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Who is Your Valentine?

A Mini-Minute with Pam: Who is Your Valentine?

Valentines Day is a great day for some and for others, a deep loneliness or depression takes over. What about you? Are you looking forward to it, or dreading it?

I want to tell you a story about a woman that had everything. Privilege. Health. Talent. A great swimmer. And a wonderful family. She has the most amazing husband in the world. Ken Tada married her AFTER her accident jumping off the dock, and becoming paralyzed from the neck down. He knew how hard it would be. It makes me think of the sacrificial and deep love that Jesus has for you. For me. Jesus left the “privileged” life of Heaven. He gave up His own life in every way. He is our “Valentine”. He CHOSE to do that. Just like Joni’s husband. Personal sacrifice. For love. Not many find Ken’s kind of deep HUMAN love. But there is One that loves you even more than that…

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered…”

Hebrews 5:7-9 (NIV)

When life changes your plans.

Joni Earekson Tada is an author, painter, public speaker and a quadriplegic. Her story is well-known, but what she has to say to us may be a bit difficult to hear. Joni is not a stranger to the world of suffering. She was very young when her life was forever changed on an ordinary day while swimming with her family.

She broke her neck in a diving accident.

We know her now as a beautiful soul fully surrendered to God. But it was not always that way. Of course…it was all difficult to accept at first. She had been an active young woman. But God had given Joni a loving family and at least one good friend that patiently helped her to see her life was not over. It had just taken a different path. She has learned obedience through what she has suffered.

Mindset matters.

Her other-worldly mindset gives her the strength to endure through her life challenges. Challenges that most of us cannot even imagine. Things we take for granted. It has been said that Joni begins her day EVERY day with the realization that she needs God “desperately”. It is not a theory for her. It is a reality. She simply cannot do even the simple tasks of “life” without help.

Reality check.

Joni believes that the “really handicapped people are those who don’t really know of their desperate need for God.” Amazing perspective from one confined to a wheelchair, needing someone to assist her with everything she does.

Jesus paved the way…

Through Jesus’ “reverent submission” He became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. Jesus’ suffering made it possible for Joni and for you and for me to endure until we meet Him face-to-face. Amazing love. Love that gives us wisdom to understand the concept of the necessity to grasp the idea that we truly are beginning each day “needing God desperately”.

What about you?

It is in accepting that fact – that we need God desperately – that we are empowered to follow wherever He leads.

Related Post: What If God Has A Love Language

Who is Your Valentine?

Food for thought

This week as you celebrate Valentines Day:

  • Can you honestly say that God is your FIRST love?
  • Do you stop daily to remember how how much you actually DO desperately NEED HIM for absolutely everything?
  • Is time with Him your FIRST priority every day?
  • Is He your last thought before sleep, or are you busy rehearsing the next day’s “to do” list?

How can we do anything but love Jesus desperately for all He has done so we can be with Him throughout all eternity. Talk about a “Forever Love”. THIS is it! Every day is Valentines Day with Jesus. When you look for Him, you will see Him EVERYWHERE in your life. He loves to lavish you with displays of His love. Seek Him and you will find Him. He’s creative. Sometimes you have to do a deep search, but He is there. Everywhere. Are you with me?

Who is Your Valentine?

Until next time,

Personality and Jesus

Do you know who God created you to be? Have you ever stopped to think about how your personality affects the way you interact with others? Find out more in this new book by Pamela A. Taylor.

Personality and Jesus

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We are all Hansels & Gretels. We leave behind a trail.

Hansel and Gretel Stamp

Funny story

Once upon a time, at the apartment building where I live, there was a strawberry salad thief. A resident was planning a party. She had stored the food in the refrigerator of the Commons area kitchen. Thinking it safe, she went to her apartment and to bed, looking forward to the next day’s celebrations. Only to discover the next morning that her strawberry salad was missing.

It was quickly discovered that there was a RED trail from the kitchen, down the hall, and up the stairs, right to the door of the thief. There was no doubt what had happened. It is funny to think back on, but at the time, it was upsetting to my friend who was planning a party.

Remember in that story there was a trail of white stones that caught the moonlight and led the children back home. (We won’t discuss their home life in this article. YIKES!!!)

AND, the second time they were left in the woods to die, there was a trail of bread that was eaten by hungry birds. Eventually, they got home again, but it was a much harder journey.

What kind of trail am I leaving?

A story in a devotional book is actually what started me down this path: “Earlier this year, the owners of a restaurant called Build-A-Burger in New York State called the sheriff’s office to report their cash register was missing. Deputies checked a nearby hiking trail and found a steady trail of macaroni salad. Hansel and Gretel didn’t leave a better trail; and within a short time, a gang of three men was captured and charged with theft. It seems that along with the register, the men had also swiped a large bowl of macaroni salad.” — Turning point devotional for Thur. Sept 17.

Scripture reference

“Be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23)  Hmmmmm…Even when we think we are pulling off the “perfect crime”!  😉

Isn’t that amazing?

What got them caught was their lust of the flesh. They were apparently hungry, careless and sloppy (leaving a trail of macaroni)!

