Love That Burns

combustible

Being refined and disciplined isn’t easy.

Facing the flawed parts of ourselves doesn’t give us warm fuzzies.

It takes courage to look deep into ourselves, and to be honest about our character flaws.  I love to hide and make excuses to myself for things that I don’t want to change.  And God is so gracious, he doesn’t force us.  That doesn’t mean that He protects us from the consequences of our sin, but He allows us to continue doing things our own way.

I am overcome by these glimpses into His character.  The one who created the universe, just by speaking into the emptiness.  His endless creativity and power are on continual display in nature.  We get to catch glimpses of Him daily if we take the time to look.  And yet, in our own selfishness we can pretend like He doesn’t exist…and He lets us.

The truth that I am finding is this- His love burns.

It hurts when he starts refining us- burning off those parts that need to go.

I don’t like the things He reveals to me about what’s hidden underneath my own rationalizations and excuses.  But I can observe the distance that I choose when I go my own way and allow other things to crowd Him out.

There are days when I feel close to Him, connected almost without interruption, and sometimes there are weeks that I get to the end of and I am astounded to realize that I have not stopped and truly talked with Him, sat with Him, walked with Him.  My quiet times in the morning were rushed through- and my own agenda ruled instead of that simple seeking- that humble kneeling that acknowledges His sacred presence.

This discipline of being intimately connected with the one who brooks no excuses about my sinfulness continues to challenge me.  His love makes me long for change; His conviction humbles me and reminds me of my own neediness.

And it is so simple, yet so hard.  The journey that requires me to keep letting go.  This voice that whispers a more excellent way and gently challenges me to walk in it.  This loving Father who disciplines me, gives me sorrow for my sin, and passion to love Him more completely- to surrender to His molding.

And always freedom.

A choice.

The roads diverge- the narrow way promises challenges and hardships- but claims our hearts as we bask in the light of love unending, and the promise that we will never walk alone.

O Lord, you know how these weeks have tested me.  Your love keeps calling, even in the midst of my weakness and failures.  I am so thankful that you never stop reaching out to me, your sweet voice whispers love and light- your truth pierces the darkness of deception.  I want more- more of you, less of me. I am helpless without you.  I hate the distance between us- I want you close always.  You keep my steps firm, your love strengthens me and prepares me for whatever I face.  I know you can stretch time, you can make each minute more meaningful.  You inject purpose and hope into my work, as I submit to your leading.  Thank you for your constant calling, and the way that you let me fall on my face, that I may remember how much I need you.  You are so gentle and kind, so pure in your love. So patient as you wait for me to remember how much I need you.  Gracious, precious Savior, you have my heart.  Lead me in your truth and teach me.  May your love never cease to overwhelm and silence me, to bend me low in wonder and praise.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

True Rest

Rest here

Psalm 127:2 “It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
 
This verse hit me so profoundly today. God longs to give us peace and rest. He promises to establish the work of our hands. It is easy to miss out on that rest because we think busyness=productive.
For so many years, I filled my schedule to bursting with so many “great” things. But I was a mess. No quiet time, exhausted, toiling from sun-up to sun-down and after. But honestly, I wasn’t checking in with God. I didn’t ask Him if He wanted me to be doing all those things.
This passage was a gift from the Lord today, because it confirmed a work He has been doing in me these past several years.
 
“Eating the bread of anxious toil.”
 
There is a frantic-ness to our work. I remember feeling a pushing and panic in my spirit. There was no peace resting in me- and I was pushed from one activity to another.
Dear friends, let us enter into the rest that God promises to provide.  Even in the midst of the work we are called to, there can be a peace in our spirit.  A centeredness that reflects His presence in the midst of all the events of our lives.
I have felt it, when I was reading to my children and holding them in my lap.
I have drawn near to Him- soap suds covering my hands, scrubbing dishes.
I have whispered prayers- while vacuuming and scrubbing dirty floors.
I have thanked Him- while listening to my daughter share about her newest, favorite story.
I have rejoiced in Him- watching my children play super-heroes with their Dad.
This invitation to the discipline of inviting Him in and accepting the gift of His rest can happen.  Day by day, little by little.
Ask, seek, knock.
Invite Him into all the events of your life, big and small.
And see how He makes all things holy, and time seems to swell as it fills with all the gifts He graciously pours.
O Lord, thank you for giving me a hunger to seek you in all things.  Thank you for drawing me to sisters and brothers in Christ who have also hungered to remain present with you.  Thank you for all the gifts you graciously pour into our lives every day.  Give us eyes to see today.  And as we see and slow down, may our lips praise you, and glorify your matchless Name.

