The Dark Christmas Tree

I walked downstairs this morning into the darkness of the living room. The Christmas tree sat in the corner engulfed in the darkness. There were no more presents under the tree and it seemed as if the beautifully decorated tree had no purpose and should probably be taken down and put back in the box to be stored in the garage.

After all the work it took to put the Christmas tree up I told myself to turn it on and enjoy it for just a few days longer. I walked over, flipped the switch and watched as the dark corner was bathed in a soft beautiful glow. The golden ornaments sparkled and the once dark corner took on a shimmer and glow that warmed my heart.

Just looking at the Christmas tree shimmering in the golden glow reminded me that the long gone presents that were stacked under the tree were not the real gifts we received at Christmas. We have received the promise of Christmas.

If I could wrap one gift that I want everyone to have it would be the promise of Christmas. Oh sure, we love the earthly traditions of Christmas, the gathering of family, an abundance of good food, presents, tinsel, glitter and ornaments. But those things are short-lived and often disappointing adornments for the calendar day of December 25th. The real promise of Christmas, the one that is available to each and every one of us lives year around and isn’t dependent on someone buying it, wrapping it and putting it under the tree. The real promise of Christmas is about a promise God made to mankind years ago, a promise of salvation.

 The real promise of Christmas is all about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So when I walk into the dark room with the dark Christmas tree, I am not sad and depressed that the presents are gone and the promise of Christmas is over. I flip that switch and watch as the soft glow lights the tree and reminds me that the real promise of Christmas is alive and strong. The real promise of Christmas lives in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So go ahead, flip that switch on the dark Christmas tree in the corner. Watch as our Lord’s Holy Name is lifted up, glowing for all to see. Let each Christmas light remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.

 Rejoice, for this is the season of hope and promises and it does not end when the tree is taken down.


Dottie

……………and so I ride

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Surrender

This was given to me by a trusted and wise person. 

 What Surrender is Not.

• Resignation, that is simply giving into God’s power but not His love. Resignation is a loss of hope.

• Controlling people and circumstances

• Trying to change or control people in our lives

• Giving up and living in bondage

• Using the old, familiar coping mechanisms.

• Trying harder

• Controlling more

• Achieving with thought to nothing else

• Going after what is owed us

• Depending on myself and others for love, acceptance, worth and security

What surrender IS

• Grabbing the fullness of what God is offering

• Trusting God to do whatever He wants to do in and with our life, regardless of how it might look, always being aware of His love for us and others.

• Yielding to and trusting God’s Plan as he deals with the other people in our lives.

• Yielding to God’s love, wisdom and plan.

• Turning from personal coping mechanisms and trusting God is all decisions, relationships and myself

• Trusting God is who He says He is and who He says we are.

• Trusting

• Resting

• Receiving

• Forgiving others and releasing them from what we think they owe us.

• Living out who we are, taking each step as God directs and living out of who we are.

• Depending on God instead of myself and others for getting my needs met for love, acceptance, worth and security.

Are You Accepting Atrocious and Unacceptable Gifts This Christmas?

Are you accepting atrocious and unacceptable gifts this Christmas?
When a phrase or message gets repeated often enough, whether we are conscious of it or not, it becomes a life message. When those messages come from authority figures like our parents or from other family members, friends, co-workers, what have you, if repeated often enough or with enough force, they tend to stick. Whether messages are spoken or are simply actions, they can make an impression that shapes your life. These are atrocious and unacceptable gifts from others that we unwittingly but willingly take on. 
I am willing to bet that for more than a few of us we have lived with at least some of the following thoughts and feelings. 

• There is no where to turn

• I am not safe

• I know it is not my fault but if I can’t fix it I feel guilty

• I have no security

• I feel alone, abandoned, slapped in the face, belittled

• I am unimportant, inadequate, not enough, less than nothing

• I feel so guilty, everything is my fault

• I am scared, I am a basket case

• I am manipulated, degraded, and undeserving

• I am feeling deserted, beat up, hit on every side

• I am incredibly pressed, misunderstood, isolated

• I am empty, confused and full of fear
Let these REALITIES soak in awhile. When we go to others to shape our life messages, the above is what we get and how we live. 
There is a better way. God has messages about who you are. 


• God loves you unconditionally. 1 John 4:7-10, you will find an unconditional love like God’s no where else. 

