What is the Spirit of Christmas?

WORSHIP.

I am so deeply grateful for this moment to write about something so meaningful to me right now.  This Christmas seems harder than any before.  But, somehow, I sense God moving me into a deeper understanding of who He is. Somehow, this Christmas, the Spirit of Christmas is ringing truer and deeper in my soul.  It isn’t something I am doing, it is rather something He is doing IN me.  All I feel is Worship.  I feel drawn to Him.  Some may think that means being a “religious fanatic,” a term I am all too familiar with since I became a Christian 14 years ago, but what genuine Christian isn’t a little fanatic?  It does appear to the average person that someone who stands in Worship of God would be different or strange.  Someone who decides to put their trust in the unseen rather than the seen.  Someone who depends their whole life on something written in a book…the Bible.  Someone who denies themselves to put others needs first.  Someone who seeks God’s answers rather than leaning on their own.  To one who doesn’t believe in the Word of God, or someone who doesn’t know God….it seems ridiculous.  For the believer, we have faith…a gift from God planted in us.  The ones who do not know God and do not desire to know Him…their eyes and ears are deaf, blind and their hearts are darkened.  I have found that I cannot change this, although God can and my prayers do make a difference.  But, what seems to have created insecurities in me in the past, is giving me new, fresh confidence in the Lord now.  For, what seems strange to this world, is really cherished by God.  Jesus himself was considered a religious fanatic and ultimately crucified by people who thought they knew better than God.  And Jesus was perfect in every way and sinless.  The World rejects what it does not know and cannot understand.  Jesus did not try to change the mind of people who refused to believe in Him.  He went after the hungry.

I feel comfortable in this place.  A place of purity, of trust, of genuine Worship to the God who has never left my side, never abandoned me, never given up on me, never stopped loving me, who is faithful, honest, true, loving, perfect in every way.  Yes, Christ can truly be sufficient to us.  I stand in testimony to that in the most difficult place I have ever been….and I have been through some hard experiences.  I have to say it is one thing to know Christ is sufficient….and a totally different thing to FEEL it.

I am experiencing God in a new, beautiful way this Christmas and hope for this to be the best Christmas yet.  A place of deep, true, meaningful Worship and a new level of trust and dependence on God that only those who really love Him might know.

I am thankful to be Chosen.  I am thankful God’s promises never fail.  I am thankful to be refined during this season of my life to get rid of the “old” and accept the “new.”  I am thankful He is creating in me a new spirit…it takes testing and hurt and trials to really show us what is in our hearts.  I pray that what comes out of this season is a new, purified heart.

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While I’m waiting…

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve you while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

–John Waller’s song: While I’m waiting

This song has played so many times for us along with “Strength will Rise as we wait Upon the Lord”….I know we are in the waiting phase…waiting to hear from Him…waiting for many different strings of God’s plans to come together in our lives to ALL MAKE SENSE!  I long for that.  I long for it all to make sense.  But, I know it will.  And I am so thankful to be able to worship HIM and serve HIM while I wait.  It is making me fall more and more in love with HIM…above all else.

Praising the Lord

I have often wondered how it is possible for me to ” Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.  -1 Thessalonians 5:16

Here is some insight on how it can happen from God’s Word:

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.  Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” -Psalm 34: 1-3

If I am praising the Lord all the time, to Him, to others (the afflicted), and with others, these things will happen.  Through praise, I am praying, through thinking of Him, His joy will come, through thanking Him in praise, more joy will come!  It’s a circle that reaps unending blessings.  As I share the Lord with others–His character, His blessings to us, they will in turn rejoice and wouldn’t it be lovely to hear them rejoice as well?  And then to rejoice together.  This is how I can lift others up.  This is how I am lifted up.  The elders in the Bible that surround the Lord in heaven praise Him all day long.  The angels sing of His glory all day long.

I must learn to praise the Lord as I walk through my day–no matter what comes!  It is my joy 🙂

I’ll Praise you in the Storm

I love this song by Casting Crowns.  It talks about God being Sovereign, and praising Him, no matter if He gives or takes away.  I want my faith to be REAL, not dependant on how many blessings He’s poured out on me lately…but my faith to be in HIM and who HE is.  I want to PRAISE HIM no matter what.  I want to develop a faith that is STRONG and to not let the enemy have ANY ground.  I don’t want to be easily hurt by the enemy, but know that I have already overcome because He who is in me is stronger than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). 

I have been in a season for a bit now where God has taken away things that I have longed for, for so long.  Some He simply has never given me.  Others, He has taken away.  I have confessed, repented, prayed, sought, read, meditated, and so on…and no answer to my pleas has come.  My desires are from Him, things He also desires for me, so I know that this is a season in the desert…and I am learning to praise Him in the storm.  I am confident that the Lord is with me.  I am confident that He loves me.  I am confident that He is good.  I am confident that He has plans to fulfill these desires He’s put on my heart for so long. 

