Friday, December 28, 2012

Life Coaching VS Discipleship


Today and well, all day yesterday, I have been feeling down, rather stuck in the mud.  Have you ever had those days when you just cannot function and drag your feet so much that nothing gets done?  Then after all the dragging, you feel no better because you know you can do better.  One thing ends up complicating the other, right?

Today, I decided that things had to be absolutely different.  When I decided to make this day different, I began designing my own personal encouragement printable to help draw out my feelings, apply God's word to the situation, and help me to focus outward and upward instead of inward and downward.  My printable is almost complete, but as I was seeking out verses and resources for encouragement, inspiration, and motivation I kept seeing resources prepared by the newest professional that helps people get unstuck, the "life coach."

While I understand that many Christians have chosen to life coach as a means to help others to improve their lives by intentional planning, time management, and goal setting, I realized that the fully secular version of life coaching, while positive, is not at all what God has planned for our lives.  Let me give you a run down of the differences between Life Coaching (our plan) and Discipleship (God's plan).

Life Coaching VS Discipleship

Life coaching is all about my happiness. Discipleship is all about receiving God's gift of joy.
Life coaching is all about getting what I want. Discipleship is all about seeking what God wants.
Life coaching is all about looking inward. Discipleship is all about looking upward.
Life coaching is all about self-improvement. Discipleship is all about relationships.
Life coaching is all about me. Discipleship is all about God.
I can just hear someone thinking, "But life coaching rocks!  A life coach really helped me live my life better, how can you say this?"  I am not saying that life coaching is not useful.  Life coaching teaches people that they are in control of their time, choices, and lives, TRUE!  Life coaching encourages people to make intentional decisions and plan their lives, TRUE!  Life coaching shows that our lives can have purpose and we can achieve great things, TRUE!  Um . . . but so does God.  God wants us to be in control of our time, choices, and lives, then give that control to the creator of time, choice, and life so we can receive a peace beyond all understanding.  God wants us to make an intentional decision to live for Him, plan our lives as his disciples, and He will give us life to the fullest (John 10:10).  God designed our lives to have purpose and knows that we can achieve great things because He made us for great things!

Personally, I'm thinking that God's version sounds even more awesome than the secular version.  I want discipleship not just a coach.  I want a relationship with God and a mentor, not just a business relationship with someone who is making money off of me.  I need God's peace, joy, and purpose for my life and no amount of looking inward is going to do that for me.

If this sounds good to you as well, it's no wonder!  Discipleship is God's plan.  What always amazes me is how many times the words "one another" is used in the Bible.  God doesn't intend for us to be alone in our Christian walk.  Check this out:

94 Verses in the Bible use the Greek word ἀλλήλων which means "one another."
According to at least 55 verses relate to the love "each another," forgive "one another," etc. in the Bible
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV 84)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV 84)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


4 Ways to Seek Discipleship

1.  Find a Local Church

  • Ask a friend whom you trust
  • Look for a living church not just a busy church
  • Put down roots and commit to this community
  • Seek to be built up but also seek to build up this community

2.  Find a Small Group

  • Ask a person in your new church
  • Look for people who authentically follow God not just Bible enthusiasts
  • Commit to developing relationships where God can teach you and can use you
  • Be discipled and disciple others as God leads you

3.  Find a Mentor

  • Seek out a person who can disciple you in being a disciple of Christ
  • Look for the fruits of the Spirit in this person's life:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
  • Look for the gifts of the Spirit in this person's life:  Administration, Apostleship, Discernment (Distinguishing between spirits), Exhortation, Evangelism, Faith, Giving, Healing, Helping, Interpretation of Tongues, Message of Knowledge, Leadership, Miracles and Power, Shepherds (often guides a local church body), Prophecy, Teaching, Speaking in Tongues, Serving (active ministry to others), Showing Mercy, Message of Wisdom
  • Do not seek a perfect person, you won't find them!
  • Finally, look for a person who is also teachable.  God has things to teach them through your life as well.