Challenge question

Years ago, a group of us were asked the challenge question: How will you live your life? What would you like your tombstone to say?

I decided right then that I would want it to say: SHE CARED!!!  Of course I too often fall short in my selfish humanness, but it is ever in the back of my mind, driving my behavior and attitudes.

Another Scripture verse

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 “We have spoken freely to you…and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange…open wide your hearts also.”

It is a fearful thing to open our hearts to others.

To trust. Opening our hearts to others can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit. The people at Fort Street Christian Church in Omaha Nebraska opened wide their hearts to me about 40 years ago now. They were patient and kind. Gentle. And they loved Jesus above all else. Their “trail” was one that led me to the foot of the cross.

I am thanking them for that trail! They showed me the way HOME!!! To my REAL HOME!!! To JESUS!!!

What do you see as you look at YOUR life?

Isn’t it great that you can actually CHOOSE what kind of trail you leave behind! AND…it is true that…

It is never ever too late to tweak the trail of your life. I can help with that…

God bless you bunches!

Until next time,

Let's Connect!
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Author/Blogger
Living from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com

Filed under: Christian Life Coaching — Pam Taylor @ 7:00 am

Multi-tasking in Your Head

A Mini-Minute with Pam: Multi-tasking in Your Head

Man with box on head

How do you get from a sigh to a song?

Do you have trouble resting and just being with God with no agenda? He knows we need that. Are you multi-tasking in your head, like I was? Constantly ruminating about all you must do. Trying to figure out every angle so you don’t miss anything. Wanting to measure up. Trying to do so much for the Lord. I’ve spent years. Dumping lots of money. Hiring experts. Looking for someone to help me find God’s plan for my life. Many coaches. Many classes. Seminars. Counselors. Teachers. All different, but they all claimed they had the answer for me. I believed them. More thinking and doing.The only problem was, it was one size fits all. All of this “naval gazing” only produced more frustration.

I never measured up to the expectations

It only led to frustration. The Ministry Insight Leading From Your Strengths assessment actually began the journey to sanity and a degree of peace. It was a good place for me to start. (I’ve actually written a trilogy about discovering personality strengths, embracing them, and living them out in your day-to-day.) We are all different by God’s design. Embracing that is the first step to leave the SIGH behind) But something was still missing. I knew God was not surprised at my despair. I knew He was not angry with me. I knew He would show me the way sooner or later. The problem is, I didn’t measure up to expectations. And like you, I wanted “SOONER” rather than “LATER”.

None of the experts gave me the peace I longed for.

I could not find someone who would simply listen to me without trying to fix me. Kinda like Job’s friends. I know God sees me. God hears me. God cares. So, what was wrong with me? Have you ever felt that way? I read a book about Oswald Chambers. He claimed to know the SECRET. And you know what? He DID! He discovered the secret; but only after years of searching, disappointments, and isolation with his family while serving the Lord in China.

The sigh MUST come before the song.

God has a process. We must die to our own plan before He can raise us into His destiny for us. So, all of this struggling is actually part of His plan toward our maturity in the Lord. The Psalms are a great example. Most if not all Psalms begin with the sigh. The sadness. The loneliness. The searching for significance. Talking honestly to God. And by the end of the Psalm, there is usually breakthrough. My guess is that each Psalm could have taken months or perhaps years to compose. Because the discovery definitely takes time. Focused time.

Can a person actually bring that peace to another?

No, they can’t. Only God can. But first, God wants us to hear ourselves telling Him in detail what we believe the problem is. Confessing our unbelief, despair, fear, anger, or whatever emotion we are feeling. If you don’t feel like talking to Him about it, then tell Him that, too. He already knows anyway, right? Of course that is right. God knows everything. So, first I had to learn to be honest with God and with myself.

Israelites vs Joshua & Caleb

Which do you want to be? Spies went into the Promised Land. They all saw the problems. Most SIGHED and feared the size of the giants. They saw it as Giants vs the Israelite people. They saw no way of winning. But, Joshua and Caleb saw it as Giants vs God ! They saw the problem of the Giants, too. But they didn’t stay in the problem space. Rather, they knew their God was more powerful than any enemy. More powerful than any giants. In a sense, they were SINGING God’s praises of possibilities. They saw no way of losing. Which group do you fall into on most days? Be honest with yourself. Be honest with God. He already knows anyway. He just wants to know that WE know that He is BIGGER than any problem we face.

The right path

Little did I know that this entire process was the right path all along. Little did I know that God would lead me to discover the same secret as Oswald Chambers. Was it difficult? Yes. Was it lonely at times? Yes. And it still is sometimes. Not God AND (something or someone else)…But…Realizing that we all have a God-sized vacuum and only when we allow God and only God to totally fill it up to the brim, do we find the SECRET that Oswald Chambers discovered…that God has creatively been telling us all along, in various ways. The secret?

I AM

God is actually saying to us, “Everything that you are NOT, I AM! “ Everything! Absolutely everything!

There is just one more important thing I need to mention: Only if Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and if you have a personal relationship with Him, can you live like that.

Do I believe that? YES! Do you? If not, would you like to? It is a choice only you can make.

