A Mother’s Day Prayer

May our mouths be full of kindness.

May the teaching of kindness be on our lips.

May we look well to the needs of our households.

May our children and our husband rise up and call us blessed.

May our hearts and minds be full of the peace, love, hope, and joy of Jesus Christ the Son of God who came into the world to save sinners like me!

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:26-31

A prayer for my grandbaby

I pray that you know how deep and wide and long and high is the love of Jesus.

I pray that you know the greatness of our God – from His mighty power and perfect holiness to His personal closeness and faithful love.

I pray that you know that God has a unique purpose for your life.

No matter what happens, no matter how hard life gets, I pray that you will always remember that God is always, always good. May your faith in Him grow as you grow. May you trust Him with every part of your life every day of your life.

I pray that you cast all your cares on Him – from the biggest to the smallest – knowing that He cares for you.

I pray that you will give thanks in all circumstances – not because the circumstances are good, but because God is good. God has created you at just the right time, in just the right place, and with just the right parents, but sometimes your parents are going to blow it. They’re going to mess things up like their parents before them and their parents before them and their parents before them. I pray that you will know that you have a Heavenly Father who is perfect in all of His ways and who is always there for you and always there for them, too.

I pray that your parents will be quick to see and confess their faults, and be quick to turn to God in their sins and shortcomings. May your parents have humble hearts toward one another, toward you, and toward God.

Baby, I pray that you will be quick to forgive those who hurt you, even your mom and dad. You can only do this, Baby, when you realize how much God loves you and how much He loves to forgive you. God loved you before you were born, before you’d taken a breath, before you’d had a chance to do even one good thing. In fact, God loved you even before He created you, before He knit you together in your mother’s womb.

You are not an accident. You are a unique, purposeful creation of the Most High God of the Universe.

God will give you unique skills and interests, and I pray that you will use those skills and interests for His glory. Wherever you live and whatever you do, may you live for the glory of God – giving thanks to Him for everything that you receive because our Father is a good Father who gives us these gifts to enjoy, for our pleasure and for His fame and glory.

I pray that you will know Jesus.

I pray that you will know all about Jesus, about His birth, His life, His goodness, His teachings, His death, and His resurrection. But I also pray that you will know Jesus – like a friend who is always there for you, who sticks closer than a brother, who walks with you on the lonely roads and busy streets of life, who talks with you in quiet closets and noisy rooms, who is your best and closest counselor, speaking words of life and wisdom every day.

May you hear His still, small voice above all the others. May you hear clearly the voice of your Lord and King saying, “This is the way: Walk in it.”

And may you obey Him. May you follow Him as a faithful sheep, discerning His voice among all the cacophony of thousands of voices screaming out at you in this world. Jesus is the way, the only way. Jesus is the truth, the source of truth. Jesus is the life. He is the giver of life, Baby. Turn to Him and follow Him, and it will go well with you even when life isn’t really going so well.

I pray that your life will be filled with Joy and Peace and Hope and Purpose. But I also pray that you will know that these are only truly found at the feet of Jesus.

I pray that your heart would be kept free from idols. I pray that you would diligently keep your life free from the love of money, of fame, of power and selfish ambition, of worldly pursuits and people pleasing, of thinking too highly of yourself and not highly enough of others.

Look to Jesus. Jesus is our perfect example. He has gone before us and shown us the way. Jesus left heaven, HEAVEN, to be born as a helpless little baby – like you. Jesus gave up His glory and His throne, to live among common men and women like your mom and dad, and your grandma and grandpa.

Jesus loved people. Always. Jesus told the truth. Always. Jesus told the truth with love. Always.

I pray this for you. May you love truth and love people. May you love God’s Word, our fountain of truth and our fountain of love, and our source of wisdom for life.

Jesus was humble. Jesus, the great and glorious King of kings and Lord of lords, listened to the very people He had made. Jesus, the sinless Savior and sacrificial Lamb of God, went willingly to the cross to die a sinner’s death in place of sinful man. Jesus willingly gave up His own life that we could have life eternal and life to the full.

Baby, I pray that you would have that kind of spirit, a humble, gentle, willing, selfless spirit.

Jesus was bold. Jesus spoke boldly and loved boldly. Jesus didn’t follow the crowd. Jesus led the crowd, or Jesus left the crowd. Beware of the self-righteous. Beware of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Jesus spoke earnestly with the Samaritan woman at the well, an outcast, a sinner. Jesus touched the hearts, minds, and lives of broken people like you and me.

I pray that you would be a bold, sacrificial leader for God’s kingdom, following Jesus rather than the crowds.

I pray that you will have the strength and fortitude of Daniel and his three friends, standing strong for what is right despite the risk.

I pray that you would have the wisdom of Esther, discerning right from wrong and using your life to serve others rather than your self.

