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Posts Tagged ‘Julie B Cosgrove’

Let me roam free. Don’t fence me in. I have to be me.

Not cats. Oh, yes, they do roam free but they know there are boundaries, and if you have ever seen a cat gravitate to a box for a good tongue-wash and a bath, you know it is because they feel secure when they are boxed in.

victoria alexander- unsplash

We, humans, seem to despise boundaries. We want to make our own choices, and decide if the rules apply to us and our situation.

Subjectivism. It seems to be more and more the way of the world. It is what CS Lewis sadly described in his book, The Abolition of Man. He stated that in every culture and religion there exist laws that allow us to live with each other in peace and harmony. When someone steps outside of those laws’ perimeters, trouble happens. When too many people leave the secure boundaries of society, chaos occurs. That opens the door to the degradation of other humans’ rights and ironically, allows an unscrupulous person, with only their interests at heart, to step in and take control. Because deep down inside we all want some boundaries.

Most ancient cultures thought in terms of “we” not “me”. Collectivism. What one person did affected all those around him or her. “We’re all in this together.” We Christians call it the Body of Christ. And our boundaries are clearly spelled out by our Lord when he quoted the first two commandments upon which everything else depends– love God, love neighbor. (See Matthew 22:34-40).


Paul addressed this in Acts 17 to the citizens of Athens: “And he (the Lord) made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…” God not only put Esther on earth for “such a time as these” but all of us as well, to serve Him and each other.

But, as Brandon Robbins often states in his YouTube videos, when the laws become more important than the Lawmaker, they will break down and lose their purpose. The “me” enters into the picture again way too strongly and pushes out the “we”. It is what the Sadducees and the Pharisees were guilty of doing. That is why Jesus said He came not to abolish the Law but to fufill it. To lead people back to the One who made them in the first place.

Perhaps if we once again set aside our own personal agendas, redefined our boundaries as stated in the Ten Commandments, and tried to live peacefully within them, glad for the security they provide, the world might be a better place. But then again, God granted us free will to make that decision ourselves, didn’t He?

Cats do not know who made their box. They are just grateful to find it. Let another cat intrude into the box and a few spats and hisses may occur.

We, humans, know better. Don’t we?

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Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6

Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

I used to think of the salt in this verse as table salt. My speech and attitude should be yummy to digest, not bitter or sour. Maybe I am confusing salt with honey … oh, well.

But God had brought a new meaning to mind. My speech should be soft. Non-threatening, calm, and cool. You see, salt is used to soften water so the harsh chemicals are not left behind on the shower glass, your clothes, and the dishes. If you have dealt with hard water stains, you know how hard it is to erase them. It takes time and elbow grease.

I think the same is true with our words. Harsh, hurtful ones can take a long time to erase. People who bully others into cowering so that they can dominate leave a residual effect that can last for years. Over time, if the same person keeps being subjected to bullying, it can build up into a cloudy, yucky mess that films over their view of life. It etches into their psyche.

Psychotherapists often state that one should never engage with an irrational, self-edifying person. They are not interested in reason. They are too full of emotion. They seek to demean others so they can feel more in power. They crave attention and an audience, even if it is a negative one. They are manipulative and conniving, usually quite smart and quick thinking. You cannot win at their game.

Instead, soften your voice. Be gracious, slow to anger, and if necessary, walk away. Pray before you respond and ask the Holy Spirit to speak through you if you are prompted to do so, as Paul says above in Colossians, you know what to say. This isn’t being a wimp. It takes strength of character to not engage.

And pray for the person who wants to push your buttons to get a rise out of you. Arm yourself with the shield of Truth called God’s Word to keep the arrows of beligerence from penetrating your heart. Rely on the salt of Christ to help dissolve any residual build-up.

Another thing about salt – it can put out a fire. I always keep a canister in my pantry in case of a grease fire, although I rarely cook with oils or grease. In fact, I think I have packed and unpacked the same canister for the last thirty years. Do they still make them with the little girl and an umbrella on the logo?

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

Anyway, when dealing with someone who is confrontational, it may be better not to “add fuel to the fire” by confronting them. This is a biblical truth. And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. James 3:6

Jesus remained silent before Pilate and the crowds. He knew if he gave in to the urge to defend Himself, it would not fare well. When his family showed up where he preached and demanded he speak with them, he quietly asked his followers, who exactly were his family? Answer: the ones who do my Father’s will. He didn’t argue with his family members. He ignored them. (See Matthew 12:45-50, also in Mark 3 and Luke 8 ). He told his disciples when He sent them out in pairs that if they encountered antagonism to walk away and head to the next village instead. (Matthew 10:14).

