Is Your Soul Thirsting?

Have you ever gone for a walk outside in the heat? I have. Once I went for a walk early one morning at 8 am, but It was already hot, hot, hot outside. The prediction that day was 95 degrees by noon! Just about every neighbor had sprinklers on, splashing like crazy, hoping to protect their lawns. I felt like running through them but didn’t want to look too silly, so I kept on walking. (Although running through and then jumping up and down in the sprinklers would’ve been a lot of fun!)

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I’d left the house after drinking a full glass of water, but didn’t bring a bottle of water with me. Likely should have, but didn’t feel like carrying one, thought I’d get home quickly, and my knapsack was broken. Excuses, excuses, excuses. We all know how to make them, right?

After walking in the heat for a while sweat started to drench me, (I think that’s how God cools us off) but I was still over a mile away from home. I could sit in the shade or keep going. I thought to myself, Why did I not bring my water bottle?! When I’m feeling thirsty, I need to quench it! When I got home, I sat down. I wasn’t panting, but I felt parched. I really should’ve brought that bottle along instead of leaving it at home. I felt exhausted, and I forgot to take along my replenishment source.

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Time to parallel this walk in the heat without water, to spiritual replenishment and sustenance necessity. When I ask God to fill me up, He saturates my soul. When you ask God, to saturate yours, He will. When I attempt to walk throughout my day, without pulling God’s reservoir into my time first, I’m giving the enemy an opportunity to drain me. If or when you do the same thing, that rascal will drain you too. Don’t let him! If I don’t spend time with God, every day, I will face a drought. Likely, so will you. When I choose to spend time with Him and ask Him to sit near, I am His, He is mine, and I feel at peace, loved, and quenched. That’s what God wants for you too. The world’s heat isn’t always right. It is often a distraction especially when we don’t call God near to water us.

Admit you need God. GRACE

Got it? Got God?

Good. Prepare to receive His blessing!

When I walked outside that hot morning, I stopped in shady spots. Again and again. Shady spots are cool and comfortable! I’d look at my shadow and think, There you are Helo, keep walking and next time, for Heaven’s sake, bring a water bottle! Water is necessary, and sometimes we need more especially in the heat! Here we go with another parallel. This world has lots of heat. And I don’t only mean heat that comes from the sunshine. I mean “heat” that comes with adversity and challenges. You know, like job loss, not enough money, loss of a loved one, confusion, irritability, anxiety… and the heat list continues.

God-time is amazing, and we never need less of Him. We always need more. The more we thirst His presence, the more He quenches. And the more He quenches our soul, the more we realize how important it is to keep Him near like a love bottle who can always quench our thirst. With real love. Real peace. Real joy. And His assurance.

So how do you let God saturate your soul when you’re thirsty?

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Crave His presence.
Call Him near. Make it a habit. Talk to Him a lot. And discover loving Him is contagious and that He that authentically knows how to quench our insatiable moments. “And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
(Isaiah 58:11).

Spend time in His Word and Believe it!
“He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, ‘From His innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
(John 7:38).
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Believe He is our sustenance and quencher.
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”
(John 6:35).

Drink up!
Quench your soul-thirst and stand firm on our faith-Rock. God doesn’t want you to stand still in a drought. I don’t think you do either. So drink up! “He opened the rock and water flowed out; It ran in the dry places like a river.”
(Psalm 105:41).

Wow. Just writing this is making me thirsty. Did you know that the terms ‘thirst’ and ‘thirsty’ are used in Scripture over 55 times? God sure knows how to quench it. In His enduring presence, God promises His children, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst.” (Revelation 7:16). In Heaven, we’ll live on forever, quenched with a redeemed soul, but until then, you and I need to remember Who quenches our soul.

Admit you need God. Discover REDEMPTION

I’m thirsting for time with God now. Got to go drink up. I’m praying you’ll do the same. God bless you!

