Joy in January: Every Praise

Joy in January: Every Praise

I love this video, and I think you will too! I go back to it often because it helps set it all into perspective for me -- truly...

...EVERY PRAISE is to our GOD! Amen!

So find a private spot (if you are inhibited like me) or grab your nearest friend, relative, child, or grandchild (my personal favorite), and move your body, soul, and spirit in every praise to our glorious God...hallelujah!

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Joy in January: A Value Shake-up!

Joy in January: A Value Shake-up!

A friend recently posted an arresting thought on facebook:

Your value doesn't decrease, based on someone's inability to see your worth.

Truth!

Where does our value lie? Our value is based on our Creator's opinion of us...which is love and grace and glory!

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 1 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

He has planted His own life in us through His glorious Son.  So whatever our Father God thinks about His beloved Son, He thinks of us also!


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Joy in January: Dance for your Life!

Joy in January: Dance for your Life!

Life, glorious life!  How we take life for granted, until...

someone we love dies,

our health or safety is gravely threatened,

we realize our days are waning because of the years...

It is then that we value what we've had all along.

But there's a Life that we never need fear will diminish, be endangered, be lost...

In fact, this Life can grow in our experience even in this time-based, fearful, waning physical life.

What is this Life?

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Joy in January: Greater!

Joy in January: Greater!

Brothers & sisters, are you amazed, as am I?

Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. (Colossians 1:27 NLT)

The Lord Jesus Christ in you! The Lord Jesus Christ in me! What glory right here...right now!

The Sovereign Creator of the Universe lives in each of His children! His life courses through our spiritual veins!  What glory for this life as well as the life to come!

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Waiting and Watching

Waiting and Watching

I’m so excited to share this blog post with you, dear friends. Let me tell you why…

The Lord has been teaching me afresh to slow down and to watch & wait for His movement and direction, His “signal,” so to speak, before forging on ahead. He has been doing this through Psalm 123:2 and my word of the year, Wait on God.

In the process, I have shared my thoughts in my blog post (New Year, New Word) and in conversations. One such conversation took place recently with my sweet, young friend Rebekah VanBuskirk via Facebook Messenger. What Rebekah shared with me was so amazingly illustrative of the heart of the whole issue of watching and waiting, I knew it was too good to keep to myself. So I asked Rebekah to share here at A Branch in the Vine.

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Mentoring at its Best: Attachment that Detaches

Mentoring at its Best: Attachment that Detaches

I had an interesting conversation with a friend about mentoring. We marveled at how so many Christians we know, who have matured in the Lord through the help of a mentor, end up being rejected by that same mentor for not agreeing with them on minor points of doctrine or practice, or for moving on in a different direction in ministry, or for some other difference of opinion. How sad. But how common!

Well, there is good news! There is a gem of a spiritual father tucked away in the gospels, one of my heroes of the faith, John the Baptist!  He shows us what a true mentor is like. John is not only a clear example of "letting go," but also a stellar model of attachment to his Lord Jesus Christ.

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Epiphany! Shining Light or Drama Queen?

Epiphany! Shining Light or Drama Queen?

… we are like the star that led the Magi to Christ … or we can be. We can, in our very person, be the light that points another to the King. You and I have the King of Kings living within us. But as always it is our choice whether we allow the King to live through us and manifest His presence to seeking hearts who are walking in darkness all around us.

Author Tim Chester, in his lovely Advent devotional on Philippians 2 The One True Gift, caught my attention when he pointed out from Scripture one way that God says we can shine like stars …

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The Wise Men...gifts of Essential Oils?

The Wise Men...gifts of Essential Oils?

Magi, Wise men, Three Kings...those figures way at the end of the Nativity scene (I suppose because they were still traveling from afar)... In recent years, this trio (if it was a trio) have become my heroes. Think about it! People probably thought they were crazy following a star to God knows where. THEY probably thought they were crazy after a time. What courage! What perseverance! What joy in the finding!

