Archives for 2018

Christmas Moments: Carol Your Way to Worship

Have you ever caroled your way to worship? I have. And one of the best ways I know to enter into sweet moments of personal worship is through singing the carols of Christmas.

As the season gets started, I urge you to find a hymnal or a songbook of classic Christmas carols and choose one to sing each day in your quiet moments with God. You probably know many of these long-time favorites by heart, but I encourage you to find the words written out somewhere so you can sing all the verses. I promise you will find treasure you have forgotten about or never knew was there.

Several years ago while singing “O Holy Night!” during one of my personal worship times, the Lord ministered such encouragement to me through the last half of the second verse—the verse that is usually left out when we sing it in groups or hear it performed. How grateful I am I didn’t leave it out as I sang privately to him that Christmas season.

Join me today, won’t you, and carol your way to worship this holiday season. Here is “O Holy Night!” to get you started (text by John S. Dwight; melody by Adolphe Adam). May the King of kings minister to your heart as you sing to him!

“O holy night! the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand;
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend;
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace;
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name;
Christ is the Lord, Oh, praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim.”

“Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness . . .” Psalm 96:9 NIV

*Which carol would you like to sing next as you carol your way to worship?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out early this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*I hope this slightly revised encore post from Nov. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by infomasternCreative Commons License

5 Things Every Bride-To-Be Needs to Hear from Her Mother

*I won’t be posting next week during Thanksgiving but will be back on Nov. 27. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Mother of the Bride, as your daughter prepares to marry, she’s navigating a season like no other—as are you.

Not only are you both planning the biggest events you’ve probably ever planned, but you are both experiencing the shifting sands of changing family dynamics. She is shifting her primary loyalty to her husband-to-be and also developing relationships with his family while you are preparing for the final letting go as well as welcoming another family member into your family’s fold.

Since like any good mother, you’ll want to make her wedding planning experience and her family transition as easy as possible, here are 5 things she needs to hear from you right now. I pray that they will help both of you navigate the emotional mother-daughter waters you find yourselves in. May your season of planning and change go as smoothly as possible—and even hold unexpected blessings.

5 Things Your Bride-to-Be Daughter Needs to Hear from You

  1. This is your wedding, not mine, and you and your groom’s desires are the ones that matter the most. It’s okay, MOB, to share some of your most deeply held desires concerning the wedding—after all, it will be a highlight of your life and her dad’s life as well—but when it comes down to final decisions, those should reflect the couple’s desires.
  2. We welcome the love of your life into our family with open arms and will love him like a son. This will be a process of course as you may need time, MOB, to get to know him better, but just hearing your assurances of your welcoming love for him will mean the world to her.
  3. Even though you’re starting a new family, you’ll always be my dearly loved daughter who can count on me in good times and bad. At this critical time of family transition, MOB, your sweet girl needs to know that you’ll always love her and you’ll always be there for her. And as you assure her of your unchanging love, this will give her an opportunity as well to reassure you of your place in her heart.
  4. I’m sorry—I didn’t handle that very well. There may be (will be!) times during the wedding planning process, MOB, that you will say or do something that you wish you hadn’t. Tensions can run high at times and in those moments it’s so easy to act or speak in haste. When you’ve done something that hurts feelings or offends, apologize as quickly as possible. Keeping loving and peaceful relationships is the way to go.
  5. How can I help you? Whether with wedding details, relationship issues with any of her friends and family, or other day-to-day life stresses that can be compounded by the pressures she’s feeling as wedding day approaches, your girl needs you, MOB. Find out how you can best help her with whatever she’s going through. She will be forever grateful.

Good luck, MOB, as you and your precious daughter navigate the days ahead. May these pointers help along the way!

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride’s Wedding Day Advice for the BridePre-Ceremony Wedding Day Prayer Idea: The Mother of the Bride Prays for the BrideA Prayer for the Newlyweds, and A Message for the Newlyweds.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Nov. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

A Thanksgiving Offering

*I won’t be posting next week during Thanksgiving but will be back on Nov. 27. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

We’ll find Thanksgiving on the calendar next week, but we can be active in thanksgiving all month long, can’t we? Yes, every day is a good day to give thanks. May my following Thanksgiving offering help us all give full voice to our thanks. Hope you’re blessed by it, friends!

