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Promises I Can and Can’t Make

December 17, 2012

promise

When I was a child, I believed what I was promised.

If my mom promised me it was safe to play outside, I thought it was safe.

If my teachers promised me nothing bad would happen, I thought nothing bad would happen.

If an adult promised me there was nothing to worry, I thought there was nothing to worry about.

My children don’t have that luxury.

Perhaps I lived in a too-small country town. Perhaps I was naïve. Perhaps nearly 40 years ago the world was a happier and less violent place.

Whatever happened when I was a kid doesn’t matter. Whatever the world was back then, it is no longer.

My children live in a world where I can’t promise the same things that were promised to me as a child.

I can’t promise them they will always be safe. But I can promise them that I want them to be safe and that I’ll do anything—anything—to help make them safe.

I can’t promise them that bad things won’t happen. But I can promise them that when bad things do happen that God always makes good come out of it.

I can’t promise them that there’s nothing to worry about. But I can promise them that God hears their fears and comforts them in the midst of fear.

I can’t promise them that there is no evil in this world. But I can promise them that God is greater and will triumphant over evil.

I can’t promise them that when we say goodbye, I will see them again. But I can promise them that if we are taken away from one another in this life, that we will see each other again in heaven for eternity.

I can’t promise that I can take care of all their needs. But I can promise them that God holds them in His hands, takes care of every need and care, and loves them more than even Mommy and Daddy.

There is so much I can’t promise my children, and it breaks my heart. But this Christmas season reminds us of the promise that God has already fulfilled—a Savior who came to earth as a man to save us from our sins and reunite our hearts with God forever. His name is Jesus.

Jesus is the only promise I can give my children; Jesus is the only name in whom I can tell them to trust. I can’t promise or protect my children in this world, but I can point them to the One who will never forsake them or leave. Through tragedies and triumphs, may I teach my children to call upon His name—Jesus.

“He who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:15-17, ESV)

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©2011- 2012 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

Treasure This Season

December 11, 2012

Mary Jesus

Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s birthday.

My baby turned 5 years old! She was the diva birthday princess all day long. We had birthday festivities planned to make her day special, and by the time I finally got this sugar-filled, not-so-little-anymore girl to bed, I was exhausted.

Once everybody was tucked into bed, I enjoyed a quiet house as I curled up in front of the lighted Christmas tree. I was alone with my thoughts for a long time. I replayed the day of my daughter’s birth in my mind. (I can’t remember to pick up bread at the grocery, but I can remember each detail of my daughter’s birth.) I thought of all the orneriness she brought us in her toddler years, all the silly things she’s done, and how proud I am of the little girl she is now.

I started to cry thinking how fast it all goes. I pulled my hair out when she was 2 years old, but now I want to go back to those days. I smiled to myself, thanking God abundantly for the blessing of this little girl.

Last night was a gift—to be able to sit quietly and treasure these things in my heart.

It reminded of what Mary must have done the night Jesus was born.

“Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

She has been through so much as a young woman—an engagement, a conception by the Holy Spirit, an almost divorce, a tumultuous trip to Bethlehem. And then, with her sleeping baby in her arms, she treasured up all her thoughts, feelings, emotions, hopes, and dreams for this child—this Holy Child—and pondered them all in her heart.

Being the mother of the Son of God, surely she knew what difficulties were ahead for her son. But that night … in a stable under a star-filled sky … that night she just held him in her arms and knew Jesus was with her. He was all hers.

Being a child of God, surely you know that difficulties are most likely ahead for you. Nobody escapes it. But this Christmas season … in your home underneath a star-filled sky … this season just let God hold you in His arms and know that Jesus is with you.

And you are all His.

“Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, NIV).

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©2011- 2012 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

It’s All About Jesus

December 3, 2012

advent tree

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s also my favorite time of year! I love everything Christmas—decorations, cookies, carols, trees, gingerbread houses, lights—everything! Plus, I’ve had two December babies, so it makes this time of year even more special.

It’s easy, however, to caught up in everything Christmas and not CHRISTmas. Especially as parents of young children, it is sometimes hard to point them to Jesus’ birth when they are excited about school parties, Santa, and Elf on the Shelf.

Last year, we did the Jesse Tree with our kids every night in December. It was a neat experience that let us share lessons throughout the whole Bible together. This year, we have an Advent tree, and we’ve hidden Bible verses inside each door that talk specifically about Jesus. Each night we read a verse and talk about how that points to Jesus and His coming birth.

Jesus—the Reason for the Season.

God sending one person changed the entire world. He sent a person to change our hearts and lives.

God brings peace, but by giving us Jesus, He gave us the Prince of peace.
God brings redemption, but by giving us Jesus, He gave the Redeemer.
God brings comfort, but by giving us Jesus, He gave the Comforter.
God brings wise counsel, but by giving us Jesus, He gave us the Counselor.
God brings life, but by giving us Jesus, He gave us the Bread of life.
God brings healing, but by giving us Jesus, He gave us the Healer.
God brings salvation, but by giving us Jesus, He gave us the Saviour.

Christmas is about a person that God sent to be with us. Emmanuel, God with us.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, NIV)

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©2011- 2012 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

Be the Thankful One Percent

November 19, 2012

With Christmas decorations in stores in September and radio stations playing holiday music on Halloween, Thanksgiving often gets overlooked. How easy is it to breeze through Thanksgiving on our way to the more prominent and festive Christmas holiday? How often do we miss out on giving thanks on this one day, much less the rest of the year?

Very easy.

Very often.

At least for me.

I’m reminded of the story in the Bible of the 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus:

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him–and he was a Samaritan.Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19, NIV)

One man out of 10 came back to give thanks to God. One. That equals ten percent. That one man not only came back, but he praised God in a loud voice, threw himself at Jesus’ feet, and thanked Him.

How often do I do that? How often do I go back to God after fervently praying for something—for healing, for provision, for guidance, for
anything!—and thank Him for answering my desperate prayers?

Well … honestly? Ummm, not often.

Especially if I count on one day a year to give thanks to God—and that one day gets shuffled between trick-or-treating and Santa Claus.

Looks like my attitude needs greatly adjusted by gratitude.

Forgive me, Lord.

This Thanksgiving, let me challenge and encourage you (along with challenging myself) to give thanks, be grateful, show appreciation, and celebrate all the goodness that God has poured upon you! From the tiniest answers to prayers to the greatest of miracles. Don’t just be the one who runs back to Jesus with praise and thanksgiving, but encourage the other 90 percent to rejoice, as well (even Uncle Grumpy whom you are visiting this week!).

Praise God in a loud voice, fall at Jesus’ feet, and give Him thanks!

Share with us—what are you most grateful for? Let’s together celebrate God for His goodness!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1)

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©2011- 2012 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

The Flip Side of Blessings

November 12, 2012

I’m one of those people.

You know … the kind who can’t accept a compliment.

If someone offers a “congratulations” or “I’m so proud of you” or “you did that so well,” then I look to the ground, bristle, wave the person off with my hand, and mutter, “Oh, it was nothing.”

I can’t help myself. It’s annoying; I look like a fool—an ungrateful fool—but I can’t help it. I’m trying to work on it. I’m learning to simply smile and say, “Thank you.”

Although I look silly refusing a compliment, I love to be the one to bless others. Usually, my blessings come in bountiful amounts of food—and not the low-fat, low-carb, low-in-calories kind. My mama’s chicken ‘n noodle recipe can bless the socks off anyone, whether they’ve had a baby, have suffered an illness, or experienced something worse. And the extra blessing is a homemade strawberry cake for dessert. I love cooking and baking for others, and since having kids, it’s also helped them see how we can bless other families.

But the flip side of being a blessing is that we should receive blessings, as well. That, I’m not so good at.

Recently, I gave in. I had a procedure done and several friends offered to bring our family food, pick up the kids from school, and babysit the kids while I recovered.

And guess what?

I said yes.

On the tip of my tongue was, “No, that’s okay. We’ll be fine.” But a still small voice said to me, Let others have the opportunity to be a blessing.

Okay, okay. So I said “Yes, I would appreciate that.”

And were we blessed? Mightily so. I couldn’t believe how we were blessed! Play dates for my kids, a dozen beautiful pink roses, several main entrees, lots of my favorite soup (tomato bisque), goodies for my kids (chocolate chip cookies), and even my favorite dessert (mint chocolate chip ice cream). We had bountiful blessings for days.

Although it is very important to bless others, I learned a big lesson by allowing others to bless me. Accepting a blessing allowed me to be …

  • Humbled
  • Grateful
  • Appreciative
  • Thankful

Being humbled, grateful, appreciative, and thankful were good for me to experience. If I hadn’t accepted the blessings of my friends, it would have blocked their opportunities to be a blessing. I don’t want to stand in the way of anyone willing to be a blessing!

God wants us to certainly be a blessing to others. But we must also receive blessings—His blessing of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

When we receive the blessings from God, we experience …

  • Humbleness
  • Gratefulness
  • Appreciativeness
  • Thankfulness

God freely gives His blessings, but we must receive His blessings.

Will you receive God’s blessings of grace, mercy, forgiveness,
and eternal life today?

“He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” (Galatians 3:14, NIV)

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©2011- 2012 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

Thankfulness Resists Sin

November 5, 2012

Happy November!

I cannot believe how time flies! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to share with you on “Witty Words,” because it seems like life just gets busier the more I try to focus on slowing it down.

But I can’t let us get too far into the Thanksgiving season without sharing about being thankful. Since September, I have been in an amazing Bible study that is going through the book of Genesis. A few weeks ago, in the “Cain and Abel” lesson, a particular principle really struck me. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it and applying it in my life, so I also wanted to share it with you:

Sin begins in not glorifying God as God and in not being thankful.

Did you get that? Not being thankful can cultivate sin in our lives!

Wow. Wow! WOW!

Since reading this one sentence, I’ve tried to be aware of my attitude and to always have a thankful heart. After all, we are so blessed—we have all we need and could ever want. However, living in an entitled society can make me dissatisfied with what I have and yearn for more, more, more.

Think of the times you have sinned. Did you gossip? Were you prideful? Did you covet someone else’s belongings? Whatever it may have been, backtrack to the cause or reason of the sin. Was an ungrateful heart involved?

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

If you are thankful for …

  • Your spouse, then you’ll treasure your marriage, and your eyes and heart won’t stray to another.
  • Your children, then you’ll treasure the blessings God has bestowed upon you, and you’ll be patient and loving as a parent.
  • Your house, then you’ll realize you are fortunate for adequate shelter and make your house a loving home for your family.
  • Your possessions, then you’ll know that less is more and you already have more than you need.
  • Your clothes, then the latest trendy fashions won’t matter quite as much.
  • Your friends, then you’ll strive to be a blessing to those God has surrounded you with.

A thankful heart realizes the blessings God has given us and displays that only because of Him do we have all we could ever need or want.

A thankful heart knows that only God is God.

A thankful heart cultivates gratefulness, humbleness, and generosity and resists sin.

What are you thankful for?

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21)

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©2011- 2012 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

Wordless Weekend

October 20, 2012

Photo Source: Mike Guevin Photography, Sarasota, FL

©Mike Guevin Photography (used with permission)

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