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A New Year, a New Word

A New Year, a New Word

A new year is upon us, along with those pesky thoughts of New Years’ resolutions. Well, resolutions are no temptation to me anymore. I’ve given up trying to change myself by my own self-effort. The indwelling Christ is my “Game-changer” and my “Life-changer.” And a few years ago, He brought a lovely “new thing” to my attention … the idea of a word for my year. So for the past several years, I have had my word. But my word had never stuck until in 2016 I stepped aside and allowed the Lord to “give” it to me, rather than trying to come up with one on my own.

So each year my word just seems to “find me.” Every year it has appropriately come in the midst of my “all too real-life”circumstances.

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Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not...Emmanuel Finally & Forever (Part 3)

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not...Emmanuel Finally & Forever (Part 3)

As the old year is coming to a close and the holiday glitz and cheer have dwindled, what is rushing in?  Anxieties and fears for today and the year yet to come? Then hear these words again from your Creator and Savior:

Fear not, for I am near you!

Fear not, for I am closely associated with you! I've gone through it all too!

And now finally and forever...

Fear not, for I am united with you forever...we are one!

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Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not! Emmanuel, One of Us (Part 2)

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not! Emmanuel, One of Us (Part 2)

As near as God has always been to His people, when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, pierced through and entered our human history, everything changed.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman... Galatians 4:4

God came closer still... He became one of us and so He took on our fears, the greatest of which is our separation from Himself.  Even though God was nearby, there was separation...until Jesus!

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Post Christmas Comfort: Fear not...Emmanuel Still! (Part 1)

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear not...Emmanuel Still! (Part 1)

Now that gifts are unwrapped, the food at least half-eaten, the many emotions grabbing at us during the season fading, the loneliness getting deeper and the grief, abandonment, "being left out" -- all having left their wounds...and the dread of bills looming in the back of our minds. We feel lost! So enters in...fear!  Yes, fear!

God had set me up one year to think of fear...

from the terror of a grandchild seeing glimpses of a horror movie on Halloween to a blog by a young mom about the fears for herself and her family....

from the anxieties of aging to the arresting truth, read in a book, that fearlessness is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit in a life...

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4th Week of Advent: I Wonder as I Wander

4th Week of Advent:  I Wonder as I Wander

My friend Penny is a walker (a very serious, fast walker, by the way).  But Penny doesn't just walk for exercise, she also "walks" closely with the Lord.  So when Penny shares, I listen. And when she shared about a favorite Christmas carol, it made me take notice. Why?  Because while walking, Penny has been doing what this song describes.

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Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven (A Children's Carol)

Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven (A Children's Carol)

There's a song that's been going through my mind and heart these Advent days.  I even find myself bursting into a line of lyric here and there. The thoughts I love most in it are truths that have become more and more precious to me as I reflect Advent after Advent -- that our Emmanuel came to earth from heaven, not just to pay for our sins (as crucial as that is), but also to give us His divine eternal LIFE...deity indwelling our humanity.  We can become children of Almighty God!!!

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A Cappella "Mary, Did You Know?"

A Cappella "Mary, Did You Know?"

While we were traveling to be with our daughter and family for Christmas, a dear friend shared a link to this article from GodTube via Facebook. Even though I had already posted about this wonderful song, I couldn’t resist passing on the backstory as well as this unique rendition of this most moving of contemporary Christmas songs.

Why not meditate afresh as you read and listen. And a blessed Christmas to you and yours?

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Advent Devotions: Us with GOD

Advent Devotions: Us with GOD

A few Advents ago, I met a new-to-me British author, Tim Chester, through his Advent devotional The One True Light. I’ve loved this little volume that has led me year by year through the first eighteen verses of the Gospel of John.

Well, this year I discovered his other two Advent books: The One True Gift (On Philippians, chapter 2) and The One True Story (on the story of Christ through the Old Testament to Jesus’ Coming). So this year, each Advent day finds me meditating through all three, each one in turn.

The books are not coordinated, but one day in reading all three, a thread grabbed and entwined me in an amazing truth: Jesus is not only Emmanuel, God with Us; He is also Emmanuel, Us with God!

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