A Thanksgiving Offering

“Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:8-9 NIV

Think of your many blessings, tell God daily you’re grateful, talk about what he’s done for you, and thirst for a life that pleases him.

Humbly give glory to the most high God, honor him for his deeds, hold his name in high esteem, and help others like he has helped you.

Acknowledge the Giver of all you have, appreciate the gifts he gives, ask for his continued blessing, and adore him every day.

Name God’s mercies in your life, notice him at work around you, nourish your spirit with thoughts of him, and never forget his kindnesses.

Keep as memories God’s wonderful deeds, know his limitless grace, kneel before him in love and devotion, and knit your heart with his in times of sweet communion.

Sing because of his love so amazing, sacrifice your praise to him, see the Light behind the clouds, and simply live for his glory.

*What would you like to give thanks for today? 

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Nov. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by mathewingramCreative Commons License

Add Beauty to Wedding Venues with Candlelight

Mother of the Bride, as you and your daughter discuss décor options for the ceremony and receptions sites, don’t overlook the beauty of candlelight. No two ways about it, candlelight works. Yes, other décor possibilities are beautiful, too, but candlelight has a magic all its own.

Candlelight adds beauty, serenity, and romance to every area it graces. This may be one reason candelabras have been such a traditional decoration for the front of the church. As the bride and groom exchange vows, they are flanked not only by the elegance of their attendants but also by the beauty of candlelight.

If your daughter doesn’t want the traditional candelabra-look for the ceremony, maybe she could have clusters of pillar candles positioned at various places up front. Or she might want votive candles lining certain areas. Possibilities abound. Just be sure to suggest that she include the magic and beauty of candlelight somewhere in the vision she has for her ceremony. Candlelight works wonders at a welcome area near the guest book as well.

Candlelight transforms a reception site, too. Whether candles are part of the guest table décor, a magical touch at the cake tables, or positioned in windows or other key areas, candlelight amps up the beauty factor at the reception big-time. As the evening goes on, the beauty grows as outside light fades and the candlelight becomes more prominent. It will make the wedding wonderland you’ve created absolutely gorgeous.

So MOB, do everyone a favor and encourage your daughter to offer the beauty of candlelight to all who join her and her beloved for their big day!

*You might also like to read Wedding Photo Idea: Moms Light Unity Candle Together and Centerpiece Idea: Flower Ring and Candle.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Hope this slightly revised encore post from March 2014 helps you today!

*Photo by Flowers Photography

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Gratitude

Do you desire to live a life ever-flowing with gratitude? This month’s installment of my blog series featuring sentence prayers that invite God’s power into important aspects of our lives will help you achieve that very desire.

Since we celebrate Thanksgiving in November and many of us focus on thanks all month long, I hope these sentence prayers for living a life of gratitude will help our hearts grow even deeper in the life-transforming practice of thankfulness. May you be blessed, friends, as you voice these prayers in your own lives!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Gratitude

  1. Father, help me to be ever aware of your presence, remembering that you’re my past, my present, and my future. (Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5)
  2. Lord, help me always proclaim, “Father, thank you for sending; Jesus, thank you for coming; Spirit, thank you for staying!” (John 3:17, Luke 2:11, John 14:16-17)
  3. Father, I trust that you are causing everything that happens in my life to work together for good. (Romans 8:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  4. Lord, when life is hard, remind me to notice all the good things in my life, including the blessings I usually take for granted. (Psalm 112:4, James 1:17)
  5. Father, draw my attention daily to the beauty of your world and cause me to ever rejoice in its wonders. (Psalm 65:5-13, Psalm 104)
  6. Father, may I always be grateful for the work you’ve given me to do, for the way it meets needs, and for the opportunity to glorify you through it. (Ecclesiastes 5:19, Colossians 3:23)
  7. Lord, I embrace your sovereign plan for my life and rest in the peace that comes from trusting you completely. (Proverbs 3:5-6, Philippians 4:12)

As we live our lives with gratitude, may they shine with the grace and peace of God and be used to draw others to him!

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV

*Which of the above prayers do you most need to pray right now?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by maltzevans, Creative Commons License