Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The gift of Jesus

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
Luke 2:14 (NIV)

Decorating our family Christmas tree is one of my all-time favorite things. First we wrap all the lights on the tree, then cover it with ornaments that have been collected during the last 29 years. The final act – placing the angel on the top branch – completes the tree trimming ritual. Only moments before the tree had somehow appeared incomplete, as if something important was missing. But with the angel in place, the house is finally ready for Christmas.

Angelic beings played a significant role in the events of the Nativity. Without their involvement, there would be a hole in the story – incomplete as an unfinished Christmas tree. Derived from the Greek term “angelos” and defined as “a messenger, envoy, one who is sent,” this is exactly what angels often are seen doing in the pages of the Holy Scripture.

The first angel we encounter in the Christmas account is Gabriel, an archangel. Gabriel visits planet earth to inform the principal players, and, ultimately, the world that the “fullness of time” has come – that long-awaited moment in history when the promised Messiah will arrive (Galatians 4:4). Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, an aged, childless priest, declaring that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son, the forerunner of Messiah, John the Baptist. Six months later, Gabriel came to the village of Nazareth to give a message from God to a young woman named Mary. She had been selected for the role that had long been the desire of Jewish women: the privilege of giving birth to the promised Messiah. Following his visit to Mary, Gabriel also visited her husband-to-be, Joseph, and gave him the same message. Nine months later, the angel of the Lord returned with yet another message; this time in the Judean skies over the shepherds' fields of Bethlehem with a dramatic message of arrival. (Luke 1-2)

Up to this point in the Christmas story the angels have served as God’s messengers. Now they assemble in a glorious mass choir to celebrate Christ’s invasion of the broken planet that is the object of His eternal love. Announcing the arrival of the Son of God in human form the heavenly host can remain silent no longer. They raise their voices in exaltation of God for His glory, for His Son, and for His plan to rescue the lost, tired and confused race of men and women: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” The shepherds heard the angels affirm the glory of God and announce that Christ had come to offer peace with God to a race in rebellion against Him. This peace is not simply the absence of conflict. It is the presence of the Christ who is described by the prophet Isaiah as the “Prince of Peace.”

During the next thirty-plus years, the angels would continue to be involved in Christ’s ministry: exalting Him in His birth, ministering to Him in His life, supporting Him in His anguish, announcing Him in His resurrection. All because He chose to express His inexpressible love in such a mysterious and wonderful way and pour it out on His wayward creation. If the angels, who can only observe redeeming love but never experience it, exalt the Christ for His grace, how much more should adoration of the Savior drive the hearts and passions of men and women who have been granted this great grace!

The hope of peace, the longing for glory, the gift of Jesus. May we, with grateful hearts, join in the exaltation of the Christ. God’s glorious gift to us!

Blessings and Merry Christmas!
Faithfully Following

Source: Windows on Christmas

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fearful tears

I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
Revelation 5:4 (NIV)

Hello, dear friend.

I want to share with you today's Our Daily Bread reading by Dave Branon--Fearful Tears. Take a few minutes and delight in this powerful message based on the New Testament book of Revelation 5!

Are you crying today, dear friend? See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (v. 5)!

Faithfully Following

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Until we meet again

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen
1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)

Thank you for stopping in for a visit at Nomad Wife. It's been a joy spending time with you. I pray that through the insights shared in these pages you are pointed to Jesus Christ's amazing love.

At this time I'm taking a break from writing weekly messages. Until the next time we meet, I encourage you to stay firmly in God's Word daily. Drop in, sit a spell and visit with Sharon Jaynes, the gals at Proverbs 31 Ministries or Sharon, Mary and Gwen at Girlfriends in God--each a woman after God's own heart.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, dear friend.

Faithfully Following

Sunday, February 6, 2011

On the Rock

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)

These words come from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in which He addresses and captures many of the values that are to be characteristic of a wisely lived life. He talks about the importance of building our lives on a solid foundation.

We left Missouri during the summer of the American Midwest "Great Flood of 1993." The previous year's rainy autumn, followed by heavy winter snowfalls and persistent, repetitive storms in the late spring and early summer filled the mighty Mississippi and Missouri riverbanks to overflowing.

