The birds were singing sweet songs the day I made this video. I did not realize just how much until watching it back today. 🤗
I always loved spring. New life. Flowers of every color now warmed by the sun popping up through the cold, dark brown dirt of winter. Miraculous. Baby birds chirping as they await mama birds return with food. All of the many moments of spring remind me of time with my grandmother who was larger than life and a soul with more mystery and beauty than the brightest star I have ever seen.
From a young age, she would sing songs that I had never heard. One of my favorites songs she ever sang was one about sparrows. The discovery of a new nest each spring would stir the words and she would sing- “I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’d free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”
She taught me so much about Jesus, not always in words but with her life. I longed for the joy the smallest thing would bring to her. The wonder of it all still draws me to pursue Jesus daily.
She taught me about God’s love, the beauty of creation, to be grateful and give thanks in all things.
Jesus was truly her portion and constant friend. Could not share this video today with you and your children without thinking of her and living once again even for a moment in her gracious ways. I know God’s love and care because of moments walking right alongside of her. I can still hear her voice singing…..
When Jesus is my portion. A constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
Lord, we ask today for more of Your Holy Spirit in our lives. Lord, it can be easy for us to become consumed with the fears that surround us in life, but we know that just as Your eye is indeed on the sparrow, so also do You care for and see us.
Teach us today to become more reliant on You. Bring us into a greater discernment of how You operate, so that we may come into a deeper understanding that all we see with natural eyes is not all that is. Today we ask for eyes to see Your hand in all matters, and hearts open to Your work. Amen. – Callie Logan
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Welcome to another weekend of racing! I love spending time with you around God’s Word. Grab your Bible and join me as I share share a really neat way to P.R.A.Y and a new song to help you pray every day!!
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“The joy of the Lord is my strength” is a phrase we often hear, but what does it mean, really? Let’s take a deeper look at the context of Nehemiah 8:10 and discover what this phrase means for us as Christians today.
Ever feel like your strength is running out? I have. Some days, it’s all too easy to evaluate my current level of strength and measure it against the days ahead. I even have moments when I struggle with doubt at times, and wonder how I am going to make it through that day, let alone all the days in the future.
Today, let’s look at the Bible Verse “The joy of the lord is my strength”.
Where does the phrase “the joy of the Lord is my strength” come from? This bible verse is found in Nehemiah 8, where Ezra the scribe reads the words of God’s law to the people. They stand in reverence for hours as God’s word is read, and as they understand it, begin weeping.
For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:9-10)
When we feel sorrow – whether it be realization of sin or because of difficult circumstances – we often wonder where our strength is going to come from. But it is vital to remember: the joy of the Lord is my strength.
But what is ‘the joy of the Lord’?
We cannot conjure up this type of joy within ourselves, by our own power. It has to come from one source only – the Lord.
Thank goodness it’s not our human joy – it’s the joy of the Lord. Put another way, it’s the joy God has, or possesses.
Can you even begin to imagine the amount of joy God has?
What’s even more amazing is that God’s joy centers around us. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before Him” (a relationship with us). And Zephaniah 3:17 says that God rejoices over us with singing!
Have you ever thought about the fact that being in a relationship with you makes God happy? Knowing that God feels this way about you should spark the flame of joy within you, too!
As Christians, we have access to God’s boundless joy, a joy that does not come from our circumstances or within ourselves. It does not depend on how strong or spiritual we are.
This joy comes from God alone, and the relationship we have with Him.
This realization also enabled the apostle Paul. Here’s a sermon clip from my husband about how God’s strength enabled him:
How to Let God Be Your Strength (Like Paul)
You may be asking, “But how can I access God’s joy in my life?”
We have an example from Nehemiah 8. As Nehemiah read the words of the Law, the people wept and mourned because they were not obeying the law. But Ezra comforts them, telling them not to weep because the joy of the Lord is their strength.
Their joy was realized because, even though a knowledge of the truth caused sorrow (repentance), it also gave them direction. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
Changing their lives and following God’s ways gave them a deeper joy than they could have attained on their own.
It’s the same for us – when we study and know the truth within the pages of the Bible, we have the joy of the Lord!
Father, thank you for intervening in my life and allowing me to have a personal relationship with you. Thank you for your love for me today and forever. Thank you for the blessings you’ve given me and my family. Help us use those blessings to bless others. May I live a life of true joy as I see you at work around me today! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
My morning prayer for my family and breathing prayer throughout the day. May love abound over our families today.
Father, thank you for the blessing of a family. Today, please keep the enemy at bay. Increase their faith. Protect them from falling into temptation. Grant them the opportunity to shine a light in the darkness and lead others to you. Whatever is making my family anxious today, I ask that you comfort them, and that they can rest in your complete sovereignty. Amen.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Please join me for a 28 Day Morning Prayer Focus beginning February 1, 2021
“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8
A morning prayer is a wonderful way to focus your time and attention on seeking God’s plan for the day ahead. I encourage you to memorize this verse. I was challenged by a beautiful Godly woman when I was in my early twenties to pray this as a prayer every morning before I ever get out of bed. It truly has and remains a focused morning after waking conversation with my Heavenly Father.