4. Seek First His Kingdom and Righteousness

  • Read Matthew 6:25-33 and remember that you can find the right church, the right small group, and the right mentor and still be forgetting to pursue God first and foremost.
  • Give God the first fruits of your time, money, and life (aka the best)
  • Make God the most important relationship in your life
  • Ask God for the fruits of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit
  • Surrender your life to pursuing God
I would love to hear about your journey with God.  Do you know discipleship?  Or is it just a term you've heard someone say once or twice?  Do you consider yourself a disciple of Jesus or are you still working things out in your heart?  Please leave any comments, stories, and responses below in the Comments box.  Looking forward to hearing about God's work in you!

Bless and Be Blessed

Monday, December 24, 2012

Gift Week Day 7 - My Yearly Goal Sheet

Merry Christmas!  Buon Natale!  Feliz Navidad!  Glædelig Jul!  Joyeux Noël!  Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova!  Sawadee Pee Mai!  Alright, I think you get the point . . . I would love to add to your joy today by offering my last gift printable for download.  I hope you have a wonderful day today (Christmas Eve) and tomorrow (Christmas) and that you come back to visit Designing Life even when I am not having awesome downloads.  I occasionally write something worth reading too.
Day 7 - Goal Making Worksheet and My Yearly Goal Sheet (condensed version)
Today's download is a double feature!  Two for the price of . . . well nothing!  The Goal Making Worksheet is for making intentional goals with God's help.  It asks important questions like, what is the vision that God has given you, what is your passion, what are four steps to walk toward the vision that God has placed in your life.  It even has a place for verses to spur you on as you walk through those steps.  The second sheet is a Yearly Goal Sheet, consider this your sophisticated and well thought out resolution printable.  The areas are broken down for you so you can really think through the parts of your life that you want to change and make better.  Happy New Year too! ;-)
Click Here to Download
Update: The Gift Week is over as of December 31st, 2012. If you are interested in any of the designs offered on Gift Week, please visit Designing Life's Etsy Shop! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years!
- Gift Week at Designing Life -

Note: Links will be active through December 31st, 2012

Bless and be blessed!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gift Week Day 6 - Privilege Ladder Printable

Oooo yea!  Christmas Eve!  I wait all year long for Christmas to come around and here it is, tomorrow is Christmas!  What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?  Do you open some presents the night before Christmas or do you wait for the big day?  Do you bake a special kind of treat or breakfast for Christmas?  Our family has turkey and ham for dinner on Christmas, what is your families Christmas meat of choice?  I'd love to know what people do in other countries.  As I wait for my mouth to stop watering after talking about Christmas dinner, please check out my gift to you for today!  Thanks for stopping by!
Day 6 - Privilege Ladder Printable
When I first designed this printable, I had the activities a bit mixed up.  After having my son grow and begin to show interest in most of the privileges on this list, I realized that I need to reprioritize the list!  As parents, we are our children's guardian; we decide what influences are a part of their life and when they need to have some alone time or have earned extra video game time.  This privilege ladder allows parents to show children that as they make good choices they move up on the ladder to better privileges and when they act badly and make bad choices they move down on the ladder and are unable to have some privileges.  I hope you find this list helpful for your family and building up your children!
Click Here to Download
Update: The Gift Week is over as of December 31st, 2012. If you are interested in any of the designs offered on Gift Week, please visit Designing Life's Etsy Shop! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! 
- Gift Week at Designing Life -

Note: Links will be active through December 31st, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gift Week Day 5 - Psalm 54:4 Wall Art Printable

 I can't believe there are only two more days before Christmas!  Also can't believe we only just got our tree, but they are harder to come by in Italy.  So if you've been following along and downloading files each day this week, you may wonder what Designing Life is all about.  Lately, I haven't been posting many Interior Design focused blogs because in my life Designing Life has become about so much more than just home decor and design.  The focus of my blog is to encourage others to intentionally design their lives, to really look at the way they are living life and make it count.  Whether that is having a pretty house for hospitality, eating the right things for health, intentionally parenting not just watching kids grow up, or keeping the house organized for sanity sake, each one is important at a different time of life.  The one thing that I know to be important at all times of life is faith.  My philosophy of designing life is based on the fact that I believe that we are all intentionally designed.  The ultimate designer created people who are also creative.  So God makes these amazing people with these amazing minds and the ability to have more children who are amazing and have amazing minds, so isn't it natural to think that we should intentionally design our lives accordingly?  Just existing doesn't do it.  Living life for God does.  I hope you now understand more about what Designing Life is all about and what's up with such a name as Designing Life.  If you are looking for was to add Jesus into your Christmas celebration this year, please check out my blog post 17 Verses to Read on Christmas Morning with a Devotional Included.  God bless and Merry Christmas!
Day 5 - Psalm 54:4 Wall Art Printable 5 x 7
I love having verses hanging on the wall, written on post-it notes, or scrawled across the bathroom mirror.  In particular, I remember a verse that says, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads" (Deuteronomy 11:18, NIV 84).  What better thing than having a constant reminder that God is our helper and the upholder of our life?  This printable is designed as a 5 x 7 which means it can be cut to fit into a 5 x 7 frame.  It will print out as a regular 8 1/2 by 11 sheet so you have options!  I'm feeling more and more like Santa these days!  Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!  Enjoy your gift printable!