I pray that you would have the righteousness of Job, holding fast to your integrity and your Savior, no matter the tests and trials that come your way.

I pray that you would have the tender heart of David, repenting time and time again of your own sins even at great personal expense.

I pray that you would have the integrity of Joseph, trusting in God’s good, loving will and choosing what you know is right, even when all of life’s circumstances are pointing you the other way.

May you know that no matter how often you mess up, no matter how often you go astray like a foolish little sheep, that you have a praying grandma who loves you, who’s in your corner, who’s cheering for you.

By the grace and love and power and strength that is ours in the Mighty Name of Jesus I pray.

Amen.

The Great Revealer

Have you ever seen my favorite TV couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, in their most excellent show, “Fixer Upper?”

This amazingly talented couple help their clients select a home in need of help. Then, the Gaines complete an incredible rehab on these “needy” houses. The show culminates on the last day with a big “reveal” to their clients of their new, improved house.

The highlight of the show is the moment this giant, billboard-sized poster of the “before” image of the house is opened up to reveal the “new and improved” exterior of the home as the client stands in awe and tears of amazement.

As I was working on my previous blog post “Hidden in Plain Sight,” I was prompted to do a little word study into this word, “REVEAL.”

I confess, I am a bit of a “word junkie.” I love to study where words came from, their roots. So when I see a word with a prefix like “re-,” I sometimes get this sneaky desire to see where that word came from, especially when the word isn’t obvious. What is a “veal” anyway? Surely not a baby calf!

It turns out that “-veal” actually comes from VEIL. Like a bride removing her veil, revealing her face to her excited groom, to reveal comes from the French and Latin for unveil, to remove the VEIL.

How cool is that?

Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes, for removing the veil that prevented me from seeing you. Lord, help me to be waiting and watching for the day Jesus is REVEALED, the day when I will see Him face to face.

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 2 Corinthians 3:12-16 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV

Hidden in Plain Sight

Re-posted from 5 years ago-

You know those “Hidden Pictures” puzzles that Highlight magazine is famous for? Those pictures where common objects are “hidden” in plain sight, but you can’t see them and you have to search the picture for them.

Well, I’ve noticed that life can be a lot like that. I’ve noticed that my life is filled with these seemingly obvious sins that I am absolutely oblivious to. Sins that I am totally unaware of, but to someone standing next to me, they appear glaringly obvious.

The other day (5 years ago now!) I was recording a couple little videos of my oldest daughter singing in church. (Yes, I know. Videotaping during church. I know. Sorry. That’s not the point here. I don’t need anyone to point that one out now. Hang with me here.) Anyway when I played the videos back, in 3 of the 4 recordings can you guess what really stands out? Me. My voice. And it’s not pretty, friends. Not pretty.

And there it was. There are dozens of things that I am doing every single day that I am unable to see. Why? Because they have not yet been revealed to me. That ugly tone of voice. That bitterness. That pride.

Friends, do you know how much I have GROWN in the last 26 years I have been a follower of Jesus Christ? How MUCH I have changed? How MANY blind spots have been revealed to me in the past two decades?

And yet, I suddenly realized how many blind spots are still there. And, once again, God humbled me. And once again, I heard my Savior’s loving voice, gently urging me, “Kim, you have so far yet to go.”

And I was encouraged to give more grace, to have more patience and to be that much quicker to forgive a wrong, because the Lord daily has grace for me and patience with me. He has forgiven me soo much.

Thank you, Father, for not revealing the depth of my wickedness all at once, but rather moment by moment opening my eyes to the next thing, day by day conforming me more and more to the image of Your Son.

How is God opening your eyes to those unseen sins today? Pray for Him to show them to you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24 ESV)

This post is still true today. God is still faithfully, gently opening my eyes!

Where is your Focus?

On the Problem or the Purpose?

On the Father or the Failure?

On the Trials or the Triumph?

On the Savior or the Storm?

Jesus told us that we would have tribulation in this world. Why are we surprised? But Jesus also said TAKE HEART, I have OVERCOME the World!

Daily we have to actively choose to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who for the JOY that was COMING endured the cross.

We, too, can endure and overcome with hope and peace … because of our FAITH in our Risen Savior who conquered death. We, too, know that JOY is coming. These trials are light and momentary when compared to the eternal WEIGHT of GLORY!


I’m looking forward to ETERNITY with Jesus. Who wants to join me there?

The road is indeed narrow, but Jesus made a way! Jesus made a way where there seemed to be no way. Jesus made a way to reconcile sinful man with Holy God – by His death on the cross, paying for my sins.

Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Him, but WOW what GOOD NEWS that there is a way at all for a sinful woman like me to spend eternity with a good and holy God!!!

Who needs to hear this good news today? If God’s given you this hope, go share it with someone who needs it!

