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Just Jesus

I love Christmas. I love the displays, the music, the food and the lights, but this was overwhelming. Despite the fact that it was night, I needed my sunglasses. The light emanating from the Christmas display of a neighboring house was overwhelming. Think air-traffic control tower…light house…l.e.d. headlights straight to the retinas. I’m sure this display can be seen from outer space.

In addition to the garishly flashing lights, I counted 25 plus Christmas inflatables ranging from a snowman sporting camo and a rifle to a shark with a Santa hat. To escape the multi-sensory overload, I shifted my eyes from the display to the house across the street. And what did I see?

Just Jesus

A simple manger scene graced the velvety lawn of the house across the street. silent. holy. calm. In the inky darkness, a simple cut-out of the Holy Family illuminated by a single soft light emphasized the beauty of the Gospel. Shadows whispering the simplicity of God’s plan.  Just Jesus.

Simply show them Jesus.

This simple display speaks a lesson directly from heaven straight to the heart. This is just what our lives should be, what our lives should do–leave behind the noise and blinding distractions of the world and simply point to Jesus.

He is all we need.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” 

Col. 1 :15-18

Just Jesus, each day, every hour, every minute. He is all we need. Merry Christmas.

Please leave me a comment below about how your heart is doing this Christmas. I’d love to hear from you!

By Mary Kane

All rights reserved. Copyright 2020

Resources:

Get to Know Jesus by Joyce Meyer

4 Steps to Become a Christ Follower




The Lord is Near

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34: 17-18

I get the broken heart thing. If you’ve lived on planet earth for more than a few years, you do too. Unfortunately we’ve all been there before, and probably will be again. The good news though is that God meets us in the middle of our broken heart and trauma. He promises. Cross His heart and hope to die. He is near to those who have a broken heart.

How near is the Lord?

The original Hebrew word used in this verse is qarowb which means near of place, time, and personal relationship. God takes your broken heart very personally. He will comfort you in very meaningful specific ways if you draw near to Him when He draws near to you.

Broken

The word broken used in this verse bears studying. From the original Hebrew, broken transliterates as shabar which means to rend violently, to crush, to be maimed, crippled, shattered. Strong words for a deep hurt.  But within the violence and devastation of shabar is a glimmer of hope. This word which speaks of destruction also means to bring to birth. Can it possibly be, in some instances, that a broken heart is the beginning and birthing of something new and meaningful? Only God can do that.

But God’s not done yet

Go back and read the verse again. It also says God saves those who have a contrite spirit. But what is a contrite spirit? What does contrite even mean? Like myself, I think you’ll be surprised.

Contrite in the original Hebrew (dakka’)  means very much crushed, crushed to dust or crushed literally to powder. My heart has been very much crushed and literally crushed to powder. This kind of brokenness is broken beyond repair.  It reaches past I need to get the Elmer’s so I can glue it back together broken. There is no glue that repairs dust. This is hopelessly broken. But

The Lord is near to the contrite

Psalm 34 promises God saves those whose who have a contrite spirit. Let’s say the verse out loud using words from the definition: God saves those whose spirit has been crushed to dust. You see dust is one of God’s favorite creating mediums ( see Genesis 2:7).  He fashions very good things from dust. God dives in with His holy hands and creates a new spirit from the dust and ashes of broken dreams, relationships, and failures.

A final word

The Hebrew word for save used in this verse is yasha’ which means, to save, to deliver, to free, to liberate, to be victorious. You will be liberated from the pain of your broken heart and shattered spirit.  Give Him your heart and trust Him to redeem, restore and recreate your life. In Jesus Name, Amen.

If your are struggling with brokenness, please leave a comment below. I’d love to pray for you.

By Mary Kane

All rights reserved. Copyright 2020

Resources on Brokenness:

Re-purposed

The Blessing of Brokenness




Are You Done Retreating?

I schlepped my suitcase in the door and dropped it on the floor. “Are you done retreating?” Erik asked me as I came in the house.  His question stopped me in my tracks.

My sister and I went on retreat for a few days to plan for a prayer event. We felt the need to get away to the country so we could focus on hearing from God. While on retreat we prayed, worked, planned and had a sweet time studying God’s word.

When our retreat was finished, I walked in the door and my son greeted me with  Are you done retreating? which he followed up with the equally stunning Good, now it’s time for you to advance.

It’s time for you to advance.

Spine-tingling. Profound. Prophetic words from my son. They felt like a direct message from God.  So I asked myself his question, Am I done retreating? Am I done hanging back, hanging around and hanging on? Am I ready to advance with God for the next thing He has for me?

Sometimes we have to retreat to advance.

Maybe it seems your life is in retreat.  Your hoped for promotion turned into what seems like a demotion. Your big house downsized to a tiny house. Your full nest has turned into an empty nest. Perhaps God is fine tuning your focus and calling you to retreat so you can advance in your relationship with Him.

We’ve all been retreating.

Since Covid blasted on the scene in March, we’ve all been on retreat—from our jobs, from entertainment, from church, from our friends and it seems from life. But what an opportunity the quarantine provided for an at home holy huddle. But now some of our restrictions are lifting. We are beginning to see some return to normalcy.