When I Crave the Easy…

Dried mud.

The truth hurts sometimes.

But I have learned that searching my heart requires honesty about what’s going on inside, and then confessing that to God.

I am tired of hard.

I want to be able to spend money without worrying about it.

I want to be able to go visit my family for the holidays and buy them all gifts- to experience that joy of fellowship, seeing them unwrap gifts that I know they would love- to see that look of joy on their faces.

I want to go on running dates with my husband again, to talk and share and leave our children with someone we trust.

I want to have a garden- I want to experience the joy of watching things bloom.

I want to have a place where I can host parties, have people over for dinner, watch kids for other Moms and give them a break.

And if you have talked to me sometime in the past year or so, I have probably shared with you about all that I am sacrificing- all that has been taken from me- and how I don’t understand.

O LORD, forgive my eyes- for they have been causing me to sin.

I have been looking so hard at all that I have lost I still fail to see all that I have gained.

I lose that spirit of thankfulness each time my words take me down this road.

And the comparisons, oh how they steal joy!

I look at these houses and yards and say, “why do they get to have that and not I?”

And in those moments, my heart becomes dissatisfied and I lose sight of all that God has graciously given.

I am still home with my children.  God has provided all that we need so that I might enjoy this time with them.

We have found a church family that has blessed us and given us a place to plug in and serve.

We have several Bible studies nearby that we have been blessed to be a part of.

God has opened our eyes to see His beauty in nature, to slow down and enjoy Him.

We have seen God working in our lives and in the lives of others around us through our prayers and obedience.  He has given us the privilege of seeing how He is using us.  We have seen answers to prayer!  What a precious gift.

I have had the joy of seeing my children grow in their faith and develop a love for God and His Word.

Oh, there are so many gifts.  So many blessings.

And yes, there are hard things.  There are struggles.  There are tears.

But God has not left me alone in the midst of them.  He ever tenderly loves me and leads me.  He disciplines with a firm but kind hand, faithfully leading me further in.

And I have to be reminded of this over and over again.  Hold on.

Keep on fighting the good fight.

Run the race with perseverance.

Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Because we are in a battle.

The enemy does everything he can to trip us up, to discourage and distract us.

And I come with a grateful heart today that God continues to lovingly lead me in this season and show me the sweetness of losing control to Him.

Letting him lead.

Letting his timing stand.

No fixing; no maneuvering or manipulating.

Just obedience.  One step at a time.

Entrusting myself to the author and perfector of my faith- the one to whom every knee someday will bend and every tongue confess.  Praise be to God.

Lord, you are so patient with me as I struggle in this season.  I am so thankful that you are faithful, even when I am faithless.  You are unchanging, even as I fumble and lose my way- question why.  You are tender in your love.  You pour mercies new every morning.  Grace greater than all my sin.  All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness…help us walk in obedience today.  To have the courage to trust you with all we don’t understand and to continually look to you. Lord, I long to be transformed into someone who sees you more than my circumstances.  Someone who is quick to speak your praises, to encourage those around me, not regale them with tales about my difficulties.  Holy Spirit, guide me.  Remove self-centered talk from my lips and fill me with praises only for you- my God and king.  You pour an overflow of blessings – may my eyes continually see and dwell in gratitude.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

What it Means to be a Mom

Persevere

Someone asked me this question a few Sundays ago, and it left me speechless- and if you know me, you would be surprised by that response.

Being struck mute is a rare occurrence for me.

