This Day, This Bread

This Day, This Bread

I'm receiving Christ's fullness as my daily portion, morning by morning, day by day.

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
John 1:16 NIV

And so as I embrace HIM for my day, moment by moment, I'm also revisiting some of my previous meditations.

Would you like to join in and relearn with me? I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded often of that which I already know. But I need to know it today ... in my real life ... now.

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Grace upon Grace ... Bread upon Bread

Our Father ... give us this day our daily bread.

I love my word for the year, daily bread. (You can read the story behind it here)But it wasn't always so. In fact, would you believe that after embracing it as perfect for the stress I was feeling, I began to feel cheated. 

Cheated? How could that be?

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"Daily Bread" in the Words of Babes

"Daily Bread" in the Words of Babes

For the past almost three weeks, my husband and I have been with our daughter Beth, her husband Nate, and their three lively sons, Kaden, Eli, and William. The plan was to celebrate Christmas together, make a quick dash north for a family wedding, then back to Beth & Nate's to help with a move. 

But one by one, we "were dropping like flies" into a viral infection that just wouldn't let go. We all pushed through as much as possible and somehow it all got done.

But in the midst of it all, I was able to enjoy my usual treasured practice ...

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A New Word for the Year ... a renewed confidence for each day!

A New Word for the Year ... a renewed confidence for each day!

Have you heard of choosing a word for your year? Several years ago, there were some well known authors who encouraged the practice. But to tell you the truth, no matter what I chose, it wouldn't "stick." I had to work too hard to remember it and why I even chose it in the first place.

Until last year, 2016! Bingo!

 

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Facing the New Year without Regret

Facing the New Year without Regret

Another year, another 365 days to accumulate regrets! Loved ones have passed into eternity; opportunities have flown by because we have delayed too long ... and on and on. So I'm sharing this, one of my most visited blog posts over the years. May we all be able to face the fresh regrets of 2016, many of which are valid, and place them in the loving arms of our Savior. Amen.

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Enter Their World ... I Entered Yours!

Enter Their World ... I Entered Yours!

I'm reflecting now that the Christmas dust has settled. Reflecting on the whirlwind that just occurred. And again I've learned a precious lesson ... all through a precious grandson, my 10 year old Kaden. I've written of other spiritual times with him, but this one contained lessons for my own life right here, right now.

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Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven (A Children's Carol)

Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven (A Children's Carol)

There's a song that's been going through my mind and heart these Advent days.  I even find myself bursting into a line of lyric here and there. The thoughts I love most in it are truths that have become more and more precious to me as I reflect Advent after Advent -- that our Emmanuel came to earth from heaven, not just to pay for our sins (as crucial as that is), but also to give us His divine eternal LIFE...deity indwelling our humanity.  We can become children of Almighty God!!!

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4th Week of Advent: I Wonder as I Wander

4th Week of Advent:  I Wonder as I Wander

My friend Penny is a walker (a very serious, fast walker, by the way).  But Penny doesn't just walk for exercise, she also "walks" closely with the Lord.  So when Penny shares, I listen. And when she shared about a favorite Christmas carol, it made me take notice. Why?  Because while walking, Penny has been doing what this song describes.

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Advent Devotions: the WITH-ness of our God {His Presence in prepositions}

Advent Devotions:  the WITH-ness of our God {His Presence in prepositions}

Isn't it wonderful when someone wants to spend time with us?  Not just a token, obligatory, "showing up" to either fulfill an obligation, salve guilt, or ask for something...a real wanting to be with us.

As special as it is in human relationships, think how amazing it is when we realize that the Sovereign God of the universe has wanted to be with us!  Yes, US!  and according to the Bible words used, we see that in Jesus, our Emmanuel, He is with us on every level possible.

In the original language of the New Testament, there are three Greek words that can be translated with.  With is one of a group of many words we call prepositions.  Don't worry about the grammar of it all.  Just keep in mind that the key idea with prepositions is relationship.

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3rd Week of Advent: EMMANUEL, Our God is WITH Us...

3rd Week of Advent:  EMMANUEL, Our God is WITH Us...

If ever we needed to know God is WITH us in every possible way, it's NOW, after another year of the unanswerable "why's" of life.  We struggle to make sense of all the violence, suffering, and injustice we see all around us.  Though we can't know the answers, we can turn afresh to the One Who has us in the palm of His Hand. The God Who became One of us...flesh and bone and joint and sinew...who experienced every emotion possible, raw and gripping, tender and affectionate!  He felt it all!  And He feels our current struggle with us too!

