Category Archives: Holidays

THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL

Because He Lives!!

Heaven touches us and stays in our hearts the moment we truly realize what Christ has done for us on the cross. We do not have to wait until after we leave our earthly bodies to begin experiencing Christ’s eternal gifts. Eternity begins when we surrender to Christ and allow Him to turn the hard things of life into something amazingly beautiful.

Yesterday, as I was strolling through Gibbs Gardens with my friend who recently lost her beloved mom, I thought of the anchor we have in Christ. The stunning beauty in the gardens reminded me of Christ and His redemptive love. There was an overwhelming sense of Christ’s resurrection power as I gazed at the splendor of the Japanese maple trees.

Japanese Garden at Gibbs Gardens

Christ died an agonizing death so that we can live abundantly, free of condemnation and guilt. He died so that we can live in a heavenly state of mind with eternal peace through every trial and loss. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

Christ’s love is all we need to make it through this life victoriously.

Christ’s gift of love restores us and heals us. His love is the balm to the oozing wounds in our souls after a loved one passes on. His love restores hurting relationships and rebuilds broken lives. Christ makes even the hardest days remarkable, simply because He is with us.

Whatever you are going through at this moment, be encouraged and know that it is not too big for Christ. The same power that raised Jesus back to life will resurrect you and your situation as you turn to Him and have faith.

Our constant pursuit of Christ and our surrendered prayers move the Lord’s heart to work powerfully on our behalf. Our relinquished lives open the door to God’s glory and the heavenly realm overcomes the darkness around us.

Once we have tasted of Christ’s glory, there is no dark force that can defeat us or bring us down. He is life. He is everything. His love is the greatest gift of all.

Beloved Jesus,

We adore You and we are in awe of the sacrifice You made for us. Thank You for paying the penalty for all of our sins. Thank You for giving Your life so that we can live freely and eternally. Help us to receive all the gifts You have for our lives and help us to live as recipients of Your amazing grace every day. Help us to share Your love with those around us and invite others into a life-giving relationship with You. We love You with all our hearts and we pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

Grace and peace to you,

Amy

A SIDE NOTE – I would be so blessed and honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts electronically by entering your e-mail address into the box on the right sidebar.

I hope you enjoy this powerful song by Elevation Worship. Shout out to our King!

 

A THANKSGIVING PRAYER

in-everything-give-thanks

No matter what circumstances we are facing in our nation, we can breathe deeply and rest in knowing we have a good heavenly Father. His son, Jesus Christ, is the anchor that keeps us from sinking into the depths of darkness as we press into Him through prayer.

We have so many spiritual blessings to be thankful for. Let’s pray and thank our Father for His love and goodness.

Father,

Thank You for Your never-ending mercy and grace. As we join together with our families and friends this Thanksgiving, let us rejoice over the gift You have given us through Your son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for all that He gives us and how He enables us to live with an abundance of hope, joy, peace, and love. Let our gratitude flow from our hearts every day and let us always remember that You blessed us to be a blessing to others. Help us share Your love every day and always do good to each other. Let us never stop praying and be thankful in all circumstances.  We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

May you all have a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving celebration with your families and friends.

XOXO,

Amy

REDEEMED BY CHRIST’S LOVE

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The sun was slowly slipping behind the horizon while I was driving through the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. As I approached the top of a hill, I saw the most breathtaking view surrounding me. The beauty of the sky and the magnificent view of the spectacular mountains enthralled my soul.

While I was breathing in the beauty, Christ’s presence came to me so powerfully that I felt an inexpressible sense of God’s love. Captivated by the love I felt, I remembered the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

In my heart, it was as though God was saying: My love for you is higher and wider and more magnificent than these beautiful mountains.

With a feeling of awe, I meditated on His perfect love and my spirit soared in His presence. Heaven touched me and drew me close to the heart of God.

In this crazy world, it’s very easy to be in a big hurry and miss the awareness of God’s love. The responsibilities of life can easily rob us of the quietness we need.

Jesus is waiting for each one of us to stop what we’re doing and find the rest we need from the hectic pace of life. Christ beckons us to open our hearts to Him and bask in His love. We don’t have to be driving through marvelous scenery to feel God’s presence. As we practice stillness and prayer, we become more aware of Christ’s love for us.

As we’re celebrating the resurrection of the Lord, it’s a good time to contemplate what the cross really means. Christ died and rose again so that we could live abundantly in His grace.

Because of the cross we no longer need to feel shame or guilt when we mess up. When we stumble, we can simply stand up and ask God to help us begin again. If righteousness could be gained in our own strength, then Christ died for nothing.

We are redeemed by Christ’s love. His love paid it all. Jesus said. “It is finished.”

His love paid the penalty for our sins. This is good news that ought to be shouted joyfully to the world.

Beloved Jesus,

Our hearts long to have more of You. Help us to see and feel how great Your love is. Help us to rest in Your presence continually. We love You. Amen.

“Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

 — Galatians 2: 21 (The Message)

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MY HOME TO YOURS

Christmas Decor - 2015 (8)

As I sit here in the quietness of my home, I’m pondering the real meaning of Christmas. I’m pausing to breathe in the love of Christ and set aside the things I think I need to do.

I believe if we could stand face to face with Christ at this moment, He would be saying: Slow down. Savor this moment of life. Put aside your concerns and simply rest in My love. I was born to bring great joy to the world and to bring perfect rest for your soul. I long for you to take hold of the abundant life I came to give you.