However, I think this question struck a chord in me- for this journey of motherhood has pruned and shaped me in ways I never imagined.

It has revealed to me character in myself that is embarrassing and very humbling.  It has shone a spotlight on areas of my life where I am selfish and immature- and my responses to people and situations reveal by own lack of love and mercy where others were concerned.

There are mornings when I am crying in disappointment for how I reacted to situations, and praying for God to change my heart, to transform me.

There are days when I have conversations with my children that fill my heart with so much joy I feel like it is going to burst.  Tears come in those moments too- tears of gratitude for the bliss of just being with them.

Motherhood is a labor of love.

It is hard work.

And I believe that it is work that honors God.

I have given up trying to be perfect- but I still have to work on forgiving myself when I fail to handle situations in the way I wish I could.

It is so hard to live with those moments when I let my kids down, when I know I said the wrong thing.  I know there are times when my face does not reflect the love I always feel for them, but my frustration and irritation in the moment.

When I pray I continually try to remind myself that God called me to this role.  I have children- therefore He has called me to Motherhood.  This role will shape me and my children forever.

He uses it all.  His word promises..

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

And- thanks be to God- I am delivered from ever living a moment thinking I can do this alone.  Being a Mom grounds me securely in the humility that I desperately need on this journey.  I see the evidence of my need for God daily. 

Failures, frustrations, sorrows…

Joy, bliss, laughter…

It all draws me to him.

So, being a Mom has shown me my desperate need for a Savior, and has helped me to live as a seeker and worshiper of my precious Savior who takes a broken vessel and miraculously uses it for His glory.

As one of my favorite songs says, “He makes beautiful things, he makes beautiful things out of dust.  He makes beautiful things, he makes beautiful things out of us.”

Praise be to God for his daily mercies that give me the courage to continue on, even when my strength is gone.  For I know I do not walk alone; He will sustain and uphold me.  I need not fear for my precious Savior and God who holds me also holds my children.  In the beauty of this mystery, I can entrust that which I hold dear to one who holds them dearer still.  O, thank you, my Savior and Lord.

 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place…

between the rocks and a hard place

This came to me this morning, as I was reflecting on where we are right now.

And even as I write this, I hear my children in the background laughing and playing as if they have not a care in the world.

Why?

They are not worried about where we will live, how we will pay our bills, buy food, get from place to place….

They know that we will take care of them and provide for them.  We will keep them safe and love them with all that we have, with all that we are.

How much more does our heavenly Father love and care for us?

How He longs for us to trust Him like children- with hearts full of faith and confidence.

I don’t want to waste time worrying- or gazing at my problems as if staring at them will somehow make them go away.

It has never worked.  They still loom each time and threaten like an approaching storm- dark clouds full of menace, lightning streaking the sky, thunder rumbling ominously…

But my God calms storms.

My God gets out of the boat and walks on water.

My God is the maker and sustainer of all things.

My God is Jehovah Jireh.

I don’t know how.

I don’t know when.

All I know is WHO.

God will provide all my needs according to His riches in glory.

I have learned the secret of being content in all circumstances- trusting in the strength of my God and not my own.  Keeping my eyes fixed on HIM- every moment- HIM- and not my circumstances.

Psalm 43:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

 So are we between a rock and a hard place…or in just the right place?  Nothing happens that God does not allow.  In all times, and all circumstances- I pray for faith that trusts not in what my eyes can see, but in the presence and provision of my God who will never leave me nor forsake me.

To Him be all the glory when the provision comes.

What You MIGHT be Thinking…

Gossiping

Sometimes I get preoccupied with how other people perceive me.

I think that all of our moves over the past several years have fed this fear I have of being misunderstood or judged for one careless word or action that could damage the relationship forming between me and another person.

As I was reading my Bible and journaling this morning, God spoke to me once again about his love for me on the journey.

I am aware that there are areas in my life where I need to grow.

I am not a completed work.

And God is so sweet and tender in how He reassures me of his love for me right where I am.

He loves me despite the fact that sometimes I talk too much and don’t listen enough.

