No Ordinary Baby

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Their eyes were fixed on the screen.  It seemed like forever but it was just a few minutes.  The room was still and quiet except for the occasional click of the monitor. The young couple sat watching, waiting for a sign that the test results were true. A couple more minutes would tell the story. In a moment they moved from wondering to wonder as they became eyewitnesses to a miracle. There on the screen was life; tiny, eight-week old heart-pounding life. It was too soon to tell what the child would be. His gender would be revealed soon enough but it would take a lifetime to know what he would become.

No Common Baby

Over 2000 years ago, another couple waited. Mary and Joseph had no ultrasound to confirm the child’s existence. They didn’t question the gender nor did they wonder what he would do with life. His coming and purpose was proclaimed by an angel and foretold by prophets. This would be no common birth. He would be no common baby.

A Savior is Born

After a slow, tiring journey, the young couple arrived into a crowded city with no comfortable place for them to lodge. It didn’t matter. They took shelter in stable behind an overbooked inn. And there, in the sleepy town of Bethlehem, Mary delivered God’s Son. Deity took on humanity when this child was born and the trappings of His royalty were exchanged for swaddling clothes and a manger. As far as the world knew, He was just another baby. But in that manger was life; tiny, heart-pounding, soul-saving life. That life was born so that death would die, and we are the beneficiaries.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

As we celebrate this Christmas, let us remember that God gave us the greatest gift of all. He gave us Life. He gave us Jesus. Merry Christmas!

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Picture compliments of Pixabay Creative Commons.

Post adapted from a newsletter article from Pregnancy Help Center, Richmond KY.

Love Letters

rose-1894760_960_720 PixabayI’ve asked my husband many times about his love for me. You know the questions I’m talking about, the kind that make a man want to bang his head against the wall. I found a letter on my pillow not long ago that answered my questions. Seven pages detailed his love, admiration and respect.

He recalled our first meeting when I was 19, even remembering the sweater I wore. Our big date in Hollywood made the list, as did the ice cream running down my arm on the Walk of Fame (not my finest hour). He mentioned the walk on the pier; the walk that changed everything, sparking his desire to protect and care for me forever. Our life’s highlights were noted; along with things I didn’t think he remembered or cared about.

I revisit my letter time and again, re-reading my favorite lines. I love the one that speaks of his desire to spend the rest of his life loving me.

Timeless Love
bible-1031288_960_720 PixabayI have another letter, timeless and treasured. It speaks of a higher love, a greater love. This love transcends time and space and was declared long before this ‘lover of my soul’ ever spoke the words, “Let there be…” The letter is lengthy; its message deep.

It’s hard to fathom that so great a One as He would condescend to reach someone like me, and yet for love He did just that. At my worst, He gave His best and declared as He has to His people for centuries, Jeremiah 31:3 “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” I’ve had times when my thoughts of Him were few and fearful yet His thoughts of me are many and precious. Psalm 139:17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

I revisit His letter time and again, re-reading my favorite lines. I love the part where He talks about my future and life beyond this one; Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

How About You?
Are you searching for love? Have you sought it in places that proved to be empty? Do you long for a love that runs deep, goes the distance, counts the cost and finds the high price for your heart worth paying. You will find that love in a person. His name is Jesus and the letter of His love is written in red.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Bigger Picture

Maddie Eclipse (3)A recent celestial phenomenon captured the attention of a nation. Social media was awash with pictures; some of the eclipse, many of individuals preparing to watch it. One picture grabbed my attention more than any other. It was of one awestruck little girl named Maggie. Uninterested in self or selfies, she was fully in the moment; watching in wonder as the moon passed in front of the sun. While she was captivated by the eclipse, someone was captivated by her. The photo with its caption, ‘Best Shot I took of the Eclipse’ sent my mind wandering to biblical places; to the palace in Jerusalem.

Musing of a King
What sparked the king’s musing while considering the heavens? Was it a muted sunrise on a misty morning that drew him? Perhaps a thumbnail moon against a star-peppered midnight sky sent his thoughts to places far beyond his view. Whatever the splendor, the psalmist penned a question worth the thought of both lofty and lowly alike. “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? Psalm 8:3-4.

