Let’s Offer Hope

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The “C” word. Not the word, Christmas.

But the word – Cancer.

It is the word no one wants to hear when they sit across from a doctor as he is giving their diagnosis. Cancer has no friends. It does not play favorites, striking wherever and whomever it may.

When it strikes, one is immediately thrown into a journey which is difficult, emotional, lonely, and long. You become educated in ways you never dreamed.

Hospitals, oncologists, ports, blood draws, chemotherapy, carboplatin, gemcitabine, CA125, and Neulasta become words all too familiar to your vocabulary.

I am not sure exactly when I became aware of blogger, Kara Tippetts. She instantly drew me in with her transparency. She shared so openly of her struggle with cancer and chemo. She was gut wrenchingly honest as she shared her doubts, her questions, her worries about her family. The one area she never wavered was in her faith in God.

She held onto Him with a tenacity, constantly pointing me to Him, without having ever met face to face.

It would be to her words that I would return, time and time again, to read in my darkest hours. For I knew, I would find renewed hope in and through our God, as I read each post. She kept me company when I sat through the night alongside my family member, even though she never knew me.

Often I would read her posts aloud to family as we sat together with our tears rolling. By the end of the post, our hearts were strengthened and encouraged and hopeful.

Kara went home to Jesus on March 22, 2015, after a long battle with breast cancer. But her legacy lives on.

Some of you may have already heard the news: Kara’s brother, Dennis, is pouring his heart and soul into creating a foundation in Kara’s honor to help others live life to its fullest as they journey Stage IV cancer. So many are burdened by the financial strain of medical expenses. The foundation is looking to raise money to help and bless others traveling this difficult road. Let’s be a reminder of grace in their hard.

When I heard of the foundation, it struck me of the love and compassion this family has for Kara. They are wanting her legacy to bless others who are now on this same undesired journey. Hear for yourself their heart in starting this foundation  –

So many of us were blessed by Kara’s blog posts, her books, and by her life. So today I am stepping out of my comfort zone with a bold request. Won’t you consider giving today to the foundation? Know that your donation is tax deductible. Let’s help those people with stage four cancer who are having a hard holiday season. If we all give, whether small (even $1.) or big, it will add up and make a difference for a family this Christmas.

12227159_10207938435489296_7697558756036116401_nYou can give here.

Thank you!

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1: 78-79, NLT)

 

Today I am joining … #SmallWonder and Inspire Me Monday .

Joy

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“The angel assured them, “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2: 10-11, NLT)

 

 

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Today I am joining … Faith ‘n Friends and Weekend Whispers and Word of God Speak and Spiritual Sundays and Scripture & a Snapshot .

Worship Changes Everything

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The music quickly filled the car …

“Give me eyes to see
More of who You are
May what I behold,
Still my anxious heart.
Take what I have known
And break it all apart
For You my God, are greater still.”

Those seven lines I play over and over, letting the words sink in slowly and deeply. We need to have eyes which see God increasingly. As we worship Him, we come to know more of His character and ways. As we behold, our anxious hearts will be stilled when our world is shaken. And the realization will be, “For You my God, are greater still.”

In her book, Worship Changes Everything, Darlene Zschech brings this definition of worship from Eugen Peterson: “A tribute to God when He comes.”

Worship, simply put, is our response to His majesty, to who God is.

“Our lives are changed forever when we worship God for all He is worth with all we are worth. (page 13)

Zschech divides the book into two parts with the first part concentrating on the heart of worship. She helps us to understand God’s love for us and our love for Him. Worship will cost us everything as we give ourselves totally and completely to God as living sacrifices. Our entire lives, all that we do, becomes an act of worship to our Creator.

“As we worship God in and through the relationships, activities, and places in our lives, His power changes us. (page 79)

In the second part, Zschech addresses worship in and through our love for others, our attitude, our words, our suffering, our money, our marriage, in His sanctuary, and in our wilderness times. Our lives become an expression of worship in all that we do, in every circumstance, good or bad, happy or sad.

Reading this book has especially made this season of Advent more meaningful. As I read devotional thoughts, I found myself more amazed at the birth of Christ and all His birth encompasses. I became more aware of the greatness of God, His majesty, and His unfathomable love for imperfect people.

This book was written with a refreshing transparency as Zschech shared from her own life experiences. She included quotes which added to my enjoyment of this book, as worship was presented from various sources and  circumstances in time. Each quote and story was bringing added insights.

The book was an easy read but one should read it slowly, letting the Scriptures sink in. A new found appreciation for worship will surely be developed in so doing.

Warren Wiersbe says, “Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are – mind, emotions, will, body – to what God is and says and does. A.W. Tozer says, “We must never rest until everything inside us worships God.” (page 77)

May we each come to Him with our hearts humbled before Him in worship …

But the time is coming – indeed it’s here now – when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. (John 4:23, NLT)

 

 

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*** I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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Today I am joining … Faith Filled Friday and #DanceWithJesus and Literacy Musing Mondays and Booknificent Thursdays and Grace & Truth .

He Became Homeless

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Luke made certain we would always know our Savior had no home, no clothes, no bassinet. No comforts.

Our long awaited Savior homeless. He left His home in the glories of heaven, set aside His own glory and came to earth entering the human race to save us.