Click Here to Download
Update: The Gift Week is over as of December 31st, 2012. If you are interested in any of the designs offered on Gift Week, please visit Designing Life's Etsy Shop! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years!

- Gift Week 2012 -

 Note: Links will be active through December 31st, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gift Week Day 4 - Weekly Menu Planner

I honestly don't have a lot to say today.  Isn't it funny how you plan things out in advance and yet making things actually happen turns out differently than expected.  I am so happy to be doing something positive for others and hopefully my spirit will follow suit!  Thank you for visiting my Gift Week Printable Giveaway and I hope that you continue to have joy this season.

Day 4 - Weekly Meal Planner

This handy list allows you to plan meals ahead or keep track of what you eat!  With a list of all the days of the week and categories for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Healthy Snack, and Water Consumption, you can keep track of so much in one place!  Plan your dinners out then plan for leftovers for lunches, or get creative and cook to freeze.  I hope this is a great addition to your life and family!  I'd love to hear any stories you have about printables, whether from this Gift Week or other ones you've tried.  Feel free to leave comments below!

Click Here to Download
Update: The Gift Week is over as of December 31st, 2012. If you are interested in any of the designs offered on Gift Week, please visit Designing Life's Etsy Shop! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years!

- Gift Week 2012 -

Note: Links will be active through December 31st, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gift Week Day 3 - Motivational To Do List Printable


Twas the Craziness Before Christmas

Twas the Thursday before Christmas and the house is a mess,
The children are running, Mom needs a rest,
The stockings were hung on the mantle with care,
Until the kids decided to use them on top of their hair.
The children are finally asleep in their beds,
Gladly, because Mom and Dad were almost out of their heads.
So Mom and Dad rushed to get all the presents wrapped,
Wishing for even a hint of a nap.
With all of the rushing and all of the clatter
Is there one person left who remembers what matters?
In all of this hustle and bustle this year,
Remember the One who makes everything clear.
I am glad that blogging is helping me to remember what is so important about Christmas.  Reflection is dear when everything is so busy.  For me, I get so caught up in it all that time to reflect seems like an impossible task, but it's absolutely a must.  Even for five minutes, two . . . one?  Whatever time you have to take and reflect on why we do this thing called Christmas is precious.  Merry Christmas!  Here's today's gift!

Day 3 - Motivational To Do List

This printable was designed just for this gift week!  I've always used this method to spur me on in my chores and activities, but I had never made a printable to make it easy.  The checklist to the left is self-explanatory.  You check of each item as you complete it.  The task and rewards though is where I find the eagerness to continue.  I write one task then a reward to follow.  Most times my rewards are letting myself have 20 minutes to surf Pinterest (set a timer!), watching 15 minutes of a show (then pause and continue the next task), or writing a blog.  My rewards are things I enjoy doing . . . the tasks not so much.  Today, I am using the list to encourage my house cleaning.  I am cleaning toilets, then writing a blog, then cleaning the shower, and designing a printable, then sweeping the floors, then prepping another blog.  The list continues . . . you probably won't continue if I don't stop my list ;-)  I hope you find this helpful in your home and motivational to your to dos!


Click Here to Download

Update: The Gift Week is over as of December 31st, 2012. If you are interested in any of the designs offered on Gift Week, please visit Designing Life's Etsy Shop! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years!

