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And she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:7

In the push and pull of the Christmas season, I long for quiet and calm. To sit at the Savior’s feet and experience the hush of a stable bathed in starlight.

I long for tasks to stop ticking through my head like a CNN banner.

For quality over quantity.

For pause.

I long for serenity.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

What child is this?

Peace that passes understanding.

Joy to the world.

Life everlasting.

The unforced rhythm of grace requires surrender.

Trading my ways for His.

Wait.

Hope.

Abide.

Trust.

The Lord is my comfort and strength.

He never leaves or forsakes.

Turns ashes to beauty.

Redeems and restores what was lost.

Faithful is He.

In His love and mercy, God gives serenity.

He helps me accept the things I cannot change.

Provides courage to change the things I can.

Wisdom to know the difference.

By His Word and Presence, He helps me live one day at a time.

Accept hardship as a pathway to peace.

As I follow Him, He teaches me His ways.

Let go and trust.

Take this sinful world as it is, not as I would make it.

I am not God.

As I pray and read His Word, I learn to trust and believe He will make all things right.

Jesus is the Way to real hope and everlasting life.

His love creates beauty out of hurts and hardships.

His gift is the promise of eternal life.

The Christmas season may bring things you feel you cannot bear - but nothing will ever come at you that He cannot bear.
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He is Christ the King.

There’s nothing His blood doesn’t cover.

Nothing His love cannot heal.

Come, let us adore Him.

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All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 7:11-12

Perfect love.

Rock of salvation.

His body and blood Heaven’s bridge.

I need not fear.

Behold and be loved.

Inequity removed.

Robes for rags.

Come, let us adore Him.

He is worthy.

Worthy of lives laid down.

Worthy of crosses picked up.

Worthy is the lamb.

Holy is He.

How many kings give up their thrones?
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Baby’s breath.

What child is this?

Shepherds guard.

Angels and stars light the sky.

Silent night divine.

He came in the hush of humility.

He came amidst dust and dung.

King of kings, Lord of Lords.

Prince of peace.

Word made man.

Redeemer and salvation.

A single touch heals.

It started in a stable.

Unto us a child is born – come, let us adore Him.

Let us slow down and adore Him.

Pause and remember.

Consider the Cross.

Ask and believe.

Darkness to light.

Life everlasting.

Merry Christmas.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

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But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27

Grafted then drafted.

Soldier of light.

Sword of truth.

Shield of faith.

Grow in grace.

Strength and power.

The Spirit He gives isn’t timid.

There is power in His Love and Name.

In my weakness He is strong.

Glory revealed.

God, our Father, heals, transforms, provides, protects, loves without limits or condition.

Offers mercy, grace, life everlasting.

By His wounds I am healed.

He commands me to Go.

Make disciples.

Commit to the hard work real love demands.

Endure ridicule for His Name.

My life, my words testify, contain His Spirit and Power.

Word made man.

Faithful and true.

How am I giving what I have been given?

• Truth
• Grace
• Love
• Life

By my words I am acquitted or condemned.

Light created to shine.

Scales removed so others might see and believe.

It’s a battle, a spiritual tug of war.

In the middle, an eternal lake of fire.

Pull for your brother and sister.

Pull for the Lord your God.

Choose this day whom you will serve.

The world is designed to distract and sedate.

American dream preoccupation.

Artery clogging, life draining pursuits.

Cardiac arrest.

Love not activity is the cure.

Be the message - love God, love people in words and deed.
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Truth revealed.

Captives set free.

Life everlasting.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jesus, Acts 1:8

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Liz Petruzzi Blog by Liz - 1M ago

There, I said it.

Air silenced by the slicing sting of words.

Backed up words I wanted to say but hadn’t.

Angry words spoken from a place of hurt.

Words that wound.

In response to scripture that says I am accountable for every idle word, I joke, “I am going to be before the Lord a lonnnng time.”

My tongue can be a sharp sword and it’s by far my greatest sin struggle.

I make light of it when what I really feel is shame.

Shame for hurting people I love.

Shame for not having better self control.

Shame for claiming Christ, then speaking in ways that deny His love.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. James 1:26

 I have a thing about being called “religious” so in the NLT (New Liz Translation) I substitute the words Christ Follower and testimony.