Hope in Him,
Helo

Keeping Life’s Rollercoaster Steady

It’s climbing. Breaths are held. Not going to exhale yet. Anticipation starts building. Hearts are racing. SWISH. Arms are raised or gripping onto the rail. We’re going down. Made it! Time to exhale. Wait! No! We’re going up again!

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Ever felt like life is a rollercoaster? Up with joy — Down with sorrow. Up with success — Down with failure. Up with busyness — Down with boredom. Up with conquering — Down with challenges. Being pulled from all ends by people who need your time — Feeling forgotten. And the ups and downs keep going. At times life feels like a rollercoaster soaring through a whirlwind or abruptly coming to a stop. Some standstills are soothing. Others are exasperating.

What should we do when life gets crazy, and the ups and downs leave us feeling like we might face derailment?

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Beloved, spend time with God in prayer and get into His Word. The Bible is the sweetest love letter ever written. In it we can find life solutions — God breathed, God directed, God immersed. Sanctified and real. No other user manual works as well as His does. No mechanic other than God can fix our souls and help us avoid derailment. In His presence, we can find eternal hope, uninhibited joy, unconquerable love, and steadfast faith. We simply need to let God grip our hearts, directing us to stay steady.

For example, Psalm 46:10 is sound, captivating, stabilizing direction. God calls His children to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Now, He’s not simply saying, “Child, be still, sit down for a second, then get up — hurry up — and continue with your day like you typically do.”

I don’t think God wants us to stay “busy” in this hectic world… all the time.

When He asks us to be still, He means it. Dear friend, take the time to breathe. Inhale hope — Exhale His promise. His promise that He is always present and He loves us. But we need to take the time to focus on stillness. We all have a to-do list. It’s taken me a while to learn that “being still” needs to be engraved or scripted at the top of my to-do list every single day.

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For me, it may mean closing something. Here are a few examples.

Closing a door — Sitting down, letting the kids do what they want to, laughing while they make a mess in the kitchen because food preparation and consumption is on their minds. I need to go behind a door, close it, and ask God to sit with me.
Closing my eyes — Sitting in a parking lot before going to the grocery store to join the crowds and lines. I need to keep the car door shut and ask God to join me.
Closing my ears — Telling myself, “Don’t answer that phone, don’t respond to that computer ‘ping.’ Close your ears, Helo.” Take time out for God and listen to His voice.

Beloved, put “BE STILL” at the top of your to-do list and read on.

In Psalm 46:10, God doesn’t stop with, “Be still My child.” He adds “AND” for a reason. See, if we don’t finish reading the entire verse and adhere to it, we’ll be still for a moment, sometimes only a split second, lose sight of His wise direction, and start engulfing ourselves in busyness again.

So we’ve got to put the “Be still” direction into action. Are you quiet, reflective, and focused now? Good. So am I.

Now let’s break it down. What follows “AND”?

KNOW I AM GOD.

Okay, great, He is God. Can I go now, Helo?

No, my friend, not yet. Now that God has your attention stop and think about who He is.

God is our Comforter. Sustainer. Redeemer. Healer. Strengthener. Provider. And all that He is never ends. Who is God to you?

Believe fervently

I promise you, the more time you spend with Him, the more you will fall in love with Him, and the more you fall in love with Him, the more you will stand in awe. And the rollercoaster life will steady because you understand what God is directing you to do. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).

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We all need God more — never less.

Hope in Him,
Helo

 

 

Put on the Shoes, Tie up the Faith Laces

I get up in the morning, get dressed, and put on my shoes. You and I often begin our days with an agenda. Goals set. To-do’s listed. But the path we’ve chosen may change. Unexpected interruptions make us take different footsteps, filling a different set of shoes. This is when often I pray, “God, what do You want me to do with today?”

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But sometimes, in a hurry, I throw my shoes on and head out the door.

Then the phone rings interrupting my ambition. Is this an unexpected call or a solicitor? No time for this now.

