Robbed of Joy

Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we robbing you?” In your tithes and offerings!”–Malachi 3:8

I open the newspaper. I turn on the radio or television. The news is filled with such negativity. Hate spewed words. I don’t know about you but I often feel robbed. Robbed of truth (What exactly is truth these days?). Robbed of my joy. Robbed of happiness. Robbed of peace.

One doesn’t have to look far to see the world robbing one another. Children robbed and stolen from their parents because of where they were born. Outsiders robbed of hope. Individuals robbed because of the color of their skin.

It continually feels like the world is being robbed. But what if we treated each other with love and respect? What if we remembered that Jesus came into the world to turn it upside down? To bring about peace, joy and love in a broken messed up world!

The cries of this holy child who pierces the darkness and the silence. Whose cries proclaim the reign of a king; a king who comes for each and every one of us. This holy one whose cries herald the coming promises of hope, joy and love. This one who is robbed himself and crucified on a cross for our sins.

And on that cross, he breaths his last breath. Three days later, the women come to the tomb and find it empty. A solid reminder that life not death has the final word. Our king, our Messiah, Emmanuel; God with us, has not been robbed away from us. His legacy lives on when we help others to see that honesty, love, joy, peace, patience and kindness are what we are to share with one another.

For a weary world rejoices when this king is born that silent night in a manger in Bethlehem. A king who comes for all the world to proclaim. A king who was an immigrant in his own right. A king who understands what it feels like to not be accepted. A king who overcomes it all and promises to never leave us or forsake us.

Father, Forgive Them!

The world boils over with anger.
Words spoken in haste.
Hate filled evil words.
Words that often need
to be taken back.

“Father,
Forgive them
For they know
not what they are doing.”

Anger fueled
By unkind hearts
and evil words.

“Father, forgive them
For they know
Now what they are doing.”

Come, Holy Spirit!
Come, word made flesh!
Come, with your own righteous anger.

Calm the world’s unrighteous anger.

Bring about everlasting peace
peace that only you can bring.

Peace that comes
only through the birth
of a holy child
whose cries pierce the darkness
and bring about hope, peace and joy
in a broken angry world.

Unwind the Roots

The roots grab hold and take hold; twisting and winding their way around the root of the plant. The roots plunge into the soil and often it is impossible to pull them out. The roots twisting and winding their way are how the world around me feels. Bound by a world of injustice, hatred and evil!

Evil takes hold. Hatred falls from our mouths and often roots itself where it is not wanted. Grief has a way of taking hold and rooting itself in our hearts too. Just this past year, grief has wound its way around my heart as I have lost friend, after friend, after friend. I am working my way through pulling and weeding the roots that are wrapped around my heart in the midst of grief. It seems these roots are bound so tightly and I wonder if I will ever be able to release them.

So as we walk to the manger and to the birth of Jesus, I find myself asking Jesus to take hold in the hearts of the world. There is so much violence. There is so much hatred. There is so much war. There is just so much that needs to be removed from our world.

Yes, there are glimpses of hope. But often those glimpses are overshadowed by the deep roots that have infiltrated our world. These deep roots that are impossible to pull out and remove.

I find myself turning to Jesus; the hope on which all is found; through his blood and righteousness. I cry out, Jesus root love into our hearts. Jesus plant the seeds of hope. Unwind the roots from evil. Root peace, kindness and justice into our lives and into this broken world.

Unwind the roots….Bring forth the bright morning star!

Sprout Forth

“When Moses went into the tent of the covenant[a] on the next day, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted. It put forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds.”–Numbers 17:8

Sprout=”to grow, spring up, or come forth as if a sprout” or “to send out new growth”

Seeds fall
Into the earth
To bring forth
new life.

Yet no rain comes
Dry rocky terrain
The Earth cracks

A barren dessert
Searching for new life
for growth.

Lord
Send forth rain
Everlasting life
That brings about
new life
In a broken world.

Sprout hope
Sprout love
Sprout peace
Sprout new beginnings

And A Weary World Rejoices!

“For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that it’s waves roar–the Lord of hosts is his name.”–Isaiah 51:15

Wonderful counselor.
Mighty God.
Prince of Peace.
Lord of hosts.
Emmanuel.

A name holds a lot of weight, doesn’t it? Have you ever asked why you were given the name you were given? And/or do you know what your name means? My name Tara means “rocky pinnacle.” I was named after a soap opera character from Days of our Lives. There was a couple on Days of our Lives named Tara and Chance so I was named after her.

Sometimes I wonder how much thought is truly put into naming a child. There are some unusual names in our world today. But Jesus, the Lord of hosts, has a name that is above all names. Emmanuel=God with us! Throughout the season of Advent, we wait for this precious holy child to be born into our world.

This precious boy who is an immigrant in his own right. This precious boy who comes to flip the world upside down. This infant son who comes to rouse a deaf world and bring light into darkness. This infant Son who breaks the silence of that holy night with his own cries.