Strength is not so much in the power of our tongues but in the power to restrain them and to know when and what to say in a calm, respectful manner. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Paul tells us in Galatians 5 that in order for the Holy Spirit to bear fruit in us we should strive to be gentle, have forbearance and self-control, be guided by love and kindness, and cultivate goodness and joy. We need to place God’s agenda ahead of our own. Be a witness of peace. Put salt on the flames.

Lately, I have had to practice these things. They are not easy. My human nature wants me to stand up for myself. My ego is tired of being misunderstood and bruised. I have a few friends who are in the same trial right now. It seems there is a lot of anger in the world right now and narcissistic, domineering attitudes are nearing epidemic proportions. The need to control is magnified when chaos is worldwide, I guess.

But our worth is found in our Lord. Self-esteem needs will wither when God-esteem blooms. IF our Creator loves us unconditionally, what need is there for competition? When He is in control of our lives, our emotions, and our motives, peace reigns. Jealousy and hatred dissolve like, well, salt on a slug. Fires are put out, and words are softened.

I sincerely hope if someone tells me I am a salty old person, I will smile and whisper, “Thank you.”

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Words can be fun.

In my Wordplay Mysteries, they often lead to crime clues. Wanda Warner, widow and head of her town’s neighborhood watch teams, has a knack for solving word puzzles and crimes … and in the latest mystery, Hang on Every Word,** she has been given a part-time position creating word puzzles for her local paper. Thing is, the answers to her clues perpetrate crimes against some of the downtown merchants and everyone is pointing the finger at her! Words are suddenly not as much fun for her … but they still are for me.

For exampel, words can be transformed by just rearranging the same letters.

Is evil really vile? Do you live under a veil?

Can a strap make traps? Do parts make tarps?

Will the tide be tied to your diet?

I bet you could think of other words that can be made by simply rearranging the letters. Might be a fun thing to do as a family one night or at a party with friends. Take some Scrabble tiles and see how many words you can make out of them.

Other things can be fun to rearrange. Like the furniture in your room, or the pictures clustered on the wall. Sometimes rearranging your schedule can give you a much-needed breather.

But when we rearrange our priorities, we need to think hard about the potential results first. What message does that send?

Matthew 19 tells the story of the rich young man who asked Jesus what he must do to obtain eternal life. He thought he had kept all of the commandments. Yet he had not. When Jesus asked him to sell all his wealth and give it to the poor, the man walked away discouraged. Why? Because he had rearranged his priorities. His wealth meant more to him than following God. He not only broke the first commandment to love God above all else, but he lacked the faith that God would provide even after he sold everything.

Don’t be too harsh on him. We all worry about money and if we will have enough in the future to survive. Especially now when prices are skyrocketing out of control. Will there be too much “month at the end of our money?”

Jesus preached in Matthew 6:25-33 that we should not be anxious about our lives and survival. God takes care of birds and flowers. Will He not even more so take care of us? Has He not provided in the past? Why do we doubt He will in the future? If we seek Him first, then tomorrow will take care of itself.

Not to say we should not save and be prudent with the blessings He has provided. But we need to remember whose money we are clutching in our hands before we put it in the offering plate and sing the verses from First Chronicles 29:14: For all things come from Thee, and from Thine own have we given Thee.

If we declare in the same breath that the Lord is the creator of all things, then so are our earnings a blessing from Him. We may have worked to earn the money, but He gave us the ability to learn the skills it takes and to possess the talent or strength to do the work.

It is all about rearranging our thoughts to align with His Word and His Truth. If our tummies clench or we toss and turn in the night as worries crowd our attempts to sleep, perhaps we need to shift around our thoughts to realize we are not meant to be in control. We can only see this very moment, whereas our Father in Heaven sees all, beyond the confounds of time. Can we truly sing “God is in control” and worry at the same time? Can we struggle with fear and still have a strong faith?

The clock doesn’t control time. It only displays it. What is our faith displaying to others? What do our actions spell out for others?

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

Like words, our actions can reveal a lot about ourselves. Are things out of sequence? Do we need to rearrange the letters of our lives, so to speak, to make sure the right message is coming across?