You and I have both answered the phone countless times before on our way out the door. Other times we’ve ignored the “ring ring ring” attention getter. We’re too busy to answer it. The shoes we fill often make us feel like we’re running. Life gets busy, right?

But this time, we feel moved to take the call. The voice behind the message heard on the other end makes our jaw drop.

_____ is gone. He or she died. He or she was in an accident. He or she just lost her job. He or she is missing. He or she just received a scary diagnosis. He or she just had their home broken in. He or she just filed for divorce. He or she….

And sometimes, the “he or she” situations we listen to are simply too painful, too much, or too consuming to take in. We do our best to understand. But we haven’t walked in their shoes. We attempt to put them on our own feet for just a moment — figuratively. But we have no idea how to lace them up or walk in them. Our feet don’t fit. We can’t come close to walking the same journey. Why? Because we all walk unique steps. Sometimes similar — but always different. No two paths are identical. We still want to help someone else, walking in challenging shoes to wear, but we’re not sure how.

Have you ever felt this way? I have.

Now what?

There are certain situations when the most powerful action taken is found in commanding silence. No lecture. No advice. No, “I understand because I’ve been there myself. I’ve walked the same shoes.” You see, often, if we try that approach, we’ll get a “Yeah, right” followed by flowing tears, followed by silence, anger, or hurt.

Understandably so.

In contrast, in silence we can pull God’s formidable presence into difficult or heart-wrenching situations, allowing our Heavenly Father to pull out His toolkit. In silence, we can listen to His voice. In silence, we can follow God’s direction. In uninterrupted silence with God, we can not yield to worldly distractions, our agenda, or our solutions. Instead, in the stillness of God’s presence, we can look up for His perfect plan. Trusting Him with our all is God-filled faith.

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Soundlessness is not always sullen, although it can make us feel alone. Often quietude is a gift because it can direct us without distraction or interruption to the One who always loves us. Always listens. And that is good because He makes peace and comfort rise.

And although silence can make us feel alone, it’s also in those vulnerable moments that God captivates us and holds onto our inner soul, commanding our full attention. In Him, we can find peace and tranquility. Now we’re in a place where we can listen to God’s direction without interruption. Unfathomable wisdom and comfort are found in His silent yet strong presence. Time to pray. Time to talk with God. Just Him and you. And if He asks you to take off your shoes and walk with Him. Do.

Believe now

Prayer is talking with God. He is the only One who completely grasps the difficulties we face and understands the complexity of the unique shoes we fill. So when someone goes through something difficult, heart-wrenching, or soul consuming, remember that hope begins with a prayer. And a good friend recognizes this, doesn’t attempt to put on the other person’s shoes by themselves, but rather gives God control.

Other times we simply need to focus on God alone. By ourselves — yet with Him, privately, before bringing anyone else into a given circumstance or challenge that has us wanting to rip our shoes off. And hide. Or crawl under a rock. Or quit. Wondering why God has us walking a particular path in the first place.

The other day, I was overwhelmed with the death of a dear friend, financial issues, health concerns, family issues, and more. So I picked up the phone to call a close friend because I needed to vent. I needed someone to listen, lift me up, and attempt to understand the shoes I was walking in.

First call. My husband. Busy at work. Second call. The phone rings without an answer. My confidant and cherished friend not home. Third call. Another dear friend. No answer. Fourth call. A close family member. Not there. No one available? Really? This hasn’t happened to me before. Now what, Helo?

I went up to my room, closed the door, and let the tears flow. My face was now soaking wet. I whispered, “God, how much more of this do you think I can handle? I’m overwhelmed. I feel like life is storming all over me. Please reign down on me.”

Time to keep my shoes on and stand upon my faith-rock. Not my better half, not my beloved friends or family could or can completely understand the complexity or depths of my heart with clarity like Jesus can. No one.

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I love the hymn by Edward Mote (1797 – 1874), “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less.”

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Now, I was in a quiet place without interruption. I finally took it straight to God. And it was just Him and me. He had my full attention.

