Taking Baby Jesus Out of the Manger | April Rodgers

What a fabulous blog post and Christmas challenge from one of my El Salvador trip friends, April Rogers over at Reflecting Light.

Taking Baby Jesus Out of the Manger by April Rodgers

Christmastime is here! One by one the boxes come out of the attic and treasures from years past are rediscovered.  A handmade ornament here.  A special candy dish there.  A picture of your child screaming while sitting on Santa-from-the-Mall’s lap. Oh, the memories.One thing that our family likes to collect is nativities.  We have several from around the world: Peru, Israel, and I even brought back one from El Salvador this year.  We have full sets from Willow Tree and Fontanini.  We have big ones and small ones.  Like I said, it’s our thing.

As I carefully unwrapped one manger scene to display, I was thinking of the sweet baby Jesus asleep on the hay and what an amazing gift it is that heaven came down to create this scene.  Everything is so serene, so tender and mild.

But I wonder, how content are we to let Jesus stay in the manger?  

You can read the rest of April’s post and Christmas challenge here -> Taking Baby Jesus Out of the Manger | April Rodgers

I am also planning to join April in her in her Christmas challenge to take baby Jesus out of the manger this Christmas and make Him Lord of my life.  I hope you will join in too. What a great way to celebrate the gift of our savior this Christmas season!

Thanks for reading!

Terri Siebert

What God Taught Me Today About NOT Hushin’ My Mouth

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So its day 3 of the 31day blog challenge and I am sitting here at the keyboard wondering if I will be able to pull off another day of writing.  I have no idea what to write about today…. Hmmmm…. I got nothin’

I guess I could tell you about how I almost had a car accident today….

This is what happened – Today it is a beautiful fall day, the weather is just a tiny bit chilly, the sky is a dark blue and the leaves are starting to turn colors with just a few of them falling and blowing around on the road.  I had my sunroof open and my radio turned up loudly and singing along to Sidewalk Prophet’s new song “Save My Life.”  Now that I think about it I find it a bit ironic that I almost get in a terrible car wreck at the same time as song called Save my Life is playing on the radio.

I was driving and singing…..

Tell me what I need to hear

Tell me that I’m not forgotten

Show me there’s a God who can be more than all I ever wanted….. (those were words from the song)

All the sudden I see a flash of green coming fast to my right and realize a Green SUV is barreling down the road that is meeting up with the one I’m on looking as if he is going to pull out on the highway in front of me without stopping.  I am going about 50 miles per hour… I have no time to stop…. “Is he gonna stop?!?” flashes through my mind as at the same time my mind has already answered back, “NO HE IS NOT!”

There is no avoiding the accident.  I have no time to stop and he is already part way in the road right in front of me. I swerve into the empty oncoming lane and as I do it another thought flashes through my mind, “I am on a curve in the wrong lane is anyone coming toward me on the other side of that curve?” By now my car goes off the pavement on the left side of the road because he is still coming out, seriously am I driving and invisible car today??  I am partially in the grass and then on the road back and forth and somehow I manage to get back fully on the road and somehow back into my own lane. During all this I am seeing the other vehicle still coming on the side of my car knowing that at any second there will be the impact of him hitting me…

The Impact never came…

I am past him now looking in my rear-view mirror just in time to see him drive away as fast as he can.

Then it hits me… anger,

“WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING YOU IDIOT?!” came roaring out of my mouth. And then at that same instant my body went into that Jellowy like feeling as the adrenaline rush I had been in for the last 20 seconds left my body. I was then shocked and like all…”What??”… “There is no way on this earth that I could have avoided an accident! What just happened here?”  By now I had to pull over to the side of the road because I was so jellowy that I couldn’t drive.

I sat there on the side of the road for a few minutes just thinking about what had just happened.  One second I am singing and in the snap of a finger I almost crash and it is all over with in less than 20 seconds.  Wow things sure can change in such a short time!  There could have been a very serious accident.  Both myself, the driver of the other car, and possibly anyone else who could have been coming around one of those corners at that time could have been seriously injured or possibly killed.  I still can not fathom any way it was at all possible for that accident to not happen but yet it didn’t happen.  I sat there on the side of the road a few minutes longer thanking God and realizing just how quickly people’s lives can change and also how quickly we can die.

I have a very good friend right now who has stage 4 lung cancer her doctor told her that there is no cure for her illness.  There are treatments to shrink the cancer and to help to prolong her life.  No matter what the doctors tell her she keeps living her life as if she will live a normal amount of time.  She believes she will live a long time and better yet God will cure her and I believe that too.  As I write this today I wonder, what is a normal amount of time to live??  None of us are guaranteed anything.  She has a cancer that some may say is a death sentence, yet I could have died today in less than 20 seconds and I am not even sick.  We are all dying and we have been since the day we were born.

And that prompts me to I ask you question….if you were to die today where would you go?  I will ask myself the same question though I already know the answer.  If I died today I fully believe I would go to Heaven.

