Saturday, December 22, 2012

Beyond Sunday Morning Update

Hello, friends.  Guess what?  A few things are changing with Beyond Sunday Morning, and I wanted to make sure you were aware, especially those of you who receive my posts or view them through your Blogger Reading List.  Future posts will be made at my new blog address: 

I hope you will come and visit me there, I so much enjoy ministering to each of you through blogging.  You can sign up to receive future posts from me by email in the sidebar at my new address.

Hope to hear from you soon!


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Thursday, December 20, 2012

December to Remember Day 20

I Don't Like to Travel

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him. -- Matthew 2:2

We talked about the journey for wisdom yesterday, and we are still on a journey, but our destination is different. The wise men had pursued wisdom which is how they knew to follow the star, but the journey itself was even more than a pursuit of wisdom, it was also for worship......
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December to Remember Day 19

Can It Really Be Found?

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem if Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem -- Matthew 2:1

Who were these men called wise men? Who were the magi?

Some say they were astrologers, some say they were magicians, some say they interpreted dreams, and all of those things are probably true, but what catches my attention about who they were has to do with wisdom and what they did for it.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December to Remember Day 18

There's Nothing Like The Sound of Your Voice

Oh, my friends, we have made it to the manger.

We've made it to the feeding trough and there before us is the Bread of Life, the Righteous Branch oustretched, and at peace. The heart knows all is well in this moment. A calm delight wells up within. Stop and take it in for just a moment. You are there in the presence of His complete pureness.

It's time to worship.  How do we worship? 
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Monday, December 17, 2012

December to Remember Day 17

In Haste.





There are more things to do and more places to be than there are of you to go around.

Is that how you feel this time year?  Rush right here for more...
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

December to Remember Day 16

No Room. Maybe That Was A Good Thing.

Let's travel back just a few verses so that I can share something with you that occurred to me this week as I thought about the Christmas story. Let's rewind to Luke 2:7  Click Here for more...
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

December to Remember Day15


And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. --Luke 2:12

Read more on Outstretched ...
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Friday, December 14, 2012

December to Remember Day 14

Even Today.

For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. --Luke 2:11
Today in the city of David.  Read On...
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

December to Remember Day 13

The Heart Knows All Is Well


There are few things in this life that evoke the same emotions I feel when I look upon a sleeping baby, especially when I looked upon my own sleeping infants.  Read On.....
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December to Remember Day 12

As Different As Night and Day

And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. -- Luke 2:8-9
Since we're all shepherds anyway, lets think for a minute what this must have been like.    Read On...
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December to Remember Day 11

Me? A Shepherd?

And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. -- Luke 2:8
One year in the annual Christmas Program at church, our girls had parts in the play that, at first they thought unlikely.  Read on...
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Monday, December 10, 2012

December to Remember Day 10

The Feeding Trough

...and she wrapped Him in cloths and laid HIm in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. --Luke 2:7
In a manger.  Read on...
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

December to Remember Day 9

While They Were There

And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son..... -- Luke 2:6-7
While they were there.

While they were where? Far from home. Far from comfort. Far from preferred.Read more....
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

December to Remember Day 8

A Royal Bread Box

Earlier in this series we learned what Nazareth meant, click here if you missed that day. I promise, you won't be sorry.

I loved learning about Nazareth, but today we are arriving in Bethlehem, Heaven's choice as a birthing center to welcome our matchless Savior. We broke down "Nazareth" to discover it's meaning, and we'll do just the same with Bethlehem. I hope you are in as
much awe over what you read here today as I was when I discovered it a few days ago.  I still get goosebumps over it.  Click here to keep reading
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Friday, December 7, 2012

December to Remember Day 7

Just Who Are You, Anyway?


Yesterday we left off with Caesar Augustus issuing a decree that everyone had to participate in a census that ordered each person to return to the city of their
birth to register.  Read more.....
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

December to Remember Day 6

God's Plan Trumped All That

Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. -- Luke 2:1
Picture A decree went out.....