TWIG

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional – Day 25

Day 25: The Birth of Jesus

Picture / Ornament: Baby in a Manger

Scripture: Luke 1:1-2:20

Song: Mary, Did you Know?

Another Song: He Shall Reign Forevermore

Today is the day. Christmas Day. The day you’ve been waiting all month for. Are you going to get any Christmas gifts today? Did you already open any gifts?

Do you know what is the GREATEST gift you could ever be given? It’s Jesus. Jesus, the promised Savior, is the greatest gift that could ever be given, and He is the greatest gift you could ever receive.

What would happen if your mom and dad spent all month shopping around for just the right gift for you and for each of your siblings, but when Christmas morning came you were all too busy playing outside to take the time to open those special gifts?

What if you all got so many presents from your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins that you didn’t ever get around to opening that one special present from your mom and dad?

Don’t let the gift of Jesus be like that.

God has given us the most perfect, most special, most precious, most valuable gift that He could ever give, but we have to receive that gift. We have to put our trust in God and believe in His Son, the One who has been given to save us from our sins, the One who died in our place as a payment for our sins, the One who is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords, the eternal Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd, and the Bright Morning Star.

John 3:16-18 tells us that, “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because He has not believed in the name of the Only Son of God.”

Today is the perfect day to thank God for His perfect gift, the gift of His One and Only Begotten Son, Jesus, the promised Savior, who was born at just the right time in just the right place to save His people from their sins.

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus.

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional – Day 24

Day 24: The Shepherds Tell Others

Picture / Ornament: Shepherd

Scripture: Luke 2:15-20; Acts 1:1-11; Matthew 28:18-20

Song: The First Noel

Song: I Love to Tell the Story

Another Song: Here I am to Worship

After these extraordinary messengers, the angels, appeared to the shepherds, do you know what the shepherds did? The first thing the shepherds did was to hurry to find the baby in the manger that the angels had told them about. They told Mary and Joseph what the angels had said, but do you know what else they did? They told other people what they’d seen and heard, too! The shepherds couldn’t stop themselves. They wanted everyone to know about this good news that the angels had told them about. They praised and glorified God for what they had heard and seen – both in their own hearts and minds, as well as telling other people.

When you get a really great present for Christmas, maybe a new puppy or a toy you’ve been waiting all year for, do you want to tell your best friend about it? My kids do!

In the last two recorded conversations that Jesus had with His disciples, Jesus told them to make disciples of all nations, from Israel to the very ends of the earth. Jesus wanted His followers to teach and baptize new believers. Jesus promised that He would always be with them. Jesus promised that His Holy Spirit would come upon them and give them power. Jesus wanted His followers to be His witnesses, testifying to others what they had heard and seen.

The shepherds were eyewitnesses to both the angels’ proclamation of good news and to the newborn baby Jesus whom they had found in the manger. The shepherds excitedly shared the good news about what they had seen and heard.

Likewise, Jesus’s followers, Peter and Matthew and Luke and John and many, many others, were used by God as His eyewitnesses to what they had seen and heard. They couldn’t keep this good news to themselves any more than the shepherds could! Peter and John told the Jewish leaders, “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)

We, too, can be eyewitnesses for Jesus! We can tell others what we have seen and heard and come to know. We can tell our friends, our family, and even people we meet around town about what the real meaning of Christmas is, so they, too, can know this GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY that God has given for ALL the PEOPLE. (Luke 2:10)

Today is a perfect day to thank God for this good news about our Savior Jesus and for the honor and privilege of being His messenger and witness today.

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus.

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional – Day 23

Day 23: Angels Proclaim the Arrival of Christ

Picture / Ornament: Angel

Scripture: Luke 2:8-14 Hebrews 1:1-4

Song: Angels We Have Heard on High

God used angels in many of the stories we have read about. Angels are God’s messengers. God spoke to Abraham through His angels. Jacob saw a vision of angels ascending and descending on the ladder to heaven. God sent angels to go before the Israelites and to defend the Israelites during their battles. Mary and Joseph both heard from God’s angels.

Imagine you were one of those shepherds out in a field taking care of your sheep. It was an ordinary night when suddenly a great light appeared before you and you heard an angel speaking to you. What would you think? What would you do? Would you be afraid?

Apparently, these shepherds were afraid because the angel told them not to be afraid. This angel was not here to condemn them or to tell them about something terrible that was about to happen. No, this angel had good news for them, good news of great joy! Today in Bethlehem a new baby had been born.

Have your parents ever had a special meeting with you to tell you some important news?

I remember a very special Christmas fourteen years ago when my husband and I told our three children that we had some important news for them. It was the day after Christmas and our children had already opened all of their gifts. They were confused. What was going on? Was something wrong? No, something was very right! I was expecting a baby! Our family was going to have a new baby, but our new baby wasn’t like this new baby that the angel told the shepherds about.

