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Hope Inspiration Poetry Ready to Move Forward

The Winds of Change

The winds of change are blowing.
Can you feel them?

The winds of change are blowing.
Can you hear them?

The winds of change are blowing.
Can you see them?

The winds of change are blowing.
Are you ready to receive?

You cannot stop them.
You cannot slow them down.
The winds of change have arrived.
They are shifting things and causing what was lost to be foundwinds-of-change

Categories
Bible Verses Hope Inspiration Poetry Ready to Move Forward

Standing at Crossroads

Standing here looking left and right,
Wondering which path to choose.
If I  go to the left, do I gain?
Or to the right, will I lose?

If I move straight ahead
What will I find?
I’m not for certain where to go,
But I refuse to look behind.

crossroad-bevel

Isaiah 43:18  “Forget the former things;  do not dwell on the past.

 

Categories
Bible Verses Devotional Holiday Hope Inspiration Poetry

Returns: Get in line

Interesting gift I received

Practical yet unusual

It fits me but

It’s too much to keep.

Should I keep it?

No, I have to return it

today.

A giving person will receive much in return, and someone who gives water will also receive the water he needs.

Proverbs 11:25  (The Voice)

Categories
Hope

A Candle for Christmas

She clung to the six inch candle as Pastor Will read the story of the birth of Christ. Graci was excited to participate in the candlelight ceremony this year. At six years old, she felt like a big girl because her dad told her she was old enough to hold the candle.

“You have to be very careful so that you don’t get burned by the wax,” Paul had instructed Graci on his left when he lit her candle before lighting his wife’s cancle on his right.

“I will be careful, Daddy,” Graci whispered fearing she would blow out the candle.

As Graci stared at the flame and listened to the Bethlehem story, she noticed the candle began to drip onto the paper protector surrounding the candle. She immediately straightened her back and hands to make sure the wax didn’t spill onto her hand.

Graci glanced up and saw her parents beginning to sing Silent Night along with the church. She began to sing along as she watched her parents lifting up their candles when the lights were dimmed in the church. Graci was afraid to lift her candle and stood very still with the candle extended a few inches in front of her.

Even though she stood very still, she began to feel drops of wax falling onto her fingers and the floor. “Oh, no,” she thought, “I’m going to get burned.” She then looked up at her dad with pleading eyes hoping he would open his eyes and look down at her, but he continued to worship and sing through the end of the song.

At the end of the song, everyone blew out their candles and began to file out of the service. Graci peeled the wax from her fingers and she rolled the wax into a ball as she walked with her family to the fellowship hall where they would have cookies and punch.

“What do you have in your hand there, Graci?” Paul asked as he saw her place the wax on her lap before picking up the cookie he’d placed in front of her.

“It’s the wax from the candle. You told me to be very still and I was. I still got wax on my hand. I’m sorry.” Graci murmured.

“You don’t have to be sorry, Sweetie. You didn’t do anything wrong. The candle was made with wax and when it is lit, it melts.” Paul explained kissing Graci on the top of her head.

Graci smiled up at her daddy and began to enjoy her cookies and punch.
I like this parable so much because it reminds me of a recent candle lighting service I attended. At the end of the service, I could see people peeling wax off their fingers and off the seat in front of them. I could hear the Lord speak in my spirit. “That’s how My people are suppose to be. You are the light of the world. If you are a light, you make an impact on the lives you touch. You are light in darkness and the warmth of your flame can be felt by those who come in contact with you.

Be a “candle”. People need what you have to offer.

BE A CANDLE
Light up a life with mercy.
Melt a hardened heart with a smile.
Light up a life with grace.
Melt a troubled life with guidance.
Light up a life with friendship.
Melt a rejected soul with a hug.
Light up a life with your love.
Melt a confused mind with understanding.
Light up a life with your care.
Light up a life with your warm embrace.
Light up a life with whatever you have to share.
Be a candle in this dark and troubled place.

merry-christmas

The True Light who gives light to everyone came into the world.
John 1:9
Categories
Hope

10 Pursuits: Devotions for busy people

Gift idea for the busy people in your life. We are all very busy these days, especially if you have a family, a career or a ministry. Our busy lives have us pursuing happiness, success, and fulfill…

Source: 10 Pursuits: Devotions for busy people

Categories
Holiday Hope Poetry

A Re-gift for Christmas

The gift I present to you
Cannot be found in a store.
It cannot be found in a window
Nor in a package by the door.

