Read my guest post on Shannon Vannatter's blog.
Rebecca Carey Lyles – Romantic Excerpts – Part 1 of 1
December 8, 2014
In the midst of the holiday jingle and jangle...
…parties and presents, shopping and sharing, STOP!
Yes, stop right where you are, take a breath—and look down.
You are standing on holy ground.
Because Jesus came to earth as God-with-us Immanuel, wherever we are, He’s there. He’s before us, behind us, beside us. His arm is around our shoulders. “Just as the mountains surround and protect Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds and protects his people, both now and forever” (Psalm 125:2 NLT).
For those of us who don’t live in Jerusalem, or Bethlehem, or anywhere else Jesus traveled in Israel, the notion of holy ground is hard to grasp. The old hymn I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked begins with, “I walked today where Jesus walked, in days of long ago,” and ends with “and felt him close to me.” But the truth is, we don’t have to be in a certain country, cathedral or temple, or even in a particular position to be close to Jesus. If we know him as Savior, he’s with us and within us. The Bible says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27 NIV).
God met Moses on the hot sands of a lonely desert. He approached Jonah outside a large city and walked with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego inside a blazing furnace. He stopped Saul in the middle of a road with a flash of brilliant light. But now, because God sent his Son to earth to save us from our sins and come into our lives twenty-four-seven, he’s with us all the time. Whether we’re standing on a kitchen floor, a cement sidewalk, or the wide tiles of a shopping mall corridor, Jesus is with us – and we’re on holy ground.
Yes, our Immanuel came long ago, and he will come again in glory, hallelujah! In the meantime, he’s here right now…loving us, guiding us, saving us. “She will give birth to a son,” the angel told Joseph, “and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 NIV).
Matthew then quotes an Old Testament prophet named Isaiah: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:23 NIV) As the Baloche/Kenrick song “What Can I Do” says, what can I do but thank him, give my life to him, and make everything I do a hallelujah?
Thank you, Jesus, for becoming our Immanuel. You are our hope of glory.
November 24, 2014 - Give Thanks in All
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is
God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:18b NIV
After church yesterday, I stopped by a health-food store to pick up a couple items. By then, my breakfast had worn off, so I grabbed an energy bar to eat on the way home. However, when I exited the store, I saw a man playing a guitar on the corner. Although the sun was out, the temperature was in the low thirties. I wondered how his fingers could move in the cold.
And then I remembered the pastor’s sermon – and how he said one of the secrets of contentment is to be generous. My taste buds were primed for an energy bar I hadn’t tried before, but I knew I could go home to a warm house and a full refrigerator. I put my purchases in the car, drove to the corner and rolled down my window.
The man walked over, and I said, “I don’t have any cash, but here’s an energy bar.”
He took the bar and appeared to read the front and the back before asking, “Is this GMO-free?”
A bit miffed, I said, “I don’t know, but I just bought it at that health-food store.”
He glanced at the store, looked at me, looked at the bar, and finally said, “Thank you.”
At that point, the car behind me honked, and I drove away.
Now, before you get to up in arms over the musician’s response, I have to tell you I’ve done the exact same thing. Years ago, when both my husband and I were unemployed and I was pregnant with our third child, a gracious group of individuals got together and collected canned food for us. That act of kindness was such a thoughtful, generous gesture on their part; however, even way back then, I preferred to feed my family fresh food rather than boxed or canned.
Although I don’t remember my exact response (probably ‘cause I don’t want to remember), I’m sure I was less than grateful or enthusiastic in my response. Yet, that food got us through some hard times. In addition, we were able to give some of our new-found abundance to another family in need.
I’m years late in saying this, but to those of you who sacrificed from your own budgets to share sustenance with us – you know who you are – thank you for loving us and caring for us and for blessing us with your friendship. I’m grateful you didn’t “unfriend” me. :-)
“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” (I Timothy 4:4-5 NIV)
I pray you and yours, and the man on the corner, have a marvelous Thanksgiving Day celebrating God’s abundant, over-the-top goodness to us!
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