Merry Christmas

May Christ be the center of your Christmas.  May you have joy as you celebrate His birth.

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A Life of Ease

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes dream of a life of ease.  A nice house with no problems, a nice car that doesn’t break down, no relationship problems, a job where I always have fun, and the list could go on.

However, we live in a sin-cursed earth and so these things aren’t possible.  I also know that God uses difficult things to perfect us (James 1).

I have read that when a baby bird is still in the egg, it needs to peck its own way out – or it can’t survive.  If anyone helps the bird get out it becomes weak.  God works the same way by strengthening us through difficulties (2 Cor. 12:9).

So don’t pray for a life of ease.  Don’t pray to avoid trials.  Pray to be strengthened by God through whatever difficulties He allows.  We need to make God everything.  His way is always worth it.

Encouragement

I was privileged to hear how God used something I did to encourage someone.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but hey – college students always like to get mail right?  So I started sending puzzle pieces that were meant as greeting cards.  My college student friend told me how much fun it was to get the first couple and then realize there were more to come.  The pieces fit together to make a picture on one side, but on the other you can write a message.  Some of my messages were a bit sarcastic (something my close friends see on occasion – ok maybe more often than that).  Most of my notes included something that I hoped would be encouraging.

We never know for sure how something will turn out, but if God leads please follow.  I had found this puzzle piece cards some months ago and had no idea who I would send them to.  I meant to encourage someone else, but tonight I was encouraged to hear her joy.

I know that we don’t always get to hear the results of our attempts to encourage others.  Sometimes it doesn’t work the way we hope it will.  However, I can assure you as you go to God in prayer He will lead you in a way that is worth following.  You will be able to give joy to someone else – and receive joy in return.

Snow

Today we had our first measurable snowfall (a little late for Minnesota).  I always enjoy seeing the grass covered with the pure white.  It is reminder of the peaceful beauty in God’s wonderful creation.

Now the snow can stop.  This is enough for me. 🙂

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I cleared some of the deck.  Anyone want to stop for a visit?  😉

The “Little” Things

Another saying on my favorite tea came from Sherlock Holmes.

“To the great mind, nothing is little.” – Sherlock Holmes

I was excited to find someone had already made this kind of comment, since I had been thinking this for some time.  Yes, I know Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, but I think Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was on to something.  In the Sherlock Holmes stories little details helped to solve cases.  I have found in real life the little things can have a profound impact.

A well timed text message on a rough day.  A postcard in the mail.  A smile at the right moment.  Someone starting my car and scraping the windshield for me.  All of these can seem like small things, but the blessing has been big.

The opposite is also true.  The little negatives can add up and cause great hurt.  However, I have found that the small positives can counteract the damage the negative has caused.

A plate of cookies.  A new craft idea.  A funny saying or comic.  A cute story.  I have enjoyed all of these.  And they made a difference.

Lessons from Tea

The tags on my favorite tea have various sayings.  Some are inspirational (like this one), some are funny, some are just – well lets just say that I throw those away.  I have kept the ones I really like – sayings like this one that spur my thinking, and give me something to write about.

“Never wish life were easier.  Wish that you were better.” Jim Rohn

The Bible talks about that very topic.

James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

I have to admit, I still struggle counting trials joy.  I’m not a big fan of the “thorns” God sends my way.  God wants more for me than I want for myself.  I often prefer ease, when He wants perfection.  When I think about God’s love for me.  How much He wants for me both in my life here on earth and eternity with Him in heaven.  Then the trials and thorns take on new meaning.  As I dwell on the compassion and grace God has for me during trials as well as the results, the more joy I have.  And the better the results.

God is so good to me.