A Mary Christmas

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (December 28, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

maryatchristsfeet

Sitting At His Feet

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”   Luke 10:41-42 (NKJV)

Sometimes I wish that everyone would just decide not to give and receive gifts at Christmas.  Does that make me a Grinch?  I worry so much about what to buy for people.  Will they like it?  Is it too little or too much?  Can I afford it?  Or what if someone gives me something and I don’t have anything for them?  Oh dear!

I believe most would agree that we have made Christmas about everything but the birth of Christ.  I do like cooking, but I’m always rushed.  I like decorating, but I run out of time to make it perfect.  I’m more like Martha of the Bible instead of Mary.  I stay busy, rushing from one thing to another, doing what I feel people expect me to do.  When what I really need to do is make it a “Mary Christmas.”

Holiday Separation – For a Time

If you stopped by because you read my devotion on November 18, 2016 over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

 

“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”  John 6:38-40 (NIV)

 

Holidays are exciting, joyful and greatly anticipated.  Sometimes.  But there are also times when the Holidays can be hard to handle.  There may be some who have lost a loved one and they face what is supposed to be a joyful time with dread.  Others may have no close family or friends at all to celebrate with.  Many struggle with disease or depression and seeing the happiness in other people’s faces amplifies the hurt in their own lives.

The first Christmas after my grandmother passed away was hard.  She was a petite woman and we used to love seeing her covered over with presents.  They would be stacked in her lap, around her feet and her sweet smile was barely seen over the pile.  And when she began opening her gifts, her face lit up like a child’s.

grandpa-grandma-wilhoit

The next year, my grandfather had also passed.  I had wonderful memories of Christmas’ past when he would leave the adults conversing in one room to come gather us grandkids together to sing songs with us as he played his little ukulele.

It was hard.  But as new babies were born into the family, the Christmas gatherings were filled with joy as new little voices filled the room even as we reminisced the past.

The first year after my father-in-law passed, someone gave a special gift to each of the 5 children.  It was a bear made out of shirts their father had worn.  A small piece of him was there with the family.

papa-j-bears

It’s hard facing the holidays with that pain in your heart.  But we can be assured that God sees and understands the separation from a loved one.

The Lights In The Heavens

sun-picture

As I headed to work one morning, I saw the still full moon as it was setting in the west.  It was becoming very dim in the pale blue of a morning sky not yet fully lit with the sun.  I tried to take a picture of that sight but the photo could not adequately capture the waning light of the full orb.

In the opposite direction, the sun was brilliantly shining as it began to ascend in the horizon.  As I tried to look for oncoming traffic in the direction of the sun, I could see nothing else because of the brightness.  I had to block the sun with my hand, but still struggled to see.  And what I could see seemed to be just images with no color.

The more I thought about those two contrasting sights, several things came to mind.  I thought both the moon and the sun to be beautiful.  I love seeing a full moon illuminating a night sky.  But when I saw that same full moon very pale in comparison to the sun and the competing brightening of the morning sky, it caused a mixture of emotions.

Good Times Or Bad?

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

 

romans-8-28

Everything works for our good?  Really?

So many times when this verse is quoted, it is when something bad has happened to a believer.  Does all of the bad things that happen to believers really happen for good?

The times when we are enjoying the presence of our Abba, Father – those are good times.  When we are serving God and seeing results of truly trusting and following Him, that’s what I call good.

So why do we have to endure the bad things and then be told to trust that God will use it for our good?

R. I. P.

tomb

I have to say that I don’t really like the scary displays that are seen around Halloween.  The ghosts and zombies, headless bodies and tomb stones.   As I drove past one yard I saw a tombstone with “R.I.P.” written in big black letters.  That is seen a lot around Halloween but it is also used at other times when someone passes away.  I suppose it is meant as a tribute to the deceased person.  But when I saw it on that fake tombstone, I thought about the meaning of those letters in a different way.

Rest In Peace.

Do you know we can Rest In Peace now?  As a child of God, we can be filled with His peace on a continual basis.  After all, the Bible tells us that Christ came into this world as the Prince of Peace.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

So how do we get access to that peace?  We gain peace when we:

1.  Abide in Christ.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 5:1 (KJV)

God is a holy and just God.  He judges sin.  Those who have not accepted Christ as their personal Savior are separated from God, warring against Him.  But when we come in faith and repentance, accepting Christ as our Savior, we are cleansed from all unrighteousness and are then at peace with God.

2.  Abide in God’s Word.

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  Romans 8:6 (KJV)

As believers, we are to allow God complete control of our lives.  As we study His Word and crucify ourselves daily, His Spirit that lives within us will be evident in our outward behavior.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV

3.  Abide in His Promise

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27 (KJV)

It’s not easy to live a Christian life in this world.   But Christ promised that we are never alone.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (KJV)

4.  Abide Within His Commission

“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  John 20:21 (KJV)

Jesus told the disciples that we are to go into the world and share with others the good news of salvation.  But we don’t have to go in our own strength.  He will equip us to do everything He asks us to do.  He didn’t promise it would be easy, but He did say that His peace would go with us.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7 (KJV)

5.  Abide in the Ultimate R.I.P.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”  Revelation 21:4-6 (KJV)

I think this verse sums it all up.  We can rest in peace for all eternity.

I have never really liked saying, “RIP,” like many people do when a person has passed if I don’t know their spiritual condition.  The condition of a person’s heart, whether or not they have been saved, determines where the person will spend eternity when they die.

