IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS! ADORE HIM

“OH, COME LET US ADORE HIM!”

What image is conjured up in your mind when you hear these six simple words?

You may picture the image of a sweet and innocent little baby wrapped snuggly in a plush, warm blanket and nestled in a cozy, soft bed.

Perhaps the image of giving honor to a King, surrounded by splendor and magnificence?

Both of these images have been true of me at times when I belt out the words to one of my favorite Christmas tunes,

“Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ The Lord!”

But, when they say a “picture is worth a thousand words,” they are not kidding!

As I walked where Jesus walked, down the streets of Bethlehem, where He was born and laid to be “ADORED,” the image I had dreamed about, became reality!

Jesus was laid in a rock hard(literally), manger where animals feed from.

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 I stood there looking at this hard animal feeding trough and thought of putting my sweet babies in it to sleep. I could not imagine their soft, tender skin placed on top of scratchy hay.

I could not picture their fragile heads laid on rock hard stone! I stared for minutes on end at the place the baby Jesus laid.

Suddenly, my mother’s heart was overwhelmed with love and compassion for a young mother placing her sweet baby in this hard crib. Her trust in her Heavenly Father must have been “Rock Solid!” Pun intended!

I knew in my heart that she ADORED Him like no one ADORED Him! I knew that she would willingly have given her own life for His! I knew that she would instinctively give every one of her comforts up for the sake of His comfort! She was His mother, the first to ADORE Him on this earth!

There was no other word in my vocabulary at that moment but HUMILITY!

The Humble birth of our Lord, Savior and King. The Humble heart of a mother trusting in her heavenly Father to provide for and care for her newborn son.

God blesses those who are humble.”       Matthew 5:5

The birth of Jesus was surrounded by HUMILITY!

How do I approach ADORING Him at the celebration of His birth?

As I was blessed to physically walk where Jesus walked, I believe I need to strive to walk as Jesus walked where He calls me to live. Jesus was born humbly, adored humbly by His mother, and walked humbly on this earth.

My prayer for this Christmas, and every one He gives me, is to “ADORE MY JESUS WITH HUMILITY!”

TRUTH BOMB

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HUMBLY ADORE THE KING OF KINGS!

I pray that as I sing ‘Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him,’ this Christmas season, that I will sing, worship and ADORE Him out of humility and thankfulness!

It truly is “Beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”

May we Humbly come and Adore Him, JESUS CHRIST OUR KING!

Speak Truth Love

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! Remember Me

One month ago almost to the day, I boarded a plane for a land I never thought my feet would touch this side of heaven! We had been blessed with a special gift! We were going to the land of Israel, the land where Jesus walked!
My head and my heart were so excited that they were causing my feet to dance and practically lift me off the ground as I walked through the airport. Could this really be happening? I had read passage after passage of Jesus walking this earth and being with people!
Jesus standing at the temple mount and turning over the tables of the money changers as they were making God’s house into a place of business. Jesus in a boat on the Sea of Galilee with his disciples! Jesus in the Jordan River being baptized by John!
Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane! Jesus walking down the Mount of Olives to the city of Jerusalem! And so much more! Was it really happening? Was I about to step in the very places where Jesus had stepped? Was I going to walk where Jesus walked? As I collected my passport and walked outside of the airport and stepped into the cab driven by an Israeli man, telling us all about this land we had entered, I knew it was real! It was dark outside but inside my heart there was nothing but light as I anticipated the next eight days of walking where Jesus walked!

As we enter in to the Christmas season this year, I am excited to share with you some of the steps I took in walking where Jesus walked!

Step One: A New Covenant

Walking in the very place where Jesus called his disciples to Him as He explained to them for the first time that a New Covenant was here! Jesus Himself, was the New Covenant, His blood would be shed for the forgiveness of our sins. His body would be broken so that you and I could live someday forever with Him in Heaven!

If you follow Jesus, then you too are one of His disciples. And He is still calling you today to remember Him. To remember the sacrifice that He made for you so that you could be forever with Him!

Touching those walls and stepping in His steps, made it so real to me, that they gathered around Him as He explained this “New Covenant,” that we are as confused as we are sometimes in understanding the full meaning of His words.

For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until it’s meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.  Luke 22:16

He isn’t going to have another meal until what? The Kingdom of God? What exactly does He mean by that?

He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to his disciples saying, “this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.“              Luke 22:19

Then He took a cup of wine and said, ‘this Is the New Covenant between God and his people-and agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.’” Luke 22:20

But then I realized, I have something they didn’t have at that point. I have the power of the Holy Spirit because of this very sacrifice that Jesus made!

