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Plugged In and Energized



John 15:5 (NLT)
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

We cannot ignore our relationship with God, especially at this time of year.  In addition to crafting the perfect Christmas for our family and friends, we buy gifts for less fortunate children, bake cookies for food cupboards, donate warm coats to the homeless, and sing carols at the nursing home.   However, when we strike out on our own in service to Him we get worn out.  We sometimes miss the joy as we tick through our to-do list.  Without love, it is all nothing (1 Corinthians 13). 

I find that when I simply plow through my list of duties, I become stressed and weary.  But seeing each task through God’s eyes gives me a special kind of energy.  I am simply a branch extending God’s love to the needy.  When my relationship with God is healthy, His Spirit flows through me.  His joy illuminates my smile.  His concern for every precious child overwhelms my heart.  His gift of love is shared with each holiday greeting.

I struggle in this busy season to make time for God.  But in God’s upside down way of working, the more room I make for Him, the less busy I feel.

Was It So Important?

Philippians 3:7-8 (NLT)
I once thought these things were valuable,
but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  Yes, everything else is worthless when
compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake
I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could
gain Christ
and become one with him.
Loving God and serving
Him is not about doing more.  It’s about
doing the right things.
We will all stand before
God and review our lives.  Take a moment
to review just the past few days.  Would God
say ‘Well done’, you have blessed others with your time, talent or treasure?  Did God interrupt your planned schedule with
an opportunity on His agenda?  Were you
too busy?  What seemed so important that,
in light of Christ’s love, was really rather meaningless?
Faith is not about doing
more.  It’s about tuning in to what God
wants us to do.  It’s about sacrificing
some of what we find important to make room for what He finds important.

You Thief!

John 10:10 (NLT)
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill
and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
How’s your stress
level?  Mine is nuts!  For some reason a few days ago I woke up in a
panic.  My ‘Trust God’ mantra went out
the window and I’m unable to calm myself. 
I’m trying to breathe deeply, set priorities and maintain
perspective.  Yet my snippy voice reveals
my heart.  The fact is, there is a lot to
do.  I’m hoping some Scripture and
writing will re-center me.
I wrote those words
before turning to today’s Scripture from Biblegateway.com.  That thief! 
Satan is stealing our holiday!  His
purpose is to destroy the meaning of Christmas.
Let’s not let that
happen.  Let’s think about this beautiful holiday. 
What do we celebrate in Christmas? 
Yes, a baby’s birth.  But what
does that mean? 
God set aside His glory and
entered our world as a helpless infant. 
He became vulnerable, humble and powerless.  God experienced humanity.  Love came down from heaven.  Why would God do that?
I would love to hear
your thoughts so all of us can remember why we celebrate this special baby’s
birth.

Isn’t It Amazing?

Psalm 95:1-6 (NLT)
Come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let
us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let
us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great
God,
    a
great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the
earth
    and
the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
    His
hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let
us kneel before the Lord our maker.
Isn’t it amazing?  The God of Creation loves you!  The One who holds the entire universe desperately
desires a personal relationship with you. 
He hopes you will turn to Him every day, every step of the way.  He wants to be at the center of your life,
not just one of your many activities.  He’ll
come along with you to all those other activities and add incredible meaning to
them (or He will help you see they aren’t good for you).
Let’s sing and shout
joyfully!  His love is unchanging and
forever.  Nothing, not anything, can take
it away.  For this we can be thankful!  Sing and shout joyfully!

Give Thanks

1 Chronicles 16:34 (NLT)
 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
    His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord.

Humming with Thanks

I am happily humming a refrain from Sunday’s worship.  It’s working its way into my soul and
gratitude is overwhelming my heart.  What
can I do but thank You?
              
Read the lyrics or listen on YouTube.  What other response is there when you truly
consider the glory of God and His love for you? 
What can you do but thank Him? 
What can you do but give your life to Him?
What Can I Do?  By Paul
Baloche
When I see the beauty of a sunset’s glory,
Amazing artistry across the evening sky
When I feel the mystery of a distant galaxy
It awes and humbles me to be loved
By a God so high
[ Lyrics from:
https://www.lyricsty.com/paul-baloche-what-can-i-do-lyrics.html ]
What can I do but thank You,
What can I do but give my life to You
Hallelujah, hallelujah
What can I do but praise You,
Everyday make everything I do a hallelujah
A hallelujah, hallelujah

When I hear the story of a God of mercy
Who shared humanity and suffered by our side
Of the cross they nailed You to, that could not hold You
Now You’re making all things new by the power
Of Your risen life

What can I do but thank You,
What can I do but give my life to You
Hallelujah, hallelujah
What can I do but praise You,
Everyday make everything I do a hallelujah
A hallelujah, hallelujah

An Exciting Adventure!

