Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Christmas in July

“Christmas in July?!”  That's what I exclaimed a couple of days ago when my good friend gave me a Christmas present from last year.  As I ripped open the wrapping paper with blue and white snowflakes, that wonderful Christmas spirit was awakened in me in the middle of the hot Atlanta summer.  Receiving a gift unexpectedly makes me feel so thankful for friendship and reminds me of the ultimate gift that we celebrate during the Christmas season. 

Thankfulness is such an appropriate response when we receive love, gifts, and unexpected acts of kindness.  Do you know how often the Bible says that we get to show our thanks to God for that Christmas gift of His Son Jesus?  Do you know His favorite way of hearing that you’re thankful?  Check this out:

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” –Heb 13:15

The frequency of our thanks is continually and the method of our thanks is praise.  If you don’t feel like it, do it anyways.  Sometimes it does feel like a sacrifice.  Sometimes I worship through gritted teeth and a cold heart.  Yet, God remains worthy of praise.  He always deserves the “fruit of my lips” as I continually thank Him for changing everything in my world. 

Maybe you’re busy today.  Perhaps you’re grumpy.  It could be that your heart is wandering from the Lord at the moment.  Maybe you’ve got a lot on your mind - decisions to make, directions to choose, situations to figure out.  He invites you to have Christmas in July!  Rip the wrapping paper off like a little kid.  Respond with gratitude and praise.  Enjoy the best gift in the universe that’s yours today to enjoy.  Mark my words – everything in your day will change, your perspective will be enlightened, your mood will improve, your priorities will shift, and your heart will be filled with joy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Heavy Heart?

Here are some verses for you if you have a heavy heart today and some comments on them:

"I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" -Ps. 27:13

..You WILL see the goodness of the Lord HERE in YOUR life and in YOUR situation. Believe it, it's coming. Hope for it for His Word is true.

"Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart.." Ps. 27:14

..Cheer up, Charlie. It's tough to wait but gather your courage and the strength you need will come from the Lord as you wait. Someone once told me, "Be brave. If you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference." CHOOSE to be brave and the Lord will meet you in the place.

"Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you. He shall never permit the righteous to be moved." Ps. 55:22

..your job is simply to put that burden that's on your heart in the Lord's hands. That's your ONLY job. It's then HE who sustains you and keeps you from falling apart.

..and now the grand finale.....

"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." -Luke 12:32

..get rid of your fear, Gang. Your heavenly Father desires to give you the kingdom. What a mind blowing truth!! It pleases Him to do so. Yearn for it, cry out for it, focus upon it, and He'll be happy to DO it. The Kingdom of God is so much bigger and better than whatever is making your heart heavy today. Shift your gaze upon the Lord and position yourself in a posture of praise (whether you feel like it or not). Join with the precious saints of old and those who are living among the nations to pray, "Thy kindgom come!" You'll find that your burdens melt away and your heart is renewed.