“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:24 —The Message

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
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In what seems to have become a tradition, Leah and I spent the day preparing for our family’s Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow.

As usual, we first prepared our hearts by reading our weekly passage, Luke 1:1-25.

There is SO much to hear within the words contained in those verses.

It took us 2 or 3 hours to talk through Zechariah’s and Elizabeth’s story…I personally saw so much of myself in Zechariah.

I had always seen God’s silencing Zechariah as a rebuke, period.

But it is more than a rebuke, as Leah pointed out in her journaling:

“Zechariah’s first reaction was fear and possibly confusion. Was the task he was performing simply a ritual? Zechariah asked for confirmation. He is not willing to take the messenger of the Lord at his word. For this reason the Lord silences him until John is born. This is a sign of love. The Lord loves Zechariah so much that he silences him, giving him an opportunity to listen for, know, and obey the voice of the Lord/His heart.”

That last sentence was something I needed to hear today…it gave me hope and rest and something to celebrate.

After our hearts were emptied of self and filled with Him, we spent time in the kitchen cooking and baking while listening to this awesome must-hear message. I am sharing it because it is so worth listening to….you will not be disappointed:

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I thought I would share something a little different here today, and that is how I have been doing my personal Bible study each week. I have been studying The Story of the King…reading and contemplating the life of David…along with other believers at Rio Vista Community Church.

I hope you, too, have found the delight of having a personal time of looking into God’s Word so you can know Him more and more and not just about Him.

If you are reading or want to start reading his Word seeking to know Him [and who you are in light of Him] and what He has done for you but need more direction to gather your thoughts, choose a passage and read that same passage everyday for five days and consider the thoughts below that can be downloaded as a PDF  here from the Rio website and used as you study His word. If you don’t know where to begin reading, you can look under the Personal Worship Plan label on the right-hand side of their website where the weekly passage they are studying is listed.

“The Liturgy of the Kingdom: You may think of “liturgy” as something that is strictly religious—an established order of elements in a church service that can become meaningless repetition.

But the truth is, we all have a “liturgy!” You have habits and rituals you practice that define, form and reinforce who you are and who you are becoming.

The liturgy you live can cultivate flourishing or decay, life or death. Inherent in God’s Kingdom is a liturgy that leads to life.

Worship, both personal (daily) and corporate (Sunday mornings), follows this “Liturgy of the Kingdom.” Daily and weekly, remember God (glorify the King). Be honest with God about yourself (seeing imperfections in light of the King’s glory). Rest in His grace (have peace and security in His mercies and protections). Receive His instruction (absorb His wisdom and integrate it into your life). Finally, do what He says (practices, habits, training, and work). Thoughtfully practiced, this liturgy of the Kingdom will inform all of your thoughts and actions in every area of life.

With that in mind, here is your daily Liturgy of the Kingdom.

Day One: Remember God. What does this passage tell you about God? What is praiseworthy about Him?

Day Two: Be honest with God about yourself. What does this passage tell you about yourself? Take a fearless moral inventory of your sins, weaknesses and imperfections in light of God’s perfect holiness.

Day Three: Rest in His grace. Where is the peace and security in this passage, or if you don’t see it in this passage, then in your knowledge of God’s larger plan of redemption and Christ’s work?

Day Four: Receive His instruction. What is God teaching you in this passage? What would He have you think or do differently as a result?

Day Five: Do what He says. Read the passage one last time, and then devote this day to reflecting on and praying over your devotional meditations throughout the week. Praise God in prayer. Confess your sins. Celebrate Christ’s redemptive work. Pray through your action steps from day four. Ask the Holy Spirit to transform you and bless your efforts to live out what you’ve learned.”

If anyone does this, I would love to hear from you. I hope to be sharing some of the things I have learned as I’ve read and studied and answered the 4 questions.


I’m a sucker for the Clinique gift-with-purchase promotions. I usually like the little make-up bag designs and the “freebies” inside as well. This time I bought so much product that I received two bags…same design in different colors…one warm…one cool.

I thought I would try both, but, truthfully, the colors inside one flatter me more than the colors inside the other. They just work for me, because I was made to wear those colors. I can wear the other, but they really don’t look good on me—they clash with who I was designed to be.

Try as I might…they just aren’t gonna work.

Have you ever been discontent with the way God made you….or the unique plan He has for your life?

I have.

In my discontent, I tried all sorts of ways to make my life and myself the way I wanted it/myself to look.

It all started with someone telling me that there was something wrong with me—actually wrong with the life I had been given…the hand I had been dealt.

At a very young age someone told me I was ugly.

And since then, the enemy, sometimes using people, has told me all kinds of things, either by innuendo or blatant remark, about how I should be discontent with myself—my life…

Perhaps because it doesn’t look like their own [better?] life.

I’m not talking about being content to live a life of sin or lacking character…we should never be content to live there.

I am talking about getting rid of those very things that God may be using to lead us, and even others, to Himself to reveal more of His truth—Himself— to give us a heart that longs to be His own.

I am talking about being different than, not better than…because, ultimately, who does not have anything that has not been given him?

I have a friend who once got kicked out of a dance class because she kept looking at everyone else’s feet!

I’ve blogged about the mocking bird who sings everyone else’s song but his own.

This week I am being challenged with the temptation to look at other people’s feet… of fearing to sing my own song…of opening the bag with the wrong colors for me in it…. in order to fit in…to belong.

Deep within I know it is a trap.

And I am determined to believe that My God has a PERFECT plan for MY life…and it is GOOD!

I will dance the dance and sing the song and wear the colors He has uniquely chosen for me because, in the end, it’s not about you or me, is it?

Here I am, Lord; use me just as I am, for your glory!

“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” Jeremiah 29:11, Amp.
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“…I am so grateful that thorns have roses” —Alphonse Karr
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