Archive for Devotional

New Year, One Word

New Year - MMs Blog

As hard as it is to believe, 2015 is coming to a close. This year flew by. It feels as if we were just ringing in the new year for 2015 to begin and here we are about to welcome 2016 just like that!

The norm is to create a list of New Year’s resolutions, to write out everything you’d like to accomplish in the upcoming year. This could be to learn how to experiment more while you cook, to work out 4 days a week, to join a book club or to visit a place you’ve never been.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to write out New Year’s resolutions. I’m a list-maker and I have so much fun setting goals and dreaming up what I’d like to conquer as the year goes on. However, last year the Lord laid something on my heart that I’d like to share with y’all for this upcoming year.

Focus on One Word

Let’s be honest, New Year’s resolutions can get overwhelming. The list seems to get longer and longer. The longer the list gets, the more you feel like you can’t accomplish all the tasks. Things start to fizzle out by the beginning of February and before long, you forget what all your dreams for 2016 were. You may find the list mid-year and get depressed because you realize you’ve fallen short.

I want to propose something different this year.

As 2016 approaches, pray and ask the Lord to give you a word. One word. One word that you know need to press into and focus on this year.

Contentment. Patience. Intentionality. Prayer. Confidence. Service.
Worship. Peace. Trust. Simplicity. 

Maybe you already know your word.

Once, you have your word, pray about it. Speak it over yourself. Ask God to reveal more to you about that topic. Look up verses about it. Allow it to soak into your soul and watch God work.

God has a lot to teach us, if we’d be willing to lend and ear and listen. If we’d be teachable and humble.

I have full confidence that God will do above and beyond when He gives you this word if you press in and trust Him with it.

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Christmas Star

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Have any of you read Bill Hybels’ Christmas story, Seeing The Christmas Scenery? I guess it’s really a Christmas message or life lesson that we may have overlooked or not even really thought of before.

Bill challenges the reader to spend some time looking at the nativity scene we have all grown up looking at in yards, on Christmas cards, and in churches. The Star, the Stable, and the Manger are the particulars he focuses on.

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night. Star with royal beauty bright. Westward leading, still proceeding. Guide us to thy Perfect Light.

God provided a particular star to serve as a travel guide for the Magi looking for the Royal baby. Matthew 2:9 tells us that after listening to King Herod, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose, went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. The star led them to the exact place where Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus were.

Verse 10 says when seeing the star, the Magi rejoiced with exceeding great joy. Deep down, they knew they would have never found Christ without the God given star. We know the rest of their story. They rejoiced and worshiped Him. They presented unto Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Wow!

Hybels says, “God provides a travel guide for seekers.” That is so true. He has been putting stars and other travel guides into the lives of those seeking Jesus for centuries. Even before we realized we needed to seek Jesus. I’m speaking for myself.

God provides a travel guide (someone to lead us to Christ) for each of us. When I read that sentence, I think my jaw dropped on my book. Seriously!! He did in my journey. My sweet sister in law, Amy, was my bright and shinning star who lead me straight into the loving arms of Jesus. I grew up in church and went to Catholic School from K-12. I knew ABOUT God but I didn’t know Him know Him. I didn’t have a relationship with Him. I had no idea what I was missing. God sent someone in my life whose love for Christ and me was real. She was patient and kind. Her faith was something to see. I don’t know what my life would be like had God not used her as a travel guide. I am so thankful for Amy Birdsong. She is a beautiful star.

Since then, I believe He has continued putting precious “stars” in my path. Friends whose lights burn bright and whose love is real. And their faith…well that’s the thing that draws me nearer to them and to Christ. I am grateful for the gifts that are my travel guides. I can say that just recently he put a new friend in my life that will lead me to Him in this season of my life. Each one of them are gifts straight from the Father of Lights.

Hybels says, “For those of you who are still seekers, let me give you a word of encouragement. Chances are, God has already put a travel guide in your life somewhere. Chances are, if you were to scan the horizons of your relationships, you probably already know someone whose spiritual light burns bright, whose love is for real, and whose faith has caught your attention more than once. That person may very well be God’s gift to you-sort of like a Christmas star-God’s travel guide. Look at the star–God has probably already given you one. Use it soon!”

