Growing up I did not always see my grandparents on my Dad’s side during the holidays. Grandmother and Papa Hill always made sure packages were wrapped and mailed to us in time to be under the tree for Christmas Eve. Most years we got our Christmas pajamas from them.
Yet, there was this one Christmas where my grandmother decided she would send me a night-gown instead of pajamas. After going out for a Christmas Eve services, dinner and visiting with friends, my brother and I rushed home anticipating opening that first gift on Christmas Eve. Of course, Dad had to draw out the anticipation by acting like he could not find the packages and then magically making them appear.
As soon as these packages landed in our laps the paper was off in the blink of an eye and the box lids flew opened. Instead of pulling out the fuzzy footie pajamas like I had always gotten, I began to pull out this night-gown. As I began to pull the gown out of the box the more material would come out. As the night-gown began to unfold and unfold, the entire room become quiet. I know the looks on the faces of my family had to be inquisitive. If you have every seen the movie, Christmas Story, I am sure my family’s faces looked about how the faces looked when the bunny rabbit pj’s were opened and the leg lamp came out of the box.
In my package that had been wrapped and shipped with love and care came out a nightgown with the size in the tag that said; “one size fits all.” As I began to unfold and unfold this nightgown, we realized that the entire family could get into this gown. (You see, I am a petite size gal. When God was giving out height, I overslept and missed getting in that line that day.) The more the gown unfolded the more everyone was scrambling for words. Suddenly out of my dad’s mouth came; “well, Peanut, looks like you have a new tent for camping.” At that moment the entire family was laughing until we were crying. Today, all I have to say is “one size fits all” and laughter will burst out in my family. I had received a gift that I was not going to be able to use.
After opening Santa and eating Christmas breakfast the next morning, Dad kept with tradition and called Papa and Grandmother Hill to wish them a Merry Christmas. My brother and I would also get on the phone to tell our grandparents thank-you for their love, thoughtfulness and the presents. This is one year I had to show gratitude for my gift while all the while my brother was in the background making a fort with the kitchen chairs and this ” one size fits all gown.”
I share this story because it is becoming the gift giving season. People work hard and shop hard to find that perfect gift to give their loved ones. These gifts are given or should be given out of the abundance of love from the heart. The gifts also show that the person cares enough to think about the receiver.
Yesterday, in my post, Extravagant Giving I shared how we need to be extravagant in our giving by giving others God’s grace. I also shared how God gave to us extravagantly so that we can have eternal life. We give to others out of the abundance of our hearts.
There are times when someone has received a gift and I have heard comments being made to the giver like the following:
“What were you thinking? I don’t need this!”
“I can’t believe you spent (insert $ amount) on this.”
“I don’t like the color.”
“This is NOT what I wanted!”
I am sure in my lifetime of forty-nine years I have made an off comment like these at some point and time. However, as I have gotten older and hopefully a little more mature I have come to realize these comments are not needed and should be said. Just as the giver has given out of the abundance of their hearts, we should receive out of the abundance of our hearts. When we are negative about a gift that has been given we are stealing the joy of the giver even if they are not present when the comment is made. Instead, we should be grateful that the person took time out of their schedule to do something for us. We also should be thankful that they took time out to think of us.
The gift is a material thing but it is also language of “I love you” and “I was thinking of you today.” Thus, our response should be that of gratitude. In other words, be an extravagant receiver. Now, what you do with the gift after the person leaves is up to you. Hold on to the gift in case you should some time need it. If the opportunity presents itself where someone else can actually use the gift, give it to them. The gift is now yours and up to you to do what you want with the gift.
As I said earlier, God gave to us extravagantly because he loves us so much and wants us with him for eternity. God gave us his Son and it is up to us to accept his Son into our hearts. We need to be an extravagant receiver of God’s gift. It is up to us as individuals of what to do with his gift. It is my hopes that we share his gift with others. We pass it on to someone else who needs Jesus in their lives.