I was standing where Jesus stood as He shared the same good news with his disciples then that He shares with you and me today!

HE IS THE NEW COVENANT AND BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT SACRIFICE ALL OF US LIVE UNDER THIS NEW COVENANT AND HAVE ACCESS TO ETERNAL LIFE WITH GOD THROUGH HIM!

Yes, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” And it’s all because of what Jesus Christ Himself, did for us!

I will never take communion again the same way. I will close my eyes and see those walls and see the path that His feet walked, as He willingly chose to shed His blood and allow His body to be broken as the New Covenant for me!

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Jesus’ words, “Remember Me,” should echo in our hearts as we celebrate Christmas!

Speak Truth Love

Giving Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 118:29

In over 6 different places in the Bible, this phrase is repeated over and over.

Why?

Because our God is faithful!

When we can see it, He is faithful. When we can’t see it, He is faithful!

God loves us faithfully and His plan is for us, regardless of our circumstances.

Three years ago this Thanksgiving Sunday, we made a difficult move. We left our home, family, friends and jobs we loved, and hardest of all, our kids and grandkids, to move North.  We heard God’s call clearly, but it felt like anything but good.

Three months in, our home had fallen out of escrow 3 times, we were about to lose the home we were staying in, the church family was struggling with the change and so were we! My heart never felt more alone as I faced not only living away from my kids and grandkids, but also not teaching anymore. I could not feel God’s faithfulness, I could only cling to the Truth of verses like the one above and know that God’s faithfulness endures even when I cannot see it!

The word endure, is such a great word! It is a word that is not used much in our modern language. Probably because it is a word that is not demonstrated much in our modern culture!

To endure means that something is resilient, it stays the course. It doesn’t tarnish or fade and it doesn’t break after years of use. It undergoes great stress and pressure without yielding! It makes it through storms that rage against it and comes out resilient!

That is God’s faithfulness toward us! It has SUPERNATURAL STAYING POWER!

Fast forward 3 years…

I am sitting in the front row of our church listening to 4 testimonies of God’s faithfulness, and realizing that God is demonstrating His faithfulness to me through each one!

One was raised at the church and has just in this last year found love. One has been at the church 12 years and in the past two years has lost her husband, job and has in this past year started a new job with great benefits for her family. The third one has been at our church for two years and has been baptized and began serving. The fourth one came to the church only 6 months ago, has come to Bible Study and placed membership.

Tears began to roll down my cheeks as God revealed His faithfulness to me! He was always there, orchestrating His perfect will and plan in their lives and mine! I may not have always seen it, but God was and is always faithful!

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God’s faithful love endures when we see it AND when we don’t.

In two days when we celebrate THANKSGIVING, I will sit side by side with loved ones and will joyfully with a pure heart thank God for His faithfulness and that it endures forever!

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

Our God is Faithful!

I am thankful for you!

Speak Truth Love

The God who Renews our Strength!

This week is a very special week for me! My grandson turns five and my son, my baby, turns thirty!

To anyone who knows me I am a girl with a theme! I love celebrations, I love parties, and a theme is a must! My husband always jokingly says, “you don’t do anything without a theme.”   And the baby boy turning five, and the big boy turning thirty certainly demanded a theme! Problem was…The spirit was willing but the flesh was truly weak. For those of you who have traveled internationally you know what I am talking about!

We were gifted, blessed and thrilled beyond measure to be able to take a trip to Israel! It truly was a trip of a lifetime! I thought that I would never see Israel this side of heaven! We had a marvelous trip in every way!  When we were gifted with it we were in awe and our feet hadn’t quite reached the ground as we were entering the airport to make it a reality. Then something happened that I still haven’t recuperated from! We stepped up to the baggage counter to check in our bags for our flight and receive our boarding passes. The clerk behind the counter told us that we were in seats in the front of the plane. I argued with him that, “Sir, here’s my itinerary, those are not our seats! His response back was, “they are now.“ My beautiful friend had bumped us up to first class! Yes, you heard me right, this is not a typo! I rode to Tel Aviv, in a non-stop first class seat! My feet never hit the ground as I danced through the airport and into my seat! I was living out one of my favorite movies, The Holiday! For fourteen glorious hours I was Cameron Diaz in a pod all to myself! I stacked my reading books up just like she did and sipped my sparkling water as I flew through the international skies!

Then we landed, and we got to our hotel sometime in the middle of the night? I knew at least it was dark outside! For the next eight days we were up at the crack of dawn with our bags packed and downstairs ready to board the bus to see the holy sites we had come to see. I was about to walk where Jesus walked! I was thrilled and beside myself with the anticipation of what I was about to experience!

