Heart Choices: 2010-12-05

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Emmanuel



I love Christmas songs!  I listened to this song today as I drove home from work and found such meaning in the words.  Steven Curtis Chapman sings "Emmanuel" so beautifully. 

Since I'm an old fashioned gal at heart, I love the images on this video.  I'm the one who loves to watch the Walton's Thanksgiving and Christmas movies.  And by the way, I'm hoping for one of those Thomas Kinkade cottages for my home in heaven. :)

As I listen to the words of this song, it's so clear to me that Jesus fulfills the prophecy of the long awaited Messiah.  He is Emmanel, God with us.  How amazing is that?



O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

I'm joining up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

Blessings and love,


QuickEdit

Unwrapping Jesus


FaithBarista_Christmas_JamBadge

I'm jamming today with the Faith Barista.  We're sharing our Unwrapping Jesus discoveries.

My life has literally turned upside down in the past year.  Living in a temporary dwelling with boxes everywhere is a bit difficult. 

Christmas had been so organized in the past. 
  • I set up our tree with all the decorations the day after Thanksgiving. 
  • I'd shop throughout the year looking for special presents for family and friends on my long list.  I loved to find the perfect gift for each one and even loved wrapping them. 
  • The Christmas cards were signed and mailed. 
  • The menus were planned for Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and Christmas Day.

This was me several years ago.  I remember feeling so organized at the time.  Everything was in its proper place.

Every ornament was in place.  The fireplace was lit.  Greg and my stockings were hung.

I even created a Christmas card using this photo of our Christmas tree.

And then my life changed. 

I'm not buying a long list of presents.  In fact, I've not even set foot in a mall in quite some time.  I will send out a few Christmas cards using leftover ones from previous years.  I hope to make a few gifts and do a bit of  baking (if I can find my pans in the boxes in the garage).

But ...
  • I get to see the excitement in the eyes of the little children I'm teaching as they get to place ornaments on our class Christmas tree.
  • I get to listen to Christmas carols playing softly as the children take a nap after lunch on their mats.
  • I get to listen to their excited voices as they tell me what they want for Christmas.
  • I get to hear their sweet voices sing "Jingle Bells".
And in the midst of this Christmas ... I hear God's voice.

He whispers to me that He has a plan and a purpose for my life.  He promises to never leave me nor forsake me. 

And so I can celebrate Jesus. 

Unwrapping Jesus is:
  • A gift of His perfect love for me
  • The freedom He provides
  • The peace I can have with God
  • The gift of eternal life
After all, this isn't my permanent home.   I'm just passing through on my way to my home in heaven. 

God has changed my perspective and opened my eyes in new ways this past year.  And I am so grateful. 

As I celebrate Christmas this year, my focus will be on Jesus.  How about you?

Blessings and love,
QuickEdit

Prayer Changes Perspective


Today I am hosting “In Other Words Tuesday”. I chose the following quote for us to write about:
“Prayer invites us to rest in the fact that God is in control, and the world’s problems are ultimately God’s, not ours. If I spend enough time with God, I will inevitably begin to look at the world from the point of view that more resembles God’s own. What is faith, after all but believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”    From Philip Yancey: "Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference?" 
How does prayer impact your life?

Who is in control of your world? Is it you? Or …is it God?

There are times when I become so frustrated when:
  • I see and hear all the things going on in our world today.
  • People don’t respond in the manner I’d hoped.
  • Friends disappoint us.
  • There seems to be a general lack of respect.
  • People don’t tell the truth.
  • Others don’t seem to understand what you’re going through.
  • Everyone seems to be so busy.
  • World leaders have different values than you.
We all experience disappointments. Do you take your disappointments to God? Do you really share all that’s on your heart with Him? Or do you call a friend and begin to complain about how so and so mistreated you?

As I spend time in prayer, I realize that God is ultimately in control. Nothing takes Him by surprise. I don’t need to spend time wringing my hands and worrying. I don’t need to be pointing fingers at others. I don’t need to fret because life can seem so unfair.

God sees all. God knows all. And best of all, God can see right into each one of our hearts.

God not only sees the outward actions and behavior but He sees and knows …our true motives.

According to today’s quote by Philip Yancey, faith is …'believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse’.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says:

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

If I truly believe that God is in control, by faith I can rest in Him.


As I learn to trust in His perfect timing, my perspective begins to change. I realize I may not be seeing the big picture.

So what do I do? I share my heart and then lay my requests at His feet. I go about my day and I continue to …abide in Him.

When someone is rude to me, I’m reminded that I don’t know everything that person may be going through. I need to trust that God sees and knows how I feel but there are bigger issues at hand right now. So I forgive that person.

When others don’t honor God in the way I believe they should, I realize that God sees and knows. I continue to live out my life in a way that honors God.

Hebrews 11:23 (NIV) says:

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

How about you? Who is in control of your life? Does prayer change your perspective?


Blessings and love,



QuickEdit

Are You Running On Empty?


Are you weary and tired?  Do you feel like you're running on empty?  Do you feel like you've nothing left to give?

There will be times or seasons in your life when it may feel like the river is going to sweep right over you.  We are to expect difficulties and challenges, according to God's Word.

But often we can bring some of it on ourselves.  We can place such high expectations on ourselves especially during the holiday season.  Maybe you're trying to meet the expectations of others.  Does everything really  have to be so perfect?  Are you setting yourself up for more stress and running on empty? 

It doesn't need to be that way!

The secret to remaining full is ...abiding in Christ.

Cling to the Vine. 

During this Christmas season, consider this:
  • Spend time with the Lord daily
  • Begin each day in prayer.
  • Praise God and give thanks today.
  • Ask for His strength for this day.
  • Ask Him to open your eyes to His Divine appointments for you today
  • Spend time quietly before Him so you can listen to His voice.
  • When you become stressed or feel empty, return to Him at that moment as you pray.

Photo Credit: Iris Nelson Photography
Iris of Grace Alone captured a perfect photo to illustrate this.

May you be filled to overflowing with His Holy Spirit.  And then may that Spirit overflow in love to others. 

Have a wonderful Monday!

Blessings and love,

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