“God, I feel alone.”

I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE, MY PRECIOUS CHILD.

“This is too much.”

I WILL NOT GIVE YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE.

“Really?”

TRUST ME.

“God, why this, why now?”

PRECIOUS CHILD, TRUST ME.

“How?”

LET GO, LET ME TAKE IT.

“Finally! Does that mean You will remove the burdens that I and those I love are facing?”

NO, BUT I PROMISE NEVER TO LEAVE NOR FORSAKE YOU.

“When will You answer me, God?”

IN MY PERFECT TIMING.

“But I want an answer now. I want You to heal my friend. I want You to remove the looming debt over a loved one. I want my husband’s job to be secure. I wish I didn’t have to watch a beloved one on hospice care. I want my brain to work as it should. I want my frustration to go away. I want, I want, I want….. I’m tired; I’m worn.”

CHILD, ARE YOU TRUSTING ME RIGHT NOW?

Gasp.

Pin drop silence. Mouth shut.

Silence interrupted.

“No. I see I’m not. I’m not trusting You with my all. Help me trust You.”

I WILL.

“Thanks, God. I love You.”

I LOVE YOU, TOO.

This conversation was over for now. Lesson learned. Insight gained.

My soul was focusing on troubles surrounding me and those I love. I was falsely thinking and hoping that I could gather people close to me with a phone call to acquire peace. But no one answered the phone. Therefore, no one could listen. But God could and always can. Always.

This quiet moment hit me like a truth and assurance boulder.

God was reminding me to give and lift up my cares to Him first.

Not one of my close friends were able to pick up the phone that day. I now know there was a purpose behind those calls going unanswered. I learned, once again, to give it to my Father first.

I learned that there is nothing. Nothing more calming, beautiful, and soul-gripping than just God and me alone, together, quietly in a room with no interruptions. These moments are a treasure, needed and necessary. I crave them now. And He helps me walk in the shoes He gives to me.

My prayer for you is that you will see and understand that no matter what shoes God has asked you to fill today or will ask you to fill tomorrow, He will walk with you when you call Him near. You don’t need to walk alone.

So put your shoes on. Tie up the laces. Walk with God. Keep walking. Keep hoping. Keep trusting. And keep believing. Challenges make us stronger. Adversity makes us rise. With God, we are always equipped to handle whatever path He calls us to walk. Or run.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

(2 Timothy 4:7).

Hope in Him,
Helo

Tripped For God’s Purpose

There they sat. A concerned daughter was sitting next to her wheelchair-bound mother in a crowded waiting room, waiting to see the doctor. But I didn’t focus on them. Not right away, anyhow. I was on my way to see my doctor. And then I tripped over the mother’s purse lying on the floor. Out popped the contents of my purse. Everywhere.

“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have left my purse in the middle of the floor,” the mother embarrassingly mumbled.

“No worries,” I responded, smiling as I began gathering the mess. I thought to myself, this is an effective way to clean up one’s purse, right? Mine needed it.

“Hey, what’s that book about?”

They were pointing at a copy of Halo Found Hope that popped out of my purse, intended for my physician.

“I’m too tired to explain it. Here would you like to read the back?”

back cover of Halo Found Hope

The daughter eagerly took the copy from my hand, read the back and exclaimed, “Wow, is this about you?”

“Yep.”

“You’re a miracle, you know.”

“I’ve heard that before. You’re a miracle too, you know.” I commented. “Everyone that God made is.”

“Can, I look inside?” the daughter asked.

“Sure.”

“Nice cover!”

front cover with award

“Yep, I like it.” Halo Found Hope along this challenging journey. I admit I filled in that blank with thoughts other than hope when feelings of discouragement, fear, and doubt consumed me, but eventually, God showed me where you and I can always find hope.”

The daughter became pensive. She was staring at the Table of Contents. She looked her mom straight in the eye. “Mom, Helo wrote chapter eight for you.”

The mom grumbled, “Yeah right.”

