Dec 25

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS!

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Thank you, Jesus, for our lives here on earth. Thank you for our eternal lives to be spent with you in heaven.

Thank you that you made it all possible when you were born  here—Emmanuel—God with us, then, now and forever. Amen.

 

♥ ♥ ♥

Happy birthday, Jesus.

Dec 18

IT’S A BEST SELLER BECAUSE IT’S THE BEST BOOK

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I confess I didn’t get around to reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation until about 12 years ago.  Slogging through several thousand years of people and places with names we can’t pronounce is daunting.

The first year I committed to reading the Bible in a year, I gave myself a break and spent that year reading Eugene Peterson’s contemporary Bible interpretation, The Message.

Admittedly, The Message is not a scholarly translation, but the reading was enjoyable and although I still stumbled over some of those names, I didn’t stumble over the understanding.

The next year I returned to reading my tried and true NIV Bible. It took nearly twice as long to finish but I was no longer daunted. I thus went on to reread the NIV version each year for the next ten years.

Last year, a woman in our Bible study group read aloud from her New Living Translation. It felt fresh and gentle to my ears. Therefore, I spent this year reading through my own New Living Translation. I could not ignore the new understanding I received from reading the same Scripture with slightly different words. Nor could I ignore how much I enjoyed it.

I had often heard of the value of reading Scripture in more than one translation. I’ve even given that advice to others struggling with Bible reading.

I am happy to report, I have finally followed my own advice. And it has proven to be a wonderful experience.

In preparation for 2018, I started digging through my bookshelf and found over a dozen versions of the Bible sitting patiently on those shelves. Enough to keep me filled with new understandings and increased love of Scripture for many years to come.

As many of you know, I write book reviews over at the women’s magazine Ruby for Women. My book recommendation today here at CarolPetersonAuthor is to read the Bible each day from beginning to end. And varying the version you read will help you read with excited expectation at new applications God will reveal.

God does not fail to surprise.

Dec 11

TEMPLE: Finding Focus

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Where did 2017 go? What did we accomplish? What did we fail to accomplish? What do we want to focus on for 2018?

We face a brand-new year in 21 days. We open a fresh, blank calendar and wonder what we will scribble on it over the next 365 days. We look with excited expectation at what God will lead us to do; how He will grow our faith; what people He will place in our lives; how we will live in a way that shines His light around us.

One thing that helps me pay attention to what God might want to teach me is to find a focus word.  A single word, like a super condensed life verse, reminds me to pay attention, to seek understanding, to remain open to God at work in me and around me.

This year, my one-word focus has been temple. 2017 has been a year in which God has taught me about my health and the health of others. He has taught me to pay more attention to the Holy Spirit who has taken residence in this body—His temple. He has reinforced the truth that this body belongs to Him, that I am just its steward, and I should do a better job taking care of His stuff.

God has shown me His power in the little things that become big things, such as how a single word, used as a reminder and focus throughout the year is enough to teach me great big lessons and give me great big encouragement.

As I look forward to 2018, I also look forward to learning what new focus word God gives me. I have a few words *I* would like, but as in all things, whichever word He gives me will be exactly the perfect word I need  next year.

As I pray for my own focus word, I pray for you also, that God will give you clarity in your own life, that He will reveal new purposes (or old ones to keep working on), new ministries and new revelations about  how He sees your life as part of His ongoing plan.

Be blessed.

Dear Jesus, thank you for your plan and for including us in it. Please give us clarity and understanding on how you desire us to be your light. Please take our faith and grow it in astounding measure in 2018 for your glory. Amen.

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