Just what is a decree, anyway? 

According to google, a decree is an official order issued by a legal authority.  When a decree is issued, what the person in authority says in that decree goes.  No questions.  No negotiation.  It is stated, therefore it is.  Read On.....
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December to Remember Day 5

Never Walk Alone


Several weeks ago our family attended a birthday party hosted by dear friends of ours for their daughter. We had a blast playing all sorts of games, but I think the overall crowd favorite was the three-legged race.  Read on.....
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December to Remember Day 4

Did Someone Say My Name?

Question for you - What name do you go by? What I mean is, do you go by your real name or are you a person who is named one name, but everyone really knows you by another? Read on....
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Monday, December 3, 2012

December to Remember Day 3


Any Other Name
Wouldn't Be As Sweet

As a young pregnant mother, I pondered name after name, searching for the one that was just right for our little one with both pregnancies. McKayla's first name wasn't so hard, since Todd had liked that name for a very long time, but her middle name was carefully chosen. Then, since we were just sure that our second was going to be a boy, we had some boy names in mind and almost finalized. We really hadn't given much thought to a name for a little girl until the ultrasound declared my mother's intuition to be wrong!

I panicked. Here we were, over half way through and we had no clue about what we would name this child, and we were no where near a conclusion. Several names came to mind and, well, ahemmmm.....they were vetoed by Todd. Nothing seemed to be "just right". He suggested we name her Breanna, which I really liked, except for the fact that Breanna was the number one baby name at that time.

Let me explain. My name is Amy. Apparently it was a very popular name in the year that I was born. As I went through my years in elementary and middle school, I attended a school in a rural community, which by most standards, would have been considered small. Even though my school was small, there were still 3 Amy's in my class. Amy M., Amy N., and Amy P. Now imagine us all seated in alphabetical order, which was often the case. Imagine turning in your paper without the last initial on the same day another Amy did the same. We also at one time had 3 Jennifers. Ugghhhh. I decided one day sitting in Mrs. Nanney's 7th grade Social Studies class that I would put a stop to this problem as far as I was concerned by naming my children something that was a little different.

So, you can understand when my sweet husband pops out with the oh so popular name Breanna, that I quickly vetoed him right back. We were in a stalemate. I would ask about the baby name and he would say, "I told you what I liked. Breanna." My mature response would always be something like, "And I told you we aren't naming her that." After several weeks, we did finally settle on a compromise and decided to name her Brenna. Close enough to what he wanted, and different enough for me.

Funny thing is, after all of the contemplating and discussing of names, I could not imagine either of my girls being called anything different.

And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. --Luke 1:31
In biblical times names weren't chosen for their popularity, they were chosen for their meaning. There were even times people changed their names to fit the circumstances of their lives. God saved Mary the trouble of picking a name. He had it all picked out for her. He told her what it should be and He didn't pick the name based on popularity or trends, He picked the name because of what it meant.

The name Jesus has a very significant meaning.

The name Jesus means just what He does for us.

It means "the Lord saves."

Can you imagine? The angel is speaking to Mary and says, "You shall name Him the Lord saves."

Wow, what mighty shoes to fill in a tender babe, especially when a name held meaning over a life.

My question for you is this -

If His name means the Lord saves, aside from eternal destruction, what has He saved you from?

You may not think of something right off the bat, but I challenge you today to reflect on the timeline of your life and look for things in this life that He saved you from.

When I look back on mine, I see his name all over it.

There are blocks of times, critical decisions where I can see it plain as day that if it weren't for Jesus, I don't know where I would be.

God gave Him the perfect name because any other name wouldn't be as sweet. Certainly not to me. His name itself is a gift to us, our third gift unwrapped this December.