• God sees you as worthy and having great significance. Hebrews 13:5 and John 3:16. No matter what your feelings on your worthiness, God has a different view and He wants you to enjoy it and live in His freedom. Your parents, in laws, co-workers etc. do not have the final say on who you really are, God does.

• God has given you a weapon to help you with whatever it is you are walking through, the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:8. 

• You have been given the mind of Christ. Phil 3:5

• You have been given strength from Christ. Phil 4:13 and John 10:10. With strength from Jesus, you need nothing else. 

• God loves you not because you are good but because He is good. Man’s approval is not requested, required or relevant. 

• You are beautiful, unique, loved, special, cared for, lovely, precious, FORGIVEN, protected, empowered, CHOSEN, YOU ARE GOD’S FAMILY. 


When you are in Christ you are:

• Righteous

• Holy

• Acceptable

• Perfect (yes perfect)

• Blameless ( don’t listen to you brother or sister! LOL)

• Worthy

• Loved

• Cherished

When was the last time you felt even one of those things, let alone all of them. Well let me tell you. They are yours for the taking. You can do all things through Christ and all things do work together for God’s good. Are you willing to surrender yourself to God and accept the gifts He is offering you this Christmas (or any time)?

The Greatest Of Change Begins With The Smallest Of Steps

The Greatest Of Change Begins With The Smallest of Steps
Sometimes the tiniest of steps can begin the journey to the greatest of change.
 We are called to the new and to change, but by our very nature we resist and avoid it, sometimes quite adamantly. Walking from the known, even if the known is not good, to the unknown or a different situation, is hard and scary business. 
How do you do it? 
You start by taking the smallest of steps into the greatest of changes. By taking that one tiny step you won’t yet realize the great victory but you will be one step closer and you will have started the journey. 
Change doesn’t take giant leaps, it all starts with a single tiny step. 
You take the one tiny step, you gain courage to get you to the next step. Before you know it you are another and another step closer to the great victory. 
You begin the greatest of change with the tiniest of steps. 
So today, take the smallest of actions, but in a new direction. It is the first step towards the life of victory that you are called to live. 
“ Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” Job 8:7
Dottie

…………..and so I ride

Who Is God To You

Our lives are filled with many people. Friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers etc. Each are known to us by their names whether it be the names their parents gave them or some other description that helps us know and remember who they are and how they fit into our lives.

Isn’t it amazing that God, our wonderful, personal God, fits so many roles in our lives. Depending on the season we are in, He can be our Deliverer, Prince of Peace, our comforter. He can be our refuse, our source of strength, our power, our conscience.

God is all things to us.

 Isn’t it wonderful to know that when we are feeling rejected, tattered and torn by the world that God, our Wonderful Counselor is always there. He has always existed and will always exist. God is our eternal source of strength.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that when we are feeling defeated and discouraged that God, our Mighty God has promised that with Him, all things are possible.

Isn’t it wonderful that when we feel alone and lonely that God, our Everlasting Father reminds us that we are not set aside, we are set apart. For to be set aside is to be rejected but to be set apart is to belong to the family of God.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that above all else and above all other names, God is simply the Great I Am.

Talk to God on a personal level, let Him reveal who He wants to be for you.

Dottie

………………….and so I ride

Wyoming Wind

My husband and I were studying the Holy Spirit this morning. This devotional is adapted from what we studied.

Living in Wyoming we are well acquainted with the wind. They say our mountains are to low and our prairies are to high, therefore we deal with an excess of wind.

There are days that if you are a woman you don’t wear dresses or skirts because they end up around your neck. There are days that the car doors are blown shut on your legs, hands or fingers. There are winter days that the already low temperature feels doubly cold because the wind is blowing and it drives the wind chill way down. It is so windy here that the wind blows the wind turbines over. It is so windy that by the time you have shoveled the snow off the driveway and sidewalks you have to start over because it has blown shut again.

Heaven forbid if you try to walk against this horrendous WY wind. Walking against the wind is a struggle, it creates drag and walking becomes harder and harder and you become tired very quickly.

I like to think of the Holy Spirit as the wind. When we walk against the Spirit we are fighting against the wind, we are creating a drag on our life and we get worn out and stumble easily.

However, turn and walk with the wind, The Holy Spirit, and you will find no drag. It will be much easier. The Holy Spirit will guide you to what is holy and away from what is unholy. Walk with the Holy Spirit and you will be moved ahead, you will be empowered and the power of the wind will be at your back.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

Verse of the day

VERSE OF THE DAYDecember 9

Genesis 49:9-10

9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.