The majesty and glory of God.

Isn’t that a gorgeous sky? I took this pic with my cell phone a few weeks back, never really thinking the phone would be able to capture the wonder and majesty I was experiencing looking at it. But it sure did.

Why start off the year with such a picture? Because it serves to remind me that God is at work, always. Both when I’m aware of Him and even when I’m not particularly aware of Him.

The picture helps me realize our world is so much bigger than what I experience of it. And it reminds me that God is big, much bigger than I can comprehend.

It also reminds me that God’s “bigness” is there for me, to help me, to guide me, to grow me, to love me.

But the picture also reminds me that God is to be worshipped in majesty and holiness. Yes, He’s my counselor, yes, He’s my friend, yes, He’s my savior. But He is God. And He is God alone. And that means He is to be adored and revered. And obeyed.

He is not to be taken for granted or treated lightly. He deserves to be honored at all times…when life is good and when life is not so good. When I feel like honoring Him and when I don’t feel it. In fact, honoring Him has nothing to do with my feelings or how good I perceive my life is at any given moment.

Out of obedience and respect, I’m to honor God at all times and in all circumstances.

As I look back on 2017 I am so very grateful to God for provision, for breath each day, for healing and health, for family, and for relationship with Him.

But as I look ahead to 2018 I hope to add to this feeling of gratefulness a better understanding of who He is. I hope to grow closer to Him so I can know Him more. And I hope to become more like Him so when others look at me they don’t really see me, but instead see Him.

Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? (Exodus 15:11).

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. (1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT)

Happy New Year everyone!

Mimi

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My Christmas gift to you…a bit of laughter

I suppose I should write a heartwarming story about the birth of our wonderful Savior, express thanksgiving for His coming into the world and into my life, or share a family story with you. But no. I’m going a different route.

This year I’m giving you the gift of laughter by sharing with you some recent events.

A little background before I tell you what happened. It concerns technology, something I’m fairly good at. Oh, I have my limits, but I love using an I-pad and touch technology; I can touch and swipe with the best of them.

Fast forward to last week. It was a baking day and while a delicious sour cream coffee cake (a family favorite) was in the oven, I put my feet up and began reading a print catalog. Fairly soon I saw an item that interested me, and deciding I wanted to know a bit more and to see the photo a bit larger, I simply touched the picture so it would load additional info with a larger picture.

Nothing happened. So, I touched it a few more times until I realized DUH! It’s not going to load anything else. It can’t load. It’s not digital…it’s print!

I kid you not. I’m so used to reading on my I-pad that without thinking about it I treated a printed advertisement as if it was digital and then couldn’t understand why my finger taps weren’t doing anything. Let the laughter begin!

But the story isn’t quite finished. I had no sooner stopped shaking my head at myself over trying to touch printed material to “load” it, when I walked back to the kitchen and noticed something. A softened stick of butter was sitting on the counter. (In hindsight, I believe it was actually mocking me.)

Why was it mocking me? Well, this wonderful family coffee cake recipe is delicious because of the butter…TWO STICKS OF BUTTER. And I had only used one. After it finished baking, I sampled it and while it tasted good, the texture was off and it was definitely missing the decadent buttery yumminess. Needless to say, I ended up baking another one.

Both incidents really made me laugh. And during a time when we can get stressed and overwhelmed, I realized maybe you could use a giggle, too. But most importantly, I believe they happened because I have a dear, dear friend who needed to laugh. So, with great joy, I called her and told her my story. And laugh she did. And it was music to my ears.

My gift to you this year was the laughter that came with some funny stories. I know you have gifts to give as well…gifts you can share with others. Some of you can bake a great cake (that actually includes all the butter!). So, bake and share that cake with some neighbors.

Some are great with words, so share those words with others. Write a note or pick up the cell phone and make a call.

Others do crafting or crocheting or knitting. I bet the hospital NICU could use some knitted baby caps for preemies or the grumpy neighbor could use a homemade anything to bring cheer.

Still others can run an errand for someone, buy a gift card, say a prayer.