- Gift Week 2012 -

Note: Links will be active through December 31st, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gift Week Day 2 - Home Organization Binder Cover


The giving continues today at Designing Life's blog!  I am so excited to share these printables with my readers and allow some insight into my world of printables.  I'm having the most fun because I am coming up with new printable ideas just for this gift week!  Tomorrow's gift is a brand new design just for you my reader.  Please pass the links to this Gift Week along to friends and family, I will probably keep the links active through December 31st, 2012.  Download your gift now to be sure you get it!

Day 2 - Home Organization Binder Cover

This one needs little explanation.  It's a binder cover!  You print it out and slide it into the front of your binder to make it look pretty . . . or manly if you are a guy.  This one is gender neutral, so it would be great for Moms and Dads alike!  Simply download your gift printable, print, and slide it into the front of your binder :-)


Click Here to Download
Update: The Gift Week is over as of December 31st, 2012. If you are interested in any of the designs offered on Gift Week, please visit Designing Life's Etsy Shop! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years!

Merry Christmas my dear readers! Come back tomorrow to check out the next free printable!

- Gift Week -

Note: Links will be active through December 31st, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gift Week Day 1 - To Do List Printable

Update: Leave a comment below and I will send you a link for a simple to do list printable.  While this link is no longer valid, I'm happy to continue to give a taste of Designing Life to those who interact with my blog!  Thanks!

I love Christmas.  I really, really love giving gifts.  This year, I came up with such a fun idea for my husband that I wanted to tell him right away.  I didn't, but I soooo wanted to tell.  Honestly, I really think it is much more fun watching others open and enjoy the presents that I buy them than enjoying the ones I get.  Well, unless it is a new Wii game . . . love playing those!


This week marks the one week countdown to Christmas.  For my blog, I am designating this Gift Week!  I am planning to give away one free printable a day to my wonderful blog readers.  If you are not yet one of my readers, it's okay, you can have it too ;-)

Day 1 - Simple My To Do List

My To Do List was designed to help prioritize activities as well as realize that the thing we want to do, such as sewing, crafting, painting, relaxing, and reading, are important too!  As a parent, there are things that I must do.  I must sweep under my son's chair (it get's kinda gross if you don't).  I must do laundry.  Then here are things that I should do.  I should go upstairs and organize my craft room.  I should get new printer catridgets, but if doesn't happen until next week the world will not fall apart.  Finally, there is the want to do list.  I want to go upstairs and sew my son a pumpkin hat for the Christmas play (yes, he wanted to be a pumpkin, lol).  I want to spend more time writing my book.  Sometimes, we think that the things we want to do aren't important.  Yet sometimes they are.  They help keep us balanced and remind us that pumpkin hats and sons are extremely important.  I want to do that for my son, it isn't just a must.  I hope you enjoy this list as much as I have!

Merry Christmas my dear readers!  Come back tomorrow to check out the next free printable!

Click Here to Download

- Gift Week at Designing Life -

Update: The Gift Week is over as of December 31st, 2012. If you are interested in any of the designs offered on Gift Week, please visit Designing Life's Etsy Shop! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years!

Note: Links will be active through December 31st, 2012


Monday, December 17, 2012

17 Bible Verses to Read on Christmas Morning

I have been reading the Bible and searching the web for ideas of what verses would be great to read for Christmas morning.  Above all of the Christmas traditions, I want to invite Christ into our Christmas celebration by reading the Christmas story and verses that foretold his birth.  These are 17 verses that really stuck out to me as exciting and amazing!  The Messiah who was to bring us peace was prophesied about years and years before God sent his Son to earth as a baby.  I hope you enjoy these verses as much as I enjoyed collecting them.  At the bottom is a small devotional that you can share with your family!  Merry Christmas!

Isa. 7:14

So the Lord himself will give you this sign: A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel [God Is With Us]. (God’s Word Translation 1995)

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (NIV 1984)

Matthew 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. (NIV 1984)

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (NIV 1984)

Isaiah 35:4-6

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; (ESV)

John 4:10-12

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” (NIV 1984)

Isaiah 40:1-5

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.  A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (ESV)

Isaiah 40:9

Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah,

    “Behold your God!” (ESV)

Luke 2:9-15

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

  “Glory to God in the highest,

    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” (ESV)
Micah 5:2

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (ESV)

Matthew 2:3-6

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (ESV)

Luke 2:4-7

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (ESV)

Isaiah 49:6

he [God] says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Isaiah 49:13-16

Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains!

