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It’s Christmas time! What a beautiful time of year. My ABSOLUTE favorite. Waking up early, fresh coffee in my favorite Christmas mug, my journal, and my bible opened to the Christmas story. I’m inspired, challenged, and more in love each year with the birth of our beautiful Savior. One of my favorite stories in the bible is when the Angel came down to tell Mary she was going to be the mother of Jesus. Can you imagine what took place in her heart and mind that very day? I can’t imagine what she must have felt to hear an angel of the Lord say she will give birth to a KING! What was spoken to her was humanly impossible yet miraculously possible. I’m sure in that moment she was attacked and consumed by the fear of trying to comprehend what her mind could not. “Who am I to be chosen to give birth to a King? How will I even take on that responsibility? I don’t know anything about how to raise a King.” But all God was asking from her was a simple “yes” and she would give birth to the Savior of the world.

One thing we can learn from Mary’s life is that FAVOR with God is not always instant. Luke 1:30 says, “Don’t be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.” A lot of times in life we think of having favor as being instant success or fame. If something happens that is good in our life we immediately equate that to “favor.” It’s Christmas time and the mall is extremely crowded. You make your way down each row hoping to find a parking spot. Out of no where comes a front row spot. “That is the favor of the Lord right there!” we think to ourselves. Sound familiar? When we look beyond these little moments into the depth of God’s amazing favor we can see a beautiful thing. God’s favor over your life may not be immediate. Your life may seem hopeless, broken, and like you are amounting to nothing but what you don’t realize is that you may be walking in some of the greatest favor of God, you just can’t “physically” see it yet! Its manifestation is still on its way. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is becoming impatient. We begin to make our own decisions and step out from under the favor of God because to us it seems as if our life has missed the favor of God. Let’s look at Mary’s life. God’s blessing over Mary would lead to the greatest pain. Her submission was part of God’s plan to bring about our salvation. Her simple “yes” would change the world forever but she didn’t know that when she spoke it. She FIRST had to submit and walk through great pain before she ever saw the outcome. Despite all the possible risks surrounding her life, she took a chance and said, “I am the Lords’ servant, may everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38). She risked her life, her reputation, and the possibility of great disaster. Mary did not know the tremendous opportunity that stood beyond her submission to what the Lord said. She quieted her doubt and fear and willingly obeyed. And through that she became the mother of the SAVIOR of the world!

Don’t wait to say “yes” to the Lord because you can’t see beyond what He is calling you to do. All you have to do is willingly submit even when the outcome seems disastrous. God can do the impossible and He will with a heart that says “yes.” Your life may not look like you are walking under any favor but through obedience and acceptance of where God has you will lead you into the greatest favor of your life. Be encouraged if you are walking through some of the most challenging and painful times. Submit with patience and watch the favor of God unfold around you. I want to leave you with this: Our response to God’s call determines the favor we walk in. Begin this next year saying, “Lord I am your servant, have your way. My soul will praise your name.”

Merry Christmas !!

December 23, 2014 1 comment
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I LOVE this time of year and all the JOY that is brings. We get to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Mary is probably one of my favorite women in the bible. Not only was she the mother of Jesus but an incredible woman of obedience and faith. Over the past couple of days in my quiet time, I have been studying the first chapter of Luke. The power that comes from this story encourages my heart and I pray that this Christmas season it encourages yours as well. Mary was a poor, young female chosen by God for one of the most important acts of obedience He has ever demanded of anyone.

“Don’t be afraid Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found FAVOR with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus.” -Luke 1:30-31

I think a lot of times we think Gods favor brings instant fame and success. Praying for favor over our lives becomes a part of our daily prayer but there are many times we fail to realize the power of what we are praying. God bestowed a blessing on Mary that would make her the mother of the Messiah who would save the whole world! What favor!! But the favor and blessing would lead her down a road of full of pain; the people around her would ridicule her, her fiance would come close to leaving her, and her son would be rejected and murdered. Her heart would hurt and she would cry many tears. But what did Mary do? She fully submitted to the Masters plan because she knew that through her son was the worlds only HOPE. There are many times in our lives that we are faced with much pain and sorrow, falling to our knees begging God to take it away. There are many sleepless nights and questions of “why?” What if YOUR pain was the only way through which someone found their HOPE.

Reflecting on this past year, to be honest, I have walked down some roads of pain, things my mind can’t understand. Over these past few mornings, God has really given me a greater perspective on the valleys of pain He takes us through and going into 2014 I want to respond like Mary. My prayer isn’t for God to remove the pain but to make my heart like Mary’s; submitting and waiting for God to fulfill His purpose. If pain is preparation for His promise, I’ll praise Him all the way through because I know He is good and He will finish the work He has started in me.
May my words and my heart’s desire be that of Mary’s…

“I am the Lords servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” -Luke 1:38. She believed [faith] with her whole heart despite the risks that came with the promise God had given her. She didn’t question. She didn’t ask for a way out, she willingly obeyed. She couldn’t see the entire plan and destiny God had for her, the tremendous opportunity she would have, all she knew is God was asking her to serve Him and she obeyed.

“You are blessed, because you believed the Lord would do what He said.” -Luke 1:45. She believed the angels words and agreed to bear the child even under humanly impossible circumstances. What FAITH Mary shows. Your promise, your desire, your dream may seem impossible but all you have to do it believe and watch God bring it to pass. You don’t have to understand, just TRUST in a God who loves you so much.

 

December 27, 2013 1 comment
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I can’t believe Christmas is almost here and 2013 is coming to a close. What a year this has been. As I look back over it, I am so thankful for all the blessings and challenges that God had me walk through. Some brought laughter and some brought tears but I know each moment was apart of God’s beautiful plan. As 2013 comes to an end, I stand amazed at all that God has done through Empty Bucket Ministries. Every step of Faith was guided by His hand. To be completely honest, I never imagined I would be standing here today. At one point in my life, my dreams seemed impossible but God has faithfully shown me over this past year, that through trusting HIM one step at a time, anything is possible. It’s where your FAITH meets the UNKNOWN that God begins to do His greatest work.

It is with great joy that we are in the preparation stages of building our first water well in Nigeria, Africa in March 2014. Our vision is to start by meeting the needs of these beautiful people and show them their value through the eyes of Christ. In an effort to raise funds for this project, Empty Bucket Ministries has been selling beautiful Hand-Crafted Christmas Ornaments. With just a couple of days left before Christmas, help us build a water well by purchasing a Christmas ornament for only $20. You can be the one to change a life this Christmas season in a little village in Nigeria, Africa where there is a lack of clean drinking water. One of my favorite quotes is “Live simply so you can give generously.” May this be what we live by as we start 2014 with a heart and desire to BE GENEROSITY!

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I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to two of our closest friends and biggest supporters, Emily and Ted Scheve, for making these beautiful ornaments. The value these ornaments hold is priceless. Love these two so much and there aren’t enough words to express my gratitude. Thank you Emily and Ted!!

If you are interested in purchasing one of these ornaments please click here to go straight to our website! Thank you all for your support and love!!

December 21, 2013 0 comment
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