Tag Archives: God

The Shepards and the Angels

25 Dec

Luke 2:8-20 ( The Message)

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

 

 

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Christmas Prayers for Children

20 Dec

Let us all with gladsome voice
Praise the God of heaven,
Who, to bid our hearts rejoice,
His own Son hath given.
Amen.

O Lord Christ, our Savior dear,
Be Thou ever near us;
Grant us now a glad New Year.
Amen, Jesus, hear us!
Amen.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in.
Be born in us today.
Amen.

O welcome, little Christmas Guest,
Dear Jesus, from above;
Upon Thy face, so pure and mild,
We see God’s smile of love.
Amen.

Precious Babe of Bethlehem,
Gift of love to sinful men,
Thou, our Savior, Lord, and King—
May we all Thy praises sing!
Amen.

Ah! dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

19 Dec

Lord Jesus, increase our faith so that we might believe that nothing is impossible with God. May we continue to be a people with dreams and visions of the possible – a human community of understanding and acceptance. May we be ready to risk as Mary did to make these dreams come true. Open us to know the power of Your presence today and everyday. Amen.

Wear Joy

14 Dec

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom”! Please follow along through Christmas day as Melody Carlson, Lauraine Snelling, Rachel Hauck, Tricia Goyer, Maureen Lang, and more share their heartfelt stories of how God has touched their life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND BEST OF ALL … there’s also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS! You may enter once a day. The winner will be announced on New Year’s Day at the Pearl Girls Blog! Pearls – a tangible reminder of God’s grace to us all.

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Wear Joy
by Rachel Hauck

Thanksgiving day in central Florida broke warm and sunny under a blue sky. The thin fall breeze beckoned me. Taking my bike out, I rode the neighborhood feeling so grateful for all my blessings.

Joy bubbled up in my spirit. I’d been feeling it for a day, these waves of joy, but as I rode my bike and talked to God, the waves strengthened and splashed my heart the entire ride.

I’d laugh. Then tear up. And laugh again. As one who’s battled and won the war on anxiety and fear attacks, the onslaught of joy was welcomed, and actually sparked a new prayer in my heart. I’ve endured attacks of panic, time for attacks of joy.

The journey of joy began earlier in the year while writing a book coincidentally named, “Dining with Joy.”

Sitting at my table one day, revelation hit me. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10. The more I meditated on it, the more I wanted His joy. I don’t want my strength. I want His.

Not long after, I went to Nashville for a girl’s weekend. One of my friends handed me a coffee cup inscribed with “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

Ever just know? God is calling.

During the holiday season, I turn 50. Yep, the big 5-0. Can’t stop it, I might as well embrace it.

Fifty is often associated with jubilee, a time of restoration, and healing, even release from debt and slavery. It’s a time of returning to property, and inheritance.

A time of rest.

A time of JOY!

This past week, a friend gifted me with a beautiful Christmas ornament. Inscribed on it? You guessed it.

JOY!

To me, the world doesn’t look very joyful. There are social and economic woas. But God is speaking and offering joy.

As you go into this holiday season, ask God for a pearl of joy. Like pearls, crafted through abrasion, God’s true joy is often formed in us during difficult seasons.

Here’s the thing, His strength isn’t doled out based on our goodness, our success or failure, or the fact the holiday season is hard or sad for you. He is ready, willing and able to overcome all your weaknesses, fears and anxiety, sadness with the power of His very own joy.

His joy. Your strength.

I’ve been walking into rooms, houses, outdoors, raising my arms and shouting, “Joy!” People look at me funny, but I want to spread the joy of the Lord. To spread the very essence of His strength.

How about you? Can you find the pearl of joy in your life, in the essence of God’s heart toward you?

Wear joy this season.

~~~

About Rachel: RITA-finalist Rachel Hauck lives in Florida with her husband, Tony. She is the author of Dining with Joy; Sweet Caroline; Love Starts with Elle; and The Sweet By and By, co-authored with Sara Evans. For more information please visit www.rachelhauck.com.

Oh, and be sure to enter Rachel’s Dining With Joy NOOK eReader giveaway!

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A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year’s Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Pearls of Patience

13 Dec

Hello – I’m thrilled to announce the 2nd Annual 12 Pearls of Christmas! We’ve lined up several authors to share their Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom”! Please follow along beginning today (Monday the 13th) through Christmas day as Melody Carlson, Lauraine Snelling,  Rachel Hauck, Tricia Goyer, Maureen Lang, and more share their heartfelt stories of how God has touched their life during this most wonderful time of the year.

We are also providing this series as free content for your own blogs (as 12 html posts) – if you’d like to share the 12 Pearls of Christmas with your blog readers email (amy@litfusegroup.com) and she’ll send you the content.

AND BEST OF ALL … there’s also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post or any of the following 12 Pearls of Christmas posts (on any of the participating posts) to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS! You may enter once a day. The winner will be announced on New Year’s Day! Pearls – a tangible reminder of God’s grace to us all.

~~~

Pearls of Patience

by Margaret Mcsweeney

As I write by the light of my Christmas tree on a late winter’s night, I reflect upon the poignancy and purpose of this season.  The tiny white lights look like strands of pearls draped gracefully (perhaps haphazardly is a more honest description) across the evergreen boughs.  Tomorrow I will hang the ornaments and at last place the angel atop the tree

Angels carry a special meaning this Christmas.  My brother, Randy passed away on December 2nd from a heart attack at age 53.  He was feeding a stray cat on his side porch.  Randy was always like St. Francis of Asissi – animals would find him, sensing a kind soul.  And my brother was a gentle and patient soul.  He loved to fish.  He tried to teach me, but I immediately lost interest when I realized worms were involved. And I could never sit still on the banks of a river and just wait.  However, Randy could do that.  He could wait, and waiting is a true gift.  He put into practice the Scriptures.  “Wait upon the Lord.”  “Be still and know that He is God.”  Patience doesn’t have to be passive.  Wait is still an action verb.  Part of the waiting process for fishing is seeking.  Elaine (Randy’s wife of 31 years) told me that Randy said he could see the fish deep beneath the waters.  He actively waited for the right time to catch them.

