As a little girl growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, I can remember my family all dressed up and going to our Christmas service with beautiful music and candles lit all throughout the church. My favorite part of the evening was singing along as loud as we could with the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Even though it may have only been 200 people, to my little-girl ears, it sounded like thousands of loud voices singing and praising God. I wonder, is that what the angels of Christmas sounded like?
My best memories at every Christmas Eve service was of my mother singing the last solo of the evening before the entire group stood to sing all the traditional Christmas hymns, loud and strong. She had such a beautiful, sweet soprano voice and sounded like an angel.
Do you have any family traditions you enjoy with your children on Christmas morning? One of our family traditions is reading The Christmas Story. Because of my singing background, I smile with the verses about the angels appearing to the shepherds and loudly singing to proclaim the good news of the baby born in a manger. Luke writes:
Luke 2: 8-16 (VOICE)
“Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light—the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified!
Messenger: Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.
At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers—a vast heavenly choir. They praise God.
Heavenly Choir: To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God!
And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!
As soon as the heavenly messengers disappeared into heaven, the shepherds were buzzing with conversation.
Shepherds: Let’s rush down to Bethlehem right now! Let’s see what’s happening! Let’s experience what the Lord has told us about!
So they ran into town, and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the feeding trough. After they saw the baby, they spread the story of what they had experienced and what had been said to them about this child. Everyone who heard their story couldn’t stop thinking about its meaning.
Have you ever wondered what the shepherds must have experienced that special Christmas night? What was it like to hear the angels sing that Christmas night?
I picture this scene as if the people involved were like the actors of a Broadway musical’s opening night, just waiting with anticipation and excitement in the wings of the stage for their cue to enter. With boldness, the first angel speaks the cue found in Luke 2:12: “You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.”
Can’t you just see it? The company of angels finally hears their cue and designated time to join in the celebration and shout out the good news of the Savior arriving on Earth.
What a blessing to be able to bring the good news of a Savior born for all people! In the hymn “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” the lyric shares the entire purpose of the angels’ message:
Hark, the heard Angels sing, glory to the Newborn King, peace on earth and mercy mild,
GOD AND SINNERS RECONCILED!
It’s amazing to me that, out of all the ways God could have been announced and chosen to come, He chose to reveal the announcement to the common shepherds and, most importantly, to arrive as a helpless baby.
After the angels disappeared, the Scripture says the shepherds rushed into town to find the newborn baby, the Savior of the World. Once they saw the baby Jesus, they shared the story of wonder and the newborn Savior with everyone they could.
The angels were the messengers who passed the good news on to the shepherds, and they, in turn, passed the message on to the people in their community. Isn’t it so true: when you have the good news of Jesus, you’ve just got to share the joy and excitement of salvation.
Can God count on you to share the good news of Christ this Christmas with family, friends, and coworkers?
You are such a loving God, to come to the Earth for me as a baby. I long to be a messenger of the good news to others, but so often, I fall short of time and courage. Right now, I’m asking for you to use me in any way you desire this Christmas season to shine the light of your love to others. I long to be a positive witness for Your Glory. Thank you for sending the angels to the lowly and poor shepherds to remind me that, no matter who we are, You care and reach out to everyone who is willing and available. We give You alone all the glory!
Special Guest Blog By Cindi McMenamin | October 19, 2018
Christian women often get the idea that they must be friends with everyone.
But that’s not a good idea. In fact, it can be a formula for drama.
The Bible warns “A man [or woman] with many friends may be harmed…”(Proverbs 18:24). Scripture also tells us “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Since you and I have the ability to choose our friends, let’s heed the Bible’s instructions in Proverbs 12:26 to choose our friends wisely.
As I was writing my book, Drama Free, it occurred to me that there are five types of friends that every woman needs. Use this suggested list as an inventory in your own life to see if you have a healthy, or unhealthy, mix of company.
- The fun friend. Let’s admit it. We all need someone who is fun to be with, who makes us laugh, who encourages us to set our work aside and live a little. You and I can’t spend every waking moment with this friend because if we did, we’d never get anything done. But if you have a friend who can balance the fun with responsibility and maturity, and encourage you to let go of work now and then and enjoy life, you have found a treasure. Who encourages you to not take yourself so seriously?