In places like St. Louis, river levels were nearly 20 feet above flood stage, the highest ever recorded in 228 years. While the 52-foot-high St. Louis floodwall, built to handle the volume of the 1844 flood, was able to keep the 1993 waters out with just over two feet to spare, entire towns were evacuated. Crops were damaged. Property was destroyed. Havoc resulted. And still the rains kept falling.

Just south of St. Louis levee breaks near Columbia, Illinois, flooded 47,000 acres of land, inundating neighboring towns. The released water continued to flow parallel to the Mississippi River, approaching the earthen dike that protected the historic towns of Prairie du Rocher and Fort de Chartres. To force flood waters back into the river, officials decided to break through the stronger river levee.

I doubt that I'll ever forget television coverage of the intentional break. I watched in horror as a large, white farmhouse, torn from its foundation by the force of the raging, brown waters, was toppled and swept away in an instant. The engineer's plan ultimately worked and saved the historic towns.

Jesus said that the person who obeys His Word is like "a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matthew 7:25). If we build according to the unwavering truths of God's Word, we will not be swept away when crises hit with flood-like force. The tempests of temptation and the storms of suffering will not be able to sweep us off a solid foundation of faith and obedience.

Dear friend, adversity may come. Yet because we are anchored to the unshakable Rock, we can emerge with our character strengthened. Are you building your life on the solid foundation--Jesus Christ?

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.
Luke 12:22 (NIV)

My day had not gotten off to a very good start. I'd inadvertently set my alarm clock for 5 p.m. instead of 5 a.m. and overslept. Everything seemed to simply go down hill from that point.

Guilt about our upcoming move had compelled me to commit to make a fresh batch of brownies that morning for my daughter's school bake sale. Because I was running behind schedule, I rushed the baking time so I could make an appointment to sign closing papers for the sale of our house before heading to the office. Chewy around the edge of the pan and gooey in the middle--a perfect "two-sensation" pan of brownies I reasoned through my daughter's disappointment. Besides, it was either that or showing up with nothing.

As I sat in traffic, I shouldered the blame from a phone call with my long-distance husband the evening before that ended on an angry note. At the same time I fretted about how another move would affect our family, particularly our kids.

When the yellow caution light began to blink on my SUV's dashboard, I was all but ready to yank out the annoying device. "Hey! We're really low on gas here. Are you trying to get stranded?" it seemed to scream at me. Willing myself to ignore the warning, I vacillated...stop and fill up the fuel tank? Take my chances and continue on to the office for a meeting for which I was late and was to deliver a presentation? What a day. And, it wasn't yet nine o'clock!

In the New Testament book of Luke, Jesus teaches about worry (Luke 12:22-34). Five times within this short passage of Holy Scripture He encourages us to not worry needlessly. He desires that we give Him our concerns and that we trust Him to take care of them. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God empowers us with wisdom to recognize and avoid unrealistic expectations. He also enables us through faith in Jesus to accomplish what He sets before us without burning out from stress.

Stress is a fact of life. However, when we carry guilt from the past, borrow fear about the future and live in worry of today, we'll become overloaded. We may exhaust our personal resources and ignore those that come from our relationship with God. Through His Word, God works to strengthen our faith so that we trust Him to provide for our needs and handle our concerns.

Dear friend, it's particularly on those days when we spell stress "l-i-f-e" that we need to seek first God's kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). He promises to strengthen our faith, enabling us to trust Him at all times and in all situations (Psalm 56:3).

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

Monday, January 24, 2011

How long?

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
Psalm 13:1 (NIV)

I'd arrived at our current location just eight months earlier when my husband's company decided to reorganize the executive staff. In other words, we were without a job.

After a six-month search, he landed a new position and had gone on to join his new company in another state. Our son and daughter were away at college in two other states, and I'd stayed behind to sell our house. With barely enough time to unpack from the previous move, much less develop any new friendships, I was never more lonely. I'd never felt more forgotten.

All believers go through difficult situations. Sometimes it's hard to see how God is working through them. In frustration we begin to feel forgotten, especially when it seems our prayers are going unanswered.

In Psalm 13 we get a sense of David's deep perplexity at God's silence to his prayers. Four times within two verses he asks "how long." In his misery it seems that God has forgotten him.

In his lament David comes to understand his perspective is not a divine one. He does not give up all hope and he prays for God's mercy and justice (vv.3-4). He then asks God to "give light to my eyes" so that he can have the strength to carry on and endure his enemy's opposition.