This gift cannot be wrapped
Or tied with a bow.
You might want to shake it up
It will rattle and may explode.

It’s wrapped in special wrappings
Like laughter and smiles.
It’s even wrapped in the arms
Of a hug from a child.

This gift of love, mercy and grace
I present in equal parts.
It was given to me
And it healed my broken heart.

The gift was given to me
And I’m extending it to you.
Re-give it to your family
And your neighbors and strangers too.

This re-gift isn’t just for Christmas
It’s for the upcoming days.
For should you face difficult times
Remember the gift is yours for always.

Merry Christmas!

Categories
Bible Verses Holiday Hope Inspiration Poetry

A Dance for Christmas

I saw a little girl today
Sitting all alone
Sadly watching the other kids
Playing and having fun.

I sat on the step beside her
And watched the others play.
I didn’t speak at first.
Then she began to say,

“I’m not like the other kids
I really don’t fit in.
They are always happy
And they have a lot of friends.”

“What else makes you different?”
I quietly asked of her.
“I would rather read than play
To write than sit and chatter.”

“I see,” I said.
“But why do you look so glum?”
“Teacher and my parents think
My choices are no fun.

They think I should be more active
Running around with other kids
‘You need to make some friends’ they say
So I tried, I really did.”

“What are you going to do?”
I thoughtfully implored.
“Do you think there is an option
You have not yet explored?

She furrowed her tiny brows
Tapped a finger on her chin.
She slowly turned to face me
And gave a little grin.

“I know what I can do.”
She cut me a sly glance.
“But I will need your help
Because I am going to dance!”

She whispered her secret plan
Left to change her clothes.
When she returned to the playground,
She struck a glamorous pose.

When I turned on her music
She began to twirl and prance
As she circled the playground
Reciting poetry about a dance.

It didn’t take very long
For others to join in.
I watched the little girl
Become surrounded with new friends.

This story reminds me of the song “I Hope You Dance”.

I remember dancing with our mom during the holidays. My parents always bought fruit for Christmas and our house smelled of fresh apples, oranges, and lemon Pledge during the holidays. When she started cooking and baking, she would always find time to dance with us. She would play records while we danced around the living room where the tree stood in the corner. Sometimes we would have aunts, uncles and cousins come to visit. Their visits made things even more festive.

My Christmas wish for you is that you will find many reasons and opportunities to dance during the holidays and in the upcoming year. Dance with your children, dance with your spouse, and dance with your parents. Put on some music and dance by yourself. Dancing will lighten your heart and chase away the blues. If you cannot find a reason to be joyful, remember your Creator made you for His praise. Dance because He loves you, dance because He cares, dance because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Have a Merry Dancing Christmas!
Jeremiah 31:13  American Standard Version (ASV)
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

Categories
Bible Verses Devotional Holiday Hope Inspiration Poetry

A Lighthouse for Christmas

Marc stood in the window of Baker’s Department Store watching the toy train meander around the winding tracks. “Look, Momma! The train is working tonight!” he exclaimed as his mother ran up to him.

“Marc, you can’t run ahead of me like that,” Tara scolded. “You have to stay close to me. The sidewalks are filled with people and I lost sight of you. You frightened me. You were not being safe.”

Tara knelt down and placed her hands on Marc’s shoulders. “You have to stay close to me, do you understand?” She sternly admonished as she looked her six year old son in the eyes.

“Yes, Momma, I understand. I didn’t mean to scare you. I just wanted to see the train,” Marc said softly lowering his chin to his chest.

Tara pulled Marc into a hug and whispered, “I know, baby. I’m not scared anymore.” She took a deep breath and stood as she slowly exhaled, “Now let’s look at that train.”

Marc smiled and returned his attention to the train display. Tara smiled down at Marc as he focused on the train. She was excited about Christmas for the first time in a long time. This year Marc would get his wish, a train set. Sgt. Dallas at the Toys for Tots Center had called to say someone donated a few train sets and they would deliver Marc’s gifts tonight. “He’s going to be so happy,” she thought.

“Marc, honey, we need to get going. It’s getting late. Tonight is Christmas Eve and you want to get to bed early.”

They started walking towards the Park ‘N Pay lot a few blocks away. Marc suddenly stopped and said, “Momma, I need to go see Santa.”

“Marc, it’s too late,” Tara said as she studied his serious face. “Why do you need to go see Santa?”

“I need to tell him I change my mind about the train set. I want a lighthouse.”

