Christian Quotes: G. K. Chesterton

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“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.”

G. K. Chesterton

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

Happy New Year to you all! I pray we will experience a new sense of God’s grace on our hearts, minds and souls as we walk forward into the next 12 months.

Heather

Today’s Worship Walk: Proverbs 19:21

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“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:21

So here we are, at the end of another year. While Christmas is the season of looking back to remember our Savior’s birth, New Year’s week is the season of looking ahead and making resolutions, isn’t it?

Most of us see these last few days of December as the window of time to make plans about the upcoming year, and sometimes beyond. We decide what habits need to go and think of new ones to implement, or dream a little about goals we’d like to pursue.

I used to spend a lot of time reviewing the previous year and making lists of new and exciting ideas. I’m going to get in really good  going shape…I’m going to finish writing my next book…I’m going to invite people over more…and so on. Then I’d map out how to accomplish each thing, ending up with lots of To-Do’s filling in my days.

I don’t think any idea I came up with was necessarily bad. But I have to admit that I  didn’t take much time during these planning sessions to lift them up to God. To me, resolutions were about what I wanted to do. I “checked in” with God afterwards. But I began to see how unsatisfied that process left me.

Reading this verse offered me an approach to prep for the New Year that honors God. It reminds me that He (not me) is in control, and that His plans (not mine) will come to pass. It encourages me to both let myself dream and to pray over what comes to mind. And it challenges me to keep my resolutions aligned with God’s bigger vision for the world. To me, there’s no better way to start a new year!

 

Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

Christian Quotes: C.S. Lewis

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“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.”

C.S. Lewis

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:11-14
MERRY CHRISTMAS to each of you – May you be blessed with an extra measure of joy this season!
Heather

Christian Quotes: Pope Paul VI

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“We consider Christmas as the encounter, the great encounter, the historical encounter, the decisive encounter, between God and mankind. He who has faith knows this truly; let him rejoice.”

Pope Paul VI

 

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” 

Galations 4:4-5

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I pray you all can enjoy the beauty of this season.

Today’s Worship Walk: Esther 2:12-13

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Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women—when the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace.”

Esther 2:12-13

I was thinking this week about Esther’s preparation to see King Ahasuerus for the first time, and two thoughts occurred to me about how God orchestrated this situation:

1. God led her through the process of getting ready.

Once Esther was chosen to be part of the harem, she spent a whole year getting spa treatments and basically getting “beautified” (is that even a word?) for that one moment when the King would lay eyes on her. Though she was already beautiful, time was needed to smooth out any roughness and to purify her. It doesn’t say that Esther grew impatient along the way, though. She accepted the timetable, understood the value of all the steps, and trusted God’s plan.

2. God provided her help to get ready.

Lovely as Esther was, she probably would not have reached this place on her own. But there were many people along the way who played a part in her success with Ahasuerus. She had been raised by her uncle Mordecai, who taught her humility and wisdom, as well as respect for their faith. Later, as part of the King’s harem, she received the oils, ointments and spices from the court staff. The harem eunich Haggai watched over her daily welfare, and the King’s eunich Shaashgaz advised her on what to bring to the King. All the way through, God provided people and resources, and granted her favor.

In Ester 4:14, Mordecai told her “who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” But in order to be in that place, Ester had to be willing and obedient to God’s Will.

Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

Today’s Worship Walk: John 1:16

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“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.”

John 1:16

Of all the wonderful gifts God gives us, I think one of the best and most vital, is His grace. It’s s also one that I can take for granted if I’m not careful.

Simply put, grace is being given what we don’t deserve. If I look at myself honestly, I see a sinner who falls short of God’s standard every day. Yet, as a believer I’m also a child of the King, an heir with Christ, and a new creation. How can both be true? Grace.

God’s amazing grace starts with sending His Son to redeem us. As if that weren’t enough, He continues to anoint us with grace to grow in holiness, to become more like Jesus.

It takes strength and determination to keep growing, and God provides that for us each day. His touch can be so gentle though, that I miss it, and think any positive changes I see in myself are because of work that I’ve done. That’s forgetting God, which grieves Him.

