Remain In Me

Remain In Me

  “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15: 4 The word remain is used not once or twice, but ELEVEN times in the first ten verses of John 15. Perhaps Jesus, knowing what was ahead for the disciples, felt a sense of urgency to underscore the importance of remaining. We, too, face difficult and challenging circumstances. And, like those disciples then, the means for us to survive as His disciples today is to …

No More Fog

No More Fog

Some friends took a trip to the mountains recently. January in Arkansas can be interesting weather to say the least. It was mid-week and winter and amazingly they were the only guests at their destination. The scenery there is absolutely breathtaking, along with the wildlife which is always on for show. The only problem was the fog. It was so foggy they could not see anything, not even out their hotel room’s window. Without the visual perceptions, they just had no idea how very beautiful the area really was. They were fogged in. Oh beloved, life can get foggy can’t …

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

When I was a girl my dad had great expectations for me. I sang with Dinah Shore when her show aired. I danced with Lawrence Welk dancers. I dressed up when Sing Along with Mitch Miller was on. He thought surely I’d be famous. Maybe even Carnegie Hall was not too far fetched a place I’d go. We all have our ideas of what success looks like for our children. We surely want them to pay their bills, own a home and have a family. We want them to grow up and be nice people. Going to church is always …

Running Everywhere?

Running Everywhere?

I made a quick run to the mega mart last night after 9 pm. I’m not one to get out at night especially when it’s cold. But two things were needed and I made the offer to fetch them. First I searched for another item in case they had it. No luck. The items I did get were at opposite ends of the huge building so I ran all over the place to get them. I’m the first to admit that when I find myself in need, I often run all over the place trying to find the peace, comfort, …

The Light that Shines in the Darkness

The Light that Shines in the Darkness

Hey everyone- Carissa here! One of my favorite Christmas passages comes from the words of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist and the one who held the honor of hearing a word from the Lord for the first time in 400 years. “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke [1:78]-79) The mercy of light in the darkness… anyone who is sitting in suffering today understands …

When Your Christmas is Blessed

When Your Christmas is Blessed

  “And Theirs Isn’t”     Christmas, like any holiday, can be a blessing for some and a painful reminder of loss and loneliness for others. We often hear advice on how to keep our chins up when we’re struggling through Christmas, but what if you’re like the majority who are having a very Merry Christmas and yet know of someone who isn’t? Guilt settles in as you realize that it could have easily been you in their shoes, but you were spared. Maybe the person who popped in your head is struggling financially, lost a loved one, or received …

Hidden Gifts

Hidden Gifts

  Some of the most wonderful gifts we ever receive are surprises. They can be free or extremely expensive, be wrapped with a bow or take the form of a person. The element of surprise within a blessing is all about perspective and when we have the right perspective, it can affect everything else in our lives. Imagine a young boy who’s always longed to play the guitar. On Christmas morning, wrapped in a beautiful red bow, is a brand new acoustic just for him! He is overcome with joy because he never had a clue that the gift could …

Priceless Christmas

Priceless Christmas

Is it just me, or does disappointment sometimes seem to rear its ugly head at the most illogical times? How much sense does it make to feel discontent or discouraged when you are in the middle of mounds of blessings? It sounds spoiled to say that, but I know I’m not the only one. Sometimes we tend to hyper-focus on what we wish would be and it’s hard for us to see the greatness of where we are. We see and hear examples of this most obviously in the faces and voices of excited children at Christmas. It sounds like …

All Things New

All Things New

Some of my favorite decorations at Christmas are the ones that reflect a time long past: vintage ornaments, popcorn chains, and brown paper packages tied up with string (sorry, couldn’t help myself). There’s something nostalgic about Christmastime when you’re picturing the beauty of years gone by. However, irony lies in the fact that nowadays it seems to take more effort and investment to embrace something old than to just buy something new- just look in those home magazines! How much money do we spend on items that look like they’re a hundred years old when the factory made them just …

Faith Like Mary

Faith Like Mary

Do you remember when you were about 14 years old? I was a sophomore in high school and boy, did I think I was grown! I thought that I knew exactly how my life was going to work out, what I was going to be, and how God was going to use me. HA! I was a good kid who loved God but I also thought God would take all my prayers into consideration and surely, His plans for my life would look like mine because they were great plans! Maybe you were a self-diagnosed goody-two-shoes like I was, or …

That’s the Power of Love

That’s the Power of Love

This third week of Advent is all about love: how love came down to redeem mankind, how love covers all sins through sacrifice… how Jesus is love. I appreciate how the love of God plays out in my life, particularly when it is revealed through friendship with other believers. I am excited to share one such friend with you all today. Deb’s authenticity is just one of the many reasons why I love her so much and I know she will bless you as she has blessed me. -Carissa When Carissa reached out to me and gave me the opportunity …

When Jesus is Small

When Jesus is Small

  It’s a week before Christmas and all through the house the children are yelling and so is the spouse. The presents are wrapped but the cat ate the tinsel now vet bills are piling and the ham’s full of gristle. This year was to be different, it’s an annual goal, but stressors keep piling like your yard full of snow. Your heart wants to focus on what Christmas is for but the world, so it seems, always wants so much more.   Not everyone experiences stress during the holidays, but if we are all honest, many of us do… …