My next thought is, of all the people I know who do not believe in Jesus, or who do believe yet haven’t given their lives to him….What if they died today, where would they go??  ya you know the answer as do I.

I had to stop writing for a while after I wrote that because that thought hit me like a ton of bricks and makes me really sad.

Sobering thoughts today here on the blog.

If this is true why do I not tell more people about Jesus? The truth is its uncomfortable sometimes.  I always think that people do not want me to tell them this stuff or that they may be offended and become angry. Who knows maybe you are reading this right now and offended. I may even get flack for this post in the comments or a few emails that is IF I am brave enough to publish this.

Why do I feel this way? Well I used to not believe and I did not want some Christian telling me what I did not care to hear.  I felt like I was being judged when someone told me about Jesus.   I was never against anyone who was a Christian I just thought to each his own and let them believe what they believed and I wanted to be left alone to believe what I believed.  My in-laws were Christians and I would even pray with them when they prayed at dinner to not make waves, I never really told them I did not believe though they did all know I did not go to church.  I even went to church a few times as a kid and also an adult. I thought I believed for a short amount of time but never really understood the whole God/Jesus thing (read here for that story).  I look back now that I do understand and I know its that I just never knew about the relationship with Jesus part.  Nobody ever told me about that part, I wonder why?  Maybe because they thought I  did not care to hear it…Yes  I know I just made a full circle but that brings me right back to this…because I did not care to hear it I think it most likely made them uncomfortable and they did not want to offend me. I could be wrong and its past now, this is just some of my ponderings that go on in my head that just happen to be coming out on the keyboard today.

AAAANYWAYYY… back to the not having a wreck story…. Today I was driving down the road singing and in the snap of a finger I could have died.   What if I would have died and nobody had ever told me that all I had to do was ask Jesus to lead my life and accept him as my savior that I would be saved?  What would have happened to me if I were not saved?  I would have went to Hell.

Harsh I know but I have to say it because whether or not we choose to have Jesus as our savior IS a matter of life and death.

Which leads me to one last question.  If having Jesus in a person’s life is a matter of life and death then why would I not be opening my mouth to tell someone about him? It is much better to be uncomfortable and take a chance on making people angry than the consequences of not doing it.

I think today God wants me to not hush my mouth sometimes.  I think maybe sometimes I tend to hush it to much in the wrong areas. I think he wants me to open it up and tell people about Jesus no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel and not worry about if it will make the other person uncomfortable or offend them. I need tell them, it’s my job while I am on this earth. Plus since Jesus has been in my life I am alive more than I ever was before.  He is the best thing that ever happened to me.  Why in the world would I not want to share that??!

Well that’s all I have for today.  I thought I had nothing to write but seems like once again I have a whole page full.

I am sorry if this post seems so harsh but that is what God showed me today to share on day 3 of 31 Days of Hushin’ My Mouth. I decided to leave this post just as I wrote it, so that means no looking back to proofread because I don’t dare want to chance rethinking what I wrote, woohoo I am feeling brave today  😉  Come back tomorrow for day 4, your guess is as good as mine as to what the subject will be  😀

Thank you for reading today,

Blessings,

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P.S.  If you do not know Jesus, you may leave a comment and I will try my best to help you get the answers you need.  There is also a link right –> here that has a lot of info about him too.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

To read the rest of the posts in this series you can click here – 31 Days of Hushin’ My Mouth

#write31days

Tonight I heard this Song

Tonight I heard this song on the radio and then later stumbled across the video on YouTube. I got teary eyed as I listened because it got me to thinking about how much my life has changed in the past 4 years.

Enjoy Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) by Chris Tomlin

I love the words….

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

Lord thank you for your amazing love, mercy and grace. Without you I really don’t know where I would be right now.  Amazing grace…how sweet the sound…that saved a wretch like me…I once was lost…but now I’m found…was blind…but now I see… 

I didn’t write many of the words in this post tonight but feel them as if they could have been mine. The video along with the words touched me deep inside my soul and I hope they touch you too.

Have a blessed evening, T

From Sunrise to Sunset

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Photo taken in Riveria Nayarit Mexico, one more of God’s amazing gifts!

For as long as I live on this earth I will continue to be amazed at the beauty that God continually puts before me. Not only is each day gift from God, but also in each day there are many gifts to be had. Will I chose to let God’s gifts slip by unnoticed or will I slow down and stop to unwrap them? If I don’t choose to unwrap them, will they still be there waiting or will they slowly slip away to be lost forever?

I am so thankful that I didn’t let this one slip away unnoticed. This evening I stopped and watched as this wonderful and amazing gift was unwrapped before my eyes. As the sun slowly slipped down into the ocean I watched the sky turned to beautiful shades of oranges, reds, yellows and blues and the waves were shining and glittering like black glass. I felt like an artist was painting on a canvas right before me.  As I savored and enjoyed this gift that was given to me I realized what an awesome God I serve and just how blessed I am. He is the artist, the amazing one who created this beautiful gift and I am thankful and in awe that he gave it to me.

