God’s Plan

My dad liked to move a lot. I am remembering one move in particular this morning. I was almost 9 and I was glad to leave the school I was attending. But I also had to leave Nipper behind. He was one of my favorite dogs of all time. A border collie mix, he went everywhere I did. We lived in the country and I spent a lot of time in the woods, at the creek on our property and riding my bicycle up and down the red dirt roads. He was always at my side. The day we left …

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God’s Word

Yesterday two things happened to acquaintances that just floored me. One received a text meant for another person. It was rude and maligning about the person who received the text. Oh my. The other person was supposed to be on hold but it didn’t work, so they heard the diatribe about themselves over the phone line. Oh beloved, you are so special to the Lord. It might be that you’ve been through this type of situation. It could have been recently or on the playground or the party line many years ago. It still hurts. You may not have ever …

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

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?

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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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What Do You Want for Christmas?

  Danny asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I was hard pressed to think of anything. While I was thinking about it, he said I don’t want a thing. I’ve got what I want. That’s how I feel too. Now there will probably be something under the tree, but we received so much this year and we are very grateful to still have one another. Oh beloved, what are you longing for this Christmas? Do you have a list ready? Are you frantically hoping your list gets filled? Maybe you’re hopeless. Nothing has ever turned out right on Christmas …

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Rejoice!

“How my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For He took notice of His lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me.” These are Mary’s words shared in Luke 1:46-49. She was a young girl, probably 15 or 16 years old, and she was ready to marry a man who was righteous and good. These are Mary’s words after the Angel of the Lord came to her one night, a night that otherwise would have …

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A Thrill of Hope

Doesn’t that phrase just sustain you even now as you are reading it. A thrill of hope. The heart-racing, butterfly producing, anticipation of something exciting, something of incredible and possibly life changing impact. A thrill. This Christmas song is one of my favorites. I think of it at least once each day of December as I do my best to keep my focus on the point of Christmas. I love Christmas, so. much. My heart for Christmas is the reason I volunteered to man the blog this month. I have loved reading the words of each MJOF ministry team member …