Passing the Hat

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21

How could I be so attached to a hat? My yoke was one prong materialism and the other sentimentality. I treasured my turquoise blue running cap because my family had given it to me for Christmas. I loved it because it had “Under Armour” stamped on the front and so few of my earthly goods have such a prestigious label.

The second reason sounds superficial even to my own ear but yet I know it’s honest.

I was jogging along the Austin riverfront with my sweetie beside me. We chatted easily as married couples do when dialogue is unfettered by interruptions of children and cell phones. Midstride I heard the words of a passerby.

“I wish I’d worn a hat.”

The nudge in my heart was immediate, “Give her yours, Shannon.”

The idea was preposterous. The words passed my lips almost as a surprise even to me, “We have to turn around, Scott. I know it’s crazy but I’m giving a lady my hat.”

We jogged faster. The distance closed. What do you say to a complete stranger who didn’t even ask you for a hat?

“Excuse me, ma’am, I overheard you say you wished you’d worn a hat. I’d like you to have mine.”

No I didn’t change her life today. She was a well-dressed woman who had absolutely no need for my hat. The life altered in the exchange wasn’t hers; it was mine.

I muttered, “God bless you,” as we turned back the way we’d came. I loosened the grip on an earthly treasure and let God decide the fate of my hat. Indeed a life was blessed today but it wasn’t hers; it was mine.

I wonder about you. Is there a treasure you’re holding – time, routine or even money that would bless you more if unloosed? God passes the hat. The question is will we be willing to pass ours?

Hidden Treasure

She sat sideways in the leather chair while snowflakes danced down her legs over the armrest. Hurricane Christmas has littered her with presents big and small. One gift remained under the tree which bore the same name as her new Nike iD shoes - Hannah.

As the wrapping floated to the floor, another wrapped box appeared inside. Nested one inside the other, there was four boxes in all. The final package fit inside her hands. Somehow this made its' paper more difficult to tear.

Trembling hands opened the velvet case inside and out tumbled her James Avery charm bracelet, a treasure from her thirteenth birthday, misplaced in 2010.

The best gift was the one she'd had all along.

I wonder about us. Did we unwrap the very best gift this Christmas - the one we've had all along?

Hannah's bracelet had been close all these months - in the middle compartment of my car. We had opened that space hundreds of times but kept overlooking the treasure within.

I do that sometimes. I look at the outside things like circumstances, annoyances and inconvenience and overlook the treasure within.

The hidden joy is pressing closer to Christ in the midst of my difficulty. It's the gift I've had all along. Sometimes I just forget to take it out of the package.

Waiting on Jesus

At that time in Jerusalem there was a man Simeon. He was waiting for the Messiah.
Luke 2:25

Oh Lord how many years will you tarry? My longing heart is aged beyond my body. My shoulders drag as the decades melt one into the next.

I want to see you, Lord.

You have shown yourself faithful to my people. You promised our father, Abraham. You delivered our leader, Moses. You favored our king, David. But will you be faithful to me?

I want to see you, Lord.

As if snatching the words from my lips, You appear. You come into the temple not on the back of a stallion but in the arms of a peasant girl.

I see you, Lord.

And I know. You are Jehovah El Roi, the God who Sees. You. See. Me.

Can This Be?

I am absolutely thrilled to feature the work of my dear friend Patti Hazlett today. Patti is the kind of person who brings energy with her when she graces a room. Hope and vitality echo in her heart and her writing. I know you will love this post as much as I do and want to visit her blog many times to come.

by Patti Hazlett

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus
because he will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21.

Oh God, can this really be true?

They have been gone for so long. Bethlehem is a lengthy journey and Mary was nearly ready to give birth. My heart strains to know if they are well. Even more, it yearns to know if this could really be?

Everything rational in me says it cannot be true. Yet, everything in the Scriptures points to it being real. My son. Joseph. It is certain he is of royal lineage, a direct descendant of King David himself. His father, Jacob, and I have raised him to honor God and live his life with integrity. He has grown into a God-honoring, humble man.