Maybe it is time for an item in your life to be a mite more clear!


** If you pre-order this book before July 1, as a thank you gesture, I will email you chapter a week free over the next 8 weeks until launch day so you don’t have to wait – details at www.juliebcosgrove.com

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These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:11).

I am living a dream. Decades ago, while in seminary, I received an opportunity to possibly be chosen for a scholarship to go to Oxford for a six-week summer term to study C.S. Lewis. As an Anglophile extraordinaire, it was beyond my wildest dreams. But, during the qualification stage, I fell in love, married, and within a few months became pregnant, spending a good portion of those nine months in bed. No Oxford in my future. So long C.S. Lewis.

Fast forward to now…

Just when my housebound confinement due to medical issues had finally begun to wear on me, I saw a small ad for a free online course offered by Hillsdale College on C.S. Lewis and Christianity taught by the renowned C.S. Lewis scholar, yes from Oxford, Dr. Michael Ward. The optional eight books by Lewis to be read in conjunction with the course cost only $120 with S&H. And I had just received my quarterly book royalty check. Hurrah! I could do this. I had the time. I had the funds. I was in between deadlines with my publisher. Isn’t our Lord’s timing perfect!

So for the past month, I have been emersed in the nonfictional writings of C.S. Lewis. And I want to share with you what I have learned.

JOY IS NOT AN EMOTION! It is not fleeting like happiness.

Lewis tells of a time when, as he stood in a woodshed, he noticed a beam of light coming through a crack. Contemplation told him it was a beam from the sun. He saw the illumination, the angle, the dust mites dancing in it. Intellectually, analytically, in his mind, he knew it to be a true sunbeam, not a figment of his imagination.

Beautiful. It caught his attention. But then he dared to step into the sunbeam. Lewis chose to immerse himself in it, and upon doing so, he experienced the joy of the sunbeam. Lewis no longer saw the beam but looked along it to where it led. He saw the sunlight dancing on the new spring leaves and reaching back to the sun. The beauty captured his breath. It quickened his heart as the warmth penetrated his soul. His whole being focused on the beam’s projected path.

That is the joy of faith. That is the true experience of religion. When one immerses his or herself in the will of God and joins into what is good, right, and designed to be, then and only then does the person begin to fulfill the first and great commandment … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37) It is no longer a head trip, but a full-body, mind, and soul experience. A move from contemplation into joy.

Stepping into the beam and following where it leads engages the whole human being. It enlists trust, hope, and worth. It aligns us with the cycle of the universe, the created order of our God that extends beyond what our personal agendas and desires dictate. It opens our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and lets our souls embrace our Savior’s immeasurable, unconditional love. We leave the subjectivity of “what I want” and enter into the objectivity of God’s will for us in the dance of creation.

Faith is no longer a set of rules, traditions, and boundaries. It is no longer colored by our limited knowledge or experience. It is being of one accord with the Holy, and in that Eden-like moment when we walk in the garden with our God, it unites us with humanity as it should be. All the things that divide us–all the prejudices, hate, anger, and hurt–disperse.

This joy goes beyond contemplation or earthly rationalization. War, death, illness, and sorrow cannot break the beam. Hardship and despair cannot dim it, neither can envy nor pride bend it. Because we experience the totality of God’s love through joy, we can openly share that love with others and urge them to step into the beam as well. “I can’t explain it. It’s beyond cool. You gotta come do this for yourself.”

If you have ever witnessed a new birth, be it a butterfly breaking its chrysalis, a kitten, a puppy, or a person emerging from the womb, or participated in someone being baptized and becoming a new creation in Christ before your eyes, you can probably recall the joy of that moment. Forget the science. Set aside the tradition. Something else more marvelous is occurring–the fulfillment of creation. The soul and heart are engaged as well as the mind. Your whole being, as it was created to be, is experiencing the moment. You have stepped into the beam.

And that is what prayer should be … being emersed in the beam. Beyond feeling, beyond visual perception, beyond intellectualization or emotion, and a fulfillment of all of the above. It is immersing yourself in the eternal while still standing in the temporal.

