IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS! IT’S A PARTY!

It is not just “Looking a Lot Like Christmas,” It Is Christmas!

Happy Christmas Eve Everyone!

Christmas Crazy has come to an end! The month long anticipation(who am I kidding!)…or the year long anticipation if you are truly Crazy for Christmas, has come to an end! The tree is trimmed, the cookies are baked, the presents are wrapped(hopefully!😁), and the song running through your heads is ‘Silent Night.’ We did it! We made it through another year of Christmas Crazy!

So, I have a question for you.

Are you ready to party?

You heard me, I said P A R T Y!

Jesus is having a birthday and He deserves a party!

At the end of the Christmas Crazy, we too often find ourselves overwhelmed, overtired, overspent and truthfully, just over it!

We sing ‘Silent Night’ because we just want to lay down and take a nap! However, the Truth is, it’s time to PARTY! It’s time to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and put Him first in all of our celebrations!

Do we?

Do we honor Him, celebrate Him and put Him first?

Or, does He simply get our Left Overs?

Isaiah tells us how worthy He is of all our time, not just our left overs!

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When we celebrate Jesus and “throw Him a party,” we are setting an example for others to follow!

This week I received a text from my daughter. She was at my granddaughter’s Christmas party at her school. The teacher had asked the students to write down their favorite Christmas tradition. My daughter sent me a picture of my granddaughter’s writing.

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This Christmas tradition was passed down from my grandma to my mom, to me, and now to my children and grandchildren!

We throw a birthday party for Jesus! We go to church together for Christmas Eve Service, then we come home and open up our Christmas jammies. We then light the candles on Jesus’ birthday cake, sing happy birthday to Him, read His story from the book of Luke, say prayers and fall asleep prepared to celebrate Him the next day!

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JESUS DESERVES A PARTY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

Afterall, CHRISTmas is all about Him!

Merry CHRISTmas everyone!

Happy partying!

See you in the (almost) New Year!

XOXO

Speak Truth Love

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS! AWAY IN A MANGER

If the word, ‘LOT’ was not in the above title, it would not even fit!  Christmas is in full swing, and with it all of the “FEELS!”

The happy, joyful feels, like Christmas baking, Christmas Shopping, and Christmas parties!

Also the stress producing feels, like Christmas baking, Christmas Shopping and Christmas parties!

How quickly the “Happy Christmas Feels”, like baking, turn into the stress producing feels, as we search to find enough time to get all of the baking done, and then the time to clean the house afterward and make it look like Christmas again! Not to mention the Happy Christmas feel of shopping for those on your list you most adore, to be quickly turned into the stress producing feel of, “I’m out of money and time!” Worst of all is the festive Christmas feel of that once a year Christmas party that you look forward to all year, only to have that stress producing fear creep in and steal away  the joyful feel as you fret over what to wear and how you look!

How quickly that wonderful feeling of Christmas can be stolen AWAY, as we allow stress to rule the day!

The Miracle of Christmas is that we have the remedy! It is found in a manger.

So The Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only son.”                                                                           John 1:14

Jesus has come! He was laid in a manger over 2000 years ago. He grew up the Bible tells us, in “wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man.”  He lived for 33 years on this earth, demonstrating the way we should live. And then He allowed Himself to be crucified, buried and raised to life on the third day so that we may live with Him FOREVER!

Now, if that doesn’t “Look a lot like Christmas,” I do not know what does!

Away in a manger was my favorite Christmas song as a little girl, and continued to be as I sang it to my two babies as they grew up and is still to this day as I sing it with my grandbabies!

How changed would our hearts be at Christmas if we allowed the words of this simple song to penetrate our very lives with it’s Truth?

How happy and filled with joy would our “feels” be then?

“Away in a manger… The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay!”

The King of all creation, The Lord of the universe, The Savior of the ALL, entered our world as a baby in a manger!

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Away in a Manger, the Lord of the Universe slept!

As we lose our “happy, joyful feels,” and begin to trade them for our “stressed out feels,” may we whisper or shout out loud that beautiful Christmas song, ‘Away In A Manger,’ and let it’s Truth change our attitudes!

One more week Friends! May the Truth of His manger feel you with happiness and joy!

Speak Truth Love

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!”

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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