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Advent Devotions: Hail, the Incarnate Deity!

Advent Devotions:  Hail, the Incarnate Deity!

We would give up everything we've ever written to have penned this one verse, a stanza that comes as close as is humanly possible to capturing the splendor of who Jesus is. 
Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, p. 173-174

What is that one verse? that one stanza?  Authors Sweet & Viola are referring to the last stanza of the well-known carol, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.

In my opinion, however, it isn't just the last stanza that is all glorious with the splendor of Christ...it's the entire song. In fact, even the stanzas that were removed* from the older version are splendid indeed.  But I'm getting ahead of the story.

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2nd Week of Advent: the Really Good News -- GOD with US!

2nd Week of Advent:  the Really Good News -- GOD with US!

"The Good News isn't just that Jesus died for our sins.  The Good News is EMMANUEL...GOD WITH US!"  So declared Deb at the end of our Bible Study.

As John and I drove home that evening, we reflected on her statement.  We recalled a conversation we had had years before when we were discussing what the heart of the gospel ("Good News") is.   The Good News isn't just that our sins are forgiven so we can go to heaven someday (and now we just do the best we can in the meantime).

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My Mother-in-law's Sifter: Remembering Betty Jean

My Mother-in-law's Sifter: Remembering Betty Jean

It was sixteen years ago now ... that day when we unboxed the items my mother-in-law was discarding because of her need to downsize. Betty Jean Loyd was moving to a senior community, states away from where she had lived most of her adult life and where she had married a man and raised an only son.

At 80 years of age, Betty Jean, an only child herself, knew that she needed to be near us, her only family. So we helped her dispose of her discarded things.

And there it was -- her sifter!

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Advent Devotions: The Mega-JOY of Emmanuel

Advent Devotions:  The Mega-JOY of Emmanuel

Joy is the flag that flies over the soul when the King is in residence!Chuck Swindoll

Several years ago, I was leading a small group of ladies through Paul's letter to the Galatians.  In chapter 5, we came to a familiar passage:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,and self control. Galatians 5:22-23

Julie was in that small group that year, and Julie was from Great Britain.  I asked her about Chuck's metaphor.  She assured me that it was true.  When royalty is in residence at the palace, the flag flies. It's the signal to the "subjects" that their monarch is present.

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Social Anxiety? This is the time of Year!

Social Anxiety? This is the time of Year!

So here we are...at a time when it seems that all social occasions(all right, slight exaggeration) are squeezed into, at best, a four week space...your spouse's office Christmas party, the kids' school programs and parties, neighborhood open houses, family in-law, and what may be worse, "out-law" gatherings, and what did I miss? But you get the picture.

And all of this on top of our own preparations of cleaning, decorating, cooking, shopping, wrapping...

And did I mention the heart preparation of Advent, peace on earth, joy in the Lord, scripture, song, prayer?

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First Week of Advent: O Come, O Come, Immanuel

First Week of Advent: O Come, O Come, Immanuel

When I was a child, I always loved Advent.  There was a melancholia, a longing...but mixed at the same time with anticipation and hope. How did I get all that as a child?  I'm sure I didn't, except to say that maybe all the sights and sounds and smells...all the scriptures and songs and prayers and stories of the "liturgical celebration" weren't entirely lost on me, nor on many of you.  The reality of our God-Man Jesus has grown in me over the years as I've walked and talked with my Savior.

But whether you have had that sort of background as a child or not, why not journey with us these next weeks.  Take it all in as if for the first time...all the sights, sounds, and smells...all the scriptures and songs and prayers and stories.

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Getting Ready for Advent ... I Need it!

Getting Ready for Advent ... I Need it!

Hi friends, 

Are you going into this holiday craziness season already shot? worn out? blank?

Really? Me too!

Some of you have walked through "the valley of the shadow..." of something. Big stuff or small. But even the small, piles up to make a big burden.

Would you like to pause with me these next weeks and reflect? Reflect on the God who became one of us ... not just to save, sanctify, and bring us into His glory (as crucial as that is), but also to experience humanness with His beloved creatures.

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Overflowing with Gratitude

Overflowing with Gratitude

When I used to teach language and writing to GED students, we would do an exercise together as a class to practice writing a five paragraph essay.

As the end of November approached, I usually chose the topic of Thanksgiving.  I thought that in this age of entitlement it might be a double "win" for the students to count their blessings and practice their writing.

So to prepare for my lesson, I sent out an email to friends and colleagues for quotes about being thankful.  I received some great ones!

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