“Yes, Mom, Helo wrote chapter eight for you.”

She grumbled once again. “I am so tired of being in a wheelchair. I am so tired of seeing doctors. I love you, but I am so tired of having you take care of me. I’d rather do something fun, and I am grumpy.”

They went back and forth a bit, and I thought, I don’t want to get in the middle of their discourse, Time to pray. So I closed my eyes for just a moment. “Dear God, Please stay with and comfort this mother and daughter. I think they need you right now. Show them how much You love them.”

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“Hey Helo, are you okay?”

I quickly opened my eyes, “Oh, yes I am,” and began smiling once again.

The daughter reiterated, “Mom, Helo wrote chapter eight for you! It’s titled RESILIENCE.”

Her mother wasn’t and didn’t want to listen.

So the daughter repeated, louder. “Mom, Helo wrote chapter eight for you! It’s titled RESILIENCE.”

This Halo Found Hope copy was not going to make it into my doctor’s hands.

“What are your names?” I asked.

I signed the copy and inscribed a personal note. Little did I know then, as much as I would later the divine purpose behind tripping over the mother’s purse.

The daughter contacted me shortly after our encounter.

“This was the first time in several months, which my Mom and I stayed up late, laughed, cried, and ate popcorn together. We read past Chapter eight and couldn’t put it down. My mom wants to know who God is now.”

Now I am stunned.

His purpose revealed.

God has an unfathomable way of directing our paths.

He did this. Not me, I thought.

I now understood that His blessings come down upon us, sometimes when we least expect them. This mother and daughter were encouraged. And so was I. He revealed a purpose behind my journey with a mean brain tumor, that I admittedly question at times.

God is not finished with me yet. And neither is He finished with you. We all have a story to tell. And the battles, challenges, and frustrations we face — once endured or conquered, may be the exact chapter that someone else needs to hear or read, in God’s perfect timing. Having our downtrodden souls lifted up by Him in inexplicable ways is remarkable.

I was reminded this day, once again, that we all need God. We all need hope. In Him, we can stay strong. And “The difference between a strong man and a weak one is that the former does not give up after a defeat.” — Woodrow Wilson.
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“We need to understand that drawing near to Him, and asking Him to equip us with strength and determination, results in resiliency. God imparts hope to the hopeless, rest to the restless, and courage to the discouraged.” Excerpt from Halo Found Hope’s Chapter Eight, RESILIENCE.

I invite you to visit amazon.com to purchase a copy of award-winning Halo Found Hope for yourself or for someone you know who needs to find hope. https://www.amazon.com/Halo-Found-Hope-Helo-Matzelle/dp/145753133X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495211039&sr=8-1&keywords=halo+found+hope

Clasp hope

God bless you!

Hope in Him,
Helo

What Does It Take to Be a Safe Friend?

I answered the phone and the call made me shake and drop to my knees. She is one of my closest friends. She loves me and I love her. We have laughed together countless times. Giggling is fun! We’ve never forced a conversation. I’ve never had to hide behind a smile. She loves me even when I frown. If I let my guard down around her she is a safe friend. I never have to pretend I am someone I’m not. And if I am someone I’m not for a little while, she never holds it against me or brings it up. No “remember when you were grumpy, sad, stubborn, and / or doubtful?” No more remember whens. No more bad yesterdays. Just precious todays. Just anticipation and believing in beautiful tomorrows. No more sorrow. No more pain. No grudges. No judgment. Just wisdom and forgiveness.

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Back to the phone call. Back to the trembling voice on the other end to the phone.

“Helo, I’m scared.”

“Why? What’s going on?”

Nothing but tears intertwined with silence on the other end of the phone.

“Are you okay? I can come over right now.”

“No, I know you’re busy.”

“Not too busy for you.”

More silence between tears.

“Helo, I have stage four cancer. I’m so scared.”

“Would you like me to come over? I can sit and just listen.”

