I love Christmas time and I think one of my favorite things about this time of year is the Christmas lights. With daylight savings ending in November, it gets dark so early and I miss the daylight hours. I live in what’s known as rainy Seattle so it gets a bit dark and dreary. I get so excited for the first sighting of Christmas lights on homes as I am driving around. The lights and decorations bring cheer, joy, delight and a little sparkle.
Waiting is not my favorite thing in the world. I like to move at a fast pass, although funny enough, I am late to everything. I always think I can get more done in a certain amount of time than is actually possible. Some days my husband hears my to-do list and then suggests we cut the list in half to be more realistic.
Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I prayed at the beginning of the year and asked God for a word for this year and He gave me the word: CONTENTMENT. My heart’s cry is to grow in being more content with how God made me, where He has placed me and the relationships He has blessed me with. I wanted to encourage you in three areas that I think help us to grow in contentment.
A phone call can instantly change everything, sometimes for the good and others time for the bad. There are those calls that put a smile on your face and cause hope to arise: The call back after a first date, the thoughtful call saying you are loved, the call back for a desired job, the report of a clean bill of health, and your winning name in a prize drawing or game show. Then there are those calls that turn your world upside down: the loss of a loved one or tragedy, a bad health diagnosis, you’re being let go from your job, you’re being disowned.
The greatest call we answer to is the call of God.
One life can make a difference.
I pondered this as I attended an event in California called Azusa Now led by Lou Engle. The event was calling thousands in the body of Christ to come and pray and stand together for the purpose of unity, miracles, healing, and the proclamation of the Gospel. Our rally cry: Come, Holy Spirit! Over 60,000 people were in attendance that significant day - April 9, 2016 - celebrating the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival. Lou Engle’s ministry, The Call, has held large prayer gatherings around the United States. For years, he has challenged our nation and young people to fast and pray. One man’s vision called a nation back to God and thousands have responded.
Many well-known ministry leaders in the Body of Christ participated. Loren Cunningham shared and I thought of YWAM bases all over the world where thousands of young people have been trained and sent out into the nations with the Gospel. Bill Johnson spoke and I thought of the influence of Bethel, how their teaching and worship music have circled the globe. Jack Hayford, Dutch Sheets, Cindy Jacobs, Heidi Baker, Todd White and Shawn Bolz prayed and prophesied over the crowd.
The budding trees and sound of birds singing are a clear indication that spring is here. This time of the year, our thoughts naturally turn toward the spiritual season we are in as well, as we move toward the Resurrection. It’s the season of Passover in the Jewish calendar.
The first Passover took place on the night of the last and final plague against the Egyptians; the death of firstborn males, from Pharaoh’s own son, to the firstborn of every animal. The night before their release from captivity, God instructed His people to sacrifice a spotless lamb and mark the doorposts of their homes with its blood. The Passover lamb would take the place of the firstborn sons of the Israelites.
Recently, I came across this scripture in my daily Bible reading plan about the original institution of the Passover Lamb. It seemed to jump off the page and hit my heart with fresh insight. This was what the Lord instructed them to do with their sacrifice:
“Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.” Exodus 12:10-11
I used to think I wasn’t much of a “scents” person. My sense of smell has never been particularly strong. I grew up with a lot of allergies and a frequent stuffy nose. Over the last couple of years I have a new appreciation for sweet fragrances and the way God speaks to us through our senses.
The headlines over the last few months sent shockwaves around the world. It seems many parts of the world are erupting in flames. We’ve seen anti-Semitism and persecution of Christians on the rise. Terror. Murder. War. Hatred. Kidnapping. The list goes on. The times we are living in are significant.
The end of 2014 was a rough season for me emotionally. I felt tired, drained, and kind of empty. God opened the door for me to return back to Israel, where in the Garden of Gethsemane, He spoke to me about the discouragement in my heart.
Expectations. We all have them placed on us and we place them on others. We put expectations on family, friends, a circumstance, events, a job, an education, a timeframe, and the list could go on. Daily in all aspects of life, we have expectations. Webster’s dictionary defines expectation as a belief that something will happen or is likely to happen; a feeling or belief about how successful, good, etc., someone or something will be. I love that feeling of anticipation that something good is going to happen.
Travelling is a passion of mine. I love to explore new places, study history, and make new friends. I realized possessing American citizenship and an American passport gives me access to travel to almost anywhere in the world. This is a great privilege.
My trips to Israel have increased my love for history. I saw a movie recently that gave me another snapshot into the history of the Jewish people. Walking with the Enemy is about a young Jewish man who posed as a Nazi officer to help save Jews from Hungary during World War 2. The film was very hard to watch and thought provoking.
With Thanksgiving coming this week, I have been reflecting on the past year and what I am most thankful for. The one thing that stood out to me is simply the love of God. As Graham Cooke was speaking to us about first love during one of the sessions at Aglow National Conference, God was imparting fresh truths to me of His unending love. He was showing me pictures of His love in personal ways. I started to write about them in a poem. Isn’t it wonderful how God speaks to each of us in unique ways?
It’s not about performance. It’s about placement.
This phrase has been circulating in Aglow through the teachings of Jane and Graham Cooke. It is a phrase that has held fresh in my mind the last few months. As we gathered around the television to watch the Summer Olympics most athletes expressed their only goal...to win an Olympic gold. Watching an interview of Ryan Hall, US Olympic marathon runner, I saw an athlete with a different perspective.
Loneliness and isolation are painful feelings that I experienced for a season in my life. Depression and anxiety seemed to grip me and at times I felt like giving up on life. It was then that the truth of Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5 became real to me. As I meditated on the word of God, healing took place in my life.