The Hope of Christmas

The Hope of Christmas | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

 

Unto us a Child is born,

unto us a Son is given,

and the government will be on His shoulders.

And He will be called

Wonderful Counselor,

Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace,

JESUS

for He will save his people from their sins.

 

Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬; Matthew‬ ‭1:21‬‬‬

 

May each of you enjoy the blessings of Christmas and find the Hope, Joy, Peace, Comfort and Love that is wrapped in the gift of God’s Son.

Merry Christmas!

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The Interruption of God

The Interruption of God - Are you willing to say “Yes” to God’s plans for your life? | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

She didn’t plan to abandon tradition.

She didn’t plan to be the subject of whispers in the market place.

She didn’t plan to cause her betrothed shame or humiliation.

She certainly didn’t plan to become the mother of God’s Son.

But God…

His plan would turn her life upside down.

His plan would stretch her faith beyond its limits.

His plan would bring her blessings, joy and honor.

His plan would save, not only her, but the entire world.

 

To the revelation of God’s plan for her life, Mary answered, “May it be done to me according to your word.”

And what a plan it was!

Now, imagine the difference in your life if you would only allow God’s plans to interrupt yours.

Duck Walk vs. Dog Face: The Battle for Self-Worth

Duck Walk vs. Dog Face: The Battle for Self-Worth - Are you struggling with self-esteem issues? Learn how to fight back against what the world says you are and stand firm in who God says you are. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.comThere she was, sitting with her face buried in her hands, tears trickling through her fingers and soft sobs evading her feeble attempt at concealment.  I looked on with mixed emotions.  I was frustrated with the boy who caused the tears, sympathetic of the girl who had been offended and completely overwhelmed by memories from my past.  The scene was all too familiar and it carried me back to my childhood, to a time when I was sitting where this child sat, a time that forever changed my view of who God made me to be.

I was there – completely broken, tears streaming down my face and spirit crushed because of someone’s careless words.  I still remember the hurt I felt as I heard that awful name spewing from the mouth of a teenage boy in front of the whole world, or so it seemed.  We were on the school bus but it might as well have been the whole world.  I was 9 years old.  I was different because of a physical disorder and all I wanted was to fit in, to be accepted, to be normal.   That day, this teenager’s laughter and mocking dashed any hopes I had of that happening.

I couldn’t contain my tears.  I couldn’t wait to get off of that bus.   I wanted to be at home.  I wanted my mom.  And my mom is just who I needed because the advice she gave me that day impacted my life in ways I could never have imagined.  I don’t remember everything my mom said that afternoon but I will never forget what she told me to do the next day on the school bus.  She told me to fight back, to retaliate the next time this teenager called me a name.  I was a tiny little thing and this boy was probably four times my size but my mom said to stand my ground.  It empowered me.

I know what you are thinking.  “Your mom actually told you to call that kid a name?”  Yes, she did and she even gave me the name to call him!  And being the good little girl that I was, I did exactly what my mom told me to do.  The very next afternoon, after I struggled up the bus steps and began walking down the aisle to my seat, I heard it.  The words “Duck Walk” pierced through the commotion of kids playing and talking and hit me square in the back of the head.  I turned, glared straight into the boy’s face and returned insult for insult.  “Dog Face!” I blurted.  He did not strike back.  Instead, he smiled, sat down and never called me “Duck Walk” again.

At age 9, I didn’t quite grasp the value of the lesson I learned that day or fully understand all that my mom was trying to teach me but today, I have come to cherish the priceless wisdom I gained from that experience.  My mom was reminding me of who I was that afternoon when she told me to fight back.  She was showing me that God does not make mistakes despite the opinions of the world and that I cannot let anyone tell me differently.  I cannot let anyone steal my joy, my happiness or my hopes.  That’s quite a lesson learned from simply calling a bully a “Dog Face”!

And so, I passed this lesson on to the girl who had been insulted, the girl who is picked on every day at school because she does not look like everyone else.  No, I did not tell her to call her bullies some silly name – I left that to her mom!  But I did tell her to stand her ground, to take pride in who God made her to be, to defy Satan in his attempts to steal her joy, and to hold her head up high.  God has a purpose for this precious girl and she’s going to be just fine.  She may not understand it now but one day she’ll be standing in my place passing on this pearl of wisdom to another little girl or little boy who needs to know that God’s Love is so much greater than any insult hurled by this world and that God does not make mistakes.

He Knew

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“He set His face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)

He knew His humanity was temporary.
He knew His Father’s plan.
He knew His perfect life would be tarnished by the imperfections of a world He had embraced.
Jesus knew His purpose, still He chose the path He knew would lead to death.

He was God.
He was man.
Heavenly purpose mingled with earthly fears.
He knew no sin, yet He knew love.
He knew sorrow.
He knew joy.
He knew pain.