“No, I don’t want you to get off the phone. I just want you to listen to me some more, right now. Besides, my husband will be home soon.”

“What can I do for you, precious one?”

“I just need you to be a safe friend.”

“Beloved, you know everything between us stays between you, me, and God.”

“I know. I just don’t want to go to Heaven. Not yet anyway.”

“I don’t want you to go either. What did the doctor say?”

“It’s spread. Stage four is mean. Part of my colon, liver, and kidney needs to be removed. Then chemotherapy and radiation. Why me, God?”

“I don’t know, beloved. You asked me to be a ‘safe’ friend. I promise you I will be. I won’t bring this up when we talk again, not because I don’t care, but rather because I do. You bring it up with me when you want to. I won’t stop praying about it, but I will stop asking about it.”

“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.”

(Proverbs 31:26)

In every conversation since the day my precious friend told me that she has stage four cancer, we only talk about it when she brings it up. And when she doesn’t, we still have quiet, tender, laugh-filled moments. We both need normal ones, as normal as they can be given what we both know. We love each other deeply, even when we hide behind our smiles.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

(Colossians 3:12-13)

Why is being a ‘safe’ friend important?

There are times we need to be a loving friend. “A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17). There are also times when being a “loving” friend means being a “safe” one too. When we face something difficult we all need moments of normalcy. It’s not denial. Instead, it’s renewal. You have, are, or will face something that frightens you. Often that’s when you’ll want a “safe” friend. Someone who tells you, “I will keep this between you, me, and God.”

When I faced four miscarriages, attempting to conceive again, I needed a safe friend. I didn’t want to talk about my hope of getting pregnant. I didn’t want to talk about other friends having babies. I was hurting like crazy and just wanted a few safe friends. God surrounded me with them. He is so good at comforting.

When I dealt with that brain tumor diagnosis, I had only six days before I’d lie on a gurney. I needed normal moments. I needed time with my husband and kids. I didn’t want to field questions. Couldn’t handle that. I needed safe friends. God brought them to me, again. Time and time again through every heart-wrenching challenge, God showed me what a safe friend was, and one day He took the lesson He taught me to be a safe friend for someone else.

But sometimes, our safety can only go so far. I will do the best I can to be a safe friend for my friend, but I can’t be everything she needs. Only God can do that. Part of being a safe friend is knowing when to step back and let God sort it out.

Feeling alone? seek Jesus

I now know that my best and safest friend is Jesus. He showed me His love through my safe friends. He is so good at surrounding us with people who can comfort. And when comfort from my friends isn’t enough, I know that God is just a prayer away.

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If Jesus is your best friend, share Him with others. And if He isn’t your best friend yet, ask Him to be. He’s the best and safest friend you’ll ever have. Listen to Him.

I will refresh the weary and satisy

Oh, how Jesus loves you. Remember that.

Hope in Him,

Helo

GET READY FOR CHRISTmas.

I opened the attic door, peeking into the dark. I got down on my knees, held onto a lantern, crawled into the attic, searching for Christmas wrapping paper. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this and hopefully won’t be the last. How many rolls of wrapping paper can you carry at once, Helo? How much ribbon do you need for Christmas? How much time will it take you to wrap the gifts? Is this what Christmas is all about? I don’t think so. I know it’s not. So I sat down, prayed, and wrote this poem titled, The Gift. I wrote it for you.

