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December Daily 5 - Praise

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December Daily Day 4 PEACE

Alright, I know.
 I missed yesterday.
 So BONUS!! You get 2 today! A 2 for 1! Now if it were at the Mall on the very thing you needed for a gift, that would be great! You would be rejoicing! But not so sure about this, right?
But I promise, today's installment goes hand in hand with yesterday's. So here goes:
Col. 1:9-12 was yesterdays verse. Guess what? it is today's too! but we are taking it a bit further this time. All the way to verse 14. 
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[a] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
So have you asked Him? Have you prayed this for yourself? For your husband? Your family?
Pray the following prayer, filling in the blank with "ME" first. And know that I am praying this for you today as well. Then pray it for whoever God brings to mind. 
 I ask you God, that you will fill _________ with the knowledge of your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit of God gives, so that _______ may life a life worthy of the Lord and please you in every way. That __________ will bear fruit in every good work, and that he/she will grow in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power, according to your glorious might, so that _______ may have (choose to live in) great endurance and patience (heres the waiting part from yesterday). May__________ ever be giving joyful thanks to the Father who has qualified him/her through his son Jesus, to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the Kingdom of Light.
Praise be to you, God that you have RESCUED US from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son You Love. For it is in Him alone that we have our redemption and the forgiveness of sins.
Doesn't that just make your heart sing?? 
Makes me think of the song "Rescuer". 
You're mighty and strong to save.
You're mighty and strong to save.
You're mighty and strong to save.
From the heavens you came, to the depths of the grave
to redeem for your sake,
Oh what a Savior!
Freedom Forever!
We lift our hands with Chains Undone.
Hearts that know mercy cannot keep silent.
We sing the song of Saving Love. 
You're mighty and strong to save.You're mighty and strong to save.
You're mighty and strong to save.
If that doesn't give you peace, I am not sure what will.
So in this crazy season, don't forget who's child you are. 
You represent His name. His Kingdom. You are not from here, so you don't have to live like it.
Love you,

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December Daily Day 3 PRAY

Thats a given, right? 
Well yes, and no. 
We Know we ought to pray. 
We Know we want to pray.
We Know we need to pray.
But do we know how to pray?
Do we know what to pray?
And, can I be honest here? Isn't it just a little bit frustrating sometimes when you pray and NOTHING changes? In fact, sometimes you have this wonderful time with God and then your whole world crashes down around your ankles; the kids fight and you loose your temper and tell them to shut up and go away and your husband hurts your feelings and you lash out at him and you get in the longest line at the checkout and...well, you get the picture. I am sure you are smiling here, because it has happened to you. ME TOO.
More often than I would like to admit.
I don't understand the ways of God. OR the ways of our enemy. But I do know something about the why. And when I discovered this, it was surprising to me. God doesn't need us to pray for Him to know our needs. DUH! We don't pray to tell Him what to do, or how to do it. Our prayers are to remind us WHO HE IS. Now, I am sure you all knew that. But it was news to me when I first figured it out. So, if he doesn't need us to remind him of our situation, or tell him who to bless or what to do in this situation or that one, then what in the world do we pray about??? What do we say?
Col. 1:9-13 says: For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work growing in the knowledge of God being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you man have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Spiritual Stuff. Physical Stuff. Emotional Stuff. All Stuff. Thats what he wants us to pray about. But lets look a little deeper. 
The disciples had the same problem. They wanted to know how to pray, too. And Jesus gave them the model prayer which is what we call "The Lord's Prayer". We all know it. Our Father, who is in heaven....But what if we really thought about who Jesus was and who he was talking to and his audience for that prayer? 
Here's the thing: Jesus was talking to God the Father. HIS FATHER. And because of Jesus, He is our Father, too. Thats why Jesus says: OUR FATHER. So lets have a sit down with our Father. A conversation. If you look at "The Lords Prayer" as a little conversation (this was AFTER Jesus had just spent some time praying) it looks a little different. And if we read on in Luke 11, we find Jesus telling them to be persistent, almost to the point of being annoying. 
Which brings us back to Paul, who says: we have not stopped praying.....
I think our problem lies in us. WE give up too soon. WE get defeated. WE believe the lies of the enemy. WE think that God is never gonna answer, he is bored hearing from us, and things aren't going to change, so why should I pray. And we complain about things instead of praising God that things are hard, and that he brought those very hard things that drive us crazy into our lives so that they would drive us to our knees and to a relationship with Him who loves us most and can DO something about it!!!
So here is my thimble full of knowledge about prayer: Do it. 
Talk to your Father. Talk to him like you would your girlfriend. AND LISTEN. Really. He does want to speak to us in that "still small voice". Ask him a question and wait. QUIETLY. That voice in your head that answers you? It is not you....its HIM. Did you think he would sound like James Earl Jones? No, silly! He speaks in your heart. And to me, it sounds alot like I am talking to myself. But the ideas and thoughts that come to me are NOT OF ME. I swear. It works. And if I ask and I dont hear, then I look to his word. Cause chances are, the answer is right there in front of me. And if I still get nothing, I wait. Cause sometimes "wait" is the answer I need. So often I rush into things and ruin them by putting my dirty hands in to it. I just want to fix it. NOW!!! But HE DOESNT NEED ME TO FIX IT in my strength. He wants to do it, and better than I could, and he wants me to learn to trust Him and have relationship with Him in "The Waiting."
Waiting. How I hate to wait. But I am learning that there is peace and joy in The Waiting. I am learning to embrace waiting as a friend. As a opportunity to love my Father God in ways I never thought possible....that I only saw in others and desperately wanted in my own life, but didn't know how to get. Now I know. Pain and Waiting. Lots of Waiting. 
So today, as we Wait for Jesus' birthday, what do you need to do to get ready? Not the list of buying gifts, trimming the tree, cooking, baking, crafting.....etc. I mean, what does your heart need? What do you need your Father to do in you today? In your family? Ask. And don't let the enemy steal it. Anticipate it in the Waiting. And Hope in God. Not in the situation ever changing, but in God's ability to do whatever He needs to do. Embrace the Waiting. The Longing. The Resting. 
John 1:16-17 says: From the Fullness of His Grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given throughout Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 
From the Fullness of Grace. And that came through Jesus into you. 
Fully embrace Him and you can walk gracefully, graciously wherever He takes you this season. 
Even in the Mall.
I love you!

