It's all about LOVE!

It's all about LOVE!

Let all that you do be done in love.  Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But we know it’s often very hard.

In fact, Paul's words in verse 9 nail it on the head, don't they:

...there are many adversaries...

That's right!  Enemies, opposition, struggles!  All against loving...why?

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A Love Song to Jesus

A Love Song to Jesus

When my husband John and I were seniors at the University of Arizona, the Carpenters were at the top of the music charts.   We embraced them as our group who sang our songs as we were "a-courting."  Their mellow sound and rich melodies fed our romantic feelings toward each other and toward life in general. At our wedding, we danced to, you may have guessed it, "We've Only Just Begun." Lyrics like "White lace and promises, a kiss for luck and we're on our way" made it the perfect song to start out a new marriage...or so we thought.

But as the years have rolled by and reality and maturity have set in, so has the realization that the romantic expectations of youth are so unrealistic and can only truly be fulfilled by an Almighty God.

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To Write the Love of God Above!

To Write the Love of God Above!

There is a gem of a hymn that really grabs my heart and soul.  I almost forgot about it until someone commented on an old post containing the song. The hymn? -- "The Love of God."  The metaphor in the third stanza absorbs my mind and imagination:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,…

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Resting While You Work

Resting While You Work

I’ve always been a worker-bee. Well, perhaps not as a child. As an adult, though, and especially as a Christian, I’ve been a worker-bee. I found great pleasure in life by accomplishing a goal, but there was a driven-ness in this way of living. I’ve discovered that being a worker-bee is especially dangerous, spiritually. I’ve lived for a long time under the yoke of what I call "to-do list" Christianity. What a bondage. Self-effort doesn't work when it comes to doing what only God can do,which is anything of any spiritual value. That's why I love the Lord's invitation to the weary, burdened folk who followed Him:

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An Invitation to Rest

An Invitation to Rest

Ah! REST...what a glorious word! I inhale and exhale deeply at just the sound of it. And oh, how we humans need deep, glorious rest... Moms especially need it...as do dads. Single folks need it; workers need it; retirees do, too..Even kids need it (although they would protest most loudly...especially in the midst of the frenetic-ness of no-sleep sleepovers!)

I remember as a mom of an infant how I longed for rest, praying my crying-in-the-middle-of-the-night baby would just fall quietly back to dreamland. Or my napping toddler would stay napping so I could lie prostrate for just a few more moments (Please, God!) And now, even as a senior retired adult, that beautiful rest calls my name more often than not in the midst of my afternoons. So I often take to my overstuffed couch and doze as I watch the old westerns from my childhood.

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Celebrating Total "Cardiac Rehab"--It takes a Village...

Celebrating Total "Cardiac Rehab"--It takes a Village...

February is American Heart Month. How appropriate since February is also the month of Valentine’s Day, celebrating the heart’s favorite emotion — LOVE.

Well, "February, American Heart Month" has taken on new meaning because the “love of my life” had a heart attack more than seven years ago.  So this brought lots of changes to both of our lives, but especially his.  And cardiac rehab played a big part in those weeks after.   As many heart patients know, cardiac rehab takes a village

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Cocooning...with the Light of the World

Cocooning...with the Light of the World

I couldn't resist posting this again … the quirkiest thing — “glass igloos.” Well, it got me meditating here in the midst of a deep freeze up north. So why not hunker down in your own “warm igloo” and join me …

First posted Jan 10, 2015

Two years ago, a friend on Facebook posted this picture of thermal glass igloos to view the Northern Lights in Finland:

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A Winter Deep Freeze is Perfect for Hybernating in God's Word

A Winter Deep Freeze is Perfect for Hybernating in God's Word

Baby, it's cold outside. Sub-zero temps; ice-covered ground; more white stuff on its way? A great time to hibernate. 

But it need not be cold inside ... especially inside your soul, as you bask in the warmth of God's loving truth. The Scriptures are ever old and ever new, and never out of reach. So the fire of God's Word is always accessible.

