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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Inspired by . . . 2014 recap

 

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Wow! Despite the difficulties, it’s been an amazing year!

My one word for 2014 was Intentional and part of that was being more intentional here on the blog. I topped out at 161 posts for 2014 – whoot! I’d say goal accomplished!

It wasn’t easy reviewing all those posts and deciding which pictures to feature for 2014, I tell ya! After getting my new camera in April, I was off and running!

Looking back over the year was like  unfurling a beautiful tapestry, and your sweet comments were a golden thread running through it all.

Thank you, sweet friends, for your encouragement, your inspiration and, most of all, your love!

God used this blog, in 2014, to inspire me most of all!

But isn’t that just like Him? to reward us when we obey? That was the other part about being intentional this year. Putting Him first. Being a good steward of the time He has given me. I tried really hard to do that this year.  Seriously, friends, I don’t know what I’d do without Him in my life. He is the ever present rock on which I stand – and some days, cling to with my pinky nail!

But He’s not just a rock, like some talisman with magical powers that has no breath or life.  He is the Living God. An ever present Presence in my life. My heart aches for those who continue to live in darkness.

My prayer for this space in 2015 is that Christ will be more adequately revealed, more fully glorified and that His light will pierce your darkness and change your life!

 

Blessings,

~June

 

Special thanks to Mona for her free template that made putting this collage together super easy!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Inspired by . . . looking back

 

For many of us the days between Christmas and New Year’s provides, at least some, time for quiet reflection. It’s hard to refrain from thinking back over the year and even more difficult not to look forward with great expectation.

Why shouldn’t we do both?

They say hindsight is 20/20. Looking back we can more clearly see the mistakes we’ve made, but more importantly, we see the lessons we’ve learned. We can also see the hand and footprints of a mighty God. Corrie Ten Boom said that memories are the key to the future. I believe she was right. God does not waste one single thing in your life, my friend. Whatever you are going through today, He can use to prepare you for the future.

 

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Ah, the future! 2015 is primed and ready to burst forth in just a few short hours. Father Time, born again with fresh new nappies. Like most new things the excitement quickly wears off and we fall into the mundane. But this need not be so! For there is one thing that truly is new every morning.

His mercy and grace!

No matter what you’ve done, how badly you’ve messed up, you can receive His forgiveness and begin anew.

There is no limit. Just like the manna the Israelites ate each morning in the desert wilderness, the Bread from Heaven, Jesus, gives Himself to you.

This is true every day, of every year.

So look back with an eye to the future – and look ahead with an eye to Christ!

 

Wishing you all JOY in 2015!

 

 

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Inspired by . . . Christmas Blessings

 

My heart is full, friends.

Your presence here, whether you comment or not, has blessed me.

Each time two lives intersect there is the potential for Christ to be glorified.

That is my prayer for us, for this space . . .

For Christ to be glorified, and for Him to be born anew in each of us.

 

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 17

 

 

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Sing unto the LORD; for He hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.

Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
(Isa 12:5-6 KJV)

 

Happy Christmas Eve, beloved!

Won’t you join me in praising God with the words of Isaiah – for He has done excellent things that are known all over our world.

Oh, you may not see these things reported on the evening news or in the papers, but if you seek out the good in this world, you will find it.

God is still performing miracles.

He is.

There are miracles all around,
​miracles yet to be found.
​Hid in every heart is an awesome prayer.
​Like a candle's flame, hope will lead us there.

 

If you haven’t seen The Christmas Candle movie, taken from a book written by Max Lucado, or heard Susan Boyle sing – I highly recommend both.  The woman has the voice of an angel, and the movie will leave you believing in miracles, even if you didn’t before.

And I daresay you should. Believe in miracles. Because the Holy One of Israel is in our midst.

 

Jesus Christ.

Emmanuel

God with us.

 

 

 

Blessings on your Christmas,

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You can read all of this year’s advent posts here.

FYI – the links in this post are not affiliate links. They are just there for your information. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 16

 

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And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,

keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:

and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you;

Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
(Luk 2:8-14 KJV)

 

Can you imagine the scene on the hills of Bethlehem this night? The host of heaven praising God in the company of a group of trembling shepherds.

