Pieces of Christmas

What an incredible time of  year; the celebration of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our King, born into humble circumstances, who would walk this earth as a man, human in every sense, to bring light to a dark world.Image result for nativityKings brought their finest gifts, sheep and cows stood near their shepherds, a heavenly host sang Hallelujah, the brightest star shone in the sky, and the baby Jesus was held by his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph.  What a day it must’ve been for his heavenly Father, knowing all his son would accomplish, and give up.
Image result for the meaning of christmasAnother holiday has passed, but the message of His birth, and the sanctity of his love, never leaves the heart.

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
~Ada V. Hendricks
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Star and angels gave the sign.
~Christina Rossetti
Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love. ~Lucinda Franks

Oh! lovely voices of the sky
Which hymned the Saviour’s birth,
Are ye not singing still on high,
Ye that sang, “Peace on earth”?
~Felicia Hemans

 

 

Location pieces

You’ve heard it before: Location, location, location.  Where  your business is located, or your home, the school your children attend, walking distance from here to there — depends greatly on location.

I have finally after 52 years, GOT THE LESSON!!!  It does not matter where you worship; it merely matters THAT YOU DO!!!

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised that a church I had attended previously; had me clapping and singing with a rousing rendition of “I’ve got peace like a river.”  During the service, various members shared memories of loved ones who had passed; in honor of “Day of the Dead.”

The part that I finally GOT was that it does not matter where you “go,”  — sure you might have your favorite church, people you know that pray regularly and have bible study groups, but if you happen to find yourself some place different — you can be guaranteed that God is there.  He was “so there” yesterday it kind of blew my mind.

It's not about the church meeting your needs; it's about joining the mission of God's people to meet the world's needs. - Brian D. McLaren

It really never is about where you go, or that you go, or that you should.  God is already in your heart, so wherever you are; He is also.

On the other side of the coin; belonging to – or attending church on a given day is an incredible blessing.

Romans 1:11-12 For I long to visit you so that I can impart to you the faith that will help your church grow strong in the Lord. Then, too, I need your help, for I want not only to share my faith with you but to be encouraged by yours: Each of us will be a blessing to the other.
Ephesians 4:15-16 Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and s  o become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Pieces of Grace

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Psalm 34:1 I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace.
Psalm 84:11For Jehovah God is our Light and our Protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from those who walk along his paths.
1 Corinthians 1:7 Now you have every grace and blessing; every spiritual gift and power for doing his will are yours during this time of waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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God’s grace is unmerited favor.  What does that really mean?  For me, it’s that no matter what I do, or don’t do or even overdo, God’s grace forgives, accepts and continues to love me.
It does not require perfection from me (as if!!!) it only requires an open and accepting heart.
We can turn away from God (I did — for many years), we can shake our fists at him (I did!), we can say we do not believe that Jesus died for the sins of many (including mine), but even with all of that garbage, that lack of grace in my life — God never gave up.  Never.  He was always here.  And now I live substantially with that grace, the forgiveness, most  of all — the love.

Pieces of Salvation

You start a conversation off with the word “salvation” and people run for the hills.  There are Christians, believers, followers, whatever term you wish to use that do not believe salvation is the only way to eternal life (it is!!)

I’m not here to tell you what you should believe, this blog and the book; “The Pieces” is merely a part of my journey to becoming more like Jesus, more whole, more faithful.

Recent “pieces” (thoughts, expressions) are bringing me to some very honest truths.  The word is speaking to me in ways that I fully understand and find to be doable in my life

Ephesians 4:1-4  ….I beg you—I, a prisoner here in jail for serving the Lord—to live and act in a way worthy of those who have been chosen for such wonderful blessings as these. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each others faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.

Salvation takes place once, sanctification is life changing; a transformation of spirit.  The Holy Spirit guides our life.  Everything we do, say, think, pray – should be done as a reflection of Jesus.

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Pieces of Forgiveness

I have struggled personally with the act of forgiveness.  Some resentment harbored over 30 years of my life.  Imagine.  Withholding forgiveness to another human being when Jesus forgives ME every day, sometimes many times a day.  I am not without sin.  How did it ever become my place to judge the actions of another?

It is not.

What does the bible say about forgiveness?

Wow, the bible says a lot, doesn’t it?  🙂

Pieces of Discernment

Oftentimes we are given a scripture or thought to spend time figuring out.  Maybe it was easily understandable — but other times, we can’t make heads or tails over the meaning, or if it’s even a message for US.

This is when spiritual discernment steps in.  Find a trusted advisor, someone who is spiritually sound, they do not have to be a minister, sometimes a good friend can help sort it out WITH you, not for you.

As a wise friend recently told me — it’s my seeking/understanding that matters most.  But sometimes we all need a little help!

Proverbs 2:3-5  Yes, if you want better insight and discernment, and are searching for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure, then wisdom will be given you and knowledge of God himself; you will soon learn the importance of reverence for the Lord and of trusting him.

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Unlimited Pieces

There is nothing God can’t do, it’s infinite, unlimited and out of the realm of our understanding.

Part of our belief in Jesus Christ is “faith” — I should say a HUGE part of it — is faith.  We walk in faith, the same way a seeing-eye dog guides his person across the street, the dog doesn’t hope that everyone will slow down, he trusts his training.  We receive training too, daily bible reading/mediation, conversing with like-minded people; my good friend Helene says “she loves truth seeking people,” and more than any of that — prayer.  These are our tools; our training.

But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting him, what can mere man do to me?
Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.”

Pieces of Purpose

One of my favorite Christian authors is Dr. Charles Stanley, in the March 2016 monthly devotional was this lovely paragraph on March 8th:

Whatever the circumstances, we should be evaluating what God is doing in us.  Like a gem polisher, He will work off our rough edges by running us up against tough experiences and people.  When we look for His purposes and lessons, we hasten the time when our life message reflects the hope that is available in Christ Jesus.

The lesson here is — we will experience hard times, we will deal with abrasive people, we will be wounded by words.  Circumstances will challenge and maybe even change us — but what we can’t do, is fall apart — taking a worldly view to our situation.  No!  Instead, lean in on your Heavenly Father; pray, seek wisdom and peace.

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Journey to Redemption

Easter Sunday has arrived in many parts of the world; where I live, it’s tomorrow.  The past few days have been incredibly moving for me.  Having grown up in a rather sedate Lutheran church, there were no “stations of the cross,” Good Friday services or much reflection on the sanctity of Holy Week.  We recognized the birth of Jesus, His Resurrection on the cross, the day He rose from the dead, and the Ascension.

Did these events take place so that we could affirm our faith?  The disciples were given the task of sharing Jesus’ word with the entire world; it may have been “mere Christianity” without the the death & resurrection of Jesus.

What does Holy Week, the heartache of death, the miracle of Resurrection, the Ascension into heaven to sit with God the Father Almighty, mean to you?  Mean FOR us?

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I encourage you to find this video on YouTube.  The words are incredible powerful.

Wonderful, Merciful Savior

By: Selah

Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men
Oh you rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we hopelessly lost the way

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we’re falling before Your throne

Songwriters: WYSE, ERIC/RODGERS, DAWN
Wonderful, Merciful Savior lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.