Midweek Morsel: Christmas for Easter

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*Hope you enjoy this encore presentation this holiday weekend!

Easter is fast approaching — the time to celebrate our risen Lord and our hope of heaven in Him. My heart cries out, “Joy to the World!”, and my voice soon follows. That’s right. A little Christmas for Easter fits right in.

After all, “the Lord is come”, “the Savior reigns”,  and “He rules the world with truth and grace”! Why shouldn’t we sing and pray “Let earth receive her King”, “every heart prepare Him room”, and “heav’n and nature sing”? If our hearts want to carol when we remember His resurrection, let’s add a little Christmas to our Easter worship. “O come let us adore Him” in every way!

Just think about it. We wouldn’t be celebrating Easter if Christmas hadn’t come first. On the other hand, the birth of Christ would be nothing to celebrate if He had not become our Savior, if He had not paid for our sins with His very life and gained victory over death by His resurrection. The fact is when we worship our Lord, we celebrate both holidays.

So as you celebrate our risen Lord over the next few days, I encourage you to add a little Christmas to your Easter worship. “Repeat the sounding joy”!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 KJV

Happy Easter to you and yours!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Flickr photo by jurvetson, Creative Commons License
“Joy to the World!” lyrics by Isaac Watts

Learning About Grief

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As most of you know, I lost my mom unexpectedly last October. I don’t know if I’ve gone through all the “official” stages of grief, but I’ve learned a bit about grief since that day my family had to say our unexpected goodbyes. I won’t try to speak for everyone who’s ever experienced grief. I’ll just share what I’ve learned after a period of a few months now.

I’ve learned that grief lingers. Yes, life does indeed go on, and I slipped back into my normal routines fairly quickly. But those normal routines felt anything but normal at first. In the beginning my sisters and I asked each other if we’d ever feel normal again. Like so many others who’ve gone through grief, we’ve had to adjust to a new normal. The one without Mom.

Even now, almost six months later, grief lingers. All it takes is one thought of Mom, one remembrance, one glance at a photo, and my heart aches with loss. Granted, the pain is not as sharp as it was in those first weeks, but the ache is still there. Always just below the surface.

I’ve also learned that grief longs. When those thoughts of Mom come, not only does my heart ache, it also longs to see her again. To hear her voice. To talk things over with her. To show her how much she was—and is—loved. I long for the day I’ll see her again in heaven, along with other loved ones who’ve already left us.

Grief also longs to turn back time, to do some things differently. I wish I’d said I love you more. And even though I got to see and talk to Mom fairly regularly, I wish I’d done it even more.

I’ve also learned that grief leans. In the aftermath of our great loss, my dad and sisters and I have leaned on one another as never before. We feel a kinship in our loss and can offer comfort to one another because we understand like no one else just exactly what we lost when we lost Mom.

And above all—for believers—grief leans on the Lord. The comfort found in him and in knowing that Mom is in his presence can’t be matched. To be able to say to him, Please tell Mom I love her, please tell her I miss her helps so much. Just knowing that the Lord walks with me each day as my ever-present Companion and Help brings peace and comfort for every situation, grief-related or not.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned about grief as the months have passed. Much more could be said. But my prayer is that something mentioned here today will help a hurting heart somewhere. Will help someone to feel understood. Or help others understand what grieving friends are going through. After all, we’re all learners in this life of ours.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

*What have you learned about grief?

*My photo

Midweek Morsel: Who Does God Want?

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“ . . . God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3b-4

Some people think God could never want them. They don’t think he could ever love them. They can’t believe that God could ever forgive the things they’ve done. They’re sure they’ve failed too badly. Others have been told for so long that they’re worthless they feel worthless in God’s sight as well.

But history itself—truth—tells a different story. As we head into Passion Week next week, the story of the cross tells us that God wants us all. We are worth so much to God that he paid the ultimate price—the life of his one and only Son—to bring us into his family.

He continues to call out to those who have not yet accepted his love and forgiveness. If you are among that group, hear his heart’s longing for you: “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9b)

God wants you. He wants me. He wants us all. Let’s believe him. Let’s accept his love and forgiveness.

“‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’” John 3:16

*Have you believed God yet? If not, what’s holding you back? If you already believe, when did you first realize that God loved you? When did you place your faith in Jesus?

If you would like to say yes to Jesus and place your faith in him, here’s a prayer you can pray: Lord, thank you for loving me. I believe you died to pay for my sins and you were raised from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive my sins and come into my life and be my Savior and Lord. Help me to follow you. Amen.

*Flickr photo by dany13, Creative Commons License

A God Overflow

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If you’re like me, I bet your heart overflows at times with all the things God is to you. Often that overflow comes pouring out during moments of personal worship. I love to list to God all the wonderful things he is to me. I never get tired of telling him. And I bet he never gets tired of hearing them either.

May my words of praise lead you in your own time of worship today!

Lord, You Are

O Lord, you are everything
I’ve ever needed and more.

Thank you for being
my Father, my Friend,
my Leader, my Guide,
my strong Tower, my Rock, my Refuge
You are my Fortress and my Deliverer.

Lord, thank you for being
my Redeemer and Savior,
my Hope, my Joy, my Peace,
my Provider and my Protector.
You are my Comfort and my Song.

Lord, thank you for being
the Lover of my soul,
my Light, my Sustainer, my King,
my Source of all wisdom and love.
You, Lord, are my past, my present, my future.

O Lord, you are all of this and more.
How I love you,
How I worship and adore you!

“O God, you are my God . . .” Psalm 63:1a

*What has God been to you most recently?

*Flickr photo by Leshaines123, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: God Leads Us Through the Desert

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“he led them like sheep through the desert. He guided them safely, so they were unafraid;” Psalm 78:52b-53a

If any of us are currently plodding our way through an emotional or spiritual desert, we can take comfort in the verses above from Psalm 78. Why? They tell us we’re not alone.

God is with us in the desert. And he’s not only with us, but he’s leading us through it.

The desert can be a lonely place of desperation, but oh the comfort of knowing we’re not walking those brutal, arid paths alone. Our God is guiding us and keeping us safe.

So if we find ourselves in a desert place today, let’s keep our eyes on our Guide. Let’s hold tight to his hand. If we do, we’ll have no reason to fear. He’s got us. Even in the desert.

In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye,” Deuteronomy 32:10

*How has God ministered to you in a desert time?

*Flickr photo by Zach Dischner, Creative Commons License