Yet their fear and astonishment did not stop them from seeking the One the angels proclaimed!

 

And it came to pass,

as the angels were gone away from them into heaven,

the shepherds said one to another,

Let us now go even unto Bethlehem,

and see this thing which is come to pass,

which the Lord hath made known unto us.
(Luk 2:15 KJV)

 

God speaks to us in the language we best understand. To the wise men, who were Gentiles, He sent a star. To the shepherds, who were Jews, He sent angels. To the chief priests and elders, who were not prepared to receive any message from God, He spoke not a word to announce the birth of the Savior.

 

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What is God speaking to your heart

this Christmas?

Will you seek Him?

 

Blessings,

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 15

 

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And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,

(and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)

full of grace and truth. John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying,

This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me:

for He was before me. And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son,

which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.
(Joh 1:14-18 KJV)

 

I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “Actions speak louder than words.” No one lived this truth more powerfully than Jesus Christ.

Not only did He prove it throughout His ministry, and so profoundly by His death, but He proved it first at His birth.

He is the Word made flesh. The Incarnation; the act of clothing with flesh.

The Divine, descended from glory to dwell among us; the corrupt, the rebellious, worms of the earth. Sinners. And He was full of grace and truth.

Our two greatest needs.

He received grace and truth from the Father, that He might give . . .

 

 

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. . . to us at the hour of our

greatest need.

Have you received

His gift?

 

Blessings,

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 14

 

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For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son,

so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life.

For God did not send His Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its Savior.
(Joh 3:16-17 GNB)

 

Believe

 

 

Blessings,

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 13

 

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At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire.

When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria.

Everyone, then, went to register himself, each to his own hometown.

Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David.

Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David.

He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him.

She was pregnant, and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby.

She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger---

there was no room for them to stay in the inn.
(Luk 2:1-7)

 

 

Most of us don’t like to file and pay our taxes. But we’d like it even less if we had to travel by foot or donkey to the towns where our families originated to register to do so. In the minds of Joseph and Mary, they were going to Bethlehem because Joseph was a descendant of David. David, the Shepherd King, was born in Bethlehem.

We have the unique perspective here, unlike with our own lives, to step back and watch the bigger picture unfold.

God had to get Mary to Bethlehem, because that is where Jesus, our Shepherd and our King, was to be born. God had already foretold the place of His birth. (See Micah 5:2, Matt 2:5-6, John 7:42).

Not only is Bethlehem, the name signifying the House of Bread, the proper place for the Bread of Life, the bread that came down from heaven, to be born, but it is the city of David, where he was born, and therefore there He must be born who was the Son of David.

And here, in these first verses of the second chapter of Luke, we see how God accomplished it.

One commentator put it this way:

 

That which Augustus designed was either to gratify his pride in knowing the numbers of his people,

and proclaiming it to the world, or he did it in policy,

to strengthen his interest, and make his government appear the more formidable;

but Providence had another reach in it.

All the world shall be at the trouble of being enrolled, only that Joseph and Mary may.

 

Are there things happening in your life that  you don’t understand? Has God called you to something, or made you a promise and you just can’t see how it will ever come to fruition? God is working, beloved, He is ordering things, working them out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Ro 8:28)

Do not misunderstand me. We are not chess pieces on a board, or puppets on a string. God did not cause the pride of Caesar Augustus. But He foresaw it, and used it to accomplish His will.

He will accomplish the

work He has begun in you.

 

Rest in that promise, beloved.

 

Blessings,

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 12

 

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This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place.

His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married,

she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit.

Joseph was a man who always did what was right,

but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly;

so he made plans to break the engagement privately.

While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,

"Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife.

For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived.

She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus---because He will save his people from their sins."

Now all this happened in order to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet,

"A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel"

(which means, "God is with us"). So when Joseph woke up, he married Mary,

as the angel of the Lord had told him to.

But he had no sexual relations with her before she gave birth to her son.

