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While I'm enjoying a particularly busy week, please enjoy one of  my favorite posts from the archives! 

I spotted this little leftover snowman after last season's Christmas shopping frenzy. When I showed my daughter the picture, she said, "Notice he's still smiling!"

If a dented clearance-sale snowman can keep his smile, we all have many reasons to put on a happy face.

"We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Smile when you are bent, bruised and damaged; because you know you are still valuable to God.

Smile when you feel alone, abandoned and rejected; because you know you still have God's company.

Smile when you are unsure, afraid and uncertain; because you know God still has a plan for you.

Keep your smile because you are keeping your faith, and know God smiles on you!

Be happily blessed today!

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The cold and snow have turned my musings to wintry thoughts this week. I’m considering that the snowman the neighbor kids built might have something to say about surviving winter’s dark and cold.

Stand through the storm. Snowmen patiently endure the battering winds and biting cold because they know they are built on a sturdy foundation. We can stand strong while tempests rage when we stand on the solid ground of faith.

Keep smiling. Snowmen keep their friendly grins because they know that winter cannot last forever. We can stay positive through trying times when we remember that the dark and sleepy months will soon turn into bright and hopeful spring.

Have a warm heart. Despite surrounding frigid temps and icy frozen days, snowmen know a ray of sunshine will always make them melt. We can be strong in the face of adversity while allowing our hearts to soften in response to a tender moment.

I hope you stay strong through the cold nights ahead. Know that bright and sunny days will soon return.

 

How do you endure when cold winds blow? What have you learned about standing through the storms?

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As I greet 2018, I’m looking forward to a prosperous year ahead. I know this will be a year of action and change, and I’m ready for all God has planned.

I pray 2018 will be a promising year for all my coworkers, family, and friends. I hope that we feel the presence of God and see the evidence of his power at work in our lives. I ask that the new year brings many blessings, much joy, and abundant peace to all who share our world.

I pray we trust in God’s timing for all the good that lies ahead, we rely on his power to give us courage, and we remember his strength is made perfect in our weakness.

I pray we grow in faith, in hope for the future, and in confidence as we take the next steps on the path ahead.

May you be generously blessed in 2018. Know God is with you every day of the year.

What is your prayer as you begin the new year? How will you know God is directing your steps throughout the days ahead?

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This Christmas I’m considering the journey of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and what her faith says to all women who follow God. While Mary walked the long and winding miles to Bethlehem, her faith didn’t waver, and she encourages all of us to believe and trust in the God who leads the way.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

God is aware of our worries. He knows all we need, and he promises to give us the courage and strength to continue on our travels.

God will answer our prayers. He wants us to pray, to express our uncertainties and fears, and he always addresses the concerns we bring to him.

God will be with us on our journey. He stays alongside our every step and guides us to the destinations we seek.

God gives shelter throughout the night. He promises to bring us to safe places, and he protects and provides for us when the road ahead seems unclear.

Today I encourage you to believe that God is watching over you. Trust that he loves you and always knows where you are.

How is God taking care of you today? How do you know God is aware of your needs?

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Christmas carols play on store speakers and my car radio. This year “We Three Kings” caught my attention. (Click here to read the lyrics of this classic carol.) While I listened, I considered what those wise men were seeking when they traveled to find the infant Christ and what their visit symbolizes for us today.

“Behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:1-2).

The kings symbolize a journey of faith. The kings traveled for many miles following a beckoning star, not knowing when they would arrive or what they would find when they got there. Their faithfulness reminds us that sometimes we must continue despite uncertain outcomes because we believe the journey is worth the sacrifice.

The kings symbolize the sharing of gifts. The kings traveled for many months carrying their offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Their generosity tells us that we are all blessed with gifts we can share and give to others.

The kings symbolize the search for truth. The kings walked across countries to be closer to God and worship him. Their commitment inspires us to leave our safe places and strike out for new destinations where we will find the hope and joy we seek.

This Christmas, I am remembering the journey of the kings and praying you find the peace and purpose you are looking for. Where is your journey taking you this holiday season?

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