He loves me even though sometimes I let my emotions dictate too much in my life instead of keeping my mind in steadfast trust in Him.

He has helped me learn to laugh more and be thankful for things that I used to take for granted- that I didn’t even see.

He has shown me the sweet blessing of sitting in His presence and lingering in His Word– of beginning to invite Him into my daily life and seeking His face, seeking His presence continually.

And I know I have to let go of this preoccupation with how others see me.

I am who I am.

I know whose I am.

I am not perfect.

I will make mistakes and say things I shouldn’t.

But He knows my heart.

I want to be sensitive to times when I may need to ask for forgiveness when I have hurt someone, but I also know there are times when I need to let go of speculation about what someone MIGHT be thinking about me and release it into the Lord’s hands.

As I was reading in “Ragamuffin Gospel” this morning, these two quotes stood out to me:

“Freedom in Christ produces a healthy independence from peer pressure, people-pleasing, and the bondage of human respect…”

“For most of us it takes a long time for the Spirit of freedom to cleanse us of the subtle urges to be admired for our studied goodness.  It requires a strong sense of our redeemed selves to pass up the opportunity to appear graceful and good to another person.”

“Strong sense of our redeemed selves” really stood out to me.

I don’t want to be enslaved by this pressure to please everyone.  I can’t.

And as I surrender all those things that I cannot control, I pray that I would simply choose to focus on one choice that I can make each day- with the words Joshua used to challenge the Israelites all those years ago.

Joshua 24:15-16

14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I choose this day to serve you Lord, and to seek to please you first.  May no other love (including the applause of others) ever take your place.

Oh Lord, you know how I still struggle with this daily.  Just yesterday at that birthday party, and the thoughts that filled my head on my way home.  I want to be loved and accepted.  Please help me remember that I am!  You love me just as I am.  Your love never changes.  You are steadfast.  Lord, each time that I am overlooked, or left alone while all the other Moms pair up and talk, may I respond in those moments to you in simple faith and trust.  May I say in my heart- Savior, I remember that you were despised and rejected by men.  You were spit on and humiliated.  In this moment- what I experience cannot compare to what you went through for me.  May I be willing to endure hardships and struggles in this life, remembering all that you went through that I might be made clean and reconciled to God.  I trust you to provide all I need in your own perfect timing.  May my words and actions today be pleasing in your sight.  I rest in you, and the knowledge that I am fully known and fully loved today.  In Jesus I pray and give thanks, Amen.

 

 

 

A Season of Interruptions

Interruption

There is something God has been showing me lately.

Motherhood is a season of interruptions. 

And many times, the most important things are NOT the ones on my to-do list.

It is in those unplanned, beautiful moments.

And every day it is different.

And that’s what makes this daily monotony an adventure.

When I see the list looming on the board in the kitchen, and the kiddos ask me to play Hide and Seek, I can say yes to that one moment.

And how we best see the “Yes” moments in our life is through our connection to Christ.  For we hear his resounding “YES” in our spirit too- and when I ignore the pull of all the responsibilities of today and just say yes to this moment- it is pure blessing.

These interruptions are different every day.  Sometimes it requires throwing the whole plan for the day in the trash and starting from scratch.

Sometimes it means 2 hours at the park or library that I never planned on.

Sometimes it means reading for 30 minutes with my son and then reading for 30 more minutes with my daughter, relinquishing the pressure of those to-dos into my Savior’s hands.

Sometimes it means helping someone else or having a neighbor over for an unplanned dinner.

My house was not cleaned the way I like it to be.  I had other things that I wanted to get done that day, but I feel God beckoning me to hold loosely to “my list.”

Sometimes potty training or some other major “right of passage” grinds all other progress to a halt.  We sit for hours waiting for the possibility of #2 in the toilet, and then dance in the bathroom for joy when the moment comes.

And we fight the war of time.

How will we spend it?

For once it is gone, no amount of money will buy it back.

And I have found myself asking hard questions about those things that take up my minutes.

Pleading with God to give me the courage to not even settle for good, but press on toward best.