And Joseph named him Jesus.
(Mat 1:18-25)

 

Do you know someone who has trouble with personal boundaries? Maybe they stand just a little too close to you when you’re talking together. Or share just a little too much information about themselves. How about people, casual acquaintances, who ask probing questions? Here’s a news flash for you- you don’t have to answer. Learning to say, “It’s really none of your business.” with grace is still something I’m working on. Personally, I believe our society is much too immodest when it comes to our personal information, and I’m not talking about the NSA. There is some good to be said about technology that allows us to see and hear everything about everybody {have you made sure your HDTV camera is shut off?} but I think we have lost something, too. Instant gratification takes away the mystery, the wonder, and the expectation. When every longing is instantly satisfied, what do you have left?

 

The mystery of Christ's incarnation is to be adored, not pried into.

 

God sent an angel to Joseph so that he would believe Mary and take her as his wife. Chances are, God is not going to send an angel to you to make you believe. Frankly, you wouldn’t want Him to - - but He has spoken to your heart.

Rather than try to explain it away or understand it, let’s take some time today to just sit in wonder of what God has done. Put yourself there in the manger. Breathe deeply of the scent of hay, horse and cow. Just the good smells. Let your eyes be drawn to the babe. See his little arms and legs, how they kick and wiggle. He’s laughing because one of the sheep just nuzzled his head. Let yourself fall into the JOY of his radiant face, the JOY of a newborn baby.

 

This child knows you,

intimately.

Adore Him.

This child will die for you,

personally.

Praise Him.

 

Blessings,

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 11

 

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Mary said, "My heart praises the Lord; my soul is glad because of God my Savior,

for He has remembered me, His lowly servant! From now on all people will call me happy,

because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me.

His name is holy; from one generation to another He shows mercy to those who honor Him.
(Luk 1:46-50)

 

After receiving a greeting and a blessing from her cousin Elisabeth, Mary begins her song of praise. It seems clear to me that Mary understood the angel’s message. She was to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah. Why else would people call her blessed?

Yet we know her understanding was not complete. Twelve years later when she finds her runaway son in the temple, she is hurt and confused by His actions. Luke 2:51 tells us that although Mary did not understand, she treasured up all that had happened in her heart. She was content to wait for understanding.

There is a saying, If it be not intelligible, it is not valuable. But this is not so with God. He does not always give us a complete view, or understanding of a situation or task. His word is not always completely clear to us. But it is always valuable, and that which we do not understand now, should be treasured up for later.

 

So when He was raised from death,

His disciples remembered that He had said this,

and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had said.
(Joh 2:22)

 

Has He given you a task that you first responded to with JOY and praise, but now the path has become unclear and you’re wondering what to do next? Is there a scripture {or ten} that perplexes you? A hard teaching you’re struggling to accept?

Let us take a lesson from Mary and treasure up these things, content to wait for His timing. Yes, even the hard things, the things that can make us doubt. Because we know our God is good, and just and right.

 

We can trust Him with our waiting.

We can honor Him with our patience.

 

RestIntheLord

 

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him
(Psa 37:7)

 

Blessings,

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 0

 

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We should have begun our Advent series with this, beloved.

But I have only just discovered it. Rather like finding the key to the center drawer of that old desk you found in your mother’s attic years before.

Let’s unlock the mystery together, shall we?

 

Griffith Thomas said of the Old Testament:

It is a book of unfulfilled prophecies,

unexplained ceremonies, and

unsatisfied longings.

ALL of which are resolved

in the New Testament focus on

JESUS CHRIST.

Who fulfills in His life the prophecies,

explains in His death the ceremonies, and

satisfies in His resurrection the longings.

 

It is HIStory.

From before time begin – for all time.

 

“Her offspring will crush your head, and you will bite her offspring's heel."  Gen 3:15

 

But when the right time finally came, God sent His own Son.

He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law,
to redeem those who were under the Law,

so that we might become God's children. Gal 4:4-5

 

In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

 

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kk_waterstained frame and pdpa_Golden bokeh overlay

 

 

Blessings,

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 10

 

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There has never been such a greeting before, or since.