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Thankfulness is a Choice

Thankfulness

It is easy to make a mental list of the things we’re thankful for as Thanksgiving approaches. The second November hits, we see our friends’ social media posts about what they’re thankful for and decide to hop on the bandwagon.

Don’t get me wrong… it’s wonderful to express your gratitude during November. I hope you do! We just need to all remember something: thankfulness is a choice.

During the year, it is easy to get caught up in the distractions of life. Satan tries to gain victory in our spiritual walks by making us busy. As our calendars fill up, we can quickly lose sight of the blessings surrounding us.

The key is to stop, pause and look around. Take stock of what the Lord has provided for you.

Additional to all the tangible blessings God has given, we can also always be grateful for the most important one: sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins.

God sent His only Son, Jesus, to come to earth as both a human and the Savior of the World. Jesus took our place on the cross and died for our sins that we might live forever with Him. That is the Gospel. And, that is the greatest gift any of us will ever receive because of the magnitude that we didn’t deserve it.

So, we always, always, always have a reason to rejoice and be thankful.

I know there are certain seasons of life that make expressing gratitude more difficult than others. That is why it is a choice.

We have to wake up in the morning and put on gratitude, choose thankfulness.

It’s easier said than done. Like I mentioned earlier, we can get distracted and caught up in our small worlds.

How can we practically choose thankfulness every day? 

  1. Start keeping a Gratitude Journal. Challenge yourself to write down 5 things you are thankful for at some point in the day. Date them so that you can flip back and physically see the blessings that the Lord freely bestows upon you throughout the day.
  2. Wake up in the morning and say that you’re going to choose thankfulness. Starting your morning out with an attitude of appreciation will transform how your day plays out because your heart is in the right place.
  3. Let your friends know that you’re working on being thankful. Ask them for prayer and accountability as you walk through this. Have them ask you what you’re thankful for. We are not meant to walk through life alone. Having your friends there for prayer, love and support will make all the difference.

It is possible to stay thankful throughout the year. We just have to make the daily choice.

Will you choose thankfulness today? 

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Cheerful Giver

By: Dawn Birdsong

Shopping for my children’s back-to-school clothes, shoes and supplies can be exhausting and frustrating.  It usually involves days of making multiple stops at Walmart, Office Depot, School Days and… the mall.  That can drive a momma bonkers!

It can also be equally as exhausting to shop for families in need.  Choosing sizes, brands, colors, cool backpacks, and the right binders/folders for kids you haven’t met…well it’s difficult sometimes.  I always have this desire to choose the perfect stuff for each child I buy for.  I know how picky my own boys can be and I want these kids to have special things too.

I’ve spent four full days shopping like this for precious families who don’t quite have enough money to get their kids the back-to-school necessities.  I wanted these mommas to be able to rest knowing their babies will have it all as this school year begins.  It was important to me that these boys and girls  feel special on their first day of school.  I also wanted to have Connor and Cole’s things bought and prepared for their first day of 7th and 11th grade.  Oh my goodness…where did summer go?

My plan was to be completely done with all shopping and have it all delivered by last Saturday afternoon.  This way I could concentrate on making sure my boys had all they needed/wanted.  Well, Sunday and Monday my phone didn’t stop ringing.  I was receiving phone calls and text messages with so many needs.  I am embarrassed to admit that I was aggravated and a little ticked.  I wanted Monday for myself, to do what I wanted to do.  That sounds awful, I know.  The thought never crossed my mind NOT TO HELP though.  I was just gonna do it with a heart that wasn’t right.

The Holy Spirit quickly convicted me, faithfully reminding me of the verse in 2 Corinthians, “God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.”  Was my heart cheerfully giving?  Cheerfully shopping?  I had been cheerful during the first 4 days I shopped for hundreds of dollars of school supplies and uniforms.  But my cheerfulness quickly disappeared when I realized there was more to do.  God doesn’t ask me to delight in my giving part of the time.  He wants my heart to be like His all of the time I am serving.  Have patience with me.  God isn’t through with me yet.  I have such a long way to go.

