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As we enter the Christmas season, I am launching a fun new series called 25 Positive Words for the Holidays. It is meant to help us look at the brighter side and the bigger picture each day of December leading up to Christmas. So join me here at Positive Life Principles or on my author Facebook page to get a daily dose of positive starting Friday, Dec 1. Feel free to share the posts with your friends to uplift their hearts during the holidays. I love walking this journey together!

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If you are looking for a gift for the holidays, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places Devotional makes a great gift and stocking stuffer.

Pray, Reflect, Reset

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My favorite time of the year is the week between Christmas and New Years. Of course, there is the obvious reduced stress level, with all of the wrapping and entertaining put to rest. The kids are happily playing with their new toys for a few days at least. I enjoy the sense that everything seems to slow down and shift into relax mode. This is the perfect time to prepare for the coming year with deliberate prayer, reflection and resetting of priorities and goals.

I want to encourage you to set aside some quiet time of reflection during this special week. Here are a few of my thoughts:

Pray – Ask the Lord to direct you and guide you in the coming year. Thank Him for the blessings of the past year and for His care and comfort through the challenges.  Seek His wisdom as you make new plans and ask for His favor and direction. Pray for your family members, your friends and your business. Most important, pray that His love flows through you in all you do.

Reflect – Consider the things that went well throughout the past year and think of ways to continue to build on your strengths. But also think about the things that were not so good – things that need to change or be adjusted. What do you need to do differently going forward?  Each year, I prayerfully ask the Lord to give me a Bible verse to focus on during the year (my 2016 verse was Romans 15:13) and to give me one word to focus on from that verse (my word was hope). As you take time to reflect, allow the Lord to lead you toward a verse and a word for 2017. I’ll tell you mine in next week’s blog.

Reset – The new year offers us an opportunity to reset with a fresh outlook and positive goals. Ponder and dream about what you would like to accomplish this year. What do you want to learn? Who do you want to get to know? What organizations do you want to join and what do you need to cut out of your schedule in order to take on new responsibilities? How do you plan to strengthen your physical health? What books do you want to read? What do you want to memorize? Think of all the areas in your life that you want to reset toward improvement.

That’s what I love most about the new year – it’s an opportunity to reset with a fresh start! I hope it is a wonder-filled week for you this week. Be intentional about being still and allowing true relaxation to take over. Often we find our strength and guidance in those quiet alone times. Listen and love well, and don’t forget to write your Thank You notes.

Glory of Israel

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Sovereign Lord… 

 I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!

Luke 2:30-32 NLT

When Simeon, a devout Israelite awaiting God’s Messiah, saw the baby Jesus he took Him in his arms and praised God. In our passage today we see Simeon’s proclamation of who Jesus is and why He came. God’s salvation, a light to reveal God to the nations, the glory of Israel; Simeon offered a heartfelt description of the Messiah. Known as the “Canticle of Simeon: or the Nunc Dimittis, (which are the first words of his prayer in Latin – “Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant…”) it is still sung in evening prayers in orthodox churches representing the confession and experience of believers.

The Savior of the world came through the Jewish nation. Sadly, although they knew the Old Testament prophecies, many did not receive Him. Jesus was the crowning glory of God’s people Israel, for through them came the Messiah – Jesus the light to all nations.

This is an excerpt from Karol’s Devotional, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places

 

Shine the Light of Hope During the Holidays

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The beauty of the Holidays always makes me smile. The colorful trees and joyful decorations along with the music and celebrations make it a magical time of the year. But there is a flipside to this glowing holiday – the rushing around, trying to get a million things accomplished, the pressure of getting just the right gifts and the challenges that come from difficult relationships. Often, our joy can be zapped by the busyness and stress of the season.

Ultimately, I want to live with joy, love and forgiveness throughout the holidays – and I’m sure you do too. I don’t want another Christmas to whiz by without sharing the hope of the season with others.  Here are a few simple ways to intentionally live with hope and shine the light of Jesus into the lives of the people around us.

See Hope. Every person has potential, so let’s open our eyes to look for the positive possibilities in each person we encounter throughout our day. It’s easy to focus on the glaring negatives of friends and family (and even strangers) and see nothing but their mistakes. Aren’t you glad that God looks at us with eyes of grace and hope? If He sees our potential, shouldn’t we do the same for others? Remember, He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Since God sees hope in us, let us allow the God of hope to love through us.

Speak Hope. Our words have the ability to offer life, but they also have the ability to tear down and destroy. How we use our words says a lot about our character. Do you use your words to say kind and uplifting truths to the people around you, or do you use your words to gossip, complain, argue and grumble? During this season and all year through, let us use our words to infuse joy and hope into the lives of others.

Bring Hope.  We can’t do everything, but we can do something. There are simple ways to bring hope to the people God has placed in our lives, so let’s be intentional about doing it. Ask God to open your eyes to the needs around you and consider one small act of hope that you can do this season. Share a meal, decorate cookies and give them to neighbors, greet people with a smile, write a note to someone who has been a blessing to you this year – it only takes a moment to brighten another life.

In our world today, every person could use a hearty dose of hope. Let us be lights that shine hope through the darkness in our world this Christmas.

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. 

Romans 15:13

 

Give the gift of hope to others through Karol’s $5 devotional highlighting the attributes of God. Perfect for stocking stuffers.

Click here to order.

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