Dear friend, we are not forgotten. God's mercy is enduring and unfailing. Like David, let's direct our hearts to trust God's abiding mercy. Where hope despairs, as children of our Heavenly Father in that despair we always have Hope. With a new perspective, like David we can sing songs of praise for God's goodness (vv.5-6).

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Something new

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

As he headed into the laundry room with a hammer, crowbar, level and paint brush in hand, I thought about my husband's handyman skills. The guy is a pretty amazing fix-it man.

Skilled at gutting fireplaces, tearing down plaster ceilings, ripping out cabinets, and removing walls, he is equally accomplished at replacing drywall, laying brick, installing custom shelving, pouring concrete and putting in windows. Capable of repairing almost any item, large or small, he's a whiz with a tube of Crazy Glue, a tub of spackle, or a container of caulk. A ripper-upper, fixer-upper extraordinaire, he's left his mark on each house we've owned.

In this particular case, my husband's goal was to replace a wire shelving unit with custom cabinets. Now, before you think the tools a bit extreme for the job, stay with me here. Bob has the ability to look past the surface of things. He notices what's around him. Once he realizes something needs improving, he's compelled to get to the heart of the project. He's determined to go beyond a mere cosmetic fix.

The wire shelf in our laundry room is impractical. Everything on it is exposed--bottles of laundry detergents, containers of cleaning supplies, various size sponges and brushes. My husband envisioned a room with closed cabinets that would be much more effective for storing items. A fresh coat of paint would add to the room's appearance.

So, he started at the bottom, literally. He removed the washer, clothes dryer, utility sink, and wire shelf in order to have full access to the room. The original baseboards, which were poorly installed, were taken out. The light switch plate was removed and light fixture taken down in preparation to paint the ceiling and walls. Cabinets were ordered, paint colors were selected, and new baseboards were cut to size and painted to complete the project.

Dear friend, while we were still dead in our sins, God saw us. In His amazing love, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross that through His life-saving blood anyone who receives Him by faith can be cleansed and made new--God's own "workmanship" (Ephesians 1:3-5; 1 John 1:7).

Jesus, our Redeemer, is the expert who can replace the most broken, defiled, or discouraged heart with healing, strength, forgiveness and hope. Nothing is too hard for Him. Through the Holy Spirit when we ask God to help us live each day, He does a marvelous work. By His power, we can shed the old and embrace the new. As believers and new creations, we can live a joyful life. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10)

Let the Master Craftsman have His way with your heart. The effects will be fantastic!

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

Saturday, January 1, 2011

GPS for life

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

I became quite intrigued with our son's Global Positioning System (GPS) during our recent road trip to visit family for the Christmas holiday. Touted as working in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, I confidently attached the portable navigational device to the windshield of our SUV.

From my perch on the front passenger's seat, I had a bird's eye view as the 3-D photo gadget mapped our location in real time. The apparatus displayed the terrain and logged our vehicle's speed, miles traveled, hours of moving time, and expected time of arrival. Voice activated, we received turn-by-turn spoken directions with the actual name of streets, e.g., "In .3 miles turn right on Hambletonian Drive." When we inadvertently took a wrong turn or intentionally chose a different route, the satellite powered gadget quickly recalculated our location. And while appearing to be rather demanding at times, it called out directions to help us get back on course.

God's Word is the incredible navigational tool that helps us travel through each day of our life. Like no other book this world has ever known, the Holy Bible is completely trustworthy. It is the only book authored by God (2 Timothy 3:16-18; 2 Peter 1:20-21). It shows us how to know Him, how to live, and how to receive eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

I am continually awed that we have direct access anytime day or night to the life-changing wisdom to help us safely steer through each day's obstacles and opportunities (Psalm 119:33-40). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Bible's messages of encouragement and hope and godly counsel help us make wise decisions. And complete with examples of those who experienced personal failures, turned back to God, and began to follow Him again, its reveals God's heart for mankind (Hebrews 11).

Thankfully, at just more than 1,993 miles and with only a few wrong turns, our holiday road trip across six states was without incident. As you move into 2011, dear friend, I pray your journey will take you into a deeper understanding of our loving Savior (Psalm 111:10). Through His Word may you stay on course with utmost confidence and discover how you can live a complete and joy-filled life.

Blessings dear friend. Happy New Year!
Faithfully Following