When he came to us, telling us of Mary’s pregnancy, we were stunned. Out of love and respect for Mary and her family, Joseph decided to quietly walk away from their engagement. Of course, we supported his decision. But then, he spoke of a dream. A dream in which he was visited by an angel of the Lord. The angel, he said, told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. That the baby should be named Jesus, because he will save the world! Dare we believe this could be the time? What if it is!?

The Scriptures have been part of our lives for generations. We know what they predict. The prophet Isaiah foretold of a coming King. One who would be born of a virgin. Born to reign from David’s throne. Born to save the world. It does seem to fit. Oh, do I dare believe it?

Lord, please calm my anxious heart!

Peace. Yes, peace. That’s what I feel now. As if what I have prayed for really is true! My heart is calm and I have a sense that yes, the baby Mary is about to give birth to truly is the Savior we have waited for for so very long!

With everything inside me, Lord, now I do believe. You have shown me that this really is true. Oh, Father, we are unworthy and yet humbled by your grace and mercy to allow us to watch over the Savior of the world.

My son. The earthly father of the King of Kings. Our grandson. He will be the Grand Son.

Praise be to God!

Patti Hazlett is a writer whose blog devotionals have struck a chord with her readers. Her ability to look at life through what she calls her “Jesus filter” has taught many life lessons and practical Biblical application. A later-in-life Christian, Hazlett struggled for years to connect the dots between her life and a life as someone who was saved. Her journey took a radical turn after a cancer scare and a heartfelt, honest cry out to God to use her for more than the life she was living. Today, she approaches every day with the prayer to maximize each moment for His glory.

You can connect with Patti on Twitter, Facebook and her blog

Barren No More

I have the incredible privilege of introducing you to one of my favorite Christian authors. Tamera Alexander will steal your heart away in the first page with her inventive and engaging writing style. Her thievery as an author is due to her heart long ago being stolen by God. After you read her post, you will definitely want to order her latest book, A Lasting Impression. Please help me welcome Tamera!

by Tamera Alexander

About a month ago, Shannon asked if I’d be interested in writing about how a certain Biblical character speaks into my own personal Christmas story this year. She gave me a brief list of names and my eye went to one.


The account about her in Luke chapter one is brief, but revealing. She was older in life, barren, unable to conceive, and bore the shame of that unwanted distinction for years and years. Yet she enjoyed the honor of giving birth to the forerunner of our Savior at so untimely a place in her life. She was called righteous, along with her husband Zachariah, and was one of the first women to be noted as being "filled with the Holy Spirit."

She was careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. So therefore, she was familiar with them. After all, in order to keep a law you first have to know and understand it. I wonder if she was familiar with the scroll of Isaiah? And if she ever lingered over this verse and prayed even more earnestly for her son, John, as he grew. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

When I read that verse with the heart of a mother for her son, the words wilderness and desert stand out to me. And not in a good way. Because what mother wants her son to be in a wilderness? Or in a desert? Having been barren for the majority of her life, Elizabeth knew what being alone felt like. She would never have wished that for her child. Yet she was faithful to the task God called her to fulfill. To be mother to the one who would prepare the way for Immanuel––God with us.
God also used Elizabeth in a mighty way to confirm His plans in Mary's life. "You are blessed," Elizabeth said to Mary, "because you believed that the Lord would do what he said." She spoke affirmation and encouragement in the face of a nearly impossible road ahead for Mary, and helped her to keep believing in God's sovereign hand. Which then Mary responds with the ever popular "Magnificat: Mary's song of praise."

In the hustle and bustle of Christmas this year, I’m holding the memory of Elizabeth close, and am reminded that God will send people into our lives who are hungry for Him, who need a word of encouragement to follow Him, or maybe need a verbal hug to keep walking through the wilderness or desert that He's intentionally leading them through. Who knows…perhaps it was Elizabeth's timely word of encouragement that led Mary to the place where she could sing her song of praise.

Hear what Elizabeth’s life and legacy says to you and me: God is trustworthy, even in the barren places. His timing is impeccable. And He always keeps His promises. Always.

