Monday, December 31, 2018

Change Can Bring Blessing in the New Year: Devotion Ten

Happy New Year! As we anticipate celebrating tonight and honoring a new year with all of its possibilities, I find myself reflecting. A new year is a gift; just like newly fallen snow without a print, we too are offered a fresh chance to start over. New Year's resolutions are about intentional changes we'd like to see in our lives. I hope the following devotion inspires you to think about such changes from a biblical perspective. Changes that God is prodding us to make can usher in new blessing — and I can't think of a better gift for the new year ahead!

Day 10
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
In this verse, Jesus reminds us of the true gift of faith: life. God wants us to have abundant life on earth and eternal life with him. So often society equates following biblical principles with denial and a list of rules. The reality is that God wants to gift us with greater blessings through his guidance. Just as we teach our children rules for safety and success, God wants to do the same for us. As we follow the Creator who made all things, we have the secret to a better life. It doesn’t mean that our lives will be perfect or without struggle. It does mean, however, that we have an advantage when we listen and obey. Ultimately, obedience means we aren’t denying ourselves anything other than a life that’s less than our best—and that’s a sacrifice worth making! Is there a change God has been prodding your heart to make? Listen and obey today. See what blessings your obedience brings.
Further Reading: John 1:4; Acts 2:28

I hope you have enjoyed my devotional series this fall! I have shared 10 of the 31 devotions from my e-book. If you'd like to receive all of these illustrated and professionally edited devotions for free, follow the prompts here to have them delivered right to your inbox! And stay tuned for my new series on life purpose coming in January!
Want more inspiration for the New Year? Read this.

Monday, December 17, 2018

4 Don't-Miss Ways to Rediscover Christmas

Christmas is next week! As that reality creeps in, and amidst the flurry of preparations, I'm sharing some favorites from my site that can help us rediscover the heart of the season...and therefore experience Christmas' greatest blessings.

1. My favorite Christmas article, published on iBelieve:

Culture tells us that Christmas is about consumerism; how do we as parents find a more redemptive message and teach it to our children?

2. The Christmas episode of Chaos to Calm:

Hear two pastors share their own Christmas traditions and what has held the greatest meaning for them.

3 & 4. My favorite guest posts on Christmas, courtesy of author Laura Sassi:

As an educator and mom, Laura shares fun ideas to interact with our children of different ages around the nativity. 


Tune into my next post, which will be on New Year's Eve. I will share a final devotion to conclude this fall's devotional series. Stay tuned following the New Year as well, as I will be launching a new series on living our life purpose. What a powerful topic as we look to intentionally begin a new year! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Secret to a Good Night's Sleep: Devotion Nine

I've found there are two seasons that can be particularly hectic for parents: The end of the school year and right now! While the holidays often hold much joy for our families, we can be also be left spinning to keep up! Whether you need help putting your to-do list aside at night or are struggling with something heavier on your heart (like the loss of a loved one or worry for a child), this devotion is for you this Christmas.

Day 18

“I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.” Psalm 4:8
Sometimes the chaos that consumes our days spills over into the nights as well. It’s one reason I keep a pad of paper on my bedside table; once the day winds down, a flood of to-dos for the next day often comes to mind. I feel relief when I write them down, for then I’m sure that I won’t forget them. But it makes me wonder: Are there bigger things that we need to sign over to Jesus? Are there burdens weighing heavily upon us for which there are no easy steps or tick lists? Once my head hits the pillow, sometimes my prayer is a confident statement rather than a petition. “Lord, I cannot work on this anymore today. I entrust it to your care.” Knowing that God is holding it—and me—allows me to rest better in the arms of Jesus and surrender to the welcome of a good night’s sleep. Today, entrust all of your concerns to God’s care.

Further Reading: Psalm 55:22; Matthew 11:28; 1 Peter 5:7
Remember, if you are enjoying this series, you can receive the whole collection of 31 illustrated and professionally edited Chaos to Calm devotions free to your inbox by following the prompts here! I will share ONE more devotion on New Year's Eve to close the series. Stay tuned next week for some Christmas favorites to put you in the holiday mood and remind us of the true meaning of the season!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Unfailing Hope: Devotion Eight (Plus Bonus Devotion!)

The season of Advent began yesterday. Every year, it feels like the enthusiasm to celebrate Christmas creeps sooner and sooner, perhaps even starting after Halloween. As much as I love Christmas' promise, the season of Advent is one of profound spiritual meaning and offers a healing of its own.

Advent is a season for those waiting for the promise, for those grasping for a light to come in the darkness. It knows the pain and fear of the almost but not yet. It therefore also knows the power of the hope that is to come. The following devotion challenges us to consider how Christ's promised light can meet us in our parenting.

Day 11
“In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:4–5
Being a responsible parent means we must parent even when we sometimes feel like a child and are in need of a tantrum! It can push us to our breaking points, when every ounce of patience, will, and emotional energy feels spent. We feel like we’re not enough. But the good news is that we simply weren’t designed to be enough. In our darkest times and weakest moments, the grace and light of Christ can shine the brightest. I’m discovering that parenthood at its best is not something to muster and surmount; it’s an act of surrender. When I end and Christ begins, my family sees the miracle. One little light is enough to find our way in the darkness; Christ’s light can and will find us, and it has the power to lead us through. Today, cling to that light as you parent; allow it to shine upon any place you feel hopeless or discouraged.
Further reading: John 8:12; 2 Corinthians 12:8–10

Remember, if you are enjoying this series, you can receive the whole collection of 31 illustrated and professionally edited devotions free to your inbox by following the prompts here!

Bonus! I also wanted to share a devotion from a pastor friend. He wrote it several years ago on the same verse from John with a fatherly tenderness and insight that's worth sharing. Here is Pastor Ian Rankine's reflection. Advent blessings!

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4

I have four small children, and there are times at night when someone cries and I have to get up out of bed and stumble through the dark to see what is going on. In the bedrooms, with their room darkening blinds, there are times when the darkness is palpable. So dark in fact, that although I can hear the crying, I have no idea which way up the child is lying in the bed.
I have a wristwatch that has a little light on it. When I push the light button on my watch, even as dim as that light is, it gives me just enough light to see by to find out what is going on with the little one. 
It is truly the dimmest of lights, but when it is on, the darkness is cast aside. 
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” He is “The Light of all mankind.” 
If even a tiny light on a wristwatch can dispel the darkness around it, consider the power and extent of the brightness of this One who is the Light of the World. 
Whatever darkness you may find yourself in, or whatever darkness may be inside you, it cannot overcome the light of Christ.

TODAY Video Clip