"Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn't change like shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon." ~ James 1:17 (God's Word)
There are many tangible expressions of love during the "Valentine month"--elaborate heart-shaped boxes of delicious chocolates, long-stemmed red roses, special trips for two, and sentimental Hallmark cards.
But human love is fickle when it comes to gift-giving and staying power. Only One is the true lover of our hearts--our heavenly Father. He is faithful and ever-present, never leaving us or abandoning us. And always giving the life-gifts we need each day for our bodies, minds, and spirits. God's ultimate present to His beloved children is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I attempt to wrap my mind (and heart and soul) around this precious and thoroughly amazing concept--that the God of the universe absolutely cherishes us enough to give up His only Son. He is our one true constant in this life of continual change. His presence in our lives makes all the difference, dear reader-friends!
How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God. How vast in number they are! If I try to count them, there would be more of them than there are grains of sand. When I wake up, I am still with you.
—Psalm 139:17-18 (God's Word)
Just think, the Creator of the universe is thinking constantly of us.....loving us, guiding us, and drawing us closer to Him.
This New Year, as I contemplate David's rejoicing, and of singing this amazing worshipful song, I realize that I, too, can never measure God's consideration of us. We, as parents and grandparents, often think of giving quality time and undivided attention to our families, but we cannot begin to match the never-ending, unfathomable love of our heavenly Father.
Let this reality pour over you today, and all the rest of this year, dear reader-friend. God is here with us...with you, to be your guide, your protector, and your dearest friend. He is walking right beside you, extending His arm like a tender shepherd.
May this New Year 2013 bring you closer than ever before to our great and glorious Lord.
The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David's city. This is how you will recognize him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger."
Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will."
--Luke 2:10-14 God's Word Bible
If you follow my daily Facebook posts, you'll know that my dad recently celebrated his 87th birthday. Dad says he is surprised to have lived this long, considering his quadruple bypass 29 years ago! When people ask about this miracle, he says simply, "It is a joy to follow and serve the Lord Jesus. He is my strength."
Every December, at our family's celebration, Dad loves to read the Christmas Story from the book of Luke--his favorite narrative of Jesus' birth. With the little ones sitting at his knee, their little eyes filled with wonder, Dad reads and talks about "Dr. Luke's" account of this glorious, history-altering event.
I, too, embrace the joy of following our Savior, listening closely to His call on my life--personal and writing--and thanking God for sending this Blessed Gift to our dark and needy world.
This Christmas I pray that you will also find meaningful moments in the merry-making, creating delightful memories, even spiritual ones, with your own family, while adoring this most precious Babe in the manger. The Christ Child born so that He might die, covering our sins with Redemption's plan. Amazing love, how can it be?
Merry Christmas, dear reader-friends!
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
-- Romans 8:1-2 ESV
Recently, I returned from eleven days in Lancaster County Amish country. Once again, I was homesick even before I boarded the plane to fly back to Colorado, where my family and I now reside. A myriad of memories flitted across my mind while walking the back roads of Strasburg, Neffsville, and Ronks (near Paradise).
During that time, I also was given permission by the present owner of my childhood home to walk along the perimeter of the grove of tall Norway spruce my father planted when I was a mere fifth grader and just beginning to write my stories (and too shy to show anyone but my mother). A flood of emotions poured over me as I walked that ground, and I lingered longingly near the places where, all those years ago, I sat to write in my secret writing notebook.
And I wondered: Had I fulfilled the things I’d set out to do for God so energetically, so joyously?Even as a child, I was incredibly driven, motivated by an internal to-do list. Oh, the sometimes nearly never-ending lists of deeds I planned to accomplish! Goals centered in the heart of my newfound faith in Christ.
If I could talk to that young schoolgirl now—my preteen self—and tell her what I’ve learned about faith in God, I believe it would go something like this: Salvation is absolutely a gift from God. No amount of works or deeds can alter that fact. Yes, we are known by the fruit that is evidenced in our lives, but it is ultimately God’s work of grace in us that makes all the difference.
What is most important is to trust in the Lord...and not in ourselves. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to “grow up” in the ways of the Lord...and for parents who encouraged me in my jubilant, even zealous childlike faith in Christ. Walking the soil of Lancaster County was an inspiration for me in every way.
A blessed autumn—and Season of Thanks--to you, my dear reader-friend!