All are invited to come into relationship with Jesus but sadly, not all do.

Until next time…


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Author/Blogger
Living from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Life is Hectic. Where do you go for help?

Super hero in capeWhere do you go for help?

Life is hectic. Crazy busy. So…every once in awhile, I like to remind you that you don’t have to do this crazy busy hectic life alone…and that God didn’t plan for you to do it alone.

Relationships take time

UGH! They really do take time. And energy you don’t have! With this crazy busy world, it’s difficult to develop deep Christ-centered relationships. Friendships take time and by their very nature, they must be reciprocal. You do things for and with each other. That takes even more time. And worst of all, they can become competitive. So that takes even more time getting that all sorted out. Trying to keep up with the “Joneses”.

Competitiveness can squelch God’s voice

This is where a mentor coach comes in. It is a time to focus on you and how to make your life flow smoothly. Improving the quality of your relationships. Finding that peace you are longing for. That’s what I do. This is just a short post to remind you what I can actually do for YOU!!! I can help you rise above the crazy busyness…the relationship challenges…and the competitiveness. I can help you hear God’s voice and follow only after Him as your “gold standard”.

Guaranteed!

That is my specialty. Helping women keep God front and center. Even in a crazy busy life. Guaranteed! I can teach you how to focus on God, no matter what your circumstances. Seriously…NO MATTER WHAT your circumstances are!!!

What 3 women are saying about Pam Taylor, Mentor Coach, The MomCourager™

  • “I am so blessed to have you in my life! I was thinking about what an overwhelming summer, fall and winter I experienced. You supported me through many difficult months with prayer and encouragement. You helped me keep my bearings in Christ.”
  • “Pam is ‘real.’ She has a special way of connecting even across the miles. Pam is a coach who can be trusted to serve with skill and integrity.”
  • “Everyone needs a…Coach like you, Pam. I’m just sayin’. Thanks for your constant support and encouragement.”

That could be YOU.

The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with just one step. Just do the next thing. Contact me. You read the testimonies. There are more on the website. What are you waiting for? Coaching works. And I care! I want you to be the woman God created you to be. I want you to find peace and joy and clarity.

More testimonies are available in my Book #1 of the Living From Your Strengths Trilogy. This is a new year with new possibilities. Let’s get started right away, helping you grow into the woman God created you to be. You are amazing. God created uniquely you. He has a plan. And with all the busy lives we live now, we all need someone to come alongside and cheer us on and give us fresh perspective. An encourager who gives fresh but realistic hope. A sounding board. A safe place to be REAL.

If your heart is pounding, maybe God is calling you to give mentor coaching a try. If your life is not working now, what have you got to lose? Contact me and set up a time to ask me any questions you have about the coaching experience. So you can decide if I can help you find the higher ground you are longing for…
You can contact me here

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


The Everlasting Value of Reading for Children

Little girl reading on a couch

The magical reading place

My mother was ill much of my young life and died when I was 12 years old. Yet, even now, some of my fondest childhood memories are of her reading to us, while sitting on the floor in a narrow hallway beside a bookcase crammed with books. She loved books. She loved reading to us out loud. And I “caught” that from her.

As she read with joy and passion, the words cascaded down upon us,  like a refreshing waterfall on a hot day. That narrow hallway  became a magical place. Her joy when reading was palpable. And contagious!

I continued her wonderful tradition

When God blessed me with my own children, it was natural for me to read to them, too–first from children’s picture books.  Later, I also read my Bible out loud, so they would begin to love it like I do. I wanted them to “catch” the love of books and the wondrous places they can take you. There’s a whole world of new adventures and new friends always waiting.  You never have to be lonely.

My children, too, learned to love to read and to love to learn, as I did. And the tradition continued with my children’s children, proving that reading for children has everlasting value. We all know that children “catch” from our examples, more than they are “taught” by what we say.

Adventure

Motherhood is an adventure. There was so much I did not know, having an ill, often absent (in the hospital) mother much of my young life. And then, one day, she went home to be with the Lord she loved so much. My whole life, and into my parenting journey, I have longed to have a Mother to mentor me. I did not have that. Treasure it if you do!

I was married 12 years before God sent us our first “bundle of joy”. And—since over the years, I had observed so many other parents with their children—I naturally thought it would be a cinch to make it all work. Through observation, I believed I had become an “expert”. What I did not know is how different it is behind the closed doors of the home.

Ha! Was I ever surprised when I had opportunity to practice what I thought I knew. It was nothing like what I had planned in my head. I learned by doing. And just because I thought I did pretty well in getting the hang of raising my daughter, when God sent a son, was I ever surprised that I was back to square one again: TOTALLY DEPENDENT ON GOD for WISDOM! Did you know that boys and girls are totally different? I mean–forgetting the obvious differences—they are different in EVERYTHING!!! My mother would have told me that, but she was with Jesus. So it became trial and error.

Motherhood

It is delightful and it is terrifying, being responsible for another human being who is totally dependent on you, as a baby. And then, to gradually “let go” and encourage them to be an individual…gradually working ourselves out of a job, so to speak. That is tough. And then when they literally leave home to begin their own lives, maybe first at college and then maybe in marriage. Letting go. THAT is really a learning experience. So many opportunities to trust God and to grow spiritually.