Lewis’ reconversion into a faithful believer in Christ occurred when he took Tolkien’s advice and let the joy happen. When he dropped to the wayside the misconceptions, the hurtful remembrances of stifling rules and traditions, and his prejudices, and then stepped beyond the limits of his intellectual mind (which was vast) into experiencing the Bible itself. He immersed himself in the story of God’s love for His creation, His attempts to woo humanity back into the order of relationship, His coming to earth, then dying for our sins and triumphing over death so our hearts could soften to receive the Holy Spirit. Then, and only then, in the light of that Love did all the traditions and commandments make sense.

I am beginning to once again tap into that joy that had dimmed so recently. To take my mind off myself and re-focus on my First Love. I am starting to feel the warmth again–the peace that passes all understanding — and I pray you will step into it as well so it may guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

Dare to step with me into the beam. And bask in where it leads.

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When my mother first became widowed, this was a card she received. She tore off this message on the front and framed it. When she passed on, I took it home. Even now, widowed for twelve years, I still keep it on my desk. My daily reminder.

It is a message for all of us humans who have a tendency to want to be in control.

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust our sails.

I have never sailed in my life, so my knowledge is poor at best, but I have read books and watched movies about sailors and the seas. About steering into the wind so it billows the sails or away from it to change direction. Sailors are at the mercy of nature and the Creator of the winds. They know it is better to adjust than to try to fight against it. Which is futile and a waste of energy.

There is another saying, which I see daily. I have taped it to my computer monitor. It is from Psalm 25:5. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and in my hope is in you all day long.

Often times hope is depicted as an anchor, a stronghold. For me, it is also a sail. It helps me stay on course and not veer off. It helps me seek the direction the Creator wants me to head. The Holy Spirit can be described as the wind, or so scholars say, because both the Greek and Hebrew word for “spirit” can also be wind or breath. If so, then I should not fight the direction God’s Spirit wants me to go. I need to adjust my sails.

Ad-just. Ad is the preposition that means to go toward something. Just, as an adverb, means exactly, recently, simply. As an adjective, it means appropriate, well-founded, and morally right. Adjust – to go toward what is simply and exactly right and appropriate.

God is just. His ways are true. His motive is love. To ad-just is to move in the way of His character. It is to be exactly and no less, simply, now, appropriate and good.

Why would we not set our sails to that? Why would we choose not to adjust our emotions, thoughts, and actions to match? Why would we try to control something that is not in our power to control? Can anyone truly harness, tame, and manipulate the wind? Only God can.

Wind may come swiftly, causing us to act with all our strength and wits. It may be so still we barely feel it nearby. It can be pleasant and soft, even refreshing. It can be cold and cause us to shiver. But I believe if it is from God through His Spirit, it is always just what we need at the time. The wise will learn to adjust and “go with the flow”.

Lord guide me in the way you wish me to go, and teach me to trust in the direction you lead. Amen.

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When my son toddled around the house, he’d bring me an A-B-C- book of animals to read to him. It had phrases such as “Birds tweet. Tweet, Bird, tweet. Cows moo, Moo, Cow, moo.” You get the idea. But when it got to the letter “L” the author didn’t choose a lion to roar or a lamb to bleat. The author chose a lizard.

Now, lizards are not known for their sound, right? They are fairly quiet, timid, and skitter away when approached. But they also need to rest. This book said, “Bask, Lizard, bask.” Maybe because the word is not usually found in a pre-k book, or maybe because of the picture of the lizard sprawled on a branch … but we laughed each time. Lizards bask in the sun to get warm, then in the shade to cool off because their bodies cannot internally adjust to temperatures. Trouble is, the shade is illusive. It moves as the sun does. So their rest is interrupted. Over and over again. Constantly on the move seeking comfort, they really never truly bask.

The memory popped up in my grey cells when a friend of mine posted this photo of her dog on Facebook. Dogs love to bask in sunbeams. Let the warmth and the light penetrate their fur, skin, and bones. So peaceful… Now, agreed. the sunbeam will move. My guess is so will the dog, because he wants to continue to rest in the warmth. But unlike the lizard, the dog is secure in its surroundings and won’t likely skitter away. He will seek to stay in the light long as he needs it and his body will retain the warmth.

But notice the statue of the kitten crouching in the dark corner. Which are you? the dog or the cat? Do you bask in the Light of the Son in peace and absorb His Spirit in your life? As the rays of His love move, do you follow, seeking His peace? Or do you cower in the darkness of your situation like a cold, stone statue, afraid to move? Perhaps, like the lizard, you keep moving to find a place to bask on your own. Try new herbs, breathing exercises, and meditations to find a bit of peace.