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.  Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7
 
Faith is a journey.  Believing in Jesus is just the trail head.  Experiencing the adventure and beauty God has planned takes a little participation.  He is the Guide.  We must follow.
 
Church was an integral part of my life growing up.  I always believed in Jesus and God’s salvation.  Even through my rebellious years when I shut God out, I still believed. Each Sunday School lesson or sermon was an exhibit in the visitor’s center.  I was gathering knowledge, but had not ventured down the path.
 
My walk began in the Disciple Bible study which required me to pray and read Scripture almost every day. I began putting the pieces of God’s story together and recognized that His love is more than words in a story.  I experienced God’s love for the first time.
 
My relationship with God grew and I began to recognize His work in my life.  Step by step I have learned to trust Him when I can’t see around the next corner or I stand at a
fork in the road.  Knowledge has grown into experience, or as today’s verse says, my faith has grown strong in the truth I was taught.  I overflow with thankfulness.
 
Where are you on your journey?  Venture further down the exciting path!  Your Guide is ready.

Sing Along

Psalm 100:4-5
Enter
his gates with thanksgiving;

    go
into his courts with praise.
    Give
thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
    His
unfailing love continues forever,
    and
his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Every time I read this verse I envision my first grade self,
robed in white with a large crimson bow at my neck – the Sunbeam Choir.  Psalm 100 is forever stored in my musical
memory.
Isn’t it fun when a few musical notes release a flood of
memories and sometimes, with a little group effort, the entire song?  The music we listen to works its way into our
souls.
I happen to love praise music.  The refrains I’ve been humming lately include
How great is our God and He is stronger, He is wiser and  Never
once did we ever walk alone.
  Having these
phrases on shuffle or repeat in my mind lifts my spirit, gives me perspective,
and keeps God in the forefront of my life.
What have you been humming lately?

Peace Be With You

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Colossians 3:15
The peace that comes from Christ.  What is that?
I believe peace is far more than conflict resolution. This kind of peace gives rest to your soul.  It alleviates your need for acceptance because you know you are loved by a God who never leaves you. Knowing God has a plan for your life settles your heart’s restless yearning for purpose and meaning.  Christ’s peace is a feeling of being right with God, completely forgiven, released from guilt or shame.
Let this peace rule in your hearts and guide your steps. And always be thankful that you belong to a loving God who would do anything to give you His peace.

No. Thank You.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Give
thanks to the
Lord, for He is good;
    His love endures forever.
What are you thankful for? 
You’ll ponder this question many times over the next week.  But here’s another question.  What are you thankful God hasn’t given you?
I always, always, always wanted to be a teacher.  My freestanding, double sided chalkboard was
my most treasured possession.  Homework
became play when written in multi-colored chalk.  My dolls and my younger cousins (poor things)
were my students.  I loved school and
workbooks and teaching.  You could say
being a teacher was my dream (after being a Broadway dancer).  As my passion became clear, my parents repeatedly
discouraged me because “you can’t support yourself on a teacher’s salary”.  While I thought my dream had been crushed,
God was fulfilling His plan for me to teach adults.
THANK GOD!
Had I followed the traditional path, I would have trained for
an elementary classroom and been miserable. 
I hadn’t considered that I loved teaching, but not children.  Let’s just say that age group is not my gift.  God knew. 
God had a plan more fulfilling than I imagined.
God, I am thankful you said ‘Not now’ to my dream.

Spend a few minutes to plant a quick Seed. Or stay longer and plant a whole garden.

Each post is a brief scriptural thought that will grow as you let it take root in your thoughts.  If you have time, dig into one area of interest and plant a whole garden.
Each post is a brief scriptural thought that will grow as you let it take root in your thoughts. If you have time, dig into one area of interest and plant a whole garden.

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