I struggled with my selfishness and frustration for the first hour, and then I remembered how God’s grace, love, kindness and gentleness are poured out on me daily.  Daily.  And He gives to me CHEERFULLY.  Wow…I was acting like a brat. I had a to-do list for my Monday and I didn’t want to change it.  My attitude and heart changed quickly as I thought of my neediness. I may not have needed school uniforms, binders, and booksacks, but I have many needs daily that I ask the Father for.

At the end of the day, I had delivered to all but one family.  I didn’t know much about the mom from the last family I delivered to.  Cole and I sat and waited on her to meet us.  When I laid my eyes on her, I could barely hold back my tears.  She was a beautiful lady with gorgeous eyes.  She looked sad and broken.

“Thank you” and “I’m sorry” repeatedly came from her lips.

“Sorry for what?” I asked.

She answered, “Because I can’t buy my kids these things right now.”

I hugged her and she was shaking.  She had not had a good nights rest in days, worried and anxious about her children starting school without everything they needed.

“Tonight I will sleep well,” she said.  “My kids and husband will sleep well.”

God sent *Heather as a gift to me this past week.  What a blessing she was to me.  I needed to share a hug and some tears with that precious momma.  Our tears were flowing for different reasons.  My tears were falling because I could have missed out on meeting this precious momma because of my selfish to-do list.  When will I get that God’s plan for my days and my life are way better than mine?  I am so glad I met Heather last week.  I have seen her a few times since and I thank God in advance for the Christ-centered friendship we will someday have.

I love God sooooo much because he lets me be His coworker.  1 Corinthians 3:9 says, “For we are God’s fellow workers...”  I am so blessed that He uses me to be part of His plan to serve those in need.  I am so thankful He forgives me when I have an ugly heart and that He continues to allow me to be His Hands and Feet.

I found out that Heather is seeking a relationship with the Father.  I hope she doesn’t see a bit of me, but ONLY HIM!  Only Him who lives in dirty ol’ me.

 

*Used to protect identity

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My Christmas Journey

God has taken me on a fantastic journey these past few months. I didn’t realize it would be a so-called “journey” until it was almost over and it became obvious that was I definitely on a JOURNEY. An adventure that would S T R E T C H my faith. A journey that would bring me to my knees in worship. A journey that would remind me to continually bring my gifts to Jesus to bring HIM GLORY.

Several months ago, God opened my eyes to the needy in different parts of our parish. He showed me this through Full Tummy Project because He had a plan. Mighty Moms Holiday Food Extravaganza was born and so it began. After being blown away by the support of our friends and community during our Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway, I knew December 29 would be equally as sensational. I made the grocery list and contacted businesses, churches, and our faithful supporters. Everyone was super generous and the food started coming in massive quantities! As the Mighty Mom house started filling up, I began to get nervous. Then as we totaled up the food we received and starting putting numbers on what was still needed….I began to freak out a little. We needed 10,000 food items to feed the 400 families I thought God had told me to feed. The dollar amount on that food freaked me out ALOT.

I was in a full blown freak out!

About this same time, I had been reading in Matthew and digging into the Journey of the Magi….The long faith filled journey the wise men took.. These 3 Magi each had a calling from God. God had asked them to follow a STAR to see Baby Jesus. The Son of God. The Messiah. The King of Kings. They all left their homes, jobs, families and walked in FAITH to what God had called them to do. I wonder if they ever doubted hearing the command like I did? I am ashamed to say, I did wonder if had heard his voice at all. Had I heard him say to feed that many people? That much food? How could it happen? What if no one came to be fed? Too many questions for my Father. Sometimes I have such little faith. I wish I could say I was different.

God was with the Magi their entire journey. He protected and strengthened them along the way. He gave them each other and a STAR to journey with. He never left them…not once. He also gave me sweet friends who worked steadfastly with me, we encouraged and cheered each other on until the last minute. The Magi’s journey and my Christmas journey were both filled with wonder and faith. God showed himself to me many times throughout my journey. I have to share one of these days with you. It was Friday after Christmas and I was full of anxiety, fear, and doubt. I called my dear friend, Helen, who knew about my doubt from the night before. She had calmed me before I went to sleep by reminding me that God is always faithful to His promises. Not only that, but that we can not see the future, so we must walk by FAITH not by sight and TRUST Him for the outcome of December 29. That morning….I was still a mess.