If they are a Christian, then they are immediately in the presence of Christ.  However, if a person is lost, they are immediately separated from God forever.  We can call that person’s name out and say, “RIP,” a million times, but if they were not saved, they will be forever in torment with absolutely no possibility of ever experiencing peace again.  In their case, it is completely useless for us to wish for them to rest in peace.

But for the Christian, it’s a totally different story.  We get to experience God’s peace even in the midst of this sinful world and then we get to be at rest in peace throughout eternity when we die.

So, are you resting in God’s peace every day?

But an even bigger question is – When you die, can R.I.P. be written on your tombstone?

Preparing The Garden…

…And Preparing For Harvest

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (Sept. 8, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

the-righteous-will-flourish

 

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.    1 Corinthians 3:7-9 NIV

My family plants a garden every year.  Some years the harvest is plentiful and other years it’s scarce.  One year we were still picking green beans up until the beginning of October!  It came to the point that I had canned all my cupboards would hold. I finally threatened my husband if he dared bring another bean into the house!  But last year the drought was severe and I didn’t have enough produce to preserve anything.

There’s a lot of work that goes into planting a garden.  The garden spot first has to be plowed, then tilled.  Once the rows are laid off, we add fertilizer as we plant the seeds.  Then the dreaded weeds have to be constantly hoed.  Occasionally we have to add a pest control product to keep the insects from damaging the plants.  Once the plants start to bear, we fully appreciate all the work we had done.

So much about gardening can be compared to spiritual things.  We all go through times when we are fully filled with the Holy Spirit and are growing immensely.  At other times, the cares of the world seem to cause a spiritual drought and that “pest” Satan, tries his best to choke out our joy as weeds do a garden.

Producing Fruit

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (August 25, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

plum tree

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”  John 15:1-2 NIV 

I have several different types of fruits growing around my house.  I have fig bushes, muscadine vines, plum trees, pomegranates, strawberry, blackberry and blueberry plants.  There’s no comparison between the fresh fruit that I can go out and pick and what is bought in stores.

I often make jelly from the produce that I gather.  Even though the jelly is costly to make because of the amount of sugar that is required, it also is better than store bought.   (Sorry, Mr. Smuckers!)  But I love sharing the jelly with others, which I often give as Christmas gifts.

But I have to confess, even though I have access to all of the various fruits I mentioned, not all of the plants bear much.  The fig bushes produce a lot, but often the ants will get into the figs before I can pick them.  The deer eat my blueberry bushes.  The muscadines were pruned improperly and produce less each year.  The pomegranates – I just don’t pick them.

Just Like Her Daddy

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (June 20, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

Who Do You Resemble?

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”   John 14:9b-10 (NASB)

I remember once when my first born daughter was around 8 months old.  I went to the grocery store and she was riding in the buggy.  A lady came up to me that I didn’t know and said, “She has to be a Hahn!”

Of course, I was a little taken aback, but smiled and said, “Yes.”

She began laughing and told me she knew my husband and his family and that when she saw my daughter, her red hair, fair skin and facial features, that she had to be a part of that family.  She was right.  Many of the grandchildren in the family look so much alike that people would say they are siblings or that they look just like one of their aunts or uncle more than the parent that is not of that family.

Then you have resemblances that are based on characteristics or mannerisms more than physical features.  When our children were small, if one of them did something they needed to be corrected for, I would tell my husband they were acting just like him!  Of course he would say they were acting like me.

Frilly Dresses

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (May 31, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

Hadley Ball

Life Of A Princess

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.  1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NIV)

My two year old granddaughter loves clothes and shoes. It started when she was only one year old.  When she saw someone wearing shoes that she liked, she would tell the person to take them off so she could slip her little feet into them and attempt to walk around.  Even though she stumbled and fell often, she was determined to keep them on, smiling the whole time.

She seems to be developing into quite the little fashionista. She loves to pretend she’s a princess.  It’s common to see her wearing a pretty, frilly dress that she has picked out herself.  But it’s just as common to see her wearing those princess dresses while holding her own as she wrestles with her big brother.

Our Dwelling Place

Tree

We had a tree to fall on our house last Friday.  Just saying that sentence still causes my heart to race.  We are filled with so many different emotions.  We are thankful we were not at home when the tree fell.  We are thankful that, despite the damage and possibly having to move out temporarily when the repair work starts, we still have a home to live in.

But even in the midst of everything, there were some things that happened that definitely proved God was in control.

The massive tree split in two sections.  The first, smaller half (as in approximately 2.5 feet in diameter) fell on our carport.  Our neighbor called my Dad, who lives just five minutes away.  By the time my Dad got there, the other, much larger half (5 to 5.5 feet in diameter) of the tree fell on our house.  As my dad began to walk up to see the damage, the tree was still moving, settling down from the fall, and it was just at that point our alarm system went off.  Had my Dad been there just a couple of minutes sooner, he would have come all the way up our driveway to view the first half that had fallen.  He would have been right in the path of the second part of the fallen tree.  God fully protected him from all harm.

The second thing that happened sounds simple, but still we are giving God the praise for it.  Several years ago, our daughter had a miscarriage.  We bought a small bird bath to sit outside our kitchen window as a memorial for the baby.  We have so enjoyed seeing numerous birds come to enjoy the bird bath.  In fact, there were so many birds that used it that it had to be filled back up with water every day.