Becoming a Mentor Life Coach

Many years later, actually, in my old age, and after many different occupations, I trained to become a life coach. It felt so natural. Like being “home” in my skin. Like being the person I had wished I had had in my own life. A mentor Mom. So, when I finished my coach training, and began actually coaching, my biggest goal was to pass on what I learned through the school of hard knocks to other women. Those with children and those without. ( I had been barren for 12 years). I wanted to share what I did right in every area of my life, and even more importantly—looking back—what I did wrong. Often our best lessons are learned through our mistakes. And I made plenty of them. Just ask my kids and my friends.

Reader turns author

And, now I am on a new adventure. I have always loved writing stories. Now, I found I can mentor through coaching, but I can also mentor through the written word. I can teach and encourage through my writing. First, just a blogger and now a published author. I have authored 8 books available on Amazon and have contributed to 3 more. And I’m currently working on 2 more that we hope will be published this year. I have learned that loving to read often leads to the love of writing. What joy I have found in writing books for YOU to read. To encourage and strengthen you. And by the way, 4 are children’s books for you to encourage your children. Re-enforcing the everlasting value of reading for children! To God be the Glory!

Dreams

What dreams are you holding tight to your chest? I’d love to help. Check out my website. Learn about the value of coaching. The value of having a mentor “mom” to encourage you through life’s changes and challenges. You don’t have to do life alone. In my latest newsletter for the new year, I remind you “Believe this: The 2023 YOU does NOT define the 2024 YOU. Start fresh”. We could do that together. I invite you to sign up for my FREE newsletter and blog. And you can find links to my books there on my website.

Your life CAN become almost “magical”.

Through reading. Through mentoring. Most importantly, through personal prayer and Bible reading—and a deep trust in the Lord to guide you into wisdom for your 2024 path and beyond. You can discover true joy in embracing the possibilities of becoming the best YOU, you can be AND all God intended you to be in Him! To God be the Glory!

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
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Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Week Four: The King Is Coming. Love

An Advent Mini-Minute with Pam: The King is Coming

Week Four: The King. Love

Merry Christmas with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Wise men/women still worship Him

I’d like to start week four with a blessing for each of you: May you have a “Mary” Christmas with many opportunities to just sit and allow yourself to enter into a time of WONDER, worship, and praise for the Reason (Jesus) for the Season. Just for fun, let’s have a minute of sharing some potential family/friend gathering conversation starters. Some fun eye-openers you might not know…

Things we believe…However…

  • The angels did NOT “sing”
  • There is no mention of an INN KEEPER
  • The wise men were NOT at the “stable” where the “babe” was
  • There is no mention of a DONKEY for Mary to ride on
  • Jesus was NOT a “baby” when the wise men arrived at the “house”
  • There is no mention of the number of wise men

Now…let’s look at the next chapter of our advent story of Christmas…

Worth the trip

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, 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

The wise men probably traveled hundreds of miles over many months, in order to honor the newborn king with their treasures. These expensive and unusual gifts suggest they were official representatives sent as emissaries to honor the new king of this ancient land. And they probably had some form of body-guards because of the value of the gifts.They never took their eyes off the star. They stayed on course because they believed the extraordinary star they had never seen before, would lead them to an extraordinary person. They came to give their gifts to He who IS the GIFT.

The Visual Guide to Bible Events suggests that perhaps they were descendants of those sent east during the Babylonian captivity in the days of Daniel, and had returned to their homeland seeking the Messiah.

These “wise” men, knew prophesy. They were philosophers, priests, scholars. Perhaps they has spent their entire lives looking for the star to guide them.

“A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.”

Numbers 24:17

Herod the Great

He knew he did not deserve his title of king. He was power hungry and fearful of losing his power – dubbed as King by the Roman Senate as King of the Jews. He had even killed his sons and wives when he felt they were conspiring to overtake his throne. His royal paranoia was deeply intact when the Magi arrived. Imagine how he felt when he heard that the Magi were looking for the LEGITIMATE King of the Jews. He pumped the Magi for information pretending that he, too, wanted to go to worship Him whom they sought. The one whom Scripture had prophesied.

So, when Herod learned that his RIVAL was a child, likely 2 years old, and lived in Bethlehem, he sent his murderous soldiers to kill ALL male children 2 years old and younger. Imagine the uproar in the town. There were two groups. One brought gifts and the other brought terror:
** The magi (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible suggests there could have been up to 14 magi, along with their body guards) and
** The soldiers (and who knows how many of them there were). The town was chaotic and overrun with strangers.
Background (Source: Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Bible)

In Moses’ time, Pharaoh ordered male Jewish children murdered at birth, just before the Exodus FROM Egypt TO the Promised Land (The exile).

Now, Herod orders the slaughter of Israelite children IN the promised land. This sends Joseph and family BACK TO Egypt to safety. (It was the closest place outside of Herod’s jurisdiction, and there were thriving Jewish communities there, which offered Joseph and family a safe haven.)