- The firm friend. I’m not talking about the woman who has very little body fat. I’m talking about the friend who will firmly tell you what you need to hear. While your fun friend may encourage you to laugh it off or live for the moment, your firm friend will often remind you of what’s best for you, even if it isn’t fun or even comfortable. She does this because of her love for you and her ability to see beyond the moment to what really matters. And if she’s able to be firm with a generous dose of grace and love, hold onto her. She is a rare gift. Who tells you what you need to hear instead of just what you want to hear?
- The forward-moving friend. Do you have someone to challenge you to be more healthy, read more books, think more deeply, hone your skills? We all need to keep moving forward personally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Who challenges you to move beyond where you are right now?
- The faithful friend. Every woman needs a friend who will be there through thick and thin. Not only is the faithful friend always there, but she’s loyal – meaning she would never talk behind your back or re-evaluate the friendship if she thinks she’s giving more than you are. A faithful friend doesn’t keep track of how many times she has called you vs. how many times you take the initiative to call her. She will pick up with you wherever the two of you left off. The opposite of the faithful friend is the gossip or critic. Proverbs 16:28 says “a gossip separates close friends.” Your faithful friend is the one who will never be whispering to others about you. Who can you always depend on, regardless of season or schedule?
- The “faith-filled” friend. Do you tend to be a worrier? Do you stress out when a situation seems out of control? If you are around others who do the same you will fuel each other’s fire of fear and doubt. That’s why every woman needs a faith-filled friend who doesn’t worry, but trusts in the Lord and helps fill up others with her faith. This world is filled with drainers who empty us through cynicism, complaining, and gossip. But a faith-filled friend will build you up with her attitude and perspective. She is also quick to forgive and is the opposite of the angry or bitter woman who holds onto offenses and drags others down by the issues in her life. Surround yourself with others who can sharpen your faith and fill your tank. Who strengthens your faith when it’s faltering and fills your tank when you’re running on empty?
The older I get the more I find that true friends are few and far between. If you have at least one friend in each category you are rich beyond measure. And if there’s a friend on that list that you don’t yet have, you know what to look for…and the kind of friend to be as well.
Which of these friends do you need in your life? And which do you want to focus on being?
Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive a free signed copy of Cindi’s book, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. (U.S. mailing addresses only please.)
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author who helps women and couples strengthen their relationships with God and others. She is the author of 17 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When Couples Walk Together, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, When You’re Running on Empty, and Drama Free, upon which this article is based. For resources to help strengthen your marriage, relationships, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
When did the members of the church in America start drifting so far apart? How will the mature believer reconnect relationships with the younger believer? No matter what the size or denomination of the church, today’s Christ follower across the generations can see this problem, but no one knows what to do to change it.
What’s the solution?
After thirty-five years of meeting with people one on one to talk about loneliness and feeling disconnected, I believe I have the answer.
We need to develop a church body and community that is willing to be active in a face-to-face mentoring relationship with each other. This is the missing link for the church and our entire society.
In a world that is increasingly impersonal and systematized, the younger millennials are hungry for the opportunity to connect with others. They desire to build a gut-honest relationship with a mature Christ follower who can speak life into their hearts and souls.
At the same time, the older generation is wondering if God has forgotten them and how they can make a difference.
We are at a crossroads. Will the older generation stand in the gap and mentor the next generation for Christ? Will the younger generation trust the older generation again?
Mentoring is a win-win situation: Younger believers are encouraged and grow, and mature Christians find a new purpose.
You may be asking, “Why bother? What’s in it for me?”
God gives us the answer in His Word. Let’s look at Proverbs 11:25
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
Who doesn’t need to be refreshed and encouraged?
You may not have even heard of the word or concept of “mentoring” before reading this article. Therefore, you may be asking, “What is a mentor and what does a mentoring relationship look like?”
A mentor is someone further along in their walk with God and continually growing in their faith. This is a person who is willing to listen and help another believer identify and maximize their strengths and giftedness, discover God’s purpose for their life and “flesh out” the day-to-day reality of the Christian walk. Not parenting. Not preaching. Not coaching. But walking alongside.
A mentoring relationship is intentional and life-giving.
The best results happen when the two meet together for one hour a week to discuss life issues, be vulnerable, be encouraged and pray in a safe place with a safe person.
I believe mentoring isn’t just a nice idea. It’s critical for your growth—professionally, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. Mentoring can make the difference between success and significance. Between doing and becoming.
Maybe God is prompting you to start a mentoring relationship. Now is the time to reach out to the next generation and share your God stories.
