Tag Archives: gift

Three days before Christmas

For these last few days let’s look at the One whose birthday we are celebrating.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1:1‭, ‬3‭-‬5 NKJV

The One in a manger was the One at the beginning of creation.

Genesis 1:1 NKJV — In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Jesus is part of the Trinity and was creating at the beginning of our history.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is  with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
I John 1:1‭-‬3 NKJV

The disciple John does not want anyone to miss the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.

That through Him all things were made and by Him all mankind is saved.

And that he, himself was witness to the truth of the Gospel.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9 NKJV

Jesus was no mere “good man”, nor was He simply a wise teacher, He was and is God.

His reason for coming to Earth was simple.

Acts 4:12 NKJV — “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Romans 1:16 NKJV — For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 NKJV — For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

It’s the greatest truth of all time.

His birth brought mankind the greatest gift anyone could ever want or need.

His death built a bridge to span the chasm between us and our holy God.

His resurrection brought us hope, a confident expectation of eternal life in Jesus.

He’s the best gift ever.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for all You have done to rescue us from sin. Thank You for being the greatest gift we can ever receive. Lord Jesus, You are the reason we celebrate. It is Your birthday we are remembering. It is You we are looking toward as we make plans and give gifts. Lord Jesus, You alone are the One Who saves us. This Christmas we want to honor You in all we do, in our actions, our attitudes, and our words. We praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Grandpa John

I had a dream last night.

My mother’s father was in it.

He smiled big, laughed with joy, and hugged me tight.

My husband and our children and grandchildren were there, too.

I was so excited to introduce each one to him.

But before I did Grandpa just kept one arm around me and looked into my face.

We were both enjoying getting to see one another.

Then, with a smile, he spoke, “You know, you are a real beauty.”

This caught me by surprise.

It also made me feel treasured.

I smiled back.

“Grandpa, of course you would think so. I look like my mother, your daughter, and she looks like her mother, Grandma Ruth.”

He laughed and squeezed me.

I went on to introduce him to our family.

When I awoke this morning, my heart felt rosy with love.

Because I didn’t grow up with grandparents.

My mother’s family are from Michigan and we’ve always lived on the West coast.

My father’s mother died when I was four, I have no memory of her.

My father’s father traveled a great deal and I can’t remember a single conversation he ever had with me.

He died when I was in highschool.

So, this dream was sweet for me.

Although, my memories of my mother’s father are fuzzy and less than the fingers on one hand, I remember him laughing and hugging me.

I was pretty small, small enough to sit on his knee.

But last night’s dream brought me a new gift.

I know it’s from God.

If I can feel blessed by a dream of my Grandfather’s kind words, what an impact my words can have in real life to those I love!

My grandchildren (I love saying that!) are an incredible opportunity.

To love them for Jesus, to teach them about God’s Word, what a wonderful heritage!

The same is true for my own children.

To love them daily, to make sure I am speaking words of encouragement.

To lovingly speak words of truth, and to stir up righteousness in them.

To pray for each one, lifting them before the Lord, that I might be centered on Christ’s will for them instead of my own ideas.

The legacy I can pass on does require being purposeful.

To be open to the LORD’s leading in the day-to-day things so I don’t plant weeds but seeds of life.

But I can’t think of anything more worthwhile than leaving a legacy of following Jesus.

I praise God for this dream of my grandfather.

It has reminded me of my value to Jesus and my opportunity to value others.

Our soul waits for the Lord ; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Psalms 33:20‭-‬21 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for this encouragement. Thank You for reminding me of the truth, that I can pour into others as You pour into me. Lord, thank You for loving me more than any person on Earth, because it is in You I find myself, a child of God. Lord Jesus, please help my husband and I to be honorable parents and grandparents. Help us to live with integrity and humility. Please shine through us into those around us and our loved ones. Thank You so much for placing us near our grandchildren. We are so blessed to be a part of their lives and the lives of our children. Lord Jesus, may we bring honor and glory to Your name. Amen.

Surprise!

Yesterday was a bit crazy.

But it was a really good day!

Before I got school going my daughter called.

She was requesting our Anne to come help for the day as pregnancy had kept her up most of the night.

Our granddaughter is a busy one-year-old, so we completely understood the desire for extra help.

All of us piled into the car a short time later.

Originally, I was just going to drop Anne off.

When I went in to give my love to Sis, I realized things had changed.

She was having contractions.

We stayed to see if they’d leave.

They didn’t.

Thankfully, our son-in-law was only a little over an hour away, so he headed home.