My next blog series will be on ‘Walking Where Jesus Walked’, but for now back to celebrating my boys!

If you have traveled anywhere for seven days or longer, changed time zones to over ten hours of a difference, and walked on average over 12,000 steps a day, you know the tired that I am talking about! From the first step I took, to the last step I took, each and every one was magnificent! I saw more and learned in greater depth then I had ever imagined. But the plane ride home was not first class, so…back to reality Lisa. The 10 hour time difference and thirty hours of travel before hitting my pillow at home had taken it’s toll!

I went to sleep in my own bed that night knowing, that the week ahead of me could only be accomplished with God‘s strength and not my own!

I prayed Psalm 23 out loud, trusting God to renew my strength!

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

I went to sleep at about 1:30 in the morning and woke up at 8am. I felt refreshed and knew that my best bet was living out the day as normal as possible, laying my head back down on the pillow again at night and trying to sleep. I drove to my granddaughter‘s final soccer game and she became a league champ! Then I was able to hear my son preach, which thrilled my soul! I drove back home laid my head back on the pillow at around 10:30 at night and got up for church the next day! It was so encouraging and fun to be with my church family again, I had missed them!

Slowly, but surely, God was renewing my strength! Now it was time to get my theme on!

What do you do when one of your best boys is turning five and the other one is turning thirty? You go to the happiest place on earth!

We loaded up our cars and we drove to Anaheim! We celebrated together as a family and spent one full day in the most theme-filled place I know!

While my spirit was willing and excited, God began to do in me what only He can do, He began making my weak flesh strong!

Isaiah 40:30-31 is one of my favorite passages and one of my most constant companions!

Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles;  they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

We celebrated to our hearts content and made new and precious family memories that we will cherish and hold onto forever! I could never have made it without God renewing my strength!
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As we walk through our daily lives we have so many reasons to “grow faint!”

But God is our Strength Renewer, He promises to restore our Strength if we will be obedient and lean on him!

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Our Lord God is our Strength Renewer!

That’s our Truth Bomb Tuesday friends! We don’t have to go this road alone! We can and do become weary and tired, but we will not grow faint when we pull our strength from our Strength Renewer!

Be renewed this week my friends! I love you!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? LIVING WATER

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! His faithful love endures forever!“                                  I Chronicles 16:34

Today I am praising and thanking God for water! Most of all, I am praising and thanking him that He is THE LIVING WATER!

When you are traveling away from home one of the first things you think about is water. Not just drinking it but using it!

Your first thought is, can I drink this water?Even if the people around me are drinking it, because I am out of the area and could get sick if I drink it. Then there’s the question of, should I brush my teeth with it? If I bathe in it, should I keep my mouth closed so I don’t swallow it?  

If your trip is more than one or two days, the answer is never,  I won’t drink water until I get back home! Nor is it, I won’t brush my teeth or bathe until I get back home! WE NEED WATER TO SUSTAIN OUR LIVES!

We are quickly reminded of how easily we can take it for granted when we are in a foreign place and it is not as easily accessible to us or safe for us to drink or use.

As I am following my Good Shepherd through Israel I am also thankful that He is also my Living Water!

He lets me rest in Green Meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.“      Psalm 23:2

My Good Shepherd leads me and guides me and even allows me to rest in green meadows that have been watered and are growing lush and full! He leads me to peaceful streams where the water flows gently and ever so calmly without feeling pushed or prodded!

In this crazy “go, hurry up and go,“ world that we live in, I need quiet peaceful streams that still provide the living water I need for my sustainment, but also bring me peace and calm. I know that connecting to the Living Water Himself, is the only way that I can get this in this crazy world we live in!

Jesus himself makes the clear distinction between the physical water we need for life sustainment, and the spiritual water that is essential for our souls!

If you knew the gift of God and who it is that ask you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have giving you living water.”   John 4:10

As I take step after step and walk where Jesus walked, I am more aware of the culture he lived in during his 33 years of life on this Earth. The rich meaning of each word He spoke and each illustration He used make more and more sense, and come to life in a significant way!

As Jesus speaks here to the woman at the well, and asked her for a drink of physical water to quench his thirst, He is offering her living water that will give her eternal life in Him, The True Living Water!

I can see clearly now, when I look at where the well actually is, and how far the women would have had to carry all of the water in jars from the edge of town to their household, bringing all the water they needed for each and every day to sustain life.