Gift giving began with our Lord. He gave us Jesus…the very best gift of all. He set a beautiful example that we can all use to help us carry on the tradition in 2018.

Merry Christmas to all.

Mimi

Oops, now there’s a bit of a mess!

A week ago, after a trip to Costco, we started on our way back. I remember asking Hubby if he thought the eggs (a 2-dozen pack) were safe on the backseat. “They’re fine,” he said. So off we went.

 

All went well until we were nearing home and the hubster had to slam on his brakes. We were fine; but uh oh, the eggs. I heard them slide off the seat and land on the floor yet a quick peek seemed to show they were fine.

 

However, once home we realized they were not fine at all. Half of them were either smashed or cracked with the insides leaking out.

 

Its such a great picture of our lives. Sometimes life is going just fine. No bumps in the road, smooth sailing. Then boom! In an instant the brakes are slammed on and something we didn’t expect happens. We’re often left with a mess, thinking all is lost.

 

Yes, many times these interruptions in life bring about circumstances we can do nothing about. But sometimes they simply need a different perspective. Instead of our immediate thoughts that all is lost, if we stop and breathe…and most importantly, pray, we often find something salvageable in our mess.

 

Maybe life has recently thrown you a curve ball and you feel fresh out of good options to remedy things. But rather than succumbing to despair, or throwing a pity party, maybe the answer is to turn to the Lord, seek His direction and wisdom and find instead a work-around. Maybe there’s a blessing just waiting for you to ask.

 

Easy to do? Not always. After the egg mishap, I was at the sink washing off the 12 good eggs, getting ready to toss the broken ones, which had been my first thought. But thankfully, I continued looking at that mess and soon a second option presented itself…quiche! (And it was as tasty as it looks in the picture.)

 

I know life may be treating you well right now and if so, I’m sharing your joy. But when that curve ball comes your way, take a minute. Don’t despair yet. Have hope. There just may be a great remedy that’s only a prayer away.

 

Spend some time with your Heavenly Father and see if He can share a different perspective with you. Then shoot me a comment. I would love to hear all about your triumph.

 

For your encouragement: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

 

Mimi

It’s everything leading up to Christmas

Christmas for me is all about the preparations—what happens between the day after Thanksgiving right up until Christmas Day: putting up the tree, decorating the house inside and out, enjoying Christmas music while putting together Christmas puzzles, shopping online and opening each Amazon box to rediscover what I ordered, wrapping gifts for the grands, baking AND eating Christmas cookies, and getting to attend some local Christmas concerts.

This year, Greg got the tree up and did all the decorations while I baked and ordered gifts. We did a very challenging Ugly Sweater puzzle, and have been watching Hallmark Christmas movies for weeks. But the musical events have really been the highlight. Outstanding and definitely reminding us of the true meaning of this wonderful holiday we celebrate.

On November 30 we were able to attend the Gaither Homecoming Concert in Lakeland and can I just say WOW!!! We were uplifted from the moment the music started. It was all about Jesus and absolutely glorious…especially when Mark Lowery sang his beloved song “Mary Did You Know?”

I wasn’t sure anything could top that so I wasn’t expecting much last Monday when the hubster and I, along with my dad, attended a concert right here where we live. The musical guests were two groups from the local public high school. And from the very first song to the last, each one glorified the Lord and told the Christmas story. I kid you not. This was a public high school. Let me repeat, THIS WAS A PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL!

These kids were full of life and smiles, enjoying every minute and often praising God while singing. I spoke with the director afterwards to express my appreciation and wonder at the songs, and he simply said “You can’t take Christ out of Christmas.” And boy, is he right!

At this point I’m completely filled with Christmas cheer and the wonder of my Lord, but there’s more. Greg and I were the blessed recipients of tickets for the First Baptist Church Orlando Christmas show last week. Two huge singing Christmas trees comprised of hundreds of singers and accompanied by an amazing 55-piece orchestra were the stars along with all sorts of other singers and animals. Did someone say “camel?” Yup, one of those, too. The event began with a stroll through Bethlehem Village complete with actors staying true to the biblical times, animals to pet, and pictures to be taken in the manger. The evening ended on a high note with the Hallelujah Chorus. What a fantastic evening.

