Friday, January 27, 2012

Getting caught up in the headlines...

Come on over to Laced with Grace where I'm posting a devotion,
"Getting Caught Up In The Headlines"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Joy in Trials?

     I was looking forward to Beth Moore's new Bible study on the book of James...but then I got my study guide and read this ~

"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials." James 1:2

      What? Is that what it really says, I'm to be joyful in the midst of trials? But trials are hard and I don't really like can I be joyful when I fall into them? I wasn't sure I wanted to go on. After all, if James starts his letter with these words what could possibly be next.

      I've been through a few trials lately and am actually in the middle of a couple at the moment. I can't say I have counted them all joy. But perhaps that is the very reason I may need this particular Bible study at this time in my life. God is good about giving us what we need when we need it, and I can plainly see that the joy has been missing from my trials. So I read further...

"knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." v.3 it makes more sense. I can count it all joy when I fall into various trials BECAUSE when my faith is tested, it will produce patience. But it didn't stop there, it went on...

"But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." v.4

      Perfect and complete...lacking nothing? Wow, that's a tall order. No wonder it takes something hard like trials to fill it! I can see how faith and patience have worked together in the trials to strengthen my trust in God. When things get hard I pray, I cry, I ask God why, I question, I fight...then I remember...who He is, what He's done for me, what He can do...that He can do all things. Then my faith grows stronger, the trial that was once huge becomes very small and insignificant in comparison to who He is.

      I think it will take an entire life time to let patience have its perfect work. And for being perfect and complete, lacking nothing ~ that sounds like Jesus doesn't it? If the trials in my life make me more like Him, then they are all worth it and I truly can "count it all joy."

I think God is going to teach me a lot in the book of James!

Are you finding joy in your trials?

"Untested faith is unreliable." ~ Charles Stanley

Friday, January 6, 2012

Twas the Month After Christmas...

Twas the month after Christmas
And all through the town,
People looked tired
They seemed really down.

 Christmas was over
It was all packed away,
No lights, no more sparkle
Just regular days.

 The holiday feeling
Had faded and went,
Their pockets were empty
The money all spent.

 They looked rather hopeless
With heads hanging low,
The parties were over
They’d nowhere to go.

 Forgetting the good news-
The Holy One’s birth,
Can’t change with our actions
Or seasons on earth.
 Remind them that Christmas
Can never depart,
If Jesus – the Christ Child
Is born in their heart.

      After the Hebrew people celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus went to the temple early in the morning to teach. The lamps that were hung up through the city for the celebration were probably being removed that morning. I can imagine how people must have felt as they cleaned up the streets and put things away...kind of like we feel when putting away our Christmas decorations?  The party was over. But as they were taking down the lights that morning, there, in the temple was shining the Light of the World...right in their midst. He was the fulfillment of all the celebrations, but they could not see Him because they were focused on the party, not the person.

      What if it was always Christmas? Not the Christmas with Santa and shopping, but the kind that reminds us everyday that Christ was born...He came...He lived...He died for us...He rose again...He sits at His Father's right hand...and He is coming again!

      I don't know what Jesus was thinking as He watched them take down the lights, but I know what He said..."I am the light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." ~ John 8:12

      If the Christ child is born in our hearts, then we have His light, "the light of life" within us every single day. Let's shine brightly for Him, as we celebrate Christmas even after the tree is taken down, the twinkling lights are removed, and all the decorations are stored away in the attic. Everyday is a party for His followers, as we dance and sing praises for Him...celebrating the Light of life.