The matchless name of Jesus, Father, I look back at my life and see that Jesus is still saving me today. Not only from an eternity of separation from you, but saving me from things in this life, often from even myself. Thank You that You continually have Your hand upon my life working it to your will. Jesus, your name is so sweet. It brings such power, it brings unspeakable peace. I couldn't think of a name that fits WHO YOU ARE more perfectly.
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

A December to Remember Day 2


O Favored One

Yesterday we began in Luke 1, verse 26. The angel Gabriel was sent to Nazareth with a special message. Let's pick up right where we left off.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! -- Luke 1:26-28
The angel addressed Mary as "favored one", I have always read this part of the story and looked upon Mary with such admiration. What an honor for God to send the angel Gabriel to speak with her and then to be called favored one.
When I think of a favored one, I think of being someone's favorite. Being really special above others to another person.

I have always thought, "Wow, God must have really liked her. She must have lived a godly life worthy of ushering the Savior into the world.....I wish I could be like that."

That is, until I researched favored one.

Favored one comes from a word charitoo (don't ask me to pronounce it, because I can't!). Charitoo means "to bestow grace, to highly honor". It was something extended to Mary, not something Mary achieved.

There are only 2 places where this word, charitoo, is used in the entire New Testament. The first one addressing Mary, and the second time in Ephesians 1. the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. --Ephesians 1:6
The phrase freely bestowed on, in the original language, is the same word charitoo. The same word he used when speaking to Mary, the one we think of as favored and special. Think with me for a moment. In the first verse He is speaking to Mary, but who do you think Ephesians 1:6 is speaking to?


Yes, you.

If you are a believer, you are favored as well, my friend.

Not just Mary, but you too.

Rejoice and be glad! Receive your second gift in this series and make this a December to Remember. Mary didn't earn the favor, she received it and the same is true for you.

Giver of Gifts, it is nothing I can do on my own to be any more favored by You than I already am. What an unspeakable gift. To know that You think as much of me as you do Mary, brings glad tidings and joy to my heart. Thank you for unwrapping a second Christmas gift this season in your Word.
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

December to Remember Day 1


As December is brand new this year, the Christmas story itself may not feel quite so new to many of us. But, no matter how many years we have known the Christmas story, God has a way of making something we have read over and over grab us in a way that causes roots to grow down just a little deeper. It causes our heart to be drawn a bit closer to His. I don't know about you, but I love those moments and treasure them in a way that is impossible for me to adequately describe. Those opportunities seem like I'm truly getting one on one time with the Almighty. Remember those times as a child when you got Mom or Dad, Grandma or Grandpa all to yourself? It made us feel so special. That's what it's like. Just me and Him. He's all mine. He has his pen and writes permanently upon my heart in those encounters.

I hope the days to come bring you moments like that. I pray your heart stirs with joy and excitement and even flutters at the thought of Him. I certainly have enjoyed studying these few verses, and I hope you do as well.

Let me preface where we are going today and in the days ahead with this - I am not a theologian. I'm just a Jesus girl who desires deeply to learn more about Him and His Word and I just CAN'T STAND to keep the good stuff to myself!

Let's start our journey in the book of Luke, the gospel with the most detailed account of the birth of Jesus.

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth. Luke 1:26
Where was the angel, Gabriel, sent? He was sent to a city in Galilee called Nazareth.

Are you ready for your first Christmas gift? The name Nazareth is so neat! Let's unwrap it.

Do you know what the name Nazareth means?

I just love this, it makes my heart all goofy inside.......

Nazareth comes from a Hebrew word meaning a twig or branch, a shoot.

Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus, described in the Old Testament......
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch....Jeremiah 23:5
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot....Isaiah 53:2
Where did Jesus, our Righteous Branch, our Tender Shoot come from?

He came from Nazareth.

He was exactly what Nazareth means.

Nazareth the home of the Righteous Branch.

Our God is a God of details. I don't think it's a coincidence that He placed Jesus, our Savior, the Righteous Branch, the Tender Shoot, in a town whose name meant the same.

Father, I love how You tuck such wonderful surprises in what may seem ordinary. You certainly are no ordinary God, You are extraordinary. Simple places in your Word are often pregnant with meaning and that draws me to want to learn so much more. Thank You for this early Christmas gift that You allowed me to unwrap in your story of old.
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