And part of that best for me comes in a simple yet profound plea in Deuteronomy, as Moses talks to the Israelites in a final series of sermons before he dies.  You hear the passion, the fervent plea of this humble man who saw God face to face.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

There are some things that remain constant, but oh Lord please let them never lose their power.  May your Word always pierce our soul and soften those places where our hearts have hardened and draw us to your throne once again.

Let us humbly kneel and give way as you lead us.  Open our eyes to see clearly the best way to spend our days.  Choices that honor you and point to you as the meaning, the purpose that animates us.  In you, we move and have our being.

And today is an opportunity to do more than talk to my children.  It is a chance to live out the freedom Christ has granted me.  To not be chained by my “to do list,” but to walk in confidence and freedom.  As I seek my Savior, he will guide me to those things that need my attention and in obedience I release my hold on the rest and entrust it to his caring hands.

Lord, open our eyes to see how interruptions in our day may be moments ordained by you.  Precious Savior, so many times I make mountains out of mole hills.  Renew my mind, transform me.  Free me from this tight grip I have on the things “I think” need to be done, and help me walk in tune with your spirit today- embracing each interruption as an opportunity.  Give me discernment that I might have confidence in the choices I make about how to spend my time. We need you, in each moment, to guide our steps.  And when we fall, oh sweet Savior, may we call you in those moments and in humility confess our failure and seek to walk beside you once more.  Your presence Lord- that’s what I want.  To know you are near.  Our sinfulness does not surprise you.  That’s why you came, and why you died.  You do not wish condemnation and guilt, but conviction that acknowledges your right place in our lives.  You are the faithful one.  Thank you God, for being all-sufficient- the one who animates all things and holds all things together.  My soul praises you.  Blessed be your Name.  Amen.

 

 

Love in the Trenches

Trenches

One of my dear friends is getting married in May.

This led to us having a conversation on the phone a few weeks ago, and I have been thinking about some of the things I told her about my marriage.

She asked what I have learned after 11 years of marriage, and what advice I would give to her on entering marriage.

And it took me back to right after my hubby and I got married.  We were returning from our honeymoon and it was snowing in Lexington, KY.  From summer-like temperatures into the bitter cold of a snowy night, we were both anxious to get home (our first night together in our apartment!) and get warm.

One of my husband’s old roommates picked us up at the airport.  It was a slow drive home because of the snow.  When we got there, my hubby realized that he forgot something on the plane.

Our apartment keys, our passports, our credit cards, yep- all of it- was still sitting under his seat on the plane.

I remember being tired and irritated.  I remember thinking that I would never forget something that important.  I remember these feelings rising up in me and really wanting to express them.

But thanks be to God for His precious Holy Spirit.

I felt the strongest impression to remain silent.

To not say what was on my mind.  In fact, I even remember realizing that my hubby already felt horrible about what was happening, and my criticism would not serve to benefit the situation in any way.

What he needed most from me in that moment was love and support.  He needed me to believe that he would take care of things, to simply pray for him, be supportive, or be silent.

My hubby did take care of things. He climbed in through a window so we got to sleep in our apartment that night together. He went back to the airport and picked up what he left the next morning.

And I never forgot the power of being silent in those emotionally charged moments when you may say something you regret- and though we can apologize- sometimes those words cause wounds that take time to heal.

I don’t always say the right thing, and sometimes I say words that I regret- but I am so thankful for the presence of the Holy Spirit and that powerful reminder to me early in my marriage that my words can build up my husband, or my words can tear him down.

So my dear friends, I encourage you- whether you are married or not- be careful about the words that you say.  They are so powerful and can deeply impact those who care for us.

They can wound, or they can heal.

They can break down, or they can build up.

They can create distance, or foster intimacy.

Oh Lord, remind us that our words matter.  Help us take seriously the words that we say, but also the words that lie below the surface- in our thought life.  May we take each thought captive and bring all under the submission of Christ.  Renew our minds Lord, that they would be filled with thoughts that please you.  Show us the power of conscious effort in our relationships- that we would build each other up, seeking your guidance before we speak.  Guide us into your truth and teach us we pray.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

Lessons in Humility

Quiz

It all started with flashcards this week.

