Seriously. Don’t Take Christmas So Seriously.

santa hatWow. This year was weird. We didn’t buy a thing online and instead went into the stores and made our purchases! I think it was good for me to go out and see the people. Watching people is one of the primary ways we writers find things to write about. Thanks for all of the good material, by the way!

Last week as I wandered through the stores, I noticed an overwhelming seriousness on everyone’s faces. Everywhere I looked, people were intently scouring the shelves for the items on their lists. Very rarely did I see a smile even as they passed me by.

After experiencing about as much seriousness that I could stand, I tried an experiment. I decided to go through the grocery store with a smile on my face the entire time. Do you know how hard it is to smile that long?  Anyway, the results were interesting. As I wandered up and down the aisles smiling, people literally stopped and watched.  When they realized that I noticed them watching, they would give me a half smile and look away quickly. As I was leaving the store, a lady getting a cart to go into the store stopped and watched me.  I was actually able to make eye-contact with her and she shouted across the lobby of the store to me—a complete stranger—“Merry Christmas!” I was blown away by how just a simple smile could attract so much attention.

In Matthew 5:13, the Bible talks about believers being salt and light to this earth. It goes on to ask the question, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will it be seasoned?  I was reminded of that verse this week. Christmas is a time for us to celebrate our King!  It is a time to tell the world about Jesus! It’s an open door to talk about what our Savior has done for us in our lives. We need to season the world with true reason for the season! If we lose our joy, or our saltiness, during the most important season of our Christian walk, we are simply no different than those with no hope.

The world needs those of us who are believers to be the salt just as the scripture calls us to be.  We need to smile and remember why we celebrate!  By our smiles on our faces, the world will wonder what is different as we truly are salt to a serious and lost world. A little salt’s effect in a dark and too serious world is amazing.

If you have salt on your food, you know it. Some spices blend and make an overall nice change to the taste, but not salt.  Salt makes a statement. If we are truly salty, our presence will be felt. Try not to take the secular constraints of the season so seriously and allow them to rob you of your saltiness. Rather, take time to rejoice and focus on The One that brings a smile to your face!  Be prepared as when you do, others will take notice, recognize your saltiness and will want to know more about why you smile.

Just simply be the salt.

Have a blessed and joyful Christmas!

Matthew 5:13 (NKJV) “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?

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How To Survive a Trip Through the Desert in The Middle of Winter

It certainly is a beautiful, winter wonderland today!  Thank you, Lord for the beauty you've given us today.

Have you ever had a feeling of unrest that you knew God was asking you to do something, but you couldn’t seem to get it done? It seems like lately, I have had a lot of that.  I know God is moving my ministry in a new direction and I’m excited about that. However, there seems to be one road block after another slowing me down and keeping me away from that which God is leading me to do.

In fact, some days I just feel as though I’m wandering through the desert. The things that I thought He wanted from me seem to be so far from my ability to accomplish. Where does one find time to get it all done when life gets in the way? Am I that inept that I can’t simply follow God’s lead in my life? If we are realistic, this happens to each of us at some time in our lives.

As believers, we need to keep pressing on even when we get tired or feel distracted. We can’t beat ourselves up when we don’t see things happening as quickly as we would like.  In Ohio at this time of year, there is little sunshine and a lot of cold, gloomy days. We have to strategically guard against the feeling of desperation and hopelessness in these winter months as a result of our physical surroundings. We need to remind ourselves that just as the leaves will surely return to the trees and the sun begin to shine again come spring, so might the desert times of our lives bring forth life and meaning in the days ahead.

In Ecclesiastes 9, the Bible says, “10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…11 …The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.”

I look at that verse and I realize there is nothing special about my circumstances. God gives us each a job to do and whatever it is, we should do it with all our might. Circumstances will change in our lives that will cause us to slow down and even stumble at times. That’s OK. We just need to keep going and doing what we feel called to do.

Even though He wants us to live our lives with all we’ve got, He reminds us that it’s really not about us and our abilities.  In Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV), the Bible says ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. Yes, we should do all that we can but we have to remember, we don’t have to be swift, strong, wise, rich, or skilled to get through this life.We just simply need to trust our Father who is all of those things. He didn’t create us to be strong within ourselves; rather, He gave us His Spirit to encourage, guide and strengthen our walk. With His help, we should be able to walk through the winter months of our lives with a feeling of victory or at least hope even when things look bleak in our surroundings.

Is there something in your life where you have lost hope? Are you living your life as one who has forgotten that spring is on its way? Have you lost sight of God in your circumstances?  Stop and think.  Am I doing that which I feel I should be doing with all of my might? Do I trust God to be my strength and guide as I walk through these desert-like and barren times? I’m here to encourage you to refocus. Do what you’ve been called to do with all your heart and soul, despite what your surroundings might appear like today. Then trust God to do the rest.

As sure as spring is just around the corner,

God is just a prayer away.

Trust Him!

Life After My Breast Cancer Diagnosis

I recently wrote an article for LivingBetter50.com.  I thought I would share it here as well.  Please go to their magazine by following the link below and leave your comments there this time instead of here.  If you don’t already subscribe to this magazine, you should.  It is a wonderful read for those of us over 50 and even for those who aren’t!  I hope you’ll also share this link with those you know need some encouragement through their cancer journey.  Have a blessed week and don’t forget to get out there and be a blessing!

http://livingbetter50.com/life-after-my-breast-cancer-diagnosis/

 

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