I watch as others I know pray, seek, and obey…and God’s blessing is POURED out to them over and over….they are basking in His love and blessing.  I am longing for similar things; I am walking faithfully; I am seeking HIS will for my life and have surrendered everything to HIM; I am POURING out my heart to the Lord and other people…despite what comes back to me…and shall trust in God’s sovereignty and His timing.  I shall wait upon the Lord and TRUST in what I do not see.  I will keep my eyes on Jesus and PRAISE HIM FAITHFULLY IN THE STORM.  The God of my youth, even when I didn’t even know Him, has always loved, guided me, and taught me…He’s been intimately there for me all my life.  I am thankful for HIM and the sweet husband and kids I have.  No matter what each day brings me, nothing can keep me from praising Him!!!  And in praising and obeying Him, there is much joy in my life right now.

This is my song for this season in my life:

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus:]
And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus]

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

I’m loving Jesus instead :-)

I am thanking Jessica Simpson for the lyrics, but made just one tiny alteration to her beautiful song…Jesus for angels…

I’m loving Jesus instead:

I sit and wait
Does Jesus contemplate my fate?
And does He know
The places where we go
When we’re grey and old?
‘Cause I have been told
That salvation lets their wings unfold
So when I’m lying in my bed
Thoughts running through my head
And I feel the love is dead
I’m loving Jesus instead

And through it all He offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I’m right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won’t break me
When I come to call, He won’t forsake me
I’m loving Jesus instead

When I’m feeling weak
And my pain walks down a one way street
I look above
And I know I’ll always be blessed with love
And as the feeling grows
He breathes flesh to my bones
And when love is dead
I’m loving Jesus instead

And through it all He offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I’m right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won’t break me
When I come to call, He won’t forsake me
I’m loving Jesus instead

And through it all He offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I’m right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won’t break me
When I come to call, He won’t forsake me
I’m loving Jesus instead

Amen (My addition!)

Much of You Jesus

I want to make much of your love
 
“How could I stand here
And watch the sun rise
Follow the mountains
Where they touch the sky
Ponder the vastness
And the depths of the sea
And think for a moment
The point of it all was to make much of me
‘Cause I’m just a whisper
And you are the thunder andI want to make much of you Jesus
I want to make much of your love
I want to live today to give you the praise
That You alone are so worthy of
I want to make much of your mercy
I want to make much of your cross
I give you my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of you

And how can I kneel here
And think of the cross
The thorns and the whip and the nails and the spear
The infinite cost
To purchase my pardon
And bear all my shame
To think I have anything worth boasting in except for your name
‘Cause I am a sinner
And you are the Savior

I want to make much of you Jesus
I want to make much of your love
I want to live today to give you the praise
That You alone are so worthy of
I want to make much of your mercy
I want to make much of your cross
I give you my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of you

This is your love, oh God
Not to make much of me
But to send your own son
So that we could make much of you
For all eternity

I want to make much of you Jesus
I want to make much of your love
I want to live today to give you the praise
That You alone are so worthy of
I want to make much of your mercy
I want to make much of your cross
I give you my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of you

I want to make much of you
Much of you Jesus”

 
-Steven Curtis Chapman

The House of God

The Place of Worship

This morning I was thankful to be able to go to worship God in His house with His people.  It doesn’t always work out for our family, and there have been periods of time that it has been more stressful than beneficial…but, I wanted to test it again the past two weeks to see if we could manage.  Lewis has never had an easy time in nurseries, so he sits with me in the chapel.  I love that He loves being in the sanctuary with me.  He loves singing and especially loves holding the Holy Bible and “reading” it, along with the “music (hymnals).” 

Last week it was amazing.  We hadn’t gone in a bit because it simply wasn’t working for our family.  But, I wanted to try and see if it would work.  He did so well (only two bathroom visits).  He was so good!  I thought we’d try it again this week.  It went pretty well, but it was a bit more ‘busy’ than last time, especially with Hannah joining us towards the end from the nursery.  I kept praying, “show me when the moment is to leave,” because it was starting to get stressful.  BUT, then we started singing again 🙂  And I realized, even if I only get to hear the old-fashioned hymns once again…and sing together and worship the Lord…it is worth it.  I don’t have to hear the whole sermon.  God will meet me with that in my home as I seek Him.  Sometimes, we leave because it is simply too much for me to handle (especially with daddy not there two Sundays out of each month).  But, today, it was worth it to go and hear the songs and rejoice in my Savior and what He has done for me.

I love God’s house of Worship.  He isn’t confined by any man-made building.  But, He wants to meet us there…together…and unite us as believers and HIS children.  And He wants us to have a place to WORSHIP and ENJOY Him.  He is Worthy.  And I love worshiping HIM!!!