Be Still

The Christmas tree is decorated. Gifts are being wrapped and lovingly placed beneath it. It’s Christmas time again. I know this not just because of the beautiful decorations everywhere or the calendar, but also because the mall and commercials made sure to tell me about it months ago. So many things are left to do and experience, but though my schedule and life are saying “hurry, rush,” I can’t miss how often my heart is whispering, “slow, be still.” I often see depictions of the time leading up to Jesus’ birth as still and calm, but I’ve had three babies …

Great Joy

                              “… I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2: 8-9 NIV, emphasis added) My youngest son loves to play with our toy nativity. It is a “Little People Nativity” that has lasted through his older sister and brother and now has been discovered by him. Three different sets of little hands have held the little baby Jesus, made the …

Pondering the Coming Savior

I am a thinker. I am one, almost to a fault. I am also a feeler. Again, I am one, almost to a fault. These are both strengths and weaknesses. I assume that Mary, the mother of Jesus was both a thinker and feeler as well. In verses 8-20 in chapter 2 of Luke, Mary displays these attributes in the midst of heightened circumstances and emotions, in the midst of fear and expectation. “In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord …

Hope

      When I said I would write about hope during the Advent season, I thought it would be easy. Hope is a wonderful thing, right? So surely the words would flow easily, giving way to a hope-filled post. Only, when I started to write, the words simply wouldn’t come. I wrote “Hope.” at the top of the page and it just sat there, as if it were mocking me. You see, lately I’ve been afraid to hope. It seems like every time I get my hopes up about something, it all comes crashing down around me—my heart in …

Hope from the Light

  Driving home from North Carolina, I was exhausted, but optimistic about getting home on time after the long, nine-hour drive. Home was only three more hours away. It’d be dark before I arrived, but familiar roads were just past Memphis, which was only one hour away. Wet drops hit the windshield. I raised the sun visor to discover the sun slipping behind gloomy clouds. The sprinkling escalated to a downpour and the dark clouds blackened. The only glimpses of the road were when lightning struck too close for comfort. Gripping the steering wheel tighter, I slowed to a crawl. …

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 …

Have We Stopped Searching?

I love Christmas, but not all things Christmas. Now before you go thinking I’m going to talk about materialism and busyness and Santa, I’m probably going to throw you for a loop when I tell you I don’t particularly enjoy Christmas lessons, devotionals, or sermons. I can’t determine if it’s an inward groan or a silent yawn, but it’s almost a reflex every year. My problem is that having spent over 30 Christmases in church, I guess I’ve just grown calloused to a point. Until a few years ago. I was reading in Matthew 2 as part of an online …

Share Your Joy

Christmas is a time of great joy as we celebrate the greatest gift ever given. We see joy in the faces of children of all ages as they marvel at the lights and decorations. We also see the joy on Christmas morning as wishes and dreams are fulfilled. This past Friday evening I saw joy on the faces of several hundreds people who were attending the performance of The Singing Christmas Tree at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. For a few short hours adults and children were taken back into time to meet a modern day Naomi and Ruth and …

Love, Joy, Peace

Peace! As I sit at my desk and try to get my mind around the term, “Peace” I am amazed at the calmness I feel. I think to myself, “What is Peace?” “Where is Peace?” Why do I have Peace? Why has Peace escaped me at times? During thirty-seven years of ministry, I thought I knew what Peace was until one day I found myself alone. After the death of my husband, I could no longer feel the Peace I once felt. I thought something terrible had happened to my faith. It took me longer than most, I think, to …

A Holiday Heralding Hope

There probably isn’t a holiday in the calendar which brings more hope than Christmas. Little ones hoping that they’ll get everything on their list. or that long-awaited trip to Grandma’s. We all have things we’re hoping for-that’s what makes it so special. Prophets like Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, they all prophesied of the hope of the Messiah that was to come. I often wonder what it was like during those almost 400 years when God was silent, and His Word was not written. Not until John the Baptizer’s foretelling of “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin …

Peace! Peace! Where There Is No Peace

Whether it’s John Lennon’s song, “Give Peace A chance!”, or those familiar words of Ecc. 3, The Byrds “Turn, Turn, Turn”-“a time for peace, that’s where it’s not too late.” Christmas always closes with the resounding secular songs of peace. But what type of peace are these songwriters talking about? , you might say. Why, the stoppage of any wars, where innocent men. Women, and children are mercilessly murdered. These hopeful heralds are crying out the refrain that has been written thousands of years ago. Prophets like Jeremiah6;14- Ezekiel13: 10 and Hosea 9: 7- all touted this mantra. The peace …

For the Joy That Was Set Before Him

Heb.12:2 is a jam-packed verse we need to unfold briefly today in light of Christmas. In the KJV, it states: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” In the NIV, the words to describe “author and finisher” are “pioneer and perfector”. I thought the word “pioneer” was interesting. It makes me think of those like Lewis and Clark, Neil Armstrong, or Harriet Tutman. These were people who, because of …