Help Others Find Strength in God

Jonathan went to David . . . and helped him find strength in God.” 1 Samuel 23:16 NIV

We all have times in our faith and life journeys when we need someone to help us find strength in God. Someone who can come alongside and remind us or show us that God is the source of the truest and best strength we can find. Without help like that at a time of great difficulty, we may falter and lose our way.

In the Bible we read how Jonathan did this for David. David and Jonathan were dear friends, but Jonathan’s father, King Saul, began to see David as a threat because the people praised him so highly. When Saul made plans to kill him, David had to flee. During his time on the run, Jonathan came to him to encourage him and help him find strength in God. We don’t know all the specifics of how he did this, but scripture does tell us they made a covenant together before the Lord.

How might we help someone find their strength in God today? We may go to friends to give them hugs and let them know we’re praying for them. Or we might join hands with a family in a hospital room and pray over their loved one. We may offer to meet someone weekly for coffee and Bible study or send daily text reminders that we’re praying. We could post inspirational memes or scriptures on social media. After all, God’s word does not go out without result (Isaiah 55:11). And these are just a few ideas.

Who do we know right now who may need help finding strength in God? Will we be a Jonathan in their lives? Will we take action to help them? And if we’re the one in need of help, let’s pray that someone comes alongside us so that we don’t lose our way. Let’s help one another.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV

*How has someone helped you find your strength in God?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. 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 check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by marmunia, Creative Commons License

Behind the Clouds the Sun Still Shines

One day when I stepped out my back door to enjoy an early morning drink of nature and to worship its Creator, a welcome sight caught my attention. I spotted a glimmer of light and hope for a brighter sky as the day progressed. I saw the sun shining behind the clouds.

On most dark and gloomy days, I don’t think of the sun at all, except for missing the light, the beauty, and the lifted spirits it brings to our world. On this day, however, the Lord parted the clouds at just the right moment and penetrated their melancholy presence with a reminder that no matter what the sky looks like from my vantage point, the sun still shines. The light is always there.

My thoughts soon went to friends and loved ones faced with dark and gloomy days of a different sort, far more serious than temporary cloud-covered skies. Several have been enduring life problems that hold no quick fix, and I wonder how long it’s been since they’ve spotted a glimmer of light and hope for brighter days. I wonder if they remember the sun is shining behind the clouds.

My prayers go up for them and others like them today—that even though all they may see right now are clouds of despair, disappointment, or discouragement, I pray the Lord will penetrate their darkness and allow them to see that he is there. I pray that they will be reminded that the Son always shines behind the clouds.

“…the LORD turns my darkness into light.” 2 Samuel 22:29 NIV

*How does the Lord make his presence known to you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier 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.

*Flickr photo by Vince Alongi, Creative Commons License

*I pray that this revised encore post from Sept. 2009 blesses you today!

Christmas Poem 2017: Touching Baby Jesus

Friends, my annual Christmas poem tradition lives on! What started as a creative whim in 1982—back in my early days of stay-at-home-mommy-hood—has turned into a tradition of thirty-five years now! Wow, huh?

After receiving that first poem with their Christmas card in 1982, my parents requested another poem the next Christmas. And what kind of self-respecting daughter can turn down a request like that? Of course, once it happened twice, it took on a life of its own and the annual Christmas poem tradition was born.

I have so enjoyed being able to share these poems with friends and family over the years. I’m always blown away by God’s faithfulness to supply the idea for a new poem each year and how he helps me find just the right word or phrase to best express the message. I pray that God will use this year’s poem to touch your heart in a special way.

By the way, I’ll be taking a holly jolly blogging break until after the first of the year. May all the blessings of Christmas and the New Year be yours, my friends. I’ll see you back here on January 2!

   Touching Baby Jesus

Close your eyes and journey back
To history’s most holy night,
Imagine the Babe that changed the world
Imagine those drawn to his light.

His parents the first to look on his face
The first to touch the divine,
The first to kiss his tiny cheek
To see his glory shine.

The animals sharing the stable that night
Must have watched the miracle birth,
They must have drawn near to nuzzle the Babe
To touch heaven come to earth.

The shepherds, the first to hear the news,
Arrived breathless in wonder and joy,
With tender touch they must have reached out
To this Savior, this baby boy.

Now it’s your turn to approach the manger
Jesus is calling, “Will you draw close?”
How will you answer, what will you do,
Reach out and touch—he’ll be reaching to you.

—Cheryl, 2017

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

*What will you do to draw close to Jesus this Christmas season?

*Have you subscribed yet to Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue? If not, sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, just scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by Aurimas Adomavicius, Creative Commons License

The Season of Rejoicing Is Here!

Anyone else ready to kick off Christmas—the season of rejoicing—in song? If so, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve often celebrated the yuletide season here on the blog by inviting you to join in a favorite Christmas carol, and I’d love to do that again this year. No better way to welcome the season of rejoicing, right?

As always, I encourage you to sing all the verses of the carol and to consider its words with fresh eyes. As you do, you’ll find a wealth of treasure in its message and your spirit will soar in worship of the One whose birthday we celebrate this month.

This year let’s raise our voices together in worship as we sing “Good Christian Men, Rejoice.” It has become a favorite of mine in recent years as I sing it during my own personal worship times. I think you’ll understand why as you refresh your memory with its message.

So join me, friends—the season of rejoicing is here! Let’s rejoice together!

Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say:
News! news!
Jesus Christ is born today!
Ox and ass before Him bow,
And He is in the manger now:
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Joy! joy!
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven’s door,
And man is blessed evermore:
Christ was born for this!
Christ was born for this!

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice;
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall:
Christ was born to save!
Christ was born to save!

(Latin carol, 14th century; translated by John M. Neale)

“‘. . . my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,’” Luke 1:47

*What Christmas carols help you ring in the season?

*Flickr photo by ishane, Creative Commons License

Wedding Day Photo: A Toast for the Groom and His Guys

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Mother of the Bride, as you think of wedding day photo ideas, your thoughts probably center around the bride (after all she is your little girl!), but let me encourage you not to forget the groom. He is the other half of this dream-come-true day and deserves attention devoted to him, too. He may not act like he wants it at the time, but when all is said and done, he’ll be thankful to have memories captured of him, his family, and his friends.

One great photo idea to involve the groom and his groomsmen is to catch them celebrating the big day with a pre-ceremony toast. Not only will they enjoy kicking the party off a little early, but it will make for a cool wedding day shot, too. It’s also neat to capture some of the fun camaraderie between the groom and his guys before the ceremony. Afterwards, it will be all about the new Mr. and Mrs., right?

So MOB, add this idea to your list of photo ideas to suggest to the happy couple and/or their photographer. If they like the idea, why not ask the groom’s mother to be sure to have a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider, etc., on hand for her groom-to-be son and his groomsmen. This provides one more opportunity to help make the groom’s mom feel included in the wedding preparations. And that’s definitely a win!

*You might also like to read Fun Photo Idea for the Groom and Groomsmen, Wedding Day Photo Idea: Bridesmaids Hold the Groom!, Wedding Day Photo Idea: The Groom and Minister, Photo Idea: Bridesmaids Blow the Groom a Kiss!, and Make the Mother of the Groom Part of the Team.

*Flickr photo by dan.thoburn, Creative Commons License