We are staying at their house so it’s more comfortable for our granddaughter.

Our school day had major changes, but valuable lessons in it all.

It was obvious that our sweet little girl was trying to figure out why her parents had not returned.

But good news was on the way!

There’s nothing like that moment when you see a text from your son-in-law after hours of waiting.

Our precious grandson was born yesterday evening and we are so thankful!

What a wonderful surprise!

He wasn’t due until the 26th of this month, but God’s timing is perfect.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 40:5 KJV — Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for our grandson. Please continue to heal and strengthen our daughter. Please keep Your hand upon this precious baby. Lord, from the moment we heard another baby was on the way I have lifted them up to You. Please bring this child up in Your ways and give his parents the understanding of how to raise him to love and honor You. Lord, place Your hand upon him and guide his steps that he might be a godly man, a mighty man of valor. Lord Jesus, thank You so much for this precious new gift! We are humbled by Your blessings. Thank You. May Your name be glorified throughout the whole Earth. Amen.

The gift of giving

It wouldn’t have come to mind.

My husband and I were chatting on the patio.

We’d been discussing the begonia.

It’s a beautiful hanging plant, but I’ve been concerned where I’m going to keep it once the weather turns.

My sweet hubby purchased for me, but didn’t realize it’s tender nature.

I mentioned the possibility of it overwintering in our bedroom.

Our windows face the patio and my husband gently pointed out the window lined with four potted Jade plants.

“There’s already several…”

“Honey, don’t worry. I’ll give those away as soon as I know who the Lord wants them to go–oh!”

For a memory flashed into my mind.

Last week I’d asked for prayer for wisdom.

“I have been so blessed by the ladies at the Allergist. I really want to let them know how much I appreciate them, but can’t figure out how.”

There are two nurses, my doctor, and the receptionist.

Four ladies.

Four Jade plants!

My husband was looking at me with a quizzical expression.

I smiled.

“I know exactly what I’m supposed to do. I’ll give them away tomorrow.”

What a blessing!

To use the things the Lord has placed in my care temporarily to give to others.

I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to go about it tomorrow, but I’ll be praying.

It’s in the simple and small things that I want to be diligent.

Those seemingly unimportant details where God speaks so gently.

It’s that still small voice.

I want my life to be a reflection of Jesus wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, and however I possibly can.

Because Jesus doesn’t love people once in a while, or when it works into the schedule.

He loves people.

Period.

I want to do that as well.

I don’t know if the ladies will even want these plants, but I’m praying they will feel loved.

Hopefully, they will feel appreciated.

It’s only a tiny sliver of gratitude for their service to me.

But I praise God for each one of them and for this opportunity to give to them.

I praise God for His provision and the gift of giving.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for these ladies. Thank You for the medical field which has come up with treatment and ways to help me and others with allergies and asthma. Lord Jesus, thank You for this opportunity. Please bless these ladies and let them feel Your love. May Your name be glorified. Amen.

A keepsake

The longest we have lived in one place is seven years.

Then the Lord moved us here.

Before that our longest had been five years.

It’s been good for me.

I’ve learned a lot.

One of the lessons has been in letting go.

God never wants me to cling to things.

But He has also surprised me in this season we are walking in.

Not long ago I was in the kitchen when my husband came from the garage.

His new job has required his focus and he’s not gotten his garage just the way he wants it yet, but he’s working on it.

That’s what he had been doing when he came in.

His eyes held mine tenderly as he reached out his hand.

His blackened fingers (something I love about him, he works with his hands just like my dad did) grasped something which he placed gently in mine.

I had no idea what it was.

“Look at the inscription.”

So, I turned it over till I found the initials carved into the metal.

I knew exactly what they stand for.

It was as if time fell away.

And my bare feet were standing upon the concrete of our driveway.

My long brown hair carefully braided and still wet from running through the sprinkler in the lawn.

My father working on Mom’s car in the driveway.

His tools carefully laid out on his work towels.

And there was Grandpa, talking to Daddy, bent over looking under the hood.

It’s not a real memory.

More like a collage of memory scraps all pasted on top of one another, making a whole picture.

So, how did a small piece of initialed metal cause this?

Because it was a tool used by my Grandfather and given to my dad which eventually was passed on to my husband.

All three men worked on machines of one kind or another.

My husband said he’d been going through his tool box and found it.

Tools have come a long way and this one is pretty obsolete compared to the other sets he has.

But he knew I’d want to keep it.

So, now it’s sitting in my room.

A reminder of how incredible God truly is.

It’s also an opportunity to pray for my extended family.