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THE GIFT

The hurry,
The scurry.
The gifts,
The rifts.
The crowds, the lines,
Do we know the Divine?
The decorations, the celebrations, the cheer,
But do we all realize that Christ is always near?
Yes, He was born in a manger,
He is no stranger.
Three wise men stood by,
As a star lit up the sky.
God brought into this world our beloved child-King,
Time to celebrate, shout-out, and let our praises ring.
A sinless Savior was born,
A King adored and soon to be scorned.
One day He shed His blood while nailed to a cross,
His children now forgiven, He paid the cost.
He entered this world as a vulnerable child,
But He will return with power and authority reconciled.
He came and left in a forgiveness-blanket,
In Him we are new. His gift is no trinket.
Accepting God’s gift makes us flawless in His eyes,
Time to lift up thankfulness with joy-filled cries.
As we prepare for Christmas, let us not forget,
To focus upon God’s perfect Love-gift.
Jesus Christ. Emmanuel. His Son.
Our love benefit. The battle is won.
Yes, Christmas can be merry,
But gifts under that tree are temporary.
Time to get on bended knee to Honor our King,
Celebrating the gift that only Jesus Christ can bring.
He came to give,
That we might live.
In Him our souls are eternally refined,
Because His love is the best gift, ever designed.
Our hearts in Him are always aligned,
Sin inside no longer confined.
His unmerited grace and sacrificial love,
Come only from the Heavens above.
Don’t look for love and truth under that tree,
Because only in Jesus are we authentically free.
So jump into His love-grip and stay right there,
His present of love is the best gift you’ll ever share.

– Helo 

Happy Birthday Jesus. Oh how we love you!

“For unto you is born this day in the City of David a SAVIOR who is Christ the Lord.”    (Luke 2:11).

Now close your eyes and make this moment all about the gift your Heavenly Father gave and gives — His precious Son. Beloved, In Him you are new.

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Prepare your heart to celebrate Christmas every day. Always remember, the greatest gift you’ll ever open is not under that tree. Look up.

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O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine!
O night when Christ was born
O night divine!
O night, O night divine!
– Placide Cappeau – 1847

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Merry Christmas! Time to praise and shout-out “O HOLY SAVIOR!”

Hope in Him,

Helo

Thanks God For Giving…

thanksgiving-leaves

The Bible says, “In everything give thanks.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). But it isn’t always easy to be thankful, right? When things fall, they aren’t always beautiful. We fail. We fall. We sin. We worry. We get grumpy, we frown, and we may find ourselves wondering, How am I going to turn my frown into a smile? Not just a pretend one, a real one.

How are you supposed to keep your tears from flowing when the bucket in front of you doesn’t look big enough to catch them all? How can you celebrate Thanksgiving every day when you don’t know where to begin looking for gratitude?

I think we need to seek for and find thankfulness every day, not just on Thanksgiving. At times the holidays get busy. Too busy for us to slow down and thank God for blessings given and those yet to come. On Thanksgiving Day, the turkey roasts in the oven. I’ve never seen so much food on the counter. Now I understand why we only do this once a year — at least the meal portion.

My family has been able to smell the turkey all day, so they ask me questions incessantly…

  • Mom, when is the turkey going to be done?
  • Honey, did you get pumpkin and apple pie?
  • Is the whipped cream fresh or canned?
  • Is there enough gravy?
  • Where do you want us to sit?
  • Can my friends come over too?
  • When is the football game on?
  • Can we come over again next year?
  • This looks delicious! Can I have a preview bite?

I think they’re anxious to gobble, gobble, gobble. I admit I am too.

Instead, I want to step back and pray. Pray for those of you who don’t feel like you have enough to be thankful for. Pray for those you who are lost, sad, overwhelmed, confused, lonely, and find yourselves wondering, Where are You, God? Where are You right now? What do I have to be thankful for? We all have moments where being thankful isn’t simple.

Beloved child of God, He is right next to you. In Him, you are forever forgiven, forever loved, and forever in His presence. He is your reason to be thankful. Thankful every day. Behind your smile, there are reasons to unleash gratitude. Sometimes blessings feel like they’re overflowing. Other times it doesn’t feel like there are enough. Look a bit harder. If you can’t find them ask yourself, “What am I thankful for today?”

