Christmas Cheer

My favorite time of year to decorate.

Keeping it simple – most of my ornaments are handmade by our son from when he was in elementary school, some are from my sister, and some are from my mom. 🙂

I love putting up the tree and set out my village sets.

North Pole – Not sure if you can see him or not but the pup won the race beating out Santa and Mrs. Claus and Santa’s workers. 🙂
The Village – After all the elves need a place to shop when they aren’t working. 🙂

Putting out the village sets, I was like a kid in the candy store trying to pick out his or her favorite candy only to discover that all of the candy are favorites. It’s a good thing you weren’t here as I decorated. I’m sure you would have shaken your head in wonder. I was talking to the villages telling each piece where it would be placed and how, when you arrive at the train station, you had to be sure to stop by the radio station before making your way to the church. I even told the pup that won the race, that next week he would come in last, so one of Santa’s workers could have a shot at first place. Of course they will all eventually make it to first place it’s only fair. That’s right, a kid in the candy store.

As I was decorating, setting each piece out with care, making sure to find just the right spot, I thought about the time and care that God took when He created the universe and mankind. I could almost visualize His eyes twinkling with anticipation as He rubbed His chin thinking about every detail and the love He would put into it all. Can you see it? Can you imagine the canvas and palette of colors as he created the universe? The loving details He placed in each one of us? Oh to see the joy on His face as He created His masterpieces. I can imagine Him whispering to each us Jeremiah 29:11 reminding us of the things He wants for us.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

One of my favorite verses, it is a perfect reminder of what He wants for us. Peace. Future. Hope.

It is my prayer that if you don’t already have it, that you will find your peace, your future, and your hope in Him. God bless!

Peace After Chaos

Yeah, it’s that time again. Thanksgiving with the family is over, your belly is full of good eats, your heart is filled with contentment having spent a joyful day with the family and reflecting on the year that just flew by. Now you get to jump into the fray of Black Friday sales where you get to push, shove and fight through crazy crowds of people hoping to get that one little or big item that you just have to have. Of course nowadays all you have to do is turn on the computer, hit a few buttons and snap, you’re done with shopping. No crazy crowds of people, you’re finished with your shopping list and you didn’t even have to leave the house!

Thinking about the chaos that comes with Black Friday sales I started thinking about the enemy and how he the not only likes chaos, he likes to create as much chaos as possible in our lives. He likes to stir up the waters cause strife, confusion, and discontent. A master of deception, he thrives on the chaos he creates.

2 Timothy 2:23 “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they will generate strife.”

As I hit the add to cart tab adding Christmas gifts to the little shopping cart, I think to myself, now this is the way to go. No long lines to wait in, no pushing or shoving to search through piles of stuff on sale. No shopping carts to maneuver around and no people to walk around as they stand in the middle of the aisles talking to friends and acquaintances blocking the path you want to go down. I mean seriously? You’re blocking the aisle when all you have to do is move to one side so people can pass. And just like that I’m not stressing over the gifts I need to buy.

It reminds me of Christ and how He can turn chaos into peace. He takes the chaos in our lives and smooths out the confusion, strife, and discontent when we let Him. Instead of jumping into the fray, we can sit back open the Word feed on His truths letting the chaos slide off our backs as a peace begins to envelope us wrapping us in comfort. It doesn’t mean that we won’t ever again experience chaos in our lives, but as we continue to press in to the Word of God, we will find that we are not alone. He is with us bringing peace in the midst of chaos when we put our trust in Him.

Philippians 4: 6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Chaos reigns when you let it. Peace comes when you seek it and embrace it through Jesus. I’m praying for you.

Forest and Light

Have you ever found yourself at the edge of a forest looking out into the light and wondering why you can’t take that first step? You’ve managed to make it this far fighting through the dense forest, now it’s time to step into the light and you hesitate. Finally, you take the first step and it feels as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You think “this isn’t so bad” as you take another step. You turn your face up to the light and feel the warmth on your face, the peace that envelopes you making you want to stay there.

Unease creeps in chasing you back into the forest and you find yourself back at the edge looking out into the light again. What’s happening? You see the light and you want to go back to experience the warmth and peace that you had only moments ago, but you can’t seem to take that step that will take you back there. You’ve been blinded by the enemy. He doesn’t want you out in the light living in freedom. He wants you confused and afraid. Hidden in the darkness that he controls.

Accustomed to living in the dense forest your first taste of freedom overwhelms and frightens you driving you back into what you consider your comfort zone because truthfully right now, it is.

You’ve heard the lies of the enemy for so long that the true freedom you experienced only moments ago seems like a lie instead of truth. You can’t believe that what you experienced will last. It doesn’t help that the enemy is whispering in your ear that it isn’t real. That it will only go away and you’ll be left with nothing but the darkness once again.

I looked on the internet and according to one article I found, it stated that the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that 16.2 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2016. I’m not surprised. You need only to look at the commercials on television these days and you’ll find all types of medicine that helps with this or that form of depression. I imagine everyone has experienced some form of depression at some point in their life.

Maybe you are that person who suffers from depression or you know someone who suffers from it. You could be a caregiver, friend, or a family member that sees them suffering and you feel helpless not knowing how to help them. Don’t give up. Be a safe place for that person to come too. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just be there. Interact with them especially at their low point drawing them into a conversation or simply hold their hand. There is no guarantee that it will work every time but at least they will know they aren’t alone.

In Luke 4:18 Jesus read from the book of the prophet Isaiah “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed,” in verse 21 it says “And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'”

Jesus came to preach the gospel, to release the captives, give sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. That’s great news! Freedom from captivity, from oppression, getting your sight back. Here’s the thing, people who are dealing with this disease are captives to the illness. They are blinded by the lies of the enemy and oppressed from their world of chaos. Jesus brings hope to their chaos, offers His hand to pull them out of the confusion, set them on solid ground and hold them steady as He opens their eyes to the truth and light.

Psalms 40:2 says “He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”

I leave you with this scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

The Lord wants you to have peace in your life. He wants you to have a future and a hope. The enemy wants only chaos, no future, and definitely no hope. As long as he can keep you in the dense forest that’s one less person he has to worry about living the life Christ intended for you to live.

I pray you can embrace Jeremiah 29:11 and find a way to step out of the forest and into the light.