In this one statement to this woman, Jesus is claiming to be all the sustainment that she needs for everything in her life!

He is claiming to quench her thirst. He is claiming to cleanse her and wash her clean. He is claiming to be the vital water that she needs to grow, and He is claiming to be the power that will give her the energy she needs to live this life!

Water is all of that and more!

Jesus is offering all of this to you and I as well. Are we willing to except it and to have the rest and peace that only He can bring us? Or are we still putting the Living Water God has put at our disposal into empty pails? Do we allow ourselves to go thirsty, to remain dirty, and parched and powerless by not accessing our Living Water?

C. S. Lewis puts it beautifully in The Chronicles of Narnia:

“Are you thirsty?“ Said the Lion.

“I’m dying of thirst,“ said Jill.

“Then drink,“ said the Lion.

“May I– could I – would you mind going away while I do?“ Said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl…

“I daren’t come and drink,“ said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,“ said the Lion.

“Oh dear!“ Said Jill, coming another step near. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.“

“There is no other stream,“ said the Lion.

There is no other stream friends! The Lord is our Living Water! Through Him our lives are completely and fully sustained!

We can reject this Living Water and wither away. We can accept this Living Water, put it in an empty pail and continue to be thirsty, dirty, parched and powerless! Or, we can receive this Living Water and have all that we need and rest in green meadows and walk beside peaceful streams!

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There is no other stream…only the True Living Water will quench our thirst and provide us all we need!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME?SHEPHERD

This first week of September, 2019, marks a week of great significance for me!

It is not significant because I know what’s ahead of me. I actually have no idea of the outcome! The significance actually comes in the “not knowing!”

I know that it is the first week of November, and I know that I love love love November! My family laughs at me as I clap and cheer on the morning of November 1st!

The first significant mark is that it is November and my heart and mind are turned to giving thanks to my God!

Give thanks to The Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.                                     I Chronicles 16:34

I do not know the outcome of my giving thanks, I just know My God is good and He deserves my thanks!

In other words, I do not give thanks to God because of something I want. I am not thanking Him in advance for doing something for me.

I am simply giving Him thanks because HE IS GOOD!

He is my Shepherd, and He leads me even when I can’t see where I am going!

This year we were blessed to all be together as a family on November 1st,  at one of our favorite places, Apple Hill!

The reason that we were there was because we had been evacuated from our home due to the fires near us.

As I focused on this verse I realized that God is good all the time, regardless of our circumstances! And in the middle of some of our most difficult times, God gives us blessings!

My second significant mark this week is that I am leaving for Israel TODAY!

I am going to walk where Jesus walked! I can hardly stop shaking from the excitement to make my hands be still enough to write these words!

I truly never believed that I would see Israel this side of heaven! But last February, Jim and I were gifted with this trip. It is truly a gift beyond measure! We are humbled and thankful!

My mind cannot even begin to wrap itself around the significance of this trip and experience in my life! I have prayed, I have fasted, I have asked God to open up my heart, my mind and my spirit so that I can fully take in all that He has for me during this trip, but I can’t. In my humanness, I am not smart enough, strong enough, or astute enough to prepare myself for something this big! I need my SHEPHERD!

Sheep by nature are not smart. They will wander right into running creeks of water to satisfy their thirst, then while standing in that same water they keep slurping it up while their wool grows so heavy as it becomes wet, that they actually drown.

In preparing for this incredible trip I have felt like a dumb sheep! I have been running around, fretting at times, that I have not prepared properly. I keep asking myself constant questions…Have I packed the right things? Have I attained the right things to take? Have I bought all of the right sizes so they’ll pass through customs? Have I turned off certain features on my phone or computer?Have I bought the right adapters?…And the list goes on and on.

Most of all I have struggled within myself to prepare my spirit for this trip. As I was feeling like a failure on Sunday as I walked out of church, saying the words of one of my favorite Winnie the Pooh characters Eeyore, “I’ll never make it.” I was reminded that God is my shepherd! He will lead me and guide me when I am not wise enough to do it myself and that He is ALL that I need!

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My Good Shepherd is all that I need!

In the book of Psalms we are given a beautiful picture by David who was a shepherd, of our Lord, The Good Shepherd!

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.“ Psalm 23:1

Stop worrying! Stop fretting! Stop trying to figure out everything in your life before you even live it! Our Lord God is our Good Shepherd! He goes before us, He goes behind us, and He goes beside us! He is ALL that we need!

So as I get ready for my plane to takeoff and land in Israel, I am committing to walking alongside my Lord God, my Shepherd!