I can imagine the perfect Christmas gift for us to give Christ would be our acceptance of His gifts to us—love, peace, joy, hope, faith, and the never-ending list of heavenly treasures.

May your Christmas be filled with all of the glorious riches Christ has to offer.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank You for the gift of Christ. Thank You for sending Your son to save the world from darkness. Thank You for all that He gives us and how He enables us to live with an abundance of hope, joy, peace, and love. Let us take hold fully of the gift You have given us through Jesus Christ. Let us meditate on Your great love and celebrate our amazing Savior. Oh, how we love and adore You, our Redeemer. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”

— Luke 2:10-11

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!

THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT

LIGHT FROM THE LORD

I was gazing out the window noticing the winter weather as I was writing notes on Christmas cards. The wintry day caught my attention with the bareness of the trees and lack of sunlight. It was noticeably monotone and drab in my back yard where it is usually vibrant with life and color.

I noticed the stark contrast between the drabness outside and the joy and brightness in my soul. As I pondered that distinct difference, words began flooding into my spirit. The thoughts of the wintry day reminded me of what life would be like without Christ.

Apart from Christ, we would be destined for a wintry life.

As we celebrate Christ’s birth this week, let us all remember why He was born. He came to give new life.

His love is a gift that breaks into the dark places of the soul and brings forth light. He strengthens us when we’re weak. He fills us with love when we’re loveless. He soothes our sorrows when we’re mourning. He heals the heart when it’s broken. He restores the broken things and makes beauty out of our mistakes.

He is the redeemer of every painful trial we’ll ever face.

God brought forth Christ the Messiah for all people, so that we could live abundantly in hope and peace no matter how dark it becomes in the world. His light overcomes all darkness. The love of Christ is the best Christmas gift we’ll ever receive.

Lord Jesus,

Let us be keenly aware of Your love and light this Christmas. Let us rejoice over the gifts You have given us through a loving relationship with You. Amen.

 “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” —Ephesians 5:8

A Christmas Prayer

Winter

Father, I thank You for the gift of Christ. Thank You for sending Your son to save the world from darkness. Thank You for all that He gives us and how He enables us to live with an abundance of hope, joy, peace, and love. Let us take hold fully of the gift You have given us through Jesus Christ. Let us meditate on Your great love and celebrate our amazing Savior. Oh, how we love and adore You, our Redeemer. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!

4 TIPS FOR KEEPING CHRIST THE FOCUS OF CHRISTMAS

Keeping Christ in Christmas

The very essence of Christ is peace, yet we often let the celebration of His birth be filled with stress and chaos. I remember a time many years ago in my twenties when I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off during the holidays and ended up with a pounding headache and so much stress that I barely enjoyed Christmas. That year, I began rethinking my priorities and started making big changes in the way I celebrated Christ’s birth. I put together a list of some ways to truly enjoy the holiday season.

Let Peace Rule the Holidays

To keep from getting swept away in the whirlwind of holiday festivities, we can first set our hearts and our minds on the real purpose of the season. We are celebrating the birth of our Saviorthe Lord of peace who gives us His peace at all times and in every way (2 Thessalonians 3:16). His peace can rule in our hearts and in our holidays as we pray daily and ask Him to fill us with His Spirit. In Luke 11:13, it says, “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Simply asking Christ to be with us is all it takes to live and walk in His peace during the holidays and during all our days throughout the year.

Make a List of Priorities

If we make a list of what is most important for us as individuals and then stick to those things, we won’t fall into the trap of getting over-extended. For me personally, my priorities are maintaining a peaceful household, spending time with my family, and carrying on a few Christmas traditions like having an Advent calendar and decorating a gingerbread house.

Don’t Try to Keep Up With the Jones Family

It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others and what they’re doing. Just because someone else has the greatest light display in the whole town, doesn’t mean we need to have one too. I actually love and enjoy those beautiful light displays. But I know that with having a full life as a mom, I don’t have time to place an award-winning light display on my home. For me, decorating for Christmas is low on my priority list. I used to spend hours and hours decorating my home. Now, I simply put up a Christmas tree and a few other simple decorations. Decorating in a simple way can be beautiful, yet saves us a great deal of time and energy. For simple decorating, I love the ChristWreath.

As followers of Christ, our identities are in Him, not in what we own or what we accomplish. If we are tempted to play the comparison game, we can pray for contentment, and God will grant us our desires, so that we can maintain our true priorities.

Keep the Gift-giving Simple

Giving at Christmas time represents who our Father in heaven is. He is the Giver and we want to carry out the nature of our heavenly Father. However, we don’t need to stress over it. Every year, I am tempted to worry. Thoughts will fill my mind as I begin shopping. Will I find the perfect gift for every family member? Through prayer, I resist those temptations of worry.

At the times when we don’t have the finances for gift-giving, we can give home-made gifts, write love letters to our loved ones, give our time and talents…on and on the list goes. There are countless ways we can give without stress. In our family, we have decided to minimize our giving to each other and give instead to people who are truly in need.

The Spirit of Christmas is with us always so we can spread our gift-giving throughout the year. This helps us to focus on the birthdays of our loved ones, rather than making Christmas the only time to give.

Do you have any tips for keeping Christ the focus of Christmas?

I pray that your holidays will be happy. May you have a peace-filled and stress-free Christmas season.

The photograph was taken in my neighbor’s yard after a beautiful snowfall several years ago.