It’s not hard to imagine that God would be mindful of kings. But God was mindful of this king, King David, when he was still a shepherd. David was heaven-picked from a pasture and placed in a palace. It’s no wonder he’d ask so humble a question from so high an earthly place.

How About You
Have you ever experienced that sweet exchange, when you captured the magnificence of creation while it stole your breath away? When was the last time you stood in jaw-drop wonder at the creative genius of the God of the universe? Did you dare to imagine the bigger picture; that while you marveled at creation, the Creator was mindful of you?

Take a moment to consider the vastness of the universe and your privileged place in it, then ask the psalmist’s question for yourself, and maybe I will too. Perhaps we will conclude as King David did, “O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:9.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

**A special thanks to Maggie’s folks for allowing me to use this precious picture.

**Dear, sweet Maggie, I hope your life is beautiful and filled with many more wonders.

Is God Good?

key-west-86025_960_720 PixabayIs God good? It’s a question worth considering; and many have in recent weeks. With fires ravaging the west and hurricanes pummeling the east, our nation has been hit pretty hard. Whether you’re waist-high in water or standing near an ash heap; staring at the rubble of what once was your life is painful. And so we wonder.

A Costly Storm
He was stubborn. He said he would be fine. He was wrong. My father remained in his apartment in the French Quarters of New Orleans. I spoke with him a day or two before the storm hit and couldn’t convince him to leave. Katrina slammed hard into the Gulf Coast and the nation felt the sting of it.

The news was frightening and the search frustrating. Phone calls, internet lists and shelter searches led me down a rabbit hole to nowhere. In the end, sometime between hurricanes Katrina and Rita, my father lost his life. His body was found in his apartment weeks after the hurricane, having been missed on the first search. It was taken to a make-shift morgue where it was lost in a sea of body bags. There would be more weeks, more waiting, more searching and more questions.

If God is good, where was He in all of that? He was with me; right where He promised He’d be, doing just what He promised He’d do.  Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” A co-worker asked, “How are you even standing?” My answer, “I’m being held.” It’s true you know.

Measuring His Goodnessfire-89353_960_720 Pixabay
The measure of God’s goodness is not gauged by the shifting sands of our comfort. It is measured by the fixed mark of His sacrifice and discomfort, and all we stand to gain from it. So, regardless of how the wind blows; whether we’re safe and secure or we’re watching our dreams go up in smoke, we can say with calm assurance that God is good…even while our hearts are breaking.

How About You
Are you overwhelmed by all that’s happening in the world? Have the winds of suffering blown hard against your own life, leaving you desperate for hope and a peaceful place of solace? Jesus said, Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The offer is available for whoever will receive it. It’s there for you.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Pictures compliments of Pixabay Creative Commons.

 

Hope For America

white-house-1953465_960_720America just swore in the 45th President of the United States. Once again, we witnessed a peaceful transition of power. No cracked crowns. No military coup. We saw the public display of well wishes, hugs & handshakes and the departure of the previous President and his family. Yet, somewhere between the pomp and the platitudes lies a nation in crisis.

We the People

We’ve heard the words ‘We the People’ spoken in recent days. Our constitution’s preamble begins with these words and it’s not a bad place to start looking for answers. But what if we went deeper & made it more personal? What if we each looked beyond ‘We The People’ to ‘Me The Person’ and asked serious questions of ourselves?

  • Does my desire to be heard supersede my obligation to listen?
  • Is the light I desire to share dimmed by a self-righteous superiority of attitude with which I try to share that light?
  • Have I relegated myself to the comfort of my like-minded friends for fear of clashing with a conflicting culture?
  • Do the words I speak live up to the life that I have been given, or has my life made His words irrelevant to a watching & listening world?

white-house-451544_960_720Steadfast Hope

Our nation’s hope is not dependent upon changing cultural winds or political outcomes.  It was not decimated when President Obama left the White House nor did it arrive with President Trump.  Our hope is in a God who is in control and does not change. Psalm 103:19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.