I doubt I’ll keep this forever.

It needs to move on, into the possession of another man who works with his hands.

But until the Lord shows me who He wants to bless with it, I’m happy to let it remind me of my childhood.

To let it spur me to prayer.

And to praise God for His unfathomable love and care.

Truly,

2 Samuel 7:22 KJV — Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for this keepsake. It means so much to me that You would care about a tiny insignificant detail like this. But You understand things that I will never comprehend. Thank You for all Your love and mercy. Thank You for sustaining me throughout every part of my life. Thank You that life has seasons and in each one You have a plan and a purpose. Please help my eyes to be open to what You are doing in this season. Please help my mouth to speak only Your words of encouragement or exhortation. Please let my feet never stray from Your paths. Thank You, Jesus. I love You. Amen.

Pot holder

I’ve been working on this all day.

It went to the Allergist office with me this morning.

I had just begun one side.

It went to Michaels craft store, as I was not going to be able to finish it without more yarn.

It’s been on my lap during Math and Science.

I worked on it while taking lunch break.

Just now, I finished it.

I’ve never made one before, but I’m happy with the results.

Because it’s not about the time or energy it took, it’s about the love.

I have every intension of giving this away.

Hopefully, with another exactly like it.

As I was praying for someone yesterday, the Lord mentioned my yarn box.

I opened it, wondering what He was leading me to.

When my eyes fell on the cotton yarn, His voice spoke.

Make her a pot holder.

Of course, I was hesitant.

But thankfully, I didn’t argue.

My day didn’t allow for me to start the project, so I simply prayed about it.

This morning God brought it to mind again.

And now I can praise Him, for it is finished.

I’m always amazed at how He uses small things to teach me large ones.

Like making this simple gift for someone I love.

The time, energy, and prayer I put into this was all a joy, because of my love for the person who will receive it.

As I reflected on my joy in doing for another, my heart took another step toward the Lord, for He is always at work upon my behalf.

And His work is simply a proof of His love.

Both are unmeasurable.

My heart swells with the thought.

I deserve none of this and yet He loves me.

And the lesson came from a day crocheting a gift.

Which He told me to make.

Wow.

Praise God.

I’m so thankful for so many things.

I’m grateful He taught me how to do this.

I’m blessed with the ability to move my fingers and create something.

I’m thankful for His heart that shows me how loving and steadfast He is.

Truly, what a blessing it is to serve the Almighty God!

Hebrews 12:28 KJV — Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

The rest of the story

Do you remember this beautiful picture and verse I shared recently?

It turns out that the rose in the vase has a story behind it.

The rose bush which these beauties came from is a cherished plant.

The family who own it adopted a little girl many years ago.

They love her just for who she is.

And who she is, is incredible.

Although she has learning disabilities, she is a sweet gentle spirit.

She loves her family and she loves Jesus.

Her generosity is a mile wide.

You might wonder how she shows her generous spirit.

When she was 6 years old, her mother gave her the rose bush.

It was her job to care for it, water it, and basically be responsible for it.

She’s cared for this rose for 33 years.

It has bloomed and thrived.

This is where the generous heart is shown.

After all the love and care she has given the rose, she doesn’t keep it to herself.

She often and joyously cuts blooms and gives them away.

Not only are these beautiful flowers, but they give off a heavenly scent.

The flowers in the vase were one of the many offerings of love the girl grown into a lady, has given.

She hasn’t allowed the things others would call “difficulties” to cripple her spirit or dampen her joy.

Instead, she freely gives of what she has.

What a blessing!

May we take her example and find opportunities to give from what we have for the love of others and the joy of the Lord.

10 days till Christmas

“The LORD is my shepherd;” Psalm 23:1a

It was almost audible.

The Lord’s whisper to my heart this morning.

He’s been telling me that this year would be different.

Recently, He had me block out the ten days before Christmas.

I even put a note in for today: Start the 10 days before Christmas.

So, I’ve been praying.

“What exactly are we doing Lord?”

Look for Me in Psalms.

Well, okay. I put my audio Bible on Psalm 1 and started listening. I’d pause and take note of any scripture which seemed to point to Jesus.

I found some nuggets, but nothing seemed to be it.

Until Psalm 23.

My room seemed to disappear and inside my heart I was listening to Jesus.

He said,

The LORD is My shepherd,”

My mind pictured a tiny babe in a manger with on-lookers whose sheep had strangled along behind them.

With those humble shepherds gazing at our Savior, His voice reminded me again,

The LORD is My shepherd,

John 5:19 NKJV — Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

John 5:30 NKJV — “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

John 8:28 NKJV — Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

Jesus, our example in all things, was led by God the Father.