 Those who consider themselves a Christ Follower and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves and their testimony is worthless.

I can’t bluntly tell someone off, put them in their place, give them a verbal spanking then tell them (or anyone else who’s watching) how the love of God has changed me.

Words have power.

Power to hurt and power to heal.

Life and death.

Heaven or hell, blessing or curse.

God spoke the world into existence.

He calls Himself Word.

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

 We are made in God’s image, in His likeness. Our words aren’t meaningless. They create, build and tear down.

Communicate love or hate.

Some of the hardest battles I fight are to scrub words off my soul.

Words someone said to me – someone careless like me, long ago.

Words that scar and linger.

Words that affect how I view myself and navigate the world.

The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life. John 6:63

 Words are spirit.

The Bible tells us to take every thought captive.

Thoughts become words, then actions.

Actions words activate.

God said, “Let there be light” and there was light.

We are created in His image – our words carry power as well. What is spoken creates energy and action.

What I believe determines my speech, actions and life.
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The placebo effect proves it.

When people are given a pill they believe is real one of two things happen.

Symptoms either improve or they experience side effects like dizziness and vomiting believed to be associated with the drug.

The pill is fake – a sugar pill, but it still has an effect based on the person’s beliefs about that pill – positive or negative.

Our beliefs and speech steer our lives.

Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. James 3:4

 We can see the effects of words manifested in water, plants, food. (click word to view video)

What I believe determines who I am and the life I live.

Speak life, speak blessing.

It’s Biblical, it’s real, it’s important.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.

Speak truth in love.

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

May kindness be in my heart and on my tongue.

Whoever desires to love life and see good days, keeps their tongue from evil and lips from speaking deceit.

Seek peace and pursue it.

Encourage.

Listen.

Show courtesy.

Anger never produces the righteousness of God.

Rash words are like sword strikes – cut and slice.

Spirit soul bleed.

Set a guard over my mouth and watch over the door of my lips.

A soft answer turns away wrath, a gentle tongue a tree of life.

Self control is it’s fruit.

By my words I am justified and by them I am condemned.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be an acceptable offering pleasing to God.

Thankfulness and praise.

God so loved the world He gave His only Son.

Gave so that whoever believes in Jesus receives eternal life.

Believe and receive.

Confess with my lips that Jesus is Lord.

Testify so others might also believe.

Jesus is the way, the Word made man – Spirit Word.

Let His Spirit fill my heart and let me speak life.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

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Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

O Lord my God, I cry to you for help.

The night stretches long but morning will come.

Your promise preserves my life.

You are my portion, my salvation and grace.

You delight in Your people and remember sin no more.

Deliver and rescue.

Stronghold.

Shield and refuge.

I trust Your Holy Name.

Your unfailing love is priceless.

Fountain of life.

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but Your Word endures forever.

You give strength to the weary and set the oppressed free.

Break every yoke.

Bind up broken hearts.

Give strength and courage to the weary.

Even in the darkest valley, You are there.

You never leave.

Rock eternal.

Abounding in love.

Transcendent peace.

Refuge for the poor and needy.

A shelter from the storm.

Shade from heat.

You brought me out of darkness into love’s light.

Broke chains of sin and death.

Gave me a new song.

The Lord upholds all who fall.

Lifts up those bowed down.

New beginnings and second chances are His specialty.
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He is righteous in all His ways.

Near to those who call on Him.

Calls stars by name.

I put my hope in unfailing love.

“Because he loves Me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him for he acknowledges My Name.

He will call upon Me, and I will answer him.

I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy and show my salvation.”

He holds me by the hand.

Guides and directs.

I will not fear.

Great is His faithfulness.

Hardship and trial may come but the Lord endures forever.

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“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:41

Who doesn’t love a party?

It was an important day – this man of God, the one everyone talked about was coming to their house. Important religious leaders and community people were expected as well.

Many people and much preparation.

The day arrives, people come, Jesus is talking, teaching.

Sweat beads, runs down Martha’s face as she works steadily in the kitchen.

“Water – I need more water” she thinks, looking around for her sister.

Martha suppresses annoyance as she asks a servant, “Where’s Mary?”

The servant motions toward the main room.

