living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Christmas Gift Ideas ~ From the Heart

Christmas Gift Ideas - LPBJIt’s Christmas time – time for lights, music, gifts, nativity sets, trees, traditions, carols, food, parties, reunions, programs, and more. We know the true “reason for the season” is celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ: our Saviour come to earth. We know Jesus IS the perfect Gift. We know all the planning, fellowshipping, and gift giving is a perfect time to make memories.  With endless ideas available at our fingertips, Christmas celebrations can range from extravagant to simple.  Many of us continue to learn and plan to make the holidays special for family and others.

Maybe, your Christmas celebrations have retained a semblance of tradition through the years. I would venture to say that most people experience at least one Christmas season that is far from the desired or expected,  due to imminent changes that occur in life. As I was thinking about some ladies I know who will meet Christmas this year in change, I thought to put myself in their shoes.  What gifts can a mother give who…

  • Has no decorations or has no home in which to put them?
  • Is in an unsettled situation?
  • Has no husband to care for her?
  • Has declining health?
  • Has no money for special recipes or even for staples?
  • Has lost a loved one?
  • Has a wayward loved one?
  • Is struggling to face life every day?
  • Is characterized by brokenness ?
  • Feels trapped by multiple stress factors?
  • Has no friends or family close by?
  • Knows she cannot give her child a tangible gift?
  • ____________________________ (Fill in the blank.)?

We who know the Lord Jesus Christ can always give gifts to our children no matter how life changes. Here is a simple acrostic of a few of the many gifts we can give that are not wrapped in beautiful paper, but in our hearts.

C – Courage

  • A waiting heart. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” –Psalm 27:14
  •  An unfearful heart. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” –Deuteronomy 31:6
  • A loved heart. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:37-39

H—Hope

  • An expectant heart. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” –Psalm 62:5
  • A believing heart. “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” –Psalm 27:13
  •  A seeking heart. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” –Hebrews 11:6

R—Remembrance

  • A praising heart. “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:” –Psalm 78:4-5
  • A speaking heart. “And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:” –Deuteronomy 6:20-21
  • A humbled heart. “Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” –Lamentations 3:19-21

I—Integrity

  • An upright heart. “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. “ –Psalm 25:21
  • A God-fearing heart. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” –Job 2:3
  • An innocent heart. “Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.” –Genesis 20:5

S—Strength

  • A secure heart. “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” –Proverbs 31:25
  • A sound heart. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” –II Timothy 1:7
  • A stable heart. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…” –Psalm 46:1-2

T—Truth

  • A God-pleasing heart. “But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” –I Thessalonians 2:2-4
  •  A sanctifying heart. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” –I Peter 3:15  “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” — John 17:17
  • A worshipping heart. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” –John 4:24

M—Mercy

  • A benevolent heart.  “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. “ –Matthew 25:40
  • A good heart. “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” –Luke 6:35-36
  • A compassionate heart. “And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. “ –Luke 10:37

A—Affection

  • A kind heart. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” –Romans 12:10
  • A comforting heart. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. “ –Isaiah 66:13
  • A loving heart. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love oneanother. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” –John 13:34-35

S—Steadfastness

  • A fixed heart.  My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” –Psalm 57:7
  • A purposed heart. “But Daniel purposed in his heart…” –Daniel 1:8
  • A laboring heart. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” –I Corinthians 15:58

Mary, the mother of Jesus must have possessed these gifts in her heart throughout the whole pregnancy and delivery of Baby Jesus. Think about the gifts she was able to give to her Son – Jesus – BECAUSE He was her Gift.

While we desire and attempt to give good gifts to our children, let’s remember  to give these unwrapped gifts of the heart, only possible through the power of the Gospel.

Be sure to nurture these gifts in your own heart – gifts that cannot be taken away from you.

Merry Christmas!  –Jeri Lynn

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I Hate Drama!

