Build Yourselves Up

The Christian life is simple, but it is not easy. God’s directions to us are not complicated or unclear, but we often encounter hard things. Following Christ is not like floating on an inner tube down a lazy river. In fact, drifting can be  dangerous. The Christian life requires attentiveness and diligence, perseverance and faith. It is challenging and rewarding in the very best and truest sense.

We sometimes forget that we are the ones responsible for “how we are doing” in the Lord.  Consider these verses (20-21) in Jude:

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Notice our responsibility here. We are to build ourselves up in our faith. We are to keep ourselves in the love of God. Continue reading ‘Build Yourselves Up’

Grace Agenda in March

femina_seminarThis year’s Grace Agenda is coming soon in March, and to make it easier for you to attend, all admission costs have been waived! The topic for this year’s conference, as you can see below, is Marriage Militant. On Friday we Femina girls will be hosting a pre-conference event on the topic “A Woman’s Worth.” We’ll be speaking on four different aspects of our calling to be worthy women: Courage (by Rachel), Loyalty (Heather), Contentment (Nancy), and Faithfulness (Bekah). If you attend the femina pre-conference, you’ll be invited to join us in a complimentary luncheon. We’d love to see you all come, of course, and we would appreciate your prayers as we prepare to host this event. You can get all the details here. Even though it is free, be sure to register.

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Fabric Design Class!

 

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Happy New Year everyone! I should have posted this ages ago, but somehow things have been a bit on the hectic end of late! I am going to be offering a 9 week online class teaching basic fabric design, starting January 15. The class will be one hour per week, and unlike the class I taught for Canon last year, this is going to be nothing but basic, introductory fabric design. You can read more about what we’ll be doing and get all the details here and I would just add that even though the class can earn you high school credit (how cool is that?!) it would be entirely appropriate for ladies older than high school! Anyway – I’d love to see you in the class, so get on over there and sign up!

Christmas Hands

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Last week we had our annual Christmas party for the ladies’ fellowship in our church. Many volunteered to be table hostesses, which meant they brought a Christmas centerpiece and table settings for a table of nine. I have no idea how many tables we jammed into the room we rented, but my guess was at least twelve or fifteen, and each one was decorated so entirely differently, reflecting the culture and joy of each hostess.

Then everyone brought an appetizer to share, so we had five or six long tables spread with all kinds of delicious and beautiful appetizers. It was fabulous! We ate, we sang Christmas carols, we visited, and we listened to three lovely speakers.

But here’s what struck me. With the room full of over one hundred women, I thought we should have all lifted up our hands to view the tremendous force for good represented in that room. These are the hands that are going to make Christmas “happen” for hundreds of people. These are the hands that will shop, cook, make lists, buy, wrap, bake, decorate, stuff, give, and stay up way too late doing it all. These are the hands that will sew and stamp and Continue reading ‘Christmas Hands’

Christmas Kindness

photo(62)When we think of kindness, we think of generosity and sympathy, friendliness and tenderheartedness. Of course, kindness is all those things and more. But I have noticed another angle on kindness. Kindness is often connected to mercy, and mercy is connected to forgiveness. Look at these three examples.

Psalm 117: Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!

Nehemiah 9:17b: But you are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.

Ephesians 4:31-32: Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

At Christmas much of the world is thinking of ways to be kind, giving gifts and making generous contributions to needy causes. My suggestion is to do all this, yes, but to include mercy in the gift giving. In other words, use this opportunity for some Christmas kindness that extends forgiveness.

Forgive your family members that you are not on speaking terms with. Forgive your parents. Forgive your children. Forgive your friends, your coworkers, your husband, your neighbors, your adversaries. This is merciful kindness, the kind that God has extended to us. Imitate Him. If He gives sunshine and rain to Continue reading ‘Christmas Kindness’

A Joyful Advent

photo(61)I have a fondness for German advent calendars, having spent four happy childhood Christmases in Germany where my dad was stationed. This calendar pictured above is much like those I remember. We opened a little window each day, and the culmination was the church doors opening Christmas Eve to a manger scene.

This is a great metaphor for our own Advent celebrations. Each day should open onto a happy scene, looking forward to the big event, the appearance of the Christ child Himself.

Since this is obviously true, we should determine that all our Advent celebrations will be about joy and with joy. Look at your list of things to do each day, and determine to do each one with joy. If fact, if you can’t do it with joy, scratch it off the list. Joylessness is out of place. It would be like opening a window on the Advent calendar to find a troll.

It’s easy to excuse a lot of fussing over the massive pile of gifts to buy and wrap, cookies to bake, cards to mail, trees to put up and decorate, and all the rest. But pause for a moment. Each day opens up looking forward to the appearance of the Child. Joyful anticipation should be building.

Take joy with you in every task. Bestow it on every preparation. And remember, if you can’t do it with joy, don’t do it at all.