We prayed together.

Prayed for God to multiply the food we had and we asked for his favor with everyone I met that morning. Well, I can tell you that HE heard and answered our prayers in a MIGHTY way. I needed something like 50 more boxes of macaroni and cheese to complete that food group. I started searching in the Full Tummy room after we prayed hoping I would find a few full size boxes and guess what? Oh yea…I found 50. I am not joking. Thank you Jesus and of course I had to apologize for my unbelief. Next…..I was off the Walmart. I dreaded going in. Walmart after Christmas…Yuck. Busy store with grouchy workers and customers. I didn’t want to go in and ask to speak to the grocery manager and order over 100 cases of food. I just didn’t want to go in. But I did. Remember we prayed for favor? God had already walked before me and made a way. It was easy. Natalie and Rich at Walmart were the sweetest things and I stood in awe at God had done. As I talked with Rich about my budgeted price of $1.93 per box of cereal and how it was hard to find. He says, “you will never believe it but I just put all this cereal on sale for $1.25 a box!” WHAT the What?? Ok this must be a joke. He goes on to say, I better get it all now because at that price it will all be gone before lunch. I stand there alone with my one buggy and think how the heck am I going to do this? Just so happens the most precious grandma, grandpa, and 2 grand babies walk up asking me what I need so much cereal for. As I tell them, precious Ray tells his wife that he is going to get 2 more buggies for me and they will help me load it up, push it to the cashier, and them out to my car. I burst into tears. NO ONE ever wants to help anyone in Walmart…especially a Jesus lovin’ freak who is loading up 300 boxes of cereal. But Ray and Evelyn did. It was a DIVINE APPOINTMENT we all had in Walmart that morning. When it was all loaded and I hugged their necks like 10 times each, I sat in my car and cried like a baby. I cried because I was happy, I was overwhelmed, there were joyful tears and tears of sorrow for my lack of faith. I called Helen and cried even more. I realized Friday morning, not for the 1st time but the 10th time, that HE wants my obedience.

Just walk in obedience Dawn Birdsong and I have it all worked out for you because I LOVE YOU.

I HAD heard His voice all those months ago.

The MM Holiday Food Extravaganza turned out great. Luke 18:27 says that What is impossible with men is possible with God. That couldn’t be more true about our Christmas food giveaway. We fed 400 families over 11,000 grocery and produce items. We were able to give abundantly to those families in need. We shared the burden of hunger with our community. It was beautiful. It couldn’t have been a more gorgeous day. It was the day the Lord had made and we rejoiced and were glad.

I want to thank Luke 10:27, New Covenant, First United Methodist–DS, Christ Community Church, First Baptist, Wholly Ground, and Revival Temple for supporting us through this Food Extravaganza. Baton Rouge Food Bank showed up with the freshest fruit and vegetables.

Thank you for the bottom of my grateful heart.

So many precious people in our community have given us financial support, moral support, prayer and working hands and feet. It couldn’t have been done without each and every one of you. To Him be the Glory and Honor and Praise for this Christmas journey and many more to come.
My friend, Andrea, from babeofmyheart.com has written a devotional over the years about the Journey of the Magi. Go over and check it out when you have time. I thought I would leave you with these words of hers as we start 2014:

The wise men worshiped Jesus–and they knew God’s voice.

The more we worship Jesus–the more we will know His voice and be able to follow Him in the new ways He wants to lead us. The wise men also show us that God will often lead us BEYOND our own understanding– differently from the ways and patterns He has led us in the past. There will often be risks involved–but as we listen to Him, we will know which way to go–and ultimately it is the way that bring Him the most glory, protect us from harm and help us stay in His perfect, good and pleasing will for our lives. Let us be open to walking in new directions–down roads that are unfamiliar to us when He calls us–and worshiping Him along the way.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

XO,

Dawn

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