We break a nail. We get behind slow traffic. We don’t have anything new to wear to that special night. We are ready for church and the baby decides to leak through his outfit – all over us! We have to fill the car up with gas because our hubby forgot. The broiler was on, the phone rang, Junior smashed his finger, I forgot the broiler was on and just ruined my batch of toast – you know the batch where I just used all the rest of the bread. The kids have toys all over the floor and I can’t roll through! My cell phone is missing. It’s Sunday morning and time to go and somehow the toddler has already taken off his shoes and you can only find one. Facebook is having technical difficulties and I can’t get on. The crayon got left in the pocket that is now in my dryer. My tire goes flat on my wheelchair. The toilet overflowed. Four people are asking you questions at the same time with “emergencies” and then the phone starts ringing. Do I need to go on? Does this sound like your house? It sure sounds like mine!

It doesn’t take much to get us all out of whack and in a dither. Anyone of those things can get to me in moment depending on my mood. Especially when more than one of those things happen in one day! We talk about drama, we laugh about drama and we live in a lot of drama! But, I hate drama!! I hate it in myself!

I get really tickled when I speak at ladies meetings and women will come up to me and tell me that they wish they could have my sweet spirit, positive outlook, and sunny smile. I always laugh and tell them, “If you believe that, then PLEASE don’t talk to my husband and children!!” Just because I have decided to try to have a positive outlook regarding my disability, does not mean I handle the missing shoe episode very well! Actually, I don’t handle it well at all! I appreciate what they are saying to me, but I don’t want them to miss the point that life is very real around here and we all share in the same struggles. I don’t like myself in  my dramatic moments because when I think back on it, I get really embarrassed at how I acted! I was in a church service recently and witnessed the scene when a child accidentally dropped the offering plate. I thought the mother was going to have a stroke and I felt so sorry for that child! I also got mad at myself because I would like to think I wouldn’t have acted that way, but I have come unglued for lesser things.

One thing that life these past 3 years has taught me though, is that there are annoyances and then there is real trouble. This is not about broken nails, crying children and flat tires. Times of real despair. Times of heartbreak that weigh on you so heavy that you do not know how you will ever live through it. Times that you are so thankful that you have a Heavenly Father you can go to because there is not another living soul you can turn to.

Most of us don’t face these kind of things every week, month or even year for that matter. Aren’t you glad?!! But when we do face them, it is a grim reminder that the things that we allowed to get to us so dramatically, really weren’t that bad at all. I mean, when that child is laying in a hospital bed fighting to breathe, does it really matter that he lost his shoes? I think it would matter very little and I think the emotions I would be feeling would be shame and guilt that I was ever upset at something to trivial.

The point of this post is to remind me that there are things in life so much bigger than my drama. I want to live a life of no regrets – in everything I do. Remembering to stress less and keep the dramatics to the real issues of life are one sure way of making sure that I accomplish that goal. I think my hubby and kids will like me better too! Here’s to many less dramatic days ahead!

 

 


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Smiles…Giggles…and Hugs!

A few years ago, my now grown children were part of a homeschool group, and one of our most memorable field trips, at least for me, was to see the Smokey Mountain Passion Play.

It was truly a great blessing seeing the life of Jesus portrayed.

But one of the things that SO blessed me…and caused me to think was how Jesus was portrayed  walking into the town with His disciples….and the children!

Some may think of Jesus just being straight-faced…..maybe not smiling, as He went about His Father’s business….but in this play, as he saw the children, they ran up to Him, sat in His lap.  He then played with them, swinging them around, laughed with them, had fun with them.

I don’t know for sure if this was how it really was, but I like to believe so. He loved them SO much!

We should always be ready to give someone a smile, especially our children and grandchildren! They need our love….our hugs….we need to laugh and play together!

And not only they, but what about the cashier having a bad day? Or maybe someone in our church family going through a rough time.

Granted, it’s not easy amid our own trials, and burdens, and disappointments sometimes,  but that’s where our faith in Him and His precious Word comes in.

So,  may we show our loved ones, and a lost world, that “I’d rather be an ole time Christian, than anything I know”!

Proverbs 17:22 says….A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…