Wow, just wow! This is a powerful video from MercyMe. "Say I Won't" is the latest single from the mega-group. When you watch the video, grab a box of tissues...You were warned.
The day after Christmas was always a great day as a kid. You had time off from school, you had new stuff to play with, and your friends were available too. It really was a good time to be a kid.
Christmas Eve is actually our family day to celebrate. Every year on December 23rd, our family gets together and opens a gift which is always pajamas.
Our kids get together on their own and my wife and I wrap gifts well into the night and watch movies or shows we need to catch up on.
This frees us up for Christmas Day to travell to other families homes for the celebrations. It's a good system that has worked for almost 30 years now.
Christmas Music is such a large part of the Christmas season. Somr of favorites this year are Diana Krall Christmas Songs, Boney James, Boney's Funky Christmas, but most of all, I have enjoyed the Christmas playlists on Apple Music.
Back in the happy place, with my wife and oldest daughter for a early winter break. Ludington is such a beautiful town. We have been in and around the Ludington area for over 25 years now, camping mostly at area campgrounds; Buttersville Campground and Crystal Lake Camground.
We have been in a couple of different tents, a couple of different RV's, now we have a duplex. Can't get enough of Lake Michigan.
Prayer during bible study today from You Version:
God, help me to care for the people You place in my life.
Please show me how to empathize with others and how to approach every
relationship with compassion and grace. I want to help others when they need it. In Jesus' name, Amen.
A little while back, a friend asked me to join a book discussion group on discipleship. I haven't ever, officially been discipled, so I had to look it up. DISCIPLESHIP, noun The state of a disciple or follower in doctrines and precepts.
Nope, I hadn't officially been discipled, so how could I learn about discipleship?
So I prayed about and eventually agreed to join. We have been working through the "Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual: Equipping Disciples Who Make Disciples" by Jim Putman
It is the training manual for Real-Life Discipleship and it is very good. It assumes you know nothing about discipleship (seems like it was written just for me)
It has been really good for me personally and spiritually. God is showing me a lot in this study and I am becoming better friends with the men in the study.
God new I needed this, I had no clue... I'm glad he has a plan for my life :-)
A lot of churches have a sign posted as people leave the parking lot that states “ You Are Now Entering the Mission Field”.
It’s a very clever reminder that Christianity is a 7-day commitment. That wherever we are in life, a homeschool mom, a school teacher, a manager in a large organization - we all are missionaries.
That means in our day-to-day interactions with people we are ambassadors for Jesus. I always like to think that we should “leave a little bit of Jesus” when we finish a conversation with someone.
It’s a challenge for sure. It’s never easy to actually do, but what good thing is ever easy?
As you go about your day think about leaving a “little bit of Jesus”.
Fear has been paramount in 2020. Fear of job loss, fear of death, the list goes on. It’s real or is it?
I’ve been actively listening to the Bible in One Year. It’s delightful. A devotional from Nicky and Pippa Gumbel, that incorporates daily topics, stories and the Bible read by David Sachet of Hercule Poirot fame on PBS. I’m a sucker for a great British accent and it only takes 15-20 minutes to listen each day to all three: Nicky, David, and Pippa.
Back to fear. Nicky wrote in yesterday’s passage:
The more you love him and demonstrate that reality by loving one another – the less you are prey to fear. Develop a culture of love – giving and receiving love. This is the opposite of competition and gossip. The more love you give to others – the more fear disappears.
The more you love others, the less we fear. Let’s get to it! Love others.
One of the sites I like to read each week is A Healthier Michigan. They are a good resource for health tips, some recipes, and general wellness articles.
A recent article from them, What the Pandemic Taught Us: Finding the Positive in a Tumultuous Year is in alignment with what I have been feeling most of 2020 and then some.
I won't deny that Covid is a thing, it exists in the world, people die because of it, but there are many positive things to take away from this year.
- We don't have as many activities. This is a good thing in many respects, because now we can truly focus on the the important things that are right in front of us.
- We see the people we live with more. Again, a family is some 22 minute sitcom family that says funny things, has a problem and fixes the problem in 22 minutes. A family needs time spent together, rubbing the rough edges out of us. Honing comes to mind.
- We spend more time with God (or should). This year, for me at least, has brought the closest I have been to God and it is amazing. A friend started a daily prayer group, that still meets to this day! We have encouraged each other, laughed a lot and cried a little bit too!
- We spend more time on exercise and walking. I've been running for about 6 years now, it doesn't really show. It does make me feel good, though. I try to walk on the days I don't run. It makes a huge difference and I get to listen to audiobooks or podcasts.
- We meet differently. Many businesses now really see the value of remote meetings and remote work. I've been doing this for a long time at my real job. Online meetings for work, friendship, prayer (see above), and family mget togethers. It has been challengin, but good overall.
2020 has been a year like no other, but it not the worst year ever. 2021 will bring it's own challenges just like every other year does. It matters how we handle it and I choose to remain positive.
I have been enjoying the YouVersion Bible app and the new daily ‘Story’ feature.
The "Story" shows up near the top on the home screen of the Bible App and ties in the Daily Scripture. It also includes a prayer that relates to the daily scripture along with a presentation from pastors, speakers, and musicians in the Christian realm. There is also a featured devotional reading from one of the many devotionals in the YouVersion app. The app tells you how many days you have opened and used the Story feature, which game-ifies it.
Today’s reading was about Ephesians 2:8-9 and I bounce between ESV and The Message to give me a fresh perspective on the verses. The Message bible gives a couple extra verses most times to help with context.
So, back to today. It’s not that by our works that we are saved, grace saves us. The Webster 1828 Dictionary states that grace is the free unmerited love and favor of God. Wow!
God saved us to do good works. So we can make a difference in people’s lives as we serve God. We are God’s workmanship, which means we are the product of an artisan, The Artisan! He created you and me to do good (sounds like poor grammar).
So, let’s love God and do good! (I think it's Joyce Meyer that said that.)