I need to be more mindful each day of the grace God has given me already, and for how He wants to continue providing it. Maybe starting my morning with declaring His goodness, and lifting up praise. The reminder will keep me aware and humble, and invite God to continue renewing me.

Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

Today’s Worship Walk: A Different Kind of Christmas

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Hi everyone! As the month of December starts, I’m sharing a piece I wrote during a challenging season a few years ago. I learned a lot that year about letting go and trusting God – both important lessons. Enjoy.

 

A Different Kind Of Christmas

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…” 1 Corinthians 1:3

 

While sharing a little time with my husband one December morning a couple of years ago, I asked him for prayer. What began as a quick request turned into an emotional moment as I poured out some of what was stored up in my heart.

I started by asking if he would be okay with me buying cookies for Christmas Eve that year instead of baking them. Boy, was that a hard question to ask! Baking has been one of my favorite ways to usher in the holiday season. But because of Rheumatoid Arthritis setting in, my joints just couldn’t handle a lot of the movements involved anymore. Being stubborn and independent, I’d already tried several times and paid dearly for it.

I realized that cookies were not the only Christmas tradition that was shaping up differently that season. Stockings were going to be smaller, as well as our tree. We’d been too busy to pull out the box of decorations. And since the kids were older, there was less excitement in the air. I knew those changes were part of a natural progression. But each one felt like a loss to me.

Later that morning, I came across a great article by Lisabeth Saunders Medlock about accepting change. In it, she shares her own extremely challenging experience. Here’s one point she made: “It’s natural to have feelings of sadness, to grieve over the loss of something…You have permission to feel that way, but only for moments.”

Those words really resonated with me, because I often get stuck emotionally. Grieving is definitely part of the process of accepting change, but it’s only one of the first steps. I have to be able to look at the present realistically, and the future hopefully. I can’t make myself ready to move forward like that on my own, though – my mind and heart are too weak. I’ll stay stuck.

Thankfully, I have a God who knows each change I face, and who wants to help me navigate them. The Apostle Paul called Him “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…”. From his early years as a Pharisee to his missionary trips, Paul experienced change on a daily basis, and not always for the good. But God was always faithful to pick Paul up and lead him forward.

I take great encouragement from Paul’s story, because it reminds me that I don’t have to face change alone. As my family’s familiar Christmas traditions start to shift, or I have to adapt to a new health condition, my Heavenly Father wants to bring comfort to my spirit. He’ll help me cherish what’s been, to accept what is, and to look ahead to what’s next!

Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

Today’s Worship Walk: Proverbs 14:30

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A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Proverbs 14:30

That’s a pretty strong statement. Just that word “rots” evokes such an image doesn’t it? And other translations use language that’s just as harsh: “jealousy is like a cancer in the bones” (NLT), or “envy can eat you up” (CEV).

Unfortunately, I can attest to the truth of this idea. Early on in life I became very good at comparing myself against other people, always coming up short. My thought pattern then led me to feelings of jealousy and envy towards others. Trying to ignore or dismiss those feelings didn’t get rid of them. They settled in each time, chipping away at my self-esteem.

But I’m convinced now, that my physical body suffered as well as my heart. Letting jealousy into my spirit brought a whole host of other negative emotions, like resentment, frustration and even anger. And it’s been proven scientifically that any of those can hurt our bodies in any number of ways.

It’s important to realize that beyond being bad for us, letting envy and jealousy take hold is sinful. When we covet something someone else has or does, it is showing a lack of contentment and trust in God. Sin of any kind is destructive to us and our relationship with our Lord.

King David wrote about this idea. In Psalm 32, he gives us a vivid description of how being separated from God affected his whole being:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 

Psalm 32:3-4

David goes on in this song to give us the way out, and it starts with confession. His agony turns to rejoicing because he knows that when he turns back to God the relationship will be restored – he will be restored. The next step is repenting – making a decision to turn from those sinful feelings and thoughts.

Following David’s example will bring us to a place of healing and even better, renewal of heart, mind and body.

 

Click herefor more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.