I was out and about in my car earlier today and this song came on the radio: #LeeAnnWomack #IHopeYouDance #Vevo 

Lee Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance

Take a listen. 

I hope each of you DANCE! RISK! LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST! LOVE WITH ALL YOUR HEART!

 

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Excerpt, When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough:

Question: Where do women belong in the twenty-first-century church?
Answer: Wherever God places them.

God has carved out places for every one of his daughters in his church, and he wants us to occupy the places he chose for us. Whatever spiritual gift or gifts you were given, you were given for a reason and a purpose, and he wants you to use it for the purpose he chose for you. He does not want you to hide it. If you choose to hide your gift(s), God is displeased. In his book The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren states “You don’t bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you.”

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Going-Flow-Enough-Upstream/dp/1625860714/

I just finished reading Michelle Obama’s book Becoming. I highly recommend it. Gave me a real sense of who both she and her husband are as people, not political figures.

The following statement of hers resonated deeply with me: “Meeting Nelson Mandela gave me the perspective I needed…that real change happens slowly, not just over months and years but over decades and lifetimes.”

I am sending this out to anyone who might be struggling with watching someone you care about make choices that you believe are harmful or destructive for him or her. I hope this will provide you with some comfort and/or encouragement.  It is taken from a book titled Through God’s Eyes by Phil Bolsta.

“Peace comes when you understand that you can be caring and supportive while respecting that your loved ones have their own path to walk, their own lessons to learn, and their agendas, values, and priorities that may diverge widely from your own. … Detachment is not apathy or indifference. It is the prerequisite for effective involvement. Often what we think is best for others is distorted by our attachment to our opinions; we want others to be happy in the way we think they should be happy. It is only when we want nothing for ourselves that we are able to see clearly into others’ needs and understand how to serve them.”

“The increase in the commercialization of Christmas is astonishing for those of us who’ve been around a few decades. Just when we thing Christmas couldn’t possibly be made more commercial, the retailers and advertisers figure out a way to do it. A large percentage of the average retailer’s revenue is generated in November and December of each year–it’s the pot of gold at the end of their retailing rainbow. …

If I had to choose a word to summarize Christian Christmas giving, I think I would choose appreciatively. If we give gifts to each other appreciatively, we’ll be saying, ‘I honor and appreciate you. I’ve selected this gift for you because I want you to know how much I value you and the role you play in my life. This gift isn’t a payment–it’s an expression of what I could never repay or replace: your unique friendship.’” (David Jeremiah, The 12 Ways of Christmas)

 

“Creativity is the hallmark of Christmas. Think of the originality that went into the first Christmas. Every feature was a surprise, for nothing seemed to follow the natural scheme of things. The eternal God in a manger. No room in the inn. Visitors on camels. Shepherds in their fields. The star. No one but the Creator Himself would have scripted it that way. …

Truly creative people derive their creativity from the Creator, so it’s important to ask God how He’d have you celebrate Christmas. He alone can create out of nothing. We’re only creative in a secondary sense, taking what He has already made and “fiddling” with it. Ask Him to show you fresh and meaningful ways to celebrate Jesus in your heart, in your family, and in your church.” (David Jeremiah, The 12 Ways of Christmas)

 

Excerpt from my Christmas reading:

“… the heart of the Christmas story: sacrificial love…love and sacrifice are synonyms, the deeper the cost of giving, the deeper the experience of love and joy. Sacrifice, of course, is what the true Christmas story is all about. It is not so much about giving as it is about sacrificing. (All sacrifice is giving, but not all giving is sacrifice.) … Sacrifice means to give to another person something we could have kept for ourselves. It means to choose, to deny, to love, to give, and to find the deepest pleasure in another’s joy. …

There is no shortage of opportunities to sacrifice. All we have to do is look for the need. That’s what God did when He sent His Son into the world at the first Christmas. The need was twofold: for the human race to see what had been lost in the Garden of Eden–perfect humanity; and to restore what was lost–fellowship with God through the forgiveness of sins. Once the need is identified, the gift becomes obvious. The challenge is to be willing to provide a gift as big as the need. Sometimes the need is bigger than what we can comfortably give in terms of time or treasure. And that’s where sacrifice comes in. Giving becomes sacrificial when we take something we might normally have channeled toward ourselves and dedicate it to increasing the joy of another.” (David Jeremiah, The 12 Ways of Christmas)