Blessings this Christmas and in the coming New Year,


Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, the critically acclaimed Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers, along withFrom a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart (Timber Ridge Reflections series). Her historical romances—including The Inheritance with Thomas Nelson—penned in her style with deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville with Tamera's father, Doug. They enjoy life there with Joe and Tamera's two adult children, and Jack, a precious—and precocious—silky terrier.

Connect with Tamera online at her websiteblog, on Facebook and on Twitter.

You Better Watch Out...

Blessed are those who listen to me, 
watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
Proverbs 8:34

Her eyes dance when she says his name. Though they've been married for decades, my friend Kim recently revealed to me that her sweetheart has never come home from work to find her asleep. This might not sound like an extraordinary feat unless you know her husband's work keeps him out until midnight or later on a routine basis. 

She watches for him.

On our cable there is an entire channel dedicated to waiting for Santa. Jovial games, heart-stirring movies and fun music share the screen with a large countdown to Christmas clock. On Christmas Eve a radar will appear with which kids can track Santa's journey around the world.

Children watch for Santa.

What will my heart watch for this Christmas?

Will my heart run to the temporary fulfillment of a perfectly baked cookie, a super bargain or a front row parking space? Will my heart linger and look for opportunities to whisper my love for my man and snuggle my daughters?

This year I want to live face pressed against the glass in breathless excitement to watch for the One who fills the stocking of my heart. I pray that He would fill more of my heart so that one day my husband and children could say they knew my heart waited for them. Come Lord Jesus. Come.

My Hope

Today I have the joy of bringing you another exceptional guest post. This one is written from the perspective of the innkeeper's wife and it touches my heart in a place that is real and raw. I know you will love it as much as I do and will want to read so much more of her heart here.

by Heatherly Sylvia

I hear them whispering.

I don't dare join them- in case they are right- but it is hard not to hear their gossip, their questions, their accusations.

"...only pledged, not married..."

"...angels spoke.... that's likely"

"...should be ashamed..."

"...surprised he stayed..."

When she left town to visit relatives – suddenly and without a word – we all wondered, but it's not unusual to visit one's cousins. Then the whispers traveled back towards town, "Elizabeth is with child." 

We were shocked beyond speech – it was rumored Zechariah was too, if the gossips could be believed.

It seemed unlikely that the story was true. Whispers of Abraham and his Sarah echoed, truth entwined with the obvious fabrication of wives and mothers with nothing better to do than to speak of others'
concerns as if they were a children's tale. And then...

It became apparent rather quickly that Elizabeth's rumored blessing was not going to be the biggest news on market day anymore...

As we have traveled these dusty roads toward David's city, ruled by Caesar and the census call, I've struggled – wanting ask her, wanting to amble beside her, as we used to in our childhood, at our mothers' sides at the market, in the fields; wishing I could share my news without the fear of the gossips that travel the same path, the same pace:

"Mary, I believe you."
"Mary, I'm scared for you."
"Mary, does Joseph really believe you?"

"Mary, I am pregnant, too. I am scared. I feel ill. The way is so long, the travel bothersome, the smells overwhelming, the food unpalatable...

"Mary, how do you look so peaceful?"

I am afraid to ask. Although their contract has been signed and Joseph calls her wife, the gossips continue. They whisper of angel's words and YHWH's blessing.

Why isn't she terrified?

What does she know that we do not?

Where does her hope lie?

Where can I get even a piece of the peace she has?

As she rubs her large belly, when no one is looking, Joseph lays his hand on hers. They share a secret smile and I feel the intruder as a moment passes between them. There is a spark I've never felt, a joy I've never known.

Where does their hope lie?

When news comes days later, shared over the rattle of carts and the braying of donkeys, I learn that her Hope was laid in a feeding trough.

I ignore my fear, and among the shepherds and animals I gain the strength to ask her.

Her tired smile is serene, her eyes sparkle with joy,
"My hope is in YHWH. My Hope is YHWH."

