“Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit and to all kinds of people!” 1 Corinthians 12:7 MSG
As gift-buying is in full swing, I want to remind you that God has already given you precious gifts to give to others this year that you don’t have to buy.
Gifts unique to you and that are meant to be given.
God has given you the talents of your hands, the strengths of your personality, and the driving passion of your heart. He has given you spiritual gifts to bless others with. When you do, God uses you to reveal Himself to others.
It is not a prideful thing to use your gifts for the glory of God, that is what they are for.
Yesterday, my husband and my oldest child (now a young man) climbed into the small attic space above the garage and brought down all our Christmas decor. We unpacked the paper mache Nativity that we have had for over 25 years, some wonderful hand me down decorations from my Mom-in-law’s amazing Christmas stash along with 3 fake trees in boxes ready to be put together, fluffed and ornamented. About an hour in, I was overwhelmed. Boxes everywhere. Random bits of Christmas fodder here and there with wisps of the tissue paper floating around.
I took a break.
I looked around and thought about what could go where and what could stay packed.
Just a few more weeks and Christmas Day will be upon us.
It is so easy it is to get overwhelmed with all the things to do and prepare for.
But before I finish decorating the house, I’m going to take a minute to prepare my heart.
To remind my overwhelmed self why Christmas is and what Christmas is.
Christmas Day a day to celebrate love and relationship.
Jesus is God’s gift of love for the sake of relationship with you and me.
To restore it.
To reconcile it.
To renew it.
Jesus was born for this.
He who was from the beginning became flesh so we would know God.
Christmas is a reminder and a celebration of this truth.
As I sit in the middle of the mess and ponder the power of God’s love for me, I am encouraged.
I sit in gratitude.
I whisper, “thank you” for the gift of Jesus.
My house is only half way there but my heart is all filled up with the Christ who came to love me today.
“But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.” John 1:12 MSG
Where ever you are in your preparations for Christmas, my prayer is that your heart would be filled with the wonder of living loved as a child of God through the gift of Jesus.
It is about 9:30am in the Grasso household and I’m having a quiet minute. Instead of cooking the full Thanksgiving Meal, we ordered out. Thank you Bob Evans (the restaurant) for cooking for me. Just a couple days ago, we took our friends of over 20 years to the airport to fly to Africa to be missionaries. Our house has been filled with laughter and tears, tantrums (mostly from the 5 year old) and joy, wonder and appreciation of what we call divine friendships that last a lifetime.
Now the house is quiet and feels empty.
So, I wanted to take this minute – this one right here and say how thankful I am for you. Yes, you.
Thank you for opening up this email, clicking the link and reading my blog. Over the years we have met over coffee, in my office, in a service, a Retreat or only digitally and I treasure each one.
Thank you for each text, reply or comment. It is how I connect with you and know you are there. I am amazed at what God has done in you and through you since we first met. You have grown and stepped out in faith. You’ve let God move in you and through you to touch others. Thank you for joining with me on this journey and giving me permission to speak into your life. My prayer is that every post encourages you in the pursuit of your purpose and helps you authentically connect with God’s Word so you can truly thrive in your relationship with Him.
I am thankful for each one of you.
Have a wonderful and very happy Thanksgiving Day.
“You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3 MSG
They are the colors of the soul and a part of being human.
They are indicators and gauges, letting us know where we are emotionally and what is going on inside.
They are a gift for you to experience, not a guide for you to follow.
“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”
Isaiah 26:4 NIV
Feelings will ebb and flow but Jesus’ love for you is unchangeable.
His love is the truth you can build your life on and the guide for you to follow today. Ask Him to help you understand why you feel the way you do and then ask Him to guide your next step. He is the rock that will not be moved and His faithfulness will not end.
Seasons change. Children grow. Jobs come and go. We grow and change. Sometimes the seasons of our lives change gradually, gently. Sometimes life brings a storm that strips you bare and changes the season overnight.
With all this change all around, how do we manage?
He is our anchor in the storm, Our guide through the wilderness, Our peace in the chaos, Our security in the economy, Our friend in the darkness, Our God clothed in light.
Everything else will change, but He will not.
May you find rest in the refuge of the unchanging love of God in this Holiday season and in whatever season you are in.
Why? Because fretting or incessant worrying steals your focus, burns up your energy and leaves you with a crispy attitude.
The word for “fret“ is “charah” in Hebrew.
It is a word picture of something that to burn until something is charred.
It means to be kindled with a spark of anxiety or worry then whip it up into an inner frenzy.
It means feeding worry until it is a voracious fire in your soul that burns long and hot.
What is the best thing to do when a spark of fear ignites a frenzy of anxiety?
Take deep breathe and quiet down before God.
“Quiet down before God,be prayerful before him.Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top. Bridle your anger, trash your wrath, cool your pipes—it only makes things worse.”