This Son who heals a blind man,sits with tax collectors and sinners, calms the storm and so much more. This holy one who calls us to “do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.” This Son who promises to never leave us or forsake us and continually brings hope into a weary world. This son who stirs up the world and brings us hope and peace.

“And a weary world rejoices.” Rejoices at the birth of this little one who is born in a manger in Bethlehem and is crucified on a tree on Calvary. It took his life, death, crucifixion and ultimately resurrection to arouse a deaf hurting broken world.

“And a weary world rejoices!”

Deep

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “deep.” We would love to have you join us.

As I sit down to write this, the sounds of drills humming are echoing in the room next to me. Sawdust is flying. Nails are being driven deep into the wood as new cupboards are going in. This is something I’ve been waiting for.

In the room next to that, my kitty is hiding out under the guest bed. She is tender as she got spayed and front declawed yesterday. Stitches are deep in her belly. She is not very happy with me. But I know in time, she’ll like me again.

There seems to be a paradox here but I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps I’m thinking too hard and too deeply. But what I do know for sure is God’s love for all of us. God’s love is as wide and as deep and high as it can be! God’s love is deep for God’s beloved children!

And because I couldn’t get it out of my head, I had to add this song too. 

Fear Not, My Friends!

(This blog post was inspired by my friend David’s Advent series for his church. Thanks for the inspiration. You can read about this series here: Fear Not) 

Fear is running rampant in our world.

Fear of our neighbor.
Fear of not enough money.
Fear of illness.
Fear of death.
Fear of…
The list keeps going and going!

One doesn’t have to look far to see this fear paralyzing us all. We are afraid to try new things because fear has this way of taking hold of us and paralyzing us. And when we turn on the news, this fear is only exacerbated.

We don’t need the world to tell us to fear the world. We are good enough at creating our own fear and anxiety. In fact, there are many in our world who live daily with anxiety; trying to find a sense of calm in their daily lives.

In Scripture, the words “Do not be afraid” appear 365 times; one for every day of the year. I feel like I sound like a broken record, but this does not seem like a coincidence to me. Jesus comes into the world to break the chains of fear. Jesus looks us each in the eye and reminds us to fear not.

But are we willing to trust in Christ’s promises? Are we willing to turn to him in the midst of our fears and doubts?

Fear is all around us! But these words from Jesus are words of promise!

Fear not, my friends,
FEAR NOT!

Reluctance

Reluctant=”feeling or showing aversion, hesitation, or unwillingness” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Have you ever been reluctant to try something new? I know I have!

The more I think about it, the more I realize that my reluctance is often caused by fear. So often in life we let fear grab hold of us and tie us to our chairs. Fear has a way of stopping us dead in our tracks.

But the truth is that God walks with us in the midst of our reluctance and our fear. When I first started praying about respite foster care, I felt this nudge from God but so often I would subside that nudge. I would push it down and forget that I even felt it. But the truth is that I have known all along that this is a ministry that I truly believe God is calling me too. Yet I let fear get in the way!

Once I let go of the fear, I have found a freedom and a peace that has come over me. A freedom and peace that is overwhelming (in a good way). I can’t help but think of the words “do not be afraid” that appear 365 times in Scripture–one for every day of the year.

As we enter the Advent season, I think of how Mary and Joseph both heard those very words. If Mary had let fear get in the way, would she have been chosen to give birth to the Christ child? If Joseph had let fear get in the way, would he have just let Mary to her own-to raise this child by herself? Jesus entered the world and broke the chains of fear for both his earthly mother and father. Jesus breaks the chains of fear by dying on a cross for our sins because God loves us that much.

Fear is a liar.

Fear will not have the final word.

Sunday Blessings 233

(1) Shrek the Musical with CS and EO

(2) Supper with CS

(3) Chatting with my daddy on the phone.

(4) A newly painted kitchen

(5) Thanksgiving with CZ and her family. It was such a great day!

(6) Fun at the holiday lights parade.

(7) Walking downtown with BK and AK

(8) Spotting BP and SS while in the parade.

(9) Playing cards with CZ’s daughter E

(10) Texting with my faves

(11) A new Nativity for the collection

(12) Christmas movies!

(13) Luna!

(14) Taco soup in the crockpot

(15) Fun mail from JRY

(16) Cozy blankets on a cold day

More Precious than Silver or Gold

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “value.” We would love to have you join us.

Our worth; our value is so often based on what others think of us. They look at our outward appearances but they often don’t know us. They don’t know our heart. Our value can be based in how others see us.

But the truth is we are loved. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Our value to God is that we are more precious than silver or God. We shine brightly when we show who others who we truly are created to be.

I am a person who loves and cares deeply. If you are familiar with the Enneagram, I am one hundred and ten percent a two! Twos are helpers. They care for others before they care for themselves. Twos are full of heart. They value service to others.

Value shouldn’t be determined by others opinions but by who we are to God. More precious than silver and gold. Shining brightly with the gifts god has bestowed on each and every one of us.