As I do, I am committing to take these two significant events in my life this month, and share on Psalm 23 with you as I walk step-by-step where Jesus walked, following my Shepherd, and beginning each and every one of my days by giving Him thanks!

I can’t wait for this great adventure and I’m excited for you to walk it along with me!

Love, prayers and a heart full of thankfulness for all of you!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? IMMANUEL – GOD WITH US

I sat in my car in pitch black darkness lit only by the car lights behind me and in front of me.
I was alone. My husband was in our second car, a few cars up from me with our dog. In the darkness, nothing looked familiar. We were only a mile from our home, yet it felt like we were in the middle of no where!
We had been startled by the loud warning on our cell phones that we were being evacuated due to the fires surrounding us. We had been on stand by for hours with our important papers, passports and special belongings packed and ready to go. Now it was REAL! The fire was reaching a dangerous level and the winds were increasing. We were being evacuated for the third time in three years!
We got into our two cars, put our necessities and our dog inside and headed out. We made it no more than 3/4 mile down the road, when we encountered a ‘DETOUR’ sign. We were required to turn to the left. At least it was in the direction of the freeway!  We made the left turn and went about one cars length before we were at a stand still. We were boxed in from all sides and no one was moving!
Of course, I reasoned, everyone was being evacuated and we were all trying to reach the freeway. My husband texted me from his car to turn on the local radio station and keep updated on the latest reports. I did that, and for the first hour it kept me focused. The second hour approached and we had not moved more than two car lengths! My patience began to waver.
I felt the frustration rise as the second hour passed and the third hour was approaching!
I decided to turn off the radio that continued to repeat the distressing fire updates and turn on my worship CD. I heard the words come through my speakers like God was talking to me Himself…
“IMMANUEL, Our God is here with us, He’s here with us!”  
 
My grandchildren had been with me just two days earlier, and had asked me to change my worship CD to Lincoln Brewster’s Christmas CD. I had, and God’s clear and undeniable message came blaring at me from the pitch black desperate darkness.
MY GOD WAS WITH ME!
 
I WAS NOT ALONE!
 
At the top of my lungs I began to sing along, “Our God, (My God,) is here with us, He’s here with us!
IMMANUEL was the name given to our Savior, Jesus, as God sent Him to be with us!
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him, IMMANUEL, which means, GOD IS WITH US!”            
Matthew 1:23
 
The miracle of His birth was the fact that we would once and for all be cleansed of our sins by the cleansing power of His blood! This would give us access to a Holy and perfect God that could not otherwise look upon us due to our sin. At the miracle birth of IMMANUEL, God with us, and His perfect life, death burial and resurrection, we now had the ability to accept His sacrifice on our behalf and gain eternal life with God in heaven FOREVER!
PRAISE HIM!
But, God was always with us, His people, from the minute He created us.
God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve and even talked with them. After they disobeyed God’s command and sin entered the world, separating man from God, He still strove to be with them!
All throughout the Old Testament we read time and time again of God being with His people.
God was with Gideon when he was hiding grain and fearful of attack from his enemies!
“The angel of The Lord appeared to Him and said, “Mighty Hero, the Lord is with you.”Judges 6:12
 
God was with David as he encouraged God’s people to continue building God’s temple.
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for The Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail or forsake you.”    
I Chronicles 28:20
 
God was with His Chosen people, Israel.
“For The Lord your God is going with you. He will fight for you against your enemies and He will give you victory.”    Deuteronomy 20:4
 
God was with Nathan as he spoke to the king.
“Go ahead and do whatever you have in mind, for THE LORD IS WITH YOU!”
 II Samuel 7:3
 
And God was with Joshua as he led God’s people to the land God promised them.
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is WITH YOU wherever you go!”    Joshua 1:9
 
God was with me!  I was not alone!
GOD WAS WITH ME,
In the fear,
In the uncertainty,
In the frustration,
In the waiting,
In the unknown!
It took us another hour to finally reach the freeway, and another 4 hours to reach our children’s home in where we could finally rest.
And even though the story of this fiery trial has just begun, and the end is not yet written, my faithful God, IMMANUEL, is with me from the beginning of it through to the end!
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I CAN TRUST IMMANUEL GOD TO BE WITH ME NO MATTER WHAT I GO THROUGH!
 
No matter what “fiery trial” you find yourself going through, my prayer is that we may know that The Lord Is With Us, no matter what, no matter where you are. He gives us His strength so we can be strong and courageous! We can trust Him to calm our fear and discouragement.
“For The Lord Our God Is With Us Wherever We Go!”
Speak Truth Love