Monday, December 15, 2014

I Love Christmas Surprises!

I love Christmas surprises; the simple pleasures that make me stop and think “That person really cares.”  Twice today I received such a surprise.  Once, when a package arrived from friends on the east coast delivering a lovely gift I was not expecting.  Secondly, I received a Christmas card from a long-time friend whom I lost touch with a few years ago.  She moved and was so thoughtful to connect again and share her new address!  Unexpected surprises are wonderful!

I decided to shuffle things around a bit today and surprise Jesus by showing up mid-day and surprise Him with a pinch of quality time despite my hectic schedule.   The middle of the day is so busy, especially at Christmastime.  There are cards to address, cookies to bake, decorations to hang and people to meet with and encourage.  These are all good but even good things that have value need to be placed in perspective.  I’ve read many blog posts and devotionals that target getting our priorities right in December.  My guess is that everybody battles the stress of getting ready for Christmas just like me, checking off the long list of stuff that must get done.

I discovered that my mid afternoon pause for coffee with Jesus is a relaxing antidote for a tense, active day.  I’m not forgetting the reason for Christmas.  After all, it is His birthday we celebrate.  John’s gospel, Chapter One, says:

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

I’m sure my brief time in the Savior's Presence did not surprise Him like the unexpected gift and Christmas card surprised me today.  Who can surprise God?  But one thing I know, I was blessed with calm assurance.  Likewise, I hope my showing up brought Him some simple pleasure, too.


Linking to Testimony Tuesday

Holly Barrett

This post links to Tell Me a Story.

Tell Me a Story

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Eve I Will Always Remember

We've enjoyed some fun Christmas Eve celebrations as a family.  A few years ago, however, I wanted to cancel Christmas.  The kids wouldn't let me.  Instead, they picked up the slack and put together a celebration I will always remember!  I invite you to read the rest of my story at, her web site:   Women Walking With Jesus,

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Botched Cookies

For years I have boasted how I love cookies and enjoy baking them.  I’ve accumulated five-star recipes and confidently bake them, package them real pretty at Christmastime and give them as gifts.  That’s why no one was more surprised than me when I dumped a tray of homemade brown sugar cookies in the trash just days ago.  They were awful, inedible.  A good baker knows when to improvise and when to follow the recipe to a tee.   This recipe called for a cup of unsalted butter.   I added a cup of margarine instead, and it ruined the whole salty batch.  I was left with nothing.  I didn’t follow directions.

Sometimes I do that in life.  I do things my way instead of the preferred way, the well tested way that insures success.  Who then can I blame then when the consequences turn sour?

One of my favorite topics preached at Christmastime is forgiveness.  To me it is the essence of why Jesus came to earth.  Sunday’s sermon taken from Matthew 5 came alive to me.  Jesus advises us that if we come to church and its offering time and we realize someone has a grievance against us, it’s vital to leave our gift at the altar and go make it right with that person before presenting our gift.  We Christians have heard this teaching time and again.  It is so contrary to the world’s way of pointing a finger at someone's faults instead of humbly making it right between me and the other guy.  Our pastor’s words hung like distended swollen clouds over the sanctuary as he challenged us to consider what is out of order in our lives.  He gave us the recipe for success here but are we following through?   “Imagine a church forgiving this way and being this healthy!” he exclaimed.  What a witness that would be to a dying world.

Forgiveness of offenses is a great recipe for a successful life, but I realize it only works if I follow it without my own parameters.  Just like baking up a batch of a tried and true cookie recipe but changing an ingredient, the final result won’t be good.  I want my cookies to be delectable and I want my spirit to be healthy, especially at Christmastime.  I’m thinking I better stick to the recipe.

This post links to Testimony Tuesdays
Holly Barrett

Monday, November 24, 2014

I’m Thankful Her Life Was Spared

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 This I declare about the Lord:

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
Psalm 91: 1,2

 The call came while I was at work.  My daughter was in a bad accident and I needed to leave immediately and get to the scene.  I prayed myself there arriving at the messy highway strewn with broken windshield glass.  My eye caught her shredded Letterman jacket.  The face of a familiar fireman calmed me telling me she is badly shaken, but okay, and he instructed me to head to the fire station.  I spotted her in the center of the circle of firemen.  She survived without a scratch!  I remember the noticeable silence as I held her in my arms and shouted a prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus.  He not only protected her but sent a courageous woman driving by who stopped and removed her from the vehicle where she hung suspended upside down. The sheriff said she was driving too fast and when she came upon the hill, the car flipped three times as a result of over-correction.  Weeks later our girl graduated from high school.  I was so proud of her that night.  An honor student and class speaker, she testified to standing there that night and being alive because her God is faithful.

I’ve been meditating on this memory and, again, praising God as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday in just a few days.  My thankfulness to Him is as fresh as it was eighteen years ago.

I just watched a story on the news about a 16 year old girl who survived a similar accident.  How well I know her mother’s fears as she spoke of that late night call.  Her daughter’s car flipped four times and she is thankful she’s alive even if she is bound to a wheel chair as a quadriplegic.  This lovely gal worked through her disappointment and pain and reached a new level of independence.  Today her attitude reflects her remarkable faith and choice to trust God for her future.  It’s inspiring how He uses her as His vessel to warn other teenagers about poor driving habits. 

It’s meaningful at Thanksgiving to reflect on God’s faithfulness to us and to think of those past events or people who have sprinkled our lives with the message of His protection and love for us.   

Happy Thanksgiving!

This post links to Tell Me A Story:

Tell Me a Story
 And...Testimony Tuesday
Holly Barrett