Lately, I have done all three when a setback and not-so-good news from a doctor gut-punched me. My immediate reaction was “Why, God?” I became depressed, couldn’t sleep (mostly due to the debilitating pain that would not ease up after the last “diagnostic procedure”), and pondered…no wallowed…in my worry. Froze in my fate. Cowered in my circumstance as my mind swirled of ways to cope with my possible new lifestyle. I mimicked Jesus in the garden…alone, weeping – take this cup. Well, I didn’t sweat blood and tears, but almost.

Then the “I can adjust” mode kicked in. Make do with what I have. This is my lot in life. So be it. Make whatever effort I can to adjust. But I still felt restless and didn’t find true peace.

Little by little, possibly because Easter loomed – Hallelujah – I edged into His light and let it soothe me. Let His peace penetrate me and soak into my soul.


But he said to me,My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

What a difference.

I don’t have to fix things or solve things on my own. I can’t physically pull myself up by my bootstraps anyway. Right now, I can bask, Julie. Bask. Relax, pray, and wait for His guidance to unfold. Feel the warmth of His hands cradling me, knowing He is there and He cares. Let His light guide me and keep choosing to rest in it.

We all have a choice. Be the cat, the lizard, or the dog. Cower in a frozen position, continually try to make things better on our own, or learn to bask in His warmth.

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I have been watching The Chosen … again. Love these episodes, and right now, leading up to Easter, they are being broadcasted live every night at 7:30pm CDT.

If you haven’t seen these episodes that portray the lives of the disciples before Jesus chose them to follow Him as well as their spiritual development as they follow Jesus around Galilee and Samaria, I highly recommend them. They are free on YouTube, or on their downloadable free app. So far there are two seasons (16 episodes.) Five more seasons are planned.

Anyway… I decided I wanted a “Bing Jesus” bumper sticker from the gift store, also on the app. All proceeds go to help fund the actors’ salaries. The show itself is totally crowd-funded. Well, I got my sticker and went to pay. A message popped up – Leave or Cancel.

What? I don’t want to leave. I want to buy my item. And I don’t want to cancel my purchase. Not wanting to choose either, I was stuck. Which do I choose? Is there a third option?

I finally chose to leave, and it took me to my secure check out with my Google pay. Oh, okay. Got it.

Did you get it? When Jesus asked his disciples to follow Him, they had a choice. Leave or cancel. Because in order to follow, one has to leave, right? Leave what is normal. Leave what is comfortably status quo in your zone. Maybe leave preconceived ideas.

Or cancel out on the opportunity and return to what was. Don’t step out.

I had really never thought of how choosing to follow meant having to leave. But it does.

Thank goodness twelve brave men and several women in the first century Judea chose to leave. They walked into the unknown. Not perfectly. Not without hang-ups or preconceived notions. Even so, they took the first steps just as they were because Jesus saw their potential. True, one ended up canceling out and betraying Jesus later. Ten others ran into the night when the Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus.

But those ten didn’t click cancel. They had followed too long and learned too much to do that. They’d left the old behind.

Soon, after huddling in terror for three days waiting for themselves to be arrested as well and possibly suffer the same fate as their Master, the resurrected Jesus entered their midst again with the same message – leave. Get up and go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:20).

And they did. They left that upper room. They went into all nations.

Billions, perhaps trillions over the past two centuries have been affected by their choice to leave that day. As a result, the accounts of their lives are still read in a multitude of languages. And portrayed in films and streaming videos like The Chosen is doing now. Their choice is shared around dining room tables, on playgrounds, or by campfires. The impact of their choice to leave is still impacting us.

Each of us now has the same choice. Follow or stay put. Leave, or cancel.

Which will you choose? I leave it to you to decide.

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But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

2 Corinthians 2:14

Manufacturers spend millions on finding just the right scent for their lotions, soaps, and perfumes. One laundry detergent company’s fragrance is so recognizable other products claim to have that aroma in them as well.

The scent of soap or shampoo not only fills our noses with a pleasant smell but lets others know we have just been cleaned as well. That fresh-out-of-the-shower is attractive. Ask any romance writer…

Flowering bushes let off pleasant smells in the breeze drawing people to stop and take a whiff. Air fresheners make our houses smell inviting and clean. They welcome people in. A pleasing aroma can turn a frown upside down.

