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Archive for October, 2010

The holidays! Are they really so happy?!

There is financial stress, multiple family schedules, social engagements, work responsibilities and the dreaded work parties, travel, weather, crazy cousins coming to visit, and through it all a diet teetering on the edge of disaster as you encounter pies and fudge everywhere you turn!

Yet we deeply want the days approaching to truly be times of thanksgiving and celebration, spiritual reflection and sharing. The problem is reality gets in the way of our visions of joy. We are not alone in this. Check out the magazines in line at the grocery store…”Twenty Five Ways to Simplify the Season” and “Foolproof your Holidays”, etc. There are hints for the holidays everywhere, and at Given the Time, we are jumping on the bandwagon, with just a little twist.

This week in our Daily Devotionals, we will hear from five of our own women who are in various stages of life. The hints they share are all about fun and special tradition during the holidays while also highlighting that these are “holy days” we celebrate, holy days set apart to focus on God. We hope you will join us, and if you have special traditions or holiday hints you can pass along to the rest of us, we would love to hear them in the comments box.

The holiday season is just around the corner and now is a great time to set some goals about how this season can truly be Happy Holidays!

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What does it mean to hold a heart?

What does it look like to hold a heart?  What is required of me to hold his/her heart? What responsibility do I have for the heart of another? What does God want me to do with the heart of another?

 Protect it?

Strengthen it?

Enlarge it?

Pour into it?

Mend it?

It feels incredibly humbling to think I am called to hold someone’s heart.  It is a huge responsibility.  We have five Daily Devotionals that look at what this idea of holding a heart can mean in our daily lives, how we can be a positive presence in the lives of those around us.

Note:  This series comes out of one woman’s time of reflection after reading the book Love and Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

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We found five characteristics of friendship that we have put together in five days of daily devotionals. We hope you will join us. To start off this portrait of friendship, we give you Ruth’s story…

Have you ever had a friend that you could sit with quietly and never speak and yet you knew they understood what you couldn’t say? Or, perhaps you start a sentence and she finishes it?

Some of us are fortunate to have such intimate friends. Others long to find such a relationship of a “soul” sister. Maybe, like me, you long for that relationship to be found in a biological relationship, yet it is missing…you hunger for it and don’t know where to turn to find it.

So, where do we turn? Well, for me, in a time of enormous challenges, I found such wonderful friendship with my mother-in-law. Married at a young age to a foreigner, I faced the death of my husband, my father-in-law and my brother-in-law in a very short time frame. Yet, rather than allowing these tragedies to destroy me, I grew closer to my mother-in-law. I saw it as my responsibility to care and provide for the both of us. This was not something I was obligated to do, but must have come from the deep friendship we shared.

Naomi,my mother-in-law, and I shared a faith and love that had grown over the years and perhaps became even more intimate because of the tragedies and losses we both experienced. We prayed for each other; sought God’s blessings for each other. Clinging to the confidence that together we could handle whatever the future faced, we took the risk to step out and pursue a future that meant accepting change and taking risk. We could do that together because of our friendship. We opened ourselves to criticism and were vulnerable both in terms of meeting our financial needs but also in seeking a secure future. Because of friendship, we were open and honest with each other and willing to listen to guidance. Most importantly, we grew in faith and recognized that our friendship came from a Redeemer Lord God who loved us.

To read a more complete account of Ruth and her amazing and true story, go to the Bible and find the book of Ruth in the Old Testament…it is a great read.

Where can you find such a constant and consistent friend today? There is One who is always that constant, consistent, intimate friend we can know and learn to trust with all of ourselves—His name is Jesus Christ. You can know Jesus as such a friend. Christ calls us friends when we come to Him and ask Him to live with us. Just say, “Lord Jesus, I need you as my friend. Please show me what a friendship with you means. Help me, Lord.” Amen.

For additional information on beginning your eternal relationship with God, click here.

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I have a friend who on a regular basis takes a little personal retreat. She schedules it in her calendar so that it actually happens. She steps away from the phone, the computer, and people as much as she is able. And she considers her ways. Meaning she looks at her life, her priorities, her goals…she lines them up with her responsibilities and her callings…and she asks God to show her where she needs to make changes.

A challenge for you this week is to take as much time as you are able to do the same kind of thing. Consider your ways. You may be surprised at how meaningul this exercise can be.

And please join us for five daily devotionals which will touch a little bit on this theme as we take a peek back 2500 years at the Israelites through the book of Haggai as they are told to consider their ways. It is really amazing how little human nature changes through the ages!

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The beauty of Fall…

Leaves are turning and landscapes changing!  There are wonderful aromas, both inside the kitchen and outside in nature!  There is nothing like a change in seasons to put God’s great creativity on display all around us.

Please join us for five Daily Devotionals entitled Creativity on Display and enjoy conversations with five women who highlight God’s creativity in their own lives.  From photography to music, they have artistic gifts that bring glory to God.

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