“Why do you want a lighthouse?”

“Ms. Stephie taught us a poem today about a lighthouse and I want one,” Marc explained.

Tara raised her eyebrows and asked, “What did the poem say that makes you want a lighthouse instead of a train?”

“It goes like this, Lighthouse, lighthouse standing tall and strong, Shine your light to guide the way home,” Marc recited the poem as he stood up very straight, extended his right arm to his chin, and made flashing gestures with his fingers as he turned in a circle. “I want a lighthouse to put in the window. Maybe it will help Daddy find his way home.”

Tara’s eyes filled with tears. Marcus had been missing in action for three months. He and three crew members were involved in an accident during a training exercise, but had not been located in the wreckage. The Marine Corps sergeant who delivered the news told her Marcus and his team were believed to be held as prisoners of war by Somali insurgents. She had later received a telephone call that their location may have been detected, but no further information was available. She was still hopeful that Marcus would return safely.

“Oh, honey. That is such a good idea, but Santa has already left. Let’s go home and draw Daddy a lighthouse. We can put it in the window for him to see it.”

“Ok, Momma. Can we put stars on it? Stars shine bright too.”

“Yes, Marc.”

“Can we paint the lighthouse red? And can we put a train around it?” Marc started adding a list of ideas to the picture as they made their way to the car.

 

I love to look at lighthouses. I remember touring a lighthouse once when I visited San Diego as a fourteen year old. I became fascinated with the height, the winding stairs, and how it looked out over the ocean. It always seemed perfectly normal to me for people to make their homes inside abandoned lighthouses or built their homes with small towers that look like lighthouses. They represented safety in my mind. Now I paint them, I draw them, and collect them.

Lighthouses are often referred to as symbols of hope. Lighthouses have been known for helping ships find their way to safety during bad weather, providing warning against getting to close to dangerous rocks, and standing as a point of reference. I use a lighthouse as a symbol to represent myself with my students quite often. I tell them I am a light that is here to help them find their way through learning difficult math concepts, and making good choices in life.

As you are celebrating this holiday season, I pray that you will find a way to be a “lighthouse” in someone’s life by spreading holiday cheer and shining the love of the Savior on family, friends, and strangers alike.

presentation1

Isaiah 42:6 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

I chose you to bring justice, and I am here at your side. I selected and sent you to bring light and my promise of hope to the nations.

Categories
Devotional Holiday Hope Inspiration Poetry

Angels for Christmas

Father and Son
Looked down from above
Considering ways
To show the Earth love.

“Father, look, I can see
What they will need most.
A band of angels.”
“Yes, let’s send them a heavenly host.

When earthquakes, floods, and storms
Cause many to be buried alive,
Rescuers will be needed
To help them survive.

When drought and famine
Leave some hungry and weak,
Servers will be needed
To guide them to what they seek.

When riots and chaos
Threaten their streets,
Defenders will show up
To help restore them to peace.

When their children get lost
And cannot find their way home,
A host of candle-bearing ushers
Will guide them to where they belong.

When grief and despair
Cause them to mourn and be sad,
Compassionate messengers
Will help them find reasons to be glad.

When danger threatens their journey
To block their forward progress
The archers of heaven
Will show them how to press.

And when their hearts of are full of praise
And worship begins to overflow,
My heavenly host will join their songs
Of adoration as they ascend from below.”

christmas-angels

Psalms 91:11
He will give his angels charge over you to guard you
in all your ways.

 

 

Categories
Devotional Holiday Hope Inspiration Poetry

A Caddy for Christmas

Rae stood at the black rope lining the edge of the fairway watching as the final group of celebrity golfers finish the practice round of the Christmas Charity Tournament. Rae stood among a group of one hundred fifty attendees whose heads revolved back and forth as their eyes followed each of the four golf balls flying towards the green surrounding the 18th hole. Rae inhaled deeply and smiled at the faces of the anxious teens from the local Boys and Girls Club who clutched the event brochures provided by the host country club. The kids excitedly awaited the Meet and Greet reception that followed the practice round where they would receive autographs from their favorite golf professionals playing in this event. The event would provide scholarship funds for kids to attend a golf academy in Florida next summer.

Rae was not only happy for the kids she chaperoned at the event, but she looked forward the the raffle drawing that would announce the winner of the Caddy to the Pros auction. She felt today would be her day to get exactly what she wanted for Christmas, to play caddy to golfer Candy Tee. Her dreams the night before gave her reason to hope that she would be the winner.