Heatherly Lane Sylvia is a mom, wife, homeschooler, speaker, aspiring writer, and apprentice grace-giver. Her greatest desire is to live a life following after God with abandon, and she hopes to be a blessing to as many people as she can while she figures out exactly how to do that. Het is passionate, loud, addicted to books, and loves her friends, old and new. She adores the blogosphere and would love to “meet” you there. She’s also pretty sure that blog comments and tweets are her love language. Check out her blog A Pinkdaisy Life or follow her on Twitter @Pinkdaisyjane

My Gift to You This Year

Sweet Friends, 

I so loved praying with each of you through the Fall. As a special holiday gift, I have packaged those prayers into a FREE eBook you can download from my website. 

Please know you are loved, treasured and prayed for. 

This, dear ones, is for you:

(Click the book cover above or here to download.) 

Merry Christmas one and all!

A True Star

Today we continue with our Christmas series with a special look at the wisemen written by one of the wisest and funniest guys I know. I am so honored to have my friend and Southern Writers Magazine coworker, Gary Fearon here with me today. He makes work seem like play and today you'll get a little glimpse into why Southern Writers Magazine is so incredible. 

by Gary Fearon

Hundreds of years from now, by the 21st century, astronomy and astrology will be considered totally separate disciplines.  But for me, Balthasar, they are one and the same. I study the stars because I am a man of science, seeking the secrets of life, and my devotion to the God who made me causes me to look to the heavens for those answers.

From sacred scripture we had been told, “There shall come a star out of Jacob,” heralding the arrival of our long-awaited Savior. As an educated stargazer I was one of the fortunate few to notice the appearance of this celestial phenomenon, a star which followed a distinctly different course than its fellow travelers. I consider myself even more fortunate to have understood its importance to mankind.

Had I not been completely convinced that this was indeed the star of prophecy, I would not have undertaken a journey that involved traversing hundreds of miles from my home in Persia. Of course, at the outset, neither I nor my traveling companions Gaspar and Melchior – with whom I had closely conferred regarding all of this – knew exactly where we would end up.  We only knew the star was leading us to the west.

When we reached Jerusalem and spoke of the star we’d been following for months, some rebuked us, having seen nothing unusual in the night sky. Indeed, it was no longer visible to us either.  But our inquiries caught the ear of King Herod, who summoned us to his palace. Hoping he would be the one to point us to the Child, we were surprised when he asked us if we had found Him.

We only knew we were getting close, and when Herod revealed that his priests had identified from prophecy that we needed to go to Bethlehem, only six miles away, we were soon on our way there, with instructions to return to Jerusalem with the Child’s exact location.

We didn’t get a good feeling from Herod, a demanding ruler whose authority would be undermined by the Messiah, and we feared he’d make some very poor choices, so we never went back.  But Herod was right about Bethlehem. Our guiding star reappeared and hovered over a very humble dwelling, no proper place for a child from Heaven. But when we saw Him, we knew we were in the presence of the Son of God.

The love that surrounded Him and the peace that emanated from Him were unmistakable. Gaspar, Melchior and I were so overwhelmed with His majesty that we could only fall to our knees.  We felt our very souls overflowing with praise and thanksgiving at the realization that our Savior had come. I wouldn’t take all the gold, frankincense and myrrh in the world in exchange for that moment.

Meeting my Redeemer face to face was life-changing, and from that point on, I didn’t need to go searching for all the answers. I had found Him.

Hundreds of years from now, I pray that my fellow believers will experience that same sense of purpose, peace and love as they follow Him, to wherever He may guide them.

Star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

A veteran broadcaster, video and audio producer, Gary Fearon is the Creative Director for Southern Writers Magazine. In that position, his multiple roles include writing, interviewing, editing, graphic design and making sure Shannon Milholland doesn’t drink too much coffee. His additional talents include songwriting, cartooning, and making popcorn almost as good as at the movies.

Gary presents perspectives on creativity every Tuesday on Suite T, the Southern Writers blog.  He wishes you a Christmas full of blessings and a joy-filled 2012.

Today Can be my Silent Night

The warmth perched on my lap soaked into my soul. It was my favorite hour of the week - worship with my man and four little girls. My littlest one intertwined her sticky donut fingers with mine as the lights dimmed for prayer.

Eloquent, hear-felt words rolled off the tongue of the speaker but it was a nearly silent utter that captured my ear. "Thank you, God, for my Daddy. Thank you, God, for my Mommy." Sincere thanksgiving dropped from innocent lips.