God speaks to each of us uniquely.

At the birth of Christ, God notified the JEWISH shepherds by an angel.
At the birth of Christ, God notified the GENTILE magi (wise men) with a star.
He spoke in their own language—in the way they were best acquainted with.

How does God speak to YOU when He wants to get YOUR attention?

Tiring journeys. Worth the trip

Mary and Joseph had traveled maybe 90 miles to Bethlehem because of the census.

The wise men had traveled maybe thousands of miles on their long journey that must have lasted a couple years, because of Jesus.

God will provide for you, too. For every mile of your “journey” with Him. He will give you whatever you need. Not what you THINK you need, but what you actually need in order to complete what He has called you to do.

Christmas

According to Mark 10:45 Christmas is about the coming of the Son of Man who “came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.”

“These words …are what I hope God will fix in your mind and your heart this Advent. Open your heart to receive the best present imaginable : Jesus giving himself to die for you and to serve you all the rest of eternity. Receive this. Turn away from self-help and sin. Become like little children. Trust him TRUST HIM. with your life.”

John Piper

Love arrived that day. Pray with me.

May God fill you with a sense of WONDER this Christmas season and beyond. May you search for Him everywhere, every day, in every way. Because He is right there with you, through it all. Believe that! WHATEVER you are experiencing. He is the way, the Truth and the Life. I pray you have more of a MARY Christmas than a MERRY Christmas this year.

Lord, give us wisdom to follow the “star” You have for each of us to follow. Show us the way. We thank you for giving us Your Spirit, so we can think Your thoughts as we gather with others. And as we sit alone with You—thinking through our day each evening. Asking how we can bless You more tomorrow…to bring You joy. You ARE Love. May Your Wisdom and the Light of Your Love shine through each one of us, no matter what! Thank You Jesus for your sacrifice…to show us the way HOME. May we CHOOSE to love You with an undivided heart.  To God be the Glory!

This week’s verse:

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

Jude 24-25

Advent Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

Grab a copy of this little book (shown below) to help you notice more of the WONDER of God’s presence everywhere in all things. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Daddy, Daddy! Guess What I Saw Today?

From a flock of geese to a dog on a leash, the pages of this winsome little book are filled with things we see around us every day. Pamela A. Taylor takes those everyday items and looks at them through the eyes of a child; making them seem exciting and new while also teaching children how to be grateful for the God who created them. Take a walk with Pamela through the pages of this book and help your little ones see God’s hand in the beauty of life.

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
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Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Week Three: The Shepherds. Joy

An Advent Mini-Minute with Pam: Have you ever felt like you didn’t matter?

Week Three: The Shepherds. Joy

Merry Christmas with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Have you ever felt like you didn’t matter? Unloved. Ignored. Like an outcast? I know I have. You are not alone in that. Many are lost. Many are full of anxiety and afraid Do you think that is how the shepherds in the Christmas story felt?

I don’t know about you, but I need to continually “reboot” my “brain” to “refresh” from what I see and hear day-to-day. The theme this third week of Advent is the Shepherds’ response of Joy. David Jeremiah said: “We are so used to Christmas that we have become dazed by the season, rather than amazed by the REASON.” The shepherds were not dazed. They were most definitely amazed!

These past weeks we have been reminding ourselves about precious real stories of real people in the Bible. They all point us to pieces of the puzzle in the Jesus story. This Christmas season, let’s help make the Bible come alive for those in our orbit. Will we CHOOSE to be alert for those who feel ignored? Maybe there is someone who needs to find their way back into the fold. Jesus is The GOOD Shepherd. If you have welcomed Him into your life as Savior and Lord, then He is YOUR Shepherd. In the Scriptures, Jesus is also called The Lamb of God. He willingly sacrificed Himself. If you have decided to follow Him as your Savior, then He has become your very own personal sacrificial Lamb.

Have you ever felt like you didn’t matter?

The shepherds in the Christmas story

Our focus—on this third week of advent—is the lonely shepherds on the hillside, caring for the sheep for the temple sacrifices. These shepherds were despised. Uneducated. They were outcasts because of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances and observances. They were dirty and considered spiritually unclean. Unable to enter the Temple to worship on any of the holy days because they were so busy doing the dirty, under-appreciated work on the hillside with the stubborn, sometimes dumb sheep. These outcasts were the exact ones CHOSEN by GOD to be the very first to receive the message that the SAVIOR was born in Bethlehem. Isn’t that just like our God? He often does the opposite of what we might expect.

The shepherds’ duties

It was a physically demanding job. They were continually outdoors in extremes of heat and cold. Perhaps they are wearing coarse woolen coats made from sheep’s wool. Outcasts—yet, they were a vital part of the Jewish economy. They made possible the “temporal” sacrifices in the temple, as all awaited the day of the coming of the “permanent” sacrifice (Jesus). At night, they built a fence around the sheep, and protected the entrance from predators. They made sure the sheep were safe. The sheep knew, recognized, and obeyed the shepherd’s voice.