And He remained homeless while He was here on earth, telling us Himself:

“Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58, NLT)

 

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This morning I am sharing my thoughts over at The Lulu Tree . I hope you will join me for the rest of this post on Christmas, homelessness, and family.

 

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Today I am joining …. Everyday Jesus and Thought Provoking Thursday .

Lamb of God

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It is amazing how a song can hit with a freshness that causes one to stop in absolute wonder. One line breathes life into that which has been known for years.

A virgin cried when You were born. Tears of joy and tears of pain.

Mary, a young girl, pregnant and unsure of her future. She experienced childbirth the very same way every woman before, and every woman after, has since experienced. Jesus came into this world, fully human, in the very manner each human has entered. Yet there was one significant difference…..

Fully God and fully Man.

There He was, born of a virgin, fully God and fully Man, at the same time and lying in the manger. Jesus, “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7). He came – fully Man – in order to experience life, to show us the way to live life, and to make the way for us to live.

You had come to give Your life as a holy sacrifice.

He came, knowing, His life would be the sacrifice for sin for each and every human. For this was the plan from the beginning, before the foundations of the world. And He came. For me. For you.

We were blind and lost, but You came to rescue us.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10). He came, knowing apart from Him, we would forever be wandering and lost.

All You came to do You’ve done.

He accomplished the will of the Father. A way was made to provide salvation, once for all. One could say the mission was accomplished. “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18). His birth was meant for His death.

Yes, we thank You Holy Lamb of God.

On that day, in Bethlehem, the Holy Lamb of God was born in the form of a babe. The perfect sacrifice, for you and I, was delivered to earth. Prophecy fulfilled. Plan intact. Salvation for all mankind. And our response should be,

“Worthy, You are Worthy.

King of Kings, Lord of Lords

I worship You.”

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, May, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” (Matthew 2:10).

 

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Today I am joining … Three Word Wednesday and Tell His Story and Women With Intention .

Jesus Loves Me

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I recently found myself reading in Hosea. It is a beautiful story of how Hosea loves his wife, who is unfaithful to him. Not only unfaithful, she prostitutes herself – making herself difficult to love and an embarrassment to Hosea, a prophet.

But Hosea woos Gomer back and gives us a beautiful allegory of the way God loves His people. Hosea tells us the one thing God desires above ANYTHING else – – God wants our love.

“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me, more than I want burnt offerings”. (Hosea 6:6, NLT)

The Living Bible says it this way… “I don’t want your sacrifices – I want your love.” God wants us to fall in love with Him. And stay in love with Him.

Our love for God will cause us to worship Him, which will cause us to know Him more deeply and intimately. Our worship of Him is rooted in our knowing to the core of our being how very much He loves us and cherishes us.

The other morning, I had music on while getting ready. The simple song, “Jesus Loves Me” began to fill room. The beauty and the power in those familiar words, which I have sung since I was a little girl, was overwhelming. Their profoundness striking deeply at that very moment. I may never be able to sing them again without remembering.

We will never be able to love others well until we know we are well loved by the very God who created us. And this “knowing” cannot be solely head knowledge. Our hearts need to know.

Saint Augustine put it this way ….

“To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”

God is writing a love story, a romance of each one of us.

Friday night, my husband and I went out to buy our Christmas tree. Stepping out of his truck, we began to walk up the aisle of trees. There before me it stood – our tree. Looking at my husband I said, “This is it. This is our tree.” To which he responded, “Let’s keep looking.” So we kept on looking. But none suited me. After a bit, my husband said, “Let’s go back and look at the first one again.” Giving the tree a second look over, we laughingly said to each other, “Yeah, this is it.” Jokingly, I said to him, “It was love at first sight for me.”

In that split second, Hosea and Gomer’s story, read early that morning, came flooding back. It hit me …

When we truly fall IN love with God and not just “love” Him, we will never be satisfied with anything but Him.

My hope is for each of us to realize anew the deep love of the Father for each one of us.

 

 

Today I am joining … Testimony Tuesday and Unite and Intentional Tuesday and True Story and #RaRaLinkup and Reflect .

 

Christmas Preparations

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The first gift was bought, our tree brought home and decorated only in the last few days. I hold deep admiration for those whose Christmas cards are written and mailed early. As for me, well, they get done in dribs and drabs as time allows. And I sing …

Let every heart, prepare Him room.

Truth be known …. I am not done with the preparations.

To prepare, according to dictionary.com is “to put in proper condition or readiness; to get ready by proper assembling”.

My thoughts remember the voice:

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’ “ (Matthew 3:3, NLT).

Preparation, in this instance, was to clear the way. Preparation takes time, effort and energy. Preparation takes sacrifice.

Zechariah was told about the birth of his son, John the Baptist, by an angel. The angel said, “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17, NIV).

I sat this morning, reading those words and realized, we cannot prepare ourselves by ourselves.

He comes alongside of us, enabling us to prepare our hearts. It is all by His doing. He makes us ready – prepared – for the Lord. For the day of His coming.

As we continue on in this time of preparation, we will listen to Christmas music, read Scriptures telling of His birth, and do Advent devotional readings. The entire time ….

He Himself is preparing us to prepare for Him.

Seeing as He does all things well, our hearts can rest assured He will prepare us and we will sing, prepared …

“Joy to the World, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.”

 

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Today I am joining … Playdates With God and #SmallWonder and Inspire Me Monday and Sharing His Beauty and #WordsWithWinter .