Just like anything we do for the Lord, it will take intentionality, planning, and prayer.
Above all, spiritual growth always happens best in relationships.
God created us to learn from and support one another. To stick together in life’s darkest moments. To celebrate and cheer each other on. Whatever season you’re in, now is the time to step out and begin seeking a mentoring relationship.
Here are 5 Steps to beginning your Mentoring Relationship:
Begin praying for the Holy Spirit to move in a mighty way as you begin an
awareness for your mentoring relationship.
Pray without ceasing for God to go ahead of you with this mentoring journey.
2.Pass it On
Start planting the seed and having intentional mentoring conversations with your
friends, small church group, Bible studies and at get-togethers.
Ask if there is anyone who has already experienced a mentoring relationship and
encourage them to share their God stories with you and others.
Mentoring face-to-face is a life changer. Invest in the Millennials and see the
incredible results. We serve a Big God. Plan Big but start small.
Take your time. Don’t rush into things. Pause. Slow down. Seek God with every
conversation and He will guide you on the mentoring path.
5. Pour into others
Certainly, be intentional and authentic. Share your God story.
Be an encourager and motivator.
“Instead of waiting for someone to take you under their wing, go out and find a good wing to climb under.” –Dave Thomas
Mentoring isn’t a formula or a checklist; it’s a relationship. May you be brave enough to be vulnerable, strong enough to reach out, and may you meet God in new ways as you connect with others on your mentoring relationship journey.
For more information on mentoring relationships click https://www.jaymeleehull.com/2017/07/18/seven-ways-to-have-a-successful-mentoring-relationship/
With Easter only one week away, I keep thinking about the real meaning of Easter and the newly released movie I Can Only Imagine.
On Easter, we celebrate and focus on how Jesus was willing to give his life for us. In the movie, I Can Only Imagine, we see how every person in the story is willing to give something up for their friend.
Bart had to be willing to forgive. Arthur had to be willing to surrender, admit he was a sinner and accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. The Youth Pastor had to be willing to continuously teach kids and be faithful to God’s message and calling. Amy Grant had to be willing to act humbly and surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leading. And most importantly,
Jesus was willing to give up his life for you and me.
How about you? Are you willing to give to others?
Will you consider saying “Yes” to Jesus this Easter and truly extend forgiveness to that person or group of people in your life?
Click on this link to view my recent Video Recording: https://bit.ly/2Hv89Xl
You may also want to visit my Face To Face Mentoring Podcast on iTunes and here on my Podcast Page to hear
I Can Only Imagine Interview with Madeline Carroll (Bart’s wife)
AMAZING Millennial Testimony!
1 Corinthians 13:12
“For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Want a quick tip that can work better than a day at the spa? A quiet moment with God can be very simple and refreshing, especially during the rush of the holidays.
I remember the first time I overheard someone talking about their quiet time with God and wondering, “What are they talking about?”
I asked my Mentor if she spent quiet time with God and she began to pour into me powerful stories of her very own quiet times.
Are you asking the same question?
Will making time for Jesus this Christmas really change my life?
Choosing to spend time reading His Word and praying for a few quiet moments uninterrupted and without distractions is a life-changer. Taking just 60 seconds to stop and listen for His response may make all the difference.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 ESV
For me, it is first thing in the morning. This sets the tone for the day. But if things get a little sideways, later on, I can repeat as needed. No matter if you are a morning or evening person, the important thing is intentionally setting the time aside to be with God.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV
I prefer my favorite chair. But, I know a lot of moms who use the parked car to find silence for a minute or two. Others find peace outdoors in God’s creation. Discover what fits with your existing routines.
I select a scripture and meditate and pray. I also quietly wait for a response as all loving conversations are a two-way street.[easy-tweet tweet=”Ask God to meet you in the quiet space you’ve carved out and you won’t be disappointed. ” user=”@JaymeHull” hashtags=”#quiettime”]
Ask God to meet you in the quiet space you’ve carved out and you won’t be disappointed. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 ESV
As we enter into the Christmas season some of us are hurting. Our hearts, and maybe our dreams, are broken. We are stressed and stretched to the point of wondering what it’s all for anyway. The hours keep shrinking and the obligations keep mounting. Where is the peace?
When did life get so… much?