During Randy’s last fishing trip on earth – just a week before his death, he felt an urgency to take a picture of the clouds with his cell phone.  When he returned home, he showed the picture to Elaine.  They realized that a face of an angel was looking at Randy from the sky – perhaps waiting for God’s timing to bring Randy home to heaven.  In my heart I like to think that this “angel in the sky” was part of the heavenly host that appeared to the shepherds over two thousand years ago.  A Christmas Angel.

The Christmas Angels brought tidings of great joy that Jesus, our Lord and Savior was born.  And because of that incredible gift from God that these angels announced, we all have the promise of eternity. Let us actively wait for His return by sharing our faith, offering hope and acting with love in everything we do.

May each of you be blessed this Christmas as you celebrate the purposeful promises of the Season: Faith, hope and love.   And may the 12 Pearls of Christmas be a blessing to you, too.

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About Margaret: Margaret McSweeney lives with her husband, David and two teenage daughters in the Chicago suburbs. After earning a master’s degree in international business from the University of South Carolina, Margaret moved to New York City to work at a large bank where she met David. Charity and community involvement are very important to Margaret. She is the founder and director of Pearl Girls. For more information please visit www.pearlgirls.info. Margaret is fast at work on several fiction manuscripts and her book Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace was written to help fund the Pearl Girl Charities. Connect with Margaret on Facebook or Twitter.

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A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year’s Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit http://www.pearlgirls.info

Third Sunday of Advent

12 Dec

Lord Jesus, help us prepare well for the celebration of Your birth and Your second coming. Keep us from being too wrapped up in the mateiral things of this world. Set our eyes on the message of Christmas, a message of light and peace for the whole world. Help us find our way to forward Your kingdom and work toward Your peace on earth today and everyday. Amen.

Wendy shares helpful hints to help you get started

7 Dec

Be Creative

The first time I read through the Bible, I intentionally went to sit in carline, 20 minutes early each day so that I could complete my reading. You may not have a carline to go to but maybe you have a lunch hour. Perhaps you don’t work outside the home, turn off Dr. Phil or one of your other favorite shows to complete your daily reading. You can make up missed reading waiting at the doctor’s office or ballet class.

Set Boundaries for Yourself

Determine a time and place that you will do your reading and do your best to stick to it. Protect your reading time and place within reason. It is important to be flexible in order to accommodate your responsibilities. The daily reading should take you 15-20 minutes, depending on how fast or how slow you read. Me? I read slow.

Give Yourself Grace, Grace, Grace

I am really hard on myself when it comes to goals. If I seem to be “slacking off” or not quite as excited about the goal as I once was, I am likely to quit. Start this goal with this in mind, “I am going to do this and quitting is NOT an option.” There will be times that you miss. Life happens, so expect to and extend yourself grace. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Either on the inside cover or an index card keep track of the date you miss and make up the reading when you have the opportunity. If you don’t get the opportunity, don’t sweat it. God is looking at your heart’s desire, not a checklist. He will not stop working through His Word just because you miss a day or two.

Support

As I have already made plans to read through the Bible for 2011, I have invited some people to pray for me as I strive to meet the goal. These individuals will also be my accountability during the journey. Ask God who He would have you invite. We will also pray for each other. I will NOT forget to pray for you.

Take Notes and Highlight

In addition to the spiral notebook, purchase a  highlighter, pen, and sticky notes. God speaks through His Word and He will speak to you, so be ready to write down what He says. I mark up my Bibles with pen and highlighters. I write prayers and praises in the margin. I use the sticky notes if I discover something that I want to research further at another time. The little yellow sticky notes come in handy when a distracting thought comes to mind while I am reading, i.e. grocery items and to-dos.

Beware

There is an enemy, a real enemy who is very happy with a believer’s status quo relationship with the Living God. This enemy does not want you to become wise in the Word because then he will lose any power he may have over you. When you committed to read the Bible, you added fuel to the fire of Hell and upset the enemy’s plan. I have read the end of this book and you win, he loses. Don’t let the enemy distract you.

What Can I expect from this site?

The number one thing you will receive from this site is accountability and support. It is comforting to know that others are on the journey with you. It is also comforting to know that others are struggling to get all the reading done. (And it will happen. Life happens.) As far as my role in the journey, I am an vessel that is willing to be used by the Holy Spirit who will set the stage of our hearts to be written upon and changed by the power of the ancient words of scripture. I too am a student with a desire to be enlightened, inspired, transformed, and surprised by what I will learn on the new journey I am taking.

Disclaimer

You have read all the above and now for the “fine print.” I am not an expert in anything. I am not a Biblical scholar or person with a seminary degree who knows the Bible inside and out. Honestly, I still have to sing the books of the Bible song sometimes to remember Micah comes after Jonah. I give the stage over to the Holy Spirit who is our Counselor and Teacher. (John 14:27) The stage has been set for Him to do a work in our lives.

Who am I then? I am a little i in the story of the great I AM. I am a woman who loves Jesus and His Word and wants you too also.

What’s Next?

Be sure to subscribe to Walking with Women through the Word.
Purchase your Bible through Proverbs 31 Ministries.
Get your supplies.
Pray!

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