Later the pastor would preach a stirring sermon on the devotion of the wisemen. I didn't really hear it. My heart pondered the power of simple praise and the unfettered devotion of the tongue who gives it.

Thank you, God, for my husband.

Thank you, God, for my children.

As I rush around checking lists and creating Christmas joy, may I not forget the joy of climbing into my Daddy's lap to inaudibly mouth words of gratitude. Jesus, may today and every day be a Silent Night.


Sweet Friends, I am delighted to continue my series of December guest posts with some inspiring words from my dear friend, Carey Scott. Carey encourages the deepest places of my heart. She has a way of tenderly peeling back the layers of my heart to allow God deeper inside. I can't wait for you to take this journey with me as Carey shares with us her perspective on the prophetess Anna who witnessed Jesus' dedication at the temple when He was just days old.

by Carey Scott

“There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. 
She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 
and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. 
She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
Coming up to them at that very moment,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
(Luke 2:36-38)


I’ve held hope in my heart for so long and now I get to see – face to face – the Christ. 

The Messiah. 

He is here… right in front of me.

And I knew it was the promised child the moment I laid my eyes on Him.

That beautiful face. Those tiny fingers. The cooing noises gently escaping his mouth.

A limitless God coming to earth in human form to experience the confines of flesh. The Great I AM stepping out of the perfect Heaven into a sinless world… with the goal to save the world.

I am so humbled to be among the first to bear witness to this miracle child. 

With great thanks, I praise the Father for Jesus.

God is so faithful.

While my 84 year old body is giving up and deteriorating, the fulfilled promise of this baby brings a much-needed rejuvenation to my weary bones. I feel an excitement for this long-awaited answered prayer.

Finally… our deliverer has come!

Some may doubt me because I am a woman and not seen as a credible source… some may not believe me because I’m proclaiming that our Messiah has come as a poor peasant child… but nothing will stop me from sharing this exciting news with all the faithful believers that cross my path.

I will to shout to the world that the Redeemer of Israel has come at last!

And now I pass that blessed task on to you. 

It’s your turn to remind others about Jesus.

It’s your turn to celebrate His birth rather than go about business as usual.

It’s your turn to share the miracle and reveal Christ to an unbelieving world.

My friends, don’t be intimidated to speak out.  Be bold in your remembrance!  We should observe Christmas with gusto! 

Because it’s no ordinary birth we are celebrating. 

Joy to the world… the Lord HAS come!

An inspirational speaker and writer, Carey is honest about her life journey…stumbles, fumbles and all. Her goal is to challenge others to be real and authentic and she does this through her blog titled “Let’s Get Real”.  She’s a little in your face, always honest and relentless in prodding you to stop living a life of comfort and instead get on the battlefield. 

Carey gets authentic with moms every Wednesday on Moms Together where she serves as a moderator and panelist. She also leads women through her position of speaker and writer for the LeadHer organization.You can connect with Carey online through Twitter and Facebook.  She is a happily married mom of two living in Colorado. 

Little Eyes are Watching

Today I am so honored to introduce you to my friend, Beck Gambill. Beck's sincere love for Jesus shines through every word she writes. Her blog inspires me and fills me with a sense of purpose and peace whenever I visit there. Today I hope you'll connect with her either on her blog, Facebook or Twitter. You'll be blessed because you did.

Oh and you can find me writing on her blog today so hop over and read my thoughts and stay awhile to be blessed by hers.

by Beck Gambill

Have you ever thought about the gnarled hands that helped Jesus learn to walk? Or the wise heart that offered comfort and advice to his young mother? This Christmas season I've been pondering a person who's name isn't mentioned in the account of Jesus birth, but of whose existence I'm sure. Jesus' grandmother.

Mary's response to the circumstances of her life must have been a result, at least partially, of her upbringing. She saw faith modeled. Everything she needed to know about raising children, keeping a home, being faithful to Joseph, and trusting God was influenced by her mother. Her response, to an unexpected message brought by an extraordinary messenger, was faith.