Not only did God give us his Son but he gives us a gift everyday. As the old cliché says, every day is a present and it is up to us as to what we do with it”. It is up to us to make the most of every day God wakes us up. Each day God has blessings for us. It is up to us to be aware of his presence at all times to receive these blessings. When we receive these blessings it is important to acknowledge them and say thank you just as I acknowledged to my grandparents that I received their gift and said thank you.
This year as you receive Christmas cards and gifts be sure to be an extravagant receiver. Tell the giver thank you. Remember, the person took time out to think of you. They are giving out of the abundance of their heart. May our response to the gifts we receive and especially to the gift God gave us be the following:
“Thank you for thinking of me.”
“You are such a generous giver.”
“ I didn’t realized I needed this blessing today but YOU did.”
I love the reminder we are given in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 about having a grateful heart;
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will
for you in Jesus Christ.
It is when we are an extravagant receiver that we will see the giver in a whole new perspective. We begin to see and experience joy in all things and we will become more open to see beyond the material gift and see the abundance of love the person has in their heart. May our receiving be a blessing to others this year as their giving is a blessing to us.
Until next time, give thanks for ALL things!
- Extravagant Giving (aprilhawk.wordpress.com)
- The Christmas Present Pile-Up: How Much Do You Buy? (motherhoodismagic.com)
- The gift of giving (fechaplaincy.wordpress.com)
When you hear the word, extravagant what comes to mind? Maybe it is the latest sports car that is on the front of Car and Driver. Maybe it is that featured house in Southern Living and how it is decorated. For some of us it may be a vision of that tropical vacation on some remote Island.
Extravagant is defined and perceived in many ways. The picture of the Taj Mahal is an example of extravagance at its finest. Shah Jahan ordered it to be built as a dedication to his late wife whose tomb is set within the building. It was said he did this because he loved her so much. It was built in the seventh century and it took twenty-two years to build. As I googled information on the building, it is said to be known as the most perfect building in the world. This building stands all because of the love one person had for another. In other words, it can be seen and perceived as extravagant giving.
Extravagant giving. What does it really mean? Does it mean we give the biggest and most expensive gift to someone? Does it mean we try to build something big like the Taj Mahal to show our love to someone? My personal answer to these questions is; no. Extravagant giving does not mean giving the biggest and most expensive gift or building something big just to impress or to show our love to someone.
When I think of extravagant giving the story in Luke 7:36-50 comes to mind. Jesus is invited to dinner at a Pharisee’s home. Social graces were that Simon should wash the feet of Jesus and anoint Jesus’ head with oil. Yet, Simon had neglected to do this for Jesus as he entered the home. As Jesus enters the home, a woman enters the home. The scriptures describe her as a sinful woman. ”When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” This woman gave an extravagant gift and that was her overflowing love to Jesus for the forgiveness and grace he had shown.
Yes, the alabaster jars were considered to be extravagant in that time. The perfume she used was said to be a very expensive perfume. In a material sense she one would say she gave extravagantly and the Pharisees would agree. Yet, the most extravagant thing in her giving was giving of herself and her gratitude to Christ. She gave out of the abundance of her heart.
If there were time and enough space to type, we could go through the gospels and see other ways people gave extravagant gifts. The little boy with the fish and the loaves, the widow who gave the last cent she had, and the list goes on. No matter the story, the theme is the same. These people knew what it meant to give in extra-ordinary and extravagant ways. They gave from their hearts the very best they had without complaining. They gave out of love.
The Christmas Season is rapidly approaching. In a few weeks we will be celebrating Advent. Hanging of the Greens services will be taking place in churches. Preparations in homes will be made to get ready to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. It is a time of year where we celebrate the extravagant gift we have been given from God. We celebrate his Son, Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY begotten son-so that we may have life eternal” (John 3:16 paraphrased). It is God’s extravagant giving that we have received mercy and grace. It is because of his extravagant giving that life doesn’t end when we leave this world but we continue to live on in our eternal home with our Father.
The Christmas Season is rapidly approaching. Commercials are running promoting the” have to have” product this year. People are making their lists for Santa and gathering shopping lists to shop for family and friends. The common statement you will hear this time of year is: “I don’t know what I am going to give_________(you fill in the person’s name) for Christmas.
