Beauty on January 6

This January 6, we had a morning snow in middle Tennessee, which brought a blanket of peace and beauty for those safe at home. As I look out the window, it reminds me of the snow globes I used to be mesmerized with as a child – a dream world that seemed pure and enchanting.

What a contrast of the divisive strife coming from our national leaders. When will a leader bring Americans together? Promoting unity is not a way to keep power these days, but it is an ache within us waiting to be soothed. May kinder and cooperative days fall over us like gentle snow, making us more beautiful.

Read the New Testament this Year – You can do it!

I have noticed some great posts with Bible reading plans for 2022. Which one is best? The plan that works for you!

After working with new converts, seasoned pastors, and observing myself, I am convinced that reading the New Testament in a calendar year is a realistic plan. 

I have used for years the 5x5x5 New Testament Bible Reading plan designed by Navigators.   This plan only takes 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week

A link to the PDF is here

Also there is a digital link on You Version.

https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/232-discipleship-journals-5x5x5-reading-plan

It’s helpful to use both the printout and Your Version. 

You can do it!

Divine love colors you with beauty

Many things we love never love us in return.
Many people we love never love us in return.
This reality is why love is always a risk.

Except with God. Any love given to God is a response to Him loving us first.

During this fourth week of Advent, we focus on love. We have difficulty accepting a God who loves us for many different reasons, and it seems each person has a customized objection. Our understanding of God is complicated, and His love is not easy to comprehend. Divine love is hard to explain, but it is always accessible to receive.

Accept that God loves you, and it will color your life with beauty this week and beyond.

Comfort for Christmas Week

We are turning the corner to Christmas week, and I am not emotionally ready quite yet. I am not prepared for all the festivities to begin because I do not want them to end. That is where I am this year, ready to soak up the comfort and joy.

However, I have experienced some dark Christmas weeks in which the holiday only exasperated my pain. I recognize many of you are in a dark season, and I am thinking about you and praying for you.

There is no perfect Christmas celebration, so we take what life gives us under the grace of God, whether in good or bad circumstances. Let’s face this Christmas with poise, strength, resolve, and perspective. Let’s not get too up or too down. Steady on in the will of God, as we assuredly plod forward.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

‘Tis the season for you

The holiday is made for you; you are not made for the holiday.

This statement is based on Jesus’ teaching, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).”

So, you WILL NOT …

Make everyone happy.
Attend every party.
Remember every deadline.
Give perfect gifts.
Obtain that iconic family photo.

The holiday is for you to slow down, feast, enjoy, and savor. Christmas does not have to mean stress. We do not have to accept that narrative.

‘Tis the season to be jolly!

We hope!

Put your hope in God. 
Hope through Jesus.
Receive hope through the Holy Spirit.

Advent begins today. The theme of HOPE on this 1st Advent Sunday reminds us that …

  • There is something greater beyond us
  • There is something available with us
  • There is something to look forward to

Put your hope in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

Better holidays are in our future

Not all holiday experiences are created equal. While some of us may enjoy every moment, others hurt. A day is coming when there will be no evil, and through Jesus Christ our Lord, we will all feast together. It will be a perpetual “holy-day” with no one in distress.

The holidays we enjoy in this life give a foretaste of a greater reality. The difficult holidays make us long for something better that is on its way. Whatever experience is yours this Thanksgiving, take heart that the best is ahead. Our future is together in Him.

Challenges create our story

Do not let your problems overwhelm you because the resolution is ahead. Take a deep breath, and recognize that no emotion you are managing is unique to humanity. We are resilient. We are problem-solvers. As image-bearers of our Creator, we move into the future with confidence that every challenge is our story of glory.

A prayer of hope for those who feel forgotten

I have been reading in Scripture about the remarkable life of Joseph. In my study Bible, Dr. George Guthrie wrote this inspiring prayer that is giving me hope today:

“Yet you had a plan. You moved a youth from prisoner to prime minister. Let me see your providential hand in the affairs of my life, even as Joseph confessed that though his brothers had planned evil against him, ‘God planned it for good’ (Gn 50:20). Amen.”