For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you. (NIV 1984)

Isaiah 53:1-7, 9, 12

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (NIV 1984)

Hebrews 1:1-2

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (NIV 1984)

Ezekiel 34:11-16

“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. (ESV)
Christmas Morning Devotional
This morning we celebrate the birth of our Savior.  Our Messiah, Prince of Peace, and Immanuel.  On this morning over 2,000 years ago, God sent his Son to be "God is with Us" to be our powerful God come to earth as a man . . . as a baby.
Here in 2012, how many very powerful people can you think of who would give up all of the power of their position to become vulnerable and dependent to poor and unimportant people?  Not likely.  But that is exactly what God did!  He sent Jesus to Mary a teenager who was not even married yet.  He sent Jesus into the home of a carpenter who would make very little money.  He had the angels announce Jesus' birth to shepherds who to everyone else were not good company to keep; they were poor and smelly!  God wanted us to know that no matter how small we think we are, how unimportant, how poor, how hurt, and how broken we are that He came for us.  He came to save each and every one of us.
This little baby, this Son of God, became a servant to all mankind.  As we open our presents this morning, let's remember that the greatest gift of all came in the smallest package.  Humility and thankfulness should be our attitude for Christmas, not thoughts of ourselves and what we want.  What did God want most of all?  To love us.  He made the way to reach us through this baby Jesus.
Let's have a prayer time.
Dear Father,
You sent us a wonderful gift on Christmas.  Of all the things that You could give to us, You the one that cost the most, the one that took the life of your Son.  Give us thankful hearts this Christmas and hearts open to You.  Turn our eyes away from ourselves and remind us that you are the reason that we give to each other.  Thank you for the blessings you have given to us this Christmas.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Merry Christmas my dear blog readers!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Elvish Opinion

Image Via

Let me preface this post with the obvious realization that probably over 50% of the people who read this post . . . won't agree.  Let's agree to disagree, shall we?  I'm really not expecting everyone to agree just to consider.

Moving on . . .

I hate Elf on a Shelf.

I know, I know, every kid over the age of four has received, purchased, or in some other way attained this elvish creature that sits on shelves and mantels alike.  Harmless, right?

Not in my opinion.  (Remember, this is opinion, you may not share it . . . breathhhhee)

Besides the fact that I personally find him FREAKY.  I think he's a distraction.  An apparently little distraction, but in Christmas terms . . . he's a HUGE distraction.

Kids wake up in the morning eager to see what else this mischievous . . . or generous . . . elf has done during the night.  They are either given things each morning, see the newest prank, or hilarious activity of this miniature figure and the time, money, and/ or energy of the parent is spent on dreaming up new gifts, ideas, and adventures for this Elf.  Why add another distraction this holiday season?

I believe that Christmas about celebrating the birth of Jesus the Son of God.  I believe that Christmas is about remembering that God gave everything to mankind in the form of a baby that was miraculously formed in the womb of a virgin, Mary.  I believe that Christmas is about reveling the knowledge that a God so big stripped himself of all the power, majesty, and his existence in heaven to come to our messed up, hurting earth to bring us new life.  I believe that Christmas is celebrating the fact that God didn't announce Jesus' birth to the wealthy, to the important, and to the rulers of nations, but instead made Himself known to dirty and undesirable shepherds (I count myself in that lot).  I believe that Christmas is about seeking truth like the wise men who sought out Jesus.

In my house, accepting the Elf on the Shelf as a Christmas tradition would be downplaying the excitement I want my son to feel over the birth of our Savior, Jesus.

I'm not all for killing fun or being too serious.  I understand that the Elf on the Shelf is a fun game.  He seems harmless enough, but I'm not going to sacrifice what is best for what is good.  This is my opinion and I'm making it known for all to see.  If you do not agree, cool.  I'm not expecting that everyone is going to send their Elf packing.  BUT if you haven't yet sought out an Elf for your shelf . . . maybe this will help you to think it through more.  Maybe you will find that the Elf might be too much of a distraction for your home.  I don't know, but I do know how I feel.

Elf  . . . you are kicked off the shelf!

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