When we have been cleansed of our sins, we emit a spiritual aroma that is attractive to others as well. People take notice that we are different. There is a glow about our faces. A peacefulness emits from our soul. Love and forgiveness shine in our eyes because we have just received them from our Lord.

Just like the fabric spray or a scented candle, the scent lingers. But on this side of eternity it never lasts, does it? Just as we need to shower often, we need to be cleansed of our sins often. Otherwise, the stench of the world will cling to us. Others won’t be as drawn to us. Our witness becomes stale.

We all need a good scrubbing now and then. Ask any mom of a teenage boy…

Take time daily to let the Lord wash away your sins from your soul, just as you take time to remove the grime and sweat from your body. That way, when you head out into the world, others will notice–IN A GOOD WAY.


Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Psalm 51:2

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I have often heard, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” But, once I learned I’ve got to battle some pretty tough times ahead, I grabbed onto my social media friend, Jo Ann Ruth Prevatt’s idea:

She wrote that God’s grace keeps pace with what we face. I like that. God gives us what we need to handle life. In other words, He provides just what we need when we need it.

I recall the monkey bars on my elementary school playground. I had to dangle several feet off the ground and grab the handle in front of me. Once I became sure I had a good grasp, I’d let go of the one behind and swing to grasp the next one. The goal was to make it all the way across to the ladder on the other side.

co wayfair

In life, I don’t always see the ladder at the other end, but I can see the next handle. God doesn’t ask me to “let go” before I grasp the next one. There is security each step of the way, and my faith tells me there will be an end to whatever I am to handle. And if I slip, my LORD is there to grab me, then hoist me up to the next handle. And can almost hear his encouraging whisper, “It’s okay. You’re doing great. Keep going.”

His grace keeps pace…

What do you need to grasp onto today to keep from giving up and falling hard? Whatever you need to handle, know that there is Someone who doesn’t want to leave you dangling in midair. He will give you the strength you need to move forward, and handle one “handle” at a time. Keep going. There is an end. You will be victorious.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory (Psalm 73:24).

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Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

I remember it all too well. Dad, grumbling, down on his hands and knees, moving along the wires of Christmas tree lights strewn across the floor. He had to test each one to see which one had burned out, causing the rest to not shine. Rarely did the culprit appear in the first ten or so bulbs. And once he found the burnt-out one, replacing it presented its own challenge. No two red ones next to each other. Heaven forbid! Mom had a strict pattern — red, blue, yellow, green, white. We used to hide the replacements in a small box behind the garland on the mantle just in case …

However, in a way, I think it describes the individualistic attitude that has become so prevalent in our society. We claim to not need each other. We want to do our own thing and if we don’t follow the norm, it’s okay. It is the way we are wired.

Today, the tree lights are individually wired so if one, or two, or ten go out, it doesn’t affect the rest of the strand. Modern technology at work. I am sure many folks appreciate the invention. I have to admit it is a time saver!

There is an old saying that states, “Christ unites, Satan divides.” From the Garden of Eden on down to today, it has been proven to be true. There is a reason believers are called the Body of Christ. We are not supposed to exist independently but are united in His love. It binds us together and flows through us so we can shine brightly into a dark and cold world.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ ... Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it (I Corinthians 12:12 & 27, ESV).

When life happens to one of us that makes our light dim, we need the energy of the others to help us shine again. We need that connection of the Holy Spirit flowing through us. Not everyone can be strong and positive all the time. We are not wired that way. We humans need each other, rely upon each other and naturally band together in groups. John Donne had it correct when he wrote over 400 years ago that no one is an island.

Photo by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash

 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world … (Philippians 2:14-15, ESV)

As long as we live on this broken planet, darkness will linger on the edges, slowly seeping in. This season, be the light of love that points to Jesus the same way the star over the manager pointed people to Him 2000 years ago. May this darkest time of the year (Winter solstice) be the brightest one in your heart and gleam into those around you, be it the widow next door, the frenzied store clerk, the moody teen, or the grouchiest person in the office.

Uphold those who believe, and encourage those who do not. Shine the love of Christ into others’ lives and you might find yourself shining a tad brighter as well.

Now everyone, join hands and sing, “This little light of mine…”

Have a bright, shiny, beautiful Christmas season.

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