Rae lounged on a chaise in a forest of tall pine trees that reached for the sky filled with stars that danced above her head. The  calm seventy degree night air provided an occasional breeze that played with the fringes on the blanket she used for a light cover. Rae closed her eyes to enjoy to stillness of the night and had just begun to drift off to sleep when she heard a loud knocking sound. She opened her eyes and looked around, but saw nothing other than the trees gently swaying to and fro. She closed her eyes again and began to drift into a light sleep. She dreamed that she was standing in a bunker raking the sand in a pattern of rippled waves. As she pulled the rake towards her, she discovered she had raked up two golf balls. When she bent to pick them up, she was startled awake by beam of light that shone down from the sky through the tops of the trees. “What in the world?” she whispered. Rae quickly rose from the chaise lounger, draped her blanket over her left arm, and began to search the sky to locate the source of the light, when she heard a soft voice whisper in her ear, “Good evening, Rae.” 

Rae awoke with her heart racing, but smiled because she felt her dream was a sign that her raffle ticket would be drawn at today’s event.

“Rae, you look nervous,” Sophia observed as she approached Rae standing near the entrance to the entertainment pavilion. “Aren’t you having fun?” The fifteen year old asked.

“Yes, Sophia. I’m having a great time. I’m just ready for the winner of the Caddy auction to be announced.”

“Why would you want to be a caddy? You will have to carry the bag of some stuck up pro, clean up their messes on the course, and you will probably get sunburned from being out in the sun all day.” Sophia frowned and she listed all the reasons Rae should not want to win.

Rae smiled, touching Sophia on the arm, “You’re right, those are unpleasant responsibilities of a caddy, but being a caddy is much more than that.”

“Not from what I’ve seen,” Sophia snickered.

“Well, being a caddy is like being part of a team. You get to help the golfer get ready for a successful round by checking out the course before the tournament begins. You get to check out yardages to help the golfer identify ideal targets, landing spots, and hazards to avoid. Caddies provide mental and moral support as well help the golfer stay focused.”

“Oh. I didn’t know all that was involved in being a caddy.” Sophia looked over Rae’s shoulder with wide eyes and exclaimed, “Look, they are getting ready to announce the winners!”

Rae turned and held her breath as the announcers began calling golfers’ names and their caddies for the opening round of the tournament.

 

This story is the first of the “Parables of the Secret Christmas Wishes” stories. The dream in the story was similar to one I had recently and I woke up wondering how we could apply the job description of a caddy to our Christian walk. I was amazed at the parallel of the role of caddy and the Christian.

At http://www.allaboutcareers.com/careers/job-profile/golf-caddy, the job description for golf caddy reads something like this, “Part of the role is menial – carrying the bag, cleaning the ball, raking the bunkers, replacing divots and holding the flag are all basic caddy duties, but the real skill in caddying lies in helping their golfer to determine the distance to the pin, in advising them on club use and informing them how their game is holding up, as well as how they think it could be improved.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 teaches us to encourage each other and build each other up. What better way to build each other up than

  • Helping our family, friends, and neighbors with what appears to be menial duties like raking leaves for the elderly or disabled, grocery shopping for the sick, or wrapping gifts during the holidays for seniors who suffer from arthritis.
  • Providing scriptures for new Christians who need instruction about how to deal with situations that arise, welcoming new church members by inviting them home to share a meal, or reaching out to grieving friends during the holidays (often this is simply holding their hand while they mourn their loss).
  • Allowing someone else to plan a party or Bible study lesson and participating with enthusiasm, providing encouragement with positive feedback when someone else takes initiative to lead a discussion or make a suggestion, or offering to read a Christmas story or sing carols at the local nursing home.

There are countless ways we could encourage and build each other up. The lesson here is to start and the holidays is an excellent time to begin.

As you go about preparing for Christmas, I hope you will consider these verses from a poem by one of my favorite poets, Edgar A. Guest. He says,

How to be cheerful, do you say
When the wind is cold and the skies are gray?
How to be cheerful? 
Just one way,
Forget yourself for a while today.

Never mind self and irksome cares.
For someone else greater burden bears.
Never a joyous hour is known
By the man who thinks of himself alone.

How to be cheerful?
Scatter cheer!
Share yourself with
your neighbor here!

Encourage the weary and comfort the sad.
You will find more joy than you’ve  ever had!

Christmas blessings to you and yours!

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