Whether you need encouragement, peace, strength, or rest, God can meet you in a very real and present way when you come before Him with a humble heart. Seek God’s presence each morning before your energy and attention are pulled by all the tasks you have ahead.
I am sharing this with you because I’d love for you to join me over at the MRO Community Center blog for the next 28 days. Each morning I will share a morning prayer focus to stay your mind on for your day. In my experience this type of prayer outside of my committed time to prayer encourages my soul, stays my mind on one simple focus when prayer may be needed and strengthens me for the day ahead. I have put together 28 different prayer themes to focus on as a way to encourage breathing prayer throughout the day.
What an incredible honor it is to go before the Lord in prayer every morning. Our community is facing a brand new season and I cannot imagine any other way to to start than to lay a pathway of prayer that will be with us, go with us and carry us through every little detail that our heart needs and all that life may bring.
It is very simple to join me. You can sign up to receive each post by email or check out the MRO Community Center blog each morning!
We love you. God loves you. He sees the challenging things that your heart knows so well. Surrendering them all to Him will set you free. Your Heavenly Father knows it all. He desires to have a conversation with you. It’s my hope that these morning prayer prompts will help you draw closer to Jesus from the rising of the sun until each days end. Rejoice in His presence and cling to all you know is true. He is there.
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23
The big day is HERE. It’s Christmas, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth.
As you open up gifts, remember the gift God gave us: the Rescuer! You could even sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus as a part of your day’s festivities. Then snap a pic and tag us on Instagram (@mrocommunitycenter) to show us how YOU celebrated Jesus’ birthday this year!
Sometime this week, consider celebrating Jesus’ birthday by inviting a few of your closest friends and family members over to read the story of his birth in Luke 2 or watch this video!
Before you begin celebrating, carve out some time to read the Christmas story in the Bible as a family.
You can look it up in Luke 1:26-38 and Luke 2:1-20
The Coming Birth of Jesus
“In the sixth month after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. He was sent to a virgin. The girl was engaged to a man named Joseph. He came from the family line of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel greeted her and said, “The Lord has given you special favor. He is with you.”
Mary was very upset because of his words. She wondered what kind of greeting this could be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king like his father David of long ago. He will rule forever over his people, who came from Jacob’s family. His kingdom will never end.”
“How can this happen?” Mary asked the angel. “I am a virgin.” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God. Your relative Elizabeth is old. And even she is going to have a child. People thought she could not have children. But she has been pregnant for six months now. Nothing is impossible with God.”
“I serve the Lord,” Mary answered. “May it happen to me just as you said it would.” Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:26-28
Jesus Is Born
“In those days, Caesar Augustus made a law. It required that a list be made of everyone in the whole Roman world. It was the first time a list was made of the people while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be listed.
So Joseph went also. He went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea. That is where Bethlehem, the town of David, was. Joseph went there because he belonged to the family line of David. He went there with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby.
While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. There was no room for them in the inn.
Angels Appear to the Shepherds
There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were looking after their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared. They were praising God. They said, “May glory be given to God in the highest heaven! And may peace be given to those he is pleased with on earth!” The angels left and went into heaven. Then the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. The baby was lying in the manger. After the shepherds had seen him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over.
The shepherds returned. They gave glory and praise to God. Everything they had seen and heard was just as they had been told.” Luke 2:1-20
What is YOUR favorite part of the Christmas story?
Check out this story! We started with it. You can also end with it as well!
Jesus wasn’t a typical baby. He was the king, and God made that clear. Watch God’s Story: Christmas (below) as a family to find out some of the extraordinary things that happened to show Jesus is the Rescuer.
Why do you think God allowed all those amazingly crazy things to happen?
You can also make up your own crazy Christmas story. The beginning can be as simple as, “Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to fly.” Then add to it, one person at a time. See how wild you can make it.
(But remember, the extraordinary story of Jesus’ birth…is all true!)
The Bible is the story of God’s rescue plan for us; Jesus was sent to earth to save us from our sin. That’s what John 8:12 means when it says Jesus is the LIGHT. Even though He was the light of the world, He was born surrounded by animals and hay.
If your neighborhood has a local, live Nativity scene, it could be fun to visit.
What’s YOUR favorite Nativity animal?
Have your parent share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To remind yourself of how GREAT God is, write down some of your favorite Bible verses.
Here are a few of mine.
The Lord has shown you what is good. He has told you what he requires of you. You must treat people fairly. You must love others faithfully. And you must be very careful to live the way your God wants you to.
My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to what I say. Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry.
I Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways remember him. Then he will make your paths smooth and straight.
Don’t worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. Give thanks to him.
I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength.
“I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.
“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
But those who trust in the Lord will receive new strength. They will fly as high as eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow weak.
Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’
“Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t be terrified because of them. The Lord your God will go with you. He will never leave you. He’ll never desert you.”
Put them them in a stocking. For the remainder of Advent (Christian Faith: the period of time beginning four Sundays before Christmas.)
Encourage your Christmas experience by pulling a verse out of the stocking each day and then read together as a family.
If you have older children, they may enjoy this great Awaited Comic Book!!!