Hi friends! I recently wrote an article for my friend Kathi Lipp called Sleep Like a Baby: How to Have a Clutter-Free Mind.
If you struggle to quieten your thoughts when it's time to sleep, why not head over to her blog and check it out?
I still remember the excitement I felt as a child when the Christmas catalogues arrived in November. What fun, going page-by- page, circling item after item with a red felt tip marker. I laboriously scribbled my Christmas List on notebook paper, giving product and page number to ensure my parents bought the right item. Their response was, "It would take a miracle for you to get all this for Christmas!" From my perspective nothing was impossible.
Christmas is a season that can re-awaken in us, as adults, wonder, awe and expectation that anything can happen. The birth of Jesus Christ ushered in an eternal season of the miraculous. Who ever heard of a virgin giving birth to a baby? The rest of the Christmas story is filled with the supernatural; angel choirs from heaven, angelic dream appearances, and bright spotlight star guidance.
Christmas is still a season of miracles. We are never too old to make a Christmas List. Why not make a list of every miracle we desire for our family, our friends, our nation, and ourselves? I believe our Father delights when we, as His children, come to Him as the giver of every good gift. Let's take off the limiting lenses we have put on as adults.
I encourage you to make your Christmas Miracle List. No matter how impossible the request is, write it down. We need to be like Ralphie in the movie "A Christmas Story". He wanted that Red Ryder BB Gun more than anything in the world. It seemed like an impossible request, but he believed, in spite of discouraging comments. You have probably seen the movie and know the outcome. Remember the joy on his Dad's face as Ralphie went behind the tree and found the gift?
Our Heavenly Father experiences great pleasure in giving us gifts above and beyond what we have even imagined. So go ahead and make your list. Enjoy a Merry Miracle Christmas!
David hungered and thirsted for God’s presence because he knew from experience that God and fullness of joy dwelt together. Life apart from God was stressful, scary, and dangerous. My life has had stresses, but nothing compared to his! Having had a taste of the Presence at an early age, I have been pursuing God ever since. I have discovered an important key to access that joy. There are other keys, but today I am going to focus on only one, and encourage you to try it.
I have struggled to fulfill the exhortation to give thanks and praise. Having grown up with a Dad who was a pessimist, although he saw himself as a realist, I was trained to see the negative rather than the positive. Only uneducated simpletons saw life through rose colored glasses, and I didn't want to be classified as one of those! This early training left me in the school of mind renewal for decades. I witnessed others who excelled in positivity, joy, thankfulness and encouragement, while I failed to pass.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has continued my tutoring. He knows my desire to be in the Presence of God and has convinced me of the value of thankfulness, the key to Presence. He reminded me of the words from Psalm 100:4: “enter His gates with thanksgiving.” This is not a suggestion, but a requirement for entrance into His realm. Not just any key will open the gates. The only way to open the lock on these gates is with the key of thanksgiving.
Of course, my mind wanted to know why. The Holy Spirit was gracious to give revelation. He showed me that gates are the boundary to God’s kingdom. The atmosphere, language and currency of that kingdom is truth. Only things based on truth are allowed to enter. Pessimistic, judgmental, and critical thoughts or words are based on lies, not on truth. That means I am not allowed access into His Presence with words and thoughts based on lies, but only with words of thanksgiving and praise based on the truth. Pessimism doesn't praise. I realized I had a choice: stay negative and remain outside His Presence, or give thanks and enter in. I am learning to enter his gates every day with thanksgiving!
As a tool to grow in gratitude, I keep a daily journal, which I call “Daily 12”. This is a list of 12 things for which I am thankful. This exercise helps prime the pump and open the gates. Recently I have started daily Instagram post titled “Every day - Entering with Thanksgiving.” Check it out if you need a daily shot of thankfulness!
I would love to hear from you: how do you cultivate thankfulness in your day-to-day life? What things are you most thankful for right now?
Great comfort comes in the midst of a hard season when a friend says, "I am praying for you." Even receiving a text with those words changes the atmosphere. The Bible is replete with exhortations concerning prayer as well as testimonies of answered prayers. When a crisis happens we don't need a reminder from the scripture in order to call a family member or friend and say: "Please pray for me!" It is as automatic as breathing. It is comforting to know we have a Friend in Heaven who is always available to pray for us.
Recently I was dealing with some issues and was feeling alone, overwhelmed, and discouraged. One day, out of the blue, almost audibly, I heard Jesus say: "I'm praying for you." The tone of His voice was like warm oil, covering every raw, exposed emotion. I was completely taken off guard. In that suddenly of God, I was transformed. In less than a twinkling of an eye peace returned to my mind and heart. His words were with power during His earthly ministry, and they are still able to stop the winds and waves of any storm in my life today.
While on earth, Jesus modeled a life of prayer, going into the mountain in the evening to spend time in prayer. During the day He prayed as He met people in need of healing, deliverance, forgiveness, and provision. The prayer was always directed to His Father, just as He taught the disciples to address their prayer to the Father. He knew that the one who answered His prayers was our loving Father in heaven.
Not only strangers, but also friends were the beneficiaries of the prayers of Jesus. In the midst of the sacred Passover Meal, the night of His betrayal, Jesus confronted Simon Peter with a word of knowledge. The Holy Spirit had shown Jesus that Satan was going to attack Peter, trying to shake his faith. Jesus said to him: "I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." (Luke 22: 31-33.) Peter was shocked, adamantly rejecting any suggestion of denial. We know as we read those words, that the prayers Jesus prayed for Peter were answered. He made it through this dark patch and has strengthened the Church through the centuries with his writings.
Jesus has continued His intercession for the Church. He had only 3 years of public ministry, but has had over 2,000 years of 24/7 prayer ministry since His resurrection. It is good to know from Scripture that Jesus continues in this activity. However, it is even more powerful when the truth of this intercession intersects with a need in our own life. The revelation I had recently of the reality of His awareness of my needs and constant prayer for me every day has been life changing. I pray today you will hear His compassionate voice say to you: "I am praying for you."