This baby that was born in Bethlehem was the long-awaited Savior who had come to save the world! This baby was unlike any baby who had ever been born or any baby who would ever be born. This baby was totally GOD and totally MAN in one! This baby was God in human flesh who had come to live among men.

God used these angels to be His messengers, to tell the good news to these shepherds. God wanted the shepherds to recognize the baby when they saw Him. This very special baby, God’s only Son, had been born in a very simple place, a stable. This very special baby had been wrapped in very simple cloths, swaddling cloths, and laid in a very simple bed, an animal feeding trough full of hay called a manger. These very special messengers, angels, had told very simple men, shepherds, the good news of the Savior come into the world.

Today is a perfect day to thank God for sending His very special messengers to tell this good news about a very special baby named Jesus who came to bring peace on earth and good will to men. Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus!

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional – Day 22

Day 22: The Star

Picture / Ornament: Star

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12; Numbers 24:17; Revelation 22:16

Song: O Holy Night

Another Song: Oh What a Glorious Night!

I, for one, have a hard time being patient. I like my food to be ready quickly, my websites to load instantly, and my house to be cleaned spotless in a flash. How about you? How do you feel when you have to wait a long time for something?

This spring we bought four tiny chicks in the hopes of getting fresh eggs. After waiting for four months, there were still no eggs! Week after week, we’d check their coop, looking for eggs. No eggs! Finally, after almost six months, we got our first egg and now we get eggs every day! Three years ago, we planted a little apple tree. Every summer we go out to see if there are any apples beginning to grow, but even after three years … no apples! To this day, we’re still waiting for it to give us apples.

God grows our faith by causing us to wait for Him. Day by day, season by season, year by year we have to wait for things, all kinds of things. We have to trust that some day those chickens will lay eggs and some day that apple tree will bear apples. We have to trust that God will keep His promises in His perfect timing.

Likewise, the Israelite people had to wait for their Savior to arrive. In fact, they had to wait around 400 years from the time of the last prophet Malachi until Jesus Christ was born. Some people call this time the “400 years of silence.” In spite of God’s silence, God was still speaking through His written word and God was still at work, bringing about the right time and place for His Son to be born.

There was a special group of men living east of Israel, wise men who had studied the scriptures and wanted to worship the Savior King. God had not only given these wise men His written word, but He also gave them a special sign, a star, that appeared in the sky at just the right time and in just the right place to guide them to Jesus.

It’s especially amazing that God sent them a star, because Jesus called Himself the “bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16) Hundreds of years before Jesus lived on earth, it had been foretold that “a star shall come out of Jacob.” (Numbers 24:17) Not only, did God give a star in the sky to shine the way for the wise men, but God sent His own Son to be that prophesied star.

Stars guide people as they travel in the dark. Stars give light in the darkest night. Jesus isn’t an actual star in the heavens, but Jesus is our guide and our light.

Today is a perfect day to thank God for His perfect timing in sending Jesus to be our guide and our light.

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus!

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional – Day 21

Day 21: Return to the Promised Land

Picture / Ornament: Stone Wall

Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11-14; Isaiah 44:24-28; Ezra 1:1-5; Ezra 6:6-18;
Titus 2:11-14, Hebrews 9:27-28

Song: How Many Kings?

Bonus Video: That’s My King by S.M. Lockridge

God had spoken to His prophet Jeremiah while His people were in captivity in Babylon. God had told Jeremiah that His people would return to Israel after 70 years, and they did! God had even told the prophet Isaiah that He would redeem Israel using a king named Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple … and He did! Just like God turned the heart of the Egyptian Pharaoh and the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus, God turned the heart of the Persian King, Cyrus. God used King Cyrus, the king of a foreign land, to send the people back to the Promised Land of Israel and rebuild His temple in Jerusalem.

It took years for the temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt because they faced opposition on all sides, yet the temple was rebuilt because God turned the heart of another Babylonian king named Darius. King Darius sent supplies to finish the temple and even supplies for the priests to make sacrifices to God. After the temple was rebuilt, the people celebrated and offered hundreds of animals.

Around the same time that the temple was being rebuilt, the prophet Zechariah spoke to the people. Zechariah had more prophecies about the coming Savior. Zechariah said that Israel’s long-awaited king would come humbly, riding the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9), that He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13), and that those who pierced Him would mourn over Him (Zechariah 12:10). Do any of these sound familiar to you?

As you read the Bible, be on the lookout for verses that show the fulfillment of these prophecies, given hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Just like the faithful Israelites studied the prophecies so they would recognize the Messiah when He came, we, too, should study the Bible so we will be ready when the Messiah returns. Jesus is coming AGAIN! He will return one day to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him! What a glorious day that will be!

Today is a perfect day to thank God for the incredible hope we have in Jesus, our Savior!

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus!