have you persevered only to find yourself in an unexpected place in your life? And even then your progress is further delayed?

The Mayflower dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. They had to wait another month before the captain could take the Mayflower across Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

Are you battling health problems? Have you lost people you love?

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. Only half.

Even after such heartbreak, the Pilgrims worshiped God and in the midst of their darkest times God sent help! In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. He introduced them to Squanto who taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. In November 1621, after their first corn harvest, they held a three day long celebration.

Nothing would bring back those they had lost; nothing could take away the suffering, or make the winters warmer or life easier. But they understood the love of God and their eyes were open to the blessings He had given them. Their hearts were full of thanksgiving.

Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in 1863 when our country was in the midst of the Civil War. What was there to be thankful for? You should read his proclamation to get the full impact, but he points out how amazing it was that the country continued to expand, grow and thrive in areas outside the theatre of military conflict. He acknowledged that this was only through the hand of God.

President Lincoln understood that even when our hearts are breaking, they can also give thanks to our Creator.

 

This Thanksgiving:

Let us look outside our ‘theatre’ of suffering and see where God has sustained us.

Let our hearts be full of thanksgiving even in the midst of our pain.

Let us bow in humble reverence to Almighty God.

Shellynne Wucher

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Does My Life Reveal Jesus?

reveal

“He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3

Here we see the Risen Savior our Lord Jesus Christ presented Himself to the disciples. The now 11 Apostles and look at 1 Corinthians 15:6, “Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.”

He was seen by over 500 people at one time.

He revealed Himself to them and demonstrated who He was by His death on the cross, His resurrection, the miracles He did, and spent 40 days with them before His ascension to heaven here in v.9. He showed Himself to His disciples.

But, just as the first church did here in Acts, we are to reveal Him in our lives. You ever just sit back and think how good it is to be a Christian? You ever think man if it wasn’t for my Savior what would I do?

When I think of these first Christians, this first church, and what they went through, I feel so unworthy. What they suffered and the persecution they endured what have we done to reveal the Savior?

In 1904 William Borden heir to the Borden Dairy Estate, graduated from a Chicago high school a millionaire. His parents gave him a trip around the world. Traveling through Asia, the Middle East and Europe Borden got a burden for the world’s hurting people. He wrote home and told his parents God was calling him to the mission field.

When he made this decision he wrote two words in the back of his Bible. No Reserves.

After graduating from Yale he turned down several high paying job offers and he wrote two more words in the back of his Bible, No Retreats.

He completed his studies at Princeton Seminary and sailed for China to work with Muslims. He first stopped in Egypt to prepare for the work. While in Egypt he was stricken with cerebral meningitis and died within a month.

Some would say what a waste. Not in God’s plan, because the last two words William Borden wrote were No Regrets.

Someone said, “What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.”

Keep Looking Up!

Pastor Rodney

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Why Do Pastor’s Grow Weary?

weary-traveler

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9

You’ve seen it. Your pastor just isn’t as happy as he used to be. The smile isn’t as wide. His eyes don’t glow when he talks to people. His joy has faded.

He’s weary. Worn out.

If you are a pastor you’ve felt it. You are not preaching with the same gusto. Studying is a struggle. Prayer feels like a prick in your heart.

Your heart? Yes, that’s where the problem lies.

As our verse says our hope is that we can go around “doing good.” We want to plant seed and watch it grow in do-good garden. The fruit of our work starts with us being able to cultivate hearts that are fertile for God.

But, the reality is not every heart is fertile. Some just want us to do what they think we should do. That’s why Paul said, “not grow weary.” Like a crop of doing good, weeds begin to spring up and need to be plucked.

“Dealt with” is probably a better phrase. See, people and problems are always intertwined in the do-good garden.

People have agendas and they want something from us. Sometimes their agendas keep us from doing good. They place us in situations we can’t succeed in and then the failure weed grows in our heart.

People begin to talk about us. Sometimes what they are saying isn’t even true. A complaint. A critique. A criticism.

What can we do? Keep going and growing.

Without growth the plant dies. Without spiritual growth the heart dies. We have to keep praying, reading our Bibles, studying, witnessing, and ministering to the people. If we let a person keep us from growing, we will quit going to people and doing good.

That’s what the enemy wants. Discouragement is the greatest weed the enemy plants.

As I said earlier, people and problems are intertwined in ministry. Problems are always connected to people. We have to deal with people continually. When problems aren’t dealt with they grow.

Then we cannot reap the harvest. Weeds have choked out healthy growth. The church garden is weed infested.

When we feel like there is no fruit, no growth, we give up.

First, it’s just in our heart. Then it’s written all over our face. Our smile is forced. Our preaching isn’t what it once was because we are staring at the weeds.

So what do we do? Pull the weeds. Deal with the person. In love. But deal with it. We cannot continue doing good if all we feel is bad.

I have been there. I have given up. But, the good news is God never gives up on us.

I’d love to pray with you or talk with you. You can email me @Liftupyourday.com

Keep Looking Up!

Pastor Rodney

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Thankfulness When Your Life is Thankless

In this season of thanksgiving, how do you remain thankful when your circumstances feel thankless?

In the early hours of June 24, 2011, my life changed forever. I was experiencing such a season of excitement that the shock of June 24 nearly left me feeling like I’d been hit by a freight train. The worst part was I had to live through this, when all I wanted to do is succumb to this feeling of dying.

In an instant, the course of your life can change and although God works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), it does not eliminate or minimize the brutality of painful circumstances. Yet, we find that life, inconsiderate as it feels, moves on regardless of us pained. We are reminded of this as the seasons change, friends and family make new memories and find happiness again, the holidays come and go.

So in this season of thanksgiving, how do you remain thankful when your circumstances feel thankless? If I can offer you anything of value, it is reminding and pointing you to God’s True Word. Can I do that with you today?

 

First, let’s look at what scripture has to say about thankfulness:

1 Thess 5:16-19 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 95: 1-5 Come, let us sing for joy to the LordLet us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods

Colossians 2: 6-7  Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

1 Timothy 4: 4-5  Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

 

Second, let’s look at what scripture has to say about the brokenhearted:

Psalm 34:18  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Lamentations 3:32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

 

The scriptures are full of more verses pointing to God’s goodness and faithfulness to those who belong to him, even in the hurting.

Brokenhearted friend, you do not have to explain to me the pain and reality of your painful circumstances. We may have journeyed down different painful roads but we share in the sisterhood and brotherhood of the fight to stay faithful to God in it. Your reality may be filled with pain this Thanksgiving, but I would not be loving you well if I didn’t tell the whole truth that we can be thankful to the One who saved our souls.

This holiday season, look at your choice to be thankful as your offering back to God. Offerings to God are hard and painful because they cost us something, but they also give us something that is unlike any other type of thanks … a deeper relationship with Him that produces trust, true love, authenticity, integrity, and so much more.

Friend, I’m over here cheering you to hang on! In Ephesians 6 it says “after you’ve done all you can to stand … stand firm than”. I can not stand for you but I can help you lift your hands (like Aaron and Hur did for Moses in Exodus 17) and encourage you to keep going.

Let your offering of thanks this year sound like the scriptures above and wait expectantly for your God to be your comforter, protector, and giver of joy.

I am praying for you this season.

Maria Bowersock

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You can read more from Maria at: www.awomannamedfree.com