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December Daily Day 2 -- Prepare Your Heart

Let every heart prepare Him room--
Christ has come. Is there room in your heart for Him?
Col. 1:3-5 says: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints---the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you.
Todays installment is going to be short and sweet. Our hope is Christ. He is the one who makes hope for the future, for the present and for our past, possible. 
He has defeated the enemy, forgiving and redeeming us for all time, reserving a seat in the glorious presence of God. 
But this is not only for the future! Our hope rests in Him for today! But our hearts must be prepared to receive what he has for us. 
Good, bad and ugly. 
Mostly it is our perspective that we need to change. The way we perceive that which we receive is what makes the difference. 
If we think of everything...the good: fun, beautiful, lovely or the bad: hurt, pain and disappointment or the ugly: sickness, death, disease as coming from His hand, then we would learn of Him. Rest in Him. 
But in order to do this, our hearts have to be prepared ahead of time. 
But how? By remembering who God is, and His promises to us. By encouraging ourselves in the Lord. By committing our hearts to Him regardless of the way things look on the outside. 
"O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like you in Heaven or on earth
--you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way." 2 Chron. 6:19
Blessed is the man who does not  walk in the counsel of the wicked, 
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, 
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,  which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers. 
Ps. 1:1-3 
So prepare your heart. 
There will be interruptions, disruptions and disappointments. 
You won't have time to do everything, and you will let people down. 
You will be faced with some tough situations, and tough choices. 
But our Hope is in Him.
He is who we want to please. We will stand before Him in the end.
Spend time with Him, Rest in Him. Be still in Him. Get to know Him.
Ponder the Wonder.
Make room in your busy schedule for Him. 
Don't leave Him out; don't leave Him behind. 
After all, it is HIS Birthday.
And find a way to express to others that "faith and love that springs forth from the hope."
Perhaps you could send a note of love to someone who needs the reminder this season. Or just a hug at the right time. Or a prayer. God will show you.

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December Daily 1-- "PONDER"

 Have you ever stopped and 'pondered' that word? It is a word we don't use very often anymore. But it is a word that is rich with meaning. The dictionary says it means to think carefully about something before making a decision. But I like the old meaning which says to appraise, judge the worth of; weigh, reflect on.
Thats what Mary did when the angel of the Lord announced that she was going to give birth to Messiah. She treasured. She pondered the wonder.
And thats what I want to do that this month. This season. To ponder. Rest and relax. To take time to do what is important, and let go of the expectations, the hurt, the things I don't understand. And give in to the wonder that is Christ in me, the Hope of Glory.
My favorite book of the Bible right now is Colossians. It has been since I discovered so much of myself in the pages there. It has been such a comfort and reminder to me since this season of life began for me. And last year God planted the idea to do a "December Daily" from the book of Colossians. So what began last year as a seed will hopefully come to full bloom this year. There is so much richness in these 4 short chapters and my hope is to remind myself daily of these truths and perhaps encourage you too.
Many scrapbookers do what is known in their world as a "December Daily", where they take a snapshot of their life on that day, whatever they are doing and make a scrapbook page that reflects that. Or they take a memory or a tradition and each day throughout December and journal about it. 
So I want to take that idea, and spin it for our spirits. Each day I want to take a word, put feet on it, and walk it around in our hearts and minds for that day. We will do that for 7 days, then repeat. And take it deeper each week. And today we will ponder.
Colossians 1:1-2 says: 
Paul, and apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 
To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, most of the time, we just gloss over this part, so we can get to the meat of this book. But this jumped out at me the last couple of times I read it. So I pondered it.
Read it again.
Paul was sent to them, by the will of God. 
Who did God send to you?
Since you are reading this, I know He sent you to me.
Ponder that for a minute.
Our meeting was not by chance. God, in his wisdom knew I needed you in my life. 
And you needed me.
And thats not all.
He considered them holy and faithful. And that only happens by the blood of Christ. And we share in that truth. By Christs blood, we are already Holy and Faithful. 
But there is still more.
Grace and peace to YOU from God OUR Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace.
Ponder those two words for a moment.
Are you living there?
It is extended to us, but are we really drinking from the fountain of His grace and letting His Peace wash away the grime of the world and wash over our souls?
I really have a hard time living in His Peace.
But to live there, I have to drink deep from the fountain of His glorious grace.
What a privilege that He
Has invited me
to participate in grace.
Ponder that for a moment. Or maybe all day. Put some feet on that and let it prance around inside.
Lets live there a while. 
Pondering the wonder of His Grace and Peace, dwelling in us in the form of His son, who brings to us the only gifts we really need this season. And we have the privilege of passing those gifts on to others he brings into our path. To make Him known by our honor of His name. By participating in 
His Grace and Peace.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD'
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself, where where she may save her young - 
a place near your altar.
Blessed are theose whose strength is in you, 
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. 

Ponder. Let it fill your heart with awe and wonder.
And share His grace and peace with someone who needs to ponder, too.
Forever His,
PS. And if you do it without telling them why you are extending grace and peace to them,
 it will really make them ponder!

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