John 8:29 NKJV — “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”

Jesus, the Savior of the World, came through the will of the Father.

In all Jesus did, He lived unto God alone.

He was the perfect lamb. (John 1:29)

To remember this beautiful truth on our first day of the 10 days till Christmas, we are each going to draw a lamb.

On the back we are writing Psalm 23:1a.

Each of us will have the opportunity to add other scripture as well.

As you can see, mine is on an index card.

Anne is using drawing paper.

It doesn’t matter how large or small.

But in these next ten days we are each going to craft our own pictures of the Nativity while we look for Jesus in Psalm 23.

We’d love to have you join us.

Please feel free to share your comments, pictures, and scriptures with us.

Christmas is about the best gift ever given.

As we find a new way to remember Him, I pray our hearts grow even more in love with Jesus,

“Behold the Lamb of God!” John 1:35b

Happy Anniversary, darling…

Where do I begin?

What words can I really command to relate it all?

It seems too obvious, but I’ll start here:

I’m so thankful to Jesus for my husband and all the years we’ve shared.

I love him, dearly.

-sigh-

It just doesn’t seem to evoke the depth of my experience.

And since I’ve never been a poet, I’ll have to satisfy myself with:

“Praise You, Jesus!Thank You for the wonderful gift of my husband! I can’t imagine life without him!”

-smile-

(That’s a little better!)

(When in doubt, use more exclamation marks!)

It’s difficult to squeeze the full meaning out of those words.

It seems nearly impossible to crystalize emotion into black and white,

words on a screen.

Words can not express the years of God’s love and provision through my husband to me.

They don’t even come close.

My husband has been such an incredible gift from God.

I’m truly thankful.

I’ve not always realized it, unfortunately.

Infact, at times, I’ve chosen to belittle the blessing and focus instead on my own interpretation of how I wanted to be blessed.

I’ve said things I’ve regretted.

I’ve made mistakes which have trodden upon the heart of my spouse.

I’ve even been hurtful without any idea of the fact.

Yet, through it all my husband still loves me,

and I love him.

Because love is a choice.

And we choose it daily.

Because love is a gift,

and we’ve both received it, fully.

Because love was actually God’s idea from the first.

He gave Eve to Adam.

He gave Sarah to Abraham.

And He gave me to my husband.

What a wonderful blessing!

So on this,

our 22nd

wedding anniversary,

I can say,

“Happy Anniversary, darling!

I thank God for you!”

The joy of giving

image

This beauty graces my friends’ back garden along with others very similar.

Our hearts were blessed as we were hosted by our dear friends while we were in the UK.

The gift of giving us beds to sleep in, food to eat, companionship, and so much more were liberally poured out on us.

Many times during our family evening prayer we asked God to heap blessings upon them for their gifts of giving.

As we returned again we were gifted.

Although it was the “job” a wonderful woman named Sue in the Manchester Airport was the first person I spoke to about our flights and the struggles we had flying out.

I explained that our 14 yr old had been booked separately so there was difficulty with seating and getting her boarding passes.

She walked us to the customs agent, then went to check our flights.

She turned up again at the checking desk and sorted out the computer which wouldn’t read our passports.

She arranged our seats for both flights so I was with the kids both times.

She made certain I had received all the boarding passes for both flights.

She then turned up at the gate to be sure I was okay (at one interval she caught my eyes full of tears as I said “good bye” to my beloved England in my heart) and that we got on the flight without a hitch.

Even after we arrived back in our home state we realized our camera was left under the seat of the airplane.  We found a person at the desk who promptly sent someone back to retrieve it.

Finally, I woke the following morning to yet another gift.

The weather while we were gone was much hotter than normal, 90s-100.

My sweet husband had faithfully each morning and night watered all my plants.

Some of them died anyway but none of them would have survived if he had not been so diligent to tend them.

He said,  at my delight and surprise,
“I just kept thinking of you and I wanted you to know that I understand how much your flowers mean to you. It was a way to be near you, to bless you. ”

Yes,
I don’t deny it.
I cried.

Mostly due to being overwhelmed by the giving of so many.

Because I know all good things come from God and it was through the love of many for Jesus that they in turn loved me.

Wow.

It makes me feel so humble,
as I’m completely undeserving of any of it.

Yet my story has been strengthen by the love of Jesus Christ.

Not because of all these gifts,
but because of the gift I received from His giving:
life
salvation
eternity.

What joy there is in receiving such gifts!