So. It’s time. Pick up what you have learned on your retreat and advance. Take a step of faith and move forward with God. Advance in your relationship, in your calling, in the work God wants you to do for such a time as this.

“For by you, I advance through a troop. By my God, I leap over a wall.” Psalm 18:29

Are you done retreating?

How are you advancing with God? Please leave me a comment below. I’d love to chat with with.

by Mary Kane

all rights reserved. copyright 2020

Resources:

How to Get Unstuck and Move Forward with God

 

Your Dot and Your Dash

 





Take 5! A Good Work

Let’s take 5 minutes and study about a good work from the word of God. Now, please get your journal and a pencil and lets get started! 

 

 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.

8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;

Philippians 1:6-10

What does God promise to do for you in verse 6?

I am very happy God is not finished with me yet. Be assured, who we are today is not who we will be next year or even next month. God constantly works to make us over into the image of Christ! And you are a good work! Amen!

According to verse 7, what does God give us?

Grace! Grace to believe all things, hope all things, bear all things, and become all things through Christ Jesus!

What does verse 9 say must accompany our love for Christ?

Why does love need knowledge and all discernment (see verse 10)?

How will knowing what is excellent keep us blameless until the day Christ returns?

As you finish your study time today, take a moment to thank God for all the excellent things you have in your life. Pray and thank God for how He is continuing His good work in you until the day of Christ Jesus.

Resources

Want more information on Philippians 1:6-10? Click on the links below to access an article or a podcast:

The One Who Began a Good Work

 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DuFnLzz1TX8

By Mary Kane

all rights reserved. copyright 2020




Take 5: Grace and Peace

Take 5 Bible studies are made for busy people who want to dive right in to Scripture. Get your Bible journal and pencil and let’s do Take 5: Grace and Peace. Please read the scripture below.



1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1: 1-5

How does Paul describe himself and Timothy in verse 1?

In the original Greek, the word bond-servant transliterates as doulos, which means one who gives up his will for the will of another.

What two things does Paul say come from God and Jesus?

 

Grace and peace only come from God and Jesus. God gives us grace through Jesus so we can be at peace with Him.

What does Paul do in verse 3?

 

What does Paul do for the Philippians in verse 4?

 

He prays for the Philippians. The word used for pray is deesis, which means a seeking or an asking. Deesis comes from the root word deo which means to bind or fasten. Prayer literally binds us together.

How do you participate in the Gospel?

 

Go back and read through our Take 5: Grace and Peace verses for today once more. In your journal, record one thing God wants you to do because of Philippians 1:1-5.

Chat with me!

Please share a comment on what you learned today from your study time. I’d love to chat with you!

By Mary Kane

copyright 2020. all rights reserved.

Try another Take 5! by clicking on the link below!

Take 5!:When in Rome

Something great Philippians preaching from Cru!

Philippians 1

 

 

 




The Year 2020

The year 2020 has been a year, and we’re only half way through it. What will the other half will bring? Giant spider invasion? Flying snake infestations?



Daily we stagger around, pretending we’re fine while we deal with the cultural shifts.

 Thankfully, due to the mask requirement no one can see the stress lines etched on our faces.

The truth about my 2020 stress level

Am I stressed? Hmm, let’s see. In the past year I changed careers, switched churches, experienced a global pandemic, and dealt with a significant health problem. An adult child move back home, sons 1 and 2 got married (#covidweddings), I sheltered at home, and I spent 3 months Zooming with my students in a little room in the front of my house. Yep, I’m a little stressed. It’s time to get real about our thinking and feelings.

The truth about my 2020 feelings

Honestly, there have been times this year when I’ve felt completely untethered. It’s a struggle to get up and jump on the crazy train each day. I wonder what’s the use?

All the while pray for my country, my president, my family, my fellow Americans and things still seem to continually spiral down. I’ve struggled with short bouts of depression, and at times I can’t seem to find joy in anything (baking, sewing, riding my bike, CHOCOLATE). America seems to lost its bearings. Same. Where is all this headed?

Count it all stress

We’re Christians for crying out loud. Are we supposed to count covidstayathomeelearningsocialunrest all joy? Must we give thanks in everything?

Yes. Why? Not because all things are good, but because they will be used for good. Therefore, we give thanks now for the later joy. Hard things shape us, knock off our rough edges and sculpt us into the image of Christ. Hard things keep us humble, on our knees, and in the presence of our Father.

What should we do?

Read Ephesians 6. What does God provide? Armor. We weren’t put on this earth for a Christian vacay. It’s time to armor up buttercup, and join the battle. In this present challenge, find a way to use your gifts for others. And then, ceaselessly pray about everything until you make it to the other side.

In closing

Maybe God has untethered us because we were tethered to the wrong things. Do we trust in America or do we trust in God as our money says (the money shortage is another post)? God is not surprised by what is happening. This is not the end of the world. Believe it or not, God is using all this in the next step of His plan. It will all turn out for our good and His glory.

How are you dealing with 2020? Please leave me a comment in the reply section below. I’d love to chat with you!

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all rights reserved. copyright 2020

Resources

Do you need a little help managing your 2020 stress? Please click on the links below:

Stress and Anxiety Attacks

Stress and Anxiety Part 2

Stress: Experiencing Real Rest