Jesus wasn't born just to Mary, he was born into a whole family. What relationship was there between this very special little boy and his grandmother? Even if she doubted the story of her daughter's pregnancy babies have a way of softening hearts. I've learned that in difficult situations precious babies are the great equalizer. I imagine, just like every other generation of women through the ages, her pride and joy in this new addition was profound.

Did she and Jesus share family jokes, did she sing songs to him, did she tell him stories of God's faithfulness from her own life? How do you teach the King of the universe... anything? And yet that was her responsibility. As well as Mary's and Joseph's and Jesus' other family members.

You will not dandle the Messiah on your knee, but certainly the faithfulness of raising godly children will be rewarded in future generations. “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it,” says Proverbs 22:6. By the fruit of Mary's life it appears that her mother set her feet onto the right path.

This Christmas, “come, let us adore him,” little eyes are watching!
Beck Gambill writes at Beck Far From Home ( about her homesickness for Jesus. Mentoring and ministering to women's hearts is her passion. You can download her free ebook on mentoring, Sister to Sister, on her website. She is privileged to partner with her husband in full time ministry, as well as being the mommy to Max and Maggie.

Kissing Misunderstanding Under the Mistletoe

James 1:19 Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

On the way to school this morning Clara spotted a bright orange T adorning one of the yards. "Look, Mommy, those people have a T in their yard. They must like tigers because T is for tiger." I immediately thought of how funny (or maybe irritating) her statement would be to both the fans of the bright orange University of Tennessee and their instate rival the University of Memphis Tigers.

This time of year my "misunderstanding" button gets pressed more often than I'd like to admit. Somewhere among plans, wrapping, cooking and baking, my emotions get raw and the sensitive in me surfaces. Now for poor Clara growing up with four other girls in the house her problem isn't misunderstanding, it's lack of information. But really when I think about it that's usually my problem too.

I'm too busy checking items off my list and rushing to and fro and I don't stop and listen to the other party. I wonder how different my Christmas season would look if I realized the most productive item on my list is listening to those I love.

So this December I'm going to rush less and sit more. I going to be mindful that come January the gift of an unruffled wife and mother will mean abundantly more to my family than a perfectly appointed holiday. I'm kissing misunderstanding goodbye under the mistletoe.


Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you.

Today is Thanksgiving. Before I cook the turkey or turn on festive holiday music, I want to pause and allow gratitude to wash over my heart. I am truly thankful for:

  • A husband who loves deeply and honestly
  • Four daughters who look more like Jesus every day
  • An early morning run with my sweetheart and my oldest
  • An eclectic mix of Thanksgiving plates that add a smile to the Thanksgiving table
  • A church that welcomes anyone who wants to know more about God
  • A big city with a small town feel
  • Family scattered about whose love I gather in my heart
  • Children spread through four schools so each has her special place
  • You, my readers, who encourage and challenge me every day. I'm a better woman because of you.
  • Our Savior, Jesus, bearer of boundless love and unmatched grace
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

The Dance of Grace

Galatians 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (ESV)

Music pulsed through the air as God's people lifted praises high and unashamed. Chris Tomlin's simple, God-inspired choruses had 5,000 singing loud and proud. Among the crowd was my little family of six.

As a particularly stirring song played, I watched my six year old raise her hand in worship. Five little fingers elevated to the One who is worthy. My heart beat a thunder of gratitude to God; I was witnessing a moment of true beauty.

With the last notes of that evening hanging in the air, I read Galatians 6:18, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." This is a verse I've breezed through dozens of times but somehow this time the words played a symphony on the strings of my heart.

I saw grace dance through my daughter's spirit with my own eyes. I tend to think of grace like it's an event but what if instead I considered it as the living, breathing work of God flowing in the heart of every believer? What if grace can waltz through my heart at regular intervals.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I find it relatively easy to be thankful on a day dedicated to gratitude but what about an ordinary day of preparation like today? Today I will clean floors, run errands and do dishes. Is it possible to have a thankful heart in the midst of every day life?

The key is to allow the grace of God to be with my spirit. When I sway through life to the rhythm of God's grace, every ordinary act of living becomes an extraordinary act of worship from which flows gratitude. God's grace can pervade my life because grace is not an event. Grace is God.

As you prepare for Thanksgiving today won't you join me in a dance of grace as we worship the Giver of all grace with thankful hearts?

Day 30 of Prayer Guide - Peace for Your Body

Day Thirty
Peace for Your Body

Proverbs 14:30a A heart at peace gives life to the body.

A cough overstays his welcome. Energy eludes despite nap and extended sleep. These hallmarks shout your status: Tired.

Restless one, come obtain peace for your body.

Today I Pray for You:

·         To know the Rest Who penetrates first heart and then body.
·         To know the Way and comprehend the Truth that is a Life of peace.

Today You Pray:

Alpha and Omega, as I come to the end of my prayer journey, I realize it’s a beginning. You have flooded my mind, soul, heart and body with all of You and I want more.

You have proven to be all I need – sufficient for every trying moment of my day. Today I give You my body. With every beat of my heart, massage Your life-giving peace deep inside. My heart is at home in Your hands and gives my body the life it craves.

Day 29 of Prayer Guide - Peace for Your Mind

Day Twenty Nine
Peace for Your Mind

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Confused. Exhausted. “Your mind is playing tricks on you,” a friend offers. Only is doesn’t feel like play. Your head is crammed with details more war than play. You long for your brain to just be still.

Stressed one, come draw peace for your mind.

Today I Pray for You:

·         To draw on the bottomless well of God’s peace.
·         To trust the Guard of both heart and mind Whose peace is fathomless.

Today You Pray:

Restorer God, I empty my mind so it can be filled with You. Stand sentry at its door. Guard it with Your love and grace.

I tuck my mind into Your hands – hands of mercy and strength. In the safety of Your garrison, the warring calls a truce. My mind is stilled behind the shield of Your peace. 

Day 28 of Prayer Guide - Peace for Your Soul

Day Twenty Eight
Peace for Your Soul

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way…” Words sang in childhood still echo in your soul. Today they raise questions rather than nostalgia. When and how does peace come around? The old hymn presumed its visitation but peace hasn’t passed by the home of your soul in some time.

Conflicted one, come inherit peace for your soul.

Today I Pray for You:

·         For the God of hope to gently attend to the tender places of your soul, leaving joy and peace by His touch.
·         To encounter Peace Who empowers comfort with His quiet assurance, “It is well.”

Today You Pray:

Comforter, You are well appointed with my sorrows. Some are everyday aggravations who rob me of peace one irritation at a time. Others are deep wounds that tighten my throat and snatch joy.

Today I release every disappointment into Your hands. Fill my now empty soul with the river of Your peace. I receive Your gift as it pours into every crevice of my hidden self. In these moments I whisper to You, peace attends my way. It is well with my soul.

Day 27 of Prayer Guide - Peace for Your Heart

Day Twenty Seven
Peace for Your Heart

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.

I am swallowed by my anxiety. It moves over my heart in waves, washing away my peace as it gurgles within. My heart longs for the peace of my Prince.

Striving one, come corral peace for your heart.

Today I Pray for You:

·         That you would journey to the throne of the One whose scepter is peace.
·         To know the rule that breaks the bondage of anxiety.

Today You Pray:

Provider God, I open my heart to You. Where You walk, trouble is stilled. The very brush of You entreats my heart to the pause of peace.

The door of my heart is thrown wide. Rule, Prince of Peace.

Day 26 of Prayer Guide - Peace

Day Twenty Six

Isaiah 32:17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence.

I long for peace but it eludes me. I’ve been told to chase after what I want but somewhere midstride I realize peace isn’t something I can catch. Peace is Someone Who gives to me what He is.

Distressed one, come drain peace into your being.

Today I Pray for You:

·         That the Prince of Peace would crown your heart with peace.
·         To surrender your drained soul to the One who drains peace.

Today You Pray:

My Shelter, I hide in You. Here in this place of rest and security, I give my frightened heart over to You. To finish well, I must walk in the peace only You can give.

Some trust in money. Some trust in relationships. I trust in You – the One who gives a quiet confidence and peace.