The shepherd knew each one individually. These amazing men have literally given up their NORMAL way of life—FOR THE SHEEP. They have sacrificed a NORMAL life in order to serve the greater community. They loved their work. These shepherds were caring for and providing the sacrifices for the sins of the people. So, it is no surprise that when the angels appeared to announce the news of the Savior’s birth, they were already alert to anything unusual.

“…there were shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you. You will see a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God…”

Luke 2:8-13

They believed

They had no doubts. They were initially afraid. (Lots of bright lights in the middle of the night tend to do that to a person!) But when they heard the angel’s news, they believed it!

They didn’t argue with each other or try to explain it away. They simply believed. (That is what the Lord asks of us, as well. When He “appears” to us in any way, He expects us to believe and obey like these lowly outcast shepherds.

Have you ever felt like you didn’t matter? – Your faith can make a difference!

The “world” doesn’t understand

If you are a fully devoted follower of Jesus, then undoubtedly, there have been times in your life when people thought you were a bit too “religious” or maybe even “wacko”.

“Christ is worth infinitely more than what we see, touch, or gain in this quick and temporal life. He is worth leaving houses, lands, and loved ones. He is worth selling everything for. He is worth the often humiliating wait at the back of the world’s line. The world will look at you with ridicule for whatever it is you gave up for Christ (like the shepherds in Biblical times). BUT, the world won’t see that, in Him, you now stand at the front of the line. Jesus changes everything!”

Anchor devotional

“Heaven will be full of those of whom the world is not worthy. Rejoice to be in that group!” (See Hebrews 11:38)

They acted without delay

When the angels had gone from them back to heaven, they said to each other, “Let’s go!” They believed and acted on that “which the Lord has made known to us.” The Scriptures say that they went “with haste” and that they saw it was true. Sure enough, there was Mary and Joseph and the baby in the manger just as they were told. THEN, what did they do?

They JOYFULLY told everybody

“Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning the child.”

John 2:17

And the people marveled about what they were told by the shepherds. Remember. These are introverts. They are smelly.They are not used to being in town or around a bunch of people. They are most comfortable with each other and with the sheep. They are unschooled. Outcasts. Yet, they forget about the fact that they were nobodies. They knew in their “KNOWER” that it was true! They had no doubt. No one could talk them out of what they had personally experienced.

They did not hold back. They were totally in awe and wanted everyone to know. That’s what happens when you meet the Lord personally. You cannot hold back the Good News. What about you? Are you in the before or after state of what the shepherds experienced? Do you know Him personally? What about those you do life with? Do they know your story about when YOU met Jesus? (When you discovered personally that Jesus is who He says He is.)

David Jeremiah asked in his devotional:

“Will you share the true Christmas message this year with those who need to hear about God’s love and forgiveness?”

Back to the shepherds…After all this, what did they do?

They returned to their work

The Lord tells us to “occupy” until He comes (again). We are not to go and hide until He comes back for us. We are to go about out daily duties, BUT always with one eye towards Heaven, WAITING in EXPECTANCY for Him to appear with a shout!

Joy arrived that day. Pray with me

Holy God, thank You for the story of these shepherds who actually witnessed what the angel had told them. It was/is true. And they were jumping for joy. They would never again think of themselves as despised outcasts. They knew they had witnessed that “Heaven came down” that Christmas day. I pray for Your strength today to think clearly, serve creatively, and follow you consistently. Father, You have all authority in Heaven and on earth. Fill my mind with clear convictions that You are in charge. Empower me to stand true to You! Give me an unassuming servant heart like the shepherds. I know that You never ask me to do anything more than You will provide the strength to accomplish. I am so grateful for this season of the year. Thank You, Jesus. You left your palatial home to come down to live with Your creation and show us the way HOME. Never ever let me take that for granted. Never let me take YOU for granted. YOU are AMAZING! Glory, glory, glory! You deserve all Glory, honor, praise and thanksgiving. I want to be a JOY GERM…infecting as many people as possible each day…drawing them to YOU, the reason for our joy!

This week’s verse

“Then, the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

Luke 2:20

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

What About You?

Have you ever felt like you didn’t matter? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Advent Week 1 | Week 2

Do you need encouragement in your walk with God?

I offer one-on-one coaching and would love to come alongside you to help you become the woman God created you to be.

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Week Two. Mary and Joseph, Obedience.

An Advent Mini-Minute with Pam

Week Two: Mary and Joseph, Obedience.

Merry Christmas with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Pondering

Sometimes I think there is too much “ME” in me. Do you ever feel that way? Especially at Christmas–when we want so much to be Jesus-centered–we can tend to get ME centered. Overwhelmed. Weary. Busy.Distracted. Bossy. And likely focusing on how everything affects ME personally? Too busy to sit and just BE with our Lord, pondering the significance of all that transpired around His birth. Think of it, God came down. From Heaven. From royalty, to a human birth experience. Powerful! A deep and stunning, love that knows no bounds!