How about this year you give not the “World’s Most Perfect Building.” In other words, it is not about the thing we give that shows our love but it is out of the over-flowing of love and gratitude from the grace that we have been given and shown. Maybe there is someone from whom we need to seek for forgiveness. Maybe there is someone who needs forgiveness extended to them.
Perhaps God has placed someone in our life who is longing to belong. They are searching for answers and we are the ones who can tell them about God’s extravagant gift, his Son, Jesus.
Yes, the Taj Mahal may be considered “The World’s Most Perfect Building” but there is no gift that is more perfect than the gift of grace that has been extended to us from the cross. May we give extravagantly this Christmas.
Questions for reflection:
Where have you experienced extravagant giving?
Is there a significant person who stands out or has shown you extravagant giving?
What are some things you can do this Christmas Season to demonstrate extravagant giving and the true meaning of Christmas?
As you go through the days ahead, keep your eyes, ears and heart opened to where God leads you to share his extravagant love and grace.
A couple of weekends ago Jim and I headed to Georgia for a long weekend. This weekend involved in being at several different venues during the course of the weekend. As always I struggled to discern on what clothes I needed to pack and what really didn’t need to go. Progressing into the weekend, I realized I didn’t need to take as much as I took.
We have all been there. We are planning a trip and we over pack. We over pack because we are afraid we won’t have the right outfit for a dinner, or something could happen and we need that particular item. Thus, we pack everything but the kitchen sink and take it with us.
The result in packing everything but the kitchen sink is that the room in the car is limited. Our car has been so packed full at times that I was not able to recline my seat back. When Drew was young and still in a car seat there were trips where there would be just enough space for his seat. I look back on it and laugh and yet I see it as sad, too. Sad because we got so caught up in the packing that we didn’t look forward to the trip.
We didn’t look forward to the trip because we were exhausted from packing. And, we were dreading getting to our destination because we knew we had to unload it all and then pack it all up and take it back home. It makes me tired just thinking about it now.
In this world we are on a journey. On this journey we tend to over pack. We over pack by carrying burdens we do not need to carry. Our over packing involves living with not forgiving someone or even sometimes forgiving ourselves for something. In other words, we stuff our lives with baggage of shame, guilt, and with what the material world says we need to have.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 that God wants us to pack lightly as we journey through life. He says:
Come to me all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
In other words, we don’t need to carry the burdens, unforgiving hearts, ways of the world and all other things that weigh our hearts down. I love what Rick Warren says in Purpose Driven Life: “God created us for his enjoyment” Do you think he enjoys seeing us continually stuffing things down in our souls and carrying it wherever we go?
We stuff these things down in our souls and hearts because of fear. It is just like over packing for a trip, we are fearful that we may need it at some point or we are afraid of what might happen if we leave the item behind. Then, as we journey in life we are exhausted, we dread what is ahead of us and we miss the blessings that God has planned for us.
Our journey is before us. May we begin to sort out what is and isn’t important. May we seek forgiveness where forgiveness is needed. Let’s no longer hold on to things with the fear that we can’t be without it. Instead, let’s lay our stuff at the feet of Jesus and begin to enjoy our journey and look forward to our destination.
Our destination is heaven. God says to pack lightly because all he needs us to bring is our hearts to him. There is no need to arrive exhausted and weary.
Until next time, may you enjoy the journey and experience God’s blessings.
- Lighten the Load (taylorschatz.wordpress.com)
- Learning the Yoke (fellowshipofaburningheart.wordpress.com)
- Tired? At the end of your rope? Then Come to me! (regenerationandrepentance.wordpress.com)
This next week the small group that I participate in will complete a study called, No Other gods” By Kelly Minter. Over the years we have done many studies but this one really touched the heart of the matter for me. This study has shown what we may think are simple collections and likes can be in the way of being a blessing for God and God blessing us.
In my previous post, Seek God’s Beauty, I share how the material world gives us the superficial promise that certain products will make us beautiful. These products and their creators will change our lives. Yet, as Christians we know that the only ONE who can change our lives and make us beautiful is our Creator/ Father.
Along with the superficial promises of making us beautiful are the lies that we all buy into that promise to make our life complete. In Exodus 20:3, God does not beat around the bush by telling us that we should NOT have any other gods. Yet, we all have them.
We laugh and say “if Eve had not listened to the snake and eaten the apple, we would all be better off.” Satan convinced Eve that pretty apple was good. He convinced her that she would have wisdom. “Oh, go ahead Eve, take that apple, take a bite and taste its sweet juices.” Oh, go ahead, one more cookie won’t hurt us.” “Who cares if it isn’t on sale, I deserve this and I want this item.” “You know I have a collection of these and I don’t have this one particular one and I NEED it to make my collection complete.” ” I have worked hard and I have earned this shopping trip.” Any of these statements sound familiar? We have bought these items in hopes to be in with the crowd, to keep up appearances, to impress or because we are promised that life will be better. Marketing experts will tell you that the biggest consumer in our society is the woman.
Look around your home for the pretty little apples you have bought over time. What are these things doing? Are they bringing you joy or are they an annoyance because you can’t walk into a room because it is so full of pretty apples that you have bought over time? Are these items a dreaded item you have to pick up to move each time you dust? Maybe there are apples around you that now as you look at them you wonder what you were thinking when you purchased them. Last but not least, have these items brought you closer to God? Have they brought you blessings? Have they made you any wiser?
I have noticed that my son and daughter-in-law’s generation is not into things. They seem to want the basics. My son and daughter-n-law are more interested in investing in other people. They invest by volunteering to help in the community through their church and work. They invest by spending quality time with family and friends.
These days I have been cleaning out and getting rid of clothes I have not worn, items I have not used and things I hate to dust. As I do this cleaning out, I feel my soul being cleansed and my eyes are being opened to the greater picture of God’s kingdom and the blessings he has planned for me everyday. I have come across some things that at one time were a pretty little apple and now I ask myself what was I thinking? It is no longer pretty to me.
As I worked on the last week of the study, No Other gods, a song by the group Kansas came to mind. The song is called The Wall. For those of you who don’t know, Kansas was known for their Christian music/lyrics before they crossed over into the pop/rock scene. Today, I read some of the lyrics. These words struck a chord for me ( no pun intended); “blocking out the light and blinding me from what I ought to see.” ”Its a travesty.”
Things. Pretty little apples.Collections. Clutter. Eating in excess. All of these things are blocking what we need to see and that is the light of Jesus Christ. When we are caught up in our pretty little apples and busy collecting more, we miss the blessings God has planned for us. We miss the opportunity to invest ourselves in someone else. In those missed opportunities we potentially miss the opportunity of inviting someone to join us in God’s kingdom. We deny God of our blessing him.
I love the words of Psalm 17:8-15:
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who assail me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.
They close up their callous hearts,
and their mouths speak with arrogance.
They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
They are like the lion, hungry for prey,
like a great lion crouching in cover.
Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down;
rescue me from the wicked by your sword.
O LORD, by your hand save me from such men,
from men of this world whose reward is in this life.
You still the hunger of those you cherish;
their sons have plenty,
and they store up wealth for their children.
And I-in righteousness I will see your face.;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness..
The next time you are tempted by pretty little apples and think life will not go on if you don’t obtain it, remember that the only apple God is interested in is you. He is interested in your heart, and he is interested in where you are investing your heart. May we be more concerned with upholding our value of being the apple of God’s eye instead of seeking our value in the pretty little apples that the world tells us that we need to have.
Take time to listen to the video below. Listen and read the words carefully. What pretty little apples do you need to be rid of? Ask yourself; what is more important obtaining things or spending time with God and investing in other people? Then, say a prayer or write a prayer to God asking him to help you to get rid of the pretty little apples and to open your eyes to the blessings he has planned for you. Then, go and seek where you can invest in his kingdom.
“The treasures I seek are on the other side.” There is NO loss.” (Kansas) In other words;
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
watch the video…..
“Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”
I Peter:3:3 The Message
As I go about my daily activities around the house, the television plays in the background. Though the television is on, I find myself caught up in my own thoughts. Yet, I hear the words of a testimonial from an infomercial; “his product really changed my life, ” I feel better about who I am.”
These testimonials echoed in my head and in my heart this morning. I thought about how we have put such emphasis on outward appearance these days. Infomercials tell us what products we must have in order to look and feel better. Other social media avenues such as Pinterest and Facebook have all the different fashions all put together for us as a blueprint of how we are to look as we head out to run those errands.
It is my fear that we get so caught up in what society defines as beauty that we have forgotten the true beauty God created. Society telling us what to do, what to use and defining beauty is no different from the Pharisees were with their rigidity of the laws that they had added to God’s commandments in order to be right with God.
The Pharisees missed out on the relationship that God wanted to have with them because they were so wrapped up in the laws. We miss a relationship with God and with others because we get so wrapped up in how we look and assessing others on how they look. Not only do we miss the relationship, we miss the blessings God has planned for us when we are wrapped up in ourselves instead of focusing on him and those around us.
True beauty is a matter of the heart. It is allowing God’s light and Holy Spirit shine through us and sharing that light with others. As we see others, we need to see them as Christ’s sees them. He sees beyond the outside and sees the heart.
The words, “his product really changed my life” really hit a nerve for me today. The only one person who can change your life and make it more beautiful is accepting Christ into your heart. It is when you accept Him into your heart, walk in the footsteps of his grace and love, and begin to really seek the heart of others, we experience the beauty God meant for us to experience.
Think about it….when we reach those pearly gates, God is not going to make sure we are in the latest suggested fashion before letting us into his kingdom. However, he is going to look at our hearts and how we shared His grace and love to others. God is going to see how we lived our love for his son, Jesus out loud.
I challenge you in the days ahead to look beyond the appearance of people you encounter. It is going to be in these experiences you are going to experience the beauty of God and his love and grace.
“Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray-and shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” 1 Timothy 2:8-10 The Message
Seek God’s Beauty. It is all around you.
Jim and I have lived in the same town for twenty-three years. We have lived in the home we are in now for about eighteen years. Yet, when we leave the house to go to church, the grocery, out to eat, or whatever errand we must run, it seems we always have the same conversation when we start.
April: You know we are going to the grocery don’t you?
Jim: Yes, I know we are going to the grocery.
April: Then, why are you going this way. I always go down such and such
street to get there.
Jim: Well, I like going this way to get there because there are less traffic lights.
April: Well, I like the other way because it has traffic lights and it is easier to get out in traffic.
Even though we have this conversation time after time, we still get to our destination. Jim has one way he likes to go and I have another way I like to go. Our Christian journey is pretty much like Jim and me taking different streets to get to the same destination.
One example of taking different directions are the choices we make in where we worship. Our son, Drew was raised Methodist. Yet, when he went out on his own, he chose another route to grow in his Christian walk. His dad and I encouraged him to find a church home and when doing so to make sure it stood on firm biblical principles. We also encouraged him to make sure that it was not only a place where he could/would grow in his own spiritual walk but a place where he could encourage others and invite others to join him on the journey.
Not only are there different places and styles of worship for us to choose from on our journey. We all have different backgrounds, stories and experiences. It because of these experiences that we may see things a little differently from someone else who is heading towards the same destination but on a different route. No one is better than the other. It is all a part of the Master’s plan in molding us and preparing us for that final destination. We are all different so that we can learn from one another, teach one another and see how the grace of God is at work in many ways and in many lives.
On our journey, we have choices to make. Some of us take the streets where there are traffic lights that make us stop and look before merging into traffic. In other words, we stop and look to see where we need to go, who we need to help and see where we fit into the big picture. Then, there are others of us who simply like going on the streets where you don’t need to a light to merge into traffic. It is more comfortable for us to put the metal to the pedal and jump right in and go!