Martha’s gaze settles on her sister – sitting.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Annoyance grows into resentment, anger. There’s a ton of work to be done and Mary is lounging while Martha stresses, handles everything.

Martha quickly approaches Jesus – “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

I feel the frustration in her words.

Wanting everything to be right.

Distracted by all the preparations.

Feeling self righteous.

Too often, I am Martha.

I want communion but don’t have time.

I’m too busy.

Full plate.

Exhausted from doing it all.

Life seems so urgent.

Few things are needed – really, only one.

The ways of God are often counter intuitive.

• Give to gain.

• The last first.

• A king who washes feet.

The world’s pace is fast, noisy.

101 ways to get more things done.

Applause and admiration for doing it all.

Hurry and busy crowd out love.

Love requires the sacrifice of time and activity.

No one can serve two masters.

Am I willing to do less, have less to make room?

Jesus routinely allowed Himself to be interrupted.

He didn’t detour off God’s path yet made time to love.

• The woman at the well.

• The Centurion.

• Zacchaeus.

He wasn’t idle but never busy or hurried – He let schedules go to make room for kingdom things.

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Luke 1720-21

The kingdom of God now lives in me.

When I choose to stop and love or serve, I bring the kingdom from up there to down here.

I say no to the demands of life to sit at His feet.

Jesus turned the world upside down – He was the opposite of everything the world and religion said He should be.

He ate with sinners, healed on the Sabbath, rejected religion’s rules.

He came to light the way – not conform to what the world thought He should do.

If I am to imitate Christ, I must do the same.

Put aside urgent for important.

Listen and love.

See and respond.

Bend and give.

In the middle of mayhem choose God’s agenda over mine.

Ask for eyes to see and ears to hear – the kingdom often whispers.

Be willing to be inconvenienced and leave things undone.

Redefine productive.

Understand I will never do things perfectly – including follow Jesus.

Messy, imperfect humans are imperfect and messy.

God’s grace is sufficient.

Strength made perfect in weakness.

Cracked, broken pots reveal light.

I can trust Him to do what I can’t or don’t or won’t.

He loves me as I am.

B.U.S.Y. – Burdened under satan’s yoke – crowds out my ability to love.

Jesus invites me to exchange that yoke for His.

His burden for mine.

Heavy for light.

The world pushes hurry and busy and more.

Occupy and preoccupy is the enemy's ploy.
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It feels irresponsible to do less.

I want to be productive, successful, financially stable.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

It’s not about money or success or schedule – it’s about my heart and what motivates my actions.

I can’t serve two masters.

Tasks master the schedule slave.

I double down and work harder – work harder with the idea of creating room and space to breathe.

If I can just get this done I will have more time.

Lie of the enemy.

Shoveling snow in a blizzard.

Frenetic, fruitless faith.

My schedule reveals my heart and who I serve.

Mary understood what Martha didn’t.

The priority wasn’t details or task mastery but resting at the feet of her Savior.

Letting go urgent for important.

More requires less.

I resent the schedule I set – the to-dos seem so important.

I must get things done – life requires it.

Jesus tells me few things are needed – in fact only One.

When I choose to stop and sit at His feet, He takes care of the rest.

Produces fruit.

Guides my path.

He is faithful to make a way where there seems to be no way.

Where I see wasteland, He creates streams of new life.

I can trust Him with my schedule, bills, responsibilities and work.

Let His kingdom come, His will be done – inside of me.

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Did you ever have a friend you couldn’t wait to introduce? Someone you are so proud of you want everyone to know them? Cathy Baker is one of those people for me.

I was first introduced to Cathy by a mutual friend. We talked informally via e-mail and social media, connected in person at a writing conference and progressed to phone calls where we shared our hearts and lives.

Cathy is one of those people who isn’t afraid to share the good, the bad and the ugly. She is warm and real and easy to talk to…and she’s doing this really cool thing – building a tiny house – like a real one.

You can learn more about Cathy Baker at the end of this post – there are links to her website and social media. I was beyond thrilled when she agreed to guest blog in the middle of launching a new site, contributing to The Write Conversation, writing a book and oh yeah, building a tiny house.

I stink at waiting. There, I said it.