I am right at this moment sitting in a temptation to condemn myself. What about you? My love is so often conditional. And I get busy with tasks. And a bit grumpy.This is all proof that I have not even BEGUN to grasp the details of what my Savior experienced to PROVE His love for me. For you. So, I am so grateful that…

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Romans 8:1

Mary and Joseph

Yes, sadly, there is too much ME in me. And I have a feeling you are right there with me on this! But…astoundingly, Mary and Joseph were NOT full of themselves. There was NOT too much ME in them. Think of all they must have experienced. Gossip. Criticism. Fear. The vast unknown. They never waivered. The angel spoke and they believed and obeyed. NO ONE had EVER walked that path before. And NO ONE has walked it since then, either!

They knew the Scriptures

Evidently—in view of their responses to their angel visits—they both knew the Scriptures well. What do you think you would have done? Have YOU ever had an encounter with an angel? Would you believe and obey like they did?

Mary believed

When the angel said she would bear the Christ child, her only question was “HOW? How was that even possible, since she was a virgin?”

Joseph believed the angel that Mary was NOT unfaithful to him, but rather had been CHOSEN to be the virgin mother of the Lord. Joseph did not question. These were amazing young people! Even with their pure faith, it must have been difficult living in their community. Do you think other girls were jealous of her? Or do you think maybe no one even believed their story? Put yourself into the story and IMAGINE what it was like. They were real people.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: ‘After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew l:18 (NKJV)

Who are Mary and Joseph?

Are we doing a disservice by only making Christmas about a sweet baby in the manger, in a clean stable, surrounded by nice clean animals and shepherds worshiping the newborn baby? I think of a favorite book, also made into a movie “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. Every year I read the children’s book and watch the movie. It reminds me how we get it all wrong even performing the Christmas pageant. Pageant preparations and practices are often full of tension. Every mother wants her daughter to play the part of Mary and no one wants to be the angels. Each one wants to have a MAIN CHARACTER part. We portray it as “romantic” and lovely and sweet, when it was anything BUT that! It was difficult in every sense of the word.

They were a poor couple, likely experiencing scorn in their community. Then, leaving their family and all that was familiar, they went to an UNfamiliar place. Giving birth in a smelly barn. No running water. No central heat. No family to give comfort and support. No medication to dull the pain of delivery.

Our Savior came TO us. From Heaven. Mary and Joseph sacrificed all their dreams of what we call a “normal” life.

“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take you Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit’ She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins”

Matthew 1:20-21

Week Two. Obedience. Bethlehem

The angel quotes from Isaiah 7:14 to Joseph–that the baby will be named Jesus. Immanuel. God with us. Joseph believed the angel and married Mary immediately. And they obeyed and named the baby Jesus.

Two young people followed their call. Through their obedience, the way was prepared for Christ to bless us. The day Jesus was born was the day Immanuel happened. He is most definitely God with us. Do you believe that? I hope you do.

Why DID Christmas happen?

“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin…the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

I John 2:5, 8

“…being fully persuaded (assured) that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.”

Romans 4:21

Evangelist Vance Havner

“We are to do more than just be ready. We are to be expectant.”

John Piper

“Eternity waits for our response. Don’t lose this opportunity to make Christmas different this year. How sad if Christmas is just another busy time of year, and we miss the “REASON FOR THE SEASON”. May the Spirit of God use these words to open your eyes afresh to the glories of Christ and give you a new taste of your indestructible joy.”

Immanuel arrived that day. Pray with me.

Father, give us the attitude of expectancy. Don’t let this be an ordinary Christmas. Help us to seek you differently this year. Better. Focused.Thank you for this opportunity to reevaluate the way we enter into this Christmas season. May we look at Christmas through fresh eyes. To remember that Christmas is about OBEDIENCE. Being called to a higher ground of faith and trust in You, our Creator God. You sacrificed so much Yourself, Father. You allowed Your Son to suffer through living as a human person, with all the sufferings and sorrow and even joy that brings.

Lord Jesus, help us to step up into the responsibilities we have each day with obedience and joy. And to keep a proper perspective. This world is not our home. We are only passing through. Bless the work of our hands and bless others through us.

Holy Spirit, in those places where we can represent our Jesus, our Savior, speak to us and give us wisdom. Speak through us so that others will be drawn to Him. Immanuel. God with us. Just like you did for Mary and Joseph, Father. May we, too, be as trusting and obedient. Give us a hunger for Your Word. And for a personal relationship with You.

This week’s verse

“The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Do you need encouragement in your walk with God?

I offer one-on-one coaching and would love to come alongside you to help you become the woman God created you to be.

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Week One: A Christmas Prayer.

An Advent Mini-Minute with Pam

Week One: A Christmas Prayer.

Merry Christmas with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
As we celebrate the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray the focus this year will in all ways be on the “reason for the season”. Jesus. And that the light of His love brings you hope, salvation, peace, wisdom, and joy!

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow…”

Philippians 2:9-10

Dictionary Definition of Advent

A period of getting ready for the coming of something or someone that is important or worthy of note. The period begins four Sundays before Christmas. It is observed by some with a period of prayer and fasting. Synonyms of Advent are: appear, coming, arrival. incoming.

C S Lewis

“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.”