Journal entry February 18, 2014 Riviara Nayarit Jalisco Mexico

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A Re-gift

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Photo credit to Reverendfun.com Copyright © 2011 The Zondervan Corporation

The best gift that was ever given to us is a gift we should give away…

That gift is JESUS

He is the light shining in the darkness,

He is hope when all seems hopeless,

He is peace when we are restless,

He is the joy that takes away our sadness,

He is LOVE

He is the gift that was given to us to save us from ourselves.

He is the only gift that we all need.

As you are celebrating today remember today is the day we celebrate the birth of our SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST

He is the reason for Christmas Day and the best gift of all.

Today I am thankful Jesus was given to me.

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

May the love of the Savior fill your heart so full today that it spills over to others and you pass his gift along.

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Accept His Gift and then pass it along

Merry Christmas!

Live Second Day 32: Love Defined

Before you read my 4th and final post from my Live Second journey I have something to say….. Though the book I have been blogging through is titled ‘Live Second’ I feel like I am not second…  Yes you heard me right I said “I am not second”   The way I see it the order should be this way…. 

#1 Jesus  

#2 Others 

And Then …ME  “I am Third, I am Fourth, I am Fifth…maybe even LAST.

with that being said here is my final post from my Live Second journey…..

Day 32 of my Live Second Journey:  Love Defined

 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal – 1 Corinthians 13:1

‘All of life, every good deed, every noble task, if not colored and painted with love creates only an empty canvas’ – Live Second

As many of you know I am a child sponsor and also child advocate through Compassion International.  It is something I have been a part of for a little over 2 and a half years and one of the many huge blessings of my life.

The first time someone asked me to sponsor a child I gave them the answer of no but after I was asked I could not seem to get those kids out of my head.  I kept going to Compassion’s website and looking at the kids over and over eventually sponsoring a little girl from the Dominican Republic named Walkiris.

I realize now it was God pressing me to sponsor but at the time of my life I was just starting my journey with Jesus and was not really in tune with all the Jesus ‘vibes’ yet.  I think I sponsored her more because I thought it was what I should do more than doing it out of love.

When a child is sponsored through Compassion the sponsor and the child are encouraged to write letters to one another.  In the beginning the letter writing was not one of my strong points.  Even though now I will sit for hours writing a blog post or writing in a journal, writing letters was not something I liked to do and when it came to writing that little girl I could not think of a thing to write.  Thankfully even though it made me very uncomfortable I did still write to her.

About 3 months after I sponsored Walkiris I received my first letter from her.   Because she was only 4 years old a grownup wrote her letters for her and she drew me pictures signing the letter with her little finger print in blue ink. The minute I read that first letter was the moment I first saw the love.  I could see all the hard work she had put into making those pictures special for me and there was just something about that blue fingerprint that moved me.   After I received that special letter I began pouring love into the letters I wrote to her and somewhere along the line I began to love that little girl like she was my own child.

The author of Live Second wrote ‘All of life every good deed, every noble task if not colored and painted with love creates only an empty canvas’.

Something I realize now is though sponsoring her was a good deed, God did not call me to sponsor her to just send her money and do a good deed, He called me to love her.  He called me to give of myself to her. He wanted me to take the time and write her letters.  Had I just sent her a check and not took the time to write her I am pretty sure I would have missed a very huge blessing.

Something I have been discovering through these past few days of blogging is that love is not just some mushy feeling you get inside.  Love is everything that makes anything worth while.

Love is what happens when your heart cares for others so much that you want do nice things for them.

Love is when you feel someone else’s pain and want to take if from them or when you find yourself loving or even crying for someone you have never met.

Love is also when you find yourself praying for a person who just treated you badly and you find yourself humbly washing their feet.

When you selflessly give of yourself and don’t think of receiving something in return, then you have found true love.

Today I saw a picture someone posted on facebook.  It said, ‘I hate it when someone treats you like dirt and you still care about them even though you shouldn’t.’  I had to stop and think about that for a minute because truth is… we should still care about them not matter how they treated us.   We don’t have to like them but we should love them. We should love like Jesus loved us.  He hung on the cross praying for those who hung him there dying not only for my sins but those who hung him there too. We love because he loved first.  I ask myself today, can I love like that?

‘Love has little to do with feelings and everything o do with selfless, humble thoughtful care for another person.’ – Live Second

Can you imagine our world if we did not have love?  What would be our purpose of living?

Today is Christmas Eve and as you are going about your Christmas celebrations today and tomorrow please remember what Christmas is all about.  Christmas is about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the greatest gift of all and He is love and once we accept the gift of his salvation we are redeemed and forever saved!  If you put him first in your life and I promise you you will never regret it, your life will never be the same and you will have peace, love and joy forever and ever, that is love defined!

Thank you for reading Merry Christmas and may God bless you with his love, peace and joy this coming new year!

Do you want to know God? click the picture for more information

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Do some last minute Christmas shopping and give a child the gift of your sponsorship this Christmas

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Give an unsponsored child a gift this Christmas

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#IASlovedefined

#itsaboutgiving