“Let this cup pass from me, but not my will but Thine be done.” (Matthew 26:39)

Our Lord knew His journey on this earth would lead to humiliation, anguish, abandonment and death. Still He chose to die. With deliberate intention, He walked the path to the cross pausing only to accomplish the work of His Father in the lives of those He touched along the way.

His steps were not hurried.
His load was not carefree.
He knew His Father’s plan.
He set His face to go to Jerusalem.
He set His face to go to the cross.

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

A Year of Smiles – Day 315

Reason to SMILE #315: CUDDLES

Are you a cuddler? I’m not so sure that I am. I really don’t mind cuddling. I mean, what mom doesn’t like cuddling with her little kiddos? Snuggling up on the couch with the family pet is okay, too. And, of course, cuddles with the spouse are always good.

Hmmm. Maybe I am a cuddler!

I don’t know, though. I really enjoy having my own space. Not sharing the blankets or the couch or my three feet of personal space is nice. (It is 3 feet, right? It should be 3 feet – maybe more!) Being able to relax comfortably without dying of a heat stroke caused by the prolonged close proximity of a loved one (though very, very loved, indeed – I promise!) is a wonderful feeling.

Ugh! I sound like a terrible human being, don’t I? 😉

Well, cuddler or not, I’ve found that there are always days when I desperately need to be cuddled. Days, like today, when nothing goes right – when the school won’t let you give food to your child because it’s not in a lunchbox, when everything you do at work is wrong and has to be done a second or third time, when what you thought were certainties in your life turned out to be huge questions – it’s on these day, I want to curl up into big strong arms and just be held. Yep. On these days, I’m definitely a cuddler.

It’s a good thing I have big, strong arms to run to when I need a cuddle or two. Knowing my hubby is there to comfort me always makes me SMILE. Even better, though, is knowing I can run to the loving arms of my Heavenly Father when the burdens of the day are too much to bear. And you just can’t beat the SMILE that comes from resting in the Father’s arms!

A Year of Smiles – Day 291

Reason to SMILE #291: HE’S GOT YOU!

Adobe Spark (32)

Matthew 6:25 – 26

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Read those verses again and let that thought wash over you.

Are YOU not much MORE VALUABLE?

By the way, that question – it’s rhetorical. But in case you are unsure, the answer is “Yes! Yes you are!” And our God will take care of you.

He’s got you!

So stop with the worrying. It’s time to SMILE!

A Year of Smiles – Day 213

Reason to SMILE #213: YOU’VE GOT THIS!

This week many of the children in my church begin another year of school. The first day of school is always a dreaded day in my household (actually, any school day is!) and I’m sure it’s the same for many other households. Of course, there are a variety of reasons to be anxious over the beginning of a new school year. For my kid, it’s merely that he doesn’t see the point of school! (Yep. Tell me how do you deal with that one! – – Please!) No matter the reason, I completely understand. I had a whole list of them myself. So, for all of you out there who may have kids hesitant to begin this new school year, here’s a SMILE to pass along:

You've Got This Adobe Spark

 

And if you’re not a student, well, this SMILE is for you, too! Remember, no matter what you are facing, God and You have got this!

A Year of Smiles – Day 191

Reason to SMILE #191: MERCY

I messed up. There’s no other way of looking at it. I completely blew it. I’ve worked for weeks to get a project completed. I’ve coordinated with several different parties from all over the United States, fought with overnight couriers, manipulated schedules and pretty much performed everything short of miracles so all could be finalized today.  Then I had to go and throw all that hard work away with one bad decision. Ugh! I may have played a huge role in completing this project but I’ve also single handedly thrown a huge kink in it’s culmination.

It has not been a good day. Fortunately, I have an understanding boss who did not even flinch with the news of my screw up. Instead, he helped me to meet enough of the requirements of the project today which will allow me time to fix my blunder in the next day or two. It’s humbling when you expect/deserve a negative reaction or speech filled with disappointment but you actually receive a helping hand and sympathetic gesture of forgiveness.

That’s a lot like God. No matter how many times we mess up, He isn’t waiting to give us a tongue lashing or strike us down with a lightning bolt. Instead, He’s waiting to forgive us with open arms. Yes, there may be consequences for our bad choices. We do have to learn from our mistakes. But God shows us mercy by withholding what we truly deserve, separation from Him because of our sins, and giving us what we do not deserve, grace and forgiveness.

I have no idea how my blunder is going to work out. It may be fine and I will be able to SMILE and thank God for the blessing. Or it may be the opposite and I may find myself cleaning up an ugly mess. Though definitely more difficult, I will still be able to SMILE realizing that I have been given an opportunity to learn from my mistake. (Did I mention how hard it will be to find that SMILE?) No matter the outcome, I am thankful for the reminder of the great mercy God shows to me every day of my life.