Christmas Rush vs. Christmas Hush

Many of us enter this season after a time of celebrating Thanksgiving to God for all we already have. We have tasks to accomplish, but the main emphasis is on people. Being together. Enjoying one another. Sharing a table together. And then the very next day is BLACK FRIDAY and we turn into TASK mode. Many rush to the stores or online to buy more things—the very next day after we thanked God for all we have. But it’s a sale, so we must go and buy and rush around and begin the season of frazzle. I am reminded of the Veggie Tales movie “Stuff Mart”. If you haven’t seen it, you might want to add that to your list of Family Video Night choices.

What if this year could be different?

We always say this year will be different, but then we fall into old habits. Let’s plan to CHOOSE to be different this year. Let’s start now, with week One of Advent.

Week One. Prophesy. Hope.

“For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful. Counselor. The Mighty God. The Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

John Piper

“I am prone to be dull, spiritually drowsy, halfhearted, lukewarm. That is the way human beings are, including Christians, even about great things. Peter knows it and is writing to awaken or to stir up his readers so that they don’t just know but also feel the wonder of the truth.” POWERFUL!

Let’s get “stirred up” this year.

Let’s be radical for Jesus. Where is our HOPE? In stuff and gifts and parties and running ourselves ragged? Let’s wake from our slumber. Spiritual drowsiness, BE GONE!!! The apostle Paul’s aim was to remind us and then to stir us up. Waking us from our slumber. He says…

“I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder.”

2 Peter: 1:13

“I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder.”

2 Peter 3:1

Let’s DO this! Because the alternative is sad.

A Christmas Prayer

Hope arrived on that day. Pray with me…

Father, thank you for this opportunity to re-calibrate each year. To remember that Christmas is celebrating PROPHESY fulfilled with the arrival of HOPE. Will we allow our emotions and affections for the Savior to be stirred up as we are awaiting Christmas Day, remembering the greatest wonder of all? With your help and sweet reminders, Father God, we will make this year different. Better. We choose to anticipate the reminder of the arrival of the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior, to this world.

Will you choose Christmas Rush or Christmas Hush this year? Will you post the reminder on your refrigerator? If this encourages you, please share.

This week’s verse

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.

Do you need encouragement in your walk with God?

I offer one-on-one coaching and would love to come alongside you to help you become the woman God created you to be.

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


What If God Has A Love Language?

A Mini-Minute with Pam: What If God Has a Love Language?

Woman reading Bible by window
Gary Chapman made the Love Languages a “thing” a few years ago. It was a big deal for awhile–to learn our own love language.

I have been thinking about what a great world it would be if we each were OTHER centered—by discovering what brings out the best in each other– so we can love them with THEIR love language.

And only after that, THEN learning how to share with others what OUR love language is. Wouldn’t that be great? Living our lives desiring to bless rather than be blessed? Do you remember what your love language is? To refresh your memory, here are the options:

The Five Love Languages

  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Physical Touch

I’ve recently been thinking that God’s primary love language must be QUALITY TIME. He craves time with us. He wants us to enjoy just BEING with Him. No agenda. No requests. No complaints. Just BEING together.

Gary Chapman believes that “God speaks all 5 love languages fluently” to us. So, when we sense God speaking our primary love language, we are more prone to be attracted to Him. To want to be WITH Him and speak to Him and learn more about Him. That’s what He desires above all—that His creation longs for and seeks time with Him. Getting to know Him deeply.

Think about Adam and Eve. God spent lots of quality time with them in the Garden.

Abraham was called the Friend of God. God frequently spoke personally with him. They even spent quality time in personal conversation together about the destruction of evil Sodom, where sadly, Lot–Abraham’s nephew–lived.

David was a man after God’s own heart. They spoke frankly together and knew each other intimately. They spent quality time together.

Jesus spent over three years with the disciples. Jesus desired focused attention and quality time with them. They traveled, ate, slept and talked together.

He spent quality time with Mary and Martha and Lazarus in Bethany. He spontaneously stopped by for meals. They enjoyed each other’s company. Mary’s love language was quality time. Martha’s was acts of service.

All of the above-mentioned Bible people had authentic love toward God. It flowed from a heart genuinely seeking to honor Him. And to BE with Him.

Missionary George Mueller wrote: “These last 3 days, I have had very little real communion with God, and have therefore been very weak spiritually and have several times felt irritability of temper.” Quality time with God was the center of his life. Without the quality time, he felt a sense of distance between God and Himself. Time with God was not a ritual for him, but rather deep and personal. Quality time was the very center of His relationship with God.

For George Mueller, that quality time with God was more important than even his call to care for the poor. His life was characterized by Acts of Service, but his energy and vision were built on the Love Language of Quality Time with God –the foundation that gave him the ability to serve with grace and joy.

So, now we know God’s love language is Quality Time, because all else is BUILT UPON that. The flip side of that is that God knows the love language of each person He created. That’s you and me. And when He wants to motivate us, He speaks to us in our own personal love language. Watch for it…learn to recognize how He does that. He is the Master of Love Language.

Let me know you are reading my posts. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is reading what I write.

I can’t NOT write, but I wonder…does it make any difference in anyone’s life?

Do you need encouragement in your walk with God?

I offer one-on-one coaching and would love to come alongside you to help you become the woman God created you to be.

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


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