Ok, truthfully, flashcards have been a problem longer than that.  But this week God spoke to me through flashcards.

Sometimes, I get frustrated when teaching my daughter.

My frustration primarily lies in my inability to teach things in a way she can understand.  There is a break down in communication.  I see the confusion in her face.

And in this emotion I act out wrongly.  I get snippy and short with her.  I say things that I shouldn’t.  Words that hurt, words that criticize.

Not too long after, I felt deeply convicted for my poor attitude.

I apologized to my daughter and asked forgiveness, but as the day wore on, I felt God continuing to speak to me about this interaction.

The fact is, I want to be an example to my children.  I want to model a Godly life for them, for them to see Christ in me.

When I fail, it is so devastating.

I love them more than I ever dreamed I could love someone.  It’s painful sometimes, how it overwhelms and floods me.

But the reality that God was showing me is that I cannot be God to my children.

I will not love them perfectly.

I will let them down.

I will say the wrong thing.

My words will hurt them.

But I can direct them towards someone who will NEVER fail them.

Someone who will ALWAYS be there.

God.

God will ALWAYS give wise counsel.

God is the faithful one, their ever present help in trouble.

So, as my daughter and I headed to church on Wednesday night, the Holy Spirit guided me into a wonderful conversation with her.

The summary:  I will fail you and say words that hurt you, even though I love you so much.  But God will never fail you.  He will love you perfectly and always be there for you.  Remember that when you feel sad and alone- when I disappoint you.  God is there and he loves you with a (Jesus Storybook Bible) “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”

It is hard as a parent to confess and acknowledge that we will daily fail in what we long to do.  But we can choose how to respond when we sin, when our sin hurts our children. 

I am praying for greater humility, patience, and love- and for God to have his way in me more today than yesterday.  By the power of His Spirit working in me, I hope that despite my faults my children will see glimpses of Christ in me and most of all know that I do love them.

Lord, thank you for walking daily with me.  You faithfully teach me and guide me on this journey.  Thank you for never leaving me or forsaking me.  Thank you for the promise that you will always be with my children- and that your love for them is perfect and never-ending.  Blessed be your Name.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

Christmas on the Inside

Last go at the Christmas tree until December bw {3/365}

During this season when Merry Christmas is on our lips…

And we are listening to Christmas carols that can be a balm to our weary souls…

Sometimes on the inside we are in turmoil.

We are burdened by our to do list.

And the joy can be lost in the daily tasks required of us to make ready for this blessed day.

I struggle with this yearly.

I have recognized that I have to make a conscious effort to say No to things.

I have to prepare for a long trip to see family.  That means lists and planning so that we don’t forget Christmas gifts or blow-up mattresses or diapers or pajamas or blankets that the kiddos can’t sleep without…

And truthfully, at some point in all this preparation, there is a little voice that says- why can’t I just stay home?  Why do I have to this year after year?

And I am reminded once again that gratitude is a choice- and many days in my life there is a battle being waged inside me.  I can choose joy and thanksgiving- or I can grumble in my spirit and become bitter for the tasks required of me.

Many times those around me don’t see this battle, or maybe just those closest to me- but as I have drawn nearer to the Lord, I find myself more tender and in tune with my inner thought life and how it impacts my actions.

I want all parts of me to be pleasing to the LORD, even those parts that may remain hidden to others.

I want to work this year to find those golden nuggets of joy this season- to stop and savor and treasure them with all my heart.

And God brought to mind this passage, and as I fought for joy today over a mountain of laundry, hours of baking, and more hours of cleaning and packing as we prepare for Christmas travels.

Colossians 3:12-17

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

And I hope and pray for you and me…

For your family and my family….

For friends and neighbors…

That this year we might dwell in Christ this Christmas season.

And may the peace of Christ rule in our hearts- and invite others to draw near and know Him- our precious Savior and Lord.