As I sit with my bible in my lap, I turn the pages. In these pages I see the maps of the journeys that different ones took to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. No one journey was alike just like none of our journeys are just alike. Yet, we have the same message to share to those we encounter on our journey. The message is that God sent his Son so that all can experience and receive his marvelous grace. We must continue to share the message of how Christ died for ALL not just for some.
As we travel this road we call life, may we be ready to stop at the traffic lights and listen to the Father to lead us into serving God’s children. And, may we to be ready for those times when He doesn’t give us a light but He just says; “go!” and trust Him. Last but not least, let’s make sure we invite others to join us on the journey.
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus
had told them to go. When they saw him, the worshiped him; but some doubted.
Then Jesus came to them and said. ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been
given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the
the name of the Father and of the Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey
everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the
very end of the age.’
May we feel his Holy Presence as we continue our journey.
- Habukkuk 2:4 (holyessays.wordpress.com)
- Why I Follow Jesus… (youngadultministries.wordpress.com)
- Keep Walking, Friend – the Son Has Risen. (therisenson.wordpress.com)
- God’s Assurance When the Going Gets Tough (conmakhalira.wordpress.com)
In previous posts, I have shared the joy music brings to my heart and to my husband, Jim’s heart. Jim and I are music lovers and our interest in music is not one specific category. Yet, there are times when Jim will lean more into one direction of a particular artist and style that is not really my thing but I respect what he likes and will listen with him. In return, Jim does the same with me. When these moments occur I recall the Donny Marie show where they would sing “I’m a little bit Country and I’m a little bit Rock and Roll.”
Jim and I have learned to respect each other’s heart and taste in music. It is through this respect of musical tastes we have learned more about each other and there are times when we will come to like a particular artist or song that the other likes. The times when we come to like one of the other’s favorite artist, song and/or genre comes out of that respect we have for each other. It is through the listening to the song that we learn about the other’s soul and what fills their heart up with joy or simply makes them happy.
In today’s time we have Traditional and Contemporary Worship Services. No one particular service or music is better than the other. It is a church’s way of offering to feed the many needs of the soul. When I think of the differences in worship, I think of the Donny and Marie show when they would sing; “I’m a little bit country” and “I’m a little bit rock and roll.” We have those who like the old traditional hymns and those who like the latest song that is hot on Christian radio. And, there are those who are like myself that just love it all.
It is in the feeding of the soul through music is where it is important to realize that as musicians who are leading in song no matter if it is Contemporary or Traditional that it is not a performance for the congregation to see but it is a leading of song from the soul. In other words, when we sing as musicians it is important that we are singing to praise God and it is from the soul and not a weekly performance that we feel obligated to get up and give. It is a time of putting self aside and allowing the Holy Spirit fill us up and to spill his wonderful joy and grace out in song and encourage those around us to lift their voice in song.
This past weekend, Jim and I watched two Tyler Perry plays at home. We love his plays because of the messages that he gives through his characters in unconditional, love, forgiveness and simply that God is the Master of our life.
Not only do we love the message of Tyler Perry’s plays, we love the music. There were a couple of times when watching the plays this weekend and listening to the music in these plays that Jim and I had tears in our eyes because the music spoke to our hearts and souls. Though the people were playing certain characters in the play when it came to singing it went beyond performing. The words they were singing were written in a script for them to sing. Yet, they were singing from deep within the soul. They believed what they were singing.
As you journey in the days ahead, don’t look at the music leaders and/or choir in worship as a time of performance, instead, listen to the words they are singing. Allow the lyrics to touch your soul and fill you up with the Holy Spirit. If you are a worship leader and/or choir member, don’t look at that worship hour as one thing to check off your list. Instead, feel the lyrics you are singing from your soul, ask the Holy Spirit to shine through you so people will feel God’s mighty presence and will want to join you in song.
Realize that it doesn’t matter if you are “a little bit of country” or a little bit rock and roll.” What matters is that you know that you are standing in the presence of God and you are allowing him to feed your soul through music. Not only is your soul being fed but you are also witnessing to those around you your belief in a Mighty God.
“Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation dad after day.
Watch and listen to this video from start to finish. Chris Tomlin does a beautiful job of incorporating the traditional in with the contemporary.
- Music and Worship (greysonferrari.wordpress.com)
- Traditional Worship vs. Modern Worship (jdmckenzie.wordpress.com)
- ‘The instrument is the body, which serves as lute, harp and lyre’ (avowofconversation.wordpress.com)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation , by prayer and petition with thanksgiving
present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds
In Christ Jesus.
Thank you for the blessings of the day.
Please be with Jim and me as we walk our journey with you.
Surround us with your Holy Spirit as individuals and as a couple.
Place your Holy Spirit around our home and in our home so that those who
encounter us or pass our home will experience a peace that passes ALL understanding.
I share this portion of a prayer that I pray each night before going to bed. For me, there is no going to sleep or peaceful night’s sleep until I have said my prayers to God and place the night and the day ahead into his hands. Last night was no different with the exception that I was to the point of exhaustion that I literally just collapsed into my Father’s arms as I prayed.
In this process of prayer time and writing, I am awaiting tests results. Life is happening with its twists and turns. I haven’t felt well for most of the summer. Thus, prompting a visit to my doctor. Over the years we have known that I was border line lupus. Jim and I knew that there was a possibility that one day that those lab numbers could/would cross the line and a new and not wanted diagnoses would occur. It is something that I am still trying to understand and get my head around.
On top of me not feeling well, we have found out that Jim’s father’s cancer has begun to be active again. Thus, Jim is taking more time off from work to go to take care of his Mom and Dad and to be with them at doctor’s visits. Neither Jim nor me begrudge Jim having to make these trips. It is just what you do for the people who brought you into this world and who have loved, nurtured and stood by your side in growing up and in watching you raise a family.
With both of these scenarios taking place simultaneously and trying to keep up with the activities we participate in with our church, small groups, work and community, it has become overwhelming at times. Jim and I both have had to say no to some activities and put some things on hold until we can get a handle on all that is happening in our lives right now. Yet, we have and will keep the faith and look up. There are days that our strength is nothing but the Lord’s doing and working in our lives.
As I said earlier I collapsed into my Father’s arms with exhaustion. I poured out my heart to him and in doing so I was reminded of the two scriptures from John 14:27 and Philippians 4:6-7. Despite all that is going on in the Hawkins home and the possibilities of what may come I know there is no need to be anxious because I have a loving Father walking by my side. This same Father is walking beside Jim as well and us as a couple. Last night, I closed by asking the Father to allow me to fall asleep in his arms, and to feel that peace that he promises us in John.
Then the indescribable happened. laying on my side asleep facing Jim, I felt these arms wrap around all around me. As these arms wrapped around me, I felt this indescribable warmth. The arms that came around me and hugged me tight. This was a hug I have ever experienced on this earth. I wish I could describe the way the arms felt and the warmth felt. Yet, it is all beyond any words I can say or write. It is beyond comprehension. Though this hug is indescribable and beyond comprehension, I can say that there was that peace that passes all understanding promised from our Father that wrapped around me as I felt this hug.
This morning I tried to tell Jim of this experience. There was a struggle for words to describe what I had felt in the night. As I struggled to describe the indescribable, I simply looked at Jim and said; “Jesus came last night. He hugged me. I felt His peace.” This morning I didn’t wake up healed or feeling different physically but I woke up with a new joy in my life despite all that is happening right now. I don’t know what is in store for me or any of my family members in the days ahead. However, I have been affirmed that Jim nor I are walking the journey alone. My Father who hugged me in the night is right there placing peace in ALL situations. And, it is a peace that passes ALL understanding and comprehension.
“His eye is on the sparrow and I KNOW He watches me.”
If that one moment of peace and hug last night was indescribable, I can only imagine what it’s going to feel like when I meet my Father face to face. Holy Goose Bumps!