thanks-god-for-giving

I talked with God today and this is what I thanked Him for…

Thanks God for giving me today.
— It’s a gift.
Thanks for reminding me that You’re always near.
— You captivate my soul.
Thanks for blessing me with courage when I’m afraid.
— You are my Anchor.
Thanks for victories.
— You are my Armor.
Thanks for giving me confidence that hope is always found in You.
— You are my Sustenance.
Thank You for every breath I get to take.
— You are my Healer.
Thank You for my family.
— You are our amazing Creator.
Thank you for faith-filled friends.
— They are blessings from above.
Thank you for a roof over our heads and food on the table.
— You are our Provider.
Thank you for sacrificing Your one and only Son.
— You are our Redeemer.
Thank you for the honor to get to praise You.
— You are our King.
This Thanksgiving I will get down on bended knee, stay in awe, thanking You for blessings big and small.
I love you God.
Amen.

So how do you find thankfulness in every situation?

KNOW WHO YOUR KING IS.
Authentic identity is found in Christ, not in this world. If you let the world rule you and say who you need to be it won’t fulfill you. You’re not perfect and the world will demand that from you. And sometimes feeling imperfect, because you cannot live up to the world’s standards, brings you down and then it’s hard to be thankful. Or you may hold onto treasures on earth, accomplishments you hope to gain, praise from others, or the need to have others unconditionally love you. You’ll find that all of this lacks what you hoped it would give you. Fulfillment is temporary not everlasting. Now you might feel thankless instead of thankful. Beloved, turn toward your Heavenly Father, your King. Focus on all that He has done for you. He gave us His one and only Son to make you whole. Make you complete. In God’s eyes, you are flawless once you pull Him into your heart. I pray you will know how real He is today.

LOVE HIM BACK.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much God loves you! Choose to love Him back and discover how much He loves. If you’ve loved God for a long time, love Him more. If you haven’t before, start today. I promise you, you’ll find a reason to give thanks every day.

PRAY CONTINUALLY.
If you are feeling thankless, ask God to help you find thankfulness. If you are in a joy-filled season, thank God for everything He’s done for you. Keep praying. Keep talking to Him. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

TRUST GOD.
Trusting God with our every portion isn’t alway simple. At times we face challenging, discouraging, or unthinkable moments. When you find yourself in this circumstance,  extending thankfulness is challenging. I’ve been there, done that. Trusting God will help you extend gratitude in all circumstances. Actively trust Him by lifting up thanks and shouting-out glory to the One who goes before you to fight battles encountered. God will equip you to chase thankfulness in all situations. You’ll get to see how mighty and capable our Father is. Your strong, unshakeable victory is found in Christ. Always. No matter who you are, no matter what you are going through, God is right there. So keep trusting and watch your thankfulness rise.

UNCOVER HIDDEN JOY AND GIVE THANKS.
If you can’t seem to find a reason to be thankful and joyful, get out a piece of paper and start making a list of things you’re thankful for. Stay in your seat until you have a minimum of five things written down. Leave that piece of paper out and add to it throughout the day.

I did and here is the list I wrote. I plan to leave it out for days and weeks to come, considering it a blessing to keep adding to my “thankful list.”

God thank you for…

  • Your love-grip.
  • Your redemption.
  • Your sacrifice.
  • Life. It is precious.
  • My husband, children, family, friends — now and yet to be made.
  • The four angels waiting for me in Heaven. Miscarriages took them, but I know they are with You today.
  • For helping my doctor discover my brain tumor in time.
  • For taking me off life support and for keeping me here to stay with my family a bit longer.
  •  Miracles. They are Your whispers from Heaven.
  • For every breath I get to take, every step I get to take, every prayer I get to lift up, every smile I get to see, and every giggle I get to hear.
  • For showing me that hope is always found in You — yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
  • For reminding me to thank You every day. And when I forget, thank You for extending me  unfathomable grace.

My “thankful list” for all that You’ve done will never end, because You are my Forever Father Love.

day-after-thanksgiving

Beloved, keep thanking. And soon you’ll find a reason to be thankful in all circumstances. “In every thing give thanks.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Remember, complaining is contagious but so is the opposite, including appreciation and gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Hope in Him,
Helo