These two babies, yet in the womb.

The forerunner and the King.

Won’t you sit in stillness and ponder the Glory of this greeting with me today?

 

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary,

the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears,

the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

And blessed is she that believed:

for there shall be a performance of those things

which were told her from the Lord.
(Luk 1:39-45 KJV)


 

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Blessings,

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 9

 

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The account in Luke of the coming of the Messiah never ceases to fill me with wonder. I don’t think I will ever tire of reading the words - - of feeling the HOPE bloom anew in my heart each time I read these words of promise.

I confess, I do not always read scripture this way, with HOPE and EXPECTATION. Often I will come to a passage and think, “Oh, I know this one.” and skim over it, not really taking the words into my mind, into my heart.

I need to remember that scripture is not just words on a page. It is God’s Word, log'-os, the Divine Expression, that is, Christ. {John 1:1} I need to remember, when I approach scripture, that it is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword. {Heb 4:12} It has the power to change my life. {2Tim 3:15} It speaks to me anew, no matter how well I think I may “know” what it says. God can speak a new word to me, right there, in that moment, through His inspired Word written thousands of years ago. And so often I read it too casually, almost without thought. Forgive me, Lord!

If you’re doing any Advent studies or devotionals, you’ve likely already read this passage at least once, maybe more this season. Won’t you read it with me one more time? Let’s try to savor each word.

 

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured,

the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying,

and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest:

and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee,

and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:

therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age:

and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord;

be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
(Luk 1:26-38 KJV)

 

Despite her initial fear, Mary would have known great JOY in this meeting. The Jews had been waiting a very long time for the promised Messiah. Mary knew what this meant for her people. Much like Esther, she risked her reputation and her life by saying yes to God’s plan of salvation.

 

WhatChildIsThis

 

God has a word for you today, beloved.

It may be a word of comfort, or a

promise to come.

Listen.

 

Blessings,

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Hope of His Coming Vol. 8

 

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A Psalm. O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things:

his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The LORD hath made known his salvation:

his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.

He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel:

all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth:

make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.

Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together

Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth:

with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity. (Psa 98:1-9 KJV)

 

 

I have a confession to make.

2014 has been a hard year.

Emotionally taxing and exhausting, we’ve dealt with some tough things this year, that will continue to play out and impact the rest of our lives.

I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to the new year more than I am this year.  And yet when my friend Lisa first mentioned her one word for 2015 (she hasn’t revealed it yet!), I thought, “Already? We’re doing that again?” I was determined not to even think about it until after Christmas - - if you’ve been around here much you know I like to savor the seasons.

But God . . . .

I’m talking about new today because that is what God has laid on my heart. This is the HOPE He has given me for 2015.

 

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?

I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
(Isa 43:19 KJV)

 

Although God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, He is all about NEW! He may remain the same, but He changes us and our circumstances. Can I get an Amen and Hallelujah! I, for one, am so thankful that He doesn’t leave me in my pitiful, wretched state. Not only has He redeemed me from my state of sin, but He carries me through the wilderness and makes rivers in the desert. The locusts have descended. 2014 is lost, but the Lord has promised to redeem that which has been eaten.

 

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, (Joe 2:25 KJV)

 

Our scripture today is a prophetic Psalm. It points to the coming kingdom of the Messiah. The establishment of it, and the bringing of the Gentiles {unless you are a Jew, then this means you!} into it. Will you sing it with me? this new song unto the Lord. A song of redeeming Love.

A song of praise for the marvelous things He has done – the more we learn and understand about God the more we know this to be true.  Praise Him for the conquests He has won – our Lord has gotten victory over Satan! Praise Him for the discoveries He has made known - the victories He has won, He has revealed to us through His Son. Praise Him for the extent of this discovery - revealed to Gentile and Jew alike. Praise Him for the fulfillment of the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament!

 

Behold

 

How about you, is there room in your life

for God to do something new?

Do you welcome Him?

 

Blessings,

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