We’ve lost loved ones and as their absence fills the room, we need the comfort only God can give in our grief. We know God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins, and to give His peace and presence through the Holy Spirit. And we need to believe it more now than ever.[easy-tweet tweet=”No matter what we face, Jesus is the Prince of Peace and our Rescuer – our present help in times of trouble. ” user=”@JaymeHull” hashtags=”#peace”]
God doesn’t desire for us to face today’s storms and trials alone.
As we get quiet and sit with Him, we remember that God sent His Son into this world to be Immanuel, God with us.
Be encouraged as the Word of God will bring rest to our souls.
Finally, when we exercise faith, God’s voice of love and grace break through the darkness.
Most of all, read the following verses for your encouragement and blessings from God.
VERSES ON THE PEACE OF GOD
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”Isaiah 9:6
“The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body.” Proverbs 14:20
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Therefore, we can have hope in the hard things this Christmas because Peace is not a faraway place or status to be pursued. Peace is a person and He is always ready for us to turn and grab His hand. Today we can seek and pursue Him who loves us enough to die for us. Hallelujah! He is here!
God is with us!
Click HERE for more posts on this topic.
Nearly 75 percent of women are not sure that they are making the right decisions in life. Maybe you can relate? Wouldn’t it be great to have a mentor who would do life alongside you and guide you in your decision making?
Whether you are single or married, you work full time and pay your own bills. Not a month goes by that you don’t give a cut of your paycheck to pay for that diploma hanging on the wall or childcare or loans on cars and mortgages.
But life is… well… way more complicated than you ever thought possible.
I believe that the single most important influence in your life during these years is not what degree you pursue, what job you take, or who you date… but who is pouring into your life and shaping you?[easy-tweet tweet=”I believe that the single most important influence in your life is a mentoring relationship!” user=”@JaymeHull” hashtags=”#mentor”]
A woman who is further along in her walk with God than you are, who sees your potential and walks with you in becoming the woman God created you to be.
A face-to-face relationship like this holds profound influence in developing you as a woman of God. It’s like Miracle-Gro for your life— spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.
Just to clarify, she’s not your mom and she’s not your therapist. She’s not someone you pay to spend time with you. A mentor is a friend, a guide, a confidante who offers a listening ear, honest feedback, and spiritual encouragement as you navigate each of those secondary pursuits.
Are you in the 75 percent? You’re in good company. But you don’t have to do this life alone. I’m willing to bet there is someone in your life right now who doesn’t even know she is going to help straighten those paths with you.
To hear more on how mentoring can change your life visit Face To Face Mentoring Podcast
For more than thirty years I’ve shared countless hours with Christian women I’ve mentored who are searching for their purpose in life and to know God’s will. Their questions are gut-honest and real. They are tired of just living and existing from day to day. They desire to learn and grow in their faith everyday and not just on Sunday’s. Our conversations are authentic and we are not afraid to ask the hard questions.
I used to think that the other side of fear was recklessness. “Let go and Let God,” as the adage goes. But I’ve come to realize that true fearlessness is rooted in just the opposite: my soul’s fresh awareness of God’s presence.
Regardless of your exact situation, we all have one thing in common: fear.
AN IMPORTANT WARNING
Fear is actually an important internal warning signal when we don’t feel safe, prompting us to action. For many of us, anxiety echoes back to our childhoods. Fear has gotten twisted because we have been hurt, betrayed, abandoned, and the scabbed-over wounds are still tender.
Honestly, all of this makes us hold on to circumstances rather than holding on to God.
“God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. And so we need not fear even if the world blows up and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam; let the mountains tremble!” Psalm 46:1-3
[easy-tweet tweet=”Here’s the good news: Getting unstuck is possible.” user=”@JaymeHull” hashtags=”#fear”]
Here’s the good news: Getting unstuck is possible.
But it won’t happen in isolation. Living fully starts with giving voice to your fears in a safe place, with a mentor you trust. As Stasi Eldredge writes: “The places where we still fear are simply the places we have yet to fully receive God’s love… It is an exchange of fear for desire. It is an exchange of death for life… God does not want you to live in fear. And he does want you to live.”
While our fears are real, they are not final. Whatever is in your future- joys, heartaches, celebrations, losses- this one thing I know: God will meet you there with grace and peace. on the other side of fear you’ll find more of him.
How can you marinate your heart in God’s love today? Perhaps journal a prayer, or talk to God, or sit and soak up the truth of Psalm 46. Who can you turn to for help and support (a friend, mentor or family member)?
Click HERE for more encouraging words from Jayme.