So, the Christmas spirit has indeed taken hold in my heart this year. And I’m loving it. Hope, you, too, are able to find some events to attend. If not, you can always drive around to view the Christmas lights. Bring along a thermos of hot chocolate and some of those delightful Christmas cookies you’ve been baking and enjoy this very special time of year.

Yes, Christmas Day is wonderful, too. But the preparation time before hand is what gets to my heart much like the 9 months of pregnancy before childbirth. It’s all so very special as we anticipate the glory of what is to come.

Mimi

So very thankful.

Do you like our beautiful “blessing tree?” We used it as a centerpiece on Thanksgiving Day.

 

But what makes the tree so special is that it’s a tree of thankfulness. As each guest arrived to share a Thanksgiving meal, they were given a paper leaf and asked to write down something they were thankful for.  And as each leaf was tied onto a branch the centerpiece became more and more beautiful.

 

But more than physical beauty, the true beauty was in what each leaf said. People were thankful for family, for health, and for God. Some messages were long; some were short. But the one-word message Callan wrote really said it all…”God.”

 

Truly, God is the answer to everything. And Callan got it right. Happy, close-knit family? It’s because of God. A great job? God. And your health or making it through a health scare as Greg did this past year? Yup, God.

 

So, in one word, Callan summed it all up.

 

Then as the family gathered around the table, 9-year-old Konnor read aloud each leaf as we tried to guess who said what. And together we rejoiced in our many blessings and being able to share those blessings with our family.

 

How about you? What are you thankful for this year?

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17a).

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever (Psalm 106:1).

 

Mimi

Roadblocks

Ugh. We all experience roadblocks. But we’re rarely happy about them.

This week, I’m passing along a link to a great article by J. Lee Grady who writes for Charisma Media (various online publications).

I love Lee’s take on things. He speaks from his heart and shares insights, encouragement to believers, and isn’t timid about calling believers on the carpet when we’re not in line with the Word.

This week’s article explains in seven steps how God uses roadblocks in our lives to transform us. Here is one paragraph as a preview. Please consider using THIS LINK so you can read the entire post.

Many times, God creates roadblocks in our lives because He’s working on us. We may not understand what He’s doing, but we must trust Him anyway and accept whatever delays He is causing. The delays are always for our good.

Most times I vote for NO ROADBLOCKS, but I most definitely want to be transformed by the Holy Spirit so will work on my attitude and try to learn to be more welcoming when they show up. How about you?

Mimi

Thankfully, God Looks at the Heart

While taking a walk today, I saw this in the sky. Kind of looks like a funny cloud, doesn’t it? But I know differently and for that, it made me smile. It made me happy. And it served to remind me of God’s love.

So how could a funny cloud do all that? Because I know what is really going on beyond what you see. About 30 minutes earlier I had seen some letters in the sky put there by a local skywriter. On a day with no breeze, the letters stay up quite a while, enabling you to clearly see a reminder of God’s love. With today being breezy, the letters were barely visible and for only a brief period of time, but having lived in the area since 1999 I knew the message beyond what I was actually seeing. And that’s why I smiled.

Here’s a typical message written in our skies: Jesus Loves U. (Want to know more? Here’s a LINK to an article from 2011 about the Holy Smoke pilots.)

As I walked this afternoon and saw the “funny cloud” I was indeed smiling because I knew in reality it was a message of hope and inspiration. It didn’t matter to me that the message was obscured because I knew what wasn’t showing. And this reminded me of how our Lord sees us.

We often look at our lives, look at our actions and judge ourselves harshly. We are unable to see potential; we instead see ourselves through obscured sight. But the Lord sees clearly and He sees someone He loves and has a plan for. He sees who we are in Him and through Him.

Whether or not you have a skywriter in your area posting reminders of God’s tremendous love for you, please be encouraged to know:

  • You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2:9-10 The Message)
  • For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation)
  • But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 New International Version)

Anyone struggling to see yourself as God sees you? Please let me know. It would be my privilege to pray for you.

Mimi