God’s sovereignty was not sideswiped by this vicious election nor is it weakened by the bombastic and violent assertions of people wanting us to know they matter. Psalm 11:4 The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. God sets up kings and establishes kingdoms according to His purpose. He knows what’s happening here.

How About You

Are you concerned about the unknowns of upcoming days? While it is unnerving to be sure, we need not quiver in a corner waiting for the proverbial hammer to fall. Rather, let’s examine our own hearts and determine what we can do to be part of the mending of our land. Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. While we wait on God to turn the king’s (president’s) heart; maybe we should ask Him to turn ours as well.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Hope for the New Year

dandelion-1545407_960_720Words fail me as I offer this brief New Year’s greeting. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have shared some of life’s lessons with you in 2016 and for the encouragement you’ve given me. Writing has certainly been a challenge and I have learned many things.

We began the year with cancer, casts and crutches and ended walking unencumbered and cancer-free. Through it all I found that God is faithful (in our wounding & our healing) and that He does all things well.

Hope for 2017
Let us move forward into this New Year with hope. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil. Hebrews 6:19. Will there be failures? That’s a certainty. But we should not fear these failures, for we know they will be met by a compassionate heavenly Father, providing fresh mercy with each new day. Lamentations 3:22-24 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 

There are many exciting days ahead; beautiful, unnerving, wearisome and wonderful days. Do you worry about what’s in store for this New Year? Wonder if you’re going to make it or how? Rest assured that you can make it through for we are promised, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31.

Happy New Year.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Photo compliments of Pixabay Creative Commons CC0.

Service That Demands A Reason

It’s not long after children learn to speak that they begin asking questions. I think the favorite of all time is ‘why’. It’s natural for them to wonder why birds fly, why trees are called trees and why they can’t stand in shopping carts. They desire to understand their world; and reasons help them make sense of things. We’re the same way.

I ask myself the ‘why question’ at times when it comes to my faith and service. Much of what we are called to do by faith doesn’t make sense when we walk by sight. A re-visiting of Jesus’ story puts things back into perspective and service makes sense for me once again. I hope this re-telling of His story will do that for you as well.

A Sacrificial Death

crucified-cross-578217_960_720-pixabayThe day was long and dismal; the haters many. Evil enjoyed its finest hour as the Savior of the World hung dying on a cross. Darkness seized the day. Mockers shouted blasphemous cruelty at the One who came to seek and save that which was lost. While gamblers parted His garments, the Son-of-Man made provision for His mother and gave eternal hope to a dying thief.

The moment had come. Death took his best shot. With three short words, “It Is Finished”, Jesus commended His Spirit into the hands of His Father and Life breathed His last. The earth shook. The rocks were split. The thick veil of the temple was rent; torn from top to bottom by hands far greater than the ones that nailed His Son to the tree. His mother was grieved, his disciples fearful and confused as the Hope of Nations was laid in a borrowed tomb. Was there ever so palpable a darkness?

Hope Resurrected

empty-cave-1642215_960_720-pixabay-crerative-commonsIt was the third day. Morning came and the last vestige of night rolled away with the stone. The Son of God rose with power, conquering the very death that once slew Him. Women came to anoint His body for a proper burial but He wasn’t there. The tomb lay empty, housing nothing more than a linen napkin and the empty shell of grave cloths. Life and Light conquered death and darkness; and every hope once buried with Christ rose with Him. And so we live.

The Reason that Demands Our Service

Every bit of brutality Jesus endured on the cross was payment for a debt He didn’t owe. The debt was ours. Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. This wasn’t something that just happened. It was for this very reason He came into the world. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” He chose this!

We serve Him because He is worthy. We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19.  His death is our payment.His resurrection is our hope. His word is our message. His love is our proof and His promise is our future.sunrise-1460243_960_720-pixabay-creative-commons 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” We serve Him so that others may know; until the last battle, on the last day. And then, in peace we will serve Him still.

How About You

Still asking yourself the ‘why question’? Wondering if this Jesus is really all that He’s professed to be? You’re in good company. One of His disciples had the same question. John 1:46 And Nathanael said to him “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” And so I extend the invitation to you.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Pictures: Compliments of Pixabay Creative Commons CC0.