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Joy in January: God vs Fear

Joy in January: God vs Fear

The last in my “Joy in January” series, originally posted in January 2015, is a post written by my youngest “Guest Branch” and my oldest grandchild Kaden. When he wrote it, he was just 8-1/2 y.o. and now he is almost 13 … how can that be? So it’s my delight once again to share this awesome blog. We can all learn from the young ones in the faith, can’t we? By the way, be sure to see Kaden’s “today photo” at the end…yikes!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children [and grandchildren] are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4 ESV

It is pure JOY for me to introduce my youngest "Guest Branch" to A Branch in the Vine.  My 8-1/2 year old grandson Kaden is today's blogger.

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Joy in January: Every Praise

Joy in January: Every Praise

I love this video, and I think you will too! I go back to it often because it helps set it all into perspective for me -- truly...

...EVERY PRAISE is to our GOD! Amen!

So find a private spot (if you are inhibited like me) or grab your nearest friend, relative, child, or grandchild (my personal favorite), and move your body, soul, and spirit in every praise to our glorious God...hallelujah!

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Joy in January: A Value Shake-up!

Joy in January: A Value Shake-up!

A friend recently posted an arresting thought on facebook:

Your value doesn't decrease, based on someone's inability to see your worth.

Truth!

Where does our value lie? Our value is based on our Creator's opinion of us...which is love and grace and glory!

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 1 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

He has planted His own life in us through His glorious Son.  So whatever our Father God thinks about His beloved Son, He thinks of us also!


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Joy in January: Dance for your Life!

Joy in January: Dance for your Life!

Life, glorious life!  How we take life for granted, until...

someone we love dies,

our health or safety is gravely threatened,

we realize our days are waning because of the years...

It is then that we value what we've had all along.

But there's a Life that we never need fear will diminish, be endangered, be lost...

In fact, this Life can grow in our experience even in this time-based, fearful, waning physical life.

What is this Life?

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Joy in January: Greater!

Joy in January: Greater!

Brothers & sisters, are you amazed, as am I?

Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. (Colossians 1:27 NLT)

The Lord Jesus Christ in you! The Lord Jesus Christ in me! What glory right here...right now!

The Sovereign Creator of the Universe lives in each of His children! His life courses through our spiritual veins!  What glory for this life as well as the life to come!

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Waiting and Watching

Waiting and Watching

I’m so excited to share this blog post with you, dear friends. Let me tell you why…

The Lord has been teaching me afresh to slow down and to watch & wait for His movement and direction, His “signal,” so to speak, before forging on ahead. He has been doing this through Psalm 123:2 and my word of the year, Wait on God.

In the process, I have shared my thoughts in my blog post (New Year, New Word) and in conversations. One such conversation took place recently with my sweet, young friend Rebekah VanBuskirk via Facebook Messenger. What Rebekah shared with me was so amazingly illustrative of the heart of the whole issue of watching and waiting, I knew it was too good to keep to myself. So I asked Rebekah to share here at A Branch in the Vine.

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Mentoring at its Best: Attachment that Detaches

Mentoring at its Best: Attachment that Detaches

I had an interesting conversation with a friend about mentoring. We marveled at how so many Christians we know, who have matured in the Lord through the help of a mentor, end up being rejected by that same mentor for not agreeing with them on minor points of doctrine or practice, or for moving on in a different direction in ministry, or for some other difference of opinion. How sad. But how common!

Well, there is good news! There is a gem of a spiritual father tucked away in the gospels, one of my heroes of the faith, John the Baptist!  He shows us what a true mentor is like. John is not only a clear example of "letting go," but also a stellar model of attachment to his Lord Jesus Christ.

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Epiphany! Shining Light or Drama Queen?

Epiphany! Shining Light or Drama Queen?

… we are like the star that led the Magi to Christ … or we can be. We can, in our very person, be the light that points another to the King. You and I have the King of Kings living within us. But as always it is our choice whether we allow the King to live through us and manifest His presence to seeking hearts who are walking in darkness all around us.

Author Tim Chester, in his lovely Advent devotional on Philippians 2 The One True Gift, caught my attention when he pointed out from Scripture one way that God says we can shine like stars …

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The Wise Men...gifts of Essential Oils?

The Wise Men...gifts of Essential Oils?

Magi, Wise men, Three Kings...those figures way at the end of the Nativity scene (I suppose because they were still traveling from afar)... In recent years, this trio (if it was a trio) have become my heroes. Think about it! People probably thought they were crazy following a star to God knows where. THEY probably thought they were crazy after a time. What courage! What perseverance! What joy in the finding!

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