It’s one of the reasons why you’ll never see me at a traditional checkout counter when self-checkout is an option. And it’s why I often choose Internet shopping (no waiting in traffic!) over the brick and mortar stores, with Barnes and Noble being the exception, simply because I can’t imagine a world without it.

The art of waiting was one lesson I didn’t expect (or want) to learn during the building process of my tiny house.

But I should’ve known something was up right from the get-go.

On a brisk March morning, with tools in hand, my husband and I traipsed up the hill out back, full of excitement and anticipation. Within the first hour of leveling the ground for the foundation, Brian dropped this little love bomb, “You won’t believe how many things we’ll need to do before this tiny house is finished. It’s going to be a long process.”

Bless his heart, he didn’t know how quickly southern girls could make things happen when they put their mind to it.

Let’s just say it isn’t his heart in need of blessing.

In this Tiny House Tuesday post I share about the wait involved with the windows. But that was just the beginning of many waits to come.

The term “weekend warriors” should’ve given me a hint as to what the future held. Who knew it was code for slow and steady, with emphasis on slow? Apparently, Brian did. Due to his hectic work schedule, four acres to mow, and a pool to keep healthy, the only day we’re able to work on the house is Saturday. And when the humidity kicked up its heels in June, we had to limit our time to morning hours only. That’s a lot of work to do in a short span of time.

Practically every major step along the way—the foundation, the underlayment for the sides, and the building of the roof—have required waiting periods for one reason or another.

The “point-me-to-the-nearest-self-checkout-line” part of me struggles to find peace in the wait, especially when I consider that we’re still months away from the completion of the Tiny House on the Hill.

But there are some things one cannot ignore.

Like the reality of the wait. When it finally sank in that we were in for the long haul, I knew I could either continue to employ the denial strategy, or take a few moments to list what I’m learning about waiting in this process. So I made a list:

1. Just because there’s waiting in one area doesn’t mean the work has stopped behind-the-scenes. Brian is always sketching and planning our next move regardless of where we are in the process.

2. Instead of focusing on what I see, I need to focus instead on the unseen—the end result. I need to resist frustration and stay focused on the big picture: to have a light on a hill, disguised as a tiny house.

3. Every time there is a wait, we learn something new, and sometimes that something new is helpful.

After making the list, I realized the “waiting truths” also hold fast for the waiting periods in life.

1. When life looks as if it’s on hold due to financial issues, test results, the loss of a job, etc., God never stops working behind-the-scenes in our lives. Psalm 121 says that He watches over us…that He neither sleeps nor slumbers. In the spiritual realm, where true life resides, God is always moving on our behalf.

2. When I begin to wring my hands with worry during a waiting period, it’s because my eyes have shifted from Jesus to my circumstances. Hebrews 12:2 MSG says it best:

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

Every wait is the gift of opportunity in a sovereign and loving Father's hand. Cathy Baker, The Tiny House on the Hill
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3. Every wait is the gift of opportunity in a sovereign and loving Father’s hand. We are not our own, but His, and when we trust Him to bring our good and His glory from our wait, trials, and circumstances, we not only survive the wait—we thrive.

“That miserable, uncomfortable, painful silence is one of God’s most powerful tools to set us free.” –John Piper

The tiny house building process is offering up a multitude of opportunities to stretch more than my back muscles, and for this, I am thankful.

What’s one thing you choose to remember during a time of waiting?

Cathy Baker is an award-winning writer and author of Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach as well as Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains. Cathy is a Hope*Writer and Bible teacher who has taught numerous studies and workshops over the past twenty-five years. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. She is a monthly contributor to The Write Conversation; Writer’s Digest 101 Top Websites for Writers. She and her husband, Brian, live in the foothills of the Carolinas with a beautiful view of Glassy Mountain and a soon-to-be tiny house.

To connect with Cathy, visit The Tiny House on the Hill @ https://www.cathybaker.org. Become a part of the THH community and receive a free gift, “10 {Tiny} Prayers that Offer Great Hope.” The tiny prayers included in this pocket-sized publication might just surprise you!

Connect with Cathy here:

https://www.instagram.com/cathysbaker/?hl=en

https://www.cathybaker.org/tiny-house/

https://www.facebook.com/cathy.baker.923

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