January: A New Year’s Family Prayer

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB).

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Heavenly Father,

I praise You for who You are – patient, kind, loving, fair, just, merciful, and forgiving.

I thank you for this New Year that brings hope and promises of much laughter and love.  I am grateful for Your presence as we begin the New Year with You because You make all things new.

…and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true’ (Revelation 21:5 NASB).

I praise You for Your Son whom you sent for all who choose to believe.  My cup overflows with gratitude for the greatest gift a loving Father could give to a hurting world.  Thank You for the blood that washes away my sins.

You knew what I needed. I am an imperfect person who serves a perfect God, and I am eternally grateful.

Thank You for family and the privilege you give me daily to lift them up to You.

Thank You for knowing us intimately and loving each one of us right where we are.

Thank You for watching over us, guiding us, and protecting us.

I pray for our desire to know You to grow.  I ask that You would fill us with the knowledge of Your will, wisdom, and understanding, so that we may bring You glory in every aspect of our lives.  I ask You to pick us up when we fall and fill us with Your abundant grace.

I pray for us to hear your quiet whisper above the noise of this world.

May we be Your hands and feet as we love others and lead with our all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.

May we bear fruit in every good work and be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit.

May You do more in us and through us than we could ask or imagine.

In the precious name of Jesus, I pray,
Amen

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2017: My One Word

Each New Year, we identify our weaknesses to establish a New Year’s resolution. The resolution determines a change in our habits. Whether it is trying to eat healthier, exercise more, or spend less, my resolutions usually didn’t last after the first month! Resolutions often sizzle away just like the midnight fireworks that ring in the New Year!


For the past three years, instead of creating a resolution, I focused on the trend of choosing one word for the year or season of my life. I select one word that keeps me close to the Word and leads me closer to the Word who is Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1 NASB).

Three years ago my husband and I were in the midst of seeking God’s will for a huge decision. We needed His guidance regarding whether or not we should move from the school we helped to grow for thirteen years in Florida to a private school in South Carolina that was searching for a new headmaster. That year we celebrated Christmas in Tanzania and the Swahili word tumani which means “hope” showed up in many different places. I knew my word for 2014 needed to be “hope” because my heart rested in the Living Hope who was leading my husband and me in the decision-making process.


We decided to take the new job. The first year we were in South Carolina was difficult for us, as a move is for most families, so I began looking for “joy” in the little things. I found “joy” in the beautiful sunrises and sunsets God painted daily in the skies around our new home. In 2015 I found “joy” in knowing that God created us for such a time as this, and He would not have moved us if He did not want us right here for right now.

We decided to take the new job. The first year we were in South Carolina was difficult for us, as a move is for most families, so I began looking for “joy” in the little things. I found “joy” in the beautiful sunrises and sunsets God painted daily in the skies around our new home. In 2015 I found “joy” in knowing that God created us for such a time as this, and He would not have moved us if He did not want us right here for right now.

Last Christmas we were in Costa Rica traveling when I was overwhelmed by God’s amazing “love.” However, tears flowed down my cheeks when I realized how many people do not know the depth of His great “love.” For many people, Christmas is just an ordinary day.

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (John 3:16 NIV).

Everyone who has ever loved anyone or anything can comprehend the “love” and the loss the Father must have felt when His Son died on the cross. He gave one life to save all, and because of His great “love,” we can’t help but audaciously “love” others. I have diligently tried to show “love” to my family and to the people whom God has placed in my life throughout 2016, and I hope that I have brought God naches.

Naches, my word for 2017, is a Yiddish term my grandfather whispered to me one day and the premise for my book which was published this past fall called Beautiful Legacy: Our Roots Run Deep.

Naches. I did not recognize the Yiddish word. Tears welled in his eyes as he explained and breathed the words, ‘Joy… pure delight.” Then he elaborated: When a child brings abundant joy or delight to his or her parents or grandparents the Yiddish expression for the emotion one feels is naches.

Naches, he said, is a deeply emotional word, used when the fullness of the soul overflows beyond the expression of common words. It was then that I realized the sweet joy and pure delight were what he saw when he looked at my children – and me. So it was my turn for my eyes to well up. I looked at him and all I could say was a whispered ‘thank you.’

Naches. It struck a chord with me. I knew the feeling my grandfather described. A feeling of sweet joy overwhelms my soul when my son does something helpful for his sister or for a friend, or my daughter helps my sister with her little ones.

Our children warm our hearts when the love they feel deep down in their souls pours out onto others. This feeling of delight is beyond words.

Exerpt from Beautiful Legacy: Our Root Run Deep

As I brought my grandfather naches, and my children bring me naches, do I bring naches to my heavenly Father? I can only hope that the unconditional love and abundant amount of grace I have from Him overflow onto each person I meet, and may His heart smile with naches as I seek to honor Him and love Him above and beyond with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.

What word will lead you closer to The Word this year?
The word you choose should help you focus on God and bring Him glory in everything you do.

I am praying blessings over you for this new year to come.
With Love,
Mindy-2

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about the one word trend, my friend Rachel Olsen from Encouragement Cafe wrote this book My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word.

 

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Advent Devotional: Faith-Family Tree {Jesus}

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10 NIV).

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The sound of Christmas carols mixed with the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls means it must be the morning we have been anticipating – it’s Christmas! There is a birthday in the house and it’s time to celebrate! Break out the streamers, the balloons, and the cake! Bring out the gifts!

The angels proclaim, Jesus Christ is born! Glory to God! Peace on Earth!

The King of Kings and Prince of Peace has arrived as a sweet baby and today the world takes time to pause, remember, and reflect upon the present of His earthly presence.

Today’s Scripture:

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’ (Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭23‬ NLT).

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them (Luke 2:6-7 NLT).

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son (John 1:14 NLT).

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them (Luke 2: 8-20 NLT).

Today’s Snapshot: Baby Jesus

He didn’t come to our world as a mighty warrior, yet He would be known as the Prince of Peace. He wasn’t born in a regal palace, yet He was considered the King of Kings. We were looking for someone to save us physically, but Jesus came to save us Spiritually.

The Son of God descended from Heaven to fill the gap which had been present in mankind since Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the garden.

Jesus came because of love, and Jesus loved when He came.

He came to show us how to live as The Father intended us to live – with grace, peace, and mercy. Then, He became the final sacrifice to atone for each of our sins, offer forgiveness, and offer eternal life to those who choose to believe.

God gave us the perfect gift of His Son.

The present is His presence {Emmanuel} God with us until the very end.

Today we celebrate His birth, His eternal life, and we look forward to when He will come again!

Family Discussion:
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This Christmas, will you allow Him to open your heart, so that He may reveal His presence to you?  The promise is for all of us. When you accept the gift of His Son, His presence fills you, and you are grafted into the faith-family tree.

Closing Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I praise You for the present of Your presence which is greater than any gift under the tree.  Your Son is the greatest gift.  May You open the eyes of our hearts, so that our “snapshots” may be a part of Your “big picture.” We know there is much more to come, because what we can see is only a glimpse of Your glory.  Jesus is the Light of the World who came to our world because of the vast darkness. Today we are Basking in Your Light and the fullness of the presence of